Why is this GOP House Candidate Dressed As A Nazi?
October 11, 2010 5:58 PM   Subscribe

Meet Rich Iott, Ohio Tea Party candidate for Congress and currently America's most famous WW II reenactor. Rich Iott, Republican candidate for Congress in Ohio's 9th Congressional District and Tea Party favorite, has recently gotten a huge amount of national press for his hobby of dressing like a member of the German 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking.

From Wikipedia:

Members of the division's bakery column, led by Obersturmführer Braunnagel and Untersturmführer Kochalty, assisted Einsatzgruppe A in rounding up Ukrainian Jews. Witnesses report that the Jewish victims were forced to run a gauntlet formed by soldiers who would beat them as they passed, and when they reached the end of the gauntlet, Einsatzgruppen officers murdered them and their bodies were pushed into a bomb crater. The German 1st Mountain Division is also suspected of being implicated. Between 50 and 60 Jews were killed in this manner, as a part of the larger Einsatzgruppe operation which resulted in over 700 murders[8]

In addition historian Eleonore Lappin from the Institute for the History of Jews in Austria has documented several cases of war crimes committed by members of the 5 SS Division Wiking in her work The Death Marches of Hungarian Jews Through Austria in the Spring of 1945.[9]

On March 28, 1945, eighty Jews from evacuation column, though fit for the journey, were shot by three members of the Waffen SS division Wiking and five military policemen. On April 4, twenty members of another column that left Graz tried to escape near Eggenfeld, not far from Gratkorn. Soldiers from the 5 SS Division Wiking that were temporarily stationed there apprehended them in the forest near Mt. Eggenfeld and then herded them in a gully, where they were shot. On April 7 and 11, 1945 members of the division executed another eighteen escaped prisoners.[9] 5 SS Division Wiking war crimes have not been confirmed[citation needed], mostly because they were not proven guilty in the Nuremberg trials.


While Mr. Iott strenuously denies any sympathy with the ideals of Naziism, similar themes have popped up around other Tea Party-backed candidates, most notably in the Congressional campaign of New York's Jim Russell:

Jim Russell, who's challenging Lowey in a repeat after trying to take her on in 2008, made the statements in an essay called "The Western Contribution to World History," which was published in a 2001 - 2002 edition of the Occidental Quarterly, and had also been featured on infamous former politician and Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke's website. It's since been taken down from there.

But it's still available in the back issues of the Occidental Quarterly, a far-right magazine that the civil rights-focused Southern Poverty Law Center dubbed a "racist" publication whose "editors and advisory board members have constituted a 'Who's Who' of the radical right, and its regular publication of extremists' articles has made it a favorite among academic racists in America."

In the essay, Russell also praised T.S. Eliot and psychology professor Kevin MacDonald for looking to limit the proliferation of Jews. MacDonald, who's served on the advisory board of the Occidental Quarterly, has been criticized as an anti-Semite who's pushed the theory that Jews are essentially practicing group-think to outperform non-Jews. He also praises a book, "Camp of the Saints," that the SPLC has said is "revered by American white supremacists."
posted by jhandey (146 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Why is this GOP House Candidate Dressed As A Nazi?

Because the Tea Party is not known for its subtlety?
posted by existential hobo at 6:04 PM on October 11, 2010 [7 favorites]


Hm. Dresses like a Nazi. Hangs out with other people dressed like Nazi's. Belongs to a party with other people who think like Nazi's ...
posted by scblackman at 6:04 PM on October 11, 2010 [9 favorites]


Plenty more Iott coverage at Ohio's political blog of note: Plunderbund.
posted by sciurus at 6:04 PM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Stupid and evil.
posted by theredpen at 6:05 PM on October 11, 2010


Looks like gelfling, smells like gelfling, maybe...
posted by dersins at 6:09 PM on October 11, 2010 [7 favorites]


What really scares me is that many Republicans might think this is a draw instead of an incredibly horrible discovery about this guy, the way a lot of their most rabid supporters think these days.
posted by theredpen at 6:09 PM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Last week, we got "I'm not a witch." This week it'll be, "I'm not a nazi." Wait for it.
posted by crunchland at 6:09 PM on October 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


Rich Iott Slammed by Republicans for Nazi Re-Enactments.
posted by ericb at 6:12 PM on October 11, 2010


In my country that would make your heir to the throne.
posted by Artw at 6:12 PM on October 11, 2010 [11 favorites]


Last week, we got "I'm not a witch." This week it'll be, "I'm not a nazi." Wait for it.

Roy Sekoff On GOP's 'Big Tent': Nazi Alter Egos, Witches, Homophobes.
posted by ericb at 6:13 PM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


"You've got a guy who thinks that dressing up as a Nazi is a good thing," Sekoff said. "You've got Carl Paladino, who likes sending around bestiality porn. You've got Christine O'Donnell dabbling in witchcraft... Ed, the GOP has obviously become a very big-tent party. You can't get much bigger-tent than that, can you?"
posted by ericb at 6:14 PM on October 11, 2010 [5 favorites]


Last week, we got "I'm not a witch." This week it'll be, "I'm not a nazi." Wait for it.

Can we start a rumor that John Boehner is a Cylon?
posted by EarBucket at 6:15 PM on October 11, 2010 [13 favorites]


Oompa Loompa, maybe.
posted by crunchland at 6:16 PM on October 11, 2010 [16 favorites]


And yet the Democrats will still take a bath in November.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:18 PM on October 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


"You've got a guy who thinks that dressing up as a Nazi is a good thing," Sekoff said. "You've got Carl Paladino, who likes sending around bestiality porn. You've got Christine O'Donnell dabbling in witchcraft..."


And they're still going to win in a fucking LANDSLIDE, that's the part I just can't wrap my head around.
posted by briank at 6:19 PM on October 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Witches, Nazis, bestiality, now just bring back Zombie Regan and you've got yourself a party!

But in all seriousness, what the hell is up with the GOP? Isn't there some sort of quality control any more? Or have they fallen into a "it's close to Halloween, let's dress up" problem?
posted by Old'n'Busted at 6:21 PM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


At first glance I thought maybe we should give him the benefit of the doubt. After all, thousands of people do Civil War reenactment as Confederate soldiers, and no one equates those people with defenders of the slave trade.

But the more I read, the creepier this guy Iott and his group sound. Seems almost militia-like, and I find a lot of them creepy as well. Iott tries to invoke the Civil War reenactment defense, but it doesn't compare. This weirdo's toast.
posted by zardoz at 6:23 PM on October 11, 2010


But in all seriousness, what the hell is up with the GOP? Isn't there some sort of quality control any more?

Was there ever?
posted by zarq at 6:24 PM on October 11, 2010


I'm not convinced it'll be a landslide. In political terms, it's an eternity between here and Election Day. A lot can change. The Republicans will do well and might even win one of the two houses but I don't know if I'd call it a bloodbath or anything.

Then again, the Democrats have shown that they can take an absolutely gift-wrapped situation and completely piss it away by refusing to work as a cohesive unit, so who knows how badly they'll fail when the odds are stacked against them?
posted by HostBryan at 6:24 PM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


And yet the Democrats will still take a bath in November.

