Social Question

JLeslie's avatar

Do you see a swastika in this Chanukah paper?

Asked by JLeslie (57635points) December 8th, 2014 from iPhone

The story is Walgreens is selling a holiday wrapping paper that a woman feels has the pattern of a swastika. Here is the story. What do you think?

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80 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

She’s oversensitive. Yes, I can see the four arms of it, but that’s incidental to the larger design and I cannot imagine that was in the minds of the designer.

I would note her as a crackpot.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

There is no swastika there. The arms aren’t connected. She’s a nut job and Walgreens is acting like an idiot.

gailcalled's avatar

Similar classical designs like the Greek Key have been around forever.

janbb's avatar

I definitely see two swastikas holding up the table thingy. I doubt it was intentional but it’s there. Don’t know if I would have seen it if it weren’t pointed out but I could see someone being sensitive to it.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@janbb I see it now. It is there on the left picture. Also, in the comments on the article it’s described as an Eastern Swastika, which is supposedly a good omen.

LuckyGuy's avatar

The woman is an oversensitive nut-job. I see the symbol for Buddhist Temples which were around thousands of years before Germany. Besides, the swastika is rotated 45 degrees – picture an x with serifs.
Humans can find patterns everywhere. If I go outside now I can probably find one in the branches of my apple trees. Perceived offenses can be found everywhere.

longgone's avatar

I found it in the left picture, but I had to search for it.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Check out this Chanukah paper and tell me what you see.

I see rows of erect and flaccid members – all circumcised.

dappled_leaves's avatar

It’s a remarkably stupid design for a Hanukkah paper. I don’t know what they were thinking.

JLeslie's avatar

At first glance I liked the paper. It reminds me of a Greek Key like patterns, which @gailcalled also pointed out. My dad’s wedding band was Greek Key.

Finding the swastika for me was like trying to find the less obvious pattern in those tricky art things where you need to relax your eyes. I never would have noticed if it weren’t for this news report.

From what I understand Walgreens is considering removing all the paper from it’s shelves.

johnpowell's avatar

Odds are the paper was designed and manufactured in China. The design is pretty much a standard pattern you will find in Photoshop/Illustrator. I’m pretty sure I have seen the same pattern tattooed around the biceps of frat boys.

JLeslie's avatar

The thing is, if it’s a possible reminder it’s a problem I guess. I didn’t use the wedding march at my wedding like a lot of Jews, because of the Hitler reminder.

marinelife's avatar

I see what has her upset. Clearly, it was accidental and not intended.

ucme's avatar

Kinda, but I also see a map of the London Underground (Piccadilly Circus)
People really need to get over themselves.

@LuckyGuy I see trees of green, red roses too…

dappled_leaves's avatar

Yup, people whose families were murdered are oversensitive nutjobs who should just get over themselves. Fuck empathy and compassion.

filmfann's avatar

I saw the swastikas right away. No question about that.
I suppose a lot of people are sensitive about it, and WalGreens is right to pull the paper.
Was it intentional? Who knows? Regardless of whether or not it was accidental, it needs to be removed.

janbb's avatar

I agree with @dappled_leaves and @filmfann; it should be pulled. Probably not intentional but a traumatic trigger nonetheless. If your family was killed by the Nazis, I doubt you could live long enough to fully get over it.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I have to disagree with @janbb and @filmfann . (Background note – I am the child of Holocaust survivors and I am well aware of my history.)

Overt symbols are offensive, speeches are offensive, and so on. But this is hypersensitivity to a ridiculous extent. Look, if a person wanted to find a Nazi symbol in a seashell, they probably could confabulate that.

One person’s nuttiness is not a reason for this sort of reaction.

ucme's avatar

The Iron Cross

Starring: S ylvester S tallone – S teven S eagal – S usan S arandon – S issy S pacek
Director: S teven S pielberg

“Controversial” new movie causes widespread offence in Jewish community…not!!

fluthernutter's avatar

Probably unintentional.
Still offensive.

Coloma's avatar

Oh brother…this is what people waste their time on, looking for hidden racism in wrapping paper? lol
I see the Morman temple in Salt Lake City. hahaha

stanleybmanly's avatar

Not only have those crafty Nazis managed to infiltrate and corrupt the giftwrap industry, it now appears they possess the technological wherewithal to go back in time and recruit the Buddah himself to their loathsome ranks. Where will it end?

http://www.religionfacts.com/buddhism/symbols/swastika.htm

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

sorry I don’t see it. To me it reminds of a design called “Greek Key”.

Blackberry's avatar

I still can’t find it, seems like another case of “Something out of nothing.”

