卐

Matt Drudge reported, with the typically understated heading of “SHOCK,” that the symbol of the swastika (卐) was for a time the most popular search term on google. Actually goggling for , however, reveals an obvious pattern:

For those whose computer cannot display chinese characters, Google US’s top 10 results for were:

A little thought, of course, reveals why. The swastika is a traditional Chinese good-luck character, the Olympics are coming up, and good luck is on the Chinese mind.

Indeed, the (google translateD) first line of the first result reads:

卐 (右旋) or 卍 (左旋) (Sanskrit: स्वस्तिक, IAST: svástika; symbol of good luck), an ancient Indian religion of auspicious signs

Ironically, the eighth google result discusses the growing awareness in China that all swastikas are not happy symbols!:

Core Tip: Xi’an a district centre to advertise the sale, the wall has been painted a whole train carriage, “locomotive” there is a Nazi logo on the “Wan.” 该广告引起市民的质疑。 The ad questioned the public. Center for sales that was only thought of Buddhism in the ‘Wan’ word, did not expect a Nazi logo.

So good fortune, or (as we say in English characters): ☺.

The analogy is appropriate. The Nazi Party is, of course, something to laugh at.

9 thoughts on “卐”

  1. The Nazis rotated the swastika 45 degrees so it looked more dynamic, suggesting movement and power, something like the Aryan master race warriors driving with their buxom blonde wives and rosy-cheaked children, in their volkswagens, kettenkrads, half-tracks, motorcycles, staff cars and panzers to their new farmsteads on the banks of the Volga, now richly fertilized with the ashes of their previous Slav owners.

    So these unslanted swastiaks are not mean and bad Nazi swastikas, they are friendly and happy Chinese swastikas.

    These details can be very important.

  2. Also Jewish, ironically. We’ve actually got an old building in town with old swastikas incorporated into the stonework.

  3. Hmm, well if you do a Baidu News search, you’ll find that the clip you’ve got machine-translated there was from a current swastika-related story yesterday in the Chinese press that has gotten widespread coverage over the past week. apparently there was a big mural-type advertisement on a wall somewhere in Xi’an. the mural contained a painting of a long black train with a nazi-inspired swastika painted on the train’s head. judging from the baidu news results, this story was literally reproduced in hundreds of online news outlets. i’d say this story is what inspired all those google searches, and not the simple fact that “good luck is on their minds.”

  4. More info on the strange story is available at Waching the Media and the Los Angeles Times blog [1,2]. (They link to me!) LA Times followed up on their story [3], revealing that Google’s blaming of 4chan (an anti-scientology group) [4] was speculation (in other words, with as much basis in fact as my assumption). Adding to the weirdness is that the current censorship of the Google Trends result is probably from an Israeli Google team.

    Whatever’s going on, it’s a good example of what happens when power a company has an obscure decision-making process and a tone-deafness to concerns such as radicalism and censorship.

    [1] http://www.watchingthemediaforyou.com/2008/07/did-google-remove-swastika-symbol-from.html
    [2] http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/webscout/2008/07/swastika-tops-g.html
    [3] http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/webscout/2008/07/google-apologiz.html
    [4] http://www.anarchistnews.org/?q=node/2984

  5. Well, what about the Navy buildings in San Diego that are shaped like swastikas and now they said they will have to remodel them? There is a bridge, too, with swastikas all over it. I think it goes over the Colorado River if I remember correctly. There is also a rest home somewhere that is shaped like a swastika. But what about the half million coffins in Madison, Georgia and also in Ennis, Texas and other places and the FEMA death camps and the strange trains they are going to supposedly use to haul bodies, etc?

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