Walmart is still selling Nazi SS skull t-shirts

I was surprised at the level of response I got from yesterday’s post about Walmart selling t-shirts with the Nazi SS Death’s Head logo on them. I knew some blogs got over 55,000 visits in a single day. I just never thought this blog would ever be one of them.

If I have learned anything over the last 24 hours its that people love a story involving Walmart and Nazis. Go figure.

I was contacted yesterday by someone from a PR firm that represents Wal-Mart:

Rick:

Good morning. My name is Marshall Manson. I work for Edelman doing online public affairs for Wal-Mart. I noticed your post about the t-shirts that Wal-Mart is selling. I wanted to make sure you saw the company’s statement about this and knew that Wal-Mart is now removing the t-shirts from its stores. Obviously, with a company as big as Wal-Mart, that may take a day or two.

The statement is just below. If you would like to discuss anything, feel free to respond to this e-mail.

Statement from Wal-Mart:

We were not aware of the origins of the image until this morning when we learned about it through the blog Bent Corner.

We are deeply sorry that this happened, and we are in the process of pulling all of these t-shirts from our stores.

Respect for the individual is a core value of our company and we would never have placed this t-shirt on our shelves had we known the origin and significance of this emblem.

We are reviewing our product review process in an effort to ensure this never happens again.

Sincerely,

Marshall Manson
Edelman

If you would like a copy of the above correspondence sent directly to you by Marshall Manson, simply post something on a blog about Nazi’s and Walmart and wait about 30 minutes. I doubt it will take even that long. The very same email sent to me was sent to just about every other blog that posted something about this. Word for word.

The New York Times published an article about Walmart and bloggers. In it they mention Marshall Manson quite frequently. It’s an interesting read.

Marshall Manson asked me if I would post an update to my original post about Walmart and the Nazi shirts. Something about how quickly they responded to the problem once they realized they were selling Nazi swag. I would have no problem doing that, if I felt they had indeed acted upon the information that they were selling Nazi clothing.

The problem is that they haven’t yet done anything about the Nazi shirts.

Yesterday afternoon I stopped at a Walmart on my way home for work and found a stack of the same shirts still for sale in the men’s department. My wife also stopped at a different Walmart on her way home from work yesterday. She too found a stack of these Nazi shirts still for sale.

In my opinion, quickly taking care of a problem involves actually taking care of the problem.

Instead of having someone from a PR firm contact bloggers, Walmart should have concentrated on simply removing the shirts from their stores. They could have worried about contacting bloggers after their stores were free of Nazi clothing.

Marshall Manson claimed that because of the size of Walmart, removing the shirts from all the stores might take a day or two. I don’t think so. Walmart could have removed these shirts from every store in a matter of minutes if they actually wanted to. Would they be this lethargically slow if they found out they were selling child porn?

I don’t think so.

I’m more than a little ticked off that because of my post, white supremacists and neo-Nazis are now goose stepping to Walmart to buy these shirts. For example, over at the Resistance Records official website, members of the forum linked to my post and wrote about going to Walmart to buy these shirts. Resistance Records produces white supremacist and neo-Nazi music. It is the same record company behind Prussian Blue, the Nazi version of the Olsen twins.

Prussian Blue

One member of that forum even posted a photo of herself wearing the shirt she bought at Walmart. The shirt she didn’t even know existed until I posted about it on my blog.

I wish Walmart had acted more responsibly and taken care of this situation as soon as it was brought to their attention. Instead they worried more about trying to control the blogosphere then stopping teenage wannabe Nazis from buying Nazi SS shirts in their stores.

The reality is these shirts are so ugly, I doubt anyone was even buying them. Until wannabe Nazis learned about them on my blog.

Great.

Walmart is selling Nazi t-shirts

I stopped at Walmart today after work. I had to pick up a few things. As I was walking past the men’s clothing area, something caught my eye. I noticed something weird over at a wall of t-shirts. One of the t-shirts had a design on it that looked remarkably like something related to Nazis. Specifically, the Totenkopf or “Death’s Head.”

