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back to article RedBubble’s Nazi trouble

Online arts community and digital darling, RedBubble, has attracted the ire of the Australian Jewish community and is suffering a membership backlash over its affiliation with New York based T-shirt and merchandiser designers Hipster Hitler. The fuhrer furore has spilled overseas, sparking a PayPal investigation and prompting …

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Go

They mentioned the war!

DON'T mention the war!

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Joke

I must admit

I could never get into Fawlty Towers, but Thumbs Down for a pop-culture quip referencing it?

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RedBubble has it tragically wrong

RedBubble is getting backlash it richly deserves. Major Major FAIL.

T-shirts that parody the Holocaust or support Hitler are not acceptable in the name of humour or free speech. What about the countless innocent people murdered in horrifying ways by Hitler and the Nazis. I just don't get "Death Camp" fun on the victims.

In so many other ways RedBubble is a such a super online arts community. The Nazi t-shirts and scandal are spoiling the whole thing.

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Be careful of attacking free speech

"T-shirts that parody the Holocaust or support Hitler are not acceptable in the name of humour or free speech."

Re-read HH's position. It is a satire on Hitler's ideas - not the suffering that resulted in those ideas being adopted and not being laughed out of court as is the aim of satire.

Taken at face value it would appear that knowingly or not you have misconstrued the objective to attack free speech.

Free speech is, arguably, the best protection of democracy and minorities which makes this an own goal for those protesting IMHO.

Alternatively HH are just trying to make a quick buck out of upsetting people. Best way to stop that is not get upset.

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FAIL

Crosses the line

Too many of the t-shirts are sympathetic to Nazis. This crosses the line.

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"Sympathetic"?!

You either don't get the massively obvious irony and/or you are an idiot.

I suspect both.

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Thumb Up

Hmmm

Just got me a 'BLITZ OR GTFO' t-shirt!!

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just wrong

this stuff is sickening and really off. just wrong.

the free speech argument is so much bullshit when it comes to this sort of stuff. David Duke is the biggest "free speech" proponent in the world.

"Free expression is good, book burning or banning is evil."

"The suppression of free speech goes against every principle of freedom."

http://www.davidduke.com/general/freedom-of-speech_2.html

has nobody at red bubble heard of the horrors of the Holocaust and ww2 that they are appropriating for their t-shirts to parody those horrors!???

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Seriously

none of "this stuff" is "parodying the holocaust". It's parodying Hitler, something that has a long and honourable tradition dating back to at least Chaplain's Great Dictator in 1940. (Actually a lot longer - there was a strong tradition of political cartooning in Germany in the 20s.)

As for David Duke, well that's the thing about free speech - it's always going to apply to people you don't agree with and that includes people you regard as outright evil. But, like democracy, it's the worst of the alternatives except for all the others. Incidentally while I don't find Hipster Hitler particularly funny or particularly effective satire a similar principle applies - genuine free speech is inevitably going to include things you regard as low quality or unsuccessful. freedom is the freedom to fail.

You find this stuff sickening and really off. I feel the same when I see a t-shirt with a picture of Mao (a man who killed millions more people than Hitler and managed to die in power thus making Hitler look like a rank amateur). And ironically that's the point of the parody which seems to have gone whizzing over your head.

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JND
WTF?

Parody of victims

You don't seem to understand the parody. Take an example, how does the t-shirt "1941 - a race odyssey" - a favorite on Stormfront, btw - parody Hitler? 1941 being the beginning of the Holocaust and all.

It's different if you say a bit of fun at the expense of the victims of the Nazis is just some free speech, which is what I think you are really trying to defend.

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JND

Parody of victims

You don't seem to understand parody. Take an example, how does the t-shirt "1941 - a race odyssey" - a favorite on Stormfront, btw - parody Hitler? 1941 being the beginning of the Holocaust and all.

It's different if you say a bit of fun at the expense of the victims of the Nazis is just some free speech, which is what I think you are really trying to defend.

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As I was at pains to point out

I don't think all, or even most, of Hipster Hitler works. I certainly wouldn't walk down the street wearing that particular shirt. But though Hipster Hitler is about the Hitler not the Holocaust (the vast majority of items on the site don't reference the Holocaust) not mentioning it would be like talking about Jack the Ripper and neglecting to mention he was a murderer.

