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Everybody Hates Me - Unbinding Prometheus

About Everybody Hates Me

Previous Entry Everybody Hates Me Jun. 6th, 2007 @ 01:13 pm Next Entry
Dear Combichrist,

You make me dance. This is good.

I'm afraid that some cultural things might be lost in translation as they move from Appalachia across the ocean to Norway. Though perhaps given the noise over Panzer AG, maybe you just have an unfortunate aesthetic taste in picking the loosing side of some pivotal conflicts of the last two hundred years (if so, you might want to see if Laibach can give you some advice on Ustaše uniform--remember the more obscure the better!).



Yes, I'm making an issue out of a t-shirt. I'm annoying like that.

What does the confederate flag mean? Is it a symbol for rebellion? Here is a helpful article that might assist in some trans-atlantic understanding:


Anarchism and Confederate-Flag Culture



One Man’s Journey from Southern Heritage to Libertarian Socialism
by Prolecat

If you are someone who displays a Confederate flag out of overt racism, this text is not for you. In fact, we will fight you in the streets.

If, however, you are someone who insists that he is not racist, but you have at some point in your life displayed a Confederate Flag out of a general sense of rebellion against the government, the boss, parents, pompous Yankee liberals, or just against modern society in general, then this text is addressed to you. Especially, if you are a working class southerner who flies the Cross of St. Andrew as an in-your-face act of protest against the mass production of national “culture,” a McDonaldized product that has the effect of smothering and burying authentic local cultures that (some feel) are symbolized by the Confederate flag… especially, then, this brief sketch of one man’s odyssey from the glorification of southern heritage to an appreciation of anarchist ideas and values, may have something to say to you.

As a child I was raised by the school, television, church, and my parents, in roughly that order of importance. All of these authorities told me what it was appropriate for me to think, do and feel at any given moment. I was supposed to love and obey a God who never bothered to show his face to me, and in a similar vein I was supposed to love and obey a familial father who didn’t have time for me, either. Parents and teachers were to be respected, and for children who failed in that endeavor the “policeman would come and get you” (which proved to be all too true.)

But at least I had the television… Mr. TV was my buddy, my fellow sufferer in the face of all this authority. Mr. TV was the coolest kid on the block, the guy who knew his way around the social pit-falls of school, the ultimate arbiter of what was cool and what was, gasp, “lame” (can you imagine a crueler, more horrible expression?)

The problem was, it was all a bunch of lies, and I knew it. (Or at least, once I got old enough to think for myself, I knew it.) The meaning-of-it-all that the church offered meant, in fact, nothing at all. It was illogical, but served the purpose of telling me to be a good servant, because I would get my reward after I was dead from an invisible person in the sky. (I don’t think the unlikelihood of THAT little scenario requires too much commentary.) The school, with its sports programs and detention halls, which claimed to be opening my mind to the mysteries of the universe and the joys of great art, was in fact training to me to become a cog in the great corporate machine. And my parents were too much in the thrall of this corporate religion themselves, to do anything but reinforce it.

Even my best friend, the TV, turned against me. He begin to say that if I was born a white southerner, then I was to blame for all the racial ills of mankind. That’s right, I, little ole southern white boy, had done it all, from the Grecian slave societies of antiquity to the Boston busing riots, from the rape of Nanking to the Holocaust, all the racial ills of mankind could be laid at my doorstep. By this point in time the church (and my parents) had stuffed me so full of irrational guilt that I was inclined to believe it… but somehow, it just didn’t add up.

So I took a big horn from a bottle of (Kentucky) bourbon, hung a Confederate flag in the window, and told the world to kiss my ass. I was through apologizing for being born…

Here is the summary version: the American corporate titans that control the TV, newspapers, and grammar school textbooks have declared all things southern to be racist, and all things racist to be southern, in order to confuse the issue and evade their own responsibilities. They portray slavery as having been a purely southern institution, instead of as a single component of a universally oppressive white/Anglo economic system (that happened to find its worst excesses in the cotton fields of the southern United States in the 1800’s).

By painting slavery and racism as a uniquely southern phenomenon, the CEO’s manage to divert attention from the racist legacy that remains. When they falsely imply that racism is uniquely southern, and then correctly add that the racial situation in the south now mirrors that of the rest of the country, they declare the problem solved. Implicitly this has the effect of encouraging such reactionary nonsense as charges of “reverse discrimination.”

