World War I in Color
is a documentary designed to make the Great War come alive for a 21st-century audience. The events of 1914-18 are authoritatively narrated by Kenneth Branagh, who presents the military and political overview, while interviews with historians add different perspectives in six 48 minute installments annotated within. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb
on Oct 31, 2013 -
"We condition the poor and the working class to go to war. We promise them honor, status, glory, and adventure. We promise boys they will become men. We hold these promises up against the dead-end jobs of small-town life, the financial dislocations, credit card debt, bad marriages, lack of health insurance, and dread of unemployment. The military is the call of the Sirens, the enticement that has for generations seduced young Americans working in fast food restaurants or behind the counters of Walmarts to fight and die for war profiteers and elites."
-- War is Betrayal. Persistent Myths of Combat
, an essay by Chris Hedges
of Truthdig. Responses within. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Aug 9, 2013 -
In 1971, the newly-created US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hired a bunch of freelance photographers to collectively document environmental issues around the country. They were given free rein to shoot whatever they wanted, and the project, named Documerica
, lasted through 1977. After 40 years, the EPA is now encouraging photographers to take current versions of the original Documerica photos and are showcasing them on flickr at State of the Environment
. There are location challenges
, and a set has been created with some of the submissions, making side-by-side comparisons
. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Aug 8, 2013 -
Samuel Leech, R.N., fought in the battle between the 38 gun HMS Macedonian, commanded by Captain John Surman Carden, and the 44 gun USS United States, Commodore Stephen Decatur on October 25th 1812.
A strange noise, such as I had never heard before, next arrested my attention; it sounded like the tearing of sails, just over our heads. This I soon ascertained to be the wind of the enemy's shot. The firing, after a few minutes' cessation, recommenced. The roaring of cannon could now be heard from all parts of our trembling ship, and, mingling as it did with that of our foes, it made a most hideous noise. By-and-by I heard the shot strike the sides of our ship; the whole scene grew indescribably confused and horrible; it was like some awfully tremendous thunder-storm, whose deafening roar is attended by incessant streaks of lightning, carrying death in every flash and strewing the ground with the victims of its wrath: only, in our case, the scene was rendered more horrible than that, by the presence of torrents of blood which dyed our decks.
posted by the man of twists and turns
on Jun 24, 2013 -
From the mid 40s to the mid 50s Coronet Instructional Films
were always ready to provide social guidance for teenagers on subjects as diverse as dating
, preparing for being drafted
, and shyness
, as well as to children on following the law
, the value of quietness in school
, and appreciating our parents
. They also provided education on topics such as the connection between attitudes and health
, what kind of people live in America
, how to keep a job
, supervising women workers
, the nature of capitalism
, and the plantation System in Southern life
. Inside is an annotated collection of all 86 of the complete Coronet films in the Prelinger Archives
as well as a few more. Its not like you had work to do or anything right? [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb
on Nov 1, 2012 -
Ta-Nehisi Coates, a senior editor at The Atlantic
, recently touched on a couple of interesting aspects of the American Civil War. First, Racism Against White People
briefly looked at how Southern intellectuals argued that Northern whites were of a different race. Then a subthread in the comments on that post spawned an investigation of American Exceptionalism in History
and the notion of preserving democracy in the context of the American Civil War. After all, "if a government can be sundered simply because the minority doesn't like the results of an election, can it even call itself a government?" Definitely check out the comments of both posts.
posted by Brandon Blatcher
on Jul 8, 2012 -
From 1935 to 1951, Time Magazine bridged the gap between print & radio news reporting and the new visual medium of film, with March of Time
: award-winning newsreel reports that were a combination of objective documentary, dramatized fiction and pro-American, anti-totalitarian propaganda. They “often tackled subjects and themes that audiences weren’t used to seeing
— foreign affairs
, social trends
, public-health issues — and did so with a combination of panache and subterfuge that today seems either absurd or visionary.” (Previous two links have autoplaying video.)
By 1937, the short films were being seen by as many as 26 million people every month and may have helped steer public opinion on numerous issues,
) America’s entry to WWII
. Video samples are available at Time.com,
the March of Time Facebook page
and the entire collection is available online, (free registration required)
at HBO Archives. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Aug 22, 2011 -
A Tragedy of Errors.
