‘Danza Macabra Europea’ number 23 by Italian artist Alberto Martini.
Alberto Martini was a prolific Italian active during the late 1800s and a good portion of the 1900s who dabbled in many disciplines including painting, illustration, engraving and graphic design. During WWI Martini was enlisted to create a series of postcards called the “Danza Macabra Europea” that were used as propaganda, grotesquely lampooning figures such as German Kaiser and king of Prussia Wilhelm II as well as members of the Austro-Hungarian empire such as the Emperor of Austria Franz Josef.
Martini’s cards are absolutely horrific, filled with depictions of dismemberment, cannibalism and executions. Sometimes the Germans in Martini’s propaganda cards are pantless or appear to take on feminine forms. Copies of 54 lithographs of the Danza Macabra produced during 1914 and 1916 were widely distributed to Allied forces fighting against the rising Austro-Hungarian empire. According to cultural historians familiar with Martini’s work for “Danza Macabra Europa” the artist’s goal was to show the “horror” of war by using barbaric symbolism such as portraying the neutral country of Belgium as a child whose hands have been severed off at the wrist.
Most of the approximately 450,000 prints of Martini’s exquisitely grim postcards, captioned in both Italian and French, were sent to those fighting on the front lines of the war to help create a clear understanding of the horrific atrocities being committed against soldiers and civilians. Many consider Martini’s work a precursor to the surrealist movement. I’ve included many images of the 54 lithographs done by Martini in this post—all of which are absolutely NSFW.
Despite legitimately heartening developments like the legalization of same-sex marriage, it gets easier every day to arrive at the cynical conclusion that social progress in the United States just might be impossible because the troglodytes have at last reached critical mass. Look at something as fundamental to democracy as the vote: since the Supreme Court’s shocking 2013 evisceration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, new onerous and racially-applied voter suppression laws are being trail-ballooned to take the place of long-outlawed tactics like poll taxes and literacy tests, all to ensure that African Americans can’t vote in significant enough numbers to topple white hegemony. And if people of color are excluded from the voter rolls, they can’t serve as jurors, ensuring not just the continuation but the strengthening of our nation’s enduring tradition of judicial outcomes that are skewed dramatically against non-whites.
(Before some “Party of Lincoln” troll points it out: yes, the Republicans used to be the somewhat less racist major party. That changed in 1964 and it’s been the party of white bigotry ever since. You’ve had 52 years to figure that out, and if you haven’t yet, you need to permanently shut your wronghole.)
The long and the short of all this is that if things continue going south (seewhatididthere) America might experience another Selma.
There’s a good reason that Selma, AL became a significant locus in the Civil Rights Movement, especially as regards voting rights. Selma in the early ‘60s was half black, but only 1% of black citizens were registered to vote. It’s not that they were disinterested. Besides the literacy test, Klan violence and other extra-legal disincentives to registration were widespread, and the registration office was only open two days a month, at difficult hours. By 1964, when serious voter drives were happening in black communities, a judge actually enjoined against organizing. The official nationwide desegregation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did little for voting rights, so activists organized a march from Selma to Alabama’s capital city of Montgomery. That march took place on Sunday, March 7th, 1965, and due to the unhinged brutality of the attacks on demonstrators by state troopers and county deputies, all basically acting under the aegis of the notorious segregationist Governor George Wallace, that day is forever known as Bloody Sunday.
Two weeks later, on Sunday the 21st, the march was attempted again. This time, the National Guard protected the marchers from violence by county and state authorities (and enthusiastic amateurs). About 3,000 people started the march in Selma—many of whom had traveled from around the country, shocked by the images of Bloody Sunday they’d seen in the news. By the time the marchers arrived safely in Montgomery, the demonstration’s population approached 25,000. The Voting Rights Act passed and was signed by President Lyndon Johnson later that year. And every hero who shed blood in the name of equality on Bloody Sunday was spat on by the SCOTUS in 2013 when they rendered that law utterly toothless.