And no I'm not trying to defend "a bit of fun at the expense of the victims of the Nazis" What I'm trying to defend is actual free speech not the ersatz kind where you can say anything as long as there's no chance that anyone, anywhere, will ever be upset by it. The simple fact is that you don't know that publishing that shirt comes at "the expense of the victims of the Nazis". How is that supposed to work? It looks to me that the only harm is to your sense of propriety.

You mention the morons on Stormfront. So they like Hipster Hitler. They probably liked the Downfall parodies too. According to Wikipedia the American Nazis Party put Norman Spinrad's Iron Dream on their recommended reading list. Which proves only that fascists tend not to be very bright and don't get satire.

The problem is, your approach inevitably leads to a fear of discussing sensitive issues lest someone misunderstands and responds in the wrong way. And that way lies fascism by stealth.

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Sarcasm ahead

Yes and the song "Hitler has only got one ball" is clearly pro-Nazi too.

FFS.

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WTF?

wtf

Hipster Hitler is satire, this knee jerk reaction to anything relating to a long dead despotic genocidal madman is starting to wear thin. What's wrong with taking the piss out of a nutcase like hitler anyway?

Seems some people could seriously do with a sense of humour injection.

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Silver badge

Hmm

How did 'The Producers' get on in Oz?

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Ballsy

You would need some big balls to wear some of these t-shirts in public and Red Bubble has balls to market them. Of course they will cause offence to many Jewish people but I don't get what all the fuss is about. There are a lot of offensive things like tatts or piercings or death metal clothes and you don't get protests about them

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Flame

Stinks

There are two reasons why this line of t-shirts stink

1. Hipster Hitler is not a cuddly feely comic about Hitler and his exploits. There's also pandering to a fan base of neo-Nazi types. Look at their Facebook fan pages with people dressed as Hitler or doing Hitler salutes and some of the comments which are very much pro-Hitler.

2. But the t-shirts are sold outside the comic. Sold and worn on their own, some of these slogans can be considered poisonous and hurtful. "Back to the Fuhrer"? No thanks.

The pifflle about free speech is not the way to handle Nazi-related stuff.

In my opinion, the lawyers did the right thing by dropping Redbubble as a client over these t-shirts. Redbubble's decision to sell these t-shirts makes it a supplier to avoid for me and most people but maybe a supplier of choice for others.

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Not funny

Not even funny. But there is always a market in bad taste and it's hard to get worse taste than Nazi humour.

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JND
FAIL

Still too early to like Nazism

The problem with Hipster Hitler and The RedBubble t-shirts is that some of it is pretty transparently pro-Hitler or pro-Nazi. They must know it from who buys it and comments they get. I don't care about the of rest of the stuff - laugh all you like at "Save the Panzer" etc, it's the stuff what can fairly be (and I'm sure is) interpreted as pro-Nazi messages that gets to me "1941 - a race odyssey" or "Death Camp for Cutie" or "Back to the Fuhrer". It may be 65 years later, but Nazism is not something that should be supported in the slightest, not even a little bit on the side in a sly way.

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“… sparking a PayPal investigation …”

eBay, PayPal, Google, Schmoogle, whatever

The rusting old hulk eBay is presently being kept afloat by PreyPal so it’s good to see these boys squabbling and threats to the clunky PreyPal coming thick and fast. It’s interesting times for all we eBay “haters” (oops, I mean “watchers”). I hope that someone has remembered to bring the popcorn.

PayPal is mostly registered in various places only as a “money transmitter” (like Western Union), and PayPal actually claims that they are not a “payment processor”, and there is a minute degree of truth in that claim because it could be, nonsensically, claimed that they do no more than facilitate the transmission of money by riding on the back of the retail banks’ existing payments processing systems.

In fact, the only thing creative about PayPal has been their use of users’ email addresses as an identifier for online transactions. PayPal is otherwise no more than a blood-sucking parasite on, and in the main cannot function except via, the retail banks’ existing payments system (via their banker, GE Money Bank).

