Sunday, January 27, 2008

Why Does USC Have Swastikas on Their Campus?

A while back, I was on my way to a University of Southern California basketball game at the General William Lyon University Center when I spotted a Victorian-style lamppost. Taking a closer look at its olive-green base, I was shocked at what I saw. The decorative trimming that encircled the base of the lamppost was so politically unfathomable that I had to catch my breath. In clear sight of the multitude of people walking past was displayed the repeating pattern of swastikas! The swastikas were joined so they formed a pattern, an unmistakable repeating pattern, that is the universal symbol of Adolph Hitler and Nazism. I think there were four other similar lampposts that circled the perimeter of the building.

I don't know what shocked me more, the fact that swastikas were there at all, or that no one had ever noticed them before. Afterall, the lampposts were next to the McDonald's swim complex, a location that hosted the world's Olympic swimmers and divers in 1984. These were old lampposts, clearly they'd been there long enough for multiple generations of students and administrators to notice them.
I would learn later that the Lyon Center was named after General William Lyon, an Orange County builder and developer worth billions who was formerly head of the Air Force Reserve under Ronald Reagan. Apparently, Lyon has the odd habit of collecting controversial items, like Adolph Hitler's staff car. He lives in a huge anti-Bellum style mansion in South Orange County and owns two Bell helicopters.

Even a neophyte knows that a swastika, in any form, is a symbol of hate and not tolerated in America. Yet, here they were, displayed in plain sight, on one of America’s elite campuses. I thought it strange that USC would have swastikas on its campus. Why does USC have swastikas on its campus?

William Lyon is a large force in Southern California, not only for his ability of turning bricks and sticks into million dollar homes, but for his backing of San Diego’s many diploma mills. It turns out that San Diego is the center of the diploma mill industry. I learned this when the man who housed the two San Diego 9/11 hijackers, Abdussattar Shaikh, claimed he was the vice-president of one of Lyon’s quasi-colleges. Shaikh was an FBI informant who the 9/11 Commission considered the best chance America had of stopping 9/11.

Many are familiar with Lyon's company, William Lyon Homes which has become a fixture in communities like Phoenix, San Diego, and South Florida. Lyon also joined into a partnership with another Orange County billionaire, George Argyros, to buy Air Cal airline which later merged with American Airlines.

Sometimes I get to thinking about 9/11 for no apparent reason. I think about how the pilots trained in Phoenix, San Diego and South Florida. I think about how they were given critical information to help them, insider information the average person wouldn’t know. For instance, the hijackers knew that wealthy Saudis wearing jewelry received less notice and so they bought expensive items to wear. They knew that box cutters were allowed on American Airlines and that the pilots opened their cockpit doors fifteen minutes into the flight. They also knew that Boeings are easier to fly and have an auto pilot that allows the plane to be crashed into the ground.

Sometimes I start thinking about how the nation’s air defenses were virtually nonexistent on 9/11. I start thinking how lucky the hijackers were that practically every protection devised to prevent such an attack was thwarted. NORAD was nowhere to be found, McGuire and Andrews Air Force Bases couldn’t be bothered to respond, and the nation was left completely vulnerable to attack. My brain starts racing and I think about Operation Northern Vigilance, a war game which might have aided the attackers by diverting possible responders. I sometimes wonder if it was luck, because only someone intimately involved with the Air Force would know of such things, not a bunch of Arab terrorists.

Where was I? Oh yeah, USC swastikas. Why does USC have swastikas on their campus?


gary said...

The old county courthouse in Redwood City, California, where I grew up, has swastikas all over the place. It was built well before Hitler. The symbol of the swastika is very old.

The Agent of Entropy said...

Not that unsual, here in Yuma, Arizona we have bridge built by the federal government that is covered in swastikas, as seen here.

Anonymous said...

The Swastika is an ancient symbol of eternal life/good health/good fortune, etc that was a major factor in architecture in the late 19th and early 20th century. It was co-opted by the Nazis who wanted to have a
"Happy Love Luck Yay" symbol to paste over everything. It was the equivalent of a modern fascist group using a giant smiley face as their symbol.

Frankly, to treat the Swastika as the Most Evilist Thing Ever Evil is to give far more power to the Nazis and their brand of bullshit then they deserve. Especially when dealing with examples of it that were put down before Hitler went all apeshit. Next, you'll be wanting to tear it out of Buddhist Temples, out of pre-Chistain Greek mosaics, burning it off the borders of all the "Drink Radium Water to Prolong Your Life" literature from 1910 and so forth.

Perspective. Please.