In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. The problem of white supremacy in America is anything but resolved. In fact, police officers all over America target people of color for searches and beatings, while the nation’s jails, prisons and housing projects are littered with the dark-skinned human refuse of the ultimate soulless commodity system, the great American labor market. In the 1850’s most blacks were subject to whips and chains, but a small portion were relatively “free”. In modern society, most people of color are impoverished or imprisoned, while a similarly small portion are middle-class, or relatively “well-off”. Very little has changed, other than the means of the enslavement.

These facts are what the “racism is a southern thing” myth is intended to obscure. Blacks, Latinos, and to a lesser extent, working-class southern whites are all harmed by this myth. It is time to place the responsibility for American racism and poverty squarely where it belongs, at the doorstep of the business class, and at the foot of the American flag (and all other Anglo-nationalist flags) which provide the business class with aid and comfort.

So, burn your Confederate flag- give it a respectful ceremony if you must, but really, get rid of it- and join the anarchist movement as we set out to combat, defeat and replace the racist, classist, patriarchal society that bores us with political speeches, numbs us with television, scares us with the superstitions of religion, hypnotizes us with the banalities of commercial advertising, and threatens us with the state-religion of patriotism. We are the “rebels” of the modern corporate-techno-nightmare age, and our ultimate goal is to replace the businesses, government and churches with a society of free equals, in which all live at peace with nature and each other.

Join us as we set out to build a new world, a world in which every man, woman and, yes, child is viewed and treated as a valuable part of the great whole of larger humanity, instead of as a competitor for money, sex, and power. Join us as we set out to build a world based on sharing and mutual respect, where local idiosyncrasies (that are supportive of human dignity) are respected, even celebrated. Join us, and be proud of the human being that you are, the community in which you live, and the planet on which you stand.

Down with McDonalds, Wal-Mart, ADM and the rest of the corporations! Up with your neighbors, and yourself!


I'll admit that article is pretty thick on the revolutionary rhetoric. It's got a lot of bombast. If you think about it, though--it's a hell of a lot more controversial to the modern era and status quo than any reactionary appreciation of a dead regime whose values were morally bankrupt at the time--much more so now.

Combichrist could continue down the confederate route. Lots of artists have made a career solely out playing fried chicken with racist insignia. So much so, that the entire act has already been predicted and mocked before it's even happened. That's a sure formula to be trite and boring, the one thing a music act with a shocking schtick never wants to be--is boring. This shit was already played out when Lynyrd Skynyrd did it.
I'm going to be leading a chant of "Free Bird" at the next Combichrist show I'm at.

Still, I have some advice that could spice up the act: you could you mix in some clips of "Birth of a Nation" into your video stage show. In interviews, you could discount any racist ideology while claiming that the film was a breakthrough in cinematography and feature length films. Maybe do some sort of photo-negative thing with the images so the blacks are white and the whites are black. Also, maybe come out on stage in a big white sheet and then pull it off to reveal your replica confederate army attire. You'd be like a ghost--ghosts are like gothic. Maybe start a trend where you've got stage dancers who appear in "black face". For fashion accessories, folks could start wearing nooses as neckties. "Rekonstruction" would be a great name for an album/side project (it sounds really industrial/powernoise/aggrotech). If anyone asks if it has anything to do with the post-civil war period in the U.S.--just make a vague reference to being inspired by the old record label of similar name; that's very rivet.

I'm probably biased though, being from West Virginia... the state that seceded from Virginia during the civil war. Folks flying the confederate flag around my neck of the woods were up to no good. West Virginia, where John Brown had his famed failed raid on Harper's Ferry.

Why doesn't anyone ever want to play dress up as John Brown? There was one crazy, gun-totting firebrand who made Kansas bloody, fighting for freedom. In the words of escaped slave and Baltimorean Fredrick Douglas, "Did John Brown fail? John Brown began the war that ended American slavery and made this a free Republic. His zeal in the cause of freedom was infinitely superior to mine. Mine was as the taper light; his was as the burning sun. I could live for the slave; John Brown could die for him."
Current Music: MachineGun GoGo - Panzer AG
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From:eriss
Date:June 6th, 2007 05:32 pm (UTC)
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FWIW, Andy Laplegua lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
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From:flintultrasparc
Date:June 6th, 2007 05:41 pm (UTC)
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Attached article was also written by a Georgian.

