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A Subliminal Nazi Swastika
September 5, 2001 11:26 PM   Subscribe

A Subliminal Nazi Swastika has been found in a few different toys. In the first toy, the swastika is pretty blatantly obvious. In the second one, however, the swastika was made to be more transparent and less noticeable. And for those of you that don't know about the history of the swastika, when inverted (counterclockwise) it's actually an ancient symbol for good luck. But when shown clockwise (like these toys are) it is a symbol of hate. You can learn all about it here.
posted by kingmissile (22 comments total)

 
Here in Korea, you see reversed swastikas all over the place. They're also a buddhist image, and denote that a temple can be found where they appear (because in the urban areas, temples often look more or less like any other building on the outside).
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:47 PM on September 5, 2001


Exactly, that's why I included the link which explains a bit of history about the swastika. What's scary, is that these toys are not facing counterclockwise, and that first toy looks like a blatantly obvious red nazi swastika to me.
posted by kingmissile at 12:06 AM on September 6, 2001


Ugh...Wasn't the site linked intended as a parody of people that look for hidden symbols and messages?
posted by willnot at 12:27 AM on September 6, 2001


Well the toy on that site is real, but that site takes a more humorous look at it (it's obvious they're not too serious about it, with the funny pics of the hitler kid with the glowing red eyes and things like that).
posted by kingmissile at 12:46 AM on September 6, 2001


Check this out.
posted by Kikkoman at 12:57 AM on September 6, 2001


During a year stay in Sangnam, South Korea, I encountered the same swastika-style temple markings that Stavros describes. As a dumb 17 year-old kid from Indiana (think Woody Harrelson in Cheers), it took me months to figure out why the neo-nazi movement was so huge in Korea despite the apparent paradoxes.
posted by ttrendel at 1:19 AM on September 6, 2001


This is a parody... a joke... a mockery (hence the domain name)
They have many of these little mini mockeries, if you liked that one.

Personally, I didn't find it that funny... but then I'm grumpy like that if I don't get my cup of tea :)
posted by Lionfire at 2:28 AM on September 6, 2001


Recent reviews of research findings in subliminal perception have provided very little evidence that stimuli below observers' subjective thresholds influence motives, attitudes, beliefs, or choices (Moore 1988; 1991b; Pratkanis and Greenwald 1988; Greenwald, in press). In most studies, the stimuli do not consist of directives, commands, or imperatives, and there is no reliable evidence that subliminal stimuli have any pragmatic impact or effects on intentions. Studies that do purport to find such effects are either unreplicated or methodologically flawed in one or more ways.

-- From http://www.csicop.org/si/9204/subliminal-perception.html.
posted by grumblebee at 4:23 AM on September 6, 2001


For a more serious look at this troubled symbol's history, check out ManWoman and his special feature on the swastika. From his page:

In the early part of the twentieth century Rudyard Kipling used the swastika as his coat-of-arms, Coca Cola made a swastika-shaped lucky watch fob, American pilots used it on their planes when they fought for the French in World War One, it was the symbol for the Ladies Home Journal sponsored Girls' Club and the Boy Scouts. A town in Ontario was named Swastika in 1911 because of a lucky gold strike.

Manwoman, and the campaign to rehabilitate the swastika, were mentioned in this article last year in the Seattle P-I.
From ManWoman's site, I can't work out which image is more amazing: this one of Jackie Bouvier, before she joined the Kennedy clan, in a swastika motif pullover, or this one, a Coca-Cola lucky watch fob, which Coca-Cola even now deny ever having.
As far as subliminal swastikas go, I reckon the one in the middle of the Microsoft Office logo is worth considering ...
posted by alex4point0 at 4:30 AM on September 6, 2001


Talk about going overboard. I think its safe to assume there's no third-reich plot in the toy world.
posted by skallas at 4:58 AM on September 6, 2001


Secret symbol no more.
posted by xowie at 5:55 AM on September 6, 2001


xowie: That tree swastika was brilliant! I was so amazed by that, it was so sly and beautiful.

Yes, it is the result of evil intentions, but it was still beautiful.
posted by hotdoughnutsnow at 7:18 AM on September 6, 2001


The 45 rpm > 33 rpm disc adaptor has always given me the creeps.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:31 AM on September 6, 2001


interesting, the first one has indentations(circles) which reminds me of the Nazi labor section swazi. the second one has a swazi in motion(by the looks) i think this one looks like the Hitler jugend swazi ive seen in books. (pogs have always scared me)
posted by clavdivs at 8:02 AM on September 6, 2001


I just think the toys are pretty funny. I doubt that these companies intended on making toys that looked like the swastika, but someone had to have noticed that they did. And whoever noticed it just shrugged it off and put the toy out anyway. That's what I find most amusing about this. Well that and the redrawn picture of the company mascot on part 2 of the article.
posted by kingmissile at 10:23 AM on September 6, 2001


I doubt that these companies intended on making toys that looked like the swastika, but someone had to have noticed that they did. And whoever noticed it just shrugged it off and put the toy out anyway.

Maybe its time society reclaimed the swastika and diluted its value as a agitprop device. My old library has a "hilarious" swaskika shaped card holder and no one cares. I'd rather have that attitude than being paranoid about "what will others think when our product hits the shelves?"
posted by skallas at 6:34 PM on September 6, 2001


a Coca-Cola lucky watch fob, which Coca-Cola even now deny ever having

Coca-Cola bottlecaps sold in WWII Germany also had swastikas on them. Business is business, I suppose.
posted by skyline at 6:44 PM on September 6, 2001


Check out the cover of today's OC Weekly. (Interesting story too.)
posted by xowie at 7:36 PM on September 6, 2001


Maybe its time society reclaimed the swastika and diluted its value as a agitprop device.

Suggestion: wait another 500 years, and then we'll discuss it.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:03 PM on September 6, 2001


Suggestion: wait another 500 years, and then we'll discuss it.

Better yet, do what skallas said. Get Britney Spears or the Teletubbies to start wearing them. Tattoo artists would be flooded with removals once every 13-year old bubblegum princess started wearing them...

And to think that Hitler ruined a perfectly good facial hair strategy for you all as well...
posted by fooljay at 8:21 PM on September 6, 2001


"Hitler ruined a perfectly good facial" i sport a goatee and shaved it close to the edge of the lip, girlfriend called hitler-like. yea, i shaved it and regrew it. That adolph was a real asshole.
posted by clavdivs at 6:47 AM on September 7, 2001


Memes abound when dealing with things like the Swastika. It's become THE symbol of hate and I doubt much will change for a couple hundred years (since Western media dominates pretty much). But even those who know that it existed before Hitler are often guilty of over-generalization. For instance, whether the "swastika" is facing clockwise or counterclockwise, it doesn't change any connotation. I've witnessed Tibetan rituals and they have stylized swastikas, hand-drawn swastikas all over their stuff, pointed CW as well as CCW. The term, Swastika, as well, is not a Nazi-specific term and was being used when Hitler was a teen. My grandmother (who lived in a part of Germany at the time that is now Poland) remembers in 1924 how it was used by vigilante groups and their political and military arm, the Freikorps, an "army" of ex-soldiers that would fight with the communists in the chaotic streets of post-WWI Germany. Just think, prior to Hitler's use of it, the swastika, in all forms, was pretty much a symbol of good luck, prosperity and life itself. Just a quick search on google.com came to this page. I think it's interesting: http://www.field-reporter.com/The_Green_Girl/gg-09-25-00.htm
posted by engelgrafik at 10:53 AM on September 7, 2001


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