Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Town of Swastika

 

I found this article very interesting. Cliffs notes version: unincorporated upstate NY town is named Swastika in the early 20th century. Town keeps name after Nazis adopt swastika, recognizing the ancient use of the swastika as a good luck symbol. NYC bicyclist sees sign and asks to have the name changed. City council (Swastika comes under a nearby town’s government) and the council reject the idea in five minutes.

A few observations:

  1.  Having had to at some point learn the origin of the town name, why persist? Rank ignorance?
  2. “But Alcamo was disappointed in the board’s decision. He said leaving ‘Swastika’ behind would show respect for those who died during the war and would be seen as a denouncing of hate.” Does anyone, anywhere believe that he actually cares about respect for WWII veterans?
  3. Why let the fact that some group adopts a symbol redefine that symbol in perpetuity? This reminds me of the notion that the “OK” sign now must signify white supremacy. (By the way, it means something different in parts of Latin America; I have a very funny story about its interpretation at a firefighting school with some Chilean students).
  4. In general, why has the left uniformly become a group of humorless scolds?
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  1. DrewInWisconsin, Man of Consta… Coolidge

    Tex929rr:

    • Having had to at some point learn the origin of the town name, why persist? Rank ignorance?

    The cyclist’s feelings matter more than anyone else’s. Also, he sees himself as the hero of the story.

    •  “But Alcamo was disappointed in the board’s decision. He said leaving “Swastika” behind would show respect for those who died during the war and would be seen as a denouncing of hate.“. Does anyone, anywhere believe that he actually cares about respect for WWII veterans?

    Nope. He believes he is on the side of right and good. The invocation of “respect for veterans” is an attempt to manipulate people into doing as he demands.

    The word “hate” is as overused as the word “racist.” The town could be full of lovely, kind people, but unless they feel his feelings, they’re people of hate.

     

    • #1
    • September 25, 2020, at 6:10 AM PDT
    • 13 likes
  2. DrewInWisconsin, Man of Consta… Coolidge

    Tex929rr: In general, why has the left uniformly become a group of humorless scolds?

    There are different methods for getting people to do what you wish them to do. Encouragement, positive feedback, . . . dare I say “love”? The left only knows one method. Nagging.

    • #2
    • September 25, 2020, at 6:14 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  3. Arahant Member

    Tex929rr: Why let the fact that some group adopts a symbol redefine that symbol in perpetuity? This reminds me of the notion that the “OK” sign now must signify white supremacy. (BTW, it means something different in parts of Latin America; I have a very funny story about its interpretation at a firefighting school with some Chilean students).

    I’d like to hear that story. Years ago I read that in some country, I believe Japan, it means “toss me small coins.” (It may be slightly different.)

    • #3
    • September 25, 2020, at 6:31 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  4. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas PrattJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    If they got “Swastika” past the people at the US Mail that have to approve town names, more power to them.

    I used to live near the charming small town of Peculiar, Missouri. The story goes that the founders wanted to name the town after a historical figure with an odd name like Zitzlsperger. The clerks at the Postal Service (this was the early 1800’s) were discussing the application, and one of them said, “That’s peculiar.” The other clerk wrote it down, and the town was officially named.

    I’m willing to believe it because the founders of my home town wanted to call it Linden, but the Post Office decided it was too similar to another Linden in New York, so it became Lyndonville.

    • #4
    • September 25, 2020, at 7:07 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  5. Seawriter Contributor

    Tex929rr: In general, why has the left uniformly become a group of humorless scolds?

    They did not become a group of humorless scolds. They have always been humorless scolds, starting with the sans-culettes and Jacobins of Revolutionary France through the Leninists and Stalinists of the USSR and Chinese Communists of today. 

    Humorlessness is a defining characteristic of leftists.

    • #5
    • September 25, 2020, at 7:24 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  6. David Foster Member
    David FosterJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The swastika was originally the symbol of the US 45th Infantry Division (though with the hooks reversed, I believe)…the Division included many Native Americans, and the symbol was adopted because it was used because it was used by some of the local tribes.

