"political correctness" and modelling.

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"political correctness" and modelling.

Joined: October 12th, 2010, 4:02 pm

May 10th, 2012, 2:30 pm #1

Many of us model the occasional "nazi" tank, we usually don't think twice about swastikas on our vehicles. We can see the historical significance and look past the emotional triggers that a symbol (especially the swastika) contains.
But sometimes crossing paths with the public can put us in interesting situations.
I was leaving work one day carrying a new acquisition (king tiger) and ran into the neighborhood rabbi. He was curious as to what I was carrying and I suddenly froze, hoping that I would not offend (I didn't)

I would guess that most of us in the modeling (and reinactor) realm are used to explaining the difference between the whermacht and nazis, and how we are not honoring the nazis by building and studying ww2 history and equipment.

I bring this up because I had an interesting interaction with my wife. I was looking through a book on us military funnies (zaloga I beleive) when I ran across a rather iconic Sherman with a mineroller. On its side was painted "aunt jemima" and a superbly detailed portrat of aunt jemima herself in full color.
Since I am looking for ideas on building Sherman's this really got me excited; here was an interesting Sherman with a funny name and a color on it besides od!
I showed my wife and age was less than enthused. Being a white Yankee I was a bit disconnected from racism and what was built around it.
The concern she had was in regards to sympathy to people that may be offended.

What really cought me off-guard was that, as a modeller I was not used to thinking of socio-political issues outside of the nazi/swastika issues we are used to.

Looking at other modelling and war related subjects I find a lot of very offensive propaganda towords the Japanese. In modern stuff there is a lot of anti-Muslim and middle eastern slogans painted on American tanks ("pig eater" etc)

I wanted to bring this up to get opinions from others in my hobby as to how subjects that could be sensitive are chosen and presented. Do you ever have second thoughts on a subject? Have you ever had someone offended by your work?

I am not bringing this up to get into any kind of argument on political correctness, politics, or anything like that. I am strictly interested in how touchy subjects effect your modeling.

Thanks everyone.
Last edited by atxranchhand on May 10th, 2012, 2:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: January 31st, 2009, 1:06 am

May 10th, 2012, 3:28 pm #2

I never even give "political correctness" a thought when considering subjects to model.

As far as I'm concerned, I build whatever historical subject I find interesting - with the emphasis on what I find interesting. This is because I only build for myself. I'm not worried in the least that what I build might offend someone else.

On a personal note, I find the whole idea that current PC-thinking should somehow justify historical revisionism or ignorance simplistic and childish as in a "sticking your head in the sand and pretending it didn't happen" sense (maybe "whistling past the graveyard of history?"). Building a model of an Axis subject is no more a glorification of Fascism than the Holocost Museum is a glorification of genocide. They're both informative of the historical record.

Building an German WWII airplane model and not putting a Swastika on it is to pretend that it never happened. The surest way to repeat the evil things in history is to pretend for so long that they never happened that you forget that they actually did. Pretending might make you feel better right now, but it does an injustice to your progeny who grow up in ignorance.

I will concede, though, that I have advocated that our model club consider a "balanced" approach to some public displays that we have presented, so that, for example, Allied aromor and Axis armor models displayed represent a fair historical cross-section to the viewing public. This has been mostly a matter of making an assessment of the venue and reason for the event we're participating in and tailoring our display to best fit that reason.

For example, a dispay at a US veteran's event might emphasize US armor. But at such events, I've actually found the vet's themselves are always facinated by the "enemy" models depicted. For many, it's actually a matter of pride to be able to point out a Sherman and a Tiger II and say, "Look here at this Sherman... That's what we were fighting in against these here Tiger tanks!" (Those guys who've "seen the elephant" get it. Political Correctness is for dummies.)

If some people are offended by "pinup nose art," "Aunt Jemima," "Swastickas," "hammers and sickles," "red stars," "green cresents," "Union Jacks," the "Red, White and Blue," or the "ol' Stars an' Bars" then that says more about their own hang-ups and ignorance than about my historical modeling interests. They're the ones with the problem, not me.

My, politically incorrect .02,

Mike
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Joined: January 7th, 2004, 5:17 pm

May 10th, 2012, 5:30 pm #3

Many of us model the occasional "nazi" tank, we usually don't think twice about swastikas on our vehicles. We can see the historical significance and look past the emotional triggers that a symbol (especially the swastika) contains.
But sometimes crossing paths with the public can put us in interesting situations.
I was leaving work one day carrying a new acquisition (king tiger) and ran into the neighborhood rabbi. He was curious as to what I was carrying and I suddenly froze, hoping that I would not offend (I didn't)

I would guess that most of us in the modeling (and reinactor) realm are used to explaining the difference between the whermacht and nazis, and how we are not honoring the nazis by building and studying ww2 history and equipment.