I took a picture of it with my camera phone:

Walmart is selling Nazi t-shirts - Bent Corner

Totenkopf

The Death’s Head symbol was worn by the members of the German Nazi SS. The Totenkopf on the Walmart t-shirt looks very similar to the divisional insignia of the 3rd SS Division Totenkopf. As you can see, It’s almost an exact copy:

Walmart is selling Nazi t-shirts - Bent Corner
 

Neo-Nazis love the Totenkopf

Neo-Nazis sometimes use the Totenkopf image because it is not as easily identifiable as other Nazi symbols such as the swastika. You might see one of these tattooed on someone’s arm while standing in line at Burger King and think it’s just a poorly done pirate skull.

It’s not.

Is Walmart purposely trying to sell clothing with Nazi symbols on it? I doubt it. They won’t even sell CDs with bad words on them. I doubt someone at Walmart corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas decided to sell clothing with Nazi symbols on it.

Whoever designed this shirt had to know the origin of the skull.

My ignorance of Memorial Boulevard

An anonymous person here in Hagerstown responded to my letter to the Herald-Mail about the naming of Memorial Boulevard. The response was published in the Herald-Mail newspaper. This anonymous person, instead of actually writing a real letter and signing it, chose to respond to my letter by phoning it in.

Seriously, they just phoned it in.

The Herald-Mail has something they call “Mail Call.” People can call a telephone number and leave a message. They don’t have to identify themselves. All they have to do it say where they’re from and leave a message. Newspaper staff then sort through these messages and attempt to find ones worthy of publishing.

Here it is:

“This is about Memorial Boulevard. Virginia Magruder, a retired teacher from North Hagerstown High School – many of us had her for English -came in to Council to carefully delineate the history of Memorial Boulevard, and she had researched it. I wouldn’t presume to say what she gave in the way of information that evening, because it obviously is not going to be believed by the writer of the letter about Memorial Boulevard, but to overcome his ignorance on the subject of Memorial Boulevard and what it was to memorialize, and what it means to many of us out here, as the only thing that genuinely honors veterans in this whole community, I would like to suggest that he go to the Washington County library and avail himself of the many materials that are there on the history of Washington County. He gets to believe whatever he wants to believe, but to suggest that Memorial Boulevard doesn’t have any connection with honoring veterans is ridiculous.” – Hagerstown

If I had a chance to speak with this anonymous person from Hagerstown, I would tell them that I did research on the origin of Memorial Stadium. I would tell them that although some in Hagerstown wanted to erect an actual Memorial to World War One veterans, they just never quite got around to doing it.

It’s like calling a road Elm Street and then never quite getting around to planting elm trees on it.

Why would I want to go do research at the Washington County library? I can sit here at home drinking coffee and taking advantage of Internet sites such as Google and Ask Jeeves. I guess I could do the same thing at the Washington County library, but I would have to do it sitting next to a smelly hobo looking for porn.

Hagerstown’s Memorial Boulevard

I wrote a letter into my local newspaper last week, the Herald-Mail. The letter was published in today’s issue. The letter had to do with renaming a portion of a street here in Hagerstown in honor of Willie Mays, one of the greatest baseball players of all time.

He actually played his first professional baseball game here in Hagerstown.

The street that was to be renamed in his honor is where the baseball stadium is located. It actually has true historical baseball significance associated with it.

The street’s name was never changed. Some people were upset because they felt renaming  a portion of Memorial Boulevard to Willie Mays Way would be an insult to military veterans. Nobody is sure why Memorial Boulevard was named Memorial Boulevard in the first place.

It’s my opinion that Memorial Boulevard was not renamed Willie Mays Way simply because he’s black.

It’s not because Hagerstown especially loves military veterans.

If Memorial Boulevard was to honor veterans, where was the actual memorial? The street lacked a true memorial for decades. It took the threat of naming the street after a black man to get people to pay for a real memorial.

