Thursday, May 25, 2023

Getting Your Underwear Lost In Translation

 ... is what happens when you don't listen to what people are trying to tell you.

Many times on this blog, I've ranted about "stupid" marketing moves where companies insult or attack their primary audience as a part of their advertising campaigns. In those posts, I've frequently used Casey Stengel's famous quote, "Can't anybody here play this game?" I've been dead wrong in my analyses. They aren't playing "this" game, they are playing "that" game. I took what I saw and I interpreted it through my own worldview instead of trying to understand theirs.

I just finished a book, My Battle Against Hitler, that has changed the way I see things. It was written by Dietrich von Hildebrand, a Catholic philosopher who experienced the rise of the Nazis as a university professor and recognized them for what they were. He spent his life railing against the Nazis, trying to get the people around him to open their eyes to the danger without much success. The Nazis quickly recognized him as a threat and he was forced to flee Germany for Austria, then Austria for Czechoslovakia, then France and then the US.

It's long winded and not very well written, but it gives you a personal view into how German Catholics viewed Hitler and why they didn't oppose him from the start. The gist of it is that they took what Hitler said and translated it in their heads into their own, Catholic worldview. They didn't or wouldn't understand that Hitler saw the world through a completely different set of dimensions. The Catholics saw poverty and suffering and Hitler saw race and power.

German Catholics also refused to acknowledge the Nazi threat because they didn't want to face the consequences of admitting it. If you were living in Germany in 1935 and could have foreseen Germany ten years later, bombed into rubble and most young men dead, wounded or traumatized by war, it would have been an easy decision to sell everything and flee somewhere, anywhere. Had they understood Hitler's view of reality, they would have seen it coming. Instead, they translated his actions and speeches into a Judeo-Christian structure. This gave them hope that the Nazis weren't all that bad.

When Hitler supported universal healthcare, free education and workers' rights, the Catholics interpreted it as being in line with Catholic social teaching. There was even a movement within the Church to pray for Hitler's conversion to Catholicism. They used the same terms we in Cursillo use, that they were going to "storm Heaven" with prayers. They pointed at Nazi social programs as evidence Hitler really wasn't that far off from being Catholic.

As for the Jews, they waved that away. After all, hadn't the Jews been persecuted just about everywhere else? That couldn't have been for nothing. Hitler had a point - Jews could be troublesome. Yes, what the Nazis did to the Jews was over the top, but you had to admit that a lot of the other things they did were on target.

By the time they figured out that the Nazis weren't even vaguely Christian, it was too late. The pope said as much when he realized that the agreements he had made with Hitler were worthless.

Now dig this ad from Calvin Klein.

I have no idea what that creature in the background is, whether it's a woman on testosterone or a dude on estrogen or just some fat guy who needs a man bra. CK put him there for exactly that reason. They are showing you that differences between men and women are a social construct and not real.

Prior to consuming that book, I would have raved about how stupid this was. It isn't stupid at all. It's telling you how management at Calvin Klein sees the world. If I had to express their POV in simple terms, I'd say that they are modern-day Marxists. The world is divided by race and gender. Everything can be described in terms of power. Our culture is socially constructed by straight, white men to maintain their power over everyone else. Traditional notions of beauty are simply tools of oppression designed to keep the patriarchy in power.

When seen through that lens, the ad isn't idiocy, it's genius. It's telling you that everyone can be beautiful in their own way when wearing CK underwear. It's saying that all bodies and genders aren't just acceptable, but should be celebrated. They specifically chose ugly people and a whatever-it-is with a beard and breasts in order to attack the social constructs made by straight, white men. If you disagree, you're full of hate. If you judge the people in the image, you are clinging to the norms of beauty that racist homophobes have forced on you.

Free yourselves from the shackles of the white supremacist patriarchy!

Some of our friends have moved out of California. Many of our friends are thinking about it. Von Hildebrand's book asks the question, "Are you waiting too long to escape?" Perhaps the question is, "Should you be thinking about escape? How can you live with these people and what will they do to you as they gain more and more power?"

