Foxy ‘procurable women’ of World War II venereal disease posters
02:56 pm


World War II
Venereal Disease

A few of you may be familiar with the WWII-era poster proclaiming that “98% of all procurable women have venereal disease.” Of course, there’s absolutely no way to prove such a figure, since they didn’t have the data necessary to reach those kind of conclusions. In fact, since prostitutes were among the first to embrace safer sex technology, many public health experts actually believe soldiers were the largest transmitters. Note the happy, healthy little servicemen in the bottom corner of the final picture?

Regardless, the epidemic of syphilis at the time generated a lot of materials warning of the dangers of “procurable women,” some thinly veiled, some fairly explicit. Below is a fantastic little collection of propaganda, each piece somehow managing to make venereal disease look totally worth it. Those are some foxy working girls!
And of course, the classic…
More after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
The Holy Grail of electronica: Yello’s Boris Blank selling his original Fairlight sampler

Boris Blank with a Fairlight sampler in the mid-80s
Yello are, beyond a shadow of a doubt, one of the most influential acts in the history of electro, techno and electronica. The skillful blend of Deiter Meier’s witty vocals and Boris Blank’s avant garde-but-accessible production chops saw the duo gain critical and commercial success in the early-to-mid 80s, at a time when rock music was still king and electronic dance music was still confined to clubs. 

Well, if you’re an antique gear fetishist with a spare $13K (Aus) then YOU could relive Yello’s glory days, by simply acquiring Boris Blank’s original Fairlight sampler, a fake moustache and an even faker Swiss accent. Yes, Blank is selling his Fairlight CMI III on eBay:

Every Fairlight Computer Musical Instrument has a story behind it. Hugely expensive when new, their unique sounds and legendary user interface were used by music pioneers who changed the sound of music forever.

At a cost around $65,000 in 1985 (which could have bought you a very nice house) the list of Fairlight III owners reads like a who’s who of musical innovation of the time. Peter Gabriel, Tears for Fears, Kate Bush, Thomas Dolby, Hans Zimmer and Pet Shop Boys were owners in the UK, with many studios catering for those who didn’t own one. For a complete list take a look at:

The particular system being offered here belongs to Boris Blank, the musical part of Swiss band Yello. One could argue that during the 1980’s Yello used the Fairlight more, and more interestingly than virtually anyone else. Every hit single they had (and there were quite a few) used the Fairlight CMI extensively.

So, if you ever lusted after one of these legendary instruments, here’s a chance to acquire one with some serious street cred! 

Yello Fairlight III. Signed front panel. There will be Boris’s sounds included, as well as all the libraries listed below, in 4 x hard drives. Boris is on holiday at the moment, however his assistant has promised some more photos and goodies when he returns!

The actual Boris Blank Fairlight CMI III that is for sale

I hope those “goodies” include a signed pic, Boris. MUCH more info is available on the eBay listing page.

I LOVE Yello, to me they rate up there with Giorgio Moroder in the development and history of electronic dance music, and I’m pretty sure some of our readers feel the same. Not only were Yello fresh and unique, they had a brilliant, intelligent sense of humor that put them at odds with nearly everything else happening in music at that time.

This Fairlight really is a hugely important part of dance music’s history: some of the noises that Blank managed to squeeze out of this machine were awe inspiring, and become signature Yello (and by extension, 80s dance) sounds. Having said that, I’m sure we’re all familiar with “The Race” and “Oh Yeah,” so instead of one of those classics, here’s a bit of mind-warping Yello electronica from 1981:

Yello “The Evening’s Young”

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Discussion
List of reasons for admission to an insane asylum from the late 1800s
07:26 am



After viewing this list of what could have gotten you admitted to West Virginia’s Hospital for the Insane (Weston) aka Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum back in the late-1800s, I’ve swiftly concluded that the criteria was rather all-encompassing. Who among us is a stranger to what’s on this list?

In this century, it looks more like a “wish list” for Dr. Phil’s guest bookers!

Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is still open, but only for tours.

Sources: Appalachian History, Grateful Web, West Virginia State Archives, West Virgina Encyclopedia, Steampunk

h/t Richard Swanson!