I bring this up because I had an interesting interaction with my wife. I was looking through a book on us military funnies (zaloga I beleive) when I ran across a rather iconic Sherman with a mineroller. On its side was painted "aunt jemima" and a superbly detailed portrat of aunt jemima herself in full color.
Since I am looking for ideas on building Sherman's this really got me excited; here was an interesting Sherman with a funny name and a color on it besides od!
I showed my wife and age was less than enthused. Being a white Yankee I was a bit disconnected from racism and what was built around it.
The concern she had was in regards to sympathy to people that may be offended.

What really cought me off-guard was that, as a modeller I was not used to thinking of socio-political issues outside of the nazi/swastika issues we are used to.

Looking at other modelling and war related subjects I find a lot of very offensive propaganda towords the Japanese. In modern stuff there is a lot of anti-Muslim and middle eastern slogans painted on American tanks ("pig eater" etc)

I wanted to bring this up to get opinions from others in my hobby as to how subjects that could be sensitive are chosen and presented. Do you ever have second thoughts on a subject? Have you ever had someone offended by your work?

I am not bringing this up to get into any kind of argument on political correctness, politics, or anything like that. I am strictly interested in how touchy subjects effect your modeling.

Thanks everyone.
Personally, I take the position that I'm building a historical replica. In order to be honest to history, it needs to look like the real thing did.

At AMPS this year, the winning diorama (which was also shown on this site a few months back) was of a Jew pushing a cart full of clothes from a box car that clearly took others to the gas chamber. It was very moving for me and my wife, both of us Jewish. My mother-in-law escaped Germany with her family in 1939, after her father had been incarcerated in a concentration camp for 9 months (in early 1939, Hitler wanted to get rid of the Jews by sending them out of the country, and offered amnesty to anyone in concentration camps that would leave immediately).

I showed pictures of this diorama at my local IPMS club. One person told me there is (or was until recently) a standing order that dioramas like this, depicting concentration camps, were not allowed at the IPMS nats. I don't know if this is true, but if it is, it is clearly PC taken to the extreme. Who are you going to offend with this? A Jew. No. A White Supremist/Nazi sympathizer? I doubt it (and could care less if it did offend). To anyone else, it tells a historical story. It clearly invokes string feeling, but it's not offensive.

About 15 years ago, a local playhouse was planning to put on a production of the play ShowBoat. Some local black people in the community started protesting, and became very vocal, because the play used the word '******' and depicted black people as slaves! The playhouse ended up changing some of the dialog and removing a few of the scenes from the original script. This, in my opinion, was insane! Black people in the south were slaves! It's not offensive to bring that up. In fact, I think its important to show people just what went on so they (a) know their history and (b) understand how bad it was and that things have improved. Certainly things can still improve (anti-Muslim slogans on the side of tanks in Iraq shows we still have a way to go), but, as George Santayana said "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

------
Chuck Rothman
Former AMPS Webmaster
Former AMPS Boresight Editor
Now just a regular AMPS member
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Chuck Rothman
AMPS 2nd VP - Canada
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Joined: September 20th, 2003, 3:28 pm

May 10th, 2012, 7:16 pm #4

nt
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Joined: October 8th, 2000, 5:30 pm

May 10th, 2012, 8:13 pm #5

Many of us model the occasional "nazi" tank, we usually don't think twice about swastikas on our vehicles. We can see the historical significance and look past the emotional triggers that a symbol (especially the swastika) contains.
But sometimes crossing paths with the public can put us in interesting situations.
I was leaving work one day carrying a new acquisition (king tiger) and ran into the neighborhood rabbi. He was curious as to what I was carrying and I suddenly froze, hoping that I would not offend (I didn't)

I would guess that most of us in the modeling (and reinactor) realm are used to explaining the difference between the whermacht and nazis, and how we are not honoring the nazis by building and studying ww2 history and equipment.

I bring this up because I had an interesting interaction with my wife. I was looking through a book on us military funnies (zaloga I beleive) when I ran across a rather iconic Sherman with a mineroller. On its side was painted "aunt jemima" and a superbly detailed portrat of aunt jemima herself in full color.
Since I am looking for ideas on building Sherman's this really got me excited; here was an interesting Sherman with a funny name and a color on it besides od!
I showed my wife and age was less than enthused. Being a white Yankee I was a bit disconnected from racism and what was built around it.
The concern she had was in regards to sympathy to people that may be offended.