To tie that history to contemporary perspectives on voting rights in America, documentary filmmaker Brian Jenkins, previously known for the vinyl-freak ode Records Collecting Dust (which you’ve perhaps read about on this very blog), has made Answering the Call. Jenkins’ uncle John Witeck was among those who heeded Dr. King’s plea for support in March of 1965; he marched on the so-called “Turnaround Tuesday” march on the 9th, and remained in Selma for other protests leading up to the final march to Montgomery, an experience which wound up catalyzing a lifetime’s work for social progress. For Answering the Call, he returned to Alabama with his nephew and a camera crew.
The doc doesn’t just trace the history of black disenfranchisement, it’s engaged in the now. With a racially-charged (to say the LEAST) presidential election fast approaching, the issue has reached new heights of urgency, and it’s amazing to hear the Secretary of State of Alabama letting NASTY racist dog-whistles fly so freely while discussing the franchise. I’m perpetually, existentially disheartened that we still have to be struggling over the exact same shit after half a century—Alabama’s Constitution remains loaded with segregationist provisions. They’re currently unenforceable thanks to federal laws that supersede them, but given the right SCOTUS, that could change shockingly quickly.
Asked for a statement on the film, director Jenkins responded to Dangerous Minds in an email exchange:
Only 60% of eligible voters in the United States will turn out on election day for a presidential election (even less for midterm and primary elections). I’m sympathetic to the 40% who choose not to participate but I’d like to pose the question, “If voting doesn’t matter, then why is the Republican Party working so hard to keep us from the polls?” Whether it’s gerrymandering, voter ID laws, eliminating early voting and same day registration, or switching up polling locations at the last minute, the GOP has made access to the polls a primary target and priority since the election of Barack Obama.
I had the chance to sit down with Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill and discuss the controversy surrounding the state’s voter ID law and it’s recent decision to close 31 DMV locations across the state—which made it even more difficult to register and vote in Alabama. Voting is a right guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. So to hear a Secretary of State refer to this right as a “privilege” is deeply troubling and wrong.
An issue of ‘Frauen Warte’ a Nazi magazine marketed to women, 1940.
Frauen Warte (or “Women’s Worth” at least when translated using Google) was a women’s interest magazine put out by the Nazi party starting in 1935. Published twice a week Frauen Warte was full of recommendations and “advice” on how to properly raise children so they would be strong enough to “defend their fatherland with their lives,” how to clean and maintain their homes, and fashion advice that fell within the Führer’s tastes of respectability. Frauen-Warte even went so far as to include specific sewing patterns for clothing for women to make for themselves and their children. In more than one issue during the magazine’s run, a school set up by the Nazi party called the Reich Brides’ and Housewives’ School in Husbäke in Oldenburg was discussed in great, rather enthusiastic and misogynistic detail.
A page from ‘Frauen Warte’ detailing the activities at the Brides’ and Housewives’ School in Husbäke in Oldenburg.
Brides and aspiring housewives (according to Nazi doctrine a woman’s place was to get married, have children and care for their family) would attend the school for a period of six weeks during which they would learn various skills to help them succeed as they embark on their “careers” as housewives, such as cooking, sewing, how to properly decorate their homes, creating and maintaining a household budget, and of course, how keeping their hardworking German men “comfortable” when they comes home from work. During this time women were also told to adhere to the following guidelines in order to ensure they would emulate the “ideal” German woman:
Women should not work for a living
Women should not wear trousers
Women should not wear makeup
Women should not wear high-heeled shoes
Women should not dye or perm their hair
Various articles in the propaganda masquerading as a magazine included such topics as “The Expert Housewife of Today,” the bleak sounding “Ready to Die, Ready to Live” (whose focus was to encourage women to propagate even during wartime), and “Strength from Love and Faith” that stated that all Hitler really wanted for his birthday was for his followers (in this case specifically women) to work hard. To reinforce Hitler’s feelings about the role of women, the failed painter and leader of the Third Reich even wrote for the rag about the importance of a woman’s role when it to the advancement of the Nazi’s quest for global domination.
What a man proves through heroic courage, the woman proves in eternal patient suffering. Each child that she brings into the world is a battle she fights for the existence or nonexistence of her people.