This one won't. Marcy Kaptur is an institution. I know hard core Dittoheads who vote for her. And Rich Iott is associated with closing all the Food Towns in Toledo, whether he deserves to be or not. He didn't need this to be toast in November.
posted by charred husk at 6:25 PM on October 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


It all comes down to this: the Republicans, as ridiculous and terrifying as they may be, are the only other game in town. They know this, so they have carte blanche to be as Birchy as they want, since they're going to win next month primarily because they're not in power.
posted by Bromius at 6:25 PM on October 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


No. What you see here is quality control. They're all tea party candidates. They haven't spent a lifetime manicuring their resumes for public scrutiny. They did things that normal politicians would instantly realize as political deal-breakers. In short, to quote Christine O'Donnell, they're you.
posted by crunchland at 6:26 PM on October 11, 2010 [5 favorites]


I hope none of these bastards tries to run for office.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:27 PM on October 11, 2010


My understanding, from reading a few reports about this, is that Iott participated in one or more groups that staged reenactments of various battles in various eras. There are supposedly similar photos of him dressed up for Civil War reenactments, World War I reenactments, etc.
posted by cribcage at 6:27 PM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I know re-enactors who are Confederate soldiers and I know some who are Redcoats. I think all of it is stupid, but what's the BFD? They can't all be on our side. I can think of plenty of reasons to not vote for this guy, but this is stupid. As stupid as running around playing soldier or dressing up for Ren Faire.
posted by Ideefixe at 6:27 PM on October 11, 2010 [17 favorites]


Huh. I had no idea there are World War II reenactments.
posted by lullaby at 6:27 PM on October 11, 2010


I actually believe Iott when he says that he rejects Nazi ideology and his hobby is (in his mind) completely separate from that. Guys like Iott aren't evil, they're sheltered and privileged. And I'm a guy who often winces at the talk of invisible privilege and so forth. But this is a perfect example.

Are there any wargamers in the house? POP QUIZ: what is the significance of the 8.8 cm KwK 36 L/56.

Anybody who has done any serious war gaming knows there are a large number of white libertoonian electrical engineers who have models of Panther-Gs and BF-109s and shit and can tell you all the different ways that Hitler botched Barbarossa and all the ways that Stalingrad could have been avoided and so on and so on blah blah blah. Ok, they're not all electrical engineers but y'all know who I'm talking about.

These guys are not Nazis. Most of them would be appalled and sickened by what happened in the war. But in their minds they've managed to completely disassociate the military aspects (particularly the equipment and trappings) with the criminal, genocidal, and political aspects. It doesn't affect them, they don't know a lot of folks it did affect on a personal level (not a lot of Jewish guys in this demographic), and so they just don't think about it.

That's human. That doesn't mean this idiot should be in Congress or shouldn't be called on his bullshit. But this isn't a particularly unusual form of cognitive dissonance, and it is a form that many on the left and center engage in as well, if not as stupendously idiotically and publicly.

Know any of those civil war re-enacting types? There's absolutely no difference between throwing on a Confederate uniform and throwing on a Wehrmact uniform. Oh, there's one difference: about 75 years.

tl;dr - Iott almost certainly doesn't hold truck with Nazi ideology. The criticism of him isn't that he believes evil things, it's that he hasn't intellectually matured to the point where he sees why putting on that uniform in this context is problematic. We do not need the equivalent of 20 year old antisocial Randian libertarian wargamers in Congress.
posted by Justinian at 6:30 PM on October 11, 2010 [67 favorites]


Related: The most racist campaign ads of 2010.
posted by schmod at 6:32 PM on October 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


Normally there is some "quality control" as Republican party people will groom / fund candidates in the primary. This year, the Tea Party / media phenomenon meant that the candidates the party picked often lost (even when they were long time incumbents). So the only remaining "quality control" was the Republican primary voters. And this is what we get.

(Remember, even people like Karl Rove didn't want these guys to be their candidates! Too extreme for Karl Rove...)
posted by wildcrdj at 6:33 PM on October 11, 2010


Oh, come on. The dude is a re-enactor. This is the same shit we get all riled up about when the right twists a news story to make it look bad.

Is it maybe insensitive? Sure. But I'm also certain that as a re-enactor, Iott is more aware of the history of that conflict than many of us. This is no more a SCANDAL than OMG CANDIDATE X PLAYS A VIOLENT VIDEO GAME.

Twisting the tale to make it look like GOP CANDIDATE IS A HITLER FAN AND FULL TIME NAZI is as bad as the right's habit of distorting the facts to fit their own agenda.
posted by GilloD at 6:38 PM on October 11, 2010 [6 favorites]


This doesn't impress me whatsoever.

The Republican candidate for the US House in my district murdered two people in 2004.
posted by flarbuse at 6:41 PM on October 11, 2010 [8 favorites]


GilloD, as Justinian says, it's more of a problem that we have to explain why this is dumb than an actual worry that he's a Nazi. And a problem that there are a lot of people who have empathy deficiencies in the only realistically viable non-Democratic party.

I keep thinking they're getting to the implosion point, and then they keep on truckin'.
posted by theredpen at 6:42 PM on October 11, 2010


Well, I agree this alone isn't a big deal. But this is exactly the sort of thing party insiders usually try to avoid.

"Hmm, well Bob looks like a good candidate, but it seems there are a lot of photos of him in a Nazi uniform. Maybe we should go with Jim."
posted by wildcrdj at 6:42 PM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is really not an issue. Or it shouldn't be. If he's an actual racist/anti-semite/flaming dumbass then come up with evidence of that. Engaging in WWII re-enactments does not make one a Nazi and the average voter who has lost his/her job is just not going to care about this sort of crap. They are going to care that Rich Iott is going to cut their taxes (or whatever).
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 6:44 PM on October 11, 2010


Just because you dressed up like an Imperial Storm Trooper, doesn't make you Darth Vader?
posted by crunchland at 6:47 PM on October 11, 2010


I think you're underplaying the issue, GilloD, although not to the extent that others are overplaying it. It's not OMG HITLER NAZI, but neither is this particular hobby no more noteworthy than stamp collecting. It's insensitive and ignorant enough that it calls his suitability for office into question. You can get away with crap like this when until after you graduate from college. Once you're pushing 60 you should have put away the Schutzstaffel collar tabs quite some time ago.
posted by Justinian at 6:47 PM on October 11, 2010


So, LOLGOP, yes.
But more broadly, it's not like lots of people pretend to be the Taliban for fun, right?

I've got friends who are historical reenactors. Sometimes they're Lancastrian, and sometimes they're Yorkist; sometimes they're British, and sometimes they're Colonial; and yes, sometimes they're Allied G.I.s and sometimes they're Axis troops.

Now obviously, it's kinda dumb for a politician to spend his weekends pretending to be a member of Einsatzgruppe A (thanks for the background, jhandey), especially because the worst sort of scandal is the sort that reinforces what people already believe about you, regardless of what the truth is (and I have no idea what the truth is in this specific situation).

But as I've said before
If you think there's no evidence he's a Nazi, but you *still* don't think he should have done what he did - because it might look bad - then you're deliberately putting appearances ahead of reality. It only "looks bad" because you're willing to judge him based on how it looks, contrary to what you know to be true.

If we're condemn "innocent but suspicious looking" we become complicit in being fooled by that innocent behavior.

posted by Richard Daly at 6:47 PM on October 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's going to be intensely interesting to see a country being governed by loons and halfwits. Good luck.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:49 PM on October 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


And apparently, the time I took to compose that was spend by others doing the same, but more efficiently. So, what they all said.
posted by Richard Daly at 6:51 PM on October 11, 2010


Yeah, I don't buy it, Richard Daly. He's not a generic reenactor who was handed a uniform once and someone took a photo; dressing as a member of 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking is his shtick. He clearly has a fascination specifically with the Waffen-SS. That's not, as I said before, unusual among a certain demographic. And it isn't a basis for thinking he's a particularly bad guy. But it most certainly is grounds for thinking he's not someone who should be in Congress.
posted by Justinian at 6:57 PM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Looks like gelfling, smells like gelfling, maybe...

