Talk:Benito Mussolini

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Popular Culture[edit]

I would like to add a mention of Numero Zero, a book by Umberto Eco, in which one of the characters believes in an elaborate conspiracy concerning Mussolini, who according to this conspiracy, still lives, and it was his lookalike that was executed. I don't see how I can edit the article currently Mikemarsian (talk) 06:35, 1 August 2017 (UTC)

Franco's visit to Musso in Italy[edit]

Franco's wiki page says: According to Franco's own autobiography, he also met privately with Mussolini in Bordighera, Italy on February 12, 1941 at Hitler's request. Mussolini affected not to be interested in Franco's help due to the defeats his forces had suffered in North Africa and the Balkans, and he even told Franco that he wished he could find any way to leave the war.

There is no mention of this here. Any verdict on the truth or significance of the claim? Valetude (talk) 22:54, 6 August 2017 (UTC)

Regarding Carmelite "monks" who educated Mussolini. This is a wrong term, should be Carmelite friars.[edit]

Carmelite, like Franciscans, are friars, so please either change "Carmelite monks" in the article to "Carmelite friars" or simply "Carmelites." Your own wikipedia article on the Carmelites says: "In 1287, the original way of life of the order was changed to conform to that of the mendicant orders." And mendicant orders are referred to as Friars (as noted in the Wikipedia article on Friar). — Preceding unsigned comment added by 199.189.61.37 (talk) 18:28, 17 October 2017‎ (UTC)

"Carmelite monks" is not in the article, just "Salesian monks". Beyond My Ken (talk) 03:48, 21 October 2017 (UTC)

Changing the way the date is said for the law passed on Mussolini's formal title from "president of the Council of Ministers" to "head of the government"[edit]

The date currently says Christmas eve 1925. Some people who aren't Christian or grew up in countries that don't celebrate Christmas may not know it means December 24th, 1925. So I wish to suggest it be stated as December 24th, 1929. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Reveccalp (talkcontribs) 02:37, 2 November 2017 (UTC)

 Done Beyond My Ken (talk) 06:17, 2 November 2017 (UTC)

Infobox picture[edit]

Hello. I recently changed the picture in the infobox for the portrait picture further down, as it gives a clearer view of his face, arguably the most important factor in deciding these pictures. This portrait is used in several other Wikis for the infobox. This was reverted, and I can understand disagreement on the issue. However, I argue that the portrait picture would be the best depiction of Mussolini in the infobox, while him in uniform will be apt to have further down. As with most biographies, the infobox picture should be focused on his face, not his body and uniform.--Simen113 (talk) 04:06, 21 October 2017 (UTC)

With Mussolini, the facial features are pretty broad and easily grasped in a non-portrait image. Almost as important in his case is the body posture, since his ability to harangue a crowd was basic to his power. For these reasons, while I would normally agree that a portrait would be the most appropriate for an infobox image, I think the current image serves several purposes well, while the portrait serves only one. Beyond My Ken (talk) 20:20, 21 October 2017 (UTC)
I do not disagree, but would say his posture is also in many ways represented in his portrait, with his chin up and determined look. The full body picture can easily be at the top of the article otherwise--Simen113 (talk) 06:32, 2 November 2017 (UTC)

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First the absurd little nazi flag at Template:Nazism sidebar, now this... Beyond My Ken, I'm starting to see a pattern where you diminish the quality of the project for the sake of some apparent anti-fascism crusade. While everyone here obviously shares that general position (indeed my own family members perished in the Jasenovac extermination camp - and fought the Italian fascist occupation of my own hometown), this is beyond the pale.

We should obviously continue to use the professional portrait (which is a standard photograph of that sort and in no way especially "hagiographic"). Not a crop-out from a random image. -- Director (talk) 00:16, 10 November 2017 (UTC)

Well, I really dont; give a shit what "patterns" you think you see. We have no business making Mussolini, Hitler, Goering, Goebbels etc. etc look like reasonable men and leaders by using portraits that were carefully crafted to present themselves that way. The image I removed was, and is, hagiographic, and it is not (BTW) "long-standing" because it was added on 13 October, as you can see from the comment at the top of this thread. Please leave the article in the status quo ante while a consensus discussion is held to determine what to do. Or, if you prefer, revert again, and I'll get admins involved. Beyond My Ken (talk) 00:53, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
I see you reverted again. Oh well. Beyond My Ken (talk) 00:55, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
@"making Mussolini, Hitler, Goering, Goebbels etc. etc look like reasonable men" - Why not just use a caricature? Really display his inner unreasonableness...?
That comment is not only manifestly incorrect (the image is a perfectly plain photographic portrait, exceptionally well-suited for an infobox in numerous respects), but it also reveals a propagandistic attitude on your part towards editing this project. You seek to craft a narrative which fits your own personal perception of the topic, rather than just improving the project's quality of presentation. I'm just amazed you'd come forward so brazenly with that attitude.
As to the image being long-standing - its been there for years now. Its up to you to push for this change through dialogue - rather than edit-warring. Feel free to involve whomever you wish. Good luck with the "he looks too reasonable for my personal taste" argument. -- Director (talk) 01:05, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
The picture you prefer has been carefully crafted to make Mussolini bold, heroic, and resolute. In other words, it's a piece of propaganda, and we should be using neutral images, not propaganda ones. Neither hagiography or caricatures. In any case, I'm opening an RfC, and we'll see what the editors here prefer. Beyond My Ken (talk) 02:06, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
Wait, why not use a caricature? Shouldn't we be guided by the person's level of reasonableness in picking a properly representative image?
Utter nonsense. Its just a bog-standard professional portrait for the time, and Mussolini makes the same silly face in every photo. Most photos taken of him show him in the same comical "propagandist" pose and bearing - he's just somewhat older in yours.
Furthermore, your photo is just FAR less suitable for the infobox. Both in terms of proportion, and the exposure showing less of the goon's face.
My advice is to take off your political lenses. Photos are less propagandist than they appear. -- Director (talk) 10:59, 10 November 2017 (UTC)

