The Ku Klux Klan. Adolf Hitler. Son of Sam. Ayatollah Khomeini. Timothy McVeigh.
Despite their evil, the world's most notorious killers and villainous groups long ago morphed into historically popular though demonic figures for books, movies and TV shows. And now their artifacts are the rage among collectors.
"Terror-related items are becoming strong, perhaps because of [the Islamic State] and a general fear in the public," suggested Bill Panagopulos, president of Maryland-based Alexander Historical Auctions. "Maybe current events are driving people to buy," he said, explaining that sometimes the news or movies about history, such as "Glory," prompt people to collect historical artifacts.
And it also prompts people to sell, as seen in his upcoming July 7-9 online auction. It includes a McVeigh autograph as well as several KKK and Nazi items, including Klan membership certificates, a painting by Hitler and his personal 13-piece set of silverware.
It's not just a U.S. phenomenon. Another top auctioneer in the Netherlands told the Washington Examiner on background that North Korean-related art is flying off the shelves. Even in Germany, there have been eight recent showings of Nazi-related art and non-military art sponsored by the Nazis.
"I think the reason is time. The living past has become history," the auctioneer said. For example, John Wilkes Booth was widely reviled following his murder of Abraham Lincoln. Now his letters sell for tens of thousands of dollars.
Panagopulos sees new collectors gravitating toward more modern material, from 1900 on. His most recent historical item is a prison envelope used by McVeigh just days before was executed in 2001 for the Oklahoma City bombing. He expects it to sell for up to $400.
But don't look for a market for items of even more recent evildoers, like the Newtown, Conn., or Charleston, S.C., killers. "There's no historical attraction there, no political statement, they're just killers. And that's the difference," Panagopulos said.
NO VOTER LOVE FOR BOEHNER, MCCONNELL
It may be the best of times to be the House speaker and Senate majority leader, but their sinking approval ratings also show that it is the worst of times to be Rep. John Boehner and Sen. Mitch McConnell.
A new Democracy Corps poll finds that the two are seeing their lowest approval ratings in eight years. The poll focused on how Democrats can jazz glum voters into backing Hillary Clinton, but it included two questions the revealed just how little the Republican leaders are liked.
Pollster Stanley Greenberg of Greenberg, Quinlan Rosner Research, asked voters to rate the leaders. Boehner has a 36 percent approval rating, and McConnell is at an all-time low of 35 percent.
"The Republican brand has become so toxic and increasingly toxic led by the leaders of the Congress," Greenberg said.
FOX'S GRETCHEN CARLSON: BIG 3 NETWORKS AREN'T HIT WITH BIMBO SLAPS
Gretchen Carlson is one of a kind. "The bimbo trifecta,' former Miss America. Blonde. Fox News host," she said. "I coined the phrase."
But the author of the revealing memoir "Getting Real" noted that the bimbo slams seem to come more easily against her and Fox than against other TV hosts.
Take former ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer, also a blond, network bigshot and 1963 winner of the Junior Miss pageant.
"Obviously she would be a good role model for me," Carlson said. But unlike the Internet attacks on Carlson's past as the 1989 Miss America winner, "nobody really mentions that side of her life as a negative."
She doesn't get angry, but said, "It's sort of a copout for people who want to criticize you, they take the easy way out by using the dumb blond thing. Jeez, I've been hearing that my whole life. Can't you come up with something more creative if you want to slam me?"
Over her career, Carlson said she's reacted to initial negative reactions with hard work, a dash of her native "Minnesota Nice," and advice from her dad: "No matter how hard you try, you're never going to get everyone to like you. You work on the ones you think you can change and the others you disregard. It sounds so simplistic, but I think about it every single day."
"Did any of you ever ask Tip O'Neill, 'Don't you think you're a little old for the job?' I don't think so."
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on MSNBC mocking reporters over questions about her age and readiness to retire
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.