Dear god, please don't sully my memories of Dark Crystal by comparing gelflings to Nazis. Or worse, the modern GOP.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:58 PM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, well, given that Obama has asserted his absolute authority to order the execution of American citizens without even being subject to judicial review of said order, I'm not sure exactly why I'm supposed to be more afraid of the right. Oh, I'm not claiming there isn't any difference and I agree with Obama to a large extent on social issues, etc, so I know who I'm voting for. But there's nowhere left to go fear-wise, Obama (or future presidents) can have any of us killed at any time for any reason without oversight.
posted by Justinian at 7:06 PM on October 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


When it comes to WWII re-enacting, Somebody has to play the bad guys.

Personally, most of my re-enactor exposure has been from bartending at swing dances aboard the USS Hornet in Alameda. The best are the old guys in Zoot suits. I'm holding out for a switchblade fight on the dance floor some day.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 7:06 PM on October 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


How come nobody told me it was open season on reenactors? Next time I get kicked out of Colonial Williamsburg for disorderly conduct, I'll make sure it's for punching one of those plantation owners in the mouth. I mean, you wouldn't do that for a job unless you believed in slavery, right?
posted by 445supermag at 7:07 PM on October 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


I don't know, it seems like he's got a lot of support:

Interviewer (voice over): What do you think of Mr Hilter's Iott's politics?
Yokel: I don't like the sound of these 'ere boncentration bamps.
Pepperpot: Well, I gave him my baby to kiss and he bit it on the head.
Stockbroker: Well, I think he'd do a lot of good to the Stock Exchange.
Himmler (thinly disguised as yokel): Oh yes Britischer pals he is wunderbar...ful. So.
Pepperpot: I think he's right about the coons, but then I'm a bit mental.
Gumby: I think he's got beautiful legs!

posted by armage at 7:13 PM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, well, given that Obama has asserted his absolute authority to order the execution of American citizens without even being subject to judicial review of said order, I'm not sure exactly why I'm supposed to be more afraid of the right

...

But there's nowhere left to go fear-wise, Obama (or future presidents) can have any of us killed at any time for any reason without oversight.

Glenn Greenwald called: he wants your eyeballs back because mine are rolled so highly into my cranium that they are now useless. Look: you can criticize the civil liberties record of this Administration without sounding like a hysterical loon. You are not helping matters, civil libertarian or otherwise.
posted by joe lisboa at 7:14 PM on October 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


He clearly has a fascination specifically with the Waffen-SS.

According to the article I linked above, roughly a third of Re-enactors play Germans, and most of those portray the Waffen-SS. And yeah, I'm sure there were brave, courageous, loyal, self-sacrificing badass warriors who fought among the almost 1 million men who made up the Waffen-SS.

But they also had their leather gloves directly on the levers of the machinery of mass slaughter.

I'm reminded of a scene from Schindler list where Schindler says to the German soldiers basically "Germany has lost and the Americans are not far away. Soon, orders will come to murder all these unarmed Jews you're guarding. You can follow those orders, or you can go home with your honor intact". And immediately one young guy about faces and just walks out of formation, I think followed by one or two more.

They couldn't re-enact that guy?

You can't separate the badass warrior's accomplishment on the battlefield against an armed enemy from the death camps so that you can play around in his uniform and not feel weird about it on game day.

That's just willful dishonesty in the worst kind of way.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 7:19 PM on October 11, 2010 [6 favorites]


And, here we go.
posted by dirigibleman at 7:20 PM on October 11, 2010


This is like that episode of Peep Show where Mark makes a work friend and they play Nazis for a WWII reenactment, but then his friend turns out to be a huge racist.

I don't know if Iott is Mark or the friend though.
posted by fryman at 7:20 PM on October 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


And, here we go.

If that is directed at me, you are sadly wrong. But have a good night!
posted by joe lisboa at 7:22 PM on October 11, 2010


Nazis are evil, but how fucking incompetent and useless do you have to be to lose to them?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:24 PM on October 11, 2010


How come nobody told me it was open season on reenactors? Next time I get kicked out of Colonial Williamsburg for disorderly conduct, I'll make sure it's for punching one of those plantation owners in the mouth. I mean, you wouldn't do that for a job unless you believed in slavery, right?

A paid performer as part of a historical theme park feels a lot different from a hobbyist who does it on his own nickel because he's really enthused about it.

Now the confederate re-enactors, they quite likely have a flag or treason and rebellion on their bumper. I believe most of them do support the cause of the confederacy, which was economically dependant on human slave labor. So yeah, open season on them.

You want a fancy uniform, dress up as a Union Zouave. You get looser pants and a sash and no stink of "I'm fighting to keep my fellow human beings in chains" staining your soul.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 7:26 PM on October 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


I blame Joe Beese and the rest of the Obama haters...

Yeah, that's the spirit! Way to motivate the base by punching a hippie! That'll solve our problems, excoriating anyone in the party save the most milquetoast conviction-free prevaricators will surely bring victory.

It strikes me as bizarre in the extreme that the Democratic establishment is still so eager to embrace a strategy of chasing some elusive center, when the Republicans are doing so well with a slate of candidates appealing to the most lunatic fringe of the party. Perhaps the most serious miscalculation the Democrats have made is in forgetting that the midterms are the turf of the ideologue. The people involved in this election cycle are the base, for the most part. So far, the Republican base is the only one that has reason to be excited. The Democratic leadership seems to think a good strategy for motivating the base seems to be "shut up, stop complaining, and fall in line, or someone even less interested in your stupid ideas will take our place." Hardly a compelling sales pitch.

The Democrats have tried moving to the right for almost two decades now. Instead of eating the Republicans' lunch as planned, they now find themselves faced with the prospect of losing to people so far to the right, it's hard to avoid calling the worst of them outright fascists. Maybe they should change their strategy and start throwing some meat to the base every now and then. And yes, working to end some of the worst civil liberties abuses of the Bush administration, like was promised, would be a nice start.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 7:30 PM on October 11, 2010 [12 favorites]


When it comes to WWII re-enacting, Somebody has to play the bad guys.

That is one hell of a link. Grown adults who dress up as soldiers and wear uniforms for play are total jackasses.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:33 PM on October 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


I wonder what actual WWII veterans think of this re-enactment shit. I could ask the same of Civil War vets but they're hard to find. and I can only imagine what kind of yahoos a Vietnam re-enactment would attract.
posted by jonmc at 7:33 PM on October 11, 2010


Belongs to a party with other people who think like Nazi's

And ya didn't go for the 'using the power of the State to benefit Corporations' Fascist label?

How about mentioning Prescott Bush next time?

actual fascists are about to win the election.

Ahh there it is. Question: At what point does State power supporting the Corporate position actually become Fascist so I can check that off on the bingo card?
Same with the Police State square - with 'round 23% of the worlds prison population....at what point can I take the bingo dauber and mark it?

And yet the Democrats will still take a bath in November.
And they're still going to win in a fucking LANDSLIDE, that's the part I just can't wrap my head around.


Perhaps if there was more than 'a dime's worth of difference' between the 2 parties?
posted by rough ashlar at 7:38 PM on October 11, 2010


I can only imagine what kind of yahoos a Vietnam re-enactment would attract.