What really cought me off-guard was that, as a modeller I was not used to thinking of socio-political issues outside of the nazi/swastika issues we are used to.

Looking at other modelling and war related subjects I find a lot of very offensive propaganda towords the Japanese. In modern stuff there is a lot of anti-Muslim and middle eastern slogans painted on American tanks ("pig eater" etc)

I wanted to bring this up to get opinions from others in my hobby as to how subjects that could be sensitive are chosen and presented. Do you ever have second thoughts on a subject? Have you ever had someone offended by your work?

I am not bringing this up to get into any kind of argument on political correctness, politics, or anything like that. I am strictly interested in how touchy subjects effect your modeling.

Thanks everyone.
More like denial of history. We spend hours getting the model accurate, scale fidelity, fine detail, etc, then paint the model the wrong colour. Stupid. Not putting a Swastika on the model is the same as the wrong colour - it is historically inaccurate. That's how it was then, so why not model it? Don't mess about with history, what happened then was real, don't whitewash it.

The PC brigade don't like "war toys" in general and if they had their way in museums there would be suits of armour but no swords! Stupid. Boys will be boys, so even though the PC brigade have stopped competition in school games and toy guns in shops, the kids go on line and shoot the c**p out of each other. One of Britain's biggest industries is games software, most of it pretty violent. By comparison modelling is quite tame, the only blood letting is if you slip using the scalpel, the violence comes when you find the blood has gone all over your model!

Personally I don't model much German WWII stuff, preferring Soviet and US tanks, mostly T series, Shermans (Shermen?) and LVTs, but my stash has lots of Panzer IVs and halftracks, mainly 251s and sWSs with the boxes opened but never started. I've also got some 1/48th FW 190 and Ta 152 kits that I haven't started, lovely aircraft technically (ex-RAF technician so I appreciate good aircraft design) but not sure about the Swastikas, which brings us back to the beginning. Am I too getting sucked into the PC view of the world?

A confused modeller,

Bruce Crosby
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Joined: October 12th, 2010, 4:02 pm

May 10th, 2012, 8:32 pm #6

Many of us model the occasional "nazi" tank, we usually don't think twice about swastikas on our vehicles. We can see the historical significance and look past the emotional triggers that a symbol (especially the swastika) contains.
But sometimes crossing paths with the public can put us in interesting situations.
I was leaving work one day carrying a new acquisition (king tiger) and ran into the neighborhood rabbi. He was curious as to what I was carrying and I suddenly froze, hoping that I would not offend (I didn't)

I would guess that most of us in the modeling (and reinactor) realm are used to explaining the difference between the whermacht and nazis, and how we are not honoring the nazis by building and studying ww2 history and equipment.

I bring this up because I had an interesting interaction with my wife. I was looking through a book on us military funnies (zaloga I beleive) when I ran across a rather iconic Sherman with a mineroller. On its side was painted "aunt jemima" and a superbly detailed portrat of aunt jemima herself in full color.
Since I am looking for ideas on building Sherman's this really got me excited; here was an interesting Sherman with a funny name and a color on it besides od!
I showed my wife and age was less than enthused. Being a white Yankee I was a bit disconnected from racism and what was built around it.
The concern she had was in regards to sympathy to people that may be offended.

What really cought me off-guard was that, as a modeller I was not used to thinking of socio-political issues outside of the nazi/swastika issues we are used to.

Looking at other modelling and war related subjects I find a lot of very offensive propaganda towords the Japanese. In modern stuff there is a lot of anti-Muslim and middle eastern slogans painted on American tanks ("pig eater" etc)

I wanted to bring this up to get opinions from others in my hobby as to how subjects that could be sensitive are chosen and presented. Do you ever have second thoughts on a subject? Have you ever had someone offended by your work?

I am not bringing this up to get into any kind of argument on political correctness, politics, or anything like that. I am strictly interested in how touchy subjects effect your modeling.

Thanks everyone.
I like esoteric discussions liek this

I was one of the judges on the "burden of sorrow" concentration camp diorama at amps, it was a spectacular piece. It did not need to be graphic to be moving and thought provoking. Personally I would want it displayed at the Holocaust museum so others can see it.
I think its also important to remember that what we model are tools of war, and they where designed for a very specific task.

I find it very interesting how many countries (outside the us) make it illegal to display or sell swastikas. i consider this extreme, and very short sited. You could be in trouble for showing a diorama with a nazi flag in it in the country of germany...

I also think its "stupid" to ban things based on subject from IPMS. we used to joke that they would cover up figures with a boob showing, but had no problem with nude nose art!

