I know, I’m mining Godwin a lot (mix metaphors, much? — ed.)
But like ABL and just about everyone else with a conscience and an ounce of human sympathy, I was more than outraged by Clint McCance’s personal little wish. Isn’t it just special that someone thinks that the recent series of gay teen suicide is not a tragedy so much as a good start?
Psychopath is the word that comes to mind, and making no apologies for the connection being made, this is the picture that accompanies that thought:
I’ve posted this picture before as a comment on the Prop. 8 vote in 2008. Sadly, it never seems to go out of date. The inscription reads in translation,
“This memorial plaque at Metro-station Nollendorfplatz in Berlin-Schöneberg is to commemorate the Pink triangle. It was one of the Nazi concentration camp badges, used by the German Nazis to identify male prisoners in concentration camps who were sent there because of their homosexuality.”
To paraphrase what I wrote a couple of years ago:
This is an incredibly modest remembrance, hanging on the side of the bridge at Nollendorfplatz, a minor station in the Berlin transit system. I encountered it while I was living in the area while researching a book on Einstein’s Berlin years. Most mornings, on the way to the state archives, I’d pass it by without noticing. But every now and then, I looked up in the grey pre-coffee light. One day I stopped to read.
Looking at it now, in the context of McCance’s filth, it reminds me that nothing here is complicated, not at all, not the question of marriage equality, of full civil rights and social unconcern for same-sex couples nor the question of what kind of man wishes death on strangers for no better reason that he finds them — I don’t know what…icky, perhaps? Terrifying in their hopes of happiness? Human?
And as for McCance himself — the problem is not that he’s a hideous waste of carbon and oxygen, but that he isn’t alone.
In fact, I guess, there’s a twisted kind of gratitude we may owe him. For while I Godwinize for memory, not to make blunt and false parallel, he reminds us that there are real consequences when words like his cease to horrify enough of us.
And with that, I promise. No more Hitler references …. at least for a few hours.
Image: Michael F. Mehnert, Nollendorfplatz memorial, 2006.