It's a thing.
posted by 445supermag at 7:42 PM on October 11, 2010


[New York congressional candidate] Russell also praised T.S. Eliot and psychology professor Kevin MacDonald for looking to limit the proliferation of Jews

Watch it, Mr. Russell. Have uterus, will breed just to piss guys like you off.
posted by Asparagirl at 7:48 PM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Being a WWII re-enactor doesn't make you a Nazi, necessarily, but why would you choose to be an SS re-enactor? It's not like all the German army spots were taken and all that was left was the SS.
posted by Jasper Fnorde at 7:51 PM on October 11, 2010


why would you choose to be an SS re-enactor?

Everyone has to pretend you are bad-ass and that you have some actual Authority?

A FOIA on the FBI file might be an interesting read as I'm betting if you have a history of slapping on SS duds in public gets you a file and a few entries.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:56 PM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can understand how someone might be more attracted to the styling and accoutrements of an SS uniform over that of a German infantryman. On the other hand, there are some people who are deeply attracted to steampunk fetish gas masks, too. Takes all kinds.
posted by crunchland at 7:58 PM on October 11, 2010


Yay sleep Ohio's 9th Congressional District! That's where I'm a Wiking!
posted by Rangeboy at 8:05 PM on October 11, 2010 [10 favorites]


I'm tired of politicians being jackasses.

But I'm even more tired of the people who are voting for these jackasses.
posted by elsietheeel at 8:12 PM on October 11, 2010


But I'm even more tired of the people who are voting for these jackasses.

Without instant run off or some other attempt and picking the lesser of jackasses - what's the alternative to voting for Jackass A or Jackass B?
posted by rough ashlar at 8:15 PM on October 11, 2010


Iott, a member of the Ohio Military Reserve, added, "I've always been fascinated by the fact that here was a relatively small country that from a strictly military point of view accomplished incredible things. I mean, they took over most of Europe and Russia, and it really took the combined effort of the free world to defeat them. From a purely historical military point of view, that's incredible."

Taking Iott at his word for just a moment: what we're witnessing her is the inevitable outcome of a society allowed to fetishize violence, in the same way The Family fetishizes power. I'm interested to see if anyone would be willing to make a distinction between participating in a reenactment as a German and, say, participating in a WWII reenactment as a Russian or, for that matter, an American.

There is no union at a Civil War reenactment without a confederate. There are no allies at a WWII reenactment without an axis - for that matter, there are no WWII video games without somebody willing to draw a swastika.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 8:23 PM on October 11, 2010


The actual re-enactment thing strikes me as utterly uninteresting. As many others have said, somebody has to play the Nazis, and if you're that guy it gets tiring constantly polishing your evil moustache and pretending to be a sociopath. Eventually you just say, 'Screw it, I'm playing one of the honorable ones who was all about family and country, let's go march and talk about tactics and have a beer.'

What's far more interesting to me is the whitewashing of the history that occurs on the group's home page. It's a study in in how much people want to believe that they're identifying with people who were good.
posted by verb at 8:23 PM on October 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


To be fair, those SS characters were pretty snappy dressers. Hugo Boss, no less.

justinian, the 88 was an anti-aircraft gun that proved remarkably adept at punching holes in allied tanks from very long distances. Later adapted as anti-anti tank gun with simpler, cheaper optics into the tiger tank.

OK so I just checked that answer and I'm wrong, that was the FlaK 88.
Learn something completely useless every day.

(I'm really not a NAZI, I promise).
posted by wilful at 8:29 PM on October 11, 2010


verb: What's far more interesting to me is the whitewashing of the history that occurs on the group's home page.

Exactly. The dress-up-as-Waffen-SS is not what stands out. What stands out is the website for the Wiking group and its identification of the Waffen-SS as good little soldiers who were doing the right thing by dying to save their "native soil." (Hint hint hint hint)
posted by blucevalo at 8:46 PM on October 11, 2010 [8 favorites]


They guy does have a valid point though: we are wasting valuable time discussing this issue when we should be talking about the real issues this country is facing today like the unemployment, the economy, the unmarried welfare-queen teenage mothers buying beer, Keno and tabacky with taxpayer-funded debit cards, not the possible character flaws of a grown man playing Nazi dress-up games with his equally questionable, oh, middle-aged white man friends.

Because that's what it is, right? A bunch of grown men playing dress-up. As far as I know, the Nazis never invaded Ohio or Stow, Ma, did they? Just "Allies vs. Axis" having a field day, as they call it. So it isn't really a reenactment along the lines of say the Revolutionary War which is held every year on the Lexington Green and gives eight-year olds the chance to see some outdoor theater, or even, you know, one of those convention thingees that grate me so much.

Why don't these guys parade their Nazi uniforms (they always choose the SS, don't they?) over in Europe where the real battles took place? Do you know why they don't? Because it's simply unacceptable in polite society to emulate, propagate or disseminate the ideas or symbols of Nazism. And in some countries it's forbidden by law. Yet here in the US, the patriotic, pro-American far-fucking-flung right, champions of every cause dear to their hearts, has no problem with being associated with or photographed playing make-believe as members of a movement who were directly responsible for the slaughter of millions of human beings, not to mention the loss of life of hundreds of thousands of American soldiers, who gave up their lives so their kids and grandkids could, well, play make-believe on the weekends. Yet nobody is smart enough to link up their Nazi sympathies with their phony patriotism. For shame.

Oh, looks like Mr. Iott's biography doesn't mention much *cough* military service *uncough* to his country. No wonder this clown thinks it's fun to pretend be a soldier.

Honestly, he probably not a Nazi just as much as any Democrat is a socialist, but just to be sure, I think each candidate, even the witch lady, should submit a sample of material they masturbate to so that a team of experts can determine their actual political slant. it would make shit so much easier.
posted by jsavimbi at 8:48 PM on October 11, 2010 [10 favorites]


Rich Iott will defend out blut und boden from the Democratic Socialist Dolchstoß!
posted by orthogonality at 8:55 PM on October 11, 2010


I'll take this guy over a "bearded marxist" any day.
posted by TSOL at 9:05 PM on October 11, 2010


Without instant run off or some other attempt and picking the lesser of jackasses - what's the alternative to voting for Jackass A or Jackass B?

I haven't figured that part out yet.

Emigration? Revolution? Suicide?
posted by elsietheeel at 9:17 PM on October 11, 2010


I haven't figured that part out yet. --- How about national movement where common everyday people run for office in an effort to throw the corrupt career politician incumbents out?
posted by crunchland at 9:21 PM on October 11, 2010


where common everyday people run for office

You know what happens when the common everyday person runs for office? You get shit politics and nothing gets done. They're weak, usually uneducated and unversed in statesmanship and can easily be manipulated and co-opted by the more experienced, connected and motivated partners. At the very best you get a mediocre status-quo. Do you know why schools like Harvard have a lock on leadership positions? Because the brightest and most ambitious of our culture(s) understand that Harvard and the like are the place to go in order to gain the respect of who will one day be their peers and subordinates. Not some non-competitive certificate program offered at your local think tank. Those people who list diploma mills on their resume are not taken seriously.
posted by jsavimbi at 9:33 PM on October 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yeah, well, given that Obama has asserted his absolute authority to order the execution of American citizens without even being subject to judicial review

No he hasn't. He has asserted that the military doesn't have to check the passport of people before it shoots combatants engaged in open warfare on the United States.

Yeah, that's the spirit! Way to motivate the base by punching a hippie! That'll solve our problems, excoriating anyone in the party save the most milquetoast conviction-free prevaricators will surely bring victory.

