Thursday, July 19, 2007
FASCIST TENNIS, ANYONE?
So I'll be on honeymoon for the next month or so, but I wanted to share something with you all. In the back of a tiny, shabby thrift I saw an old tennis racket. Looked like it was from the 1950s or older, with one of those old fashion wooden clamps on it to keep it from warping. I seen tons of these, so nothing special.
But upon closer inspection I saw this odd logo. And I thought is that flying fasces? Symbol of Mussolini's Black Shirts?
Okay, so I know it's an old symbol, that goes back to Roman times, and just happened to be on the back of out dimes before they put on the torch or liberty and FDR
But as I rolled the racket over, I saw the racket's name: The Dictator.
Which is kind of bizarre, right? I mean, wouldn't that kind of like be calling a pair of running shoes today the Suicide Bombers or the Al Qaeda Terrorists?
I'm not sure of how old this racket is, but I'd guess it's pre-WWII. The racket looks pretty old (yo can see some of th string rotten away in the first pic). Would anyone in the late 40s or 50s, who lived through the recent horrors of the war buy a tennis racket that glorified fascism? Probably not.
So let's say the racket is from the mid-1930s. That makes sense, stylistically. Check out this very fascist eagle that's on exterior of Santa Barbara's downtown post office, circa 1936.
Even the bas-relief murals on the inside post office have that stylish totalitarian, glorification-of-the-worker-drone optimism about them.
Certainly this style was part of the art deco aesthetic, I get that. And by the way, that last mural with Indians attacking the pioneers highlights the racially insensitive and pretty un-PC nature of the day. But to name the racket after a militaristic crank despot? Hindsight is 20-20, but was the sales department at Wilson's so blind to the naked ambitions of Hitler and Mussolini and the host of other dictators in the 1930s that this moniker seemed innocent?
And dictators weren't even that great at sports. Assuming this racket was made after 1936, then Wilson couldn't escape the dismal showing of the "master race" when the Olympics were held in Berlin.
To me, it just goes to show depths a company will stoop to sell you a product. Witness this 1980s supermarket meat poster obvious lifted from a Nazi propaganda poster.
I couldn't really find any info on the web about Wilson's Dictator, but if someone knows more I'd sure like to here it.