Three questions: Do you live in New York City? Do you take the subway to work? Did you feel like you woke up in a fascist dystopia this morning?
If you did, you needn’t make a run to your analyst: on some trains, the MTA ran ads for the television adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle that featured Nazi and imperial Japanese insignia all over the seats. New Yorkers had already been griping about the MTA’s decision to advertise in places other than the walls and the ceiling of subway cars: in April, riders got cranky about train-high images of Lane Bryant models in their underwear. Call us crazy, but decontextualized fascist imagery seems a lot worse than celebrating bodies of all sizes.
Also in April, around the time Pamela Geller was plastering anti-Muslim ads on buses, the MTA adopted a new policy that prohibited political advertising. Although the agency that represents “Castle” might say that the flags on the seats are representative of a work of fiction, opponents have pointed out that without enough of that context, the images are jarring to Jews and descendants of people who lived under Japanese imperial rule. Let us just say: there’s a fine line, Don Draper.
As of this printing, Amazon had not yet responded to comment from a Gothamist reporter. We’re waiting, too.
Update, 2:24 P.M.: Amazon has seen reason and told Buzzfeed it is pulling the ad. Though we’re still wondering how it passed muster in the first place.
Photos courtesy Ann Toback