Guys like Russ Feingold, Joe Sestack (Arlin Spector slayer), Tom Perilo and other liberal members of the House and Senate are in serious trouble. If you really cared about things you'd be working your ass off trying to help these guys. If the left can't keep it's good politicians in office, it isn't going to govern.
posted by humanfont at 9:39 PM on October 11, 2010 [5 favorites]


> He has asserted that the military doesn't have to check the passport of people before it shoots combatants engaged in open warfare on the United States.

Anwar al-Awlaki, the one person we know for sure has a hit contract on him, is not a combattant, nor engaged in open warfare "on" the United States. Try again!
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:56 PM on October 11, 2010


I don't believe he's really a Nazi. But, if I'm running for office, cheez, this doesn't look good. What in the world is wrong with people? I just don't get it.
posted by wv kay in ga at 10:16 PM on October 11, 2010


You know what happens when the common everyday person runs for office? You get shit politics and nothing gets done.

Low, slow, and over the plate.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:26 PM on October 11, 2010


> This doesn't impress me whatsoever.

The Republican candidate for the US House in my district murdered two people in 2004.


Wow, that guy is a real southern peach. He also worked for Goldman Sachs as an energy trader before re-joining the military after 9-11.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:35 PM on October 11, 2010


How about national movement where common everyday people run for office in an effort to throw the corrupt career politician incumbents out?

If these freaks and fuck-ups seen in the news this past few months get into power, kiss your ass goodbye.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:02 PM on October 11, 2010


I hate Illinois Ohio Nazis.
posted by Skeptic at 11:07 PM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Right. He just glorifies, takes credit for, and foments terrorism and mutiny in between issuing fatwas calling for the death of cartoonists. Opinions on the credibility (or lack of same) do not amount to a definite answer, but if this or this is your idea of healthy political discourse then you might be on your way to becoming an hero.

While I'm generally with Voltaire insofar as being willing to defend free speech to the death no matter how I might feel about the particular views expressed, exhortations to murder of cartoonists fall into the 'stuff that needs to be defended against' category rather than the 'stuff that needs defending in the name of free speech' one. When Al-Awlaki issues a bulletin saying he's against violence and would like to surrender himself somewhere in order to have his day in court, then I will argue strenuously in favor of his right to receive a fair trial. But while he's hanging out in some undisclosed location exhorting murderous violence over here, I have no time for him.

I don't give two hoots about the fact that he's a citizen, and think the emphasis on this is a scam. In general a government shouldn't assassinate people just because they piss it off, citizen or otherwise. On the other hand, I see no moral obligation to accommodate people who are actively promoting murder. Al-Awlaki is not some sort of principled leftie alternative to crypto-Nazis on the right wing: he's promoting the exact same sort of hateful authoritarianism as they are and is just as despicable.
posted by anigbrowl at 11:19 PM on October 11, 2010


For my part I don't think history bears out the idea that "surely no President would use this power for evil!" is a very good place to hang one's hat on a matter of such importance.
posted by Justinian at 11:24 PM on October 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Justinian, your opinion comes as no surprise, given the despotic tendencies of your namesake. Fortunately I do not cherish any illusions of the sort you describe.

I do have serious worries about whether the administration is fully committed to the rule of law. I'm pretty sure, though, that it doesn't include issuing licenses to off cartoonists whose work you dislike, even talentless and insensitive ones. The local Islamic community doesn't seem to think so either.
posted by anigbrowl at 12:19 AM on October 12, 2010


On the one hand, every WWII Nazi reenactor I've seen was sporting SS tattoos and totally a Nazi in real-life, too.

On the other hand, that's a sample group of like 4.
posted by paisley henosis at 12:19 AM on October 12, 2010


Sorry, but you can't separate the Nazi "good soldier" from the so-called "bad ones" that operated the gas chambers.

For fuck's sake, it's difficult to separate German civilians from the war-machine that murdered six millions Jews, not to mention hundreds of thousands of gypsies, Poles, Russians, gays, and various "undesirables."

Fuck this guy and anyone who defends his hard-on for dressing up as a fascist.
posted by bardic at 12:30 AM on October 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Will God win this election?
posted by telstar at 12:43 AM on October 12, 2010


Does Godwin's Law apply?
posted by Devonian at 1:03 AM on October 12, 2010


Mein Führer, I can walk! run! For office!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:04 AM on October 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


I know re-enactors who are Confederate soldiers and I know some who are Redcoats. I think all of it is stupid, but what's the BFD? They can't all be on our side.

The main problem here is moral relitivism and historical revisionsm: the reenactment group (in their own words) "salutes" the SS soldiers and claims that their actions was motivated by (again in their own words) "basic desire to be free":

"Iott says the group chose the Wiking division in part because it fought on the Eastern Front, mainly against the Russian Army, and not U.S. or British soldiers. The group's website includes a lengthy history of the Wiking unit, a recruitment video, and footage of goose-stepping German soldiers marching in the Warsaw victory parade after Poland fell in 1939. The website makes scant mention of the atrocities committed by the Waffen SS, and includes only a glancing reference to the "twisted" nature of Nazism. Instead, it emphasizes how the Wiking unit fought Bolshevist Communism:

Nazi Germany had no problem in recruiting the multitudes of volunteers willing to lay down their lives to ensure a "New and Free Europe", free of the threat of Communism. National Socialism was seen by many in Holland, Denmark, Norway, Finland, and other eastern European and Balkan countries as the protector of personal freedom and their very way of life, despite the true underlying totalitarian (and quite twisted, in most cases) nature of the movement. Regardless, thousands upon thousands of valiant men died defending their respective countries in the name of a better tomorrow. We salute these idealists; no matter how unsavory the Nazi government was, the front-line soldiers of the Waffen-SS (in particular the foreign volunteers) gave their lives for their loved ones and a basic desire to be free. "

Also, their claim that "many" in countries like the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway saw Nazism as "the protector of personal freedom and their very way of life" is a big lie. All these countries were occupied by Nazi Germany during WW2. In a country like Norway, the pro-Nazi party Nasjonal Samling never managed to get more than 2,5% of the votes in the 1930s. At the last election before the war, the local elections in 1937, the party only got 0,06% of the votes.

Also, the foreign volunteers to the Waffen SS from the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway etc, were considered traitors in their home countries after the war.
posted by iviken at 1:46 AM on October 12, 2010 [7 favorites]


Rich Iott, middle initials, I D.
posted by asok at 2:03 AM on October 12, 2010


Anwar al-Awlaki, the one person we know for sure has a hit contract on him, is not a combattant, nor engaged in open warfare "on" the United States. Try again!

