There Are Some Things You Just Shouldn’t Do…

And dressing up like a Waffen-SS officer is one of them, especially if you’re a Congressman candidate for Congress and a member of a political party whose more unscrupulous opponents enjoy likening to a bunch of Nazi racists:

A Republican politician in the US has been criticised after pictures of him dressed in a Nazi uniform emerged on the internet.

Senior Republican figures have now sought to distance themselves from Rich Iott, a House candidate from Ohio.

Mr Iott admitted being a member of a group that re-enacted SS battles.


Several photographs show Mr Iott posing as an officer in the Waffen SS – the combat wing of Hitler’s feared Schutzstaffel.

While Mr. Iott has claimed that the whole thing is a big misunderstanding and that he’s involved in some sort of reenactment group out of “purely historical interest” — a claim that admittedly has some credence since there are also pictures of him dressed up as an American WWI “doughboy” and a Civil War-era Union solider — the simple fact that this guy is too thick to realize that dressing up in German WWII-era uniforms is extremely problematic — and dressing up as the WAFFEN FUCKING SS is even more problematic — should signal that he’s probably too thick to adequately represent his constituents in Congress, and the bar for that is perilously low already.

The Atlantic has a few pictures from the website of the so-called “Wiking” reenactment group showing Iott in full drag. For his part, Iott has posted up a bunch of pictures showing him playing the role of other, non-Nazi soldiers, so I guess you can make up your own mind as to whether he’s actually some sort of white supremacist — my gut says he’s probably not (a sentiment apparently shared by a local rabbi). He is, however, incredibly callous and stupid. One can only hope that the voters of Ohio decide not to send him to Washington.


2 Responses to “There Are Some Things You Just Shouldn’t Do…”

  1. 1 CJ Ciaramella
    October 10, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    Well, everyone needs a hobby. Some people collect stamps. Others are grown men who still play “soldier.”

    I’ve hung out with historical reenactors before, and they’re a … weird bunch, to say the least. I don’t think I’d want any of them representing me in public office.

    (But really? Dressing up as a regular German soldier is at least sort of defensible, but the SS? That’s fucking asinine.)

  2. 2 Vincent
    October 10, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    Yeah, I don’t really have a problem as such with the whole re-enactment thing. I think it’s a little strange, but whatever. But once you start prancing around in Waffen-SS uniforms, I think there’s a certain line that’s been crossed, if only one of taste. And the way this “Wiking” organization frames its activities is particularly unsavory. From the Atlantic piece:

    Regardless, thousands upon thousands of valiant men died defending their respective countries in the name of a better tomorrow. We salute these idealists; no matter how unsavory the Nazi government was, the front-line soldiers of the Waffen-SS (in particular the foreign volunteers) gave their lives for their loved ones and a basic desire to be free.

    To put it mildly, “um… no.” While there was certainly an anti-Soviet aspect to Nazi foreign policy, to twist the activities of the Waffen-SS into some kind of “defending their respective homelands in the name of a better tomorrow,” to say nothing of a putative romantic crusade stemming from “a basic desire to be free” is absolute drivel. It’s like saying people joined the Einsatzgruppen and suffocated Jews in the back of sealed trucks out of a “basic scientific desire to learn more about the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning on the human body.”

    Like I said, this moron probably isn’t a racist. On the other hand, this “Wiking” organization he’s chosen to associate with seems really, really dodgy, to say the least. I mean, you just don’t come up with transparent justifications about dressing up in SS uniforms to honor “valiant men” if you don’t know that what you’re doing is fundamentally wrong. Their website does have a disclaimer about rejecting neo-Nazism, the KKK/Aryan Nation/etc., and that they’re just interested in reenacting the life of the “ordinary German combat soldier.” Of course, that prompts the question: “why choose a Waffen-SS unit, instead of any number of non-political Wehrmacht units that existed during the war?”

    In any case, that he continued to engage in their activities is testament enough to his total lack of good judgment.

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