With a heavy heart, I would like to open the web traffic floodgates to the blog of fashion enthusiast Pelayo Diaz, who is quite possibly the shallowest person in the friggin’ universe.
Donning a leather jacket, pink tote bag, and pair of shoes that can only be described as “expensive-looking,” Diaz can be seen standing between the immense, grave-like blocks of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin. By his account, there can be no more fashion-forward place to have yourself photographed.
“I wanted to visit The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe ever since it got inaugurated in 2005 and the wait was definitely worth it,” he writes on KateLovesMe.net. “I can’t really describe how it feels to walk between concrete blocks trying to reach the sky but the good thing is that is that it doesn’t make you think about the past, only the future, and that’s something I love being involved with.”
There’s a lot wrong with that paragraph, but I should probably address the least important issue first: Pelayo, buddy, if you had any sensitivity at all, then the memorial would absolutely make you think about the past. The name, “Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe” hints at that. “Memorial.” It’s right there.
I feel like I shouldn’t even be writing about this next point, because it’s just so, so obvious: It is not okay to do something vain and self-promoting in front of a Holocaust Memorial.
Every spring during Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), the phrase my Hebrew school classmates and I were made to repeat to ourselves was “Never again.” Later on, as we discussed Pol Pot’s Cambodia, Idi Amin’s Uganda, and ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, “Never again” was replaced by a different standard Holocaust Remembrance Day greeting, “Never forget,” which took into account the reality that genocide had hardly disappeared since World War II. The message, supposedly, was that it was inappropriate to cling to the hope that tragedies will never repeat themselves. It was better to devote one’s energy to cherishing the memory of the dead. Fast forward to January 2013, and both the sentiment of “Never again” and “Never forget” appear to have been lost on you. And your response, as Leah Chernikoff observes on Fashionista, has a note of Zoolander.
Some people have been offended about the fact I took these pictures at the Holocaust Memorial for Katelovesme. I don’t think they are disrespectful or inappropriate in any way. Katelovesme is a place where I share most of my life and that monument really touched me, that´s why I´m not going to remove the post. I don´t think it’s necessary to say that I’m sickened by what the Nazis did and I apologize if I’ve hurt anybodies feelings, it was definitely not my intention. Loads of love, Pelayo.
You might be thinking, “Give me a break, Reid. Remember when Marc Adelman made a photography series, ‘Stelen (Columns)’ series, in which he made a catalogue of all the men who had photographed themselves at the Berlin Memorial and used the resulting picture for their profiles on a gay dating site? Aren’t I licensed to take a cultural object and re-appropriate it for a new purpose (namely, a reflection on how good I look in this jacket and shoes)? I’m just being Postmodern.”
To you, I have this to say: That is not a legitimate defense. Those dating profile photos are kind of grotesque to begin with (see above). It took someone like Adelman to look at the Internet carefully and realize how many men were using the Berlin Memorial in their search for love. He was, of course, aware of the Memorial’s original aesthetic and historical purpose, but he was able to mine the Memorial’s odd, new purpose for meaning. That’s Postmodern. You’re just being silly.