Cooking with Nazis

Rufus F.

Rufus is an American curmudgeon in Canada. He has a PhD in History, sings in a garage rock band, and does many things. He is the author of the forthcoming book "The Paris Bureau" from Dio Press (early 2021).

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57 Responses

  1. dhex says:

    that poster is pretty awesome.Report

  2. aaron david says:

    When I was in high school, I dished for this one restaurant (the Stuffed Alive.) At the time, one of the cooks was an Elvis impersonator. We all called him The King. I never did learn his real name.Report

  3. Saul Degraw says:

    Great essay. I really like the point about how teenagers don’t understand the difference between ideology and power. I can also see why restaurants can be an employer of last resort for many people. From what I’ve heard, warehouses are also places where a lot of people work if they have too many tattoos and piercings to be employed anywhere else.

    Though unreasonable beliefs lurk behind every corner.Report

    • Rufus F. in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I wonder what the social demographics of bigotry are. I imagine the percentages of populations with those beliefs aren’t much different across social groups, but the expression is probably different.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Rufus F. says:


        “Everyone’s a little bit racist.”-Avenue Q.

        I don’t think there are any markable social demographics for racism and bigotry. Sometimes it can come from great wealth and privilege. Other times it can come from being among the lowest or closest to the lowest end of the socio-economic spectrum and almost living in the shadow of society. This is partially why Jay Gould was able to boast about “setting one half the working class against the other.” The NSDAP received a lot of early support from the lower-middle class men who were out of work during the 1920s and were repelled by Weimar decadence. Weimar Germany was pretty decadent by even our super-liberal standards.

        There was a guy who used to hang out at my coffeeshop. We would talk every now and then and usually about stuff not related to politics. The guy saw himself as a good San Francisco liberal. He was a college-educated engineer (though with a somewhat dysfunctional backstory). However he seemed to sincerely believe that the Rothschilds controlled the world economy or could at least manipulate to their advantage. He would not advocate for anything bad to happen to Jews because of this but he knew I was Jewish and openly told me he couldn’t understand why is friends told him saying these things were anti-Semitic. He thought he was merely stating a Captain Obvious style fact like fire is hot.

        There is also a bar I know in S.F. that is largely considered for very trendy Asian kids and I have black friends who complained about bigoted treatment at said bar. Did someone here or on my other blog make a comment about Asian visitors making bigoted comments about black people?

        There are plenty examples of Jews making bigoted comments as well like Donald Sterling and Dan Snyder.

        Bigotry and racism are varied and know many forms.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Rufus F. says:

        That being said, neo-nazism seems to generally have most appeal among people who are really down and out economically.Report

      • Rufus F. in reply to Rufus F. says:

        That’s what I’m getting at about the expression. I’ve definitely encountered bigots from all walks of life, but they seem to express it differently. I think for some people the stakes are so low, they can join the Aryan Nations or whatever and it won’t affect their general trajectory too much, whereas others might express those ideas very differently.Report

      • Pinky in reply to Rufus F. says:

        “I wonder what the social demographics of bigotry are.”

        Typically, people hate those who they perceive as one step ahead of them.Report

      • ScarletNumbers in reply to Rufus F. says:


        Typically, people hate those who they perceive as one step ahead of them.

        I would say they hate people who are one rung BELOW them on the ladder because they want to make sure others know what the relative hierarchy is.Report

      • Pinky in reply to Rufus F. says:

        Most people never think about those below them, unless they’re putting pressure on them. Hitler didn’t rally the people with accusations against Gypsies. But people are obsessed with whoever’s above them – and not miles above them, but just one rung. It’s a fairly consistent pattern, all other things being equal.Report

      • Kim in reply to Rufus F. says:

        Gypsies made a convenient target to blame for a community’s own greed.
        Since “everyone knew” the gypsies stole things, there was a communal free-for-all of snatching from your neighbors.Report

      • Pinky in reply to Rufus F. says:

        My point is, you don’t rally people around beating up the little guy. We’ll do that anyway. You rally people around beating up the guy who’s bigger than us.Report

  4. Kolohe says:

    I guess if they’re free-range organic Nazis…Report

    • Rufus F. in reply to Kolohe says:

      With a some fava beans and a nice chiantiReport

      • Glyph in reply to Rufus F. says:

        To Serve Nazis, 1st Ed.

        Chapter 1: White Meat Dishes
        Chapter 2: Dark Meat Dishes
        Chapter 3: Just Kidding, They Are All White Meat Dishes

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Rufus F. says:



      • Jim Heffman in reply to Rufus F. says:

        Nazi: The Other White MeatReport

      • dragonfrog in reply to Rufus F. says:

        They’re not all white though.

        I was at a counter-demonstration a neo-Nazi demonstration a decade or so ago (strange scene – a few hundred counter-demonstrators surrounding about five neo-Nazis, with an unknown number who were not showing their true colours. There were some photographers who seemed oddly intent on getting clear face shots of the counter-demonstrators).

        Someone next to me remarked that the neo-Nazi we were watching pull a knife on someone was his co-worker.
        “Work is going to be awkward tomorrow. Weird that he’s a Nazi, since he’s Metis.”
        (later, police arrest him for the concealed knife)
        “Well, that may have resolved that social tension.”Report

  5. Vikram Bath says:

    Nazi Ed will never have power outside of perhaps isolated acts of violence, and hopefully not even those

    Perhaps he also serves as a walking billboard for what people who cling to such beliefs are like. It makes it clear to others that this is what people believe when they have nothing else; they elevate in importance the only thing they have, which is what they were born with and can’t be taken away.Report

  6. kenB says:

    I forget where, but I was just reading an article about prison gangs, and it made it sound like membership in one was pretty much required for survival. That last quote from Ed might’ve been entirely accurate, depending on what the gang options for white dudes were.Report

    • Rufus F. in reply to kenB says:

      I think it was. He really did have some hatred for black people though. Just an angry dude in general.Report

    • j r in reply to kenB says:

      I get the sense that membership in a prison gang is not so much required as it has its advantages. Gangs generally run prisons and some jails. They control a lot of the amenities and probably collect some kind of tax from non-members. Of course, membership has its disadvantages, as in any moment you can be called upon to perform some task that could keep you in jail a lot longer, if not forever.

      The other thing is who knows if this guy was really a “member” of the Aryan Brotherhood. Full membership in a prison gang usually has a pretty high bar. This could be like a petty criminal who once did some business with some mafia associates and then goes on to brag that he’s a made member of a family.Report

      • Glyph in reply to j r says:

        As usual, I get most of my info from movies and TV, but I got the sense that forgoing joining a gang in prison is pretty much akin to forgoing police protection out here.

        Sure, you can theoretically do it, but you are very exposed and vulnerable, on your own, and anyone who wishes to visit violence on you may, without much fear of retaliation.

        You have no backup or protection, and little means to pay anyone for any.Report

      • Kim in reply to j r says:

        probably hard to get hurt much in solitary.
        other than the obvious mental issues.Report

      • ScarletNumbers in reply to j r says:

        I am a member of a gang that I rely on for protection: The Democratic Party.Report

  7. Adam says:

    I’m now picturing this restaurant as the one from Curb Your Enthusiasm:

    Warning, bad words.Report

  8. Kim says:

    Man, the fact that you live in Canada is showing. A lot. That man, in America, probably has a gun. The odds that he will use it, or threaten to use it, on some schmuck where they oughtn’t be, is appreciable.

    You say he ain’t got power. Well, in Canada you’re pretty much right. In America? Not so much.Report

  9. LeeEsq says:

    I’m wondering if there is a bit of reverse adaptation. Perhaps people to unconventional and note hide able tattoos and piercings adopt unconventional beliefs of various types because those are the only communities where they could find acceptance. This unconventional beliefs could be harmless Wiccan beliefs or dangerous Neo-Nazi beliefs but they both provide an acceptance for the word lacking elsewhere.

    Ross Douthat had a column months ago about what causes people from comfortable backgrounds to give up everything and fight for organizations like ISIL. One of his points is that liberal democracy favors the industrious, prudent, and slightly boring even in its social democratic form. People that can’t conform to what can be called bourgeoisie living or at least do so in public have a difficult time finding a place. Fringe groups from Wiccans to Neo-Nazis to Islamic extremists provide an outlet for those that can not conform.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Freud wrote about this in Civilization and Its Discontents. Civilization and society promote progress, comfort, technological advancement but the price paid for that security is conformity and the individual revolts.

      Though I question how many people from comfortable backgrounds are fighting for ISIL. If you are talking about people like Jihadi John, European Muslims tend to be significantly isolated from mainstream European society and they tend to suffer from poor economic and employment prospects in a chronic sort of way.

      One of the things I noticed about the new geek and “alt-right”* renaissance is complaining about old rules on respectability and how it is totes uncool for law firms and other businesses to be critical of tattoos or neon hair as unprofessional.

      *If it is alternative, it is right seems to be a general philosophy.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        The legal profession requires a lot of decorum. Most judges have a high sense of decorum regardless of their judicial philosophy or age. Decorum helps things calm in the courtroom and lots of judges really like that. Really obvious and non-coverable tattoos, alternative piercings, and neon hair has cultural connotations that the bearer has a wild streak. Judges and clients aren’t going to look kindly on this. Enforcing conventional grooming is kind of required in the legal profession.Report

    • Jim Heffman in reply to LeeEsq says:

      “People that can’t conform to what can be called bourgeoisie living or at least do so in public have a difficult time finding a place. Fringe groups from Wiccans to Neo-Nazis to Islamic extremists provide an outlet for those that can not conform.”

      And we get to Eric Hoffman’s “True Believer”.Report

    • ScarletNumbers in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Fringe groups from Wiccans to Neo-Nazis to Islamic extremists

      …and 4-HReport

  10. Citizen says:

    Admittedly, I am not much of a reader, but a few weeks ago when I was sifting through Proudhon I noticed he was anti-semitic. I wasn’t sure where that could have developed from.
    There wasn’t much* information of the 19th century that pointed anywhere other than the Rothschilds. And it wasn’t the actions of a single agent, as the family deployed into several different financial sectors. So the distribution of the name/ethnicity associated with sectors that commoners held often in contempt. The echoes of that probably traveled a few generations into the future.
    *The Dreyfus affair predated Proudhons time.

    In an unrelated search in english history of firearm laws I found this:

    7. Item, no Jew shall keep in his possession a shirt of mail or a hauberk, but he shall sell it or give it away or alienate it in some other way, so that it shall remain in the king’s service.

    Best I could come up with on that was jews fought along muslims at times during the crusades?

    I don’t see much of that relating to the creation of Ed, which is likely the results of the factions of survival in most prisons. About the only words I would have offered Ed would be to point out the mechanisms that have him prosper in prison could be his impairment in the open public.Report

    • Chris in reply to Citizen says:

      *The Dreyfus affair predated Proudhons time.

      I believe you mean Proudhon predated the Dreyfus affair.Report

    • Rufus F. in reply to Citizen says:

      One old saying on the left was anti-Semitism is “socialism for stupid people”. I’d maybe call it political action for stupid people. It’s had a very, very long shelf life as the classic provincial bigotry. Partly I think it’s because it’s so fluid- what the Jews are supposed to have done keeps changing. And partly it’s the sheer irrationality of it that makes it so fluid. It doesn’t really make much sense, which seems to drive anti-Semites to invest more heavily in the most bizarre and flimsy justifications for it.
      Another old line. Two old men are talking and one says, “All the worlds problems are caused by Jews and bicycles.”
      The other: “Why bicycles?”
      “Ah, but why Jews?”Report

  11. dragonfrog says:

    Years ago I briefly bunked with a neo-Nazi in a workers’ guesthouse. This was in Germany, where the music cassettes he had were straight up illegal. He’d gotten a cover tattoo over his swastika in prep to come to Munich from the former East for work.

    It was awkward. I bought a tent and moved to a campground shortly after the topic of his politics came up.Report

  12. ScarletNumbers says:

    This why you don’t want your children to work at a prole job as a teenager; they associate with losers.Report

  13. notme says:


    You really should say neo-nazis, but really the AB is a criminal organization that was originally organized along racial lines for self protection in prison.Report

    • Rufus F. in reply to notme says:

      This is interesting to know. Where I live, we have many restaurants that are involved with criminal organizations organized along, let’s say, language lines. It was never clear whether or not this was one of them.Report

  14. Kazzy says:

    Please tell me you’ve seen the “Curb” episode with the chef who curses?Report

  15. Damon says:

    I worked with a neo nazi. He was unfailingly polite and courteous. I did hear about a band he was in and he played one of his songs to some office women. They told me about him. I never had an issue with him and, other than the one time music incident, he never brought his politics/racism to work.

    I was the only one, for some reason, who he let get away with not using his full proper name. His name was David and I called him Dave. He corrected others, just not me. Never found out why.Report