On Feb. 21, 2010, a convoy of vehicles carrying civilians headed down a mountain in central Afghanistan and American eyes in the sky were watching. "The Americans were using some of the most sophisticated tools
in the history of war, technological marvels of surveillance and intelligence gathering that allowed them to see into once-inaccessible corners of the battlefield. But the high-tech wizardry would fail
in its most elemental purpose: to tell the difference between friend and foe." FOIA
of US cockpit and radio conversations and an interactive feature
provide a more in-depth understanding of what happened.
posted by zarq
on Apr 10, 2011 -
Robert F. Gallagher served in the United States Army's 815th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion (Third Army) in the European Theater during WWII. He has posted his memoir online: "Scratch One Messerschmitt,"
told from numerous photos he took during the war and the detailed notes he made shortly afterwards. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Nov 23, 2010 -
"A pious, peaceful man, York
had fought his country's enemy only after great deliberation and had to be convinced that war was sometimes necessary."1
On this day let us remember Sergeant York
Celluloid Soldiers: The Warner Bros. Campaign Against Nazism By Michael E. Birdwell.
posted by unliteral
on Nov 11, 2010 -
A Year at War:
One Battalion's Wrenching Deployment to Afghanistan
: "Some 30,000 American soldiers are taking part in the Afghanistan surge. Here are the stories of the men and women of First Battalion, 87th Infantry of the 10th Mountain Division" out of Fort Drum, NY., based in Kunduz Province
, Afghanistan. Over the next year, The New York Times will follow their journey, chronicling the battalion’s part in the surge in northern Afghanistan and the impact of war on individual soldiers and their families back home. (First link is an interactive feature containing images and autoplaying video, and requires flash. Second link is a standard-style article.) [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Oct 21, 2010 -
For quite some time, I’d wanted to make a screwball comedy. A fast-talking, wildly acclerating ensemble comedy that gets stupider and stupider. I never imagined it would be about a war, and inspired by a very recent war at that. But Simon, Jesse, Tony and I all felt that the more we found out about the dysfunction in Washington and the naivety in London leading up to the Iraq invasion, the more obvious it was that the only way to deal accurately and fairly with this topic was as a screwball comedy.
- The Oscar nominated script for In The Loop
, with an introduction by writer Armando Iannucci.
posted by Artw
on Feb 13, 2010 -
Zeitgeistfilter: Lumpen Leisure
and Welcome to Middle-Class Lockdown... Now Shut Up and Buy Something
-- two fine rants about our current state of disunion by James Howard Kuntsler, author of The Long Emergency
), and writer and Vietnam vet Joe Bageant
. "All over but the keening for our soon-to-be-lost machine world," Kunstler predicts in The American Conservative
, while Bageant taps the inner stream-of-unconsciousness for Dissident Voice
: "Things cannot be as bad as the alarmists say. They cannot be as bad as I often suspect they are. If there really were such a thing as global warming they would be starting to do something about it. And besides, even if it were true, science will find a way to fix it. If there really were genocide going on in so many places far more people would be concerned... If the earth were heating up we would surely notice it. If our soldiers and government agencies were torturing people around the world it would make the news. If millions were being exterminated, it would be more obvious, would it not?" (Kunstler's book previously discussed here
, Bageant here
posted by digaman
on Feb 14, 2006 -
What’s "Sacred" about Violence in Early America?
Susan Juster discusses the "oversized colonial martyr complex" with its attendant paradox: "colonial martyrs were everywhere, religious violence... in short supply." She begins:
One of the most chilling images in early American history is the deliberate firing of Fort Mystic during the Pequot War of 1637. Five hundred Indian men, women, and children died that day, burned alive along with their homes and possessions by a vengeful Puritan militia intent on doing God’s will. "We must burn them!" the militia captain famously insisted to his troops on the eve of the massacre, in words that echo the classic early modern response to heretics. Just five months before, the Puritan minister at Salem had exhorted his congregation in strikingly similar terms to destroy a more familiar enemy, Satan; "We must burne him," John Wheelwright told his parishioners. Indians and devils may have been scarcely distinguishable to many a Puritan, but their rhetorical conflation in these two calls to arms raises a question: Was the burning of Fort Mystic a racial or a religious killing?
