The New York Times wrote an article profiling a Nazi this weekend, and man, did that not go over well. Seems like when you share little anecdotes about muffin trays and lunch at Panera Bread with a guy who described Hitler as "kind of chill" in regards to his desire to kill homosexuals and Slavs, a lot of people will dislike it.
Seeing the backlash, The Times was quick to jump to their own defense, claiming that heck no, they're not normalizing Nazis. What they were doing, see, was letting you know how normal it's become to hold these viewpoints in America. How your neighbors with good manners and nice lawns could very well wish to separate all the races and maybe put them in different, secluded places, like death camps. But they're not normalizing these people, oh no. They're just telling you how normal they are. Nazis, you see, may be just like you. The Nazi in their article isn't even a racist, man! He had mixed-race couples at his wedding! Dude is chill as fuck. Except for the mass murder thing.
What The Times seemed to miss in their profile of a garbage human was that we already know Nazis are coming out of the woodwork. The excuse that the article is just to show us how it's becoming more "normal" is missing that we've already seen them hold rallies with tiki torches. So what exactly did the paper hope to accomplish by featuring a meandering interview with a Nazi? Why do we need to know that he enjoys Twin Peaks? We know who Nazis are; a lot of our grandfathers and great-grandfathers fought and died trying to make these fucklechucks go away. But also, The Times didn't actually say shit about the man in question. I know he likes turkey sandwiches, that's swell. Why does his softboiled brain think his race deserves any more special treatment than other races? What fumes were in the room when he thought Hitler was chill about anything? Who the fuck cares about a website that sells Swastika armbands? This profile has less depth than a kiddie pool filled with punched-out Richard Spencers.
So yes, there's probably something to say about Nazis in America. First, maybe stop calling them white nationalists or "alt-right" or LMFAO, or whatever other PR code names they develop that have less shit on the boots than the word "Nazi" does. And it may be worth understanding how it came to be that people in 2017, living in the goddamn 'burbs and eating at Applebee's, also believe in ethnic cleansing when we tend to not espouse that publicly (or we didn't used to when all these turd golems were growing up). But if your story doesn't get into that and kind of puts a shiny fondant coating on the prolapsed-asshole-flavored cupcake of it all, then what are we learning?
If the goal of the Times piece was to explain a Nazi, they did a piss-poor job. And also, at the risk of being unfair to Nazis, maybe you don't need to have lunch with a Nazi and go grocery shopping with him and talk about how neighborly he is to get to that point anyway. Maybe there's some deeper shit you can dig into that doesn't turn a Nazi into a puppy who sometimes poops on the rug. "Bad Nazi! We're not encouraging you, you little scamp!"
This article seems to be the culmination of the media's fascination with people who make you facepalm. Remember when Trump got elected and we were buried in a deluge of dumbshit articles from the heartland about Trump voters? "Here's Billy, he's a trucker and he had his leg eaten by a coyote when he fell asleep on a picnic table last July Fourth. He voted Trump because he's sick of Washington fat cats!" Well, now that we've exhausted all the "Who are these people?" subjects in the realm of blue-collar Trump voters, The Times and other outlets traded down for a Nazi brown collar with this dingus whose life is just like yours! Plus, you know, a level of comfort with genocide that most of us don't have.
If anything good comes from this piece, maybe it's that this can be the final nail in the shit-encrusted coffin of "Someone you think you hate is just like you!" articles. They never, ever prove that premise, and instead just make you dislike that person even more. Because if they were just like you, they wouldn't be a goddamn Nazi.
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