I am interested to hear form anyone who has had a piece bared from a show, or if they have been confronted because of a modeling piece.
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Joined: January 10th, 2009, 3:29 am

May 10th, 2012, 8:37 pm #7

Personally, I take the position that I'm building a historical replica. In order to be honest to history, it needs to look like the real thing did.

At AMPS this year, the winning diorama (which was also shown on this site a few months back) was of a Jew pushing a cart full of clothes from a box car that clearly took others to the gas chamber. It was very moving for me and my wife, both of us Jewish. My mother-in-law escaped Germany with her family in 1939, after her father had been incarcerated in a concentration camp for 9 months (in early 1939, Hitler wanted to get rid of the Jews by sending them out of the country, and offered amnesty to anyone in concentration camps that would leave immediately).

I showed pictures of this diorama at my local IPMS club. One person told me there is (or was until recently) a standing order that dioramas like this, depicting concentration camps, were not allowed at the IPMS nats. I don't know if this is true, but if it is, it is clearly PC taken to the extreme. Who are you going to offend with this? A Jew. No. A White Supremist/Nazi sympathizer? I doubt it (and could care less if it did offend). To anyone else, it tells a historical story. It clearly invokes string feeling, but it's not offensive.

About 15 years ago, a local playhouse was planning to put on a production of the play ShowBoat. Some local black people in the community started protesting, and became very vocal, because the play used the word '******' and depicted black people as slaves! The playhouse ended up changing some of the dialog and removing a few of the scenes from the original script. This, in my opinion, was insane! Black people in the south were slaves! It's not offensive to bring that up. In fact, I think its important to show people just what went on so they (a) know their history and (b) understand how bad it was and that things have improved. Certainly things can still improve (anti-Muslim slogans on the side of tanks in Iraq shows we still have a way to go), but, as George Santayana said "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

------
Chuck Rothman
Former AMPS Webmaster
Former AMPS Boresight Editor
Now just a regular AMPS member
Just so you know, IPMS Nationals has no such standing order. This is cut and pasted from the National Judging Committee handbook....

ii.Models or dioramas of historic events (e.g., general dioramas or specific depictions of the result of the activities of the communist Cambodian Pol Pot regime, a Soviet Gulag, or a Nazi death camp) where the suffering of human beings, or the result of a pogrom, is depicted. Where the theme, content or subject matter of presentations is graphic or would violate any provisions cited above, then the presentation is prohibited in any setting.


I saw the Diorama you were referring to and IF I were head judge, would see no problem with it.
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Joined: January 10th, 2009, 3:29 am

May 10th, 2012, 8:43 pm #8

Many of us model the occasional "nazi" tank, we usually don't think twice about swastikas on our vehicles. We can see the historical significance and look past the emotional triggers that a symbol (especially the swastika) contains.
But sometimes crossing paths with the public can put us in interesting situations.
I was leaving work one day carrying a new acquisition (king tiger) and ran into the neighborhood rabbi. He was curious as to what I was carrying and I suddenly froze, hoping that I would not offend (I didn't)

I would guess that most of us in the modeling (and reinactor) realm are used to explaining the difference between the whermacht and nazis, and how we are not honoring the nazis by building and studying ww2 history and equipment.

I bring this up because I had an interesting interaction with my wife. I was looking through a book on us military funnies (zaloga I beleive) when I ran across a rather iconic Sherman with a mineroller. On its side was painted "aunt jemima" and a superbly detailed portrat of aunt jemima herself in full color.
Since I am looking for ideas on building Sherman's this really got me excited; here was an interesting Sherman with a funny name and a color on it besides od!
I showed my wife and age was less than enthused. Being a white Yankee I was a bit disconnected from racism and what was built around it.
The concern she had was in regards to sympathy to people that may be offended.

What really cought me off-guard was that, as a modeller I was not used to thinking of socio-political issues outside of the nazi/swastika issues we are used to.

Looking at other modelling and war related subjects I find a lot of very offensive propaganda towords the Japanese. In modern stuff there is a lot of anti-Muslim and middle eastern slogans painted on American tanks ("pig eater" etc)

I wanted to bring this up to get opinions from others in my hobby as to how subjects that could be sensitive are chosen and presented. Do you ever have second thoughts on a subject? Have you ever had someone offended by your work?

I am not bringing this up to get into any kind of argument on political correctness, politics, or anything like that. I am strictly interested in how touchy subjects effect your modeling.