PayPal, outside of whatever will ultimately be left of the Donahoe-devastated eBay Marketplace, will undoubtedly eventually be consigned to the history books by all those same banks/Visa/Mastercard once those players get their “online” act together.

Some people may not like “the banks” but all those participating banks at least supply a professionally run payments processing system; even PayPal concurs with that assessment: except for transactions between PayPal “accounts”, they use the banks’ existing payments processing system all the time and simply could not exist without it.

Regardless, all the above comments apply equally to all of the other third-party “payments processors” that are emerging out of the woodwork and wanting to have access to your banking account. Unless they have formal arrangements with all the participating retail banks, as do the likes of Visa/MasterCard, then the result is invariably going to be as potentially problematic as is PayPal’s clunky operation for its merchants, and many of them can tell you a sorry tale or two.

All anyone needs to know about the clunky PayPal can be found at:

http://forums.auctionbytes.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?p=165263

Is that PayPal’s blood in the water, and are those “sharks” (oops, “banks”) I can see circling?

Enron / eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking.

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Stop

Profiting from Genocide

http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/stop_32.png Redbubble should have pulled these products month and months ago, when the issue was first presented to them by some of their member base. Instead of listening, the dialogue became "parrot fashion" with Redbubble's CEO, Hosking often repeating the same old line. Freedom of Expression, to defend these racist and anti-Semitic designs.

The result of the saga was members who added any form of dissent, got suspended. Many deserved their suspensions as with flared tempers, their added posts did break Redbubble's play nice policy. But sadly, and equal number of members who did not break policy were also suspended and their reasoned dissent was deleted from Redbubble.

Redbubble need to consider the fact that these tshirts are not some web comic. Bought as garments, they are stand alone statements. I cannot see how anyone does not consider wearing a slogan such as Death Camp for Cutie. Eastside Westside Genocide, Fear and Loathing in Laskarzew, or Back to the Fuhrer - as a stand alone statement does not incite hate or forward nazism.

The holocaust should in no way be trivialised.

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@Julz L

re: Profiting from Genocide

It's free speech and in this case the speech _is_ IMHO offensive.

Yet Israel (gov't) has never shirked from invoking Holocaust guilt in diplomacy, nor from labeling high profile critics of Israeli policy as antisemites.

"Never again" - certainly and of course, and hopefully not just for the Jews. We could have done more in Rwanda & Yugoslavia...

Better if the Holocaust was recognized for the atrocity it was and, if you will, the warning of what organized people are capable of - and not used as a token in humour and politics.

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Trollface

Harry would be into it

Tell Red Bubble to send a Death Camp tee to Prince Harry so he can wear it to his next fancy dress party for a few jokes. Who knows, he might endorse the whole line as Harry's "fancy dress" wear.

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Childcatcher

Stand back, i'm going to try a social experiment

The hipster Hitler works are in the same category as "communism, its a party!" works. It seems to me that some one has really over reacted in this situation.

I fail to see how an entertaining and satirical take on the most evil and twisted member of the human race could cause people to forget the millions that died as a result of his commands.

Lets not forget all the other millions that were killed during the second world war, the Roma population was on the receiving end of the ethnic cleansing moment just as badly as the Jewish community, however they seem less bothered by the current event.

Mass extermination: bad

T-shirt: not so bad

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Anonymous Coward

joke

I went to Auschwitz and it was one of the most depressing experiences of my life: no gift shop for souvenir t-shirts.

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JND

Not quite right

T-shirts with slogans are form of speech. Speech that supports extreme evil doing may be problematic. Nobody is suggesting the t-shirts are as bad as mass extermination.

The problem with the satire argument with these t-shirts is that some of these t-shirts are a "satirical take" on the victims. Some indicate support for Nazism.

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IT Angle

Aconex

Surprising that The Register missed the IT angle in the story.

The guy selling the t-shirts is also the Chairman of SaaS provider Aconex.

http://www.extranetevolution.com/2011/06/aconex-chairman-in-hitler-t-shirt-row/

http://www.aconex.com/about/martin-hosking

Easy as. Auschwitz.

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FAIL

Humour: Fail.

