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Strap on your Zyklon B's.
August 28, 2002 3:02 PM   Subscribe

Strap on your Zyklon B's. Could help shed the pounds from eating all those Temptations.
posted by robself (55 comments total)

 
Nick Crook, from Umbro, said: “We regret that there are people who are offended by the name.”

Odd phrasing, that; does he perchance mean he regrets that there still are people who are offended by the name? New company slogan: "Umbro- because Hitler was an underachiever". He could have said "We regret that we may have offended people...", but instead chose "We regret that there are people who are offended". Weird phrasing, is all I'm saying...
posted by hincandenza at 3:10 PM on August 28, 2002


Now, that is pretty dumb. But so is accusing Umbro of knowing what Zyklon means/implies. If so, though, the marketing meeting must have been something:

Marketing Guy 1: "Well, we've got three names: Air Hercules, Speedsters and Zyklon."

Marketing Guy 2: "Hey, isn't Zyklon that stuff the Nazis used to gas Jews?"

MG1: "Why, yes it is. We feel the tools of genocide imply all the qualities of a top-selling line of athletic shoes."

MG2: "I'd buy those in a second. Let's do it!"
posted by risenc at 3:11 PM on August 28, 2002


Zyklon being the German word for "cyclone", others have run afoul of this -- such as a county fair ride (still the name of an Indiana coaster). But generally, this is why corporations hand off the naming business to specialist agencies -- who do all those boring connotation searches.
posted by dhartung at 3:12 PM on August 28, 2002


Seems like an honest mistake to me. I refuse to believe that Umbro would intentionally create this controversy.
posted by TurkishGolds at 3:13 PM on August 28, 2002


If they do have an individual name for each of their products, and the line of trainers all do start with "Zy" as the article quotes, then I think it's highly likely this was a mistake.

Extrapolating from the basic historical/chemical knowledge my own co-workers exhibit, and the amount of time and effort spent researching anything in my company (very little...outside the core business focus that is), it does seem like there's a pretty high chance of an honest mistake here.

I have a degree in history, mostly focused on 18th and 20th century europe and america. I am fascinated by the Second World War. I was not aware of the particular piece of trivia causing this outrage.

I don't think I could expect anyone else to know it...except maybe experts in poisonous gasses, chemists with a penchant for history, and government experts in the art and science of killing people.

"Zyklon" does sound like a pretty cool name...but not now that we know it's been used before in a much more horrible context.
posted by ruggles at 3:17 PM on August 28, 2002


TurkishGolds: Of course they wouldn't. honest mistake for sure.

This is retarded. According to the article:

Zyklon B was originally an insecticide...

Ovens were originally for firing pottery and cooking FOOD. But I think the Germans used them to cook people too. Looks like it's back to cooking over open fires for me. I'll be returning all of my skin-colored lamp shades ASAP as well.
posted by Witty at 3:21 PM on August 28, 2002


I know that by saying this I am making myself an obvious target for "you're an antisemitic asshole" attacks, but Jews and their persecution really stick out in the media more than any other ethnic or religious groups that have experienced such atrocities. Ever heard of Armenians? How about native Australians?

With the arguable exception of sheer numbers, the mass killings of Jews in Europe was but one of many. I find it an interesting social phenomenon that the term "genocide" was essentially created to describe this particular mass killing, which is henceforth seen as at best the token example, and at worst the only such occurrence in modern history.
posted by zekinskia at 3:26 PM on August 28, 2002


Sounds like a mistake. A stupid, easy-to-avoid mistake, but a mistake. And to take dhartung's explanation ("zyklon" means cyclone), Umbro didn't name the shoes "Zyklon B". (They didn't have an 88 on them did they?)
posted by mccreath at 3:31 PM on August 28, 2002


zekinskia: Agreed. I would have never known, and didn't need to know, that Zyklon B was used to kill Jews during WWII. what's the difference now that I do? I guess I won't be naming my dog Zyklon so as to not offend Mr. Stromowitz next door.
posted by Witty at 3:32 PM on August 28, 2002


I figure this is akin to someone thinking Agent Orange would be a good name for a soft drink marketed in SE Asia.