This feel-good article finishes up with a passage seemingly straight from Satan’s own playbook requesting that anyone reading the magazine (which had a circulation of 1.9 million readers by 1939) follow Hitler “on this path through the raging fire of war.” Which as we know was what the Germans figuratively and quite literally did. A large volume of detail including covers of the magazine, numerous articles and photos from the magazine (which you can see in this post) have been cataloged by Randall Bytwerk, a Professor Emeritus of Communication Arts and Sciences Calvin College in Michigan in the German Propaganda Archive hosted by Calvin College’s website. Issues of Frauen Warte published between the years 1941 and 1945 (which put out its last issue shortly before the Nazi’s unconditionally surrendered in France in May that same year) can be seen over at The University of Heidelberg website. If this is of interest to those of you that collect these kinds of artifacts copies of Frauen Warte are fairly easy to come by online.
More good housekeeping tips from the Nazis, after the jump…
Right this moment, I really wish I spoke Russian, the better to understand this 1964 commercial that turned up yesterday on the wonderful Soviet Visuals Twitter feed.
Perhaps calling it a “commercial” is a misnomer—Soviet agriculture was mostly organized into a system of collective and state farms, so commerce wasn’t the objective here—there was no brand competition. The context for this ad was a big push for corn that Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev had undertaken in the mid-‘50s. Corn was never important to Soviet agriculture, but Khrushchev valued it as livestock feed.
”Corn—The Source of Abundance,” 1959
Corn’s failure in the USSR was one of the factors that weakened Khrushchev (the Cuban Missile Crisis was a much bigger one) and allowed for the more conservative Leonid Brezhnev to successfully conspire to depose him, but while that’s interesting, it’s not singing corn interesting. This ad is great fun, and about the only thing that could have improved it would be if it had starred Eduard “Mr. Trololo” Khil. It features animated ears and cans of corn, seemingly petitioning a singing chef to cook them. We’re then treated to a panoply of corn dishes. It’s supposed to demonstrate the grain’s culinary versatility, but every meal looks sufficiently unappetizing to have been culled from The Gallery of Regrettable Food. And I particularly love the overwrought fake smile on the woman near the ad’s end who’s eating corn on the cob as though for the first time ever in her life.
I’ve been waiting for this primo item of Desert Storm-abilia to turn up on YouTube for years, and Lord knows I have waited patiently; for as the Good Book reminds us, “the race is not to the swift” (Ecclesiastes 9:11), and some of these fuckers are anything but swift.
Back in ‘91, Jerry Martin (a/k/a Jerry Buckner) rode the tide of blood unleashed by the first Gulf War all the way to #71 on Billboard’s country chart. I’m still struggling to understand how this epistolary spoken word release qualified as a country song, but I’m going to bet it had something to do with the kinds of radio stations that played it and the obscure regions of our nation to which their signals penetrated. A cassingle issued in a plain gray sleeve, Martin’s “Letter to Saddam Hussein” had little in common with Jello Biafra’s contemporary Gulf War cassingle, “Die for Oil, Sucker,” which pointed out that we might not be fighting for the noblest of causes.
Martin left that kind of thinking to eggheads, Poindexters and Philadelphia lawyers. On his cassingle, he allowed as how he didn’t know much of anything, because being so ordinary, regular and real didn’t leave a lot of time for studies. But there was one thing he did know: our pride would be Saddam’s shame.
I mentioned that Jerry Martin was the pseudonym of Jerry Buckner. Now, I can’t be sure this is theJerry Buckner of “Pac Man Fever” fame, but I do wonder how many vocal talents named Jerry Buckner might plausibly reside in the Atlanta area. To whom was Saddam supposed to address his reply? Whatever, I bet the dictator thought twice about showing his face down south after this tape came out. Cut way down on his trips to Georgia.
Now a quarter-century old—its sleeve no longer the shiny gray I remember from my Sam Goody youth, but the dull gray I see in my Sam Elliott beard—this curiosity fetches outrageous prices on Amazon. I can’t imagine why. I hope it’s because there are a lot of Big Lebowski and Nevermind fans researching the beginnings of American history’s most bogus journey.
