Home / General / Dear The Media,

Dear The Media,

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I understand why you’re reluctant to identify Wade Michael Page as a white supremacist, but I’m an expert in visual rhetoric and I’m here to help you out. Consider the photograph of Page you’re currently using:

There are some subtle clues as to Page’s ideology hidden in this image. First:

That is a Nazi flag. You can tell because it contains a Swastika in a white circle surrounded by a red hem. It is highly unlikely that someone hung it because it means “good luck” in Sanskrit. Also:

The repeating patten on that guitar strap is the Confederate Battle Flag. It reminds white people of those glorious antebellum days when blacks were in their place and no real American had even heard of Muslims. Also:

That is a Celtic cross. It is the most favorite symbol of the good people at Stormfront.org. Also:

That is the number fourteen. It stands for the Fourteen Words most dear to oppressed white men in America today. Those words are “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White Children.”

So let me assure you: if you have correctly identified the man in the photograph above, you don’t need to “speculate” as to whether he was a white supremacist. Because there’s no room for speculation. That man in that picture is a white supremacist. Whether his white supremacist beliefs influenced his decision to murder peaceful Sikhs, that may well be a matter for debate. But that man? The one in the picture? He’s a white supremacist.

You’re welcome.

UPDATE: Looks like they finally figured it out. Glad I could be of service.

UPDATE II: Or not. I watched CNN while eating lunch and Jane Velez-Mitchell was horrified to discover that “There’s an entire underground society devoted to promoting hatred of the sort the Sikh gunman is alleged to have felt.” I’m tempted to be a grammar scold and tell her that she could probably phrase it better than “the Sikh gunman,” but they’re clearly having a rough day over there, so I’ll relent.

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  • Thank you.

  • Hogan

    “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White Children.”

    Gore Vidal, right?

    • Pathman25

      Where did you put your Celtic Cross tattoo?

      • Hogan

        You’ll have to buy me dinner first.

        • The Walrus

          Buy me more Skittles than Hogan has, and I’ll tell.

          • mark f

            Lesbians! On LGM!

        • Pathman25

          Mmmm, I don’t know. Picking up strange men on the intertubes, I don’t think anyone does that anymore.

          • Hogan

            Are you kidding? That’s how Althouse met her husband.

            • OK, I laughed.

              And gagged.

              Gaughed? Lagged?

            • mark f

              And that guy is definitely strange.

              • She couldn’t resist his short purposeful strides.

            • arguingwithsignposts

              It’s twue! It’s twue!

      • Bill Murray

        on his Hot Cross Buns

        • I see what you did there.

        • me

          Well played.

  • arguingwithsignposts

    How could anyone have thought this nice young (white) man would do such a thing? /s

  • Pathman25

    Nicely done! Of course you’re assuming the media have critical thinking skills. Not so much.

    • James E. Powell

      Almost every member of the corporate press/media has excellent critical thinking skills. They just don’t apply those skills to the questions or problems that you think are important. They apply them to things like: How do I keep my job? How can I get more TV appearances? How do I get a book deal? How can I get an even better job that has higher pay and less work? How can I get more invitations to the right parties?

      • Pathman25

        I hate it when you’re right! But right you are! Well done.

  • Liberals are the real Nazis, ergo this guy= liberal. Just ask Jonah.

  • mds

    He’s a white supremacist.

    So, a left-winger, then. Whew. It’s okay to classify it as domestic terrorism now.

  • Craigo

    A National Socialist flag, huh?

    • Malaclypse

      Allow me to nutpick:

      Nazis are Socialists. They are a product of the left, and informed by early 20th Progressive eugenicist policies.

      • Craigo

        I wonder what happened to all those early socialists? They just kinda disappear after 1934. Weird.

        • Holden Pattern

          Absorbed, not imprisoned! /Jonah

          • Craigo
          • mark f

            Actually, he waves that away by pointing out that Stalin had other Bolsheviks killed, so it was really just like two likeminded people arguing over which of them should be in charge.

