THE ART OF THE POSSIBLE

I didn't think it was possible, but Pajamas Media has actually gone downhill in the past year. Like all sources of demagoguery, it's only a matter of time until they give in completely to paranoia. It appears that the time is now. On Monday the great repository of truth (the "PJ Tatler", which I believe is supposed to represent "tattler") loudly blared: BIZARRE NEO-SWASTIKA REMINISCENT OF "THE GREAT DICTATOR" USED AS POWER SYMBOL BY O.W.S. LEADERS. The symbol?

It's a pound sign. To anyone under 50 – obviously outside the range of the Pajamas Media writers and authors – it doubles as a hash tag for Twitter, i.e. "Hey, PJ Media is a front for the Viet Cong! #stuffimadeup" Or at least that's what it is to the untrained eye.

Note also how when the "leaders" put the symbol on their sleeves (as in the first and third photos), it is rotated 45 degrees just like the Nazi swastika was. Don’t these people see an echo of the swastika in their new power symbol? Don’t they realize that the early Nazi Party was (among other things, obviously) also overtly anti-capitalist? …Don’t they know that the early Nazis tried to garner sympathy with street rallies and marches?

I…I don't even want to waste the thirty seconds it would take to mock this. It makes its own gravy, so to speak.

Then a funny thing happened. The first commenter pointed out "Hey, it's just a pound sign/hash tag." So the author had to backtrack and revise his "argument":

As a commenter notes, the symbol may have derived originally from the Twitter "hashtag," but that in no way diminishes its creepiness. It may "just" be a rotated hashtag, but that doesn’t lessen its significance as a power symbol. The swastika, after all, was "just" a Buddhist good luck marking before the Nazis adopted it and started using it to indicate something else. And how did the Nazis alter it for their purposes? They rotated the Buddhist swastika 45 degrees, to give it a new association. Just as the hashtag sleeve marking has been rotated here. In fact, pointing out that the symbol may have originally had a different association, and then was later rotated to give it a new purpose, only makes it echo the swastika even more.

So in reality, being a clueless dipshit actually makes him more correct. Lucky, that.

I rarely recommend this, especially for a cesspool of personality disorders and intellectual impairment like PJ, but you absolutely have to read the comments. It's beyond hilarious to listen to the 55-and-over crowd talk about current politics using the only language and framing they know – the propaganda of the Cold War. The protesters are all communists (some of the commenters even appear to have been explained the plot of 1984 and Animal Farm at some point). Just look at the pictures! What a bunch of comsymps.

Just for the heck of it, I tried rotating that website 45 degrees. It went from retarded to sinisterly retarded.

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64 Responses to “THE ART OF THE POSSIBLE”

  1. Hazy Davy Says:

    How about a nice game of tic tac toe?
    No. Let's play global thermonuclear war.

    It is quite clear that the protesters are identifying themselves as commies, because they don't believe in M.A.D.

  2. eastriver Says:

    (coughing) …the stupid… (more coughing) …burns…the lungs… (gagging and heaving) …must get fresh air… (vomiting) …water…need water… (dry heaving) …the stupid…is in everything… (passing out) …must rest………

  3. Brian Says:

    This "zombie" could be the first person to actually fail the Rorschach test. Or, perhaps, in lieu of brains, this zombie is obsessed with Nazis. Either way, it is fascinating that someone that catastrophically stupid can post on the internet. Ease of use makes us all suffer, sometimes.

  4. g Says:

    I spent about 10 minutes reading comments there – and, to my shame, commenting there myself.

    I've actually never visited a pjm post before. They are abysmally stupid. I don't think I've ever seen such a collection of idiots.

  5. sarah Says:

    we can only hope that he never changes his font to wingdings by mistake. think of the wealth of horrifying neo-fascist symbolism just lurking in the style palate.