Thanks everyone.
While I completely agree, Germany, at least back in 1993, did not. The public display of the Swastika, SS, and totenKopf were not to be displayed publicly. I remember going into my local hobby shop in Bad Kissingen back in 1984 and buying a Tamiya kit only to find the decals painted over as well as the boxart. Over time, the owner would wait for Staurday to allow me to look over his recent arrivals so that I could get unmarked decals. If I didn't want the kit and the decals were offensive, out came the paint pen or Zorro marker.
Last edited by Warfrost on May 10th, 2012, 8:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: April 22nd, 2005, 9:18 pm

May 10th, 2012, 9:02 pm #9

Many of us model the occasional "nazi" tank, we usually don't think twice about swastikas on our vehicles. We can see the historical significance and look past the emotional triggers that a symbol (especially the swastika) contains.
But sometimes crossing paths with the public can put us in interesting situations.
I was leaving work one day carrying a new acquisition (king tiger) and ran into the neighborhood rabbi. He was curious as to what I was carrying and I suddenly froze, hoping that I would not offend (I didn't)

I would guess that most of us in the modeling (and reinactor) realm are used to explaining the difference between the whermacht and nazis, and how we are not honoring the nazis by building and studying ww2 history and equipment.

I bring this up because I had an interesting interaction with my wife. I was looking through a book on us military funnies (zaloga I beleive) when I ran across a rather iconic Sherman with a mineroller. On its side was painted "aunt jemima" and a superbly detailed portrat of aunt jemima herself in full color.
Since I am looking for ideas on building Sherman's this really got me excited; here was an interesting Sherman with a funny name and a color on it besides od!
I showed my wife and age was less than enthused. Being a white Yankee I was a bit disconnected from racism and what was built around it.
The concern she had was in regards to sympathy to people that may be offended.

What really cought me off-guard was that, as a modeller I was not used to thinking of socio-political issues outside of the nazi/swastika issues we are used to.

Looking at other modelling and war related subjects I find a lot of very offensive propaganda towords the Japanese. In modern stuff there is a lot of anti-Muslim and middle eastern slogans painted on American tanks ("pig eater" etc)

I wanted to bring this up to get opinions from others in my hobby as to how subjects that could be sensitive are chosen and presented. Do you ever have second thoughts on a subject? Have you ever had someone offended by your work?

I am not bringing this up to get into any kind of argument on political correctness, politics, or anything like that. I am strictly interested in how touchy subjects effect your modeling.

Thanks everyone.
hi
A UK modeller swapped his normal subjects so as not to ruffle too many feathers at Church when on display - he portrayed Medical versions instead - so no more upset... !

I also model more medic vehicles so as to creat a balance.. and more interest.

A long time ago, I said I'd never model a flamethrower - to avoid upset too. But eventually built the Churchill Croc...

Andrew
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Joined: April 24th, 2005, 12:23 am

May 10th, 2012, 9:28 pm #10

More like denial of history. We spend hours getting the model accurate, scale fidelity, fine detail, etc, then paint the model the wrong colour. Stupid. Not putting a Swastika on the model is the same as the wrong colour - it is historically inaccurate. That's how it was then, so why not model it? Don't mess about with history, what happened then was real, don't whitewash it.

The PC brigade don't like "war toys" in general and if they had their way in museums there would be suits of armour but no swords! Stupid. Boys will be boys, so even though the PC brigade have stopped competition in school games and toy guns in shops, the kids go on line and shoot the c**p out of each other. One of Britain's biggest industries is games software, most of it pretty violent. By comparison modelling is quite tame, the only blood letting is if you slip using the scalpel, the violence comes when you find the blood has gone all over your model!

Personally I don't model much German WWII stuff, preferring Soviet and US tanks, mostly T series, Shermans (Shermen?) and LVTs, but my stash has lots of Panzer IVs and halftracks, mainly 251s and sWSs with the boxes opened but never started. I've also got some 1/48th FW 190 and Ta 152 kits that I haven't started, lovely aircraft technically (ex-RAF technician so I appreciate good aircraft design) but not sure about the Swastikas, which brings us back to the beginning. Am I too getting sucked into the PC view of the world?

A confused modeller,

Bruce Crosby
When I was young my mother was a PC Teacher and decided that war toys were not for me and dissuaded my relatives from purchasing any such toys for me. This extended to only non warlike sets for my Action man etc, no guns, no toy soldiers etc. Some leaked through the prohibition (my father used to get me Airfix Figures and kits) and I got very interested in Military things. To cut a long story short she gave up by the time I was ten and I ended up spending 21 years as a soldier despite her initial attempts.
The whole revisionist business of analysing history with todays social values and mindsets is a cancer on history.

Al
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