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
Catherine the Great’s dirty, dirty furniture collection
07:41 am



Catherine the Great
Catherine the Great is one of those fascinating figures whose political power was often overshadowed by scandal. She did not, as popularly rumored, die attempting to have sex with a horse, but her real life was way more interesting. She had twelve well-known affairs, illegitimate children (no one’s totally sure which ones), and made lavish gifts to her consorts. She gave one of her boyfriends more than 1,000 indentured servants!

Cut to World War II, when a very surprised group of Soviet soldiers managed to stumble on ole’ Cathy’s special room while exploring a palace. It was packed with explicit art, wooden phalluses and some insane furniture. Instead of looting or burning the lot, the soldiers took pictures, and aren’t we grateful they did? Looking at the kinky personal effects of the rich and powerful is even better than going through their medicine cabinets! This is only some of the collection, as most of the photos and furniture have been lost or destroyed, but man… girl loved her some porn.

Definitely NSFW, unless you work at a really fun place, but since some of the most entertaining history is simply the gossip of yesteryear, consider this post educational!
Catherine's table
Catherine's chair
Catherine's second chair
Catherine the Great's snuff box
Catherine the Great’s snuff box
ViaSang Bleu

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
Hear the final (drunk) broadcast of Lord Haw-Haw, Nazi Germany’s answer to Tokyo Rose
05:26 pm


Lord Haw-Haw

A lot of folks are familiar with “Tokyo Rose,” a series of English-speaking female broadcasters who trolled Allied forces during World War 2. The idea was that American soldiers would hear the broadcasts and become demoralized, as they contained false information of Japanese victories, supposed “inside information” on unfaithful wives back home, and great music (just to keep them listening). The primary voice of Tokyo Rose, Iva Toguri D’Aquino, was actually an American taken prisoner by the Japanese when she arrived to care for a sick aunt. While she was sent to prison for treason, she was later pardoned in light of the coerced circumstances of her participation in anti-American propaganda.

Like Tokyo Rose, “Lord Haw-Haw” originally referred to quite a few English-speaking broadcasters. Eventually, however, Lord Haw-Haw just became short-hand for William Joyce, an Irish-American with the sort of aristocratic accent described by a British radio critic as “English of the haw-haw, dammit-get-out-of-my-way-variety.” Unlike D’Aquino, Joyce was politically committed to the propaganda he produced. As a teenager he was already an active fascist, and aided the Black and Tans by squealing on the IRA. By 1939, Joyce was a vehement anti-Semite and rising political figure in the British Union of Fascists (BUF) under Oswald Mosley. After receiving a tip that his political activities were about to land him in jail, he fled to Germany.

Joyce quickly became a naturalized German citizen and got involved in wartime propaganda, at first as an anonymous broadcaster, but eventually revealing his identity and becoming a major programming writer as well. The Germany Calling program was exceedingly popular among listeners in the UK (I know that sounds odd, but the announcers enabled prisoners of war to send regards to loved ones.) Like Tokyo Rose, Haw-Haw mocked the British and lied about Axis victories. Opening each show with the trademark, “Germany calling,” Joyce never met Hitler, but was awarded the War Merit Cross (First and Second Class) at the behest of Der Führer.
Lord Haw Haw
Joyce after he was captured
Below is the final broadcast of William Joyce, drunk as a skunk, recorded during the Battle of Berlin in April of 1945. What follows is a sort of epic apologia on what he perceived as Germany’s well-intentioned fascism, and an admonishment of Britain for “escalating the war.” Joyce ends with a simple “Heil Hitler and farewell.” He was captured, tried, and executed for treason soon after, though not before some disgustingly unrepentant final words:

“In death as in life, I defy the Jews who caused this last war, and I defy the power of darkness which they represent. I warn the British people against the crushing imperialism of the Soviet Union. May Britain be great once again and in the hour of the greatest danger in the West may the standard be raised from the dust, crowned with the words – “You have conquered nevertheless”. I am proud to die for my ideals and I am sorry for the sons of Britain who have died without knowing why.”

The day after this recording, the British seized the radio station. A few days later, they broadcast their own show, opening with a sly, “Germany calling.”


Part 2

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
1930s nose jobs
10:43 am



I’ve always had a mild fascination with the art of plastic surgery. I’ve never had any cosmetic plastic surgery myself, but I’ve got nothing against someone who has if it makes that person feel better about themselves. Extreme plastic surgery—Jocelyn Wildenstein-level surgical augmentation—is a whole other story, but then again, if that’s what makes her happy, who I am to say… anything?

