the clamper meeting was last night. i apparently did a naughty no-no and wore red. apparently you aren’t allowed to wear red to a clamper meeting unless you’re an official clamper, but the widders i hung out with last night were saying that i was probably a clamper and didn’t realise it. after all, they adopted Doc Maynard as their patriarch and named their chapter after him, and he wasn’t a clamper. anyway, i’m probably going to go to their labor day parade in black diamond and be a “sweeper” (which doesn’t sound good), and if they like me, there’s a “Poor Blind Candidate Interrogation Meeting” on september 7th, and then the initiation at the “Doins” on whidbey island on the 14th.
meanwhile, i got this from the snoqualmie valley record, by way of “bottlehound”, the “Noble Grand Humbug”. apparently he was quite impressed that i got my article on page 1 of the print edition, which is one of the reasons, apparently, why my wearing red was overlooked by the assembled clampers.
Symbol deemed too offensive for Snoqualmie Railroad Days event
August 08, 2007
By Leif Nesheim, Editor
Displaying the symbol that got his car evicted from the Snoqualmie Railroad Days parade, Bruce Salamandir-Feyrecilde of Milton said he was disappointed he couldn’t be in the parade.
Bruce Salamandir-Feyrecilde’s white 1996 Mitsubishi Eclipse is adorned with black Sanskrit characters and a colorful Hindu symbol on the roof. The problem? The symbol includes a swastika. The art car was nixed from the Snoqualmie Railroad Days’ grand parade. Salamandir-Feyrecilde was incensed. “It really bothers me that while I am trying to educate people, the people who need educating the most are the ones in charge,” he said. Salamandir-Feyrecilde is Hindu. He painted his car in honor of Ganesha, the Hindu god of removing obstacles. The roof symbol, known as Ganesha Yantra, is similar in meaning to the Chinese Yin-Yang symbol, he said.
The swastika symbol has been used for thousands of years in many different cultures. The name derives from the Sanskrit term for “well-being”.
Tove Warmerdam, the festival’s volunteer organizer, said the chose to remove Salamandir-Feyrecilde’s car from the parade to prevent people from being offended by the swastika. She said she understood Salamandir-Feyrecilde’s point about the Hindu meaning of the symbol, but that its use by Adolph Hitler’s Nazis is the first association known to most Americans.
“This is a small-town festival,” she said. Warmerdam said she felt the unintended offense likely to be caused by the car wasn’t in line with the parade’s guidelines and spirit. She said several people who had seen the car came to her with concerns about it.
In several e-mails, Warmerdam explained to Salamandir-Feyrecilde her reasons for excluding his car and said she was sorry he felt offended.
Salamandir-Feyrecilde said he felt singled out for discrimination because his wasn’t the only parade entry with a swastika, but was the only one prohibited from participating.
The Falun Dafa float, which took first place in the parade, also contained a swastika. However, Falun Dafa members covered the symbol during the parade and explained its meaning at their festival booth, Warmerdam said. Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong, is a Chinese system of belief that uses meditation and exercise to achieve spiritual harmony.
Salamandir-Feyrecilde said he felt intimidated when a “burly” police officer told him he couldn’t be in the parade. Snoqualmie Police Officer Robert Keaton asked Salamandir-Feyrecilde to leave the parade at Warmerdam’s request.
Warmerdam said she was glad Keaton was present because she and the other festival volunteers began to feel threatened when Salamandir-Feyrecild’s became agitated.
Salamandir-Feyrecilde lives in Milton. He and his wife sell incense, jewelry and other goods from India and are computer consultants. He initially planned to come to the festival to see the E Clampus Vitus (a fraternal Western Heritage organization) parade entry, but decided to enter his car in the parade a few days before the festival when he learned entries were still being accepted.
For more information on his car, visit www.HybridElephant.com
my rebuttal, such as it is:
you got some details wrong. although you never asked me, it’s a 1996 Mazda Protegé, not a Mitsubishi Eclipse. i know, it’s details, but still… you could have asked me.
the point of your article is a bit vague: it could be in support of me, because i was discriminated against, but it could also be a fact-filled article proclaiming that “if you’ve got a swastika, you’d better not try to be in a parade in our town”. i wonder what you would think if i entered next year and put a big sheet over the “offending” symbols with a sign saying “CENSORED”, so that you couldn’t see it? you haven’t made that absolutely clear in your article, and that concerns me.
also, that bit about warmerdam feeling “threatened” when i “became agitated”? that is completely the opposite of what happened. i’ve never even met warmerdam before, unless she was the woman who was taking my registration at the parade – which i admit she might have been, but she wasn’t giving her name when i talked to her before the parade or after i was being kicked out – which was after the “burly” policeman had been involved twice. as far as “becoming agitated”, i speak differently since my injury: i speak with a lot of hesitation, stammering, and one-word-at-a-time, especially with people i don’t know, and that might have been interpreted as “becoming agitated”, but it was just my brain injury showing. not only that, but i was becoming agitated: i was originally encouraged to come to the parade by someone on the phone (who i later found out was warmerdam herself), and welcomed, only to be kicked out at the last moment, with only the vaguest and lamest of explanations. who wouldn’t become a little agitated under those circumstances? but to say that she felt “threatened” by me is totally asinine, especially because the “burly” police officer was at least twice my size. i felt threatened by the fact that there was this huge police officer, who “wasn’t speaking as a police officer”, telling me that someone i had never met was kicking me out of their parade.
but apart from that, you got all of the talking points correct. i’ll give it a C+