RfC: Which image should be used as the lede image[edit]

Photo #1
Photo #2
Photo #3 (new)
Photo #4 (new)
  • Which of these two contending images should be used as the lede image for this article? Or is there another image which is preferable?
  • Note: Both images have been used as the lede image at different times. Photo #1 was the lede image from 22 March 2012 -- when it was added by Director -- [1] until 2 July 2017 (or about 5 1/3 years), and from 13 to 19 October 2017. Photo #2 was the lede image from 2 July 2017 [2] to 13 October 2017 [3] (about 3 months), and from 19 October [4], when it was restored to the lede by me, until today, when it was removed by Director. Before Photo #1, at least 6 other images were used for the lede, some of them now apparently deleted. Beyond My Ken (talk) 02:27, 10 November 2017 (UTC)

Survey[edit]

  • Photo #2 is preferable. Photo #1 is obviously a much better photograph, but it's also a work of hagiographic propaganda, carefully crafted to make M. look heroic, resolute and strong. Wikipedia operates from a neutral point of view, and we have no business using a blatant piece of propaganda as the lede image to one of our articles. Photo #2, on the other hand, while not as good an image qua image, shows Il Duce in a neutral encyclopedic manner. For this reason it is preferable to image #1. Beyond My Ken (talk) 02:11, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Beyond My Ken seems to be a heroic crusader against fascist propaganda. Anyone who opposes him by pointing out, say, that one image is a proper portrait and the other a random crop, or that one is suitable in proportions for an infobox whereas the other isn't, or even that Mussolini makes the exact same goddamn "heroic" face in every single photo... those may well be cryptofascist Mussolini sympathizers, and should report at once to their local commissar.
    In line with that, I also move we immediately replace the blatantly propagandist, hagiographic portraits at the FDR and Churchill articles. Or Hirohito.. or Bernard Montgomery.. Or indeed the Donald Trump article. Where does this propaganda end!? They were all carefully crafted to make make their subjects look good, and we need a NEUTRAL image. Some crop or other will surely do...
Additional: Image #3 is also acceptable to me. Beyond My Ken (talk) 00:20, 17 November 2017 (UTC)
Politicizing a goddamn photo... BMK's (transparent and distasteful) angle notwithstanding - it is just a professional photographic portrait. Like the ones found in the infobox of virtually every single notable figure of the past 150 years.
#1 Lets not diminish the article's quality of presentation, eh? The vast majority of photos taken of any dictator of the period could be classified as "propagandist" in some way - including the image espoused by our vigilant political censor up there... Personally I see no difference in degree of "propaganda" between one and the other. Except that one is overexposed, and doesn't show the man's face as well as can be desired for an infobox image. -- Director (talk) 10:46, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
#3?
  • #2 is the better image IMHO, except I would prefer cropping it to focus on his face / upper body. It's of a sufficiently high quality (2,000 x 3,000 pixels) to do so without a reduction in clarity. Ivar the Boneful (talk) 13:43, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
  • I've uploaded an example of what a cropped version could look like (see right). Not sure if that should replace #2 in the poll or be added as a separate option (my vote would be for #3 if that were the case). Ivar the Boneful (talk) 13:59, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
  • But after the crop you can't even see the difference in res in the infobox... and "#3" is really grainy. -- Director (talk) 14:06, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
  • #1 I am the one who added the portrait back after seeing its prevalence on other language Wikis. I believe it is best to use a portrait like this for an infobox, while the picture of him in uniform fits perfectly in the main text (uncropped) as an example of him in his "costume" and "natural habitat". I would argue that both serves as "propaganda" if one wishes to see it that way, and that of the two, the portrait would be most neutral as it only shows his face, and not some military dress-up in front of a large crowd; the portrait is more neutral as such. I feel it is only natural to see a portrait in the infobox, and a real-life snapshot in the main text. Just compare Vladimir Lenin article. I am sure someone could make the same arguments there, that his haranguing of the crowd would be a better infobox picture than a "portrait carefully created by the man himself". (The Lenin article is rated a feature article.--Simen113 (talk) 13:57, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
  • It's worth noting that while image #1 may be used as a lede image on some other language wikis, it's not the lede image for the article on the Italian Wikipedia, which would seem to be the most germane. That article uses this photograph as its lede image. Beyond My Ken (talk) 12:06, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
  • I like #2, the background is better and you see more of his body. The uniform is also more representative of his career and life than just the image of his face.★Trekker (talk) 17:29, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
  • #1 is a markedly higher quality image. User:Director is right: if we have a professional portrait of a leader, it gets used nearly every time, regardless of that leader's status as a hero, villain, or anything in between. See, to take the most obvious, most tiresome example, Adolf Hitler. I know it'd be a WP:POINT violation but I'm willing to be the guinea pig here. I'll go to Hitler's article and replace his portrait with a lower-quality image, using the rationale that a professional portrait of Hitler serves as propaganda for one of history's worst people and anyone who thinks differently either is editorially biased to favor Nazism or doesn't see how the good image causes Wikipedia to appear to outsiders to support Nazism. Do we think the 2,634 people watching that article would agree with that explanation and let my edit stand? WP:NPOV addresses the problem of "editorial bias" and the idea that using this image constitutes editorial bias (or even an appearance of such) carries an implication that its supporters are biased to favor Mussolini and/or his ideas or they wouldn't be concerned if there were an appearance of bias. I don't see anything to indicate anyone feels that way so we should go ahead and assume accordingly.
I'm not comfortable taking sides here because both Director and User:Beyond My Ken have displayed truly poor judgment and behavior, repeatedly taking each other's bait in the grotesque discussions right above and below this section. I don't know if this rises to the level of needed administrative intervention but it's still hurting the encyclopedia. By wasting their time and effort stretching out a totally zero-sum fight where neither has convinced the other of a damn thing, both are depriving the website of their otherwise good contributions. CityOfSilver 18:24, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