Hmm, I did a Google search to see if any git had actually done what I just proposed and came up with this . Looks like a good way to see what associations a word has. Still, I did not know the color orange had a homosexual connotation.
posted by piskycritter at 3:38 PM on August 28, 2002


Being familiar with procedures corporations take to develop trademarks and the vast amount of cash that is spent on research, it is hard for me to believe that someone at Umbro didn't even do a Google search let alone the standard trademark searching.
posted by anathema at 3:42 PM on August 28, 2002


mccreath: Not unless you're a size 8, and it's printed on the outside of each shoe.
posted by madprops at 3:46 PM on August 28, 2002


We have thousands and thousands of product lines and each one has an individual name. I don’t think looking on the Internet is part of the process for picking that name.

“I am not sure whether it was registered as a trademark but we generally only do that with our main product lines.


From experience I find both of these statements quite unbelievable, maybe it was a mistake but this sounds like some serious ass-covering to me.

Even if they didn't register the mark you better believe that they did a search to make sure they weren't infringing on another mark. As far as the Internet goes, any laywer at all familiar to trademark law will tell you to do Internet searches.
posted by anathema at 3:51 PM on August 28, 2002


familiar with
posted by anathema at 3:52 PM on August 28, 2002


Job lot of Zyklon 88 pants to the highest bidder ;)
posted by zeoslap at 3:57 PM on August 28, 2002


Here's a blast from the past. About 3-4 years ago, I worked in a group at UCLA and one day our web server was "0wned" by some crackers, going by the name of Zyklon. While researching this person's other works of debaucery, I came across quite a bit of zyklon-related info I had no idea about.
posted by mathowie at 4:03 PM on August 28, 2002


"I have a degree in history, mostly focused on 18th and 20th century europe and america. I am fascinated by the Second World War. I was not aware of the particular piece of trivia causing this outrage."

Doesn't that say something about your education? I have a hard time grasping that anyone who has even a passing knowledge of the period can have missed that "piece of trivia."

Those who don't know history are doomed to make asses of themselves. (Referring to the manufacturer, of course)
posted by gordian knot at 4:14 PM on August 28, 2002


gordian, I agree. I am by no means a scholar of the history of WWII and I've known about Zyklon-B for years. Anyone who has actually studied this stuff definitely should have known this. He even goes so far to call it "trivia." Sounds like he keeps stuffing his foot into his mouth further and further trying to cover his ass.
posted by anathema at 4:21 PM on August 28, 2002


I know that by saying this I am making myself an obvious target for "you're an antisemitic asshole

no your just ignorant., but Jews and their persecution the media more than any other ethnic or religious groups that have experienced such atrocities.

because, throughout history the jews have been slaughtered more then any other religious group.

(i remember reading about some crusader from saxony who just HAD to kill a jew before going off to liberate the holy land during the first crusade.)

really stick out in
this is by design, we want people to shout about genocide.

Ever heard of Armenians? How about native Australians? why yes and to pick some more recent examples, rwanda, and cambodia, Cambodians was a deucy, even had a new term 'auto-genocide'. and here in the u.s., the decimation of the Natives was genocide.

With the arguable exception of sheer numbers, the mass killings of Jews in Europe was but one of many

it is called genocide, not mass killings.

which is henceforth seen as at best the token example
token? like a brass ring from the merry-go-round. It is token, as you say, because THE WORLD HAD NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE THIS HORROR.

and at worst the only such occurrence in modern history. I just gave two example, all within 27 years of today.
i have studied the war and shoah extensively. the guards at treblinka, where ZB was used for 'testing' used to joke to the condemned about needing umbrellas after the shower because of the "cyclone' that was coming.

Doesn't that say something about your education? I have a hard time grasping that anyone who has even a passing knowledge of the period can have missed that "piece of trivia.""
i believe the poster was referring to us that with knowledge of what zyklon is, it is irreverent to use the name armed with what zyklon stands for. in a sence it is not trivia and the poster perhaps meant different. trivia causing this outrage." was what...ruggles said. Ruggles had not heard about this product that is creating an outrage. trivia may not be the word to use BUT trivia is what alot of profs call historical info with no meaning ascribed. BUT since we know this was no trivial crime, bad choice of words.