Just makes it worse, he should know better--or I suppose he'll learn soon enough.
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From:saffron9
Date:June 6th, 2007 05:52 pm (UTC)

heh funny old world

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when i was little the stars and bars were cool because of the general lee.. little did i know what they represented.. is my idea of the stars and bars supposed to change now that i "know better"?
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From:flintultrasparc
Date:June 6th, 2007 05:57 pm (UTC)

Re: heh funny old world

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Mine did.
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From:saffron9
Date:June 6th, 2007 06:39 pm (UTC)

Re: heh funny old world

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Yes... but you are weird.
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From:ltmurnau
Date:June 6th, 2007 06:42 pm (UTC)
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Gee, the rebel flag went right by me (but I'm Canadian). I was looking at the Japanese schoolgirls in handcuffs...
From:mlleglass
Date:June 6th, 2007 09:02 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, I immediately found that both tired and disgusting. If you're an Asian woman you get pretty sick of that shit pretty quickly.....
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From:flintultrasparc
Date:June 6th, 2007 07:07 pm (UTC)

And here is where I loose my political correctness

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Andy is Norwegian, not German. So it might be like this: "Ve-a ere-a cumbeechrist! Ve-a teke-a futus in durty ruums veet cheeensevs und jepunese-a schuul gurls in hund cooffffs und ve-a veer cunffederete-a fleg becoose-a ve-a hete-a yuoo".

He really wants to sound like this though: "We is combichrist! Fry mah hide! We take fotos in dirty rooms wif chainsars an' japanese skoo gals in han' cuffs an' we wears confederate flag on account o' we hate yo'"

Real "electroheads" type like this: "WE ARRE C0MbICHRIST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11 we takef otos in dirty 0rOms with chainsaws and ap4neaes school babes in ahnd cuffs and we wear confed3rate flag gecuz W eahte you"


Thanks, Dialectizer!
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From:odubtaig
Date:June 6th, 2007 08:08 pm (UTC)
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As an asides, what happened to locustinferno?
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From:flintultrasparc
Date:June 6th, 2007 08:11 pm (UTC)
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Supposedly, he has a new super secret LJ, but just for viewing other people's journals.

You can find him myspace.
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From:odubtaig
Date:June 6th, 2007 09:13 pm (UTC)
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Righto then, I don't think he's going to be viewing much of mine seeing as I'm currently hiding from a fundie nut and (who thinks 'racialism' is a good thing) and Mr Khaos Magick so I'm all friends only these days.
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From:dharmacrat
Date:June 6th, 2007 08:28 pm (UTC)
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I rather like the deliberate use of fascist or reactionary imagery in my industrial music. Hell, I hang out on 4chan, with all its "edgy" racism and TITS OR GTFO misogyny. Last Halloween I almost dressed up as the black mage from Final Fantasy with minstrel blackface until I decided it wasn't enough of a joke for anyone to be "in" on.

But from what little of Combichrist I've listen to actively, you get the feeling that LaPlegua wants to be taken seriously when he's screaming about "feminist cunts". Unless he's so edgy that he even rejects the expectation that such invectives should be accompanied with some measure ironic wit, 'cuz he sure as shit ain't funny.

Anyway, I'm of the opinion that industrial is the only music that actually gets better when the artist gets over their angst.
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From:flintultrasparc
Date:June 6th, 2007 08:45 pm (UTC)
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Hey, fascists aren't the only ones with uniforms!

Two halloweens ago I was such a nerd, I went as a drow elf in blackface. One person recognized what it was.

I think the fascist aesthetic in industrial music is way overstated. "Militaristic" is probably a reference, but still the aesthetic is broader than that. The political content of most of the acts in the genre that have any political content tends to be left of center to radical... with a few fascist outliers.
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From:dharmacrat
Date:June 8th, 2007 01:04 am (UTC)
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For the most part I'll agree about the overstatement of fascist imagery, but on the other hand the tendency to use the master's tools against him has always been a part of the industrial aesthetic. With the early experimental stuff like Throbbing Gristle, there was definitely a sense of "well, if industry is taking over music, let's make music industrially," ergo collectives of musicians sampling machine noise and laying tracks like the studio was an assembly line. To top it off, Industrial Records' logo featured a picture of a chimney at Auschwitz. So on a purely superficial level, the fascist element has always been there. But you're right that the artists themselves have always leaned toward the radical left.