Does it matter? anything will do!
#4
  • #4 A color photo is always better. I think both the proposed images are sub-optimal. #2 (in uniform) is highly propaganda based, actually used in a propaganda campaign, so I can see why it is polarizing opinion. #1 is better, as it is a good image, but out of uniform is not the best look for a man known for his war efforts, and he looks really grumpy, so its hardly flattering, even for a fascist, we should make some effort. Dysklyver 23:57, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
  • We should make "some effort" to make a fascist dictator not look grumpy? No, we have an obligation to present an image which accurately portrays what he looked like, and we have a policy requirement to be neutral. Otherwise, we have no obligation towards making M. look good. Your image (#4) is almost as bad as #1 in its propagandistic qualities. Beyond My Ken (talk) 00:18, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
  • I am starting to think you are kidding. Do you really believe that Mussolini in full costume, with pose and in front of a large audience, is less propagandistic than a normal portrait, or even the photo of him outside of a public event and with less of an authoritarian pose? Even I have to admit that #4 is the most neutral of all, both showing him in his outfit (as he wanted to be shown) and without any propagandistic environment or surrounding.--Simen113 (talk) 00:54, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
  • I am not "kidding". Beyond My Ken (talk) 01:04, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Look at the discussion in the thread above the RfC... he doesn't like it cuz it makes him look "too reasonable" for his taste. Wow... -- Director (talk) 10:57, 12 November 2017 (UTC),,m
  • Acrually, that's a pretty fair assessment. I don't particularly think that Wikipedia should be in the business of making Fascist dictators look "reasonable". That User:Director is not concerned about burnishing the reputation of a fascist dictator such as Mussolini, as long as the lede image of him in the infobox is the one he chose, is disconcerting, at the least, and opens questions about what, exactly Diretcor's purpose is in editing here. Beyond My Ken (talk) 12:45, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Now that's a proper vigilant attitude right there! What am I here for anyway? Why am I in the business of making fascists reasonable? Suspicious, that.
Its too bad for you Röhm, Trotsky, et al. have already been purged. They could have used raging paranoid ideologues back then. Though I hear North Korea may be on the look out for help in that department... -- Director (talk) 15:03, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
  • I should not have to say this; any treatment of a subject should be neutral. We are required to find a good image. It has to be representative. Policy states color images are preferred. The fact Mussolini was a dictator and a fascist is not relevant to the image. We are entitled to use a propaganda photo is it was the most visually representative. We do have an obligation per NPOV to make every subject appear equally 'reasonable' in their lead image, which for images means a high quality image equal to his non-fascist counterparts. In this case the 'best' photo is #4, which is not actually propaganda, although all 3 others are. Anyone looking at the image in terms of who the subject is, is not being neutral and not practicing NPOV. Dysklyver 16:20, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
Re the colour photo, its fine, but its really off-center... -- Director (talk) 16:38, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
  • #1. I came here from the Milhist talk page. Agree with Director completely. The coloured photo would be an acceptable compromise if it were centred. Srnec (talk) 23:07, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
  • #1 Is most in compliance with the MOS on images and leads. It's a portrait, high quality, not cropped, and is of only the topical figure, standards in which all the other three fail in at least one instance. The fourth image only fails on the quality front, in comparison to the first, although that's subjective and so would be my second choice. LargelyRecyclable (talk) 23:45, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
  • #3 probably gives the greatest detail of Mussolini's facial features while at the same time reflecting his military credentials and identity. It would be my choice for lede image. Midnightblueowl (talk) 13:13, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Photo #3 is preferable, as it is a cropped close up of the subject of the article. I do not consider it as too "grainy". Second choice would be Photo #2 (with some contrast adjustment). They display the subject in his most well known attire and are not as formal a pose. The photo 1 is obviously a formal studio portrait from his younger years and number 4 is not a good quality photo of the subject, and has a higher propaganda quality to it (since this has been raised). Kierzek (talk) 13:56, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Photo #3 portrays M. as I think he imagined himself: a strong military leader. #1 contradicts that; #2 makes it harder to see his expression w/o the background contributing anything; #4 reminds me of a colorized image.--Georgia Army Vet Contribs Talk 15:37, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Ranked from my favorite to least 4 1 2 3. but it's also a work of hagiographic propaganda, carefully crafted to make M. look heroic, resolute and strong. Wikipedia operates from a NPOV, and we have no business using a blatant piece of propaganda as the lede image to one of our articles. What? It's an actual picture (not a painting or propaganda drawing) from a pre photoshop era. It doesn't show him wearing a Putin with huge biceps trodding on capitalists while politically correct Roma babes swoon over him. I totally disagree with the assertion that the use of any of those images violates NPOV. L3X1 (distænt write) 15:48, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
  • So, are you saying that photography can't be propaganda, and that it's not possible to fundamentally craft the look of a photograph using lenses and lighting and normal pre-digital photograph effects (i.e. filters, exposure time, etc.)? And are you also saying that all propaganda is gross in nature (i.e. artificial muscles on Putin), and cannot be subtle (i.e. the heroic, strong, bold and resolute visage of M. in #1)? If so, I think you are very much misinformed about the nature of propaganda. It's not all "Kill the filthy Hun!", it's also "Triumph of the Will", a brilliant film. Beyond My Ken (talk) 17:51, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
I believe with the critera you list it is impossible to provide a neutral photography. All portraits and photos such as 1 and 4 would be propaganda, just as all public display photos in front of crowds (2 and 3) would be the same. Judging by your criteria all presidential photos would be propaganda and unsuitable for Wikipedia, and so on.--Simen113 (talk) 18:42, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
This is not propaganda.

