Thursday, 12 December 2013

Who buys a bronze bust of Hitler?

I subscribe to an auction amalgamation service that generally gives me pleasure in placing small bids for unwanted and orphan lots under £50. One valued win had a bundle of three long-handled shoe horns, a walking stick with a missing ferrule and a pair of 16" salad servers inscribed 'Teignmouth" all for £8. Recently, amongst the low-priced lots was a piece simply described as 'A bronze bust of Adolf Hitler', and so it was. About 8" high, a little desk-bust looking uncannily like Norman Wisdom, but with the unmistakable 'tache and hair-lick. Who the hell would buy a bust of this monster, I thought - then chided myself that the same question could be asked about a revolting pair of souvenir salad servers.

The answer, it would appear, is Germans. The monster bust, that is. I don't know how they feel about salad servers. Apparently they still don't trust themselves with any exposure to National Socialism for fear that the nation will rise en masse and walk into Poland. Bavaria holds the copyright to Mein Kampf and under Euro rules after 70 years, in 2015, it will be out of copyright. Bavarian scholars have long been working on a new edition, with footnotes, and all with official State approval, ready to publish the year after next. But now, Bayern has cold feet and has announced that Hitler's turgid and semi-literate ranting will remain banned for fear it may inflame old pro-NS feelings in the State. 

I've opened the text of MK on Gutenberg. You can buy an English edition on Amazon - there's probably even a Kindle version for those into 3G fascism. To be frank, to get beyond page 3 you need to be the kind of person who has read the whole of Kim Il Sung's 8-volume autobiography (first volume online HERE). Hitler may have scored top marks for spittle-flinging, ranting, foaming at the mouth and incredibly camp hand gestures, but he couldn't write for figs. Reading him is like being trapped in a lift with a paranoid-schizo London cab driver with Tourettes. It's such risible rubbish that you'd have thought even the Germans could see through it - but no, they're still scared.

The Austrians if anything are even more paranoid. Their Verbotsgesetz 1947 law means it's not even safe to say that Hugo Boss designed some smart kit for the schwul nazis that would not be out of place in a London gay leather club today, but nationalism, xenophobic populism, and authoritarianism that makes no reference to the Hakenkreuz is fine. In Austria even possessing a copy of Mein Kampf is a crime unless it's kept under dual locks and only read by naked persons sitting in an immersion ice-bath under psychiatric supervision. Unless, of course, they have computers connected to the internet. 


Anonymous said...

Bronze busts of rogue leaders and national socialists eh? Take a walk through our very own House of Commons and I think you may see a few, like Blair and Brown for example.

And who would pay for them?

Well that's you 'n me innit.

Coney Island

Span Ows said...

I hope you enjoyed writing that Raedwald because I certainly enjoyed reading it: 2nd half of penultimate paragraph onward had me laughing my head coin a phrase.

Edward Spalton said...

Just reminded me of a family story.
My aunt Mary was an art teacher and therefore allowed to be a little eccentric . She lived in a Victorian terrace in Bridgwater. My father went to visit and had been told the door would be unlocked.

He walked in and there in the hall was a large bust of Mussolini.
" MARY! WHEREVER DID YOU GET THIS AWFUL OBJECT? " he asked in stentorian tones

Then realised he was in the wrong house.
He beat a swift retreat