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In the midst of Volkswagen’s latest scandal, we take a look back on the love bug’s long drive from a Nazi creation to a children’s television character, and how Hitler’s dream of “The People’s Car” was realized in an unexpected way over 70 years later — in India.

It was Hitler who said “the people” must have a car they can buy for next to nothing. Ideology created the demand and then gathered the forces necessary to fulfill it. The outcome was so damn good and clever and lovable that it outlived the crazy and terrible ideology that had created it. It was Hitler who said “the people” must have a car they can buy for next to nothing. Ideology created the demand and then gathered the forces necessary to fulfill it. The outcome was so damn good and clever and lovable that it outlived the crazy and terrible ideology that had created it.•

Read it: VW Recall by Morgan Meis »

Get in touch with The Smart Set at editor@thesmartset.com.

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Part of Chicago froze in the 1930s. I’ve been thinking of my old home city of Chicago a lot lately, and of my new home in Berlin. The thread that ties them together seems to be that they’re both stuck in time. In the same time. They have one foot in this chaotic contemporary period, but the other is still in the 1920s and early ’30s, each summed up as a Bob Fosse experience (Chicago and Cabaret).

The Girls of Murder City: Fame, Lust, and the Beautiful Killers Who Inspired Chicago by Douglas Perry. 320 pages. Viking Adult. $25.95.

And why not? It was a glamorous age for both. Berlin had its cabarets, Otto Dix, sex, and liquor. Chicago had its speakeasies, gangsters, and gunner girls. With what followed — rubble for one, crime and poverty for the other… More…

I can’t stop thinking that Eliot Spitzer’s downfall is extraordinary in its Oedipal dimensions. I don’t mean this in the Freudian sense, but in the classical. In Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex a man, Oedipus, attempts to engineer his own fate in the face of a terrible prophecy. In the end, Oedipus comes to realize that his own actions, meant to liberate him from this course of fate, have been the agents of its realization. He declares:

No human hand but mine has done this deed.

What need for me to see,

When nothing’s left that’s sweet to look upon?

It has been noted again and again in the Spitzer story that ironies abound, multiplying quicker than they can be sorted out. This is a man who seemingly went out of his way to commit a crime that A) he would eventually get caught doing and, B) that he would have no… More…