Last week the web was wriggling with outrage over The Disney Store Corporation offering for sale a Mickey Mouse™ T-shirt in the graphic style of Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures albumcover -- not that the iconic white-on-black waveform image (plucked from the Cambidge Encyclopedia of Astronomy by drummer Stephen Morris) was any stranger to absurd marketing schemes.
But Disney is no stranger to Nazi imagery either, having produced a series of wartime propaganda cartoons lampooning 'Der Fuhrer', in which, if we ignore the Madison Avenue voiceover sarcasm and satire, and take them from a purely visual standpoint, appear eerily pro-Hitler -- even Donald Duck gets in the sieg heil game.
Disney is not alone in being caught shilling Nazi merchandise, both Walmart and Urban Outfitters have both been scandalized for marketing clothing emblazoned with the SS Skull, a symbol which has been appropriated (quite infamously) by spiritual Joy Division torch-bearers Death in June.
Nazi-obsessed prankster musician and Death in June collaborator Boyd Rice has spent his time at Disneyland and in song above, promises to take his love there when "visiting Hell will be novel again." As one of Rice's early recordings featured loops of Lesley Gore singing the word "cry" over and over again, he synchs to Quincy Jones, Gore's producer, and New Order's American label patron, and of course, producer of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, himself no stranger to Nazi imagery (check the runes armbands):
Who makes the Nazis? The Fall's Mark E. Smith claims to know. In 1984, while visiting his wife Brix's homeland of Southern California, Mark toured Disneyland with her and, while riding The Matterhorn, experienced one of his 'pre-cog' visions, left the ride in tears, declaring it "evil." Brix took Mark on It's A Small World to calm him down, but after exiting, discovered that a woman had died on The Matterhorn just after they left. Dolly Regina Young's death would usher in a new order of safety codes for the park, implemented by new CEO Michael Eisner. The Fall would write a song about it:
Ghosts still haunt Disneyland, but the question remains ... why no "Hitler Reacts" Youtube for the Joy Division Mickey Mouse shirt? The 'Comedy Hitler' has changed over the decades from a foppishly perverted immigrant shopkeeper stereotype to the modern Youtube incarnation as a tantrum-throwing purist connoisseur. As so many of the funniest re-subtitled versions of the scene from the 2004 film Downfall have been removed or disabled on Youtube, we offer you this riff on the classic "Hitler Has Only Got One Ball" schoolboy/soldier's parody of The Bridge Over The River Kwai theme (which coincidently blasts from one of my son's toy trains):
And if there are any purists left, we leave you with a tour through New Order's greatest hits of commercial exploitation, from a Sunkist ad, to a (weirdly homoerotic and nationalist) commision for the World Cup, and an appearance on Baywatch (or at least an appreance of Baywatch on New Order.)
It's a crazy world.