No Entartete Kunst Around Here!

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New at Reason: For your weekend reading pleasure, Jesse Walker dons his best Mao jacket and salutes great totalitarian art.

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  1. I do actually own a Mao jacket, adorned with some Mao pins given to me by a former Red Guard. It doesn’t fit me anymore, but it made a great Halloween costume back in the day.

  2. …despite the fact that the Japanese probably killed more people than the Nazis.

  3. I’d point out, by the way, that Fremont (where the Lenin statue sits in Seattle) is the kind of hard-left artsy town where Lenin’s presence is probably not just politically innocent irony — at least for some of the residents.

  4. In some cases, probably. But virtually everything in Fremont is meant ironically. Remember when they seceded?

  5. “Why don’t we react the same way to Nazi art?”

    The odd thing is, judged by aesthetic standards alone, Nazi art is far better than Soviet Realism. The commies didn’t have a Leni Riefenstahl. Of course, maybe that’s part of the answer. Soviet art can more easily be seen as kitsch.

  6. Soviet and Japanese crimes are much less well known than their Nazi equivalents. I do think that sympathy with the Soviets plays a major part.

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