And that's why guys like Andy LaPlegua and Klayton Scott worry me. It looks like in ten years "industrial" is going to be reduced to heavy metal with a drum machine.

A lot of folks read fascist symbolism in KMFDM after Columbine even though they were always explicitly anti-capitalist. As a couple other commenters pointed out, it's mostly the German association. And Americans not knowing and not caring about the differences between Nazis and Commies, not to mention a general clumsiness with irony.

~It's like raaaaaaaaaain on your wedding day~

*facepalm*
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From:mlleglass
Date:June 6th, 2007 08:59 pm (UTC)
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Loving Japanese horror movies translates to promoting yourself with cliched yet still offensive racist images of infantilized Asian females? Really?
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From:combichrist
Date:June 6th, 2007 09:41 pm (UTC)
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Racist? You fucking stupid? I am married to a mexican woman you idiot. I have never said one word about race. The only thing pissing me off, is white americans being PC. Music that is critical of white people? America do not need another hip-hop artist, believe me.
From:mlleglass
Date:June 7th, 2007 02:57 am (UTC)
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Maybe I'm being dense but what does being Mexican woman have to do with your display being offensive to asians and blacks?
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From:combichrist
Date:June 7th, 2007 03:21 am (UTC)
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I'm sorry, but "Blacks" is actually a really racist word around here, and the asian girl is a good friend of mine. And if anything, Mexicans are the biggest target for racism here. And how am I offensive to asians and african americans? Because I think the asian girl is sexy and because I wear a shirt with an emblem that was the state flag of (a state with the majority of african americans,) Georgia. It was the state flag from 1956 - 2001. Would a german flag make me a Nazi? Come on. People in the north of america still think they are better than people in the south. Why cant people think for them selves. Narrow minded people like you, is the reason why I do what I do. So PC I wanna throw up. But you know what? You are right, the flag is racist, so is the the american flag, waving high above all the blood shed native indian land. You ever think about that when you hear your national anthem? Well God Bless America
From:mlleglass
Date:June 7th, 2007 03:47 am (UTC)
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I'm sorry, but "Blacks" is actually a really racist word around here

I was trying to be inclusive, since not all Americans of African descent are from Africa, and most of the "black" people I know are from the Caribbean and prefer the term "black".

I'm not really trying to give you are hard time, you just still aren't making sense--either the display of the stars 'n bars was intended to be racist and/or shocking and/or offensive or it wasn't. If it was, then I guess you achieved the intended result: Many seen to find it in poor taste.

Re the asian thing-- I don't really care if the girl was a friend of yours--that isn't the point. I was pointing out that it's a negative cliche, demeaning to asian women. Race issues aside, the image of an adult woman dressed in child's clothes and sexualized as she is in the image above sort of turns my stomach. It isn't abnormal to find degraded and infantilized images of women in the media, or to see Japanese/asian women portrayed as schoolgirl hookers, but I don't have to like it and I try to fight against it.
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From:flintultrasparc
Date:June 7th, 2007 02:07 pm (UTC)

Southern change gonna come at last, now your crosses are burning fast

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I don't know anything about your personally, just that I like your music and enjoy the shows I've seen in D.C., Baltimore and Montreal. Which is why I'm up for giving you the benefit of the doubt on it.

I have to wonder, did you actually read the article I posted? The one that starts off with: "If, however, you are someone who insists that he is not racist, but you have at some point in your life displayed a Confederate Flag out of a general sense of rebellion against the government, the boss, parents, pompous Yankee liberals, or just against modern society in general, then this text is addressed to you."

