Tuesday, March 29, 2011

“Go through the lights, take the third reich”

I’ve been busy and Madonna of the Toast has not been a priority of late, but work and deadlines be damned in the name of some Hitler pareidolia! The internet has been aflutter with re-posts, re-Tweets and Facebook likes responding to Charli Dickenson’s Twitter pic of this home in Swansea, Wales. Stuck in traffic, she decided the slanted roofline bears an uncanny resemblance to Hitler. As we all know, all it takes is one random associative leap of faith, or fuhrer, and the whole world tunes in, especially when it comes to one of history’s greatest villains.

If the roof is the hairline, I guess the lintel is the mustache and the second floor windows the eyes. Hitler is deserving of many labels, but fat is not one of them, so I find the ground level windows to be distracting, as he never had jowls as far as I know. Admittedly, I am not a Hitler buff so maybe I’m wrong about this.

Poking around the various media outlets that have picked up this story, everyone seems to be taking it all in stride, with most reactions keeping it classy with clever wordplay and puns, like this WalesOnline report from which I borrowed the title of this post: “Various sites across the world are adding their own comments including one which offers these directions to the house: ‘Go through the lights, take the third reich and you’ll find it on your extreme right.’”

Of course, Hitler’s face is one of the most salient and disturbing icons of the twentieth century. A story like this reminds us of that, but plenty of ink has been dedicated to examining Hitler’s legacy, and all of that ink has resulted in a whole realm of publishing, filmmaking and art that makes money off of this image, such is the power of an icon.

My buddy Noma Bar has just created new covers for Picador editions of Don Delillo novels, including Running Dog. This is a riff on a previous illustration Bar did for an Esquire UK article about the demand for books about Hitler.

For all you diehard fans, you’ll remember that this is not the first instance of dictator pareidolia. Who can forget Lenin in the shower curtain?!?

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