love bug: motoring to joy division

Flip me the peace sign.Ferdinand Porsche was the lead designer of the most mass-produced car of all time: the Volkswagen Beetle.Its a complex story of social engineering meeting valid practicality.  There are few pop culture consumer products that can equal the sentimental nostalgia for the Beetle. On the reverse side of its counterculture, hippy-dippy peace image was a propaganda tool for the Third Reich and fascism. At the same time, the car’s predominantly female customer base does recall poet’s Sylvia Plath quote, “Not God but a swastika So black no sky could squeak through. Every woman adores a Fascist, The boot in the face, the brute Brute heart of a brute like you.”; a car with such white male patriarchal roots becoming a fetish object for the female gender, yet produced with the vision of male patriarchy.Even the new Beetle for 2012, revealingly, is being marketed in white…

---Bernhard Rieger:The Beetle successfully overcame its Nazi past to become, by the mid 1950s, the biggest selling car in Germany and a potent symbol of the West German ‘economic miracle’. However, as Dr Rieger explains, this association still had problems for the export market: “The Beetle’s National Socialist beginnings presented a major obstacle to exports to North America and Western Europe because of postwar anti-German sentiment abroad. Nevertheless, the Volkswagen captured international market shares because, given its diminutive size, low engine power, and ‘cute’ shape, the car’s harmless appearance conveyed none of the aggressiveness associated with Nazi Germany.” Read More: image:

Initially, the Beetle was accepted among America’s middle classes as a safe, reliable and economic choice,yet it evolved to, in the best American tradition, to re-invent itself, this homogenous vehicle modeled after Henry Ford’s philosophy  became adopted by the counter-culture as a symbol of non-conformism. So, despite its origins in the Third Reich, the Volkswagen became an international symbol of freedom and irreverence raises the question how and why the Beetle,  only the Beetle, allowed for this multitudinous  range of cultural aspirations.Blame it on marketing and the further refinement of the Edward Bernays school of post Freudians.  As from the 1960’s, the image acquired more power in the advertisement and it began to be tied strongly to creativity. In this way, its messages, became stronger, more original, and the approach, which in the traditional advertisement of the prior years was persuasive and aggressive, changed completely.

Walter Benjamin:Fascism attempts to organize the newly created proletarian masses without affecting the property structure which the masses strive to eliminate. Fascism sees its salvation in giving these masses not their right, but instead a chance to express themselves. The masses have a right to change property relations; Fascism seeks to give them an expression while preserving property. The logical result of Fascism is the introduction of aesthetics into political life. The violation of the masses, whom Fascism, with its Führer cult, forces to their knees, has its counterpart in the violation of an apparatus which is pressed into the production of ritual values. All efforts to render politics aesthetic culminate in one thing: war. War and war only can set a goal for mass movements on the largest scale while respecting the traditional property system. This is the political formula for the situation. The technological formula may be stated as follows: Only war makes it possible to mobilize all of today’s technical resources while maintaining the property system. Read More: image:

Bill Bernbach, founder of the  American agency Doyle, Dane & Bernbach, also known as DDB Worldwide, introduced a new concept of advertisement: he faced the emotional with the rational. The humor becomes a technique that helps the product to come closer to the consumer. The Volkswagen Beetle advertisement campaign is a clear point of reference of this technique. It deleted all the negative connotations that the American consumers could give to the product, making it almost matrimonial with its link to union, the altar and consumption.

...The new Volkswagen Beetle tops the list of cars registered more often to women than to men -- 56.1% of registrants were female, according to a TrueCar study. Across all brands, just 36% of new-car registrants were women. .... Jonathan McIntosh ( rebellious pixels):It seems to me that there are basically two types of feminist in world today. Those who are primarily concerned with how to be accepted by, and better exist within, the patriarchal order - and - those who work to dismantle that order completely and creatively build something entirely new. Sadly I think most folks (even radicals) fall into the first camp....But if you want, some of the only work in a positive direction left are happening at Z magazine with their work on Participatory Economy and Participatory Society. Unfortunately no one really takes them seriously, especially not progressives, liberals or leftists because those ideas challenge the deep seeded elitism that keeps the so-called left in the USA feeling good about itself. image:,0,5008521.photogallery

Andreas Cremer:Volkswagen AG unveiled a sportier design for the iconic Beetle Monday to woo American men and broaden the appeal of the “Love Bug” as VW aims to triple U.S. sales….The Beetle’s buyers last year were more than 60% female, the highest rate for any vehicle sold in the United States, according to automotive website VW brought back the car in 1998 to capitalize on Americans’ nostalgia for the model, which was featured in films including the Walt Disney The Love Bug comedy series as the main character, Herbie….VW last November showed a silhouette of the revamped Beetle on Oprah Winfrey’s talk show and gave 275 of the cars away to her studio audience to stoke interest in the model….Read More:


