Monday, July 26, 2010

Anti-American Art: Godwin's Law?

Poster from the Cuban OCLAE, Organización Continental Latinoamericana y Caribeña de Estudiantes, or Student Organization of Continental Latin America and the Caribbean, ca. 1973, showing a new playing card, the King of Swastikas: rightside up it's Hitler, flipped around it's U.S. President Nixon. OCLAE was founded in Cuba in 1966, and engaged early on in solidarity activities with the Vietnamese then defending themselves from American attack. One of its early leaders, a young Puerto Rican named Jose Rafael Varona, was killed by a US air raid while on a solidarity mission to Vietnam. Thus OCLAE reserved special venom for Republic President Nixon, who escalated the war that had been started by his Democratic predecessors Kennedy and Johnson.

Godwin's Law refers to the notion, according to Wikipedia, that "given enough time, all discussions —regardless of topic or scope —inevitably wind up being about Hitler and the Nazis....[and] that overuse of Nazi and Hitler comparisons should be avoided, because it robs the valid comparisons of their impact."

Given the scope of U.S. violence against Vietnam, I'm not sure that comparing Nixon to Hitler is particularly hyperbolic.

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