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10.01.2012

wtf: wagner does the chink-eye



What the hell? This is actually from last year, but damn, it's so racist it's worth posting... This is a poster created for the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden opera house in Germany, advertising U.S. conductor Kent Nagano's performance of Richard Wagner's "Parsifal." That is a Photoshop-enhanced Wagner doing the chink-eye. Because, you know, ha ha -- Nagano is Asian: Anti-Racism Groups Slam German Ads.
A case in point is a poster (photo, above) created for the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden last year to advertise German composer Richard Wagner’s "Parsifal" performed by acclaimed US conductor Kent Nagano, currently creative head of the German Symphony Orchestra in Berlin. It showed a famous portrait of Wagner, given a pair of arms with the help of a computer, making slanted eyes in an obvious reference to Nagano’s Japanese origins.

The poster, "Kent Nagano Conducts Wagner," didn't even raise an eyebrow in mainstream Germany. But it did catch the attention of advertising industry insiders -- they awarded it a top prize in Berlin earlier this year.

"I think it's tasteless and racist," said Dagmar Yu-Dembski, chairwoman of the German-Chinese friendship society in Berlin, who documents examples of racial stereotypes in the media and advertising. "Highlighting the physical features of Asians in this way is just a cheap ploy to grab attention. The crass reference to Nagano's ethnicity has nothing to do with a classical music concert."

Aki Takase, a well-known Japanese pianist and composer based in Berlin agreed.

"It is shameful that his origins seem to be so much more important in this case than his immense musical talent," Takase said.

Kent Nagano was unavailable for a comment.
The rest of the article describes how Germany's advertising industry is notoriously insensitive towards ethnic minorities, citing more recent examples, and no one seems to care. Hell, the Wagner ad above even received an award from industry insiders. That's racist!