---If anything, the Beetle is perhaps one of the most misconstrued cars in history. People look at its rounded shape and anthropomorphic face and instantly think of love, peace and smoking massive quantities of pot. But, it was really designed as a tool for everyday life in the always-cheerful Third Reich. Give credit to Porsche for designing a car so impossibly cute that we forget it was built by diseased slaves in some dark, dank factory in Stuttgart, Germany. Read more: Third Reich to Fortune 500: Five Popular Brands the Nazis Gave Us |

In the 1930s, Hitler had forced all Germans to enroll in the German Labor Front, and made them pay membership dues. 10% of those dues went to a branch of the front called “Strength Through Joy,” or “Kraft dutch Freude.” The branch was in charge of recreation and sports. In Hitler’s view, that covered motoring, so funds from Strength Through Joy (KdF) were funneled to build an automobile plant….

---Born out of sinister intentions, the VW Beetle was propaganda for German socialists. Literally, the word "volkswagen" means "people's car" (cf. "folk's wagon"). When the early VW versions were introduced, Hitler abruptly changed the name of the car to KdF Wagen. KdF stood for "Kraft durch Freude" which meant "Strength through Joy." This upset Ferdinand Porsche of the automotive design company, as he was not a member of Hitler's Nazi-Sozi party, and he didn't support Hitler's use of socialist propaganda to advertise the car. Before WW II, when the car was still socialism's “Strength through Joy” car the logo was surrounded by the gear shaped emblem of the German Labor Front, a socialist group that built it. The National Socialist German Workers' Party had begun as the "German Workers' Party" before adding "National Socialist" to its name. The Volkswagen logo is alphabetical symbolism of the meshed letters "V" and "W" that exposes the swastika as intertwined "S" shapes symbolizing "Socialism" for the monstrous National Socialist German Workers' Party. It is more proof in support of discoveries by the not

istorian and symbologist Dr. Rex Curry. ----

…To raise more funds, Hitler came up with a prepayment plan. Employed Germans signed up for a car, and paid five reichmarks a week into an account. By the time the factory was operating, their car would be paid for–and they got two years’ free insurance, gas, and maintenance as well! That was the idea, anyway….

---The all-time most popular car, the Volkswagen Beetle, was not invented by Adolf Hitler but by a Jewish engineer, Josef Ganz. He designed and even built a first prototype that was ready to be taken into production. Hitler's Nazis thwarted him for so long that he had to give up, Dutch journalist Paul Schilperoord writes in a recent book, "The true story of the Beetle" (in Dutch): “In 1929, Josef Ganz started contacting German motorcycle manufacturers for collaboration to build a Volkswagen prototype. This resulted in a first prototype built at Ardie in 1930 and a second one completed at Adler in May 1931, which was nicknamed the 'Maikäfer' ('May-Beetle').”---Read More: image:

Of course, none of those savers ever saw a car. 350,000 Germans paid $67 million for nonexistant cars by 1945. Believe it or not, the money was held in a special fund that still existed at the end or the war, but according to stories, the invading Russian army looted the account.Read More: aaaaaaaa

---Hitler attended that same Berlin auto show in 1933. I have no idea if he stopped at the Standard Fahrzeugfabrik stand, but within a year Josef Ganz was arrested by the Gestapo and charged with blackmail for trying to protect his patent rights. The dispute was with Tatra, a Czech company controlled by a Volksdeutsche family. Schilperoord says he’s discovered ties between Tatra and the Gestapo. Ganz, a Jew, fled to Switzerland where he again tried to get his Volkswagen built after the war. Eventually he immigrated to Australia, where he worked for Holden and continued to invent. He died in obscurity in 1967, though you can find patents of his online at the U.S. Patent Office.---Read More:


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In the 1980s, Volkswagen, in the spirit of candor about its Nazi past, commissioned a 10-year $2 million investigation led by historian Hans Mommsen into the extent of its role in the use of wartime slave labor. Titled “Volkswagen and Its Workers During the Third Reich,” the mea culpa reveals Ferdinand Porsche was a willing, “morally indifferent” participant in Hitler’s regime. Volkswagen hired some 20,000 forced laborers, prisoners of war, and concentration camp inmates from Auschwitz, Dachau, and Bergen-Belsen…..While Volkswagen was at the bow of the forced labor effort, so was it a vanguard in restitution for those misdeeds. In 1998, under no legal obligation, Volkswagen became the first German company to voluntarily compensate workers it enslaved during the war and established a $12 million humanitarian fund in their honor. By the end of 2001, more than 2,000 recipients in 26 countries benefited from the fund…..Read More: aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Sylvia Plath:( Daddy)An engine, an engine Chuffing me off like a Jew. A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen. I began to talk like a Jew. I think I may well be a Jew. image:


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