    In the run-up to WWII, the symbol was changed to the Thunderbird.

    • #6
    • September 25, 2020, at 7:28 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  7. GrannyDude Member

    I have to say, I’d be inclined to re-name a town called “Swastika.” There are some pigs that no amount of lipstick will alter.

    I think it is more interesting, in fact, that the town’s name hasn’t roused more and louder attention from the Woke-scolds who are, as we speak, pondering the weighty question of whether 21st C. black Americans should really be forced to endure reminders of men who merely (and often reluctantly) owned black people (as opposed to murdering them wholesale) ? I hate to say this, but if Swastika has thus far managed to slide under the radar, might it be because the victims of the Nazis that immediately leap to mind aren’t WW2 veterans but Jews?

    • #7
    • September 25, 2020, at 7:32 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  8. Stad Thatcher

    Because the swastika used to be a religious symbol, it should be reclaimed as such. I don’t like the idea any group can take a good symbol and trash it to the point it no longer can be used.

    Which brings up a question: the KKK used to burn crosses. Was there ever any movement to get rid of their public display (not withstanding the current liberal effort)?

    • #8
    • September 25, 2020, at 7:36 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  9. DrewInWisconsin, Man of Consta… Coolidge

    GrannyDude (View Comment):
    I have to say, I’d be inclined to re-name a town called “Swastika.” There are some pigs that no amount of lipstick will alter.

    Yeah, I think I’d re-name it, too. But I also hate wokescolds. I mean, this is almost a stereotype of the city slicker who comes into a small town to set them straight about a few things. People like that need to be slapped down even if they have a point. It’s not his town. He doesn’t live there. He just saw something that he didn’t have control over and wanted to control it.

    I hate to say this, but if Swastika has thus far managed to slide under the radar, might it be because the victims of the Nazis that immediately leap to mind aren’t WW2 veterans but Jews?

    Now that you mention it, it is interesting that his reason for removing it was “respect for veterans” rather than the victims of the holocaust. It’s almost as if Jews didn’t cross his mind.

    • #9
    • September 25, 2020, at 7:42 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  10. Tex929rr Coolidge
    Tex929rr

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Tex929rr: Why let the fact that some group adopts a symbol redefine that symbol in perpetuity? This reminds me of the notion that the “OK” sign now must signify white supremacy. (BTW, it means something different in parts of Latin America; I have a very funny story about its interpretation at a firefighting school with some Chilean students).

    I’d like to hear that story. Years ago I read that in some country, I believe Japan, it means “toss me small coins.” (It may be slightly different.)

    OK. Texas runs a huge firefighting school at Texas A and M. Every summer there is a week long municipal school (thousands of firefighters and instructors). They hold a Spanish language version the week after. One of our instructors in vehicle extrication was asked to stay over a week as they were short of instructors, and that he would be provided with a translator. He said he had a crew of small South Americans (I think Chileans) working on removing a windshield. You usually make a hole and then cut the windshield out with a double sided hacksaw (the laminate layer prevents busting it out like side windows). He said this little guy was furiously sawing away and he leaned over and said OK? and made the OK symbol. The guy’s eyes got big and he started sawing even faster. When they were done the translator explained that in their home country the symbol was the equivalent of a US middle finger. Once it was explained to everyone they all had a a good laugh, and he said the rest of the week the crew would tell him “OK, boss” and make the symbol with big grins.

     

    • #10
    • September 25, 2020, at 7:45 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  11. Arahant Member

    Tex929rr (View Comment):
    Once it was explained to everyone they all had a a good laugh, and he said the rest of the week the crew would tell him “OK, boss” and make the symbol with big grins.

    I like it. I figured it was something like that.

    • #11
    • September 25, 2020, at 7:48 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  12. Headedwest Coolidge

    David Foster (View Comment):

    The swastika was originally the symbol of the US 45th Infantry Division (though with the hooks reversed, I believe)…the Division included many Native Americans, and the symbol was adopted because it was used because it was used by some of the local tribes.

    In the run-up to WWII, the symbol was changed to the Thunderbird.