            • mark f

              To clarify, he says that since it’s possible that ideologically sympathetic people can kill each other, that must explain the Nazis wiping out the socialists. Also, National Socialists hello!

            • Malaclypse

              Sort of like intramural sports teams.

        • mattresspolice

          They went to their “quiet rooms.”

  • Pathman25

    Quite the fucking troll infestation you have here.

    • SEK

      This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      • SEK

        I can’t believe I said that! Delete! Delete!

        • Pathman25

          Whaaaa? I’m…….speechless. /s

        • DocAmazing

          Dilute! Dilute! OK!

          • Uncle Kvetch

            ALL-ONE!

  • JupiterPluvius

    Dude was in a White Power band. Could he be racist? Let’s not rush to judgment!

    Fucking white supremacists are always their own best counter-argument. Dumb shits with nothing to be proud of but a lack of melanin.

    • Randy

      It’s not about racism, it’s about ethnic pride. Just ask any neo-confederate why they want to fly that flag.

      • Malaclypse

        Poe’s Law strikes again.

      • Craigo

        The Confederate battle flag (or naval ensign in most cases) is about celebrating Southern history.

        Four particular years of it, anyway.

        • El Cid

          I know — I’ve yet to encounter someone flying the ‘rebel flag’ doing so as a tribute to, say, some exploration of a river in South Carolina in the 1700’s or whatever.

          The “Southern Heritage” apparently is about fighting in a war against the Northern Agressors for freedom or something, and showin’ how bad-ass and gun-good you are.

          It’s not about one’s pride in advances in rice culturing, or poetry.

          “I fly this Confederate flag as a tribute to early 1800s Mississippi pastoral poetry.”

          Just doesn’t happen.

          • John (not McCain)

            I wear it because, combined with the words I Suck Cracker Cock directly underneath, I meet exactly the right sorts of fellows.

        • Charles

          We see a lot of them rebel flags in this neck of the woods, and gosh darn it, those old boys just can’t understand why anyone would think it’s a racist statement. Heritage, by god.

          But like I tell them, if they didn’t want their flag to be a hate symbol, maybe they should stop flying it at their lynchings.

        • Bill Murray

          The Confederate battle flag (or naval ensign in most cases) is about celebrating Southern history.

          Four particular years of it, anyway.

          More like 2 years and ~4 months. After Vicksburg and Gettysburg there wasn’t much to celebrate by Southern standards

  • I love how they’re reluctant to call him a white supremacist, but they have no problem identifying him as an Army Veteran, without any context like WHEN he served, what his MOS was, what kind of discharge he got and so on.
    So we don’t want to stigmatize the white supremacists but we have no problem stigmatizing Veterans.
    Which of those two statuses was more likely to contribute to this guy murdering a bunch of people of different skin tone who had different religious beliefs?

    • In fairness, there have been so many more veterans than white supremacists. Thank god.

    • Just Dropping By

      Meh. A news outlet is very unlikely to even be sued for defamation for mistakenly identifying someone as an Army vet, whereas mistakenly identifying someone as a white supremacist probably means needing to pay out a settlement. (Granted, this particular guy is dead, so he wouldn’t have a claim, but news outlets tend to play it safe in the early hours of a story.)

  • arguingwithsignposts

    Can someone help me out as to why the Celtic cross is a symbol of these groups? I don’t get it.

    • SEK
      • arguingwithsignposts

        That link tells me *that* it’s a symbol, but not especially *why* it’s a symbol (other than that it was used by the KKK). Pohl’s explanation sounds plausible, but doesn’t explain the KKK connection.

        hmmmm.

        • Hogan

          From the introduction to The Clansman by Thomas Dixon Jr. (one of the novels on which Birth of a Nation was based):

          In the darkest hour of the life of the South, when her wounded people lay helpless amid rags and ashes under the beak and talon of the Vulture, suddenly from the mists of the mountains appeared a white cloud the size of a man’s hand. It grew until its mantle of mystery enfolded the stricken earth and sky. An “Invisible Empire” had risen from the field of Death and challenged the Visible to mortal combat.

