Concern about a friend's kid

I have mentioned a woman named Adelaide in previous postings. Her brother, whom I’ll call Bill, is completely different; he is industrious and (usually) serious. He has a 13- or 14-year-old son, whom I’ll call Artie, who has some realistic combat games on his computer and often wears green camouflage fatigues.
According to his grandmother, Maureen, Artie and a friend camped out in the living room one night with a picture of Hitler set up on a mantelpiece much as if it were a shrine to Hitler.
His dad, Bill, came over to our place to do some tree trimming for my Mom; Artie and a friend came along. They helped him, which was fine with me; but they also went through a lot of military-style paces. Their uniforms had German flag patches, which made me wince when I think of the number of World War II veterans who live in our park.
I guess I’m just wondering whether I should comment to Bill about the way his son behaves… :frowning:

Sounds like standard adolescent Wehrmacht-fanboy stuff. The question is, does it come from his father? If so they may be a nasty little nest of neo-Nazis there; a chat with the father should find that out pretty quickly.

What is it about Adelaide?

Meh, I wouldn’t mention anything. More than likely his father probably condones it. Personally, I never question a person on their parenting skills. It’s usually an automatic arguement.

Me, I’m outspoken, so I’d make it clear that I found the swastika’s offensive and that I would not tolerate them on my property.
The boy is welcome, but the nazi paraphernalia is not. I think we all have an obligation to speak out against anti-social behavior, even if it is childish rebellion. I might tolerate it in public, or if I were a guest, but not on my property.

The video games and fatigues I would ignore, as that is pretty standard of young (and, come to think of it, not so young) boys. The swastikas are another matter. I would point out to the boy’s father that his son is NEVER allowed on my property with nazi symbols and the like again. A lot of teenagers feel the need to get attention and this may be how he has chosen to get people to pay attention to him. I am female so I can’t speak for young boys, but I took tae kwon do for years, I play video games of all kinds, I have a flaming temper about certian things, and I can see how someone who just has passing knowledge of these things would assume that I am a crazed killer just looking for an excuse. This couldn’t be further from the truth, and there has been more than one occasion where I have been put in a situation where I could probably have used my martial arts skills and I chose to walk away because I don’t need to have some kind of con-air situation going on. I would mention the swastika thing to his father, but I would not address him directly so as to prevent being on the recieving end of any kind of retaliation.

Her name’s Adelaide, she doesn’t live there.

Though, must agree with the sentiment otherwise. :smiley:

It may well be that the kid isn’t aware of the sinister connotations of Nazi imagery; he probably likes military stuff, all the cooler for being the baddies’ military stuff.

I remember thinking the swastika was a pretty funky symbol as a kid before I knew better. :frowning:

So maybe this kid just needs a bit of education as to the unprecedented depravity of the holocaust. Maybe the dad does too…

p.s I know the swastika was not a Nazi invention.

When I was a kid I’d play with my WWII plastic soldiers and always make the Nazis win, purely because I had no idea what it was all about and just thought the figures looked cooler. Until he starts hosting hate rallies, I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

Besides which, when you say German flags, do you actually mean the modern German flag or the swastika? The swastika, although predating the Nazis and fairly cool looking to someone who didn’t know better, wouldn’t be appropriate in public, but there’s nothing wrong with a modern German flag.

You cannot tell someone else how to parent, they won’t listen and an argument will ensue and feelings will be hurt.
Every kid has to go through the motions of finding themselves ( dressing funny, musical choices, angsty lit…) to ban it will cause a backlash.

However the Hitler shrine is disturbing and something like that is disrepectful,disturbing and creepy on a whole different level. Removing these things and banning them is within parental authority and jurisdiction.

Out right banning will cause resentment ( anything in teens causes resentment. You made me eat broccoli, mom! How could you!!! :::strafs family with Uzi fire.:::: but explaining in a calm manner that Hitler was a sociopath and one of the most reviled so-called humans to ever breath air and committed buttloads of atrocities against all of humanity needs to be done. If that doesn’t help, it could be mentioned it was greatly suspected that old Adolf possibly only had one ball. The inferring that Hitler’s sexual nature was…uh…not exactly stellar could help too. Was Eva Braun a beard? Discuss.

I would think that taking little Artie I am picturing Artie Johnson from Laugh In, dressed as the little german soldier. on field trips to a Holocaust mueseum, rent out Schindler’s List and Judgement at Nuremburg. Have Holocaust Survival Stories around the house (Night by elie Weisel is a must read.). I haven’t seen Shoah or the grim cartoon version of the holocaust whose name I am forgetting, but it involves mice, I think. From the 80’s.

It would be nice if setting down this young pup and having him write I will not worship murderers and lunatics 1000 times would take care of the problem.

I would like to mention I was at an independent toy store a few weeks ago and they had a tub o’ Toy Soldiers: US, Germany & Japan. Complete with the flags ( I think the German one was the Red/Gold/Black flag. I’m pretty sure putting a Swastika on a children’s toy would be bad.)

