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Tuesday, March 21, 2006
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Michelle Malkin was unimpressed with my interpretation of the UN Lego poster, noting:

With all due respect, those giving the U.N. the benefit of the doubt and advocating this benign interpretation are looking at the graphic bass-ackwards. The puzzle pieces represent unity and tolerance; the red LEGO represents a blaring, non-conformist, and unacceptable “shape of racism.” Some readers write in that no one knows who makes Danish-based LEGO toy pieces. Have you all been snoozing through the Cartoon Jihad conflagration or what? If you can’t see the poster for the Islamist-pandering piece of propaganda that it is, there’s nothing I can do to help you.

Well, I appreciate link, but wasn’t looking for help in understanding the situation, but thanks nonetheless. And, I am aware of the cartoon situation as well. Calling this poster a “slamist-pandering piece of propaganda” strikes me as considerably over the top, to put it mildly.

I find her interpretation wanting, as the emphasis on the poster is “shapes” and the puzzle pieces are different shapes of toys that otherwise connect to one another. I suppose they could’ve used a Tinker Toy or a piece from a Erector Set, but I don’t think those images are quite as instantly recognizable as the Lego block.

Also: since when has racism been equated with nonconformity? Typically a major issue with racism is too much conformity within one group to the detriment of another.

Clearly this poster isn’t puzzle pieces and a Lego-its a rorschach test. Certainly I think some are seeing what they want to see. As such, the Junkyard Blog asks the right question: How Would You Interpret This Poster?-although I think his two answers are not comprehensive, and assume too much vis-a-vis the Danes, Mohammed cartoons and Legos. Still, at this point it is highly difficult to get an unbiased answer to the question, at least if one has already read various interpretations.

One part of my post that she ignores is that fact the UN has used Legos before, making the idea that they went out of their way to find a lego block for this poster less likely. And I think this issue has salience-because it would have been one thing to pull a Lego out of nowhere and use it as opposed to Legos being all over a part of the UN website. Indeed, if the UN as an institution equates Legos to racists, why have they been using Lego people in their refugee posters?

And I don’t agree with Michelle that the removal of the poster from the UN website “speaks unambiguous volumes”-more likely than not they removed it because the Lego company doesn’t like, in general , the association of one of their products with racism-not because the UNHCHR got caught re-handed dissin’ the Danes (Occam’s Razor, and all that).

Of course, at the base of it, all of this brouhaha over the appearance of the Lego in a poster is pretty amusing, if not silly.

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  1. “Of course, at the base of it, all of this brouhaha over the appearance of the Lego in a poster is pretty amusing, if not silly.”

    You are entitled to consider it so, I imagine you feel the same way about the brouhaha over the appearance of Mohammed in cartoons, that’s positive.

    Personally, I see it clearly. It seems like a bold faced deligitimzation of Denmark’s free speech stance to me, it’s rather glaring actually. Was there a general vote I missed at the UN in regards to lambasting the Danes? I would have liked to be one of the two or three voting nay!

    Comment by saus — Wednesday, March 22, 2006 @ 4:24 am

  2. I had to do a double-take on the first look at the poster, as I had a first impression or concern that the UN was actually sending some type of message about the recent cartoon mess and equating the cartoon thing with racism somehow,

    After looking at the poster closely, however, I came to a different conclusion: whomever is making these posters sucks.

    Seriously, if a poster is too ambiguous to make its point in a clear fashion, they need a different one. But I am sure that the ad firm working this one have already pocketed their $26 million.

    Comment by Steven L. — Wednesday, March 22, 2006 @ 10:38 am

  3. I have to agree with Steven L. (above) on this one. The designers could have ASKEd the Lego company if it was all right to use their piece in the poster before hand.

    Notice how people protested this depiction in a peaceful way. People sent emails, people called on the phone, people held press conferences. There weren’t any threats of violence or murder (as far as I am aware) against anyone at the UN over this. That is the right way to do things. We don’t need to burn down buildings and have people die.

    Comment by scubajim — Wednesday, March 22, 2006 @ 11:49 am

  4. [...] People who overreact and see Jihadist sympathizers everywhere. [...]

    Pingback by PoliBlog ™: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » Happy Festivus! — Saturday, December 23, 2006 @ 10:52 am

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