          How the young South, led by the reincarnated souls of the Clansmen of Old Scotland, went forth under this cover and against overwhelming odds, daring exile, imprisonment, and a felon’s death, and saved the life of a people, forms one of the most dramatic chapters in the history of the Aryan race.

          • SEK

            That book was on my qualifying exam lists. I should’ve remembered it. Damn you, alcohol!

            • Hogan

              Don’t you dare talk to my best friend that way!

        • Malaclypse

          If memory serves, Wotan was also crucified upon Yggdrasil, so the Celtic Cross is a link to pre-Christian “Aryan” religion.

          • DrDick

            Hung upside down, actually (thus the “Hanging Man” in the Tarot deck).

        • arguingwithsignposts

          Thank you all for your added info. I don’t keep up with that stuff enough to know.

      • Steve-o

        Well that, and it makes for killer tats. And we all know how skinheads like their ink.

    • Because the swastika and ss lightning bolts were banned in most European countries they needed another symbol. The Celtic Cross was adopted under the pretense that the Celts are white and not semitic. Indeed the ancient Celts have a better claim to being native to Europe than the Aryans who we know came from Iran and northern India, the same region that the Sikhs come from.

      • Lurker

        In fact, many Sikhs are Aryans, if this is taken to mean “speaker of an Aryan language”.

    • greylocks

      In addition to what others have said, the Celtic Cross in the form used by Storm Front et alia looks a lot like the cross hairs in a sniper’s scope.

    • atheist

      I suspect Neo-Nazis like the Celtic cross symbol because it is a tribal symbol of the Celts, who are “white”. Neo-Nazis are nothing if not tribalistic.

      • The Pale Scot

        Because they’re idiots. The Celtic cross doesn’t have any connection to the Jutes, Anglos etc that the morons claim as their own. It’s history is uncertain and tied to the Celtic church in Eire and Britain. The CC was a symbol of attempts of early isle Christians to maintain separation from the imperial motives of Rome. The early Celtic church was strongly influenced by Pelagius and considered a liberal heresy by the continental church, which was lapping up Augustine’s BS.

        The shorter™ version was that the Celts didn’t take to Rome’s attitude on woman, and Rome especially found the idea of not needing priests to intercede on one’s behalf threatening.

    • Halloween Jack

      Plus, of course, it’s easy to draw, and lends itself to spraypainting on buildings.

  • Maybe he just likes hate-filled tattoos because, you know, he hates non-haters? Ever think of that?

    • Typical Althouse Reader

      He’s a Moby. Ann said so.

      • That’s a long stretch to make to prove your bona fides for the purposes of trolling.

  • I don’t know what would be worse in the eyes of wingnuts, being a white supremacist, or claiming Native American ancestry…just like Elizabeth Warren!!1!

  • DrDick

    Come on now! The simple fact that white rightwingers have committed more terrorist acts and killed more people in this country than everybody else combined is simply no reason to believe that there is any such thing as rightwing domestic terrorism.

  • dave

    You could have just stopped the analysis after identifying the swastika. The rest is overkill.

    • SEK

      It’s possible that overkill was the point. I mean, I can’t be sure — who am I to speak of my own motivations — but still, it’s possible.

      • dave

        This was not actually meant as a criticism btw. Just re-emphasizing that the guy is standing in front of a the frigging NAZI FLAG! Unless he’s in a museum, he’s a white supremacist.

        • David Hunt

          I disagree. Context matters. I can think of other circumstances where a person might be seen in front of such a flag that don’t say he’s a white supremacist. None of the circumstances are implied by the photo, but my point stands. Besides, this is the Media SEK was theoretically talking to. Such an overwhelming ironclad case needs to be made to such people before they’d even consider equating anything right-wing with something so clearly evil.

