by Paul Wallis
[Paul Wallis works at Sydney Media Jam.com ]
If the Charleston massacre was a hideous atrocity, it had commercial power for an entire global industry. The White Power icons worn by the accused shooter were covered on just about all news media. The coverage omitted to mention the multi-million dollar global trade in all types of hate merchandise, but it was great advertising for that trade.
The “idealism” comes with some highly remunerative commercial values. Hate merchandise is the dream merchandise of any retailer: No copyright, no royalties to pay, and a lot of historical imagery, bogus or otherwise, to back it up.
If you search Nazi merchandise online, and check out the images, you’ll find just about anything which can have a swastika printed on it. The Jewish Journal discovered Nazi memorabilia being sold on Amazon, “again” in 2013 as Rabbi Yonah Bookstein said, referring to prior sales issues in 2008.
They still do, in 2015. You can get anything from actual uniforms to accessories and more. If you want a Heinrich Himmler action figure, it’s there. These things retail around the $1000 mark, or less for “used” Himmlers. If you want a “German Youth Dagger” with scabbard, complete with the reassuring recommendation that it was the type used by the Gestapo, it’s a snip at around $20. It’s also basically a rebranded flick knife.
One store keeps details of its sales and views. The store sold 164 Nazi T-shirts in 30 days, with over 6000 views. The other thing of note – The store is in Japan. Globalization of hate really is a massive trade. Estimates of revenue vary, and they aren’t well defined. They’re certainly not reliable and research has a few obvious problems, but at least one estimate in the mid-2000s was in the tens of millions of dollars in Europe alone, per year.
The nature of the industry is based on propaganda, old and new. Polarizing societies is definitely good for business. The occasional massacre is good for sales, as well as delivering whatever message you’d like world media to cover. It’s pretty similar to the Islamic State online media campaigns, in that way.
If you know anything about merchandising production values, you’ll get another message from the modern hate industry - The merchandise has gone way upscale in terms of production quality. This is “designer hate on demand”, in one sense, and the upmarket merchandise is quite expensive to produce. That means there’s plenty of money to pay for production.
So -- Has hate become “another mucking middle class trade”? Undeniably, yes. This is no cottage industry. Forget the ideologies and millions of deaths, this is business. Don’t be too surprised to see books or other products called “How to Succeed in Genocide Without Really Trying” or death squad franchise opportunities. The rationales are also saleable, and “How to Be a Better Bigot”, with diagrams, can’t be far away.
Where money and hate come in, there are no real controls. Goebbels is still making his point, and the propaganda war is being lost on so many fronts. To win, you have to beat the message at its own game, and nobody’s trying. The trouble is that failure is coming at the price of lives.