Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Reviews: The Daily What The...?

By Steven Heller in his "Daily Heller"
I thought I was obsessed with the evils of fascism and the ways the Nazis and Italian Fascists used graphic design to manipulate hearts and minds. But thanks to my powerful web browser, MirkoIlicoogle, I am now aware of someone--or something--even more fanatical. At first The Daily Hitler may seem like a tasteless joke or worse, but in fact, its webmaster says, the blog is dedicated to "Exploring Hitler, the Nazi phenomenon & related subjects in pop culture." That's certainly what I've done in a few of my books on the swastika and totalitarian graphics, among them. The bloggist goes on to say "This blog is not political or even moral, it serves only as a source for your daily Hitler. If we didn't do it, someone else would." While a questionable justification, there are indeed some posts on this blog that are worth reading and cannot be found elsewhere, such as the news story from September 3: "Secret Swastika: Idaho Courthouse Won't Remove Old Swastika Tiles." There are some rare artifacts as well, like a Miguel Covarrubias caricature (above). However, I do take issue with the August 25 item: "The Clucking of Morons," a critique of a critique of the Castle Wolfsenstein game, which attacks the critic for stating that the game by Activision glorifies the Nazis. Frankly, it does. Nonetheless, the specter of a Daily Hitler blog is at once revolting and fascinating, like the proverbial train wreck. For anyone who is concerned with the power of images, and especially, this genre of images, the blog is worth scanning (at least once).
Steven Heller is the cofounder and the cochair of the MFA Designer as Author program at the School of Visual Arts. He writes the Visuals column for the New York Times Book Review and the Graphic Content blog for T-Style; is editor of AIGA Voice; and is a contributor to Design Observer. He is the author, coauthor, and/or editor of more than 120 books on design and popular culture, including the forthcoming New Ornamental Type (Thames and Hudson). More information can be found at Heller's homepage.

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