  6. ConcernedCitizen Says:

    The early Nazi Party was "overtly anti-capitalist"? What fucking absurdity is this? How do these people think Germany went from a war torn, destitute nation to the leading European military power in a matter of decades after WWI? By shunning foreign investment and capital flows? The only overt anti-capitalists in Germany in the 1930s belonged to the communist parties of that time – you know, the parties that Hitler united the German people against in fear and then beat into dissolution once he gained power.

    Oh, yeah, the pound sign thing is stupid too. But man, that history…

  7. Neal Deesit Says:

    "Just for the heck of it, I tried rotating that website 45 degrees. It went from retarded to sinisterly retarded."

    That's because you rotated it to the left.

  8. Middle Seaman Says:

    Ed, although you look quite fancy in the picture, I will not read even more crap. Our two about equal strength parties are a fascist one and a brain dead one. PJ belongs to the first; we know it for 30 years.

    Fascist are ignorant, e.g. creationism, narrow minded, e.g. boo gay soldier in Iraq, evil, e.g. no health care for you, and mainly highly stupid.

    # was a pound sign way before the Internet. You can rotate it as much as you want; it is still #. Fascists predate the Internet by about 5000 years.

  9. Major Kong Says:

    They've hit rock bottom – and broke out the shovels.

  10. wetcasements Says:

    Republicans could fuck up a wet dream, couldn't they?

  11. eau Says:

    Make sure you follow the PJM link to the "outstanding photo-essay" by "one of the best citizen photojournalists in the country".

    My favorite bits –

    1. The labelling of the angry lefties as "Fisters". Is this an attempt to make the hippies look as stupid as the Tea Baggers felt when they finally got around to googling "Tea Bagger", or just another example of the right's dogged refusal to identify a double entendre when it is slapping them in the face with a hairy ballsack?

    2. Anyone holding (or standing near) a sign that says something like Eat The Rich is labelled a "neo-Cannibal".

    The use of the term "retarded" as pejoritive usually leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but this is clearly retarded. Like a plastic bowl in the microwave. Retarded.

  12. Elle Says:

    This is my favourite comment:

    If you look at the Hammer & Sickle the symbols are also twisted to 45 degree angles.

    Clearly 45 degrees is the Angle of Evil. Bonus points for use of the word 'twisted', rather than 'rotated'.

  13. c u n d gulag Says:

    Maybe they should have used as asterisk instead.

    No matter how you ratate it, it still looks the same.

    It looks like a what?

    Conservatives could say that OWS is actually a secret gay movement because the asterisk looks like a sphincter?

    Oh, I give up…

  14. squirrelhugger Says:

    I only made it half way through the comments, but noticed a nice riff developing on the scarcity of flags– that was absolutely, positively stopped cold by a post quoting the flag code. Might want to file that one away for future use.

  15. anotherbozo Says:

    Ed, here you are again with the ageism, slamming the "55-and-over crowd," as if they (we) have a corner on stupid. Or even particularly "beyond hilarious" stupid.

    To be written: a new Dunciad that savors the particular ways that particular age groups show their idiocies. Enough to stick to this sorry country. A buffet of buffoonery. Each generation, dumb in its own inimitable way. Time to survey the big picture.

    The ignorance that was unaware of the tweet hashmark has to be of a special kind—the kind with its head up its ass 100% of the time. Newt Gingrich, my congressman Jerrold Nadler–hell, probably Nancy Reagan—have tweet accounts.

  16. Surly Duff Says:

    After reading the original post, I shook my head in disbelief and decided to forget such stupidity. Then, my phone rang and I was about to pick it up, I realized that the same symbol (#) was on my phone. The conspiracy goes even deeper than I ever realized and is perpetrated by the left by forcing our betters, such as wonderful telecommuncations corporations, to adopt fascist symbols on our phones and thus attempting to indoctrinate me every time I make a call. I dropped my phone in horror and led myself into a dark room to rest my weary mind and console myself of the fascist horror by listening to Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. Only then did I realize that the sonata is in the key of C sharp (C#). The fascism, it's everywhere!

  17. Tteddo Says:

    It's a tic-tac-toe convention. Jeez.