So, I do understand that there is more than one meaning behind displaying the confederate flag. "Rock n roll", or specifically "Southern Rock" is the least of them. The primary and most obvious reason to display it is a political partisan statement in favor of the Confederacy and it's legacy of slavery and segregation. Since you know Lynyrd Skynyrd, I'd assume you know the song "Sweet Home Alabama" and the song it was a response to, Neil Young's "Southern Man". Lynyrd Skynyrd released that single with the confederate flag on it; and were actively entering into the cultural debate around the politics around desegregation and civil rights. This may seem like ancient history to you, but that single was released the year I was born. The court order in busing only came out in 1971. While desegregation is now the law of the land, those decisions have actually been eroded and social segregation has continued; any casual glance at Baltimore and D.C. (and I imagine Atlanta) still look rather obviously segregated; now by custom instead of law. I am not calling Lynyrd Skynyrd racist or pro-segregation, just pointing out that they entered into the cultural debate on it and the imagery and lyrics they chose left people questioning where they really stood on the issue--particularly when compared to Neil Young who was not ambiguous at all about his position.

I do need to comment on one statement you made that is objectively (rather than subjectively) wrong. Namely your claim that Georgia is "a state with the majority of african americans". According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 71% of Georgians identify as "white", while only 27% identify as "African American/black". Blacks are neither the majority of Georgia's population, nor the state with the highest percentage of blacks, nor the state with the largest number of blacks in the U.S. So, for Georgia... you're statement is wrong and blacks and whites were voting as a block in terms of the flag, blacks would be on the loosing end of that majority vote (just like they would have been on a vote to end segregation). Still, I'm willing to give you the benefit of a doubt here and say, if you only look at Atlanta... it certainly could seem like that because Atlanta is a black majority city. It works the same way here in Maryland: Maryland is a white majority state with a black minority; but Baltimore is a black majority city. This is partially because of the "white flight" from the cities during desegregation.

Drawing a fine line between using "black" or "African-American" is actually PC bullshit; when polled... a majority of blacks prefer "black". Maybe it's an issue around your friends and acquaintances. If so, I think it's always wise to refer to people in the manner they wish.
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From:flintultrasparc
Date:June 7th, 2007 02:09 pm (UTC)

How long? How long?

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I don't want to get into the labyrinth of racism in Mexico, but there is racism there as well. Racism has far less to do with an individuals own identity and ethnicity than it has to do with how others who don't even know them perceive them. I imagine most folks in Baltimore or Atlanta would see your wife as "white"--whether she'd agree with them or not. I'd rather not talk about her because she's not participating in this discussion (yet?) and to continue to do so would be to treat her like a prop.

I know that in the U.S. the debate around immigration is often just code words for racism particularly against immigrants who aren't white. If you took any time to look at my journal you'd notice that my last post concerned immigration. Solidarity with immigrants is one of the areas I am active, so welcome to America. I back that up with action and mean it sincerely.

To get back to the flag, you ask if it would make you a nazi if you were flying the German flag? No. But if you were flying the Flag of the German Democratic Republic (1959-1990) they might certainly confuse you with a Stalinist, and if you were flying the German flag from 1933-1945; they might certainly confuse you with a Nazi. To a lot of people in the U.S., flying the confederate battle flag associates you with the confederacy, slavery, segregation and racism. Most folks will assume if that's not the case, then you are probably just an insensitive jack ass. They might not say it to your face, but a lot of them are thinking it.

As you point out, confederate battle flag was only the most prominent part of the Georgian flag from 1956-2001? What was going on in the 1950s? Oh, right... the civil rights movement and the struggle against segregation. The adoption of the confederate flag into Georgia's state flag was a deliberate sneer by Georgia's state government at pressure on desegregation and civil rights coming down from the federal level, and from northern whites, and "Brown vs. Board of Education". And why did it stop being part of the Georgian flag in 2001? Because the NAACP organized against that symbol, and eventually most Georgians have agreed that they no longer wish to be associated with the confederate battle flag.

I agree with you that the American flag has long symbolized a racist society. If you had read the article I started this journal entry with, you would have read that the author thought that racism is not just a "southern thing" and that racism has long been propagated by the ruling class here and it's business interests. I do know a few things about the colonization of the U.S. and the genocidal conflict that european settlers and their government waged against the indigenous. You are probably much more likely to find me burning the U.S. flag than waving it, and I don't sing the Star Spangled Banner despite it being composed in my adopted home city. However, unlike the confederate battle flag, the majority doesn't agree with me that the U.S. flag symbolizes a racist society. If you had a magazine cover with you waving a U.S. flag, I probably first would have wondered if you were or ironic, or that you were embracing the U.S. flag as many immigrants do. The U.S. flag brings up a totally different set of assumptions and ideas to most people in the U.S. than the confederate battle flag does.

