DISCLAIMER: Street Carnage in no way, shape or form endorses the sort of shameful sweater that dude is wearing.
In high school when I was a punk rocker, I liked this song by the Dead Kennedys called “Nazi Punks Fuck Off.”
Singer Jello Biafra warns against punks who’d adopted a Nazi type of look: “You ain’t hardcore if you spike your hair when a jock still lives inside your head.”
In particular, Jello took issue with the swastika, that equilateral cross of infamy which had always been present in punk since the days of Siouxsie Sioux and the Sex Pistols. In another lyric from that song, he chided members of the punk public, asking, “So you still think swastikas look cool?” and insisted that in a real 4th Reich, these fashion-conscious fascists would be the “first to go.”
Having had quite a few years to mill this over, I eventually reached the following conclusion. It’s actually more of an objective fact. You don’t even need to be an Aryan Nazi jock in order to agree.
Truth is, Jello, swastikas DO look cool.
So cool, as a matter of fact, that in 1910, a female hockey team called the Edmonton Swastikas made the symbol into their official uniform logo.
So cool that Hitler and the Nazis used it to create one heck of a flag (and some rather fetching arm bands as well). So cool, that today in Germany, you can be arrested just for displaying one. And ultimately, so cool that anti-fascists all over America love to wear them, just to show you how un-cool they are.
I mean, let’s be real. Isn’t it funny how these alleged anti-Nazis go out of their way to walk around wearing the largest anti-swastikas they can find? Isn’t it possible that they might be overstating their case just a bit? Maybe if they feel so strongly about this peculiar 20-sided polygon, they should just drop the no symbol from in front of it and rock the swastika. It honestly looks a lot cooler without that dumb circle and line running through it.
Well maybe on this shirt it doesn’t. But usually it does.
After all, maybe I’m missing the point here, but where is the threat in someone displaying a swastika today? Is it really as inherently dangerous as groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center would have us believe? Furthermore, how many of these alleged swazi-haters have actually stood toe-to-toe with an actual Nazi? My guess is, not very many. Chances are, if you live in America, you haven’t even met one. Not unless, like my deceased grandfather, you were imprisoned in a Nazi POW camp, or like my grandmother, you watched all of the stuff in your house get smashed to pieces on Crystal Night.
I mean, sure, they’re around. The last one I saw was this shirtless old guy with a chest full of white power ink playing an arcade machine at the beach. But was this old dude actually posing any physical danger to anyone? What makes his swastika tats any more threatening than the hammer and sickle? Or some snotty kid’s Che Guevara T-shirt? Is anyone concerned about a Stalinist uprising on account of these symbols and their popularity?
The point is that banning the swastika doesn’t really do anything for the so-called “advancement” of humankind. It doesn’t change anything that already happened, and it also won’t stop genocide as it continues to occur throughout the world. I don’t think that we need to do some hippie-fied “reclaiming” of the swastika as a symbol of Hinduism/Buddhism/Jainism. The bad connotation of the symbol in western culture really adds to its appeal for me.
Just do yourself a favor the next time you happen to see one and admit that it looks nice.