          • Bill Murray

            right, he might be at a Prussian Blue concert just to look at young white girls

        • CameronJ

          I dunno, we had a big Nazi flag in my high school’s production of The Sound of Music

          • The hills are alive with the sounds of gunfire…

            • Malaclypse

              Duke: That was the overture? It was nothing but machine gun fire!

              Honey: Chinese Opera strives for reality, Mr Ambassador.

    • Anderson

      He might have been there to express his nonviolent disapproval of hanging up Nazi flags … a peaceful mission that he’d pursued ever since the time a bunch of skinheads KO’d him and he woke up with all those horrible tattoos ….

      • dave

        +1

      • Craigo

        Like the progressive Klansmen on Reno 911 who burn giant Ts? You know, for tolerance?

        • Anderson

          If they would just start using uppercase, these sad misunderstandings might be averted.

  • wjts

    Scott, that’s not a Celtic cross. It’s a perfectly innocuous surveyor’s symbol.

    • arguingwithsignposts

      Maybe he’s the Zodiac Killer

      • watson

        Is it wrong that I laughed out loud at this comment?

      • Furious Jorge

        Harumph.

    • Halloween Jack

      D’oh! Beat me to it.

  • Here’s another clue: When Fox News has it figured out, he is really probably a racist, and it’s not the figment of a hateful left-wing media.

    • Sherm

      Reading that link made me think of the Dead Kennedys’ Nazi Punks Fuck Off.

  • Sherm

    I’m guessing that he snapped upon learning that Obama is trying to take away his early voting rights.

  • Lee

    Can we not call a duck, a duck once? Even if he isn’t called a white supremicist, can he at least be identified as a lone moron with a gun?

  • I don’t understand this rush to judgement. Wade Michael Page is obviously a White Male probably Christian. By definition, he can’t be a terrorist, at most, a passionate activist.

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  • daveNYC

    Blue-Haired Lawyer: What about that tattoo on your chest? Doesn’t it say die Bart die?
    Sideshow Bob: No, that’s German
    [unveils tattoo]
    Sideshow Bob: for ‘The Bart The’.
    Woman on Parole Board: No one who speaks German could be an evil man.

  • SEK

    This brand-spanking new article by someone who’s been known to read here seems very familiar.

    • arguingwithsignposts

      Damn. Did he quote Bob Dylan in that article?

      • Furious Jorge

        Hahahaha,

    • Ouch. I cringed when I found this piece (and a similar New Yorker one by Amy Davidson) after publishing ours. I keyed in on the 14 Words tat late this morning after looking at the End Apathy Myspace page (proof positive these punks are out of touch), but it took a while to get through our editorial wringer – busy day. Believe me, if I had read your piece before, I’d have linked it and given you mad love for spotting the stars & bars – I couldn’t see that. (You’ve got a link on our piece now, btw.)

      On the bad side, I was a moron to think deciphering Nazi tats was a scoop. On the good side, I’m kind of heartened that there’s someone else who geeks out on stalking hatemonger iconography as much as me. Inflamed sense of justice FTW!

      • SEK

        That’s the best unnecessary apology ever, and now I feel like a dick for being territorial in the first place. So, my apologies. Dual-inflamed-senses-of-justice FTW!

        (Also, my only editor is my own sense of decorum — such as it is — but I’ve had editors before, and I know they’re not the brood-slaves they’re supposed to be, so it does take time to publish. In short, no worries.)

  • Did I miss the trolls? Goddammit. Next you’ll be telling me I missed the Orcs.

    • Bill Murray

      but you can still read Atlas Shrugged and have it change your life

      • DrDick

        Mostly by destroying at least half of your brain cells.

      • BigHank53

        Putting a plastic bag over your head for eight mintes will change your life too…and it only takes eight minutes. Lot quicker than Rand.

        • Spuddie

          Much healthier too.