Those who don't know history are doomed to make asses of themselves. can i borrow that axiom? Boy, repeat a heinous crime and one is merely an ass, feeling bad for looking....what, foolish?
posted by clavdivs at 5:08 PM on August 28, 2002


I think somebody should let the German building contractor Zyklon GmBH know about this too...
posted by RevGreg at 5:36 PM on August 28, 2002


Interesting Rev. Is it possible because of the language barrier we who only speak English have only one association for the word, while Zyklon is just a run of the mill word in German? If so, I find this discussion even more interesting.
posted by anathema at 5:46 PM on August 28, 2002


I think dhartung nailed it. This was an unfortunate mistake that could have easily been avoided and now corporate is trying to smooth it out when in fact they seem to be making it worse.
posted by anathema at 5:50 PM on August 28, 2002


run of the mill word in German
i hate it when germans get the run of the mill.
and cyclones reek havoc on the windmills.
cyclones really dont occur in Germany, not a typical word.
so, shall we just chalk it up to hoch deutsche.
posted by clavdivs at 5:52 PM on August 28, 2002


clavidvs: throughout history the jews have been slaughtered more then any other religious group [...] it is called genocide, not mass killings

i guess many people here will have read this already (originally this was an email to zekinska, but it seems the adress is not valid), but i found peter norvik's book the holocaust in american life (the holocaust and collective memory in the uk) to be a very interesting discussion of the way in which the idea of the holocaust has developed - why, for example, clavidvs replies like that to zekinska's question. it doesn't have any short, snappy answers (nothing i can post here to score a rhetorical point with), but does say some very sensible things - about the difficulty of comparing individual historical events and so defining a "worst", for example.

(and i should add that while i recognised the word "zyklon" when i read the fpp, i couldn't remember exactly what it was until i followed the link, so, in my limited experience, not knowing what the word means doesn't seem impossible)
posted by andrew cooke at 6:34 PM on August 28, 2002


I knew what it was, but only because a) I'm Jewish, and was brought up learning much more than I wanted to know about the Holocaust, and b) I was reminded of it in the movie Falling Down, in which a Neo-Nazi has collected a used cannister.

I believe it was a mistake...and this kind of thing is not that uncommon. Nobody at Chevrolet could be bothered to research the impact of the name "Nova" (roughly, "doesn't go" or "no go" in Spanish), on the Latin American population before they started trying to sell their cars there. Campbell's didn't bother to learn that in the UK, canned soup is sold with the water already added, and put their relatively tiny condensed soup cans on the shelf next to much larger cans at the same price. And as a former proofreader for Microsoft, I too can attest to the all-too-common flippant corporate attitude towards verifying information when a deadline is imminent. While working on a tour guide product, I once submitted a bug that read "I've been to the area described here, and the blurb is completely wrong about everything" and then had to lobby hard to get it deleted. As one of my co-workers told me, "When we have a week left to ship, you open the page, and if it doesn't say 'Bill Gates is a fag,' you approve it."
posted by bingo at 6:56 PM on August 28, 2002


Virginia:
"In 1997, The DMV recalled a license plate issued to a Hampton resident, reading ``ZYKLON B.'' The term ``ZYKLON B'' refers to a cyanide gas manufactured for use in Nazi gas chambers."

- this guy was a neo-nazi, I wouldn't be surprised to find out that the designer who picked the name was not "clueless" to it's meaning, he probably got some sick kick out of it - like the phallic sand castle in The Little Mermaid...

That said, "Umbro said that the Zyklon name ...had been on the side of boxes for the trainer since its launch in 1999 but does not appear on the shoe itself." - it took them this long to get upset?
posted by hotdoughnutsnow at 7:15 PM on August 28, 2002


bingo - the Chevy-Nova-didn't-sell-in-Mexico thing is a myth. "No va" does mean, literally, "no go" in Spanish but the word "Nova" would be as familiar to a Spanish-speaker as it would be to an English-speaker and wouldn't be pronounced as in "no va". For example, PeMex, the Mexican national petroleum company, brands its regular gasoline "Nova". And I believe the Chevy Nova actually sold very well in Mexico.
posted by TimeFactor at 8:16 PM on August 28, 2002


Anyone who has watched the Hitler...er, Discovery Channel, more than once, would have to be aware of this "piece of trivia". When I saw the FPP, the first thing I thought of was the Holocaust.

