Hi Crazy Nazis

On Saturday I attended my first protest. As of this week I have lived in Madison, WI for eleven years. I had not attended a single event even remotely like a protest until this.

I wasn’t going to go. I wanted to go home and mow my lawn, having spent the morning working on Stroller’s production of “Sylvia.” However, two of my crew employed drastic coercion methods to get me to go (they pointed out that it was raining and I couldn’t mow my lawn, and that they’d probably go for beer afterwards). The result was that I had a blast, which may be an odd thing to say about a Nazi rally.

On arrival we walked past Genna’s bar, where a small gathering of gentlemen in pink bunny suits was drinking. After all, Saturday was a day where you could wear a bunny suit and not be the most absurd thing in downtown Madison. They were met with great cheer when they walked to and through the rally. They were probably the highlight.

A couple of observations of mine, including some questions:

– I’d like to see what would happen if nobody showed up to these things. If I mentioned this in person I received one of two responses: “Something like this cannot go unchallenged in a public space” or “We can’t ignore these people, or they’ll get bigger.” I hate to point this out but they were there to rile people up. They are like terrorists, where their goal is not really to blow things up but to cause chaos and fear. A solid show of censure seems like a more powerful message than to do exactly what they want and chant back.

– The signs I saw ranged from retarded to hilarious. On the retarded end was a sign protesting the war in Iraq. Wrong rally, pal. On the funny side the leader is the woman with the sheet of paper saying “Hi Crazy Nazis!” accompanied by flowery drawings. She waved at them and smiled. Others that were good stated “Where are Jake and Elwood when we need them?” and a depiction of Hitler eating a handgun, entitled “Follow Your Leader.”

– The Nazis were defacing a bunch of Israeli flags, which made me think: “Why isn’t the other side defacing Nazi flags?” I guess I was hoping someone with more protest experience would have thought of that, too.

– Anarchists. Um, yeah. So there was this gaggle of anarchists running around, complete with their own complement of sheriff deputies. It seemed like there were three or four anarchists that really were into anarchy, and tried starting something, and were promptly arrested. Then the group devolved into dancing and bongo drumming. Besides that, isn’t a gathering of anarchists sort of an oxymoron? 🙂

– The police seemed to be in good spirits. Someone joked that it was because they weren’t the fascists that day. I laughed but you know, I have no idea what it’s like to stand in riot gear protecting a bunch of Nazis while listening to their bullshit. Overtime pay probably helps, but I still bet it is barely worth it. Then again, you know the score when you decide to be a cop. Maybe Madison just gets all the better cops and all the jackbooted thug asshole cops go to Milwaukee.

– There were four types of people at the rally: Nazis, people who were decidedly anti-Nazi and actively participating, people watching the whole event but not participating aside from being there, and police.

– I didn’t know police horses have riot gear, too. That’s kinda cool. Their saddles also have the word “MOUNTED” stitched in. Um, duh? Is there a cop on a horse that isn’t mounted? “I’m sorry Officer Joe, but since this saddle says ‘mounted’ it is only for use on a horse.”

– The Nazis were from Minneapolis. I know Minnesota is politically all over the place but geez. They also need a better sound system, because, as a friend put it they sounded like the teacher from Charlie Brown.

– Next Nazi rally I attend I am bringing a megaphone and a recording of “Springtime for Hitler” from “The Producers.” Again, I thought maybe one of the anti-Nazi protesters might have beaten me to it, but the only other guy to think of that was a Scottish guy I talked to. Another option is to dress up as a very bondage-esqe Hitler. A little bondage gear here, a little fake moustache there… I think I have a riding crop somewhere…

My dad said something a long time ago that I kept telling myself all throughout the two hours of the rally: always support the first amendment and the right of people to gather and speak their minds. How else are you going to find out that they’re a bunch of idiots?

4 thoughts on “Hi Crazy Nazis”

  1. Well I never thought I would consider going to a Nazi ralley except for showing the intolerant *ss*oles what intolerance was. Sounds like more fun with a bota bag of Sangria, full costume, and a lawn chair. Lots like a 45th review of the Rocky Horror Picture show. Boom box with Spring Time for Hitler is a great idea. Perils and power of the first amendment are intertwined and of course your dad is right on the money.

  2. The bunny men are the owners of Genna’s they do it frequently. I have pics with them on my wedding day.

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