Monday, April 20, 2009


Signs, like the Mel Gibson movie.

Walking from an alternate train station on Sunday, due to my normally express train going local that day, I walked past a gated dirt hill leading down to what is probably one of the most contaminated rivers on this Earth. But anyway, I walked past it and seen this hanging behind the gate:

Whatever, normal piece of corrugated cardboard.

Later on in the afternoon of that workday, a half Jewish, half-Puerto Rican woman came in and was interested in a particular piece of furniture. She liked the wood (I forget what kind), the shiny coat that our workshop guy put on it, and it's Asian handmade look. She would basically just use the drawer in the front foyer to deposit her keys and things in when she came in the door of her home. A quick, decorative depository. However, one thing repelled her a bit. The drawer had this on the bottom of it:

I, at first, stumbled a little bit at the fact that this sat in a warehouse ran by a practicing Orthodox Jewish man. But remembering context, I explained that the drawer was made in and imported from China. Buddhists and Hindus had extensive use of this symbol as a good thing in their religion before before Fascists took it and perverted it in their campaign. In addition, the symbol was at the bottom of the drawer, and carved in above it was a huge Yin/Yang circle that should've offset the "bad energy" that had been culturally placed in the symbol you see here.

She bought it. The symbol is below mid-shin level, so she figured that no one would really notice it anyway. If they do, she'll quickly give them a more detailed explanation of its history than the one I put above.

Life: The Irony.


  1. Wow! That's pretty crazy that you first saw the cardboard (which really looks like a metal sculpture or something from the photo) and then sold that piece of furniture. Even with the symbol on it.

  2. Don't Feed The PixiesApril 21, 2009 at 4:47 AM

    OK - i blame Chris Carter and The X Files if this bit of info is wrong - but i believe the symbol was originally also a jewish symbol of protection and you are right to say that the Nazi's perverted that use

    Its interesting to think that even after all this time that image has such strong connotations

  3. I remember learning in school that a swastika with the arms going in the opposite direction was some sort of Native American symbol for luck or peace or something.

    Then again, I went to public school, so I wouldn't be shocked if that was just something Mme. Roberge made up.

  4. I had the same revelation as Racquel with the native American symbol - it was painted on a car - just shocked the hell out of me - at that time.
    But besides that, isn't it interesting how two cultures separated by thousand of miles have the same symbols?

  5. oh wow, thought the cardboard was actually metal myself.

    on the symbol, I've a ring I bought from a temple in South Korea with Chinese writing on it (since for the longest time Koreans spoke Chinese) and a the swastika symbol. You wouldn't believe the people who either ask me why I wear it, or show disbelief in my wearing it so openly (the ring is quite small).

    So sad that a symbol that represents such good things as good will and fortune as well as Buddha's heart and feet in some references, has been made into something that will forever bring about painful memories and connotations.

  6. oh and the aforementioned ring actually translates into "remove the pain and suffering from your life, and help others do the same." then it's followed by a blessing symbol and the swastika.

    what irony.

  7. good posting. (p.s. I also watched that Law and Order episode .... (previous post) ... symbols like the one in this post remind us that whatever we think is forever (i.e. the meaning of symbols) is essentially not ..


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