06 September 2017

Guest Post - Lefax 1924 – The Dark Side By gmax

This post continues our look at the first issue of Lefax Pocket Magazine from Sep/Oct 1924, and I’m afraid it does carry a health warning.

The title page leads us to expect coverage of not only “Engineering, Science and Arts” but also “Business, Politics and Religion”. As you will see, in the last two categories it doesn’t pull its punches.

The main body of the magazine comprises various technical articles and a couple of adverts. At the centrefold there is a four page editorial section entitled “Founders Letter”. This is printed in red, which turns out to be in keeping with its incendiary nature.

We can remind ourselves that these were different times, and that judging historical texts by today’s standards can be disquieting, but nonetheless I found it pretty shocking.

Here is page three:

I hope you’ll agree I wasn’t exaggerating. There are multiple, objectionable things that one could draw from this diatribe. Here are some of them:
  • The whole premise incorrectly allows for the KKK being in some sense necessary (i.e. “needed”).
  • The discussion, along with the comparisons used, try to grant an unwarranted legitimacy to extreme right wing fanaticism.
  • The stated reasons for the ultimate lack of success of the KKK completely ignore all its other egregious aspects.
Page four includes the extract I’d shown in the previous post, and seems more innocuous:

However, bearing in mind what’s come just before, “kicking” someone of the nickname used seems pretty sinister, and the reference (again, presumably intended to be light-hearted) to the Editor in his “Kahki Klan Klose” stands out as a sudden, added signifier of extremism that’s really unsettling. 

Sadly, any other output we might see from Lefax in respect of politics and society, regardless of merit, will be tarnished by this.

And perhaps the most disturbing aspect is that this publication, although modest in its circulation, seems to have been mainstream in nature, and yet still contained such an editorial. Recent events in the US have demonstrated that far-right extremism still exists in the country today, but thankfully only as a small minority view. I wonder what the prevalence was in 1924?

Thank you Max, quite shocking to read in 2017, but I wonder what peoples views would have been in 1924 when this was published?

No comments:

Post a Comment