  18. Hazy Davy Says:

    (Of course, I don't know why the protesters have a pound sign or hash tag on them,either… If it said #tagthingswiththistag , I'd get it.)

  19. K. Says:

    One of the comments:

    "Is it just me or does Adenoid Hynkel look more feminie than the hashtagged speaker in the top photo? Just asking…"

    Why do they always ALWAYS go there?

  20. ChrisH Says:

    I love that Zombie (of PJM) apparently had nothing better to do than respond to a large percentage of the comments. I'm really annoyed with Ed for suggesting I check out the original post.

  21. Jon Says:

    It's an octothorpe.

  22. comrade x Says:

    This one wins the prize for Teabagger " lojik".
    So OWS is a secret neonazi group because the pound sign looks sort of like the symbol from a Charlie Chaplin satire from 1940 that mocks Hitler.
    Wow, now I see it!
    PS: The only reason you can't see the black helicopters overhead is because Slick Willy figured out how to coat them in invisible paint developed by space aliens working in Area 51.

  23. Mark S Says:

    We all know what happened after the hashtag fire.

  24. Fifth Dentist Says:

    They're coming for our precious bodily fluids!!!!
    Don't let them take our precious …

  25. Jaime Says:

    re the obsession with twisting/rotating the swastika 45 degrees, not even the m'fuckin' NAZIS were consistent about this – there are many shots in "Triumph of the Will" of the monumental ornamentation adorning the stadium where the swastikas are set as full-on squares a la Buddhist iconography – and not "diamonds" as seen on the armbands, the tail markings of Luftwaffe aircraft and whatever else.

    How could these goobers forget – I always thought "Triumph" was their favorite movie…

  26. Jaime Says:

    as for "eat the rich" that seems to go all that way back to that dirty Frenchman
    Rousseau – again with the blogging right's historical ignorance and inability to use tools of the devil like Google and Wikipedia.

    And cuz Lemmy makes everything better:

  27. anotherbozo Says:

    the "PJ Tatler", which I believe is supposed to represent "tattler"

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tatler

    Jonathan Swift was a contributor to the original Tatler [sic], not to mention Addison and Steele.

    Enough quibbling for the day. Though it is sad to see a venerable name dragged into the cesspit of wingnut bloggery.

  28. Elle Says:

    Jonathan Swift was a contributor to the original Tatler [sic], not to mention Addison and Steele.

    Which makes its current incarnation so depressing. It's quite the best thing they have at my hairdresser, but it's just an endless montage of the daughters of baronets and international financiers at the polo, interspersed between adverts for Balenciaga shoes, and handwringing articles about whether the recession means its accepable to just educate sons privately, and let daughters fend for themselves at a state school.

  29. Jeff Says:

    The utter stupidity of that thread and the comments of supporters of the writer is staggering. There is comedy gold to be found in the comments but it's just so scary that people actually think like this.

  30. PWL Says:

    Reminds me of all the yap from wingnuts during the Vietnam War, about how the peace sign was really a symbol of the Antichrist–a broken and inverted cross.

    Turns out the peace symbol was borrowed from the British nuclear disarmament movement of the fifties–it's a combination of the semaphore signals for "N" and "D"–for "Nuclear Disarmament," obviously.

    Yep, being a wingnut means being able to find any reason to show you're not full of shit–even when you obviously are.

  31. Mike Says:

    These are the people who found a crescent in the Missile Defense Agency logo, which was taken as evidence of Obama's crypto-Islamic agenda.

    Then of course it turned out that the "new" logo was commissioned during the Bush administration.

  32. Mugsy Says:

    "If you oppose Oligarchy, the wealthy call you a Communist".

    Or in this case: Marxists/Socialists/Stalinist/Nazi. Because in RightWing World, the terms are completely interchangeable.

  33. MSP Says:

    Please, enough with the ageist 'under 50' stuff. I was hoping this generation would have no bigotry, but it seems to be perfectly fine lump all older people together.