I had to laugh and I really should have bought it. It was about $15.

I got the impression that the sleepover happened at Artie’s home; not the poster’s home. Not clear on that.

There is nothing you can do to control what goes on there, but as others have said, you have every right to defend your thoughts on the matter in your own home. In my opinion, they have a serious problem on their hands, whether they believe it or not.

I’ve heard my normally lovely niece smart-aleck back to her mother in my home and I make it clear it’s not cool. “You will not speak to your mother in that tone in my house.” I’m sure they have their spats at home and that’s their business. But in my house, it ain’t happenin’.

Well, you could always take the kid (with his neo-nazi uniform) and drop him off on the “rough” side of town.

I’m thinking after an hour or two the kid will probably be more than willing to rethink his life.
(OK I know you can’t do this for real but man it’s a nice thought isn’t it?)

Are you thinking of Maus? A quick Google throws up

http://www.randomhouse.com/pantheon/graphicnovels/maus1.html

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Atlantis/2671/

Hmmm. I’m quite a bit of a WWII enthusiast and I confess freely to a great fascination with the fascist aesthetic (in case anyone couldn’t tell), but I never got into the Hitler-adulation thing. That does disturb me a little bit. Nazis were crazy bastards. Crazy bastards with fantastic fashion sense, but crazy bastards nonetheless.

I’m going to echo Racer1’s question about the flag. If they’re the black, red and gold, like [url=http://img30.photobucket.com/albums/v91/Fragmatic/fragjacket.jpg]this jacket*, you’re overreacting (on that count). Those are really common jackets, warm, practical, and more or less ideologically neutral (though popular with poor student-types and some homeless, because they’re cheap). If you’re talking about the swastika, then, again, this is something to be concerned about.

I’d approach it delicately, see what his dad thinks, and work from there.

The uniforms Artie and his friend wear are indeed the ones with the traditional red-gold-black German flag, NOT the red swastika-in-a-circle flag of Nazi Germany. The only swastika I’ve seen at Bill’s place was painted, perhaps with a stencil, on a six-sided garden steppingstone kept near the side door to the garage; a cat’s water bowl usually sits on the stone.
No, the boys did not set up their Hitler shrine at our place. They have no reason to come over to my home, besides, my Mom lived through World War II; and I am positive that she would not condone a Hitler shrine in our home!
(When I was a high-school senior, in 1967, another senior wore a Nazi helmet to print shop, one day. The print-shop teacher was furious and ordered the kid to ditch the helmet; he said, “I spent four years shooting at those guys!”)
As for Adelaide, she is grossly irresponsible. She bore three children and never married, and the way she “reared” her youngest, Bert, who was born in late 1996, would have provoked outrage from whatever child protectiove agency had Adelaide in its bailwick. She even lived in Bill’s place with the grandmother (who had sold her house a few miles away and so moved into Bill’s house with her daughter Adelaide), until Bill reached the limit of his tolerance and ordered Adelaide out of the house–she went about the house in the middle of the night doing housework in an obsessive-compulsive manner and drove her brother crazy. Bill has more important things on his mind than reviving any neo-Nazi philosophy and will not condone his sister’s indolence or mental aberrations.

I wouldn’t worry about it for the moment then.

All you have is a kid into military drills, an innocent jacket (those German flag ones used to be pretty popular with students around here), and some second-hand information about a Hitler picture.

Until you see anything more incriminating, I’d keep an eye open, but not approach the father. Chances are the kid is just really into the military, and the most likely thing seems he’d join up with the US forces and they’ll show him right from wrong (current political jokes aside).

If you’re really worried, how about you get him some WWII documentary DVDs as a gift? They will educate him about the true evil behind the Nazis, and you can explain the gift away with “I saw them on offer and knew you were into the army stuff”.

Good luck!

There would have gone my pre-adolescent fascination with Vlad Dracula!

At 13 or 14? Then he’s probably the most sheltered kid in the world.

dougie_monty, unfortunately, I don’t remember any of your threads about Adelaide. Any links?

“Realistic Combat Games”? :dubious:

“Green camouflage fatigues”? :dubious:

“Military-Style Paces”? :dubious:

Uniforms with “German Flag Patches”? :dubious:

Pictures of Hitler on the mantelpiece, a la some kind of shrine? :dubious:

Name dropping of people none of us know personally, and whose names aren’t necessarily relevant to the story? :dubious:

Seems a little too much like some kind of set-up or leg pull, IMO.

When people use phrases like “…a guy who I’ll call _____” that’s usually an indication that the poster is using pseudonyms – you know, like Dear Abby. “My sister-in-law, ‘Helen’ stole my cake recipe.” It doesn’t qualify as “name-dropping” if the names are fake (that’s the way I read it anyway. It would be pretty weird to qualify the names like that if they weren’t fake).

Nothing in the rest of the story seems implausible or surreptitously provocative to me. It could have been a lot more over the top than it was.