Gunnar “Best-Ever Nordic Name” Swanson:

[S]ome faces have very strong connotations for very large groups. Fraktur type means German tradition. (Or does it mean Christmas? Or lowrider car clubs? Or Chicano gangs?)

Or submissive gay skinheads? Or Swedish fashion houses with golfer spokesmodels?

It would be hard to use Fraktur to sell industrial equipment without having someone think “Is this this a traditional German injection molding machine? (Or a Christmas mill or a lowrider forklift or a Chicano gang lathe?)”

Indeed, people need to understand the connotations. One of the phys-ed majors working at the Y, a unique and magnificent specimen, has the word LATINO tattooed on his shoulder in blackletter (inevitably capitals). Does that make him a Chicano?

Eye issue 50/03, Winter 2003, p. 44 has a squib by (inevitably) Steven Heller entitled “Sans Serif vs. Fraktur: The Jewish Question.” (Remember, he also wrote Swastika: Symbol Beyond Redemption? which I have.) The photo cutline reads “This double-page spread of ‘Aryan women’ taken from a recent copy of Resistance magazine illusrates blackletter’s continuing use by the extreme right wing.” I did some Googling; it appears to be a regular feature.

At the Value Village, where I regularly cruise the old books for type gems almost literally by the pound, I found this stunner:

‘Male Fantasies’ closeup, with blackletter type, the f’s descender seemingly dipped in blook

Yes, it’s a book by an author with a German name entitled Male Fantasies. The title block is typeset in fraktur straight out of the Third Reich, the descending f bordered in blood like a knife. As I say, you need to meet a few real sexists.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2004.05.05 22:10. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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