Without spoiling the dramatic ending of “Letter to Saddam Hussein,” I can tell you that we kept its promise. Our boys showed Saddam who was boss, thereby transforming the entire Fertile Crescent into a fiery whirlwind of widows’ blood and children’s limbs. Now our boys will be there showing Saddam who’s boss forever!
An unidentified Bible-thumping halfwit and her—get this—twelve children shot cell phone footage of their cringey two-minute dumdum hate parade through a Target store and it’s starting to go viral. The family probably posted it to Facebook themselves (clearly one of her minions held the phone that shot it) but it made its way to YouTube. I could find next to no information about this. There’s not even any information about the location of the Target store or anything else. What you see is what you get.
And what you get is a breathtaking display of idiocy, bigotry and I’m guessing more than a ladleful of severe mental illness. Obviously she is a “Christian” and how much do you wanna bet that she is also a Republican voter? (The GOP wants to curtail voting access for blacks, but this pathological freak is okay with a ballot? And no doubt a gun to protect her family against homos and that Obama, too? Right...)
So what’s going on here is that this… perturbed and disturbed woman is apparently angry that Target allows transgender customers to use bathrooms and changing rooms that correspond to their gender identity, so she brought along her… brood (How much do you wanna bet that they are homeschooled, huh?) and traipsed through a Target whilst hoisting a Bible and annoying everyone in the store who is not one of her blood relatives who she also happened to give birth to.
Maybe the Westboro Baptist Church has some competition? Meet the hateful new Christian kids on the block!
“Attention Target customers… Do not be deceived, Target would have you believe with their Mother’s Day displays that they love mothers and children. This is a deception. This is not love, and they’ve proven it by opening their bathrooms to perverted men. I’m a mother of 12 and I’m very disgusted by this wicked practice.”
Hey look, I’m disgusted by this fucking walking, shouting imbecile factory who feels entitled to bring twelve more genetically deficient morons into the world, yet I’m not inclined to wear such a statement on a sandwich board and walk around like a weirdo outside of this lady’s church. When you’re a Christian in America, though, you don’t need an excuse to wear your hatred (and IQ) so proudly. It’s your birthright!
“Mothers get your children out of this store. Mothers have enough decency to get out of this store, it’s a dangerous place… What Target has done is very hateful. It’s hateful towards families. It’s hateful towards mothers. It’s hateful towards children… Are you gonna let the devil rape your children?”
I thought that was the job of the clergy?
All in all though, as this video makes the rounds today, you have to give this head-shakingly ridiculous woman credit for all of the minds she changed with her goofy self-righteous God-bothering tirade. Not the way she intended to change them, but still. Bless.
It should be noted that the use here of the term “Nazi Skinhead” is my own broad-brushstroke, informed by being at numerous ‘80s punk shows ruined by “White Nationalist Skinheads”—sometimes at the wrong end of a Doc Marten. This is not a term used by the authors of The White Nationalist Skinhead Movement to describe their subject. Having just admitted my own bias on the topic of “Nazi Skinheads,” let me add that as a student of the history of youth subcultures and countercultures, I am endlessly fascinated, as a topic of study, by the Skinhead movement and its extreme right-wing offshoots.
When I first heard that Feral House was publishing the definitive guide to Nazi Skinhead history, my curiosity was piqued because I was fairly certain they would get it right. Feral House’s Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal is the go-to reference on the Satanic fascist Black Metal scene and is an absolutely compelling read. I was hoping for a similarly riveting examination of the White Power Skinhead scene.
Before going into where the book succeeds and fails, I feel the need to point out that the title, The White Nationalist Skinhead Movement: UK & USA, 1979 - 1993, may be a bit misleading. The book is more specifically a history of the “Rock Against Communism” (or RAC) music scene than an overview of Nationalist Skinheads as a political counterculture. Indeed, the original (more appropriate) title of an earlier self-published version of the book was When the Storm Breaks: Rock Against Communism 1979-1993.