    I read somewhere that many early Navajo rugs used the (reverse, I think) swastika as a design element.

    • #12
    • September 25, 2020, at 8:06 AM PDT
    • Like
  13. Arahant Member

    Headedwest (View Comment):
    I read somewhere that many early Navajo rugs used the (reverse, I think) swastika as a design element.

    It used to be a very frequent symbol for athletic teams.

    • #13
    • September 25, 2020, at 8:15 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  14. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas PrattJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Stad (View Comment):

    Because the swastika used to be a religious symbol, it should be reclaimed as such. I don’t like the idea any group can take a good symbol and trash it to the point it no longer can be used.

    Which brings up a question: the KKK used to burn crosses. Was there ever any movement to get rid of their public display (not withstanding the current liberal effort)?

     

    Because I will take any faint opportunity to inject a George Carlin line:

    “Do you realize, if Christ had lived in the Twentieth Century, we would all be wearing little electric chairs around our necks?”

    • #14
    • September 25, 2020, at 8:36 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  15. Doctor Robert Member

    Tex929rr (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Tex929rr: Why let the fact that some group adopts a symbol redefine that symbol in perpetuity? This reminds me of the notion that the “OK” sign now must signify white supremacy. (BTW, it means something different in parts of Latin America; I have a very funny story about its interpretation at a firefighting school with some Chilean students).

    I’d like to hear that story. Years ago I read that in some country, I believe Japan, it means “toss me small coins.” (It may be slightly different.)

    OK. Texas runs a huge firefighting school at Texas A and M. Every summer there is a week long municipal school (thousands of firefighters and instructors). They hold a Spanish language version the week after. One of our instructors in vehicle extrication was asked to stay over a week as they were short of instructors, and that he would be provided with a translator. He said he had a crew of small South Americans (I think Chileans) working on removing a windshield. You usually make a hole and then cut the windshield out with a double sided hacksaw (the laminate layer prevents busting it out like side windows). He said this little guy was furiously sawing away and he leaned over and said OK? and made the OK symbol. The guy’s eyes got big and he started sawing even faster. When they were done the translator explained that in their home country the symbol was the equivalent of a US middle finger. Once it was explained to everyone they all had a a good laugh, and he said the rest of the week the crew would tell him “OK, boss” and make the symbol with big grins.

    And in modern Greece, it means you are calling the viewer an A—hole. Go figure.

    • #15
    • September 25, 2020, at 8:37 AM PDT
    • 1 like
    • This comment has been edited.
  16. Flicker Coolidge

    GrannyDude (View Comment):

    I have to say, I’d be inclined to re-name a town called “Swastika.” There are some pigs that no amount of lipstick will alter.

    I think it is more interesting, in fact, that the town’s name hasn’t roused more and louder attention from the Woke-scolds who are, as we speak, pondering the weighty question of whether 21st C. black Americans should really be forced to endure reminders of men who merely (and often reluctantly) owned black people (as opposed to murdering them wholesale) ? I hate to say this, but if Swastika has thus far managed to slide under the radar, might it be because the victims of the Nazis that immediately leap to mind aren’t WW2 veterans but Jews?

    Actually, the nazis took the swastika in an act of cultural appropriation. It should be returned to the Indians from which it was taken.

    • #16
    • September 25, 2020, at 8:53 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  17. Arahant Member

    Flicker (View Comment):
    Actually, the nazis took the swastika in an act of cultural appropriation. It should be returned to the Indians from which it was taken.

    Agreed.

    • #17
    • September 25, 2020, at 8:55 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  18. Full Size Tabby Member

    DrewInWisconsin, Man of Consta… (View Comment):

    Yeah, I think I’d re-name it, too. But I also hate wokescolds. I mean, this is almost a stereotype of the city slicker who comes into a small town to set them straight about a few things. People like that need to be slapped down even if they have a point. It’s not his town. He doesn’t live there. He just saw something that he didn’t have control over and wanted to control it.

     

    Sounds exactly like a city slicker trying to set the small town hicks straight.

    Michael Alcamo, a cyclist from New York City, inspired the proposal after he passed a Swastika town sign during a recent ride this summer.

