John comments (I’m sorry – I can’t call you Niblettes and keep a straight face) about the Hitler restaurant and refers to “dictator kitsch” citing Che and Mao. Very good point.
Here’s a booth selling caricatures that we saw earlier this year in Hong Kong. It’s Osama, and Hitler.
It’s a wonderful example of local design for local culture. GOD is a lifestyle store not unlike IKEA, selling a broad range of products for the home–furniture, linens, kitchenware, accessories, and the like. But many of the products take local Hong Kong culture and turn it into an icon of consumption. For example, there are t-shirts that offer nonsensical English slogans that are phonetically similar to an offensive Chinese phrase. For example: “Delay No More”–innocuous in English, but its Cantonese homonym is a crass and foul insult involving one’s mother. There are graphic prints of Hong Kong newspaper collages, or of Yaumati (the iconic building frontage from a Hong Kong neighborhood), both ubiquitously applied to notebooks, flip-flops, bags, aprons, boxer shorts, and beyond. Even Mao, a significant symbol of Hong Kong/Chinese history, appears as an ironic icon, co-opted and reclaimed for the culture of the current generation.
So while the Hitler thing in Mumbai is pretty hard to understand, I’m on board with John in terms of the precedents out there already.