Tag Archives: Good Use Of History

99% Invisible – The Giftschrank

giftschrank-displaysOnce again, 99% Invisible does a remarkable job showing the importance of design. Listening to a lot of ‘conspiracy’ and true crime podcasts can make one feel paranoid, like (to quote the title of a well know podcast) there is stuff they don’t want you to know. However, in Germany there is such a thing as the Giftschrank. Following a copy of Adolf Hitler’s book¬†Mein Kampf, 99% Invisible talks about the vault in the library of Munich houses the copy.

We in America both celebrate the notion of Free Speech and fear it. We defend it and attack it. In Germany, there is an idea that one must study dangerous ideas to understand them to make sure that they can never happen again. This shows the power of ideas. However, such ideas are still dangerous. Therefore, they are allowed to be studied, but only under careful supervision; that is why they are locked up in the Giftschrank.

Between the Liner Notes – Extinguish Lights

Between the Liner Notes is a fantastic podcast on the history of music, with an eye toward storytelling (like 99% Invisible or Radio Lab). In an effort to find the origins of the soundtrack to everyday life, it has followed the origins and stories of acts like Tiny Tim to the song Happy Birthday and the legal implications of it. This story is a good one for many reasons, but first and foremost the idea of this soundtrack of life.

In an almost subliminal way, the bugle calls of the military invoke certain thoughts. If there is a military scene in a movie or show, their absence is more noticeable than their presence. I live near an Air Force base and I can hear the bugle calls on the PA system and they work on me as well as when they were used at scout camp (except that year when the older scouts used a mixture of the songs “Buddy Holly” by Weezer and “Pepper” by the Butthole Surfers to wake us).

The ubiquitous “Extinguish Lights” is the bugle call for the end of the day and played as the casket is lowered into ground during a military funeral. Between the Liner Notes tracks it down.