  • God help us if we find out that this twisted bastard ever used the phrase Social Darwinism

  • laura

    You can tell he’s a far right wacko hat crime from the fact that National Review’s The Corner has not commented on the killing (one, extremely indirect, post mentioning the guy’s white power rock band, but no KJL weeping for the victims etc.) If it’s a lefty or a Muslim doing the shooting, they’re all over it. If it’s somebody with no political affiliation KJL weeps a bit and then get busy defending the NRA and attacking liberals for making everything about gun control. In this case, crickets. That’s as good evidence as the dude’s tattoo.

  • JupiterPluvius

    Underground, Jane? We wish these sick fucks were underground. They’re all over the fucking above ground with their bullshit hate. Read a book, Jane.

  • f space that

    Well I just saw one of NBC’s premiere wankers, Pete Williams, give the Condy Rice defense: no one could have predicted etc. Same thing from some FBI agent. Nothing that we saw would have predicted this.

    See the pictures above.

    • Just Dropping By

      What was the FBI supposed to have predicted from these photos and arrested him for? Aggravated tattooing in the first degree? The overwhelming majority of yahoos with white supremacy-themed tattoos don’t go on mass shooting rampages.

      • Vance Maverick

        The majority of yahoos without such tattoos who don’t go on rampages is even more overwhelming. There is a connection between hateful ideology and acts of violence. Of course it doesn’t follow from that that we should try to suppress hateful ideologies — but surely we can hold in our minds simultaneously the thoughts that (a) the ideology is toxic and literally dangerous and (b) we accept the danger with clear eyes as part of the cost of a liberal society.

        • Vance Maverick

          (apologies for bold tag gone wild)

      • Bill Murray

        I think it depends on the degree of specificity desired. No one could know which skinhead was going to kill a bunch of brown people, but the chance of one doing so was parlously close to one

        • Kind of like heat waves and climate change.

          • DrDick

            Can you say white, Christian, rightwing terrorist organization? I knew you could.

      • How ’bout the FBI does for obvious white supremacist what it does for ecological activists? Plenty of homes raided in L.A. by the FBI to make sure that people who march against the war aren’t Up To Something.

        If the Feds would pay a fraction of the attention they pay to various Left groups to white supremacists, we’d see a whole bunch less in the way of, say,backpack bombs in Tacoma.

        • Malaclypse

          Let’s not get crazy – it isn’t like this dude was a Quaker or, God forbid, a nun. Whocouldanode?

        • bradp

          If the Feds would pay a fraction of the attention they pay to various Left groups to white supremacists, we’d see a whole bunch less in the way of, say,backpack bombs in Tacoma.

          1. Do we see a lot of backpack bombs in Tacoma?

          2. The phrase “Backpack bombs in Tacoma” is rather poetic. Thumbs up.

          3. Isn’t the treatment of environmental activists against that sort of thing?

          • Do we see a lot of backpack bombs in Tacoma?

            Juat one during the MLK Day Parade. Had it gone off, we might be looking at something like what happened in Wisconsin. And sorry, it was Spokane, not Tacoma: http://www.esquire.com/features/homegrown-terrorism-us-0811

            Isn’t the treatment of environmental activists against that sort of thing?

            Against what sort of thing? It’s the sort of thing the FBI loves to do: go after soft targets and ignore potentially dangerous groups.

            But you, in your almost-amusing contrarian way, ask the question: Do we see a lot of bacpack bombs in Tacoma? Well, let’s look as mass-casualty terror attacks in the US. Leaving out 9/11 for the moment. we get far-right attackers of various flavors: militia (McVeigh), anti-abortion/Christinist (Rudolph and the innumerable attacks on clinics and health-care workers; the attack on the Unitarian Church); and our most recent. Quick: name two actions by and “ecoterrorist” organization that resulted in loss of life. (I’ll spot you UNABOM; counts as one.)

            So yes, figuratively speaking, we see a lot of backpack bombs in Tacoma. Even though it was in Spokane.

            • DrDick

              Rightwing extremists have committed more terrorist acts in the US in the last 35 years than everyone else combined. They have also killed more people, with the possible exception of the World Trade Center attack. So yeah, they deserve a LOT more attention than they get.

