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idiot of the day

Presented without commentary. Because I'm busy.

A Texas high school has apologized after the school band waved a Nazi flag during a performance on Friday, the start of the Jewish New Year holiday of Rosh Hashana. “We had an error in judgment,” band director Charles Grissom told the Dallas Morning News.

[link via twenty different people]

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Via MSNBC:A Texas high school has apologized after the school band waved a Nazi flag during a performance on Friday, the start of the Jewish New Year holiday of Rosh [Read More]

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Anti-semitism, or stone-stupidity? I report, you decide: DALLAS, Sept. 30 — A Texas high school has apologized after the school band waved a Nazi flag during a performance on Friday, the start of the Jewish New Year holiday of Rosh... [Read More]

Comments

“We had an error in judgment"

Ya think?

i suppose they'll circle into a pentagram for Christmas?

"error in judgement"

Understatement of the Year?

Assholes.

effing ***hole band leader should be booted."error in judgement" my left nad.

Having actually read more of the story, well, I just can't get mad at it. Sorry.

I mean, yeah, horribly bad timing, but unless there's some evidence that the band leader realised it was Rosh Hashana (and would he have? I sure as hell wouldn't have), there's left with... nothing.

Unless, of course, you believe that Nazi Germany's very existence shouldn't be acknowledged without Yet Another Heavy-Handed Lecture About The Evils Of Naziism. There are, in the main, two types of people left in the West: Those that know who the Nazis were and that they were evil, and those who know who they were, and think they weren't evil. (For the record, the former are correct.) The former don't need another repetition, and the latter won't listen.

Nazi flag waved. Shock, horror, evil. Imperial Japanese flag? Nothing. British, French, American? Who cares about context, we gots an EVIL SYMBOL to oppose!

(From Michele's link)
Grissom said it was part of a show entitled “Visions of World War Two,” in which the flags and music were intended to represent the warring nations.

(From the Dallas News, via Damian Penny - apologies for stupid registration, but it's not my site.)
The show also includes the flags and music of France, Britain, Japan and the United States. The flags were raised in intervals that corresponded with the music of the nations. Mr. Grissom said the Nazi flag was waved twice – for about seven seconds each time – and the French and British flags were waved twice each for about the same amount of time.

He said the U.S. flag made a dominant appearance at the end of the performance, preceded by traditional tunes such as "Anchors Aweigh."

Gee, doesn't sound, er, nearly as bad with the, you know, actual context, does it?

Still think the band director should be summarily fired, now that you know that it was about World War 2, and that three other nations got equal billing?

Like the writeup says... at worst it's "insensitive", and that seems mainly because of the date, which is coincidental.

Christ, from the reactions around here you'd think he was recreating Auschwitz, and shoving Jewish students into papier-mache ovens, rather than just recognising that Nazi Germany existed during WW2, during a performance About WW2.

Honestly, people.

Sigivald: Would you still be defending it if it were a Civil War show, the flag was Confederate, and blacks were protesting?

Ian,
If Sigivald wouldn't, then I would. And I agree with him.

Are Nazi flags commonplace in Texas High Schools?

Why would any American high school be waving Nazi flags at anytime to begin with

How did they get a Nazi flag, you know they are illegal in germany - I guess not in Texas huh?

This seems very beyond strange

Maybe the third reich will rise once again in some Texas High School?

Oh the glory of the Reich!

Geez freekin deranged idiots is all I can say - how dare they offend all the brave American soldiers who fought and died against the nazis in WWII - this is preposterous and beyond disgusting

"Christ, from the reactions around here you'd think he was recreating Auschwitz, and shoving Jewish students into papier-mache ovens...

Hmmm...I don't really get that, reading the comments that preceded yours. Nobody seems to have reacted nearly as strongly as you would like to portray. Michele presented it without commentary, and everyone else pretty much says the guy's an asshole and that "error in judgement" is putting it a bit mildly. One person has called for his dismissal, and honestly, people are fired for "errors in judgement" every day, so I'm not sure that's really over the top either.

gotta be honest here, presented in a sort of historical play or musical, it would be inadequate without showing all sides.

The Nazi flag should never be forgotten, and presented in the context of the war it should be known for what it is, a symbol of an evil regime that lost a war and slaughtered millions.

There is danger in forgetting the symbol, danger that you'll forget the reason it's hated.

Having said that, I'd like to see someone defend that crack about a pentagram at christmas. How is that not an orange in an apple pile?

oh, that comment? it was an error in judgement.

datarat,
There is NO excuse for waving a nazi flag. None. Ninguno.