In our case, I'm in the position of von Hildebrand, but instead of failing to convince my friends, I'm unable to convince my family. I'm failing for the same reasons that he did. We have two sons here in the San Diego area who own homes. We just finished an expensive remodel on our house. We have a strong network of friends throughout the area. We're entrenched.

Where is the CK worldview going? What costs will it extract from us? The Diocese of San Diego is facing a new round of lawsuits for the sexual abuse scandal even though every priest who committed the crimes is dead. The diocese moved to make each parish its own business entity so that it could declare bankruptcy without dragging the parishes down with it. That only works if the law is still functioning. 

If, instead, the legal system is controlled by the same people who created that CK underwear ad, hoping that the courts save you is a thin reed to clutch. They hate you. They hate you. They hate you. To them, it is a moral good of the highest order to destroy the Catholic Church.

Surely the Nazis, err, woke won't go that far and declare all of the parishes liable, too, will they? Surely we won't see all Church property sold off and be reduced to meeting in people's homes for Mass, will we?

Nah. If we just storm heaven, we'll convert Gavin Newsom to the faith. After all, he's not that far from Catholic social teaching what with all of his compassion for the poor.

Everyone thinks like we do.

Super Special Bonus Tweet

Can you live with these people? What will happen to you as they gain more and more power?


tim eisele said...

Regarding the Calvin Klein ad, it looks to me like someone at CK realized that the market for women's bras is pretty well saturated, with very little room for growth.

But, they also noticed a lot of overweight guys about, and said to themselves, "Hey, if we can persuade those guys that they should wear a bra or bra-like garment, that's a massive market! There's millions of those guys! We'd make a fortune!"

I don't think that person in the ad is supposed to be transgender or anything. I think he's just a chubby guy wearing a man-bra, trying to make it look good.

CK doesn't hate you. They don't hate anybody. They just want to sell you underwear.

Ohioan@Heart said...

Tim - If they just realized that, then apparently none of them ever watched ‘Seinfeld’.

And it’s not called a man bra, or a mansier. It’s ’the Bro’.

Ilíon said...

In other words -- When people tell you they hate you and want to destroy everything you value, believe them.

Ilíon said...

I wonder if Tim will finally admit reality when the leftists put him in the death-camp.

K T Cat said...

Tim, your comment is a terrific illustration of what von Hildebrand faced. The woke people influencing these corporations through things like ESG-score-based investments and the penetration of woke college graduates into HR and other areas of the company have described their worldview in great detail. They truly believe that our current cultural norms are nothing more than social constructs created by straight, white men to keep themselves in power.

The transgression of those norms is the point. The destruction of the power structures that lead to inequality is the point.

This ad is an excellent example of those transgressions. In it, the people are ugly, the sexes are ambiguous, the races are carefully chosen. Your reaction, I think, comes from seeing the image and translating it into your worldview which is how you come away with the feeling that it's just an appeal to obese people and not all that big of a deal.

You may well be right and I may be a hysteric. That's happened before. Still, it sure looks like a perfect example of the woke telling you who they are and what they intend.

To me, my worldview and theirs are incompatible.

tim eisele said...

Yes, Ilion, when you tell me that you hate me (and also apparently hate most of the human race), you bet I believe you.

And if anyone ever tries to put me in a death-camp, I would expect it to be somebody like you.

tim eisele said...

KT: When people start comparing their opponents to Nazis, I think it is important to remember that the Nazis didn't exist in isolation. They largely got into power because the German government was more afraid of the Communists, and thought that since the Nazis were anti-Communist, they could use the Nazis against them. And that spectacularly backfired, but on the other hand if the Communists had gotten into power, that also would have been a comparable disaster.

My point is, it isn't just your enemies that you should be concerned with. You should also keep an eye on your supposed allies.

Ilíon said...

I don't hate you, and I have never said that I hate you. I hate your leftism and your intellectual dishonesty.