Yes, it is. We just call it "PR" today. -- Director (talk) 06:41, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
This is.

Yup, that too. Only cruder. -- Director (talk) 06:41, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
In a certain sense that's true, every photograph is an artificial representation of whatever it's showing, but there are gradations between photographs which attempt to be as accurate and truthful to the subject matter as possible all the way up to those which deliberately distort reality to make a point. But simply because there are many, many factors which go into determining the look of a photograph is no reason to reject the fact that some photographs are as neutral as they can possibly be, and other are in no way neutral, and don't even attempt to be neutral. The best of these are those expressing someone's artistic vision, and the worst are those which are used to sway people's opinions about powerful people who have a dangerous agenda, people such as Mussolini.
As I mentioned elsewhere in this discussion, there's a distinct difference between an official presidential portrait, such as this one of Bill Clinton, which do indeed take pains to make the subject look as good as possible, and a propaganda image such as #1 or #4. If people can't see this difference, which to me is obvious, I guess my attempt to keep the lede image neutral is doomed to failure. Beyond My Ken (talk) 19:12, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
No and no. I am quite into historical propaganda, esp. Axis WW2 pieces. The only difference I see between #1 and the rest of them is that #1 is Benito Mussolini in a B&W suit and the other images are Il Duce the military dictator of Italy. Mussolini is most know for being the Duce, but the way I see it, if anything is coming close to non nuetral, it would be an image of him in uniform as the strong, capable, leader of the Italian Nation in its Righteuos Quest against the world. According to Propaganda_of_Fascist_Italy#Personality_cult (I know quoting another Wiki article isn't the brightest thing to do but…): He was generally portrayed in a macho manner, although he could also appear as a Renaissance man, or as military, family, or even common…His overtly belligerent image did not prevent newspapers from declaring he had done more for peace than anyone else, on the principle that Mussolini always did better than everyone else. Uniforms makes just about everyone looks awesome and powerful. I don't consider myself misinformed on the many guises and methods of pictorial propaganda. Even the image of Mussolini shirtless harvesting grain are just pictures. They aren't going to sway a single soul to the fascist cause nor influence people positivly or negatively regarding him and his. The de facto caption to the infobox image is 27th Prime Minister of Italy. Such a caption befits a statesman's image. That's how I see it. Thanks, L3X1 (distænt write) 19:40, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
Amended due to the lack of provenance for the color image. L3X1 (distænt write) 02:14, 18 November 2017 (UTC)
  • 1,3,2,4 1 is clearly the most neutral portrait, 2 the most recognizable, 3 a better version of 2 for infobox purposes, and 4 just looks off somehow. --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 21:16, 13 November 2017 (UTC)
  • 2,3 - Agree with User:Beyond My Ken about 1 being hagiographic. Option 4 not great. NickCT (talk) 21:36, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment --- I’m neutral on either image #1 or #2, with a slight preference for #2, as being "in a natural habitat". However, I would oppose image #4. It’s unclear whether the colourisation is authentic. There are many such images floating around Commons and they are generally colourised by amateurs; I would consider them to be ahistorical and misleading. An authentic B&W image is preferable. K.e.coffman (talk) 02:15, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
K.e.coffman I cannot verify the authenticity of the color image, I just looked through all the images of M in my Tme-Life WW2 collection, and while I have several color images, #4 is not in those books. FWIW, both the 2015 World Book Encyclopedia and the 2006 Encyclopedia Americana show M. in his "Natural habitat" of a gaudy uniform, and WB has him speaking with his first extended. Thanks, L3X1 (distænt write) 15:11, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
  • 3 - Displays Mussolini as he is popularly depicted in modern eyes, in military dress ruling over Italy. 4 is not as good due to poor coloring making the photo look tacky as a result. 70.44.154.16 (talk) 00:17, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
  • 3 with 2 as a second choice. Agree with BMK, re: neutrality. Its also just more recognizable. TonyBallioni (talk) 00:12, 17 November 2017 (UTC)
  • 1 is best photo, or 3 as 2nd choice as it includes the uniform (Uniforms, worn by non-soldiers, are not propagandist? Explain that to me!) The quality of the image should be 1st consideration, how it accords with historically perceived public persona 2nd, whether the original intention was 'propagandist' should not matter IMO. Are our readers going to feel compelled to recreate the March on Rome if we choose the wrong image?… … Any portraits of public figures (ie not private candid ones) are consciously crafted to present an appropriate image. That's true from Alexander the Great, through Holbein on to postage stamps with Queen Liz, via Lenin, Jack Kennedy and of course, not forgetting Abraham Lincoln. The extent to which the image presented is monolithic may vary, as may the individual's power to enforce that image and suppress conflicting ones, but they are all 'propagandist' in intent. NPOV, IMO involves ignoring the 'intent'. Plenty of readers are going to think "this is what a narcissistic 'strong-man' looks like, isn't it revolting?" Pincrete (talk) 23:29, 18 November 2017 (UTC)

Discussion[edit]

