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From a reader:

Jonah,

Thanks for a superb book.  I finished reading it a month ago and have meant to write with a few follow-on ideas ever since, with apologies if you have already discussed these on the blog or elsewhere:

1.       If you haven’t already, you should watch Metropolis, the fascinating 1927 German silent film that focuses on class struggles in a future dystopia.  There is a strong theme of organic vs. machine.  And Goebbels was a fan, for reasons that coincide exactly with your thesis.  Guess who Goebbels might have identified Dr. Rotwang with?

2.       I wondered why you didn’t have much on the similarities between fascism and progressivism/New Deal aesthetics.  In particular, several of the large New Deal buildings around DC are redolent of fascist architecture.  For example, several New Deal buildings (the GAO building and the Bureau of Engraving) look a lot like the Luftwaffe headquarters (now the Ministry of Finance) in Berlin: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bild:PICT4255.JPG

 

3.       Another example of fascist-looking architecture in DC is the FTC building, with its sculptures of musclebound laborers restraining the horses of commerce: http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/hq_building.shtm

4.       A related theme is the cult of the body.  This was common to both German fascism and the New Deal, as the book “Soldiers of Labor: Labor Service in Nazi Germany and New Deal America, 1933–1945” by Kiran Klaus Patel argues (perhaps you’ve already seen it).  Patel makes this point explicitly on page 271.  The cult of the body has continued down to the current day, with fashion photography – think Abercrombie and Fitch, Versace, etc. black and white photos – reminiscent of Nazi efforts in this area.

I hope some future edition will allow you to make your point with pictures as well as words.  Again, thanks for writing such a great book.

Regards,


Eric


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