Arbeit macht frei, global warming, Mary and Joseph, and trouble at TESCO
Well, the infamous “Arbeit Macht Frei” sign over the Auschwitz Death Camp gate has been stolen. The words mean “Work sets you free.” A spokesman for the holocaust museum called it an “act of war.” No, it was an act of vandalism and theft for God’s sake. Frankly, there are times when I think that holocaust remembrance has crossed the line into holocaust worship, and when someone calls a simple act of vandalism an “act of war,” that line has been crossed. Or at least the line between considered response and hysterical overreaction. The same spokesman also said he assumed it was stolen by neo-Nazis. I dunno, maybe it was stolen by people who think that the goddamn camp should be bulldozed instead of memorialized? The holocaust was a terrible thing, but do we really need to make the Death Camps into what are almost shrines to remember that?
Moving right along …
… speaking of shrines, the above image was sent in by a long time reader. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it, so I’m posting it for general interest. As far as I am concerned, as soon as someone brings up Al Gore in any discussion about AGW (human caused global warming,) they have admitted they either know nothing about the science involved, or are afraid to actually debate the science involved. Mostly the former, I’ve been studying climatology for years now and still don’t understand the half of it. Not to mention that when someone uses mocking in a debate, they are pretty much admitting they don’t want to debate. Still, I guess some will be amused by it.
And while we are on the topic of odd pictures, there’s this little gem from New Zealand:
This was a billboard put up by a church in New Zealand aimed at “challenging stereotypes” about the birth of Christ. Within hours it had been defaced by some enraged local, and came under heavy flak from Catholics among others. Since the brew ha ha about “The Last Temptation of Christ” I have been puzzled by the fact that some Christians basically get extremely upset about even the suggestion that the birth of Christ might have actually involved normal human beings. In the movie they were upset by the idea that Christ might have human doubts and feelings, he was portrayed as imagining while nailed to the cross that maybe he should have just married Mary Magdalen and settled down and had a family instead of becoming a preacher. I don’t really see why the idea that the divine might experience human thought s and emotions is all that threatening, I thought we were made in his image? Maybe someone can explain it to me.
And since weird images seems to be the theme of this post, I’ll conclude with this one:
This was a Christmas card sold by a big chain store in the UK. The company in question, TESCO, withdrew the card and apologized after people complained. To me this falls under the “what were they thinking category?” Yeah, on the one hand it’s just light hearted fun and maybe even is trying to make a point. On the other hand, kids were actually physically assaulted on the recent Facebook “kick a ginger day,” so I can see why some people were upset. My main thought is that anything that serves to stereotype people is at least part of the problem. Since stereotyping people by the colour of their hair has to be one of the stupidest stereotypes around, and has resulted in physical violence, I see no problem with the store in question withdrawing the card and apologizing. And with a lot of stuff like this, even though it purports to be humorous, I don’t get the joke.
Is there any theme to these images? Not really. The first one is simply an illustration, and unless you’re a holocaust denier, I can’t see it causing any offence. The second one, about global warming, is meant to be belittling and mocking. Since I can’t think of a better way for AGW deniers to proclaim that they don’t have any real scientific arguments, I don’t have a problem with it. The Mary and Joseph image was produced by a liberal Christian church, ostensibly to promote discussion. I’m not surprised that people took offence though, there are Christians just as irrational about “insults” to their saviour as some Muslims are about insulting Mohammad. You’d think a Christian church would have known that, but c’est la vie. The last image, who knows what the motivation of the card’s creator was, though I kind of suspect that only someone who was genuinely prejudiced would come up with something like this.
Next week, I change my mind about Obama, I rethink the threat of fascism in America, and Gran Torino. Have a great weekend everyone.
(The above images are all claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. None of them are being used for profit, some of them are arguably important images, and by definition they illustrate what the post is about, themselves. I actually thought the Joseph and Mary one was really funny. Poor guy, can you imagine, he’s like: “You had a one night stand with who?“)