Monday, April 18, 2011

Nazis. I hate these guys.

Courtesy of Brian's website, we get news of Hitler Walkers. These are trendy-looking casual walking shoes that are storming their way through Korea. Sort of like a blitzkrieg.

Okay, bad joke, but I don't know what else to say. Naming a consumer item after one of the worst mass murderers in world history is so blatantly wrong that at first I thought there might be some mistake. Maybe they say 틀러 instead of 틀러, or maybe they were trying to Hangulize Heathrow and it got all mucked up (히드로).

But nope. They're really shoes named after Hitler, looking a bit like jackboots lite. And they're fashionable shoes named after Hitler, so it's only a matter of time before they invade other East Asian markets or, worse, they end up in a Korea soap opera for every sensitive person in North America to gawk at, mouths agape.

Do you see where I'm going with this?

In the weird fetish toward Nazi-era chic that weirdly pokes its head up from time to time in East Asia (it's also in Japan, Taiwan, Mongolia, and a few other places), there are okay references and definitely bad references.

An okay reference would be something like, say, naming a bar after a famous German general from World War II who wasn't actually a Nazi and was entangled in a plot to oust Hitler. A definitely bad reference would be naming a bar after Der Führer. A borderline but probably bad reference would be using Nazi-esque uniforms and what sounds like a speech by Hitler in the background audio of a cosmetics commercial with only a French painting of Liberté to balance out the imagery.

Calling your shoes Hitler is definitely bad. Bad enough that there should be a letter-writing campaign, phone calls, etc., etc., until the product is renamed or discontinued. I think Heathrow Walkers sounds quite nice.

And like LG when they had that whole fiasco with blackface, now that they know about the problem, there is no excuse for not doing something about it.


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