"All sides"

Like all of the sides who killed Americans?

Well, at least they were booed and not appluaded, Texas has come a long way!

I agree Val. An original Nazi flag belongs in a museum display case with other "artifacts" not carried proudly aloft during a football game. The Japanese "meatball" flag is still the national flag of Japan and the Rising Sun flag has only recently been allowed to fly from her warships. German uses a totally different flag than the "hackenkreuz" or swastika flag which was a PARTY flag, not a national flag. They should have used the German military flag without a swastika. They are available.

What I find more telling / interesting is that many people, such as several commenters here and the unexcusable coach, view the nazi flag as some oft-forgotten relic of the past that bears no semblance on the current world and events

This sort of ignorance or denial of the world and its nature is quite more noteworthy to me

This is one thing the Germans got right and we don't

They understand to ban public displays of Nazi regalia we don't

For the ill-informed and this idiot coach the nazi flag is not a dead sumbol of only historic relation it is a living and breathing symbol of death and vitrolic hate that many still to this day carry the banner for such as Neo-nazis, the KKK, Islamists, Leftists and their ilk

Flags, banners, colors carry weight and meaning - many men have died for such throughout history and still to this day and will for all time

When a school does as well, in any context, there is reason to give pause

If I saw a nazi flag at my high school football game I'd tackle whomever was carrying its banner and beat them to a pulp only then to discuss its context

Just didn't think it through, did they? Although I did chuckle that the band was from Paris, Texas (full disclosure, I'm a Texan).

When your teens whine about how unimportant History is, tell em this story. The swastika carries a lot of (well deserved) awful baggage, including present day neo-nazi BS; using it in a halftime show isn't a good idea.

By the way, the Rising Sun (red circle with the red striped "sunburst") was the Japanese Navy battle flag. The red circle on white was Japan's national flag during WWII and remains today.

Now everyone say "thanks Cliffie".

d

Having re-read the article a few times and done some reflecting, I'm not sure I can agree that "There is NO excuse for waving a nazi flag. None. Ninguno." In the context of a performance about WW2, which is what this band's show was supposed to be, I'm not sure it's completely inappropriate. If it IS inappropriate, then it is just as inappropriate to display Nazi symbols in movies or plays or paintings about WW2. And if that's the case, we certainly shouldn't stop with the Nazi flag. After all, Stalin was every bit the monster Hitler was, so let's not show any Russian flags anywhere. And heaven forbid we do any more movies or plays or other performances or paintings or books about the American Civil War that include the stars and bars. That just wouldn't do...someone might take offense.

Sorry folks, but I'm reversing my original decision on this one. In the context of a performance about historical events, I'm not sure anything inappropriate took place here. Was the timing a bit iffy? Perhaps...but then, can we expect band directors in Texas to keep tabs on Jewish holidays?

No excuse? Tell that to Mel Brooks. Tell it to all the other people who do performances about WW2

We're talking about such a performance here, not a band goose-stepping out proclaiming the rebirth of the reich.

Common sense-just a bit of common semse, and this wouldn't even be noticed--save perhaps in a review.

And you wonder how colleges get those damnable speech codes put in place. Look at yourselves--all but shouting 'git a rope' because of a perceived insensitivity.

Consider this, a piece depicting the Allies victory over the Nazis is very appropriate for Rosh Hashanna--how many Jews were saved by that very thing?

How are we to 'Never Forget' if we are persecuted each time we try to remember?

Got to say, MG LAZER, you scare me.

"They understand to ban public displays of Nazi regalia we don't"

Take a look at the First Ammendment sometime.

"If I saw a nazi flag at my high school football game I'd tackle whomever was carrying its banner and beat them to a pulp only then to discuss its context"

I will assume this statement is hyperbole and does not accurately reflect your true actions. If not, you've got serious anger management problems and need some professional help.

On a lighter note, this reminds me of an ill-times show the Vanderbilt band once did. It was with "James Bond" music and included a picture of a pistol, rocket and, of course, "007". This was mistaken by someone in teh stands as an airplane, a missile and "007". Coincidentally, however, we performed this show about a week after the USSR shot down KL007 with a missile. He wrote a rather testy letter to the school paper and we all got a good laugh over the follow who failed to recognize the James Bond theme.

Now what would have happened if at a college football game, someone waved the Confederate battle flag while the band played "Dixie"?

