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Friday, September 20, 2013

Obama Wanted to be an Architect...

Speaking at the Cooper-Hewitt Design Awards ceremony in the East Room, the first lady explained why "the president is so jealous right now" that she got to host the event."And every year, when I’m going over my briefing, he’s like, 'You’re doing that again?' " she said, prompting laughter from the crowd. "He’s like, 'Well, who’s there?'  Because really, deep down, he would have been an architect had he been as talented and creative as all of you."
Reminds me of another socialist:
Hitler was 18 when he applied to the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, planning to make his life as an artist. He flunked the drawing test and was rejected. He later wrote in Mein Kampf, "That gentleman [the rector] assured me that the drawings I had submitted incontrovertibly showed my unfitness for painting." Hitler's ability lay instead in architecture, the rector told the young man. By 1910 the 20-year-old Hitler was working in Vienna as a draftsman and painter of watercolors. William Shirer wrote in The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich that Hitler "sold hundreds of these pitiful pieces" to
"petty traders to ornament a wall, to dealers who used them to fill empty picture frames on display and to furniture makers who sometimes tacked them to the backs of cheap sofas and chairs after a fashion in Vienna in those days."
 
Hitler's biographers generally give short shrift to the dictator's years as a failing artist. Alan Bullock's classic, Hitler: A Study in Tyranny, concludes that the future Fuehrer produced "entirely unoriginal drawings" and "grandiose plans." "He had the artist's temperament without either talent, training or creative energy." 
In Hitler: The Path to Power, Charles Bracelen Flood writes that "Hitler had a flair for drawing; filling the apartment at 31 Humboldtstrasse with his sketches, he dreamed of becoming a great painter." But for most historians, the only moment that matters in Hitler's artistic career is the art school rejection. The key text is from Hitler friend August Kubizek, who wrote that after receiving the rejection, Hitler launched into a tirade in which "his face was livid, the mouth quite small, the lips almost white. But the eyes glittered. There was something sinister about them. As if all the hate of which he was capable lay in those glowing eyes . . . Hitler never ceased to feel ashamed of what his dream of being a painter had become."

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