Life is fun and I wish you were here
September 19, 2007 10:13 AM   Subscribe

As it turns out, the Sex Pistols' "Belsen was a Gas" isn't the sort of thing that mobile phone companies want associated with their products.
posted by Pope Guilty (46 comments total)

 
So, are you going to seriously expect us to believe that you and found missing aren't in cahoots, here? Hmmm?
posted by lodurr at 10:16 AM on September 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Just tell me what I should be outraged at and I'll do it.
posted by poppo at 10:20 AM on September 19, 2007


Arr, lodurr, we be in cahoots only to the extent that Davy Jones be in cahoots with the sea.

Arr.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:20 AM on September 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm wearing a button right now that says WTFSOLOMOBILE
posted by matteo at 10:20 AM on September 19, 2007


Arrr! I be beatin' a dead internet meme arrr!
posted by basicchannel at 10:26 AM on September 19, 2007


Advertisers don't understand a cultural reference. Boring.
posted by anthill at 10:28 AM on September 19, 2007


I'll bet Lydon got a huge kick out of this.
posted by TrialByMedia at 10:34 AM on September 19, 2007


Once again Toronto-area transit riders have saved the day.
posted by hojoki at 10:35 AM on September 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I've always been disturbed by the Nazi undertones of a lot of early punk acts.

The Sex Pistols had a song called Belsen Was a Gas. Rotten regularly wore a swastika t-shirt. Thus, you will not find the Sex Pistols anywhere in my collection of music.

The Ramones had a song called "Today Your Love, Tomorrow the World" where they glorify Nazism. Apparently, one of the Ramones (either Johnny or Dee Dee) was anti-semitic, while Joey was actually Jewish! I'm deeply conflicted on the Ramones. I have some of their stuff in my collection, but I'm not sure if it will stay there or not.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:37 AM on September 19, 2007


Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to make marketing gaffes.
posted by yerfatma at 10:39 AM on September 19, 2007


The British punks wore swastikas and wrote songs like "Belsen was a Gas" as a means of horrifying their parents' generation, who'd fought World War II. As time went on, people started going "Um, maybe we don't want to associate ourselves with this" and Nazi references were dropped and even vilified; see the line "You still think swastikas look cool" in the Dead Kennedys' "Nazi Punks Fuck Off", which was itself a reaction to the kinds of people that Nazi imagery in the early punk scene started to draw in.

As to the Ramones, they claimed that they just watched a lot of old war movies.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:47 AM on September 19, 2007


I thought all four of the original Ramones were Jewish.

I think it was Dee Dee who used to collect Nazi memorabiliia -- might have been Johnny, though. Anyway, that's not too unusual among urban jewish kids from the 70s. I knew several when I was in college in the early 80s. It seemed to be a kind of combination of identification with the oppressor and looking for a strong model. I never saw it in kids from the Island (though I'm sure there were some of those), but only kind kids from the City or from Jersey, living in urban settins amongst a lot of black neighbors. It often went along with a kind of tense, fear-tinged racism.
posted by lodurr at 10:58 AM on September 19, 2007


(For purposes of the Ramones, I count Queens as being in the City. Not really interested in getting into that argument, though, as I'm from Upstate.)
posted by lodurr at 10:58 AM on September 19, 2007


Oh 70s punks, you've done it again!

Present day Johnny Rotten could learn from this.
posted by Artw at 11:10 AM on September 19, 2007


I'd absolutely love a ringtone for "EMI."
posted by blucevalo at 11:11 AM on September 19, 2007


I'd absolutely love a ringtone for "EMI."

You don't have to worry about them running out. After all, there's an unlimited supply.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:13 AM on September 19, 2007 [3 favorites]


I'm deeply conflicted on the Ramones. I have some of their stuff in my collection, but I'm not sure if it will stay there or not.

I don't know whether to laugh or to cry.

That's just completely fucking stupid, afroblanco. I expect better from you.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:14 AM on September 19, 2007


lodurr may have a point, but from most of the things I've read about Dee Dee (like this book) and his Nazi fetish, it was because he was a pigfuck ignorant junky douche. Your punk rock values may differ, though.

