The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

who's your decorator?
Here's a strange item. A 1938 article that's complimentary of Adolf Hitler's home decorating style has stirred a hornet's nest of controversy, ranging from fair-use copyright debate to pre-war attitudes on the Nazi dictator.

The copyright issue is fairly clear-cut: The copyright holder is well within its rights to ask that the material be taken out of circulation. Whether or not posting stuff on the Web falls under "fair use" is the heart of all the wrangling over fileswapping. I did find it a howl that this British idiot doesn't realize that American laws don't apply to him:

[British revisionist historian David Irving] said he would argue that posting the material was protected under the First Amendment and the public interest.

Laws of the United Kingdom do not, however, recognize the First Amendment.

Duuuuuuuuuuh! I guess that's why they fought that little war back in the late 1700s. Apparently ignorance is making a big comeback. Oh, wait--it never left.

As far as the perception of Hitler by his contemporaries: The article in question shouldn't be a stark revelation. The demonization of Hitler came during and especially after the war, in light of the Holocaust. Prior to 1939, he may have been viewed as dangerous, but he was far from being a pariah, politically or otherwise. In fact, Time Magazine named him the Person of the Year in 1938, probably the ultimate English-language media coverage you could get in the early part of the 20th Century. So to me, the discovery of some fluff piece from Homes & Gardens doesn't mean much to me.