Degenerate Fonts

Crooked Timber does us all a service by praising the stripped-down modernism of Barack Obama’s Berlin speech poster and informing us of yet another victim of Nazism — the Futura font:

After the Nazi’s rise to power in 1933, however, when the Dessau Bauhaus was closed (the school had moved from its original home in Weimar in 1925), it was forbidden to use modern design or sans-serif typefaces such as Futura, which Goebbels called a “Jewish invention.” Rigid, central balanced composition returned and traditional (and often illegible) Fraktur type was touted as symbolic of the glories of the nation.

The Messiah’s Tough Love


I will indeed be going to Berlin tomorrow to hear “The Messiah” deliver some “tough love” to Europe (in the words of one online acquaintance of mine). I will try to post about the experience as time and internet access permit, but I’m sure you’ll be hearing about it from plenty of other sources as well.

‘Fleshy Trash’ (File Under German Thoroughness)

An eerily chirpy exchange between cannibal and victim:

cator99: So I’m the first? You have eaten human flesh before, or you haven’t?

antrophagus: No, you don’t exactly find it in the supermarket, unfortunately

antrophagus: After you’re dead, I’ll take you out and expertly carve you up. Except for a pair of knees and some fleshy trash (skin, cartilage, tendons), there won’t be much of you left

cator99: There will be a good bit, like the knees, I hope you have a good hiding place for them

antrophagus: I’ll dry out the knees and grind them up soon after

cator99: Okay, they’re good as fertilizer, I heard that once. I see you’ve thought about it.

My verdict: Todesbejahend!*

* ‘Death-affirming’

Cubic Nation

I biked past this town last weekend:


"In their spatial orientation, a perfect example of clarity can be seen in the fences, gates, and walls that surround all German houses and yards. These fences clearly and exactly mark the boundaries between the different properties and serve as a protective wall, limiting entry from outside. Lawns and yards without clear boundaries, which inexactly blend into one another, like those found in many American towns and suburbs, are too ambiguous for Germans. They believe instead that Robert Frost’s ‘Good fences make good neighbors’* is actually more German than American. Given the limited space and high population density in Germany, this attitude makes sense."

— Greg Nees, Germany: Unraveling an Enigma, p. 47.  The book’s balanced and insightful, by the way.

* You Amerikanisten out there will know this, but I’d like to point out that Frost, of course, mocked the saying "good fences make good neighbors" in Mending Wall:

‘Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it
Where there are cows?
But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.’