The Corner

Culture

Jeff Bezos, Nazi

First, this:

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday demanded Amazon suspend its subway advertising campaign for its new show, “The Man in the High Castle,” which has plastered Nazi and Imperial Japanese iconography all over the 42nd Street Shuttle.

“While these ads technically may be within MTA guidelines, they’re irresponsible and offensive to World War II and Holocaust survivors, their families, and countless other New Yorkers,” said de Blasio, who has no control over the state-run MTA, in a statement. “Amazon should take them down.”

Now, this:

Amazon Studios will pull ad signage from New York City subways that used insignia suggesting Nazi control to promote the streaming-video service’s new drama, “The Man in the High Castle.”

The series, loosely based on a Philip K. Dick novel of the same name, imagines a postwar America following an Allied defeat. Here are the most grievous of the offending ads, on the 42nd Street Shuttle:

This is simply unreal. De Blasio and whatever other heavy-breathing toads are distressed by these ads — which, by the way, have been up a week and a half already — are either the dumbest twits to make use of public transit, or they are intentionally ignoring the crucial factor here: intent. Why do they think Amazon is papering these symbols over New York City subway stations? They might ask MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg: “The updated standards prohibit political advertisements. Unless you’re saying that you believe Amazon is advocating for a Nazi takeover of the United States, then it meets the standards. They’re advertising a show.”

Duh.

Of course, Bill de Blasio does not believe that Jeff Bezos is advocating a renascence of the Axis powers. But the Offense-taking Olympics are on, and everyone is going for gold. Look at our colleges. The exact same sort of juvenile nonsense is wreaking havoc on American campuses at present — the type that refuses to acknowledge, say, the difference between the N-word used by a professor in an academic discussion of racism and the N-word used in Klan propaganda. The distinction is unmistakable — yes, even to a generation that grew up on Nicki Minaj — but to ignore it is proving powerful. Decontextualize, denounce, demand is an effective formula, and the grown-ups are getting in on it.

The episode is small, but what it demonstrates is not: We’re in a moment of a nationwide intellectual self-mutilation, a widespread refusal to acknowledge obvious facts. It’s not that we’re stupid. It’s that we’re choosing to make ourselves so.

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