[Bryan Ferry], the 61-year-old lead singer of Roxy Music, told Germany's Welt Am Sonntag newspaper last month: "The way that the Nazis staged themselves and presented themselves, my Lord!
"I'm talking about the films of Leni Riefenstahl and the buildings of Albert Speer and the mass marches and the flags—just fantastic. Really beautiful."
In a statement, Ferry said he was "deeply upset" about the negative publicity the interview triggered… Jewish leaders in Britain, some of whom had condemned Ferry's comments and questioned whether he should be dropped by the Marks & Spencer retail chain that employs him as a model, welcomed Ferry's clarification.
Ridiculous. This isn't even the Nazi metaphor-mixing I defended back in 2005. This is a totally true statement about how Nazis had excellent design sense. C'mon, does someone want to argue that Leni Riefenstahl didn't have a great sense of aesthetics?
One wrinkle in the "does praising Nazi design mean praising Nazis?" debate is the fact that today's anti-Semites and genocidalists generally have awful design sensabilities. The fearsome brownshirt of the 1930s has given way to the beer-gutted skinhead, the Hamas quasi-ninja, and the sad-sack Iranian soldier. The only people who want to learn from/rip off Nazi iconography are savvy, politically-disinterested artists and rock stars.