But what I really find interesting about these “vintage” 1930s nose jobs is how well they’re done. Apparently back then, plastic surgeons were simply better. Instead of carving out the perfect little “one size fits all” Hollywood-approved button nose for everyone, the surgeons gave their patients noses that fit their faces.


Via Retronaut

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
CBGB in the raw: ‘The Blank Generation’

If you’re a regular Dangerous Minds’ reader than you most likely know how much I hate the newly-released CBGB movie. It makes Tommy Wiseau’s The Room look like Citizen Kane. Over the weekend CBGB sold a miserable $4000 worth of tickets in New York City, the one place where the movie might have had an audience. That translates to less than 300 attendees (tickets are $14).. Dire. The upside: the film will have negligible impact on the way the club is perceived by future generations. Unless, of course, it finds an audience on Netflix. There it could turn into the next Birdemic.

For a grittier and more honest view of the early days at CBGB, check out Ivan Kral and Amos Poe’s 1976 cinéma vérité, low-budget (but beautifully shot) The Blank Generation. With its post-dubbed sound and chainsaw editing, the movie doesn’t work as a strait-on, conventional documentary but it does capture some important rock and roll history, a time when rock was starting to feel dangerous again.

And for those of you who think I’ve got it in for the hacks who made the new CBGB movie, you’re right. I do. For several years in the 70s, CBGB was my church and I get upset, real fucking upset, when people piss in the holy water.

The Blank Generation

  Richard Hell
  Patti Smith Group
  The Heartbreakers
  Talking Heads
  Harry Toledo
  Tuff Darts
  Wayne County
  The Miamis
  New York Dolls
  The Shirts

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
How Superman singlehandedly thwarted the Ku Klux Klan
07:32 am

Pop Culture

Ku Klux Klan

We all know that Superman generally battles evildoers in the fictional city of Metropolis. If you watched the disappointing, overcranked Man of Steel earlier this year, you remember that his nemesis was General Zod.

It’s a little weird to learn that not all of his enemies are make-believe. There was a time when the popular Kryptonian was deployed to sideline a very real threat in the United States: namely, the Ku Klux Klan.

Our story begins with an intrepid young folklorist and activist from Florida named Stetson Kennedy. He noticed that the Klan was experiencing a resurgence—as an example, a few weeks after V-J Day, the Klan burned a 300-foot cross on the face of Stone Mountain near Atlanta (!)—one Klansman later said that the gesture was intended “to let the n*ggers know the war is over and that the Klan is back on the market.”
Superman versus the Klan
The fiercely committed Kennedy decided to infiltrate the group and expose its secrets. He was quite successful in this—for example, he learned that when a traveling Klan member wanted to find other Klansmen in an unfamiliar part of the country, he would ask for a “Mr. Ayak”—“Ayak” standing for “Are You a Klansman?” The desired response was “Yes, and I also know a Mr. Akai”—“A Klansman Am I.”

When he took his information to the local authorities, he found, much to his surprise, little inclination to act on his findings: The Klan had become powerful enough that even the police were hesitant to take action against it.

Eventually he realized that he needed a different approach. In the 1940s, Superman was a radio sensation—children all over the country were following his exploits ravenously. Kennedy decided to approach the makers of the radio serial to see if they would be interested in an epic “Superman vs. the Klan” plotline. He learned that they were interested in such a thing.
Stetson Kennedy under cover
Stetson Kennedy under cover
In a funny way, Kennedy’s needs and the needs of the Superman radio writers coincided. Superman had spent the war fighting the likes of Hitler and Hirohito, but in 1946 that was a dead letter, and they were on the lookout for fresh villains.

On June 10, 1946, a Superman plotline began bearing the title “Clan of the Fiery Cross.” The episodes were broadcast daily, so the 16th and final episode appeared on June 25. In the story, Jimmy Olsen is managing a baseball team, but when he replaces his top pitcher with a more talented newcomer, the sorehead kid who has lost his slot ends up in the clutches of the “Clan of the Fiery Cross,” who volunteer to intimidate the “insufficiently American” star pitcher with burning crosses and the like. Jimmy Olsen (of course) takes the issue to Clark Kent, and in short order the Man of Steel is taking on the men in white hoods.