For many generations of african-americans, the connotations of that flag and tune are just as reprehensible to them as the nazi flag and anthem are to jews.

Shame we aren't as concerned about the feelings of a significant percentage of our citizens, isn't it.

Ken,
If it was done in historical context - ie, a presentation on the Civil War, then it would be entirely appropriate. Do you find Civil War reenactments to be so offensive that you think they shouldn't occur?

Ignoring parts of history or pretending something didn't happen for the sake of political correctness is reprehensible and irresponsible, no matter who you think you're protecting.

Now what would have happened if at a college football game, someone waved the Confederate battle flag while the band played "Dixie"?

Actually, that does happen, quite regularly, at the University of Mississippi. The school no longer officially waves the flag, but the fans bring them in by the hundreds. And the band still plays Dixie. And some people are offended by it. And some people do care. However, last I checked, you don't have a right not to be offended. Free speech, even in poor taste, should be guarded vigorously. If we're going to start banning songs and flags every time someone claims to be offended, where exactly will it stop?

In any case, as I stated above, in the context of a performance about a particular historical event, I don't think it's inappropriate. Are you suggesting that plays and movies about the Civil War era should not include the Confederate Flag and Dixie? Fabricating history won't change it.

Ian: Yes. I would still be defending it. Is acknowledging the existence of the Confederacy, while giving the Union more time and the primary focus, somehow bad?

MG LAzer: THe Germans also don't value free expression like we do. (Though I completely understand their reasons for banning Nazi symbology - They had (more historically than now) to worry about a significant presence of actual Nazis who might have some sort of actual power to implement actual Naziism... AGAIN..

To ban the display of symbols of evil is, in general, pointless.

Dave appears to have already said most of what else I'd say in response... and his own stance-change over a few posts just reinforces my point (that I made with the other link to the more complete story - waving a Nazi flag around randomly would be not just offensive to some, but actively vile (though, I hasten to add, perfectly legal, and should remain that way. Making vile speech illegal tends to lead to making merely unpopular speech illegal, etc.), but this was, I reiterate, a historical performance, about the Second World War. (Which is why the comment about using a German flag without a Swastika seems odd. All the German flags of the era except their naval flag have a swastika... and the German Navy doesn't have a lot of resonance with Americans. The Japanese naval ensign has a lot of resonance with Americans from film depictions of the naval war, wheras the "meatball" flag, being current, is not nearly as associated with Imperial Japanese actions. So, if one is picking flags to represent the nations in question, in period, to modern Americans, one pretty much has to uise the Rising Sun for Japan, and the Swastika flag for Germany.

Even though the latter will offend people. If the object is to not offend anyone, you shouldn't attempt to do a performance about war, or must simply skip half the subject.)

Former high school band-*and*-drama geek weighing in:

Does anyone watching halftime shows expect a historical recreation?

If so, then maybe I'm just out-of-touch with contemporary marching band performance practices.

If not, then that's why this seems so off-the-mark to me (setting aside the Jewish holiday portion, which I'll admit by itself was probably an "error in judgment") -- if I was at a drama production, or a battle reenactment, or even (deity forbid) a ballet having to do with WWII, then the prescence of the flag wouldn't have been an issue for me.

But a halftime show at a football game?

And nobody thought anyone in attendance would mind?...

Jack,

"Springtime for Hitler" still makes me laugh out loud. God bless Mel Brooks.

Ferro-

Granted, historical recreations aren't the norm for marching bands at halftime shows, but so what? So they decided to do something a little different? A little creative? I've got no problem with that. Frankly, I probably would've been a lot more interested and actually stayed to watch that halftime show, rather than wandering off like I usually do to get a snack or something because most halftime shows bore me to death.

As to your question And nobody thought anyone in attendance would mind?, well, this wasn't the first time they'd done the same show. This was just the first time anybody complained.

Not that I'm that invested in this arguement (all evidence to the contrary), but as soon as I posted my previous comments, I had some thoughts that might clarify my reaction:

If I choose to go see a stage production of The Sound of Music, and there's a Nazi flag on stage, that's not a huge shock.

If I choose to go see films about Hitler's life and career, an absence of the flag onscreen would actually be a shock (to me, anyhoo).

When the animated cartoon Justice League did a WWII-time-travel story, I was at first annoyed by the use of 'abstracted' Nazi flags on that show, although later I could understand that Standards & Practices deemed that more appropriate for their audience.