Really there is no such contract. There has been a rumor of a military order putting him on a capture or kill list. I note he convinced one guy at Ft Hood to shoot up a bunch of people, got another to attempt to blow up an airplane on Xmas day and sent a third to Times Square to plant a truck bomb. Also this summer he put a hit out on Molly Norris and suggested jihadis should just randomly kill Americans because the us security apparatus can't protect everyone. He went on the phone with Al Jazeera and talked about being a proud teacher to the Xmas and Ft Hood guys. He put out a video message this summer calling
for Muslims to kill women and children. In summary he has become a significant figure leading and organizing a war against the United States. He has refused to surrender. He has not even written to the court in the case filed by his
Father and the ACLU.
posted by humanfont at 2:11 AM on October 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wait, the Nazis were the baddies?
posted by Evilspork at 2:23 AM on October 12, 2010


Yeah, I don't buy it, Richard Daly. He's not a generic reenactor who was handed a uniform once and someone took a photo; dressing as a member of 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking is his shtick.
Is that the case? Did this guy only dress up as a Nazi, or did he play a bunch of different historical roles? From the news reports, it seems like he only did the nazi stuff, but actually I don't know.
I blame Joe Beese and the rest of the Obama haters who are so focused on the issue of executive overreach and how Obama is playing the hand delt him by Bush, that they are ignoring the fact that the actual fascists are about to win the election.
Yes, because those people are a huge electoral monopoly, and any deviation from 24/7 obama love is a moral failing.
Glenn Greenwald called: he wants your eyeballs back because mine are rolled so highly into my cranium that they are now useless. Look: you can criticize the civil liberties record of this Administration without sounding like a hysterical loon. You are not helping matters, civil libertarian or otherwise.
Is there anything in those statements you think is false? How can making accurate statements make you a loon?
It strikes me as bizarre in the extreme that the Democratic establishment is still so eager to embrace a strategy of chasing some elusive center
It's because they're fucking pussies!
No he hasn't. He has asserted that the military doesn't have to check the passport of people before it shoots combatants engaged in open warfare on the United States.
I'm pretty sure that's a false characterization. The issue here is targeting a specific person, who is already known to be an American citizen.
posted by delmoi at 2:46 AM on October 12, 2010


There has been a rumor of a military order putting him on a capture or kill list. I note he convinced one guy at Ft Hood to shoot up a bunch of people, got another to attempt to blow up an airplane on Xmas day and sent a third to Times Square to plant a truck bomb. Also this summer he put a hit out on Molly Norris and suggested jihadis should just randomly kill Americans because the us security apparatus can't protect everyone. He went on the phone with Al Jazeera and talked about being a proud teacher to the Xmas and Ft Hood guys. He put out a video message this summer calling
What on earth does any of that have to do with Rich Iott? Anyway, my view is that people who spout this nonsense are pretty pathetic. More interested in "scoring points" against "the other team" then having any kind of consistent values. There's no way a single, individual person could pose a threat to the united states. I'm sure there are plenty of people capable of motivating people to take up arms against America, killing him wouldn't solve any actual problems and could make things worse if innocent people were killed.
posted by delmoi at 2:53 AM on October 12, 2010


How about national movement where common everyday people run for office

Did you ever stop to consider what the Tea Party is offering up *ARE* "common everyday people"?

I've met my fellow man - do you really wanna be governed by them?
posted by rough ashlar at 2:55 AM on October 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


There's no way a single, individual person could pose a threat to the united states.

You might wish to review the 2000-2009 posting season on Total Drama Island - Blue Edition. I believe that a few individuals were called out for just that. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfield are the examples that I remember.
posted by rough ashlar at 2:59 AM on October 12, 2010


Matt Taibbi on race and the Tea Party:

It would be inaccurate to say the Tea Partiers are racists. What they are, in truth, are narcissists. They're completely blind to how offensive the very nature of their rhetoric is to the rest of the country. I'm an ordinary middle-aged guy who pays taxes and lives in the suburbs with his wife and dog — and I'm a radical communist? I don't love my country? I'm a redcoat? Fuck you! These are the kinds of thoughts that go through your head as you listen to Tea Partiers expound at awesome length upon their cultural victimhood, surrounded as they are by America-haters like you and me or, in the case of foreign-born president Barack Obama, people who are literally not Americans in the way they are.

It's not like the Tea Partiers hate black people. It's just that they're shockingly willing to believe the appalling horseshit fantasy about how white people in the age of Obama are some kind of oppressed minority. That may not be racism, but it is incredibly, earth-shatteringly stupid.

posted by jhandey at 3:19 AM on October 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


gave their lives for their loved ones and a basic desire to be free.

And to kill lots of Jews. And enslave all Slavs.

Somebody upthread mentions the soldiers in Schindler's List who ran when the end was near. The men Mr. Iott's group honors weren't those guys - they were the guys who kept killing until the very end. Mr. Iott didn't find honoring the SS (again, their terms, not mine) problematic.

What I find problematic is why so many on the right side of the political spectrum seem so willing to ride the Tea Party to victory. I pointed out only one other example of these "insurgents" (and yeah, there's a huge difference between right and left - American leftists who honor the Khmer Rouge for their "courage", for example, barely exist) and their strange preoccupations with race and identity. The GOP couldn't possibly be completely ignorant of all this. They make the required ritual condemnations when it reaches the news, but why does it take that long?
posted by jhandey at 3:27 AM on October 12, 2010


What I find problematic is why so many on the right side of the political spectrum seem so willing to ride the Tea Party to victory.

Because when the 'Tea Party' was a 2008/2009 Libertarian sponsored event no one cared. Once parts of the Willi Münzenberg (hows that for an obscure Nazi reference? Huh? *nudge* Huh?) inspired media machine started promoting the message, many self-identified 'right wingers' then embraced that message.

A message method forged by Edward Berneys during WWII with his work on Propaganda later to be called Public Relations.

Oh - and in politics it seems a victory is a victory no matter how dirty or slimy. Might be a factor why 'the common man' doesn't run for office and why the 4% of genetic sociopaths seem to be the ones in charge.

(and to tie a WWII Propaganda into modern political theater I present:)
PRESIDENT OBAMA TOWN HALL, DC MTV, BET, and CMT (prods.) are casting the audience for A Conversation with President Obama, a town hall meeting with President Obama. Shooting Oct. 14 at 4 p.m. in Washington, DC. Seeking—Audience Members: males and females, 18+. To apply, email townhallaudience@mtvnmix.com and put "Town Hall" in the subject line. To ensure that the audience represents diverse interests and political views, include your name, phone number, hometown, school attending, your ..

You have until Oct 14th to get your email in to be in that Obama audience BTW. Do your part - willingly submit to be part of the Propaganda!
posted by rough ashlar at 4:15 AM on October 12, 2010


How about national movement where common everyday people run for office in an effort to throw the corrupt career politician incumbents out?

This is a terrifically bad idea. A career politician knows how government works and gets things done. Otherwise you end up with political amateurs buying their way into office and then you have an Austrian misogynist running your state into the ground.

(I'm not even going to start on Meg v. Jerry.)

The issue is the CORRUPT part. There are plenty of career politicians who care about people and who take the idea of civil service seriously. And they're probably not the ones with a hate agenda.
posted by elsietheeel at 5:38 AM on October 12, 2010


Strangely, I was in western Pennsylvania about a month ago and my wife and I practically stumbled upon a WWII battle re-enactment. It ranged over a small town, people dying and medics scurrying all over the place, with people watching from the sidelines. The Nazis lost (of course), and the Americans won (naturally).

I couldn't help think that on one hand these are people that want us to remember the horrors of WWII, but to do so means SOMEONE has to dress up as the bad guys. Do they take turns? If so, how do they fit the uniforms? Isn't it kinda weird to have a uniform and flag in your house??

So I think there is this tension between having an outfit for historical/commemorative reasons and having it because you identify with and support them.

(Incidentally, the same shock that people are having about this issue is the same one I have with people being confederates in Civil War re-enactments, but THAT seems OK for some reason. It always creeps me out, however).
posted by imneuromancer at 5:42 AM on October 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Anybody who has done any serious war gaming knows there are a large number of white libertoonian electrical engineers who have models of Panther-Gs and BF-109s and shit

There's a pretty heavy overlap with science fiction fans, too. I was at an SF convention in Denver years ago and attended a discussion panel that had Harry Turtledove as one of the guests. For those of you who don't know, he's a science fiction author who specializes in alternate history stuff. He's pretty vocal about his Jewish ancestry, which is relevant for reasons which will become clear in a second.