  • Comment Beyond My Ken and Director, can I suggest that you move your above discussion to this section, and keep that section free for just votes? See a big wall of text might put off potential participants. Ivar the Boneful (talk) 13:45, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
    Done.
    Incidentally, while #2 is indeed in higher resolution.. its crop will be of about the same res as the portrait. Esp when placed in the infobox.. the difference will be near imperceptible. And I further disagree its the better image - for our purposes. Mussolini is stranding on a pedestal well above the photographer (who's making a newspaper photo of an event): its a skewed angle. Not to speak of the overexposure and lack of proper background. -- Director (talk) 14:24, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
P.s. I've carried out some basic repairs of the portrait. -- Director (talk) 14:20, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
"#3" looks kind of grainy that up close... -- Director (talk) 14:53, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Do you think it might be possible that you could express an opinion about which photo is the most appropriate to use in the lede without violating the Wikipedia policy against personal attacks, or is that asking too much of you?
    And one has to ask, do you really believe that these official photos of Mussolini, Hitler, et al. are not works of carefully crafted propaganda, intended to present to the public a specific point of view about the Leader? Do you really believe that they are simply ordinary portraits on the order of those used by, say, American presidents or members of the American cabinet? Are you really that naive that you don't understand that these aren't just plain-old photographic portraits, but intrinsically politicized propaganda items which was extremely important to Fascists and Nazis to create the desired impressions to the public? Beyond My Ken (talk) 12:31, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
If you believe I've violated NPA, you know where to report me - otherwise please refrain from WP:WIKILAWYERING and throwing around accusations. Your attempts at politicizing yet another totally apolitical issue is an angle that should be quite clearly exposed.
You are vastly overstating the fascist conspiracy angle. Its paranoid. All portraits in the history of time since the very pharaohs of Egypt up to Donald Trump, whether photographic or not, make an effort to make their subject look rather good. They are also, however, usually images that display the subjects best - merely by virtue of the effort to make the subject's features as distinctive and as clear as possible. That is why we use them almost ubiquitously in infoboxes of all notable people. This is indeed not a sinister piece of premeditated propaganda any more than every other portrait in history. From Abraham Lincoln, Kaiser Wilhelm II, Robert E. Lee, all the way to the extremely "crafted" photos used in politics today (with their kilograms of makeup and whole riggings of lighting).
The portrait has a proper background, a decent focus on the troll's face, and well-focused lighting so that the mug and its features are most clearly visible. It is also well-proportioned for an infobox. In your photo the angle is from below, which is almost always unflattering and poorly represents the face. He is also slightly older in your photo, which may be why it seems to you the portrait is more flattering than you prefer. -- Director (talk) 12:42, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
Rather than report you, I would prefer that you control yourself and comment on the question under consideration rather than lashing out at personalities. I will say about the remainder of your comment that it exhibits an ahistorical naivite that is hard to believe of an editor who is supposedly familiar with this subject matter -- or is it in fact the case that you are not actually cognizant of the reality of how Fascism and Nazism worked? Certainly your "analysis" of the image is extremely superficial, and ignores entirely the purpose of the image. Beyond My Ken (talk) 12:56, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
I would prefer that you report me. Or stop garnishing your arguments with ridiculous accusations of policy violation. Esp on an article talkpage where they do not belong.
Every dictatorial regime, totally regardless of ideology, worked to glorify the leader. That is perfectly true. Indeed the Führerprinzip is not a complicated concept to grasp. However, simply taking a professional portrait (that may slightly flatter you but also represent your features in good detail) - is something available to and used by virtually all notable people in history. And this one is in no way especially different. -- Director (talk) 13:11, 10 November 2017 (UTC)
When you write above that I "seem[] to be a heroic crusader against fascist propaganda", I assume you're implying that I'm here to WP:RIGHTGREATWRONGS, but that would be inaccurate. There are plenty of places on Wikipedia where Fascist, Nazi and Communist propaganda images would be entirely proper, encyclopedic, and neutral, so I'm not on any kind of crusade - except, of course, my everyday crusade to improve the encyclopedia.
No, it appears to me that you are allowing your appreciation of an admittedly powerful and well-made image to overwhelm your regard for WP:NPOV, one of our core policies. It is not the case that the very best image should be in the lede, it is the case that the very best neutral image should be in the lede - and if there's another image available that fulfills that requirement better than Photo #2, I'm all in favor of using it. What I am not in favor of is promulgating the obvious propaganda purposes of the portrait image that you so robustly prefer.
Yes, of course, all countries have leaders who want to make themselves look good to their citizens, but the Fascists and the Nazis went well beyond that criteria to present their leaders in specific ways, through careful use of the various arts of photography, film, radio and graphics. They not only wanted the people to like what they saw, they wanted them to think a specific way about what they saw. Hitler and Goebbels were masters of this, of course, but this image shows that Mussolini (or whoever was responsible for the image) was no slouch either. No objective viewer of the picture can fail to see the propaganda purpose it served.