My Letter to the Herald-Mail

I’m responding to a letter you published written by Louise Dawson of Hagerstown. In her letter, she states that the reason Memorial Boulevard was not renamed Willie Mays Way was because people complained. The reason they complained she states was not because Willie Mays is black, but because “veterans did not want it changed.”

For the record, I’m a veteran of the U.S. military. I wanted Memorial Boulevard renamed Willie Mays Way. I thought it would be a fitting tribute to one of the greatest baseball players of all time. Not only a tribute to the player, but to the city where he played his first professional baseball game – it’s a fact that those of us who live in Hagerstown can be proud of. The street and the city actually has some historical baseball significance connected to it.

What I am not proud of is the way some of our city’s residents treated Willie Mays. It has been documented that Mays was subjected to racial slurs during the game. He also was not allowed to stay in the same Hagerstown hotel with the rest of his teammates. I, for one, am ashamed of the treatment Willie Mays received here. Renaming of the street in his honor would have been a positive first step in righting a past wrong committed by people of this city. It would have sent the message that the people of Hagerstown today do not agree with the way Mays was treated. Not only is Hagerstown known at the city that treated Willie Mays wrongly during his first professional baseball game because he was black, it’s now known as the city that more recently refused to rename a portion of a street to honor him.

It’s not as though a famous World War I epic battle took place on Memorial Boulevard. From what I can tell, few even know actually what war, battle, or group of warriors Memorial Boulevard is supposed to memorialize. That’s if it was even named Memorial Boulevard to honor anything at all. The fact that few city officials or residents even know why it was named Memorial Boulevard speaks volumes of its significance.

Blame military veterans for not honoring Willie Mays if you must. Just don’t blame this veteran.

Web based comic reviewers that love to hate

Larry Young, publisher at comic book company AiT/PlanetLar has written an interesting piece over at Comic Book Resources dealing with the phenomenon of online negative comic book reviews. It’s where people with a website go out of their way to read comics they know they are not going to enjoy so they can have something to review. None of them are real critics or reviewers. They also aren’t paid for their reviews. None of them make a living this way. They merely write negative reviews because of their supposed love of the medium. Something like that.

I mean, how else to account for what passes for comics criticism, nowadays? When was the last time you read something online or in print that wasn’t a bunch of negativity, or, at best, dissembling? Where is everyone’s passion? Where is the enthusiasm? I mean, if you don’t like what you’re reading, here’s a thought: stop.

Amen brother. If you don’t like what you are reading, stop.

Do not read comics you know you are going to hate

Seems easy enough, right? You would think. The problem is, many online comic critics cannot seem to grasp this. They purposely go out of their way to read things they should know they are going to hate. Things that fall squarely and completely out of their favorite genres.

It would be like me writing online reviews of country western music.

Take for example online comic book reviewer Johanna Draper Carlson. She is the owner of a popular comic review site, Comics Worth Reading. Though I often read her accompanying blog, I rarely read her review website. Why you might ask? She seems to go out of her way to read material she should know she will not like and then write overly negative reviews about it. Case in point, the Luna Brothers and their comic Girls.

Girls #6 (Joshua and Jonathan Luna) would be ludicrously funny if it weren’t so earnest about justifying its nudity, violence, and swearing. In this issue, random men are killed by being torn into pieces by a giant sperm in a cornfield. The town tries to evacuate, but they find the area surrounded by a giant force bubble right out of a Silver Age superhero comic. Idiotic, juvenile tripe that only gets attention because it’s got nekkid wimmen in it.

Why did she even bother to read Girls #6? This “review” was after she gave an overly negative review of Girls #1. To me, it just doesn’t make any real sense. It’s not a “the king is wearing no clothes” type of situation. It’s not like Girls is any sort of top seller or a major mover in the comic book shop. ICv2 recently released the top 300 comic books in sales for the month of October and Girls #6 came in at number 147. It sold only 12,113 copies. What’s the point in dumping on it? Why continue picking on a low selling title people seem to be ignoring anyway?

Who knows.