  34. msmc Says:

    Actually, I'm so behind the times I didn't know what the # was being used for. I don't use Twitter and had no idea that # is a symbol it uses. So thanks for the info. Either way, I certainly wasn't seeing anything evil about it. Some people have too much imagination and too much time on their hands.

  35. evie Says:

    beg to object to your "over 55" comment. Not fair. I'm over 55, been protesting since Civil Rights days (with my mother) and it's not nice to generalize, in general. Am down with the (sinisterly angled) #OWS movement and love your site.
    So there.

    (kids nowadays!)

  36. TyC Says:

    I always thought the peace sign was the footprint of a dove. Seems more likely than a cryptic combination of the semaphore signals for "N" and "D"

  37. D.N. Nation Says:

    Is this the same Zombie that got banned from Little Green Footballs when Charles Johnson stopped being crazy?

  38. Batocchio Says:

    It's not even rotated in that picture! Good lord, these people are Darwin Award winners just waiting to happen.

  39. Phire Says:

    Not much to say, other than that the final line of this post nearly made me crack up at work. Fantastic.

  40. StringOnAStick Says:

    Apparently, individuals wearing the hashtag symbol at OWS events are the ones to seek out if you need information/have questions/etc. This convention has been adopted to help participants, not to freak out idiot PJM posters, though that is certainly an entertaining by-product.

  41. Halloween Jack Says:

    I love the way that Zombie just kind of shrugs and says, well, if it's not the symbol that makes the hippies seem more sinister, then it's the hippies that make the symbol seem more sinister; either way, I win. And the whole Adenoid Hynkel thing just paints him as the sort of film nerd that rarely gets laid.

  42. Jaime Says:

    Hey hey HEY! I'M the sort of -all sortsa things – nerd that rarely gets laid, but I must vigorously object to being lumped in with the likes of them what G&T excoriates. Even if I did reference "Triumph of the Will" upthread…

  43. Halloween Jack Says:

    I totes wasn't referring to nerds like you, Jaime, unless you're in the habit of arguing a la Zombie by buttressing an inherently bogus argument with a reference to a (now-)obscure film that, on even the most cursory examination, has only the barest resemblance to the subject at hand, in which case, yeah, I guess I am.

  44. Arslan Says:

    How can we contact that blogger and explain to him very carefully that he is a moron? Another thing, and I apologize if someone already mentioned this, but Hitler did not "turn" anyone's swastika. Swastikas of all sorts exist as sacred symbols among many different cultures. Hitler happened to pick the tilted one, but you can find un-tilted swastikas appearing in various Nazi memorabilia, particularly in early uniforms. Swastikas 100% identical to that of Nazi Germany feature prominently in Tibetan Buddhist art of Tiber proper, Kalmykiya, Buryatia, and Mongolia.

  45. Heywood J. Says:

    I see what the PJM writer did there, he's making a clever meta argument about the re-purposing of semiotic signifiers, symbols, and objects, beyond the intent of their originators.

    Take, for example, pajamas. Now, rather than thinking of soft flannel keeping you warm on a cold winter morn, when you hear the word "pajamas" you now think of mouth-breathing cousin-fuckers pulling ricockulous arguments out of their asses with such mindless ferocity, it probably leaves scars in their cloacas.

  46. Kathy Says:

    I have commented on this site before about the ageism that is so prominently on display. Endless whining about Baby Boomers and insinuations that anyone over 50 cannot understand anything except in the framework of the Cold War. I will reiterate……..stupid is stupid and knows no age group. There are stupid 30-year- olds and stupid 70-year-olds. Being young doesn't give you particular insight into anything. I am 58 years old and I know the difference between a pound sign or hashtag and a swastika. And neither of them has anything to do with the Cold War. I have lived through assassinations of JFK, RFK, and MLK, VietNam, Civil Rights and hippies and Watergate. If you need pointers on protesting, look no further than my generation.

  47. eau Says:

    Never have I seen a more convincing argument than this –

    Ed: Boomers are fucking whingers, more concerned with their own butthurt than, well… anything, really.