Here's a pretty interesting article/book review on Jews in punk, although they may be a little biased. And it was Tommy and Joey who were Jewish
posted by sleepy pete at 11:21 AM on September 19, 2007


Nothing dodgy about Joy Division or New Order whatsoever...
posted by Artw at 11:27 AM on September 19, 2007


"Yeah, I've always been disturbed by the Nazi undertones of a lot of early punk acts.

The Sex Pistols had a song called Belsen Was a Gas. Rotten regularly wore a swastika t-shirt. Thus, you will not find the Sex Pistols anywhere in my collection of music.

The Ramones had a song called "Today Your Love, Tomorrow the World" where they glorify Nazism. Apparently, one of the Ramones (either Johnny or Dee Dee) was anti-semitic, while Joey was actually Jewish! I'm deeply conflicted on the Ramones. I have some of their stuff in my collection, but I'm not sure if it will stay there or not."

You know, of course, that we frequently make Nazi jokes right here on Metafilter. Just in case you want to delete the bookmark.

(Shock value > Nazism.)

You might also want to listen to Bonzo Goes To Bitburg, by the Ramones.
posted by klangklangston at 11:28 AM on September 19, 2007


The Sex Pistols had a song called Belsen Was a Gas. Rotten regularly wore a swastika t-shirt. Thus, you will not find the Sex Pistols anywhere in my collection of music.

You know, of course, that we frequently make Nazi jokes right here on Metafilter. Just in case you want to delete the bookmark.

hahahahaha!
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:30 AM on September 19, 2007


Er, bah, misread.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:34 AM on September 19, 2007


Wow, this is a pretty old argument and I'm surprised to see it here on MeFi. But if you can't tell the difference between the Pistols and Ramones and a band like Skrewdriver, then I don't really know what to say.
posted by cazoo at 11:34 AM on September 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


(FWIW, it was Sid Vicious, and not Johnny Rotten, who wore the swastika t-shirt.)

Totally not punk at all, but contemporaneous: The SS is the KISS logo?
posted by Reggie Digest at 11:40 AM on September 19, 2007


Also, I've heard that "Blitzkreig Bop" is actually about concentration camps, but I have my doubts about this.
posted by Afroblanco at 11:44 AM on September 19, 2007


(And you can file Sid under "pigfuck ignorant junky douche" too.)
posted by Reggie Digest at 11:44 AM on September 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Dee Dee spent much of his childhood in Germany.

Afroblanco, might as well toss out the Stooges too -- Ron Asheton thought the uniforms were cool.
posted by AJaffe at 11:44 AM on September 19, 2007


Don't forget Bowie!
posted by Reggie Digest at 11:47 AM on September 19, 2007


Rotten regularly wore a swastika t-shirt.

Actually, he didn't. Sid did, but Sid was a moron. Lydon was smarter than that -- as an Irishman, he knew that he was the type that would be first into the chambers, and he also promoted reggae and dub. Lydon used to say that the swastika was a loser's emblem -- given that the Nazi's lost the war.

Belsen was a Gas was a Sid song as well -- old Flowers of Romance stuff. It isn't on Never Mind The Bollocks -- which is actually the only real Sex Pistols album, but it might have been stuck on one of those post-break-up cash-in albums. Anyone who bought any of those was a sucker anyway, as they contain nothing of Lydon -- the real talent in the band.

So you can enjoy the pre-Sid first album knowing your ideological purity is still intact.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:48 AM on September 19, 2007 [2 favorites]


This thread is useless without a link to the picture gradual cleansing of one ethic group from society into a series of containment camps from which they never emerge.
posted by CynicalKnight at 11:59 AM on September 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


I've been looking for this poster since Harry Shearer mentioned it on this week's Le Show. Anyone?
posted by the cuban at 12:03 PM on September 19, 2007


The Thin White Fuhrer
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:04 PM on September 19, 2007


(Oh yeah, and it was Vicious and not Rotten who wore the swastika. Sorry, my bad.)
posted by Afroblanco at 12:05 PM on September 19, 2007


HTI doing Belsen in Varcaturo Italy during summer break!
posted by augustweed at 12:05 PM on September 19, 2007


Thanks, Peter.