Now, I may be an old-fashioned fogey, but if I brought my grandnephews to see a highschool football game and saw a halftime show with a Nazi flag (as opposed to, say, a tribute to Annie Get Your Gun or the Roaring 20's), I'd probably be at least a little uncomfortable...

(sigh) Now that I've written all that down, it's not nearly as explicitive as I'd hoped. Oh well...

(picking up his whip and preparing to leave the horse carcass where it lays...)

Our band director didn't mean to offend anybody. The Nazi flag wasn't there for any reason but the fact that it went with the show. Our band director has taken the flags OUT of the show. The people who were there were warned that there would be the flag out but hints the name Visions of World War II. The NaZi flag was equally showed as the song changed so did the U.S., Britain and others. I just can't believe everybody knows about this...my small town has gone national. I just thought I'd let everyone know. Yes, we're sorry people got offended, but it was in his best intentions to accurately present a World War II show.

The Nazi flag is not waved NEARLY enough.

Ok, havent been here before, couldnt help but chime in on this.

The comments about " Dixie " being offensive is foolishness. The song was written by a native of Ohio ( Stephen Foster ) and it was the most popular song of the period. Lincoln had it played at the white house at the closing of the war stating it had always been his favorite song. Also, Blacks did not suffer under the stars and bars, but our own stars and stripes. Thats right folks, slavery existed as a legal institution under the American flag. The confederate flag was a battle flag. It is first represented nationally in the 2nd and third national flags of the confederacy. By this time, the war was in full swing, and the last thing on anyones mind in the south was slavery. The horribly small minded concept of blacks being inferior to whites is not a southern propaganda topic. It was a widley debated issue throughout the world. The confederate flag was a flag flown by soldiers fighting a war of scessesion, not a war about slavery.Not to say that strong feelings didn't exist on the issue, many had personal reasons for going to war. Although slavery was a widley debated topic in the country, the souths scessesion from the federal government over tarriffs and the issue of states rights. ( Something Bob Kerry seems to like to go on about if anyone is paying attention) If black people have any feelings about this symbol, they are brought on by the use of it by the Klu Klux Klan, a truley dispicable group that has disgraced the history of this country for too long.

2nd. How do you have a WW2 presentation without that flag. I can't believe the nonsense I'm hearing today. You take it out of a school presentation, you must take it out of all things. How authentic would Saving Private Ryan had looked with modern german flags. This is the history people. We cant play ostritch, stick our heads in the sand and believe nothing happened. The quote about offending GI's was something I wanted to address as well. My Grandfather knows what that flag means. He also knows what happened to it. He and his buddies in the 8th infantry division stomped it to pieces. If GI's are so offended, why are American GI's known for being the most notorious of relic hunters. I have one Nazi banner in my collection, brought back by a 28th Div. veteran. Spoils of war, that being the only interrest I take in it. My mind is not warped when I look at it. I don't have nightmares about it. It is what it is. The symbol of a conquered evil. Were I a jew who suffered through that period I would probably feel different. I mean to let everyone know that we owe it to those who suffered to never forget it lest it happen again. I believe that our constitution protects the rights for sickos to fly this flag as a symbol of their twisted souls. That same right protects my right to display my symbols and feelings. Take away the rights of one, the rights of all are soon to follow. Also, if we fear a symbol, we give it strength.

Lastly, never underscore the war crimes of the Japanese. The GIs taken prisoner by the Germans were fairly treated, not good, but fair. GIs captured by the Japanese suffered unbelievable tortures. Read up on it, talk to someone who was there. It is enough to make you cry just to hear it. Read about the Invasion of China, The Rape of Nanking. Never take for granted the cruelty of the Japanese army. That is truley an injustice to those who suffered it.

Now, with that said, look at the facts. Nazi flag gets raised, up with the other flags of europe, Then comes the american flag and overshadows it. Anchors Away is playing. Looks like the facts point to an illustration of America coming to the rescue of Europe and defeating the evil Nazis. What my friends is more patriotic than that. You let your taboos ruin a schools homage to the greatness of those who saved the world from an evil dictator.

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Fucking liberal scum. You'll defend rights until it is something you don't like. At that moment the thing becomes "Bad."

Fireyfishstick needs to check out some info BEFORE writing. Foster DID NOT write "Dixie" though it was an Ohioan who did. Name escapes me right now...but that was a glaring error. BTW - What is wrong with a high school marching band doing something educational, historical, and ACCURATE in a half time show? Is marching band now only allowed to do "pop" music garbage?

"Liberal" is not a dirty word.