              • rea

                Just passed through Bath, Michigan yesterday, where a rightwingnut tax protestor blew up the local elementry school, with the kids inside. 1927, though, which just goes to show these thigns have a history.

                • DrDick

                  Because I am not a historian of the early 20th century, I wanted to stay with what I know. While the anarchists and others on the left were pretty active in the early part of the century, I would guess that the Klan alone would have made my statement true for “since 1900.”

            • bradp

              But you, in your almost-amusing contrarian way, ask the question: Do we see a lot of bacpack bombs in Tacoma? Well, let’s look as mass-casualty terror attacks in the US. Leaving out 9/11 for the moment. we get far-right attackers of various flavors: militia (McVeigh), anti-abortion/Christinist (Rudolph and the innumerable attacks on clinics and health-care workers; the attack on the Unitarian Church); and our most recent. Quick: name two actions by and “ecoterrorist” organization that resulted in loss of life. (I’ll spot you UNABOM; counts as one.)

              I’m not pitting left terrorism against right-terrorism. I’m asking if we see enough “domestic terrorism” to justify the current level of government surveillance?

              Isn’t the misplaced surveillance on environmental activists evidence that we should be rolling back state surveillance?

              • Malaclypse

                Yes, it would be silly to place groups actively endorsing and carrying out violence under any sort of monitoring.

                • bradp

                  I assume they are under some sort of surveillance, and I never said they shouldn’t be under any sort of surveillance.

                • Malaclypse

                  I never said they shouldn’t be under any sort of surveillance.

                  Isn’t the misplaced surveillance on environmental activists evidence that we should be rolling back state surveillance?

                • bradp

                  Mal,

                  there is plenty of room to roll back before you get to nothing.

                  DocAmazing,

                  I am all for more efficient law enforcement, thats an obvious good. I am just unsure that current surveillance of hate groups is below an acceptable level, nor do I know how you go about redirecting the surveillance apparatus.

              • How about redirecting the existing surveillance from environmental and anti-war groups (with no murders to their discredit) to anti-abortion and wihite supremacist groups? The Feebs could even scale back the surveillance program and still have agents enough to infiltrate the next White Power concert.

                • Brad–

                  Redirecting the surveillance apparatus is as simple as forcing the director of the FBI to do his god-damned job.

                  And if hate groups are managing to kill as many people as they are, I’d say it’s time to quit manufacturing bomb plots in Liberty City and do the job the taxpayers are bankrolling.

                • bradp

                  Redirecting the surveillance apparatus is as simple as forcing the director of the FBI to do his god-damned job.

                  Sure, but that seems like a rather complex task.

                  Especially if we want to make sure the next person doesn’t have a really bad idea of what his or her job is.

                  Where does the accountability and enforcement come from?

                  And if hate groups are managing to kill as many people as they are, I’d say it’s time to quit manufacturing bomb plots in Liberty City and do the job the taxpayers are bankrolling.

                  I agree with that. I just have a feeling if law enforcement did shift, they would just be manufacturing bomb plots in Idaho, Montana, and rural Michigan.

                • Malaclypse

                  Especially if we want to make sure the next person doesn’t have a really bad idea of what his or her job is.

                  Given that we keep Quakers under surveillance, how much worse can we get? Nursing homes for Quakers, I suppose, although I don’t think that actually is a real thing.

                • DrDick

                  Given that we keep Quakers under surveillance, how much worse can we get?

                  You’ll be sorry when the Quaker Revolutionary Liberation Front burns a cross in your front yard!

      • rea

        The overwhelming majority of yahoos with white supremacy-themed tattoos don’t go on mass shooting rampages.

        Do you have some statistics to verify this? Because it’s not self-evidently true–getting a white supremist tattoo is a pretty extreme act. If you’re not prepared to kill somebody, what are you going to do when the multiracial/multicultural tyrants start checking skin?

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