Privilege and Power With Nips and Nazis
Could nips protect us from Nazis? & other vital philosophical questions for our time
I’ve always had some… strange thoughts kicking around in here about how we visualize love, and how we write history. Pop culture and stories give us this model of both love and historical truth that looks transcendent, everlasting… but what makes the people we love most precious to us, in my experience anyway, are the things nobody else sees. Those are the parts of history no one writes down. The banal moments with someone, the fact that they know how to make a sandwich just like you like it, the dumb tune they hum when they’re thinking… those things aren’t in the stories, and they aren’t in the history books, and yet they’re all we really, truly care about. All the fury and pain and struggle is in service of that, of acquiring and protecting that, and yet we immortalize the fury and pain and struggle and just… leave out the rest. “Happily ever after,” and then once the honeymoon’s done, show’s over, everybody out!
NSFW Warning — Nips and Nazis
Now, dig if you will the fairly provocative picture. The vanity set in the picture was Eva Braun’s, thus the iconography, and the Star of David belongs to the model. I like this picture for being the kind of thing that would derail any internet argument regardless of the participants — like all great art, it doesn’t let you evade its point or repurpose it for another agenda. It is a juxtaposition that provokes discomfort, and its intimacy prods us to personalize that discomfort, to bring the juxtaposition of domesticity and genocide down to a level where we can perceive our own responsibility for the systems that protect and serve us with open racial violence.
I found the picture beautiful and thought-provoking, and it feels pertinent to this train of thought — it’s so strange to see symbols that have such brutal, horrendous associations depicted in an elegant, utilitarian context, intended to be intimate accessories to someone who managed to support and celebrate that brutality…