They should market "V-2" running shoes; those would go over (the English Channel) in a big way.
posted by buz46 at 8:22 PM on August 28, 2002


mr. cooke.
if you know I'm wrong (if that is what you are conveying) please say so, directly. i feel ive at least earned that right. mr. inchoate (thats me) is making little head way with your statement.
-if quote (mine) was invalid. i see it as invaild (still more valid then not and i wont quibble about counter-negation semantically) on two points.

1.'throughout history'-classic mistake, as judaic history is considered 'western', i left out the rest of the world thus...well demonstrating my western bias.

2, 'religious group' religion is not the sole (heaven help me) criteria for a genocide. i feel religion has had the greatest influence in mans cultural past.

pogrom, anyone remember that little one....am i wrong about this semantic contention or am just tired.

is monotheism to blame?

hows Chile mr. Cooke:)

it doesn't have any short, snappy answers quote of the day. i agree.
posted by clavdivs at 8:54 PM on August 28, 2002


Snopes on the Nova name legend. I like their analogy: As if English speakers would spurn a dinette set sold under the name Notable because nobody wants a dinette set that doesn't include a table.
posted by dhartung at 8:54 PM on August 28, 2002


eating all those Temptations.

Was I the only one here who Googled
"Ed Gein + The Temptations"?
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:12 PM on August 28, 2002


Doesn't that say something about your education? I have a hard time grasping that anyone who has even a passing knowledge of the period can have missed that "piece of trivia."

Ah yes, clearly any education in the history of europe is not complete without the mandatory examination of "methods and apparatus of the Holocaust." If they have studied the period at all, they must know each of the various gasses employed by the Nazis to kill the jews. It's vital to their success in the world!

As for my "trivia" comment, when you're next out and about, take a moment and ask a few random people what they think Zyklon B is.

Have you mastered all the minutia of your areas of study? If so, good for you!

Good grief.
posted by ruggles at 10:03 PM on August 28, 2002


Doesn't that say something about your education? I have a hard time grasping that anyone who has even a passing knowledge of the period can have missed that "piece of trivia."

Agreed. Anyone who knows anything at all about the history of the holocaust knows what Zyklon B is...or should by gods, it's in *all* the books.

Have you mastered all the minutia of your areas of study?

Good lord boy! The thing used to kill millions and millions of people is hardly minutia! I wasn't a history major and I know what Zyklon B is. That you don't and you claim to be a history expert makes me really worry about the modern education system.

take a moment and ask a few random people what they think Zyklon B is.

Well, maybe this speaks to my caliber of friends, or their education, but I just called 5 people that I knew would be awake...a writer, two artists, a programmer and an executive assistant...and when I said "When I say the phrase Zyklon B, what do you think of?" They all said, and I'm paraphrasing, "Wasn't that the gas the Nazi's used to kill the Jews?"

None of these people are Jewish, and just for the record, neither am I. Your righteous indignation is unjustified. You cannot call yourself a scholar of that period if you're missing such important data as how the Nazi's managed to pull off genocide of that scale. It's not minutia, it's incredibly well known...apparently everywhere except where you went to school.

Even if they didn't register the mark you better believe that they did a search to make sure they weren't infringing on another mark.

Yep again. This is some serious backpedaling...with a limited amount of truthsaying, IMHO.
posted by dejah420 at 10:48 PM on August 28, 2002


trivia may not be the word to use BUT trivia is what alot of profs call historical info with no meaning ascribed. BUT since we know this was no trivial crime, bad choice of words.

Perhaps "trivia" was a poor choice of words and I apologise if I have offended anyone, unknowingly.