    Boomers: I usually agree with you, ed. But in this particular case, WHAAAAAAAAA!

  48. TiYx Says:

    If I am correct, this blogger does not seem to be aware of the existence of the # : Pound sign/hash tag. That really speaks volumes about how mentally aware the blogger of this blog is. I mean, the # symbol is on every keyboard and phone.

  49. nwhepcat Says:

    Hey. I am an old and I know what a hashtag is. I've argued with @adamsbaldwin, had my political snark RT'd by @margoandhow and been part of a secret cabal who scared the bejesus out of P Diddy when he thought our fannish hashtag about our TV show coming back was actually a sinister Satanist plot. So while I join you in mocking the nitwit in question, not all us olds are clueless. #JustSayin #Don'tTeachYourGrandmaToSuckEggs (#huh?) #GetOffMyDamnLawn

  50. Dr. Snott Says:

    My favorite part of all this is the commenters who can't seem to wrap their pretty minds around the idea that an organization of progressive types would have some kind of leadership.

    Like, omg, wtf, aren't they all supposed to be dirty, hippy, neo-nazi, communist, anarchists?

  51. Arslan Says:

    Ironically I'm 28 and wouldn't have known WHY they were using a hashtag if someone hadn't pointed out the twitter connection. But at least I knew it was a hashtag.

    Here's some irony though: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Guard

    OMG, they're ROMANIAN FASCISTS!

  52. nonny-moose Says:

    i know, i come from Australia. but thats (#) not a pound symbol. THATS (

  53. nonny-moose Says:

    /edit: oops it looks like the G&T comment system broke my post cos of parentheses. try again:

    i know, i come from Australia. but thats (#) not a pound symbol. THATS £ a pound symbol :P (alt-156)

    but that page … all i can say is holy shit. when i was at half way through the comments i was just gobsmacked they still havent figured out just how loony they look, let alone they continue to defend the indefensible.

    as Reasonabilia said 'I’m starting to think that Zombie is a really ironic handle for you.' there is definitely the stale fust of necrophila about, isn't there? not to mention lack of brains (theyve all been eaten, y'see).

    still. that seriously is an amazing amount of crazy packed on that page. "bad optics! undercurrents of totalitarian thought!". never mind the fact totalitarianism (at least so far as i regard it) tends to require a really well organised, regimented movement (to the point of militarism) to work, rather than a bunch of ad-hoc hippies clubbing together with no real hierarchy or power structure…

    it might just be me but i reckon that is kinda something you need for a totalitarian movement to last for anything more than a flash in the pan, let alone to develop some traction and start taking control. comparing and contrasting the soviet socialist states (USSR, China, Cuba, Vietnam) and pegging OWS with them is like saying chalk is cheese. i know its been said that getting Democrats together on the same page is like herding cats; from my point of view OWS seems to have pretty much the same sort of fragmentation asides from the top level items of fairness and equalities.

    i rather think this is what happens, what it looks like when you bin civics classes and teach to test rather than actually educate kids with thinking, logic and analysis abilities. people start believing provably crackpot theories that wouldnt have passed muster otherwise. thats a dangerous place to be, and if theres anything likely to lead to another totalitarian state, THAT is it.

    on the other hand at least some people are getting some entertainment from PJMs idiocy. i think id rather the smarter public TBH.

  54. Auguste Says:

    Someone will correct me if I'm wrong, I hope, but I had always thought that the whole idea of taking the Swastika from Buddhist iconography had about 50% to do with Hitler being the evil dictator equivalent of those high schoolers who latch onto an aesthetic because they're the first ones to discover it, and 50% to do with some sort of weird connection to the whole nature of "the Aryan race" – Aryan's a Sanskrit loan word and the Aryan race seen as an Indo-European origin and blah blah Lost Ark?

  55. Warren Bonesteel Says:

    These days, logic and reason are MIA on both sides of the political debate.

  56. Pokey Says:

    You mean the octothorpe, named after one of America's greatest athletes?
    http://www.worldwidewords.org/weirdwords/ww-oct1.htm

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