It should also be noted that the majority of the enormous 610 page book is devoted to the British RAC scene. Only about 60 pages at the end of the book discuss the American RAC bands, and seems to be an added afterthought compared to the extremely well-researched history of the UK bands such as Skrewdriver, and Brutal Attack and their ilk. Actually “well-researched” is kind of an understatement. And that leads me to the pros and cons of The White Nationalist Skinhead Movement —which are mostly one in the same.
When an author goes about compiling information for the definitive history of a subject—particularly a subject they may have an affinity for—they are forced to decide between paring that knowledge down to a narrative which would make for a fascinating read to the novice, or sharing every shred for the like-minded obsessive seeking an authoritative reference. Authors Robert Forbes & Eddie Stampton took the latter route here. The wealth of information culled from interviews and historical records (mostly fanzines, naturally), would be a boon to those already immersed in the White Power music culture—not simply your basic Nazi Skinhead, but your Nazi Skinhead music über-nerd. If you are a member of this small target-audience, then you will likely find no fault with this weighty tome. If you happen to be taking all of this in as someone with a passing interest in the history of the Oi! music scene and its racist offshoots, then you are likely to become bored with plowing through the minutae of every RAC gig and band-member change. Because it’s ALL in there. I’ll be honest, this book was a struggle for me to make it through—simply because it was just TOO MUCH. Sure, it’s fascinating to see how the popularity of a group like Skrewdriver unfolded from their beginnings as an “apolitical” punk band, through line-up changes, to finally finding a rabid audience among White Power Nationalists; but entire portions of interviews with scenesters are reprinted describing “what it was like the first time I saw Skrewdriver,” when one or two pull quotes would have sufficed. The whole premise is bogged down under the weight of trying to include EVERYTHING.
The authors seem close to their subject matter. One of them perhaps too close for comfort, if you are the sort of person who is a stickler about giving your money to those who hold opposing ideologies to your own. According to this review of When the Storm Breaks, “Eddie Stampton is involved with the Nationalist movement, Robert Forbes writes from a neutral position, intrigued by the subject but not involved in the dogma.”
The end of the book contains the following disclaimer:
The political views expressed in this book may or may not necessarily be those of the authors. No hatred is aimed at any people or races mentioned within, however, for realism when relating to certain events or situations, the authors feel some quotes from others will need be entered into the text to make the mood or feelings of those at said events or situations as true as possible. The authors must stress their own aversion to any acts of hatred or violence towards others. This book is a historical commentary, nothing more and nothing less.
At the same time, the front of the book contains a “Rest in Peace” dedication to notable Nazi Skinheads, including Clive Sharp of No Remorse, Ian Stuart of Skrewdriver, and Nicky Crane (famously violent Skinhead who later came “out” as homosexual). Some may be bothered by the inclusion of such a dedication, while others will overlook it in the interest of having an authentic insight.
A screenshot from the Facebook page “Spell Check a Racist”
I feel like it is safe to assume that you have perhaps come across commentary on posts in your social media news feed that defy all logical explanation. Racists who preface their statements with “I’m not a racist, but…” or perhaps a comment that contains the same high level of fear mongering crazy that is currently running rampant within the GOP. To say nothing of the usual poor spelling and grammatical issues that generally go hand and hand when it comes to people with strong xenophobic or right-wing Christian tendencies.
The obligatory “I’m not a racist, ask my black friends” post
One of the more popular racist approaches to dealing with people of other races, the “Kill ‘em All”
“Spell Check a Racist” is a UK-based Facebook page that does a pretty damn good job epically trolling folks who have no problem making heinous, hateful remarks in social media, while having no regard for literacy. The members of “Spell Check a Racist” craft a (mostly) polite, helpful response to the post, offering corrections to the sometimes horrific grammar and punctuation mistakes, then call out their racist remarks. One of my favorite discoveries on “Spell Check a Racist” was my introduction to my two new BFF insult words: “hoofwanking bunglecunt.” Bless you UK, bless you. I plan on using that one a lot in 2016.