Now there is another possibility that I'm prepared to discuss, if you're interested in doing so: if the image is properly captioned as being a propaganda image, I can live with it being the lede image -- although that is, for me, by far my second choice. Beyond My Ken (talk) 01:07, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
No, I think you see "carefully crafted propaganda" where I see a common portrait of Mussolini, in his civilian attire as the prime minister (his highest office) - of a type used by every other infobox we have. Like I said, I feel you're viewing this issue from a too political, perhaps too paranoid, point of view.
Moreover I will once again openly express my distaste for your politicizing these sort of issues. We still have that comically-small Nazi flag in the Template:Nazism sidebar, diminishing the quality of the project - all for the sake of assuaging your own personal fears of "propagandism".
Yes, my weak mind was overwhelmed by the sheer power of Benito Mussolini's visage.. the guy singularly responsible for uncountable atrocities in my own country, and the annexation of my own hometown by a Fascist Italian overclass that was to rule over us as servile "barbarians" (to quote him directly).
No. If you knew anything about my history on the project, you would know a lot of it was spent attempting to prevent various extreme-right distortions of history, of Italian origin, from being introduced in the "little-patrolled" reaches of the project. About a dozen accounts were banned or indeffed.
And yet, when I came across this article 75 years ago in the tender years of my youth, and found its infobox in an appalling state for a person of such high notoriety, I undertook to fix it up as best I could. Which included (among adding all his offices and such) finding a professional portrait of the person for the image. That is all. The notion that I am in any way impressed by the dictator's comical mug is insulting (and a clear violation of WP:NPA!! :)).
No. I disagree that photographic portraits of Mussolini, or especially Hitler (who for the most part cultivated a materially humble public image - which brilliantly made him all the more a subject of worship), are particularly more "hagiographic" than equivalent portraits of FDR or Churchill. I mean just look at Churchill sprawled there... You're reading far, far too much into what is a pretty basic photo for the time.
It is not a "propaganda image" to any greater extent than Louis XVI's portrait. Or Victor Emmanuel III's portrait... Or again, any of the ones we see in the articles of most notable figures in history. I can't agree to that. -- Director (talk) 08:46, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Neutral pointers to this discussion have been added to the talk pages of the WikiProjects listed above. Beyond My Ken (talk) 17:30, 11 November 2017 (UTC)
  • I can't believe how heated a simple discussion on which propaganda photo to use is getting here. I have posted above with a "vastly superior" color photo which I hope will allow you to stop bickering. (not watching the page) Dysklyver 00:05, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
Yeah.. that tends to happen when someone edit-wars to push a change - and then politicizes the banal issue on the talkpage... This isn't the first time with BMK, either. I don't like it.
Re #4, I'd take it but it isn't centered well. BMK won't take it because it doesn't conform with the level of reasonableness Mussolini should be displaying. He needs to make like ducklips and be shot from a low angle, to really bring out the sinister nature... -- Director (talk) 11:00, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
Actually, Director, you really don't have a clue about what my standards are, because they deal with things you obviously don't really understand -- whether through ignorance or disregard, I don't know -- or have any concern about. I'm assuming if there was a classy, professional portrait of Pol Pot, perhaps dressed in a neat tux and airbushed to make him look sophisticated and debonair, Director would insist on it being used in his article.
Clearly, the standards espoused by myself and Director differ drastically, especially when it comes to murderous dictators. Which is to say, I concerned about presenting a good image whic neirher glorifies nor denigrates the person, while just ant sthe best possible image, regardless of whether it unnecessarily glorifies th person or not Beyond My Ken (talk) 12:52, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
I don't think you quite understand what this project is and how it works. And you shouldn't be editing it until such a time as you do. My opinion... You should perhaps seek another outlet for your political opinions and/or frustrations.
Just a stab in the dark... are you American? Is this somehow about Trump? 'Cause its right around that level of ridiculous. He's been compared to Mussolini... makes a similar face... Help me out here? -- Director (talk) 16:23, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
@Director: - I think you should refrain from stabbing Beyond My Ken with the PA dagger. He is very active on articles of this type and saying it is any way connected to our esteemed leader of the free world and real media is in itself unreasonable. Beyond My Ken appears to have good intentions to achieve NPOV, and I have no doubt a perfectly reasonable outcome will be achieved without anyone being dragged through ANI. Dysklyver 16:57, 12 November 2017 (UTC)
My concern is precisely what he considers "NPOV". He's openly here to "make Mussolini look unreasonable", all the while trying to make anyone opposedd to that appear as the biased party (which breaks the irony meter) - and possibly a fascist! (which is just about the worst PA you can think of). That is appalling conduct. And given how plugged-into political ideology he seems to be, I indeed don't doubt he is "very active on articles like this"... I just wonder if its a good thing. -- Director (talk) 08:02, 13 November 2017 (UTC)

