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True Adventures in Better Homes

True Adventures in Better Homes - Here is a collision of two worlds: men’s adventure magazines or “sweats” meets Better Homes and Gardens. These photocollages are set against the backdrop of the McCarthy era, advertising, sexual repression, WWII and the Korean War. The cool, insular world of mid-century modern living glossed over all danger and darkness, which the heroic male fought off in every corner.
posted by Artw on Apr 16, 2012 - 44 comments

Adorable

Ball girl saves Cedrik-Marcel Stebe from gigantic bug at the Australian Open (SLYT). [more inside]
posted by Ritchie on Jan 20, 2012 - 91 comments

The Psychopathology of Extreme Heroism

SciAm takes a look at the fine line between clinical pyschopaths and real-life superheroes. Related: Addicted to Being Good
posted by saulgoodman on Mar 31, 2011 - 46 comments

Hero of WWI. Traitor of WWII. Honored in Milltown, NJ.

A Local Street and a Lesson in History [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 7, 2010 - 20 comments

Zeitoun

Abdelrahman Zeitoun is a Syrian American businessman who spent the days after Katrina paddling around New Orleans in a canoe, saving elderly people and feeding stranded pets. His efforts were brought to a halt when he was detained by the Bush administration on suspicion of being a terrorist. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Aug 10, 2009 - 30 comments

Witold Pilecki

On this day in 1941 a man named Witold Pilecki deliberately got himself arrested and sent to Auschwitz. Pilecki was a spy sent in to investigate the camp and establish underground resistance cells. He sent reports to Warsaw, which passed them to London. In 1942, his reports that prisoners were being gassed were not believed. [more inside]
posted by up in the old hotel on Sep 19, 2008 - 47 comments

Diver Bill

Wearing an old-fashioned diving suit, William "Diver Bill" Walker worked in 14 feet of murky water beneath Winchester Cathedral, digging out the old timber and peat foundations and replacing them with bags of concrete cement and concrete blocks. Staying underwater six hours per day for five years (1906-1911), Diver Bill moved 25,800 bags of concrete and laid 114,900 concrete blocks, saving the Norman building from certain collapse. [more inside]
posted by chuckdarwin on Apr 9, 2008 - 38 comments

Operation Anthropoid

Operation Anthropoid. In 1942, a group of Czech and Slovak exiles parachuted into their Nazi-occupied homeland and assassinated (hi-res pictures, scroll down) SS-Obergruppenfuehrer Reinhard Heydrich, one of the architects of the Final Solution, the "Butcher of Prague." For the first time since the end of the World War Two, a German museum is offering a close look at "Operation Anthropoid," the codename for the only successful assassination of a member of Adolf Hitler's inner circle.
posted by matteo on Jan 31, 2006 - 36 comments

RIP

Hugh Thompson Jr., dies at 62.

My Lai. (NSFW photo) "'We had conspired with the government of South Vietnam to literally destroy the hopes, aspirations and emotional stability of thirteen thousand human beings....This was not war it is genocide....'."

"Thompson landed his chopper between the troops and the shelter, then jumped out and confronted the lieutenant in charge of the chase...Furious, Thompson announced he was taking the civilians out. He went back to Colburn and Andreotta and told them if the Americans fired, to shoot them."
posted by Smedleyman on Jan 6, 2006 - 69 comments

Andrzej Munk: Wry Smiles, Suspicious Glances

Eroica. Film director Andrzej Munk’s tragic death at age thirty-nine might have formed the plot for one of his own darkly sardonic works: a Polish Jew and an active resistance worker during the war, he was returning home from shooting his film Passenger at the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1961 when an oncoming truck struck his car. He left behind only four feature films, but his influence was prodigious. As one of the key figures of the postwar “Polish School” of filmmaking, along with Wajda and Kawalerowicz, he helped to shape a vision that broke with the official social realist optimism of Eastern-bloc dogma and cast a skeptical eye on official notions of heroism, nationalism, and life in the Stalinist-occupied state. Mentor to Roman Polanski and Jerzy Skolimowski, his influence can be felt even in the films of a later generation of Polish filmmakers — directors like Zanussi and Kieslowski. More inside.
posted by matteo on Dec 7, 2005 - 7 comments

"Leave no man behind"

"Leave no man behind" is the tagline for the new Scott/Bruckheimer battlepic, Blackhawk Down.

In October of 1993, US Rangers and Delta Force personnel stationed outside of Mogadishu, Somalia, launched what should've been a 30 minute grab-and