The panel came to the Q&A portion, and the topic turned to Nazis. (I don't remember how, exactly; it's been a while.) One of the audience members stood up. She was wearing a poorly-made replica Afrika Korps uniform and basically asked "What about Rommel? He fought clean and never committed any war crimes..."

Turtledove shut her down so fast you could hear gears grinding: "Yes, he was fighting 'clean' in North Africa so the rest of the Nazis in Europe could make soap and lampshades out of my relatives. Next question."

The douche chills were a thing of legend.

This was the same woman who corrected Mrs. Example's pronunciation of "telomere"--which she was pronouncing correctly--at the Worst New Year's Eve Party Ever. So glad to have moved out of that town.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 5:45 AM on October 12, 2010 [5 favorites]


The issue is the CORRUPT part.

Used to be you could take issues to court.

In the 1920's the concept of standing got created.

In the 1940's Grand Juries started to become non-approachable by the common man.
(after a group of the 'leadership class' got slapped hard after a true bill by a Grand Jury)

2 things that could be changed so if the common man felt a law was err, "over the top" or found a crime something could be done.
posted by rough ashlar at 5:49 AM on October 12, 2010


iviken: "Also, the foreign volunteers to the Waffen SS from the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway etc, were considered traitors in their home countries after the war."

In Denmark's case, the after the war is the salient part. Until September 1943 the policy of collaboration meant it was encouraged to go into German service. 12,000 Danes served in the Waffen SS and around a thousand more in various other units.
posted by brokkr at 6:30 AM on October 12, 2010


The GOP couldn't possibly be completely ignorant of all this. They make the required ritual condemnations when it reaches the news, but why does it take that long?

For the same reasons that housewives told interviewers in the 1960s that being part of the John Birch Society and fighting Communism was fun. The GOP gets a sense of titillation and exhilaration from the tea partiers. The tea partiers help give the illusion of renewal a GOP brand that otherwise would have nothing to recommend it but Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney.
posted by blucevalo at 7:34 AM on October 12, 2010


I'm just wondering how it would play if a Democratic candidate was into WWII reenactment as a Russian. Crickets chirping on Fox, do ya think?

As far as creepy people hanging out among reenactors, it happens. A couple of years ago, we had some high school students get into Civil War reenacting as Confederates. They started harassing other students and got so completely out of control that they were putting nooses up at the school as a threat. This led to Confederate flag patches and other "Rebel" wear being banned as "gang apparel."

So far it just looks like kids out of control, right? Well, come the next school board meeting, some of the "leaders" among the kids show up with their mentor from the adult reeenactors. And they go off on this incredibly (as in cluelessly unexamined) racist rant about being "rebels" and the Civil War wasn't about slavery at all. Turns out their mentor is a long-time white supremacist who is trolling the reenactors for recruits.

So don't say it doesn't happen because it does.

The Tea Party is particularly vulnerable to this sort of infiltration and subversion because of the fundamental cluelessness of the people who are attracted to the idea that George W. Bush is a Socialist who wrecked the country as some sort of commie plot. This was explained to me in detail by a community college economics professor who is one of the leading intellectual lights of the local TP loons.
posted by warbaby at 7:41 AM on October 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Rich Idiot, Republican candidate for Congress

Oh, wait. I read that wrong.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 8:10 AM on October 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Hans... are we the baddies?"
posted by rifflesby at 8:11 AM on October 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, wait. I read that wrong.

I actually read the first few articles I saw on this character as Rich Lott, not Rich Iott .....
posted by blucevalo at 8:16 AM on October 12, 2010


At least he has an ethos.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:58 AM on October 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


If he was really a nazi I doubt he'd break his cover letting people take pictures of him dressed up as one. This is really a non issue, but gotta love the media circus.
posted by Allan Gordon at 11:29 AM on October 12, 2010


Iott is just restoring honor to the Nazi Party, one goosestep at a time.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:57 AM on October 12, 2010


Ok. Anyone who says this guy was just dressing up, and that every reenactment needs people on both sides --- now he's defending the nazis, saying that they were just "doing what they thought was right."
posted by crunchland at 12:15 PM on October 12, 2010


Stephen Colbert Knocks GOP Repudiation Of Rich Iott's Nazi Uniform:
"See? He's just fascinated by Nazis because they're 'incredible.

... Thanks a lot [Republican whip Eric] Cantor. Without your support now Iott's going to lose the Jewish vote.

... So to recap, for the Republican leadership, the line you can't cross- as is so often the case in life - is dressing like a Nazi. Thankfully, dressing the President as a Nazi? Still OK."
posted by ericb at 1:06 PM on October 12, 2010


I guess his political career is over. He may still join the British Royal Family, though.
posted by Skeptic at 1:09 PM on October 12, 2010


And you know who else liked to wear Nazi uniforms?

Oh, right.
posted by Skeptic at 1:13 PM on October 12, 2010


And, of course, it just had to happen.
posted by Skeptic at 1:15 PM on October 12, 2010


Although this one is better.
posted by Skeptic at 1:20 PM on October 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Although this one is better.

Oh, that's good stuff.

"We are in the middle of a 60-year rebranding campaign..."
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:23 PM on October 12, 2010


now he's defending the nazis, saying that they were just "doing what they thought was right."

No, this is still the same thing I was talking about earlier. He has managed to divorce the soldiers from the cause they fought for. It's exactly what a lot of Americans do when considering the Confederate soldiers in the Civil War. Honor their courage while deploring the cause, blah blah blah. It's bullshit, of course. I don't honor the courage of the Confederate soldier any more than I honor the courage of the Waffen SS or the guys who flew the planes into the WTC. I recognize bravery, but I sure don't honor it. The world would have been a better place if every Confederate soldier had refused to take up arms, just as it would be a better place if every German had refused to take up arms 70 years ago.

The difference is that it is mostly acceptable to "honor the courage while deploring the cause" of Confederate soldiers in the USA. Which makes sense, of course, since so many Americans have ancestors who fought on both sides of the Civil War. But it's more or less the same thing intellectually.

We'd all be better off if there was a lot less honoring of bravery in the service of evil. In a lot of contexts.
posted by Justinian at 2:40 PM on October 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Er, this isn't "soldiers", this is the fucking SS.
posted by Artw at 2:43 PM on October 12, 2010


How about if a one's favorite rock musician collects Third Reich memorabilia, but claims he keeps the artifacts for their aesthetic, not political, value?

Does "I only collect the stuff. I didn't collect the ideas." cut the mustard, or is it an abject cop out? I mean aesthetics aside, those symbols in those combinations are/were deployed in service some pretty horrendous ideas.

I have as skull-&-crossbones on a black flag tattooed on my right shoulder. That says one thing. Now, transfer that death's head onto a black peaked-cap and add an eagle, slightly different impression:
"I'll tell you something about history. From the beginning of time, the bad guys always had the best uniforms. Napoleon, the Confederates, the Nazis. They all had killer uniforms. I mean, the SS uniform is fucking brilliant! They were the rock stars of that time. What you're gonna do? They just look good. Don't tell me, I'm a Nazi 'cause I have uniforms."
At least he's complimenting them on their fashion sense and not their courage or making some sort of "What about Rommel" argument. Still...
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 2:52 PM on October 12, 2010


We're talking about 5th SS Panzer Wiking not the Allgemeine SS (the fuckers largely involved in the Holocaust and similar hobbies), The Waffen SS was for the most part a military organization, Wiking in particular.

