656 - Look Who's Back
German writer Timur Vermes's 2012 bestseller is titled Er ist wieder da ('Look Who's Back'). The cover illustration leaves no doubt as to who the protagonist is: the trademark curtained hair and toothbrush moustache are enough to identify Adolf Hitler.
The Führer's hairstyle choices (among a few other idiosyncracies) made him an easy target of ridicule, except of course in Germany from 1933 and the rest of Nazi-dominated Europe until 1945. Just how much the dictator was identified with the country he led – even decades after his defeat and damnatio memoriæ, can be gleaned from this clever double map cartoon, dating from 1966.
Reflecting the deep suspicion that (West) Germany's politics had not entirely shaken off the extremist attitudes and tendencies that had permeated the culture before 1945, it shows how much Hitler's legacy still permeates the country: so much so that his face completely coincides with a map of Germany. If only you know where to look.
The cartoon actually shows two maps: the one on the left a relatively non-suspect depiction of West Germany as it appeared after the Fall of Berlin in 1945 and the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Striking details are the Berlin exclave in the east (surrounded by East Germany, the borders of which are not shown), and Bavaria, in West Germany's south: A state with a strong, separate and highly conservative identity.
By colouring Bavaria black, the innocuous map changes into a profile picture of Hitler. His eyes are represented by Berlin, and West Germany's capital at the time, Bonn. The hair curtain is represented by Schleswig-Holstein and Denmark as the parting, and apposite bits of the North and Baltic seas as the hair itself. The inner-German border gives Hitler his brow and nose, while Bavaria – probably the focus of the story behind the cartoon – provides the signature moustache under Hitler's nose.
The design is so basic, so recognisable that it could have been a cover design for the Timur Vermes book.
Unfortunately, the context of the cartoon is not alluded to. It originally appeared in the now-defunct Belgian weekly magazine De Nieuwe, but is reproduced here from Der Spiegel. Supposedly as an example of European persistence in seeing Germans as closet Nazis even more than 20 years after the war. Hence the words: Ohne Kommentar ('no comment').
This cartoon is by no means the only projection of a Hitler moustache on post-war Germans. Others examples include the Muskatnuss scene from the Louis de Funes film Le grand restaurant, and this awkward coincident during German chancellor Angela Merkel's recent visit to Israel.
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
A NASA astronomer explains how astronauts dispose of their, uh, dark matter.
- When nature calls in micro-gravity, astronauts must answer. Space agencies have developed suction-based toilets – with a camera built in to ensure all the waste is contained before "flushing".
- Yes, there have been floaters in space. The early days of space exploration were a learning curve!
- Amazingly, you don't need gravity to digest food. Peristalsis, the process by which your throat and intestines squeeze themselves, actually moves food and water through your digestive system without gravity at all.
She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.
- For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
- These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
- Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.
- The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
- Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
- Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.