I would argue that the important information to have regarding the Holocaust would be that these people (not only Jews, but Gypsies, the crippled, and many other "undesirables") were rounded up and systematically murdered, in factory conditions, using poison gas, bullets, bulldozers (burying people alive), bazaar medical experiments, etc etc.

I would call the names of the gasses used, the manufacturer and model of the guns used, the brand name of the bulldozers, the specific medical experiments, etc, "trivia." These facts are useful when detailing the specific events and methods used by the nazis in these camps and elsewhere, but I would argue that they are necessary to understanding the context of the Holocaust in the history of europe or even the war.

If you happen to know the names of the gasses, guns, soldiers, etc involved, that will make your knowledge of the events all the richer. In the course of my studies, I was much more concerned with the causes of the war, the history of persecution of the jews that lead up to the Holocaust, the prevailing mind set of the german people (as well as those of the occupied nations, and those of the allied powers who knew and did nothing for several years) who let it all happen.

I studied the rise of the Nazi party, and the societal, geopolitical, and economic causes of their rise to power. I studied the media manipulation of the Nazi regime, the ties to big business, the role of the church(es) during the whole thing....while attempting to take into account how the preceding 20, 50, 100, 500 years worth of events fed into and affected the course of events between 1933 and 1945....in europe.

World War II was not the only set of events covered in my courses either! There was World War I, the rise of democracy and of communism, the growing unrest in the Austro-Hungarian empire, the rise of nationalism, etc all of which which fed the beginnings of World War I...the end of which set us all up for World War II (and made a healthy start laying the groundwork for the Cold War and all the wonderful events in Russia over the past century!).

This description barely dips into what we covered in the 19th century, and in other parts of the world.

Zyklon B must have been mentioned in at least one of my books...and I can't imagine why I didn't remember it fours years on...

Thank God for the Discovery Channel. No one will ever have to study history again!

PS -- Wasn't this thread Godwined on arrival?
posted by ruggles at 11:01 PM on August 28, 2002


oh good lord...

...but I would argue that they are UNnecessary ...
posted by ruggles at 11:03 PM on August 28, 2002


I thought of Zyklon B Zombie.
posted by azimuth at 11:10 PM on August 28, 2002


and just in case someone needs me to actually say it:

I believe the Holocaust was a truly horrible, horrible, and most noteworthy, set of events.

The Holocaust itself was a human catastrophe of remarkable scale. Not once in this thread did I intend to call the events of the Holocaust "trivia." However, as I said above, the names of the gasses used to kill people are really not that important to understanding the significance of the Holocaust...and the names of these gasses, I would think, fall under the heading "trivia."

I would be very interested to find out why someone would think that knowing the names of the gasses involved was crucial to understand the significance of these events.
posted by ruggles at 11:20 PM on August 28, 2002


You cannot call yourself a scholar of that period if you're missing such important data as how the Nazi's managed to pull off genocide of that scale. It's not minutia, it's incredibly well known...apparently everywhere except where you went to school.

Ah yes...Zyklon B! That's how they did it! Thanks for clearing that up. Amazing how something triggered and wrought by hundreds of significant events, ideas, and materials can all be reduced to a single cause, isn't it?

I would not say I'm the only one showing signs of righteous indignation in this thread. Additionally, by what authority of scholarship do you invalidate my entire education and insult the school I attended due to my inability to recognize a single word?

While I'll own up right now to my own generous share of arrogance, I'm always amazed by the number of people claiming to be experts at evaluating the quality and content of other people's education.
posted by ruggles at 11:36 PM on August 28, 2002


grr...okay maybe you weren't trying to invalidate my entire education...

(I'm attempting to be fair to what you actually wrote dejah420, and not the effects of the late hour and my righteous indignation upon reading it)
posted by ruggles at 11:40 PM on August 28, 2002


jeez I hate this thread...anyway...

...despite all of my inflammatory posts and reposts in this thread, I would hope that someone is even handed enough to read through all the emotion I've poured forth and still come away with something resembling a decent contribution.

Responding (again) to yet several armchair comments made in my general direction...I actually would not call myself a scholar of the events of the Holocaust. The term scholar implies a depth of knowledge I did not claim to have, and don't think I have claimed. My only claims in this regard are that I have studied the history of the region and the period in an academic environment, have paid more attention to the broad view and causes of events than the events on the ground during that period, and that I had achieved a degree in history relating to this material.