Actually, and this is an interesting fact that most people don't realize, the Wiking division wasn't even made up of Germans! 5th SS Panzer was composed mostly of Nordic volunteers (Scandinavia, the Baltic states, the Low Countries, etc) although the officers would have been mostly German. That's why a lot of these guys are so interested in 5th SS Panzer. Because it was, as Iott says, mostly made up of guys who were "doing what they thought was right". Non-German volunteers who felt the Soviet Union was the real threat.

The problem is that Iott doesn't get why "doing what they thought was right" isn't sufficient justification for absolving them of their cause.
posted by Justinian at 3:05 PM on October 12, 2010


Oh yeah, the non-German volunteer thing is exactly why it was called the Viking ("Wiking") division. Scandinavians, Danes, etc, = Vikings? Yeah, those Nazis were a barrel of fucking laughs.
posted by Justinian at 3:08 PM on October 12, 2010


That's really not making things a hell of a lot better.
posted by Artw at 3:09 PM on October 12, 2010


It's not supposed to. I was just recognizing his thought process, not endorsing it.
posted by Justinian at 3:36 PM on October 12, 2010


Fair enough.

Given the argument you give there, it would seem like yet another example of the American right leaping to the defence of nazis on the grounds that the commies were worse, which has always seemed like a really dodgy kneejerk tic to have.
posted by Artw at 3:40 PM on October 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Anybody who has done any serious war gaming knows there are a large number of white libertoonian electrical engineers who have models of Panther-Gs and BF-109s and shit and can tell you all the different ways that Hitler botched Barbarossa and all the ways that Stalingrad could have been avoided and so on and so on blah blah blah. Ok, they're not all electrical engineers but y'all know who I'm talking about.

These guys are not Nazis. Most of them would be appalled and sickened by what happened in the war. But in their minds they've managed to completely disassociate the military aspects (particularly the equipment and trappings) with the criminal, genocidal, and political aspects. It doesn't affect them, they don't know a lot of folks it did affect on a personal level (not a lot of Jewish guys in this demographic), and so they just don't think about it.


I know a lot of those kind of guys and I don't think any disassociation or cognitive dissonance is required. It's perfectly possible to be appalled and sickened by the Nazis and still have an interest in Nazi military technology or WW2 history that doesn't bleed into admiration for Nazi ideology. There's no double-thinking or lack of empathy going on, just normal mental separation of two orthogonally different things.

I used to paint little model Spitfires and Messerschmitts when I was young but I grew out of it by the age of about 14. Some guys don't, but that's their bag. It's still less childish than 30 year old man-children who paint little gnomes and dwarves and have imaginary wars with each other. At least WW2 model enthusiasts can bridge their hobby into some kind of interest in actual history.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 6:37 PM on October 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I dunno, for some an interest in Sven Hassel can be a gateway to the grim future world of Warhammer 40k.

Looking at nobody here, of course.
posted by Artw at 6:45 PM on October 12, 2010


It's either Sven, or Hello, Kitty.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:56 PM on October 12, 2010


I think, really, that we can all admire Sven Hassel: he fought for the Nazis because he didn't want to be shot. I think that's a far, far better excuse.
posted by Artw at 7:21 PM on October 12, 2010


It's still less childish than 30 year old man-children who paint little gnomes and dwarves and have imaginary wars with each other. At least WW2 model enthusiasts can bridge their hobby into some kind of interest in actual history. --- Sounds like a bit of a rationalization. "It's educational" is not an excuse for being a nazi apologist.
posted by crunchland at 8:16 PM on October 12, 2010


For the record, I've never actually dressed up like Sven Hassel.

(also I acknowledge the distinct posibility that everything he's ever written was complete bollocks)
posted by Artw at 8:53 PM on October 12, 2010


I used to paint little model Spitfires and Messerschmitts when I was young but I grew out of it by the age of about 14. Some guys don't, but that's their bag. It's still less childish than 30 year old man-children who paint little gnomes and dwarves and have imaginary wars with each other.

I dunno, I think there is a huge difference between painting model airplanes or tanks from the war and dressing up in a Waffen-SS uniform on a regular basis. Making models of WWII equipment is to putting on a Nazi uniform and congratulating your buddies for the progress on the Ostfront as playing Warhammer is to dressing up in a giant panda outfit and masturbating in a big fur pile with the other furries.

There's a hierarchy of weirdness and putting on the ol' Swastika and double Sig runes is over the bleeding edge of empathy fail.
posted by Justinian at 12:45 AM on October 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Anyone who says this guy was just dressing up, and that every reenactment needs people on both sides --- now he's defending the nazis, saying that they were just "doing what they thought was right."
Yeah, this guy clearly has some messed up views on history.
Oh - and in politics it seems a victory is a victory no matter how dirty or slimy. Might be a factor why 'the common man' doesn't run for office and why the 4% of genetic sociopaths seem to be the ones in charge.
Genetic sociopaths? 4%? That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. People just want to believe that 'sociopaths' are somehow different (genetically even) from normal people and that normal people can't become nazi-type monsters.
posted by delmoi at 2:07 AM on October 13, 2010


IMO anyone who likes getting dressed up to re-enact war is more than a little fucked in the head. Join the military or STFU, I say.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:42 AM on October 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Tom Perilo

Ahem.

But yes, I agree!
posted by naoko at 12:45 AM on October 14, 2010


IMO anyone who likes getting dressed up to re-enact war is more than a little fucked in the head. Join the military or STFU, I say.

I'm not a military re-enactor and have little interest in it, but what? It's more "fucked" to pretend to fight for the day, and no one dies and you get to go home at the end of the day, then it is to actually join the military and possibly die or kill for real? It's a damn sight better than joining the military becuae you want to wear a spiffy uniform and march around and look cool and all that.
posted by Snyder at 3:09 AM on October 14, 2010


Precisely. War is not a game. It is not play-acting. It's deadly serious, and it is dishonorable and, IMO, really sick to treat it as an amusement.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:24 AM on October 14, 2010


You're right. I'm a horrible, sick person for playing Axis & Allies, Panzer Leader, Risk, and Call of Duty. War is serious business.
posted by Snyder at 10:09 AM on October 14, 2010


In the immortal words of the Cannon Fodder theme tune...

War! Never been so much fun.
War! Never been so much fun.
War! Never been so much fun.
War! Never been so much fun.
Go to your brother, kill him with your gun.
Leave him lying in his uniform, dying in the sun.
War!

posted by Artw at 12:38 PM on October 14, 2010


Another Republican ‘Young Gun’ Might Be a Nazi!
posted by Artw at 1:14 PM on October 19, 2010


Rich Iott Accused Of Promoting Misleading Military Record.
posted by ericb at 9:39 AM on October 21, 2010


John Boehner, Republican House Minority Leader, is appearing at a campaign rally for Iott this Saturday. I had honestly (and apparently, naively) assumed that dressing up as a Nazi on the weekends would be enough to make the GOP leadership disown somebody. Guess I was wrong. I have to wonder, though: if this won't do it, what would it take?
posted by EarBucket at 2:41 PM on October 28, 2010


I have to wonder, though: if this won't do it, what would it take?

Edwin Edwards | 1983:
"The only way I can lose this election is if I'm caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy."
posted by ericb at 3:24 PM on October 28, 2010


« Older The Nation's Largest Libraries: A Listing By Volum...  |  "We need to stop making autism... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments