The bittersweet melody of racist tunes

This past weekend, a friend pointed me in the direction of a wholly repugnant new music phenomenon. Here’s the pitch: Picture twin 13-year-old California-bred blondes with gleaming braces clogging their cutesy smiles. Picture these adorable twins strumming three-quarters-size guitars, wailing rock ballads from a makeshift stage plucked from any small heartland county fair. Oh, and picture them wearing Hitler T-shirts while rocking out about white supremacy.

Meet Prussian Blue. The girls, Lynx and Lamb Gaede — who look barely old enough to play Mario Kart, let alone “awaken their race” — have their own Web site and are releasing their second CD. They perform mainly covers of existing white supremacist music, though they are adding some ditties of their own. Their site features a photo gallery, primarily offering snaps of the duo sporting dirndls and relaxing on grassy hillocks, or playing with their infant sister, Dresden.

At first glance, it’s unclear what’s most appalling: the blithe innocence of these cheery-faced younglings as they proclaim Aryan superiority, or their obvious early soaking in racial intolerance and bigotry, which smacks of child exploitation. We’d like to believe that sweet young things like the Gaede sisters are incapable of spontaneously generating thoughts of racial cleansing, and sure enough, the twins are the daughters of April Gaede, a writer for the white-power publication National Vanguard. Clearly, the girls are a sculpted ploy, the latest and most vile cry for attention from the tiny minority of Nazi-obsessed skinhead idiots on the ultraconservative right. As such, they are easily dismissed.

Or are they? The girls of Prussian Blue were the subject of an “ABC PrimeTime” report last week. Blogs everywhere have picked them up, and decidedly non-racist people are now puzzling over their work. They have transcended the ambit of their political birthplace. This growing cultural penetration is worrisome.

I offer here a brief review of Prussian Blue, to spare the inquisitive among you the unpleasant experience I just endured — namely, that of rummaging through ultranationalist sectarianism to satisfy my curiosity about these underage sirens of race-hate.

Prussian Blue’s album “Fragment of a Future” was released by Resistance Records, but their song “I Will Bleed for You” can be heard for free online. I did myself the unpardonable disservice of listening to this, to better gauge the musical and lyrical talents of Lynx and Lamb.

Quite simply, the music is rubbish. Honestly, it’s safe to assume that these tonally-challenged girls would be playing to an audience of catatonic family members in their basement if it weren’t for the outrageous slant of their message. While kid groups with real talent do come and go, Prussian Blue is decidedly not among them. The music is unsophisticated, clumsy and unpleasant, and any endearing quality in their unschooled voices is extinguished by the abrasive content of their lyrics. You’ll find better arranged tracks on a Wesley Willis album.

Granted, ABC isn’t profiling Prussian Blue for their melodic mastery. We care about their lyrics.

World-weary middle-schoolers Lynx and Lamb bemoan the rape of our land and admonish citizens for idly “watching as the white flame dies.” While unquestionably replete with arrogant posturing, the song itself isn’t particularly angry. In fact, for a white-supremacy group, Prussian Blue is downright tepid, offering mostly muddled symbolism and vague calls to action. The lyrics are a confusing and superficial gloss of the white supremacist position, and first-time listeners will understandably wonder what these two are crooning about. This dangerously clever play means Prussian Blue serves as a gateway drug, preparing youngsters for stronger material later on. (For the curious, Max Resist, a rock group sharing the Resistance Records label, offers such charming lyrics as “let the cities burn / let the streets run red / if you ain’t White / you’ll be dead.”)

Listening to these schoolgirls, it’s tempting to overlook the fact that the racist hate they espouse is very real. For instance, they sent aid specifically earmarked for white victims of Hurricane Katrina. (ABC reports that these donations were largely rejected when would-be recipients learned the identity of the senders.) Their grandfather has registered the swastika as his cattle-brand. They are also Holocaust deniers. When interviewed about the band’s name by Viceland magazine, Lynx and Lamb replied, “Prussian Blue is just a really pretty color. There is also the discussion of the lack of ‘Prussian Blue’ coloring (Zyklon-B residue) in the so-called gas chambers in the concentration camps. We think it might make people question some of the inaccuracies of the ‘Holocaust’ myth.” With crowd-pleasing replies like that one, I don’t think Britney Spears need fear for her seat anytime soon.

Prussian Blue’s trump card is confusion: beaming pre-teen girls touting eugenics and bigotry. The conflation of imagery is jarring. But Lynx and Lamb are neither cute nor benign, and their apparent innocence does not sanitize their message. They are a mouthpiece for racists, bigots and white supremacists, a sad reminder that civilized society must remain vigilant. While mass adoption of their views is unthinkable, the real danger is that Prussian Blue will continue to turn heads, and hoodwink their way into the public eye. Hatred must remain appalling, however watered-down, prettied-up or sweet-smiling it may appear.



Michael Seringhaus is a fifth-year graduate student in molecular biophysics and biochemistry. His column appears on alternate Thursdays.

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