Look: I am eager to learn stuff I don't know--which requires actively courting and posting smart disagreement.

But as you will understand, I don't like to post things that mischaracterize and are aimed to mislead.

-- Brad Delong

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Everything that appears on this blog is the copyrighted property of somebody. Often, but not always, that somebody is me. For things that are not mine, I either have obtained permission, or claim fair use. Feel free to quote me, but attribute, please. My photos and poetry are dear to my heart, and may not be used without permission. Ditto, my other intellectual property, such as charts and graphs. I'm probably willing to share. Let's talk. Violators will be damned for all eternity to the circle of hell populated by Rosanne Barr, Mrs Miller [look her up], and trombonists who are unable play in tune. You cannot possibly imagine the agony. If you have a question, email me: jazzbumpa@gmail.com. I'll answer when I feel like it. Cheers!

Friday, February 26, 2010

What the Hell? Friday

Consider the swastika.  You know what it looks like, so I don't need to picture it here.

Prior to being co-opted by the German Nazis as a symbol of alleged racial superiority, hatred, dominance, war, and genocide, it had been prominent in German culture since the mid 19th century as a symbol of German heritage, unity, and racial pride, due to its roots in Aryan culture.  Thus a symbol that is good, or at least neutral in this context, was morphed into a symbol for the greatest evil of modern times.

The word swastika goes back to to Sanskrit, so the idea of an Aryan connection is valid.  But it was also used in other cultures all over the world, including by the original natives of North America.  By no means can the Aryan claim be considered exclusive.  Up until the 1930's, nobody would have seen any negative connotation to the swastika.  In fact, a former home of mine had a mosaic of ceramic tiles in the foyer, and one of the repeating border designs was a swastika.  This house was built in the 1920's.

Since antiquity, the swastika was a symbol of the sun, light, life, hope and good fortune.   The Nazis corrupted it to their own evel ends.  It is highly unlikely it will ever be rehabilitated.

I have drawn on this source for the above information, and am also happy to report that there is no evidence that Rabbit Maranviille was a Nazi.  Hat tip to Silbey at Edge of the West.


J said...
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J said...

Interesting. Even when used in 19th century as a symbol of German-Aryan tradition, the swastika glyph was probably not intended to be completely benign, however. 19th century german intellectuals and scholars (Schopenhauer, for one....and there are hints in Hegel's writing of Aryanist sorts of concepts) wanted to break with the semitic tradition (including christianity, as well as judaism, really). Ancient sanskrit texts --hindu and buddhist --which were mostly unknown until 1800 or so, were translated, and linguists began to unravel the history of indo-european languages, and showed the relation of german, as well as latin and greek roots to....sanskrit. Many basic words--mother, mutter, something like matrika in hindi--have cognates throughout the indo-euro languages.

So what, many say--yet to the germans that was certainly evidence that much of the judeo-christian tradition was ...suspect (and, really it is--), at least as showing european origens. So, Schopenhaurer leads to Nietzche (who was capable with sanskrit, allegedly)--and even to Wagner, who was a bit of a linguist (ie the legend of The Ring of the Niebelungs has sanskrit parallels) .

The cleverer nazis used the Nietzschean ideas against jews--and at times against christians. Himmler shifted into a sort of pagan aryan once the war started (tho' Nietzsche was not generally supportive of the extreme german nationalists).

diachronic syntax may not be quantum physics, but actually slightly more interesting than ....econometrix...


J. the Obscure

(*the sanskrit word for mama/madre/mutter, is Matrika, as in.... Matriarch).

Jazzbumpa said...

J -

Nice elaboration.