It was the Aryan myth. It was born as a minor issue in comparative linguistics, grew into a full-fledged racial theory of history, and ended by almost devouring European civilization…..
Steven Heller: In fact, Hugo Boss was the designer back in the 1930s of the SS uniforms. It’s not the same Hugo Boss that exists today, it’s a totally different company. But people made these garments. They made the jewelry. They made the flags. This is all part of everyday life. These materials were so integrated into everyday life yet they had this charged symbolism….Once the crimes of the Nazis were exposed they also became representative weapons of those crimes. If one is involved in understanding the power of design the power of symbols the power of typography to alter behavior, to influence behavior which it does everyday on a corporate level, on a nonprofit level, on a benign level, on a malicious level, you have to understand what went on with the Nazi practices. Read More: http://www.bnet.com/blog/advertising-business/hitler-as-art-director-what-the-nazis-8217-style-guide-says-about-the-8220power-of-design-8221/7598
…By the turn of the century, Aryanism, like the true monster it was, was busy replicating itself. Adapting to the increasingly acrimonious political climate in Europe, it multiplied into sub-myths: Celticism, Teutonism, Nordicism, and Anglo-Saxonism, each claiming authentic Aryan descent for its own particular tribe. These new monsters began to grapple with one another, but the Aryan myth remained the supreme racial ideal. It was now part of common parlance, even among those who were never consciously racist. And we all know that a racial drama requires villains, heroes, and victims.
In the late nineteenth-century the theme of Aryan supremacy over such peoples as the black Africans bulked large among the motivations of imperialism. As white men took up their burden, Aryanism echoed the dramatic confrontation between Prospero and Caliban from Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Certain Americans also sensed the drama of the confrontation between Black and White, Vice and Virtue. The American version of the myth stressed Anglo-Saxon and Nordic supremacy over the African-American. Its most famous spokesmen were Madison Grant, who in 1916 wrote The Passing of the Great Race and Lothrop Stoddard, whose RIsing Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy appeared in 1920.
In Europe, however, the alleged enemy of the Aryan race was neither black nor yellow. Here, the villains role in the great exchatological drama of Aryan redemption was generally assigned to the Jew. Anti-Semitism, with its long history, remained a valuable political weapon in a secular age that was nevertheless wedded to myth and unreason and in search of vivid confrontations between Good and Evil.
Jonathan Glancey:All this is understandable, but even then a minefield for the unwary. One English Lads’ mag editor lost his job a few years ago when he celebrated the chic military dress sense of Field Marshall Erwin Rommel. When it comes to praising Nazi art, architecture and design, the lines are still clearly drawn, and no quarter given. Albert Speer was a lousy architect, by definition, because he was a Nazi. Leni Riefenstahl was a third-rate film-maker because she was the darling of the Third Reich. These assertions might be debatable, but no one must ever say that Speer was anything like a fine architect or Riefenstahl an impressive film-maker. Anyone making such claims will automatically be dubbed anti-Semitic, pro-Nazi and, more realistically, insensitive, or plain wrong….
To use phrases, though, like “just amazing” and “really beautiful” when referring to Nazi architecture and cinema remains, as Bryan Ferry must have known, I imagine, pretty much as soon as he opened his mouth, firmly out of court. Nazi design remains a dangerous minefield. As for Nazi art, I leave the last word to Franz Liebkind, the veteran (and happily fictional) Nazi who writes “Springtime for Hitler” in Mel Brooks’s The Producers: “Hitler, there was an artist. He could paint an entire apartment. One afternoon . . . two coats!” Best perhaps to steer well away from the “art history perspective”, and stick with the knowingly bad jokes. Read More: http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/artblog/2007/apr/18/whynaziartisadangerous a
“( Walter)Benjamin displayed two rival aspects in his utopian project. In his essay “On the Critique of Violence,” Benjamin presents the positive utopian framework of his thought. Principally, he did not reject political violence, but analyzed its status and its foundations within the pessimistic context. Accordingly, the struggle between the divine and the mythical serves as the cornerstone for the political struggle and necessarily collides with the law. The law, instead of implementing justice, represents the violence which instituted the law in the first place. However, Benjamin implicitly abandoned the naive revolutionary demand for justice, which is satisfied simply by replacing the present laws with others conceived as being more just. Such a demand appears as a mythical, violent contention, opposing the divine one.
The pessimistic dimension in Benjamin’s thought is revealed in his claim that the divine alone enables us
to speak of “justice.” Since there is no place in (secular) history for this dimension – sometimes referred to as “messianic” – his utopianism strongly suggests a transformation of the utopian project. Real change is now conceived as possible only by the overthrow of history. From this perspective, each revolutionary effort to realize utopia – with which he explicitly identifies – is revealed as a vanity of the mythic force that confronts the messianic. In contrast to Horkheimer’s and Adorno’s positive utopianism, in their early thinking, Benjamin incorporated two elements within the framework of his fundamentally pessimistic negative utopianism: the tradition of thought on redemption, and the utopian tradition.Read More: http://construct.haifa.ac.il/~ilangz/Utopia4.html