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

The design is in the silver, the swastikas are in the blue. It’s looking at the inverse of the design.

prairierose's avatar

It seems to be related to how you look at the wrapping paper, if you focus on the silver part, there are no swastikas but if you focus on the blue part, yeah, there are swastikas. Anyway, I see them.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

This seems much to do about nothing. almost like, “If you close one eye,stand on your head and wear a red sweater you’ll see the Swastika”.

anniereborn's avatar

I honestly don’t see it

ragingloli's avatar

political correctness has gone insane!~

kevbo's avatar

If you know the history of Hanukkah, then you know why Greek Key is also a poor choice, so it’s doubly coincidentally offensive. Ha!

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t see it either. The woman is a narcissistic nut job. _”
“I saw it immediately. I think I have a good eye. I panicked. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” Shapiro said.“_

She panicked? WTF?

tinyfaery's avatar

I can’t see it. And if the sign is not twisted, it is a totally different symbol. Nazis purposely twisted it to twist the meaning.

Now I see it and it’s not twisted. Not associated with Nazis.

LuckyGuy's avatar

If I turn down the lights, squint my eyes, and turn it sideways, I think I see…
Yep! There it is! Waldo!

Dutchess_III's avatar

I saw Jesus….

ucme's avatar

I still think Dr J looks like Himmler, ironic really.

longgone's avatar

@tinyfaery It does look exactly like the common swastika – a plus sign with four “arms” at ninety degrees, going right. Maybe you are not seeing it yet?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Now I see it. Sheesh!

@tinyfaery Look at the paper on the left. Now look at the blue pattern….

tinyfaery's avatar

See

I only see straight swastikas.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Hang on a sec, @tinyfaery

longgone's avatar

@tinyfaery I get what you’re saying now – you’re referring to its standing upright, not angled, as a whole. That’s a distinction not many people are aware of. You are technically right, though!

tinyfaery's avatar

I know I’m right. The paper does not have a Nazi symbol.

flutherother's avatar

Excuse my ignorance but is Hannukah wrapping paper different from wrapping paper. If it’s specifically for Hannukah it is badly chosen.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Only in some people’s imaginations @flutherother. Those who have a need to be outraged every day.

anniereborn's avatar

@Dutchess_III now I see it. but…geeez! People need to chill. It’s not very obvious and i would imagine not intentional.

prairierose's avatar

Well, if I were Jewish, which I am not, I can understand why even a hint of that symbol would cause a sense of outrage. There is a lot of anti-Semitism in this country.

janbb's avatar

@flutherother Yes, in America since most paper at this time of year is specifically Christmas oriented, there are specific Chanukah papers as an alternative.

Dutchess_III's avatar

If you tried really hard you could see a swastika in this too.

longgone's avatar

I agree that the paper should be pulled, even if it was unintentional. You don’t need to squint to see the straight swastika, you just need to be focusing on the blue design…and the straight swastika is associated with Nazis, be that historically acurate or not.

flutherother's avatar

Thanks @janbb. I can understand why people would find it offensive in that case.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Ummm…. Are Japanese Buddhist temples offensive? They have had that symbol (plus sign with serifs) for a veerry loong time. X with serifs is the swastika .

flutherother's avatar

Of course the symbol is fine in Buddhist temples but would it be fine in a synagogue? That is a closer comparison to the case in point.

fluthernutter's avatar

It’s a symmetrical design, folks.
As in, both swastikas are present.

I’m curious if people assume that if you can see a swastika, you’re being politically sensitive? Can we separate general symbol recognition and political sensitivity?

Just because I easily recognize the classic swastika in the design does not make me Buddhist.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@flutherother – but the walgreen paper in question is NOT in a synagogue, it’s in a fricking drug store.

longgone's avatar

I’m surprised at the distinction between x – swastika, as opposed to + – swastika. Is this widely known? I’ve seen the swastika associated with Nazis many, many times – presumably correctly “tipped”. I still never paid enough attention to distinguish this kind of swastika from the straight kind. I just assumed the Nazis had jazzed it up a little, so to say.

Regardless, I completely understand people whose families were murdered are shocked at any kind of swastika, at any angle. I would expect them to be shocked in those Buddhist temples, too.

JLeslie's avatar

I think people don’t notice the distinction of X or + if it looks anything like a swastika tilted or not, our antenna go up. I think Native Americans have a similar symbol, I vaguely remember that on a Fluther Q.

The thing is this is Chanukah paper, so it is in the context of the Jewish religion. It doesn’t matter that it is in a drug store.

If I enter a Buddhist temple I would probably be surprised to see what reminds me of a swastika and ask about it. Just like when I was in castle Neushwantstein and saw wallpaper with what I call stars if David, but they just call them 6 pointed stars. Or in the Rome I think the church is St. Ivo alla Sapienza that has a six pointed star in the ceiling that allows the sun to come through.

@kevbo Good point about the irony of the Greek Key.

Dutchess_III's avatar

What distinguishes Chanukah paper?