Over the course of about two weeks, the shows exposed many of the KKK’s most guarded secrets, including code words and rituals. The Klan relied a great deal on an inscrutable air of menace and mystery, and the Superman serial stripped the Klan of that mystique utterly. Almost overnight, the Klan’s recruitment efforts began drying up completely.

How successful was Kennedy in his efforts to take down the Klan? In their 2005 hit book Freakonomics, Stephen J. Dubner and Steven Levitt called Kennedy “the greatest single contributor to the weakening of the Ku Klux Klan.”

There is a much bigger story here than can adequately be covered in a post like this—there’s a great deal of information out there. Stetson Kennedy seems to have been a genuinely remarkable person, and his Wikipedia page lists a lot of resources if you want to learn more. A good resource is Richard Bowers’ Superman versus the Ku Klux Klan: The True Story of How the Iconic Superhero Battled the Men of Hate.

All sixteen of the Klan-related episodes of the Superman radio serial are on YouTube, complete with innumerable advertisements for Kellogg’s PEP cereal—the first two are linked below, and you know how to find the others.
“Clan of the Fiery Cross,” episode 1 of 16 (June 10, 1946):

“Clan of the Fiery Cross,” episode 2 of 16 (June 11, 1946):


Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
‘Christianity was a hoax’ and scholar claims he has the proof
04:56 pm



Covert Messiah
To the question Was Jesus Christ a real person? American biblical scholar Joseph Atwill says, “The short answer is no.”

Oh boy! This ought to be fun.

On October 19 Atwill will present some provocative new findings in London. Atwill’s thesis is that the New Testament was written by first-century Roman aristocrats who fabricated the entire story of Jesus Christ. Per Atwill: “The Caesars committed a crime against consciousness. They reached into the minds of their subjects and planted false concepts to make them easier to control.” Atwill claims to have iron-clad proof of his claims.

Atwill’s most intriguing discovery came to him while he was studying “Wars of the Jews” by Josephus—the only surviving first-person historical account of first-century Judea—alongside the New Testament.

I started to notice a sequence of parallels between the two texts. Although it’s been recognised by Christian scholars for centuries that the prophesies of Jesus appear to be fulfilled by what Josephus wrote about in the First Jewish-Roman war, I was seeing dozens more. What seems to have eluded many scholars is that the sequence of events and locations of Jesus ministry are more or less the same as the sequence of events and locations of the military campaign of [Emperor] Titus Flavius as described by Josephus. This is clear evidence of a deliberately constructed pattern. The biography of Jesus is actually constructed, tip to stern, on prior stories, but especially on the biography of a Roman Caesar.

Here’s a promo video about Atwill and his findings:

(Thanks to Ron Kretsch!)

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
‘Food Will Win the War’: Disney’s most surreal war propaganda cartoon, 1942
07:36 am


World War II

Food will win the war
Not just a potato twice the height of the Rock of Gibralter… a sexy potato twice the height of the Rock of Gibralter

You may be familiar with Disney’s most famous World War Two propaganda, Der Fuehrer’s Face, in which Donald Duck dreams of an alternate life under Nazi rule. It’s weird, but not nearly as weird as Food Will Win the War. During both World War One and Two, the slogan, “Food will win the war,” was bandied about to both discourage food waste and encourage an increase in agricultural yields; the idea was that the U.S. needed to remain war-ready with a food surplus. In the film, however, the slogan is invoked more as a morale booster, and the result is a confusing mish-mash of messaging.

Instead of telling farmers to produce more and families to waste less, the narrator emphasizes our current glut of food, which is really counterintuitive to a message of prudence and industriousness. It’s as if the writers got so carried away with nationalist boasting, that they forgot the actual purpose of the film. Even more strangely, they demonstrate our surfeit of food by means of very strange scale comparisons.

For instance, did you know that if we had made all our wheat from 1942 into flour, we could bury every German tank in it? And if we had made it into spaghetti, we could weave from it a fashionably nationalistic sweater-vest to clothe the entire Earth! Why would you aspire to do such a thing, you ask? Why would we knit a celestial spaghetti sweater?!? Who cares! We’re America, fuck yeah!

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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