P.R. vs. propaganda[edit]

  • If, according to the comments Director left above on the two photos I posted, we're not going to draw any kind of distinction of scale and type between "public relations" and "propaganda", then of course every publicly released photograph of a politician or business leader or celebrity portrait is per force "propaganda". But if one understands that there is a distinct difference between the two, one can evaluate the qualities of each photo to determine what category they fall into. Those who see no distinction between the official portrait of George W. Bush and that of Hermann Göring (both posted above) are, in my opinion, failing to see a fundamental difference. When O.J. Simpson's face was featured on the cover of every magazine, but Time magazine darkened his face to make him look more dangerous, that was propaganda, and Time deservedly was taken to task for altering reality for a specific editorial purpose. When we wipe out the difference between P.R. and propaganda, we wipe out the difference between that week's Newsweek cover and the Time cover. Beyond My Ken (talk) 21:56, 14 November 2017 (UTC)
I made an effort to explain this to you before.
As I pointed out to you: all portraits, esp. ones commissioned by the subject, make an effort portray their subjects favorably. If the subjects are political figures, the portraits could conceivably be classed as "propaganda" favorable to the subject. Indeed W's portrait was without a shadow of a doubt the focus of far more work (or "crafting" if you prefer) than Goering's.
One could argue Mussolini's Time photo you argue for is another example of propaganda on the part of that magazine, which was overtly hostile to Mussolini's regime (rightly so, and like much of American media).
But hold the phone... Look at this file [5]... Both the author, the source, and the license are wrong. Is this even public domain?? If it was published by Time in the United States - its not. -- Director (talk) 05:00, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
BMK... If you dragged me through this song and dance for a file that shouldn't be on COM anyway... -- Director (talk) 05:13, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
I've said from the beginning (take a look at the top of the RfC) that if there was a better image that didn't glorify M., I would be happy to see it. Beyond My Ken (talk) 05:41, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
But more to the point, you continue to blur the very real differences between public relations and propaganda. Do you actually believe that there is no difference between them, that all portraits of world leaders are automatically "propaganda", and that the pictures of American presidents I've pointed out are propaganda? Where, if anywhere, do you draw the line between P.R. and propaganda, or is it all the same to you? Beyond My Ken (talk) 05:46, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
Totally-not-propagandistic.
"Glorify" is overstating the case to the point of absurdity, but have it your way.
The vast majority of proper portraits (due to usually being done with the consent of the subject) can be said to "glorify" said subject to a certain extent. Be that Trump, Hirohito, FDR, or King Victor Emmanuel. As such, if they portray an active politician, they may be classified as political "propaganda". Unfortunately (also by virtue of being done with the subject's cooperation) - they're also usually the best depiction of the subject. If you're going to go on a crusade to remove all portraits of political figures from Wikipedia (Napoleon, Jefferson Davis, Kaiser Wilhelm, Lenin etc. etc.), due to their being "hagiographic", you're welcome to open that subject in a broader venue. As things stand now, you. have. no. case.
As to PR and propaganda, the terms are blurred and overlapping by their very nature. Its very hard to draw a line, simply because historically one term acquired negative associations and was replaced with the other... Is W's photo there with his makeup, perfect lighting, and the US flag background not "hagiographic" or "propagandistic" to a certain extent? You'd have to be deluded to think otherwise... -- Director (talk) 06:45, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
The terms public relations and propaganda do not "overlap", there's a spectrum that moves from one to the other, so for images in the middle ground between them, there can be differences of opinion as to what is what, but that's not the case with images at the ends of the spectrum -- and that includes presidential portraits, which are firmly in the p.r. end, and Nazi/fascist images, which are firmly at the propaganda end. It's one thing to say that Richard Nixon's portrait, for instance, did not accurately portray the negative personality attributes which ultimately brought him down, but that's a far cry from na image which is a propagandistic attempt to make him look like the Second Coming of Christ. My evaluation of image #1 is that the purpose of the image is not to accurately portray what M. looked like, but to present him to the Italian public as a savior, a hard, resolute man who is looking into the Italy's future and will do whatever he can to make that future better. Beyond My Ken (talk) 09:08, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
If there's a "spectrum" - then they "overlap"!
The ideology of the subject doesn't make his photo any more or less hagiographic.
You can exaggerate all you want with "Jesus" and "glorify" and whatnot... its a common portrait. Not even especially flattering (look at Goring, Churchill, or Victor Emmanuel).
I don't really care what you think the photographer had in mind, and speculating as to his goals is absurd. Every portrait tries to depict the subject both accurately, and in a positive light. Sure as hell looks like Mussolini to me.
I already said everything fifty times over. ALL PORTRAITS MAKE AN EFFORT. That doesn't disqualify them as "propaganda". IF THAT WERE THE CASE, WE WOULD NEED TO SCRUB HALF THE BIO ARTICLES. I've dealt with far too much ideological zealotry on this project to go any further with this... -- Director (talk) 22:04, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
There's no "ideological zealotry" at work here, simply an attempt to make the article follow WP:NPOV, a central precept of the project. One one point I do agree, since we're clearly talking past each other, there's little purpose in continuing this discussion with you. We'll just have to let the consensus of editors as determined by the closer of the RfC make the decision as to which image is most appropriate. Beyond My Ken (talk) 23:48, 15 November 2017 (UTC)
Ok, feel free to propose a project-wide measure regarding portraits. None of them are really "neutral". Certainly the ideology of the subject does not, in and of itself, make a portrait more or less biased. -- Director (talk) 08:29, 16 November 2017 (UTC)
What is surely offensive about the public images of dictatorships is not that they consciously promote an image, it is a number of factors, including that ONLY that image is allowed to be portrayed. Usually their images are also monolithic in character, the 'strong leader', the 'father of the nation' and so on. Propaganda/PR/portraiture is a continuum rather than a clear on/off switch. Propaganda done brilliantly (Alexander the Great, Holbein, Eisenstein, Riefenstahl) even achieves the level of high art and become TRULY dangerous, but usually it is crude and brutish.
But should it matter anyway? Figures like Lenin - or Henry VIII - are only known to us through crafted images, those images ARE the only visual record, and are part of the story. Pincrete (talk) 23:58, 18 November 2017 (UTC)
In which case, NPOV would have us label the propaganda for what it is, as I suggested above. Beyond My Ken (talk) 01:56, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
IF it is widely acknowledged that images of a leader were part of a crafted iconography (Stalin, Lenin, Mao statuary?), or that only 'official' images were permitted in the regime, then yes, that should be said - either in caption or text. What I don't understand is why a 'studio lit' image of Benito, done in the style of a 'heavy-weight' '30s actor, is inherently 'propaganda' and should be verboten, whereas a picture taken in a uniform (which he did nothing to deserve), but which was also part of a conscious image of 'strong leader' is somehow OK.
Famous pictures of Benito, arms folded on balcony, face fixed in a defiant expression, are probably the most iconic images of him. Were they intended as 'public image', certainly, so is that a good reason to not use them? No IMO. I don't think it is self-evident that certain images were 'propaganda' and other images were ... what exactly? Neutral character studies? Or simply less overt/technically competent/different propaganda. Negative connotations of the word 'propaganda' are relatively recent, and fairly subjective. We tend to use the word mainly for crude, simplistic images and messages which are imposed in crude and brutal ways and in regimes in which sending out alternative messages is punished.
I think we should trust the reader to realise that the archetypal image of Stalin, smiling, friendly avuncular leader of the nation, does not exactly square with what he got up to 'off camera', and yes, if the crafting of his image is a subject of study (as perhaps with 'Uncle Jo', though not AFAIK with 'il Duce'), cover that as a topic. NPOV does not mean we cannot use images which were intended to show somebody in a good light unless we include some kind of 'health warning' - "Warning, this image may positively affect your image of a dictator - parental caution is advised". Pincrete (talk) 10:38, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
It seems to me that there are two basic points of view being expressed here. Director's view is "It's all propaganda, so let's at least use the best looking image" and mine is "Some of it's strongly propagandistic and some of it is less so, so let's use the least propagandistic image that's appropriate for the infobox." It's not a matter of "trusting the reader" any more than we put biased information in an article and "trust the reader" to recognize that it's biased. If we do include that material, we make it clear who's POV it represents, so that the reader can evaluate it. With an image, there's no context, just the picture, unless we provide the context, something that says "This great-looking portrait was deliberately crafted to produce a specific image of Mussolini's character to convey that viewpoint to the viewer," or, in other words "Mussolini, in a propaganda image". This satisfies the policy requirement that all content by WP:NPOV, which is not optional. Beyond My Ken (talk) 11:23, 19 November 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Regardless of whether you have a citation for such i.r.o. that/those particular image(s)? Simply because the regime was dictatorial? That's called OR or SYNTH. It's also using a sledgehammer to crack a nut IMO.

