As a trained visual artist myself, after reading the statement from the creator of the buckle, I have come to a conclusion. The artistan, Lee Downey,
is completely unaware of the symbolism that has been used throughout art history/heraldry and was just making a product to sell, and following market
trends because 'skulls are cool' in doing so.
Problem is, someone, whose family has Nazi ties to the symbol of a skull and cross bones decided to show off a belt buckle on the front cover of one
of the most published periodicals wearing a belt buckle that is very similar in motif to the Totenkopf. Someone here mentioned that it would be
political suicide to do so, but not if you are trying to reach a specific audience. Perhaps Mr. Downey is correct, that he made the buckle because
it is cool, and Awnold bought it because he rides a motorcycle, and likes the imagery. Then again, Mr. Downey might have made the buckle unaware of
the history surrounding the motifs, but it is just as possible that Awnold like the motifs for reasons that have nothing to do with Motorcycles and
everthing to do with its Symbolism.
Awnold could have also worn it, thinking that he is that Silver Skelton on the buckle here to Toorminate Global Warming, and show the Girly Men in
Washington who really is boss.
Either way, Awnold's PR Team should have picked up on the symbolism before the magazine went to press if they didn't do it on purpose, in our face.
And the Artisan, Lee Downey, should perhaps take an art history course or even google his subject matter, and worry less about making expensive blingy
things. I find it ironic he claims that public outrage about the Son of a Nazi wearing what seems to be Nazi symbols while Governor of the State of
California is "BS" and that hopefully we will all get over it by the time he returns from Aceh and the Tsunami zone. Is that supposed to make us
feel bad about questioning the buckles intent, because Mr. Downey is spending part of his profits to help the poor? Good for him if he has the means,
but why do we need to know his travel plans? Honestly, to me, I think he was trying to deny knowledge of the intent of his work, and distract from
symbolic content, because he was didn't like the scruitiny. Being known as the "Nazi Belt Buckle Maker to the Elite" probably doesn't win many
For those interested, the Fleur-de-lis is not merely "French" as the Artisan implied, but a symbol of French Monarchs. It is considered an
unofficial symbol of France, and may symbolise the Holy Trinity to some, the Virgin Mother to others. The Earliest Known use of a Fleur-de-lis type
symbol was used on Gaulish coins during the time of the Roman Empire.
Summerized from a Wikipedia article about Fleur-de-lis