Afroblanco: If Blitzkrieg Bop is about anything at all, it's about the kind of mob mentality that keeps concentration camps (and football teams) in business. And just for the record, "The KKK Took My Baby Away" is allegedly about Johnny Ramone stealing Joey's girlfriend.
posted by Reggie Digest at 12:06 PM on September 19, 2007


That wouldn't surprise me- Johnny was the Nixon fan of the bunch, and didn't like "Bonzo Goes to Bitburg".
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:11 PM on September 19, 2007


Reggie Digest: I do, and these two I would consider a "really horrible comic book gone awry" and "manipulative junky douche," just in case you were wondering.
posted by sleepy pete at 12:13 PM on September 19, 2007


My info about Dee Dee is apparently sadly mistaken. I got it from an old Spin profile, but it seemed like a lot of the stuff was coming from Dee Dee himself -- which is to say, subject to substance/lifestyle/guilt-related omissions, I suppose. So, so be it, I guess.

From what I could see, most punks who flirted with nazi symbolism were just trying to get a rise. The punks and 'wavers who flirted with more subtle fascist imagery were usually a bit ... well, fascist. And that seemed to be a projection/identification thing, too: hair-/clothes-poseurs desperately into Midge Ure or Roxy Music and despreately needful to wear or display the right stuff.

Brings back memories...Guy across the hall was the sharpest dresser I knew. Working class Long Island irish and not real articulate, but he got the whole deal deep in his bones, and he was happy to drop intensely caustic gobs of contempt on anyone who didn't understand the fascist undertones of style-music. (Also a textbook example of someone who was much brighter than he was trained to reveal.) He loved SoCal punk for the attitude, loved Ska for the clothes (and the music) (and the attitude), and mostly just liked stuff like Roxy for the clothes, I think, and if you were someone he'd bother to talk with he didn't mind admitting any of that.
posted by lodurr at 12:16 PM on September 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yeah, Belson Was A Gas was by the 'Sex Pistols' in name only as Lydon had left the band by then and they got in Great Train Robber, Ronnie Biggs in to do the singing - hence the B Side 'Cosh the Driver'
"Ronnie Biggs was doing till he done a bunk / now he's something something something and sold his soul to punk!" Class.

Lydon has disowned the thing many many times.

Oh and they are reforming (again) for a one-off gig soon.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:22 PM on September 19, 2007


From what I could see, most punks who flirted with nazi symbolism were just trying to get a rise. The punks and 'wavers who flirted with more subtle fascist imagery were usually a bit ... well, fascist.

Agreed, but being stupid enough to try and get a rise by wearing a Nazi symbol is still pretty much playing the part of a "fascist" even if you are just bored teenagers.
posted by sleepy pete at 12:30 PM on September 19, 2007


The SS in the KISS logo?

When I was in Catholic confirmation classes, the teacher insisted that the name of the group stood for Knights in Satan's Service. The Nazi SS not so much.

Anyhow, Gene Simmons (born Chaim Witz in Haifa, Israel) and Paul Stanley (born Stanley Harvey Eisen) are both Jewish. In fact, I think Gene Simmons has been a fairly right-wing Zionist whenever he's been asked about Israel or the Middle East in interviews.
posted by jonp72 at 12:47 PM on September 19, 2007


Remember when the Olsen Twins put out a film called "Holiday in the Sun"? Yeah.
posted by unknowncommand at 2:40 PM on September 19, 2007


I am compelled to link to better spelling. Ugh.
posted by unknowncommand at 2:43 PM on September 19, 2007


The slur caught the attention of at least two Toronto-area transit riders, who notified local news and radio stations.

Here in Toronto, the phrase "stir up some shit" doesn't mean what you might think it means.
posted by tehloki at 6:02 PM on September 19, 2007


The Thin White Fuhreroh my god! bowie is waving, and singing a song about the berlin wall in german! somebody alert the mossad!
posted by TrialByMedia at 9:34 PM on September 19, 2007


Belsen was a gas I heard the other day
In the open graves where the jews all lay
Life is fun and I wish you were here
They wrote on postcards to those held dear
Oh dear


Links in nicely with this thread
posted by quarsan at 11:37 PM on September 19, 2007


« Older You know who else enjoyed Auschwitz? No, not them....  |  If you feel like you're in a 2... Newer »


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