btw, The British library, and other UK sources, happily acknowledge that what free countries put out during the two world wars was 'propaganda', not PR or 'public information' or any such euphemism. This is posters etc of course, rather than portraiture, but the principal applies. Nor do we see anything sinister about our doing that. Was our propaganda less crude, more homourous, less 'imposed' than that of other more authoritarian regimes? Certainly, all of which are aspects of freer societies, and 'our propaganda' worked of course - we won.

A bottle of Coke, a company logo are both consciously crafted to make the viewer like them, so let's ban these images in case readers are influenced by seeing them? Text is different, more nuanced, more complete. It is inherently impossible to decide that a single picture presents a 'balanced' or 'neutral' picture of any subject, whether Angelina Jolie or Vlad the Impaler, we try to not be hagiographic or damning, but 'neutral' is always going to be ultimately subjective. I have read the whole thread, but cannot see why 'il Duce the Hollywood star' is propaganda, but 'il Duce the Great General' is neutral. I think we are done here though, we have both given our opinions and are clearly not going to agree. Pincrete (talk) 11:47, 19 November 2017 (UTC)

In my opinion, it's not useful to deliberately blur the distinctions between p.r., advertising, and propaganda. To say "It's all propaganda, it's all just p.r., it's all the same as Coke selling its products", is to throw up one's hands and ignore all the specific aspects that distinguish these things from each other, and which make it possible to study the techniques of each. But I've made the argument here numerous times, in one way or another, and some folks are apparently just not going to accept it. Personally, I find the counter-argument simplistic, cynical, and, frankly, rather absurd. It's somehwat like saying that because the electro-magnetic spectrum is a continuum, we can't make a distinction between x-rays, visible light and radio waves. Beyond My Ken (talk) 12:17, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
BTW, no one here has mentioned "banning" anything. The question is not whether any of these images can be in the article, but which one of them is the most appropriate for the lede image. Right now, both #1 and #2 are in the article, one as the lede, and one in the body, and it's been the other way as well. Beyond My Ken (talk) 12:25, 19 November 2017 (UTC)
PR and propaganda (as often used to refer mainly to dictatorial regimes), certainly are different in one important respect. You're much less likely to end up dying in a gulag for laughing at, or disagreeing with FDR than you would do for doing the same with Uncle Jo, that is no small matter. We don't seem to be bothered so much about the word 'propaganda' in the UK, possibly in Europe. In wartime the UK govt needed to craft the message going out and minimise negative coverage - it's propaganda, no problem. That does not mean that we are foolish enough to think that 'our propaganda' was somehow morally equivalent to 'their propaganda'. People were not sent to their deaths for laughing at 'our propaganda'. 'Our propaganda' looked forward to a time when wearing uniforms would not be an objective in itself- not our very raison d'etre as a nation.
You may not have spoken of banning, but implicit is that us using an image originally commissioned for 'propagandist purposes' is inherently NPOV, or should come with a 'health warning' attached.
We are discusing the general principle 'down here', but 'up there', I cannot for the life of me see why the film star/statesman in his suit is NPOV, but the military-man with his self-awarded rank and medals is neutral. Making the issue a B/W one, rather than a continuum, makes it even harder for me to understand that.
An editor whom I greatly respect, prefers one particular image which we use for Adolf H. He does so for the wholly subjective reason that whilst some others think that the image is too 'heroic', he thinks it shows a ridiculous, preening narcissist. Images are like that, it is difficult to be wholly neutral about them or the effect they have. Pincrete (talk) 13:40, 19 November 2017 (UTC)

Yes another image[edit]

Just spotted this one:

Mussolini mezzobusto.jpg

Mussolini is in military uniform but without the headgear. The copyright seems fine on it. Feedback? K.e.coffman (talk) 04:07, 20 November 2017 (UTC)

The problem would be the quality IMO.--Simen113 (talk) 04:39, 20 November 2017 (UTC)