I do think we could use some more critical hip-hop. In popular culture, seems like hip-hop has sold it's soul for cashmoney, blingbling, bitches and hoes. I'd like to see more musicians like Saul Williams, The Coup, and Son of Nun.

Symbols have meaning and emotional power; otherwise we wouldn't use them. Most folks agree that the confederate battle flag is a racist symbol and should be retired. You are, ofcourse, free to do whatever you want. Other folks are free to think you are a jackass if you do.
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From:r1vethead
Date:June 9th, 2007 04:04 pm (UTC)
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I guess there's a lot of us in the indusrial "community" that would rather have good, or even mediocre, artists sporting left wing and revolutionary symbols, instead of cliche icons of pop rebellion that pay homage to the traditions of things we despise and are antithetical to our cultural outlook.

I'm not so much offended, as I think it's retarded for any progressive industrial artist to sport something like the stars and bars. It would be kind of like wearing "BUSH 2008" t-shirt to try and act edgy.
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From:aesthetic
Date:July 13th, 2007 12:16 pm (UTC)
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Amen.

And just to be cheeky about it?

WTFIWWYP? :-P
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From:flintultrasparc
Date:July 13th, 2007 12:43 pm (UTC)
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Thanks for your insightful reply a month after the conversation has ended. Your contribution is welcome and duly noted.
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From:aesthetic
Date:July 13th, 2007 12:50 pm (UTC)

Anytime!

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A link to this thread was just posted on my friends list -- I had to chime in due to its ridiculous nature... To claim there's any racism involved is just nonsense...
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From:flintultrasparc
Date:July 13th, 2007 02:37 pm (UTC)

Re: Anytime!

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I think I've said my piece on this post. I don't think Andy is a racist. I think he's a jackass that's playing with a racist symbol. There is a subtle difference.
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From:flintultrasparc
Date:June 7th, 2007 02:43 pm (UTC)
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Noone is calling for censorship, here.

Art calls out to be analyzed and criticized. That's what we are doing here, and in dialogue with the the artist in question.

I don't know if my own personal definition of art is elastic enough to include a tshirt with a flag logo from 142 years ago. It certainly isn't very original or creative.
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From:flintultrasparc
Date:June 7th, 2007 03:47 pm (UTC)
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THIS IS ART:

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From:r1vethead
Date:June 9th, 2007 04:08 pm (UTC)

"more matter, less with art!"

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Perhaps we don't understand his intentions.

However, I just think the photo is kind of laughable. I'm sure his fan base loved it.

btw- limiting art is a form of "art" itself.
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From:flintultrasparc
Date:June 7th, 2007 04:09 pm (UTC)

Rebel Yell!

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Billy Idol gets it now.

Idol said, "When we were punk rockers we wore the swastika like the Hell's Angels."

And angry Deutsch cut him short, stating, "I've got a big problem with that, man. Billy, I've got a big problem with that."

Red-faced Idol tried to save face as Deutsch desperately tried to cut to a commercial break.

He rejoined, "I'm not saying, 'Do that now...' I never wore that (swastika) after I was 21 or something. We found out how terrible the sign of the swastika was. We didn't realise.

"We were young kids and all we wanted to do was p**s off the people who fought in the war, who were teaching us. It's one of the most worst symbols in the world."

Deutsch insisted Idol admit he made a mistake wearing the Nazi symbol, even when he was a teenager.

Idol stated, "It's totally a mistake. It's the most hateful symbol in the world. I hate it."

PUNK ICON IDOL UPSETS JEWISH TV HOST WITH SWASTIKA COMMENTS
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From:ding_0_
Date:June 7th, 2007 02:07 am (UTC)
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Doesn't really have anything directly to do with all of this:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=5kK0-o0-BcI

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From:flintultrasparc
Date:June 7th, 2007 02:30 pm (UTC)
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I looked for it, and couldn't find it. Was it in my journal, or [Bad username: http://miyuroki.livejournal.com/]?
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From:cycloplegia
Date:July 13th, 2007 12:42 pm (UTC)

this'll end the debate!

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see, combichrist and bill cosby worked together!
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