More or less everyone who has lived or traveled in the Northeastern U.S. knows about Bolt Bus. The line — a joint venture between Greyhound and Peter Pan bus lines — isn’t quite as cool as the Moon buses from The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, but with free wi-fi, “generous seat pitch” (although some of us would prefer generous seat yaw and roll as well, thank you), and $1 tickets, they’re the perfect frugal choice for attending cons, visiting friends, and desperately maintaining ill-advised long-distance relationships.
But we here at Geekosystem have been wondering something rather disturbing: Does Bolt Bus know it’s using the logo of a 20th-century British fascist party?
Quick history lesson! After Mussolini’s rise to power in 1922, disaffected political types across Europe began wondering if, wait a minute, shouldn’t they too be dipping into the same well of angry mass reactionism? Pretty much every country at the time had it’s own home-grown version of fascism, including those of Francisco Franco, Arthur Seyss-Inquart, and, yes, Adolf Hitler (godwins_law = true).
And Great Britain had its very own offshoot! Only, seeing as it was Britain, the whole thing was comically ineffectual rather than brutally violent.
Led by Oswald Mosely — yes, the grandfather of the Mosley caught in that weird Nazi sex scandal in 2008 – the British Union of Fascists espoused a platform advocating stringent isolationism (hey, sort of like the American Old Right!), horrifying rascism and anti-semitism (par for the course, really!) and the replacement of parliamentary democracy with a cabal of corporate representatives (because that would never happen here, right)?
The B.U.F flag, however, had a life beyond the actual party, which disbanded when, um, it became not so much all right to be a fascist, at least in public. But it lives on the world of graphic design, having inspired the logo of Singapore’s ruling oligarchy, the flag of the Black Shorts in P.G. Wodehouse’s works, and, apparently, the logo of a major American company.
So: Malice, oversight, or prank by disgruntled graphic designers — still a terrible choice, guys!