My degree, for purposes of clarification, is not an advanced degree. It is a bachelors degree with the corresponding lack of focus that level implies. I did major in history, and that fact was presented as an attempt to justify why I would not reasonably expect most people to know what Zyklon B was/is.

I do find it interesting that many people were so quick to attack each other (myself included), rather than make attempts to clarify each other's position and try to assemble some context of each other's thoughts. We have in many cases here been very quick to dismiss each other's claims of knowledge, and to disavow any ability to understand each other in certain cases.

It appears to me that we are much more willing to accept our own small circles of experience for what passes as "normal/acceptable" than to realistically open ourselves up to other possibilities. And here we are talking about the Nazis...

I am done with this thread. Good night. :)
posted by ruggles at 12:40 AM on August 29, 2002


The company is doing the right thing by changing the name, but I too found it hard to believe that most educated people wouldn't get ill hearing the words "Zyklon B" to begin with.

Of course, speaking of genocide, there is that trivial little matter of the "Washington Redskins". "Atlanta Braves", et al.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 1:21 AM on August 29, 2002


Okay, so I was wrong about the Nova story. My bad.

The Campbell's story is true, though.
posted by bingo at 3:23 AM on August 29, 2002


I would not say I'm the only one showing signs of righteous indignation in this thread. Additionally, by what authority of scholarship do you invalidate my entire education and insult the school I attended due to my inability to recognize a single word?

I didn't study WWII history in any school yet I can also add off the top of my head that the German conglomerate IG Farben was the owner of the major manufacturer of Zyklon B. That Manufacturer? Bayer.
posted by RevGreg at 7:46 AM on August 29, 2002


Undoubtedly Zyklon B is well know to any student of twentieth century history.

What I find most amazing is that the (presumably) European designers of this Umbro model would not know what Zyklon B was. Holocaust is an essential program of study in any continental Western European education system. My girlfriend is French, and, while specializing in math and science in lycee (you essentially have to pick a major in French high schools, crazy, I know) was still forced to study the holocaust and the WWII experience extensively. I just called her and she is well aware of what Zyklon B. She also attended graduate school for a year in Italy (Umbro's homeland) and is convinced that any Italian who graduated from high school would be well aware of Zyklon B. And there is no doubt that a German would know this, as holocaust studies are a large part of German curriculum as well.

While it is unsettling yet plausible to me that there are supposedly well-eduacted Americans who are unaware of what Zyklon B is, there is ABSOLUTELY no doubt in my mind that any educated Western European would be immediately aware of what the gas was and why it was used.

Which makes it appalling that Umbro would use this name on a shoe.
posted by pjgulliver at 8:44 AM on August 29, 2002


pj, I think the distinction pointed out in this thread (maybe not clearly) is that the shoe was branded "Zyklon," not "Zyklon-B." Two completely different animals. If Umbro had called the shoe "Zyklon-B" I don't think anyone in this thread would dare call that a mistake.
posted by anathema at 8:53 AM on August 29, 2002


Anathema, clearly I understood the difference. However, the very name, Zyklon, clearly market in an English speaking country (the UK) undoubtedly carries the connotations of the death camp. Unfortunately, history imposes values on certain works or items that would not otherwise be there.

Such as, "work makes freedom" (abreit mach frie--in my poorly spelled German) was the the motto of the death camps, inscribed above the gates of several of the largest facilities. While the phrase still makes sense, and would be a nice sounding motto for a US prison labor facility or chain gang, it would be in appalling bad taste to use this logo for anything. Like how the swastika isn't used in Western European countries as a neutral symbol anymore, despite its long history. Or how many militaries in the world still use a deaths head on their uniform? Or how many men do you know who have shortened mustaches?

And yes, these examples are all from WWII. But there is a reason for that. WWII demonstrated the ability of nation thought of as "civilized" (if aggressive) to take the tools of modern society and pervert them to produce wholesale death.