Of course being hateful of all things that don’t look like you is a fairly time-consuming pursuit, so I can sort of understand how things like good grammar tend to fall by the wayside because you’re so fucking angry about the “muslins” or other immigrants and the “plaque” they are bringing into your country. I’ve included a few fantastic posts from “Spell Check a Racist” that will make you ponder how these short-fingered vulgarians were able to smash away at a keyboard and hit “post” without considering the gravity of what they are saying, and the fantastic corrective responses will restore your faith in at least some of the humans that inhabit this earth. The screenshots that follow are as hilarious as they are somewhat NSFW.
Knocking Pixar’s Inside Out from the top-spot, the number one German box-office draw is currently Look Who’s Back, a comedy about Hitler waking up in modern Germany, and his disgust with modern media, technology, politics, and cultural norms.
The film, based on the international best-selling book by Timur Vermes of the same name, follows the awoken Nazi leader as modern Germans assume he is a prankster and make him a YouTube sensation. Thorough his new-found fame he is able to go back into politics.
Director David Wnednt’s adaptation for the screen takes the basic premise of the book’s plot but adds in Borat-esque footage of actor Oliver Masucci, in character as Hitler, on the streets interacting with real Germans.
Masucci, speaking to The Guardian, described filming these scenes:
It was incredible, I was suddenly the attraction, like a popstar. People clustered around me. One told me she loved me, and asked me to hug her. One, to my relief, started hitting me. There was also a black woman who said I scared her.
Germans should be able to laugh at Hitler, rather than viewing him as monster because that relieves him of responsibility for his deeds and diverts attention from his guilt for the Holocaust. But it should be the type of laugh that catches in your throat and you’re almost ashamed when you realize what you’re doing.
The film includes recent real-life footage of demonstrators holding anti-refugee signs—making the presence of its lead character all the more timely, though the country’s Nazi past remains a touchy subject among Germans. Display of the swastika and other Nazi symbols are still outlawed in Germany.
There is currently no word on a European or American release of the film, but based on the strength of its German box-office presence, one would assume a wider release would not be far off.
Dick Cheney as the devil tattoo (with the Microsoft “Zune” symbol showing through his head. This tattoo belongs to this guy).
I’ve really got a pretty sweet treasure trove of eye candy for you today here on DM. In my downtime, I have to admit one of my guilty pleasures is perusing the Internet for images of tattoo art. As much as I love how getting inked has been elevated to a high art form over the past few decades or so, I’m also a sucker for the folks that end up with terrible renditions of Looney Tunes characters or message tattoos with forever typos like “no regerts.”
Former Prime Minister of the UK, Margaret Thatcher as an ice cream cone tattoo
Some of my favorite tattoo whoopsies are of the ever popular Chinese fonts that are picked at random from a tattoo flash book by an unwitting client. I’ve had many a good Simpsons-flavored “HA-HA’s” seeing someone who was under the impression that the cute symbol on their arm said “friendship.” However, when translated properly actually advertises that you are “bad looking, ugly or unclean.” Ah, linguistics. Live it, love it, and for fuck’s sake learn it before you get a tattoo involving words.
Saddam Hussein portrait tattoo. Ironically, during his reign, Hussein was known to imprison tattooed Iraqis as he believed tattoos were an “imitation” of western culture
In many cases, I was not surprised when I Googled a particular despots name along with the word “tattoo” and found not one, but many different varieties of ink-jobs that ran the gamut from A+ for execution to F for why???. Of course, it makes perfect sense that a former Soviet Army soldier might be sporting a Stalin tattoo on his back. Gulag prisoners from the past would also get the portraits of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin, and Joseph Stalin tattooed on their chests in the hope it would protect them from firing squads.
But why would anyone ever put a tattoo of Dick Cheney on their body? Is it an accurate depiction of Mr. Cheney? Sure. But it’s also a strong chick repellant (and people in general repellant for that matter). Despots, dopes and Dicks may come and go, but tattoos are (almost always) forever.
Heinrich Himmler, Sarah Palin, the Ayatollah Khomeini and more fun tattoos after the jump…