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 Posted Tuesday, February 23, 1999

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February 22, 1999, Letters Desk

Spiegel: "Rommel"ARTS | Fascist Fashion

IN HIS previous job as editor of the British monthly Loaded, James Brown created a publishing success by unapologetically pandering to the sensibilities of young, male party animals.

Now his taste for outrage has lost him his new job -- he's been doing it for a year -- as editor of British GQ. His mistake? To include the Nazis on a list of the 20th century's best-dressed men. The Newhouse family, which owns the magazine, didn't think his joke was funny. Nicholas Coleridge, managing director of Conde Nast, said in a statement yesterday that Brown's resignation was by "mutual consent," adding Brown "is a talented editor...Unfortunately, philosophical differences have arisen between James and Conde Nast."

Brown upset people on both sides of the pond by hailing the style sense of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel and the Nazi army. Ken Jacobson of the Anti-Defamation League told the New York Daily News that the gimmick was "outrageous." When you do something like this, there's the possibility of making it hip. People, especially young people, might say, 'They're not so bad. Look how well they were dressed.'"

Lord Janner, chair of the Holocaust Education Trust, told Britain's Leicester Mercury: "The image of this general alongside some of the world's most gifted actors, musicians, and designers makes decent people want to vomit."

Our illustration is of German news magazine Der Spiegel (Aug. 17, 1978), which serialised David Irving's best-selling Rommel biography for six weeks.

Our opinion
  JUST goes to show, some people have neither a sense of fashion nor a sense of humour. Come to that, we did not know until now that the Anti-Defamation League (chief honcho: The Desert Foxman) had a fashion department.

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