These symbols of an evil transcend their specific usage and become inappropriate in many situations. Thus, the name Zyklon (even without the B) is unsuitable for use in footwear.
posted by pjgulliver at 9:05 AM on August 29, 2002


Even if the shoes had a German manufacturer?
posted by anathema at 9:29 AM on August 29, 2002


There is a band called Zyklon. They're black metal, which is known for it's flirtations with Nazi-ism, but there is no Nazi connection with the band... I've also yet to hear anything about problems with the name of the band.

What's in a name....
posted by Dark Messiah at 9:33 AM on August 29, 2002


and when I said "When I say the phrase Zyklon B, what do you think of?" They all said, and I'm paraphrasing, "Wasn't that the gas the Nazi's used to kill the Jews?"

To expand a bit on the point anathema made, if you had called me up and asked me what Zyklon B was, I might have pondered for a moment and then likely would have remembered it was the gas the nazis used, and I would have had a picture in my head of the canisters used and the crystals from various textbooks I'd seen in the course of getting an english degree with an emphasis in history.

Had you called up and asked me what "Zyklon" made me think of, I might have made some dumbass comment about a new superhero or something, just based on the sound of the word, and I might of pointed out that it reminded me of something, I was pretty sure I heard the term, etc. etc.

The one letter makes a big difference...
posted by jalexei at 9:36 AM on August 29, 2002


"Arbeit Macht Frei. It means 'Work Sets You Free' and proves that great truths in the hands of great liars is even more grotesque than their great lies."
posted by azimuth at 10:19 AM on August 29, 2002


For your general information: Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide

I would argue that the important information to have regarding the Holocaust would be that these people (not only Jews, but Gypsies, the crippled, and many other "undesirables") were rounded up and systematically murdered, in factory conditions, using poison gas, bullets, bulldozers (burying people alive), bazaar medical experiments, etc etc.
These are all only descriptions but not explanations of the holocaust. These aspects apply to the stalinistic and other genocides, too, while the marxistic regimes have slaughtered about 95 millions. So the absolute numbers of victims doesn't explain the nature of a genocide (i.e. the characteristic of the Holocaust to mainly exterminate the jews in all of Europe).

It is the motive behind it and for that you have to understand Hitler's very own specific antisemitism which he developed in a rather rational way to help his plans for the military invasion in the east to conquer "Lebensraum".
posted by zerofoks at 11:12 AM on August 29, 2002


Regardless of the discussion of "zyklon" vs "zyklon b" and the differences in there, I believe the following, and would be interested to know if anyone disagrees:

1) The name Zyklon can be taken as a reference to Zyklon B. The aggrieved parties were right to state their feeling that the name was not appropriate for athletic footwear, and Umbro was right to decide to pull the name after the public response.

2) The use of word or name reminiscent of a tool of genocide on consumer goods is likely to cause public outcry.

3) Umbro, and its employees, clearly selected Zyklon as a name for their product. Names like this do not "just happen" companies brainstorm, test market, analyze results, etc. The naming of this product was not a snap decision by a solitary individual.

4) It is difficult to believe that at no point in the chain of product creation did an Umbro employee link the proposed name to the Holocaust. There is just no way that out of all the levels of corporate bureaucracy no one noticed this.

5) Umbro acted foolishly in naming its product Zyklon.
posted by pjgulliver at 11:19 AM on August 29, 2002


Regardless of the discussion of "zyklon" vs "zyklon b" and the differences in there, I believe the following, and would be interested to know if anyone disagrees:

Just wanted to point out that my point was educated people aren't necessarily dense if they didn't catch the reference right away - I'm not trying to defend the use of either term, and I agree with your 5 points -
posted by jalexei at 11:47 AM on August 29, 2002


Does anyone... erm, does anyone see a pattern emerging here?
posted by Pretty_Generic at 4:24 PM on August 29, 2002


They should market "V-2" running shoes; those would go over (the English Channel) in a big way.

There's a record label called V2. I think it's Branson's new label, after he sold Virigin Records. They've got quite a hip selection of artists too. DJ Hell, and Underworld...
posted by inpHilltr8r at 6:37 PM on August 29, 2002


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