Big discussion in the comments section of the last post about whether Kim Dotcom’s ownership of a signed copy of Mein Kampf is a legitimate story or just a right-wing smear. Someone linked to this comment at The Standard, which is fairly representative:
I am of East European Jewish descent and have visited Auschwitz to pay my respects to the victims of the Holocaust, where I don’t mind admitting that I felt incredibly angry and wept openly for the innocent men, women and children who had been murdered there.
Having said that, I see nothing sinister in Kim Dotcom merely OWNING a historically significant signed copy of Mein Kamph, particularly given that he’s a WWII history buff. I don’t think it’s fair to judge him without any real evidence, and I am far more disturbed by this shameless smear campaign by Cameron Slater and TV3 reporter Brook Sabin, son of National MP Mike Sabin. Hmmm, coincidence much? It might sound creepy or suspect to some, but that doesn’t make it so. I’m far more concerned about this increasingly authoritarian and sinister government in power than I am about Dotcom, they are starting to resemble the REAL NAZIS more and more every day with their attacks on the poor (working poor and unemployed poor) and sickness beneficiaries!
It’s impossible to attach any kind of universal meaning to possession of a mere OBJECT like a book, because we all view objects in the world very differently to each other, based on our cultural norms and personal values. Some see objects as being sacred, some think objects are an extension of our own identity, some see objects as ostentatious markers of wealth and privilege, some see objects merely as a collection of atoms and electrons signifying nothing
First point: this whole ‘I’m not offended by this so what’s the big deal?’ routine is identical to the one you hear from old white guys complaining about political correctness. ‘I’m not offended by Paul Henry, so what’s the big deal?’ And you’re free not to be offended by a political figure who owns Nazi memorabilia, just as old conservative white guys are free to not be offended by words like ‘nigger’ or ‘retard’, or whatever Henry says on any given day but the fact is that huge sections of the population are offended by all of these things and when someone is founding a political party there’s public interest in knowing that they hold values that many voters find revolting.
Secondly, if history had been a little different, there hadn’t been a raid on Kim Dotcom’s mansion and he’d gone on giving huge cash donations to John Banks and the ACT Party and it came out that this right-wing donor owned a signed copy of Mein Kampf and appeared in public wearing an SS helmet, I kind of doubt there would be this huge outcry from the left about how it was a smear story, and that owning Nazi memorabilia wasn’t such a big deal. On the contrary, most of the very same people widening their eyes and asking with bewilderment ‘What’s the big deal about owning a book signed by Adolf Hitler? A book is just a bunch of sub-atomic particles!’ would be clawing at the air and screaming with outrage about the Nazi take-over of New Zealand politics.
Point fifthly, I really really hate it when people say ‘Hmmm’ or ‘Ummm’ in a comment.