She avoids easy answers and makes some interesting connections. If you want to find out more about the Pequot War, there's good material in the History section of this site
. (Main link via wood s lot
posted by languagehat
on Jan 9, 2006 -
A surprise from Al Gore:
I came here today because I believe that American democracy is in grave danger. It is no longer possible to ignore the strangeness of our public discourse . I know that I am not the only one who feels that something has gone basically and badly wrong in the way America's fabled "marketplace of ideas" now functions.
How many of you, I wonder, have heard a friend or a family member in the last few years remark that it's almost as if America has entered "an alternate universe"?
I thought maybe it was an aberration when three-quarters of Americans said they believed that Saddam Hussein was responsible for attacking us on September 11, 2001. But more than four years later, between a third and a half still believe Saddam was personally responsible for planning and supporting the attack.
posted by Shanachie
on Oct 6, 2005 -
The argument I make in my book is that what I describe as the new American militarism arises as an unintended consequence of the reaction to the Vietnam War and more broadly, to the sixties... If some people think that the sixties constituted a revolution, that revolution produced a counterrevolution, launched by a variety of groups that had one thing in common: they saw revival of American military power, institutions, and values as the antidote to everything that in their minds had gone wrong. None of these groups — the neoconservatives, large numbers of Protestant evangelicals, politicians like Ronald Reagan, the so-called defense intellectuals, and the officer corps — set out saying, “Militarism is a good idea.” But I argue that this is what we’ve ended up with: a sense of what military power can do, a sort of deference to the military, and an attribution of virtue to the men and women who serve in uniform. Together this constitutes such a pernicious and distorted attitude toward military affairs that it qualifies as militarism. An interview with Andrew Bacevich
, international relations professor and former Army colonel, and author of The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War
--and here is a review
. Recently by Bacevich: We Aren't Fighting to Win Anymore - U.S. troops in Iraq are only trying to buy time
posted by y2karl
on Feb 21, 2005 -
If America were Iraq, what would it be like?
Private armies totaling 275,000 men; platoons of Christian Soldiers Militia holed up in Arlington National Cemetery; the grounds of the White House constantly under mortar fire; the Secretary of State, President, and Attorney General all assassinated in the past year; and the Air Force routinely bombing Billings, Flint, Philadelphia, and parts of LA and DC to destroy "safe houses" of "criminal gangs."
posted by johnnydark
on Sep 27, 2004 -
Pay No Attention tothemenbehindthe Curtain.
You maybe read about PNAC here
, wherein numerous members of the current administration wrote down their grand plans for an American-led NWO. Pretty heady stuff, with Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz writing to Clinton in 1998
that "the only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use weapons of mass destruction." Umm, that is... move along, citizen. Nothing to see here (thank goodness for Google's cache
posted by RKB
on Jul 12, 2003 -
U.S. loses faith in Canada
"We would be there for Canada, part of our family. And that is why so many in the United States are disappointed and upset that Canada is not fully supporting us now," says Paul Cellucci, U.S. ambassador to Canada. As pro-US sentiments from prominent Canadian figures are harshly criticized while blatant (and rather tasteless) anti-US remarks go more or less ignored by the government, has the relationship with our longtime friends up north been irreversibly soured?
posted by swank6
on Mar 30, 2003 -
to what some anti-war protesters had to say this weekend about possible war with Iraq. Quicktime required.
posted by Ron
on Feb 19, 2003 -
American Peace Homepage.
"While most people, including most Americans, tend to believe that the United States has largely been a peaceful country until recently, in reality nothing could be further from the truth. Actually, the United States has been engaged in military operations for most of this country's history. Of all the things the United States can claim, it certainly has no claim to being a 'peace loving' country. [Visit this site to see] a table containing every year, from 1776 to the present - all of US history. Just click on the year to see who US troops were killing, or threatening to kill, in that year."
posted by Joey Michaels
on Jan 16, 2003 -