     

    • #18
    • September 25, 2020, at 10:59 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  19. kedavis Member

    DrewInWisconsin, Man of Consta… (View Comment):

    Tex929rr: In general, why has the left uniformly become a group of humorless scolds?

    There are different methods for getting people to do what you wish them to do. Encouragement, positive feedback, . . . dare I say “love”? The left only knows one method. Nagging.

    Which escalate to threats of, and then actual, violence.

    • #19
    • September 25, 2020, at 12:14 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  20. kedavis Member

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):
    If they got “Swastika” past the people at the US Mail that have to approve town names, more power to them.

    If they got it “past” the people at the US Mail in the early 20th century, there was nothing to get “past.” I don’t think the USPS worries much about changing towns’ names after the fact.

    • #20
    • September 25, 2020, at 12:19 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  21. DudleyDoright49 Coolidge

    David Foster (View Comment):

    The swastika was originally the symbol of the US 45th Infantry Division (though with the hooks reversed, I believe)…the Division included many Native Americans, and the symbol was adopted because it was used because it was used by some of the local tribes.

    In the run-up to WWII, the symbol was changed to the Thunderbird.

    BTW, the 45th was originally part of the Oklahoma National Guard. It has nothing to do with this story line, but they have a bang good museum in OKC dedicated to the 45th.

    • #21
    • September 25, 2020, at 5:38 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  22. GrannyDude Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):
    Actually, the nazis took the swastika in an act of cultural appropriation. It should be returned to the Indians from which it was taken.

    Agreed.

    I think it came from Tibet. There was that weird, New-Age-y thing going on in Nazism, along with the notion that German Aryans were somehow related to other “Aryans” in Tibet. Hence the 1938-39 expedition led by Ernst Shafer, who met the Dalai Llama (a kid at the time) this episode later made famous by a Brad Pitt movie…

    • #22
    • September 25, 2020, at 6:03 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  23. Rightfromthestart Coolidge

    Why ? Because they discovered they can and too many people will give in rather than argue . We should have stopped them in the 60’s when they started issuing ‘demands’. 

    • #23
    • September 27, 2020, at 1:03 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  24. Architectus Coolidge

    Stad (View Comment):
    I don’t like the idea any group can take a good symbol and trash it to the point it no longer can be used.

    Remember when rainbows were just . . . rainbows?

    • #24
    • September 27, 2020, at 2:59 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  25. kedavis Member

    Architectus (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):
    I don’t like the idea any group can take a good symbol and trash it to the point it no longer can be used.

    Remember when rainbows were just . . . rainbows?

    And unicorns were not the power plants of the future?

    • #25
    • September 27, 2020, at 3:19 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  26. Vance Richards Member
    Vance RichardsJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Tex929rr: NYC bicyclist sees sign and asks to have the name changed.

    I read that the other day. The guy doesn’t even live anywhere near there but just knowing that the town exists anywhere . . .

    • #26
    • September 27, 2020, at 3:35 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  27. Flicker Coolidge

    Architectus (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):
    I don’t like the idea any group can take a good symbol and trash it to the point it no longer can be used.

    Remember when rainbows were just . . . rainbows?

    I really used to like rainbows. And they symbolically held a promise from God for the whole world.

    To think they actually perverted the meaning of the rainbow.

    • #27
    • September 27, 2020, at 4:09 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  28. Dotorimuk Coolidge

    In Oklahoma City, some of the houses built in the 1920s have swastikas inlaid in the brickwork.

    In Korea, there are green swastikas everywhere, for Buddhist centers.

    • #28
    • September 27, 2020, at 5:07 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  29. Arahant Member

    Flicker (View Comment):
    And they symbolically held a promise from God for the whole world.

    They still do.

    • #29
    • September 27, 2020, at 5:26 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  30. DrewInWisconsin, Man of Consta… Coolidge

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):
    And they symbolically held a promise from God for the whole world.

    They still do.

    Especially this one:

    • #30
    • September 27, 2020, at 6:02 PM PDT
    • 3 likes