I'm an Australian. I have Jewish antecedents, several of them. I have no German antecedents.

For goodness sake, guys - grow a sense of humour! What are you going to campaign against next? Hogan's Heroes? Mel Brooks and the Hitler Rap? Get over it. It's not pro nazi, it's satire.

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Trollface

Not cool

Hipster Hitler says in a cartoon "you don't understand the difference between an uncool sequel and a totally deck remake". Hogans Heroes or the Producers were "uncool" for Nazis but Hipster Hitler is "totally deck" for Nazis. The Red Bubble tees make Nazism fashionable, literally. Who but Prince Harry at a fancy dress party could find "1941 - a race odyssey" funny.

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Unhappy

Disgusted

I am Jewish and I had relatives that were killed in the Holocaust. I cannot even begin to explain the depression I feel when I see these t-shirts.

How and why are these still being sold?

I did my own research and found out that RedBubble also has an entire line of baby clothing with swastikas for sale. WHY?????????????? NEVER AGAIN.

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Bronze badge

Free speech doesn't come free

I feel for your distress. Redbubble may be a poor attempt at satire, making money out of misery or a cover for real fascists. I don't know.

But try and feel the distress of others who see this being used as an attack on free speech. Not being able to engage in sensitive areas. Free speech and satire is, perhaps, the greatest defence of oppression and worse.

Watch the film Cabaret again. Watch the nightclub performances satirising Hitler. Watch what happened. If Hitler had stayed a joke you would have had more family. I would have had more family ...

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Laugh about it

Otherwise it will only get you down, the holocaust is a depressing event that was pretty horrible to put it mildly. But if we cant laugh about it then all you are going to do is depress yourself, humour/satire/etc is used to handle horrible stuff like that.

I cant say I find this funny, but I cant get pissed about it. Remember that old man and his family dancing staying alive in Auschwitz? Well, he survived that camp, and if he can do that then I think we should take a example to it and not get to bothered with this.

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Inaccuracy

The comic portrays Hitler drinking in several panels and some of them imply he is stoned. Hitler was a teetotaler however.

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Yes, it's tasteless and sick...

... but freedom of speech is freedom of speech. Don't buy them. Tell your friends to boycott them. Even post on the Register how terrible you think they are, and how the people who make them are awful people.

If free speech only applied to things you agree with, it wouldn't need to be protected. The benefits of free speech far outweigh the alternative.

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Big Brother

Meanwhile

Israeli soldiers are murdering unarmed civilians in the illegally occupied West Bank and some people are getting hysterical over T-shirts. Not The Holocaust - T-shirts.

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Stefing makes a vital point ;

is it the destruction of European Jewry (in which, it should be remembered, many more governments than that of Germany participated or acquiesced) or the satirical T-shirts which are the problem ? In the moral panic over these T-shirts, some of us seem to be emulating the Nazi manner of dealing with cultural expressions they didn't like - the term the Germans used was «entartete Kunst». Is that really the path we wish to follow ?...

Henri

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FFS

I just don't see how this is either satirising or supporting Hitler (if it is even possible to support someone who has been dead for 60-odd years), or insulting Jews.

The comic strip in the link, I was expecting the spy to reveal himself by ordering some drink which in some way played to a Jewish stereotype, but no. It was a weak and contrived pun between olive juice and I love Jews. Such a weak pun that they had to spell it out, and even then I missed it at first. The satire, I guess, was meant to be that Hitler must have been paranoid to make such a mistake.

If that is support for Hitler, we are probably quite safe.

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Facepalm

Children's Wear Issue Has Found Its Way To The Media!

The above commentor, 'kneedragon', asks what we are going to complain about next, I suggest that he or she views the following links:

http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/sick-little-clothes-when-baby-faces-are-dressed-to-kill/story-e6frea6u-1226073337610

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/more-news/hitler-bin-laden-and-milat-baby-clothes-on-sale-in-melbourne/story-fn7x8me2-1226073321021

http://www.couriermail.com.au/lifestyle/fashion/serial-killer-baby-onesies-spark-outrage/story-e6frer4o-1226073254587

I'm appalled that some members could be opposed to such disgusting and offensive issues...

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