August 12, 2003

Springline for Hitler

"We don't want to upset anybody. We were a bit
politically insensitive. We don't wish to make
any race unhappy about it,"

-- Deborah Cheng, marketing manager

Nazi look out of fashion in Hong Kong

12 August 2003

A Hong Kong fashion chain Tuesday withdrew a line of clothes printed with swastikas and Nazi slogans following complaints from customers and from the German and Israeli consulates.

The clothes, including a tee shirt emblazoned with a picture of Adolf Hitler, were removed from 14 branches of the fashion chain Izzue after the stores were bombarded with complaints.

Just another moment in which one understands that there really is no bottom to popular culture, no end to a global ignorance of the meaning of history, and the fact that those who cannot remember it are condemned to repeat it. Except here it would seem that they enjoyed repeating it until reality stepped in.

The only possible explanation for this vile line is that I.T., Ltd. of Hong Kong thought up, designed, manufactured and installed this "fashion statement" assuming that nobody could possibly object. After all, this is just more of the edgy, toying with history, infradig and insouciant attitude we have come to expect from the fashion industry. Isn't it?

Yes, as long as they could garner sales and attention, nothing else really trumped their 'creative expression.' One would like to think that much of this sort of thing just "happens" due to various failures of this or that educational system, but the truth is darker. It happens because, for some reason, there is a set of human beings living on the planet with no affiliation to a nation, or a shared history, or any set of values one would recognize as 'decent.' They live in the ever-transmogrifying present -- a whirl of clubs and clothes and the latest infinitely small gadgets. They are the eternal children who see no difference in last year's 'Hello Kitty" backpack and this year's T-Shirt celebrating Hitler.

The aging but "always-looking-for-the-next-young-thing" Howard Rhinegold is currently selling these groups as 'smart mobs.' As usual, he's out there on a smile and a shoeshine gilding a lump of excrement in hopes of a continuing ride on the rubber tofu conference circuit. These aren't "smart mobs" that worship whirl and symbol chaff. They're just dumb kids. They're the profoundly vapid momentmongers of our age. Since they have no sense or knowledge of the past, and since they are too intellectually lazy to create anything new, they exist only to parrot and recycle a jumble of icons in hopes that everyone will be so sotted with irony they will overlook the meaning. In the end, having no past, they will not be able to alter the future beyond what is merely fashionable.

I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward for these titans of taste to whip up some sweeping microfiber winter coats emblazoned with shots of the ovens as Belsen. That would be the edgy smart mob thing to do, wouldn't it?

Posted by Vanderleun at August 12, 2003 1:15 PM
Bookmark and Share



"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

ooh! damn that was harshing the buzz! i love it.

Posted by: Cobb at August 13, 2003 1:09 PM