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ibstubro's avatar

Would you pay money to destroy a symbol of a repressive organization? [Detail]?

Asked by ibstubro (18730points) June 24th, 2016

A woman came into the antique mall today and asked about a Nazi armband displayed in a case. It was $75. She asked the best price and was told $67.50, and said “I’ll take it!”
Te armband was carried to the counter. She paid for it, then asked for a pair of scissors and shredded the armband.

Is there value in destroying an artifact from the Nazi’s? The KKK?
Would you pay to destroy something from a particular organization?
How much, and what group?

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15 Answers

trolltoll's avatar

No. What a waste of $67.50.

If she really wanted to take a stand against racism or oppression or whatever she could have donated that money to Race Equality First, SARI (Stand Against Racism & Inequality), or some other non-profit or charity.

Destroying historic artifacts achieves nothing of value.

stanleybmanly's avatar

On the other hand, there is no way of knowing the woman’s motivation, and there is no shortage of the damned things. $67 bucks might be a bargain for closure.

trolltoll's avatar

It achieves nothing beyond the personal gratification of the person destroying it, anyway.

It’s not like you can erase Hitler’s footprint by ripping up Nazi armbands.

Buttonstc's avatar

Well, it’s her money so she has the right to do with it what she wants.

It wouldn’t be my choice as I’d prefer not to waste money with an exercise in futility. Getting rid of the symbol doesn’t get rid of the mindset behind it.

I’d prefer to do something positive to influence children in younger generations so that they will think differently. I think the best preventative for racism, bigotry is education and the more the better.

Jak's avatar

Prolly was killed by Nazi’s in a past life. According to Joseph Campbell, in a ceremony, the symbol becomes the thing. This is why we have Communion; the wine becomes the bloood of Christ, the bread becomes the body. So for her, the symbol becomes the thing it represents and she can thus destroy it. Over and over, if necessary. Until she has it expunged from her consciousness. It’s theraputic for her.
I don’t feel any need for that kind of therapy now, but at one time I did burn several pictures and letters from a man who hurt me. And in retrospect, there was a kind of ceremoniousness about it.

ibstubro's avatar

Although I hadn’t thought of it myself, I agree with @trolltoll that a much better use of the $67.50 would be donating to a good cause.

So, if the armband was a fake, or a reproduction does that make her catharsis fake?
Certainly not.
So then, why take the act on the road and destroy the armband in front of a handful of total strangers in a public place. It might have enhanced the experience for her, but I can tell you her audience thought her a theatrical nitwit, or worse.

Irukandji's avatar

It depends on what the object was. Something high profile or irreplaceable might me worthwhile, especially if it’s some sort of rallying point for surviving members of the group. One thing Stetson Kennedy taught us about bigots is to never underestimate how fragile their egos are. Propaganda victories can have withering effects on them.

ibstubro's avatar

I get your point, @Irukandji, and it’s a good one.

However, the argument can still be made that destroying the object does not destroy its history or symbolic value.

Coloma's avatar

Nobody knows her motives so we really can’t make a judgment call on her actions. Maybe she has 40 million dollars and is a one women crusade to remove all Nazi artifacts. I took my wedding dress to a thrift store after my divorce, the week before Halloween. I figured somebody else might want to dress up as The Bride of Frankenstein. lol

I then drove to a nearby lake and tossed my wedding ring out as far as I could fling it. Thinking I would return the gold and diamonds to their elements in the earth and got a chuckle out of thinking that maybe some fisherman would cut open a large mouth bass one day and find a treasure in it’s belly. haha
People can do whatever they want as long as it is not harming others.

A lot of peoples actions are symbolic for reasons only known to them.

ibstubro's avatar

Well, if you’d gone to a thrift store, bought a wedding gown, and slashed it to bit, then we’d be talking about you, @Coloma.
As it is, you had your own private ceremony, which I think we all do.

Irukandji's avatar

@ibstubro No, it can’t change the past. But it might be able to change the present or the future, which could be worthwhile. That’s the debate over the Hitler tapes. They have great historical value, but they’ve also had the unfortunate side effect of radicalizing young men who have watched them. I wouldn’t destroy them, but I can understand why someone would.

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ibstubro's avatar

I can’t find much on the Hitler Tapes, @Irukandji.
Nothing definitive.

Irukandji's avatar

Well, there’s not much to debate anymore in the age of the internet when Hitler’s speeches are easily available. But there was a time when Germans and Austrians were wary of showing them in high school history classes for fear of creating new Nazis.

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