Posts tagged “hitler”

Hitler’s Final Days

Hitler Cafe
Originally uploaded by Poagao.

This MetaFilter thread has lots of the needed jokes but also many other examples in the US and elsewhere of dictator kitsch, or at least questionable political (in)sensitivity in the naming of restaurants.

And today we learn they are going to change the name of the restaurant.

I’m still facinated by the different cultural norms this exposed. In the West we’ve been laughing in confused outrage over how some cartoons could upset Muslins. But the paper yesterday had a quote from a student who said basically “Hitler was a bad man, but that doesn’t mean I can’t eat the food here.” It’s ludicrous until you stop for a minute – the connection we draw between eating at a place named after Hitler and belief or support for his actions is not necessarily a universal one. Any more than cartoon images in a Danish newspaper are understandably offensive to us.

Dictator Kitsch

John comments (I’m sorry – I can’t call you Niblettes and keep a straight face) about the Hitler restaurant and refers to “dictator kitsch” citing Che and Mao. Very good point.

Here’s a booth selling caricatures that we saw earlier this year in Hong Kong. It’s Osama, and Hitler.

Also in Hong Kong, we visited Gods of Desire as I described in this piece for Core77.

It’s a wonderful example of local design for local culture. GOD is a lifestyle store not unlike IKEA, selling a broad range of products for the home–furniture, linens, kitchenware, accessories, and the like. But many of the products take local Hong Kong culture and turn it into an icon of consumption. For example, there are t-shirts that offer nonsensical English slogans that are phonetically similar to an offensive Chinese phrase. For example: “Delay No More”–innocuous in English, but its Cantonese homonym is a crass and foul insult involving one’s mother. There are graphic prints of Hong Kong newspaper collages, or of Yaumati (the iconic building frontage from a Hong Kong neighborhood), both ubiquitously applied to notebooks, flip-flops, bags, aprons, boxer shorts, and beyond. Even Mao, a significant symbol of Hong Kong/Chinese history, appears as an ironic icon, co-opted and reclaimed for the culture of the current generation.

So while the Hitler thing in Mumbai is pretty hard to understand, I’m on board with John in terms of the precedents out there already.

With a name like “Death Camp” it’s got to be good

A new restaurant in Mumbai is called “Hitler’s Cross.”

A huge portrait of a stern-looking Fuhrer greets visitors at the door. The cross in the restaurant’s name refers to the swastika [originally a Hindu icon – SP] that symbolized the Nazi regime.

“This place is not about wars or crimes, but where people come to relax and enjoy a meal,” said restaurant manager Fatima Kabani.

Now that is some serious PR spin! All you need is “our consumers tell us that…” and it’d be in the top 10 of all time.

It reads like a marketing class exercise (or dare), doesn’t it? Find some way to take the most negative thing imaginable and productize it or present it as a benefit or a brand.


About Steve