I recently came across an image on tumblr (NSFW/L linked here) which juxtaposes a black & white portrait photograph of an angry Hitler being interrupted by a large, engorged black penis which has been inserted through where Hitler’s mouth would be, were it not cut out. Additionally there is an over-manicured white feminine hand which is under the shaft of the penis, perhaps as a reference for perspective, but more importantly also to implicate the racialized sexual elements at play. In the bottom right of the image is the tagline for RealityKings.com, a heterosexual porn hub that appears to be behind at least “29 web sites.”
The presence of the photo of Adolf Hitler being manipulated prevents me from dismissing and reducing it to the usual narratives and fantasies/phantasies at play in racialized/interracial porn, bestowing upon it an artistic tension that prompted several questions. Is the image suggesting that the penis or the phallus is a fascist object? Is the phallus the mouthpiece of fascism? Is fascism perhaps reproduced through patriarchy? Is fascism sexy? Is this a commentary on social phantasies about race? Would another viewer see the image as suggesting that black male/masculine sexuality is dangerous – perhaps the continuation of Hilter-like oppression – and that black masculine sexuality must be contained, lest it bring about further oppression? Could this be read as a subconscious justification of racism and white supremacy? Another possibility, which seemed too understated is that the image could be read to say “fuck racism.” Also, any analysis of the image should probably question what the image has to say about the past, and what it has to say about today.
Before I could begin to posit answers to these questions I’d need to know more about the social psychology of fascism and how it relates to (and is surely intertwined with) race & sexuality. So I asked the followers of my queer porn tumblr for any suggested reading and was directed to The Mass Psychology of Fascism by Wilhelm Reich, an Eastern European psychiatrist & psychoanalyst. Published in 1933, Reich’s book was written to answer the question of why Germans were drawn toward Nazism when other, less authoritarian, modes of government could have better served their interests. Reich suggests that the root of fascism is tied to the familial pedagogy of sexual repression and that this learned behavior creates anxieties that lead to irrationality which renders the masses prone to maladaptive manipulation.
A repressive family, a baneful religion, a sadistic educational system, the terrorism of the party, and economic violence all operated in and through individuals’ unconscious psychology of emotions, traumatic experiences, fantasies, libidinal economies, and so on, and Nazi political ideology and practice exacerbated and exploited these tendencies. (Wikipedia)
In reading his work, I hope to come up with plausible explanations to address some of these questions and more. Based on the book’s Wikipedia entry, it should be quite provocative, but given that the book is from the 1930s and the image is contemporary, it would just be a starting point for the discussion.
What are your thoughts? Let’s discuss in the comments.