JLeslie's avatar

It’s usually blue and silver or blue and white. Or, it’s colorful and has stars of David and menorahs on it. It almost always has blue somewhere in the pattern.

Like Christmas paper is often green and red or gold. It might have Christmas trees or be a simple plaid design, it varies, but you know it when you see it. Some of the paper can be used aside from only using it for Christmas, but you kind of know whether it makes sense for the holiday or not.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh. OK, well, since that was specifically Chanukah paper then yeah. Any suggestion, no matter how accidental, of the Nazis is bad.

gailcalled's avatar

@kevbo: What’s the ironic connection between the Greek key design and the story of Hannukah?

Dutchess_III's avatar

When my daughter was in gymnastics her club hosted a meet. For whatever reason the owner of the club had the girls put a piece of black electrical tape on their upper lip to mimic Hitler. I commanded her to remove it that instant.
She said, “But boss wanted us to do it!”
I said, “I don’t care if they US President said to do it, take it off!”

Dutchess_III's avatar

That’s pretty @JLeslie. Would it be blasphemy if I used some to wrap Christmas presents?

JLeslie's avatar

Not at all. Some of the patterns aren’t really Chanukah specific, they just work for Chanukah. Like the red plaid paper I use for Christmas works for birthdays too.

kevbo's avatar

@gailcalled, the darkness that preceded Hanukkah’s eight days of light was the subjugation of Jews and defilement of a Jewish temple by the Syrian-Greeks of the time.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

@kevbo I also wondered what you meant by the comment to me about the Greek Key Design. unlike gailcalled I didn’t ask you personally but googled information about the Greek Key Design myself trying to figure out what you meant. I found things like a symbol of “unity” “flowing rivers” and lots of other things. Too many to mention.

I guess a person would really have to dig deep to find what you stated about the Greek Key design. I would be willing to bet that 99% of the population wouldn’t even know about that.

so many pieces of gold jewelry that woman wear today have the Greek Key design engraved in the gold.

tinyfaery's avatar

Anti-Intellectualism wins again.
People are offended by the wrong thing. I’m tired of catering to people who do not bother with facts and truth.

kevbo's avatar

@BeenThereSaidThat—just Google “Hanukkah.”

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

@kevbo I’ll do that or better yet ask one of my neighbors. I live in a predominately Jewish neighborhood. I think I have learned quite a bit about their religion in over 40 years. I’m Catholic.

kevbo's avatar

@BeenThereSaidThat, I happen to be playing a Jewish character in a play, so it’s been part of my recent research. The (formerly) Hasidic reggae/rapper Matisyahu was another discovery.

I’m recovered and have found a home in a Hindu practice.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

@kevbo I’m trying to figure out if I have just been insulted or given shade…............

JLeslie's avatar

Basically most of the popular Jewish holidays are about Jews being freed from slavery or oppressed. Chanukah is no different.

The Temple had been defiled and finally when the Jews reclaimed it they wanted to light the eternal flame, but there was only one container of oil, which only lasts one day. They lit the flame and the men set out on the four day journey to get oil for the temple. Four days there, and four days back, and when they returned they learned the flame was still burning. A miracle from God that the one day of oil had lasted the full 8 days. So, on Chanukah we light candles for eight days. We never blow them out, we always let them burn out on their own. It is not a story from the Old Testament, but rather a story of one of the many trials Jews went through and miracles observed.

keobooks's avatar

I think this is interesting how some people see it right away and some people don’t see it at all. I saw several swasticas (some backwards, though) right away. I definitely would have seen them if nobody mentioned it. It’s a stupid design mistake. And the paper isn’t pretty enough to redeem itself of that. I don’t see what the big deal about pulling the paper is. If it were gorgeous and the swasticas were more difficult to see.. maybe.. But the paper isn’t so great and the swasticas are very obvious.

JLeslie's avatar

The problem with pulling it is money lost of course. Either Walgreens or the vendor will take the loss. If the vendor can sell it for something else or somewhere else they won’t lose as much as having to trash them all.

It has to be pulled at this point in my opinion.

janbb's avatar

@keobooks Agree – I saw them right away too. And this isn’t exactly a free speech or censorship issue; it’s a don’t offend your potential market issue.

JLeslie's avatar

@janbb Exactly right. Don’t offend not only for business purposes, but I would hope also for just do the right thing purposes.

Walgreens has great PR in being a leader in employing disabled people. They care about their image and care in general I think. That program was the idea of someone very senior in the company whose don has autism. He wrote a book about it, I can’t remember his name, and other businesses look to the Walgreens example of diversity and inclusion for good business practices.

dabbler's avatar

I see them, I like the design.
But I’d have to say that is outrageously oblivious or a cruel joke to sell that as Channukah paper (blue and white colors of Israel, etc.) with obvious swastikas throughout.

If it were general-purpose wrapping paper I’d side with everyone saying that’s an overreaction.

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