This BBC story caught my eye — about an iPhone app that consists of video and audio of speeches and statements by Benito Mussolini, the former Fascist dictator of Italy who was Hitler’s Axis ally during World War II. According to the story, it was the most popular iPhone download in Italy until it was removed from the market in the face of threats of legal action.
Groups have expressed concern that the popularity of the Il Duce app might presage a resurgence of the Fascist movement in Italy. I suppose that is possible, but I think it is equally plausible that young people just downloaded it because it is new, shocking, and a bit of a razz to watch black and white footage and listen to speeches of the comically strutting ex-dictator with the out-thrust jaw. I’m not an iPhone owner, but my perception is that many people with iPhones seem obsessed with “apps” and showing everyone what unusual “apps” they have. The Mussolini app may just feed into that obsession.
Still, it’s weird. In America, are there “apps” for offensive speeches by the likes of Joe McCarthy and George Wallace?