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Perceived Offensiveness of Swastika Quantification

In our day, bananas were no more radioactive than your average wristwatch.
  [vote for,

When I were a lad, I remember lots of references on telly, typically in sitcoms and television comedies, that made use of swastika imagery in a funny or amusing manner. Nobody thought anything much of it. I mean, everyone got the reference, and everyone knew that it was appropriated by the Nazis etc. But nobody got their knickers in a twist over it and nobody was under the impression that there was some unspoken boundary that had been transgressed. We just laughed at the bits that were supposed to be funny.

These days, you can’t do that. A hypothetical person could probably get away with going out and stabbing to death that dog that keeps shitting on the pavement on our road, compared with painting swastikas on one’s Wheely bin, you know, for comedy effect. People would take it seriously in a bad way. The Wheely bin, that is, not the improved dog.

This idea is to calibrate the amount of up-tight-ness each generation or maybe each decade is characterised by, using a simple device of comparison. The device is the cultural response to the swastika symbol. I’m fairly sure it varies through the ages, since the mid 20th century until now, and equally, varies through time differently in different countries or cultures.

It’s similar to how bananas are used as a handy and easily imagined way of quantifying how radioactive a thing is, by comparing it to how radioactive a banana is (i.e., it is). There’s nothing implicitly evil or meaningful about banana radioactivity, it’s just that they happen to be a certain amount radioactive, and most people can imagine a banana.

Ian Tindale, Nov 11 2015


       Damn. I had a lovely long annotation which was swept netherwards by the title change. Ah well.   

       My point was that uptightness to any particular issue varies widely over time. Even the degree to which our tights are up about bananas varies (1950 - radioactivity is good; 2015 - not so much; 2115 - not an issue).   

       Likewise, the swastika was a bit jokey in 1970, and probably will be again at some point in the future. At the moment, a swastika can be made less offensive by over-painting it with the word "cunt". (In 1700 you could have used both "cunt" and a swastika without upsetting anyone much.) These responses to particular things change over time, regardless of societies' overall degree of uptightness.
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 11 2015

       Sorry about the title alteration, the initial title was clumsy and I felt entitled to title it in a more succinct manner, but all the while hurrying in case someone started on the remnants of the old ghosted page that would never exist.
Ian Tindale, Nov 11 2015

       I recently saw on Netflix a modern short film (only about a half-hour long) that was titled "Kung Fury" and was so stupid it was funny. It featured time travel and Hitler and lots of swastikas. They were certainly appropriate for the film. So it appears that such can still be done without setting off too many offensiveness alarms.
Vernon, Nov 11 2015

       We need a baseline. How many swastika's is a Yale protester rated?
Voice, Nov 11 2015

       I suspect Mr Tindale has earned the right to laugh at the swastika by first withstanding the bombs with it on them, then defeating its owners and feeding half of them to the Soviets. When such a one laughs (until he coughs breathlessly, clutching his chest), those hearing him know why he laughs. But those considerably younger might have suspect motives in laughing at the swastika.   

       I recall as a child seeing a tile floor gaily decorated with inlaid swastikas. I suspected that it had been laid down before the swastika had been coopted by anyone.
bungston, Nov 11 2015

       //Damn. I had a lovely long annotation which was swept netherwards by the title change.//   

       Install the Lazarus plugin for your browser. Never lose a filled out form again.
ytk, Nov 12 2015

       Given long enough span of time, every conceivable symbol will go through a period of being extremely offensive, So, there will come a time when the ampersand will be reviled and will be surreptitiously graffiti'ed onto walls in the middle of the night by pretentious pseudo-anarchists. Use of the ampersand will only occur in underground agitprop newsletters, and politically-correct revisionist publishers will expunge the ampersand from historical texts.
hippo, Nov 12 2015

       Please no KKK or Neo Nazi's or white supremacist, nor Islamist here.
travbm, Nov 12 2015

       Since the application of swastikas are usually in a manner making it quite clear that the appliquer is not wishing the appliquee the prosperity symbolized by the gammadion cross, offense is not really a question.
FlyingToaster, Nov 12 2015

       I saw quite a few Swastikas a few weeks ago, and wasn't offended by them at all.   

       Admittedly, they were all part of the permanent decor (wall and floor tiling) of buildings built before the 1930s.   

       I'm also not going to object if they show up in a production of Cabaret (or a WWII movie).   

       Context matters.
MechE, Nov 12 2015

       I wonder if there was ever a time when historically respected connotations of the swastika actually managed to give some repute to bad politics, the way that rainbows have been hijacked these days.
4and20, Nov 12 2015

       Yes, and pink swastikas would be appropriate instead of rainbows.
travbm, Nov 12 2015

       The elephant in the room is swastikas made out of bananas. Presumably not offensive to pachyderms? Or are the elephants equipped with trunk mounted geiger counters?   

       NB wandering around South Korea is a great way to become desensitised to large, red ( the right way round) swastikas.
not_morrison_rm, Nov 13 2015

       This would only work as integer measures since half and quarter swastikas might look like square s-es or l-s respectively, courting confusion and a general aversion to squarish corners.
zen_tom, Nov 13 2015

       I like the use of the ampersand. But it does not connote anarchy to me. Maybe some Unionist sentiment?
bungston, Nov 17 2015

       I'm fairly certain the hooked cross you refer to is about the phenomenon you are trying to measure. Afterall the hawk symbol is not unrelated and both pertain to a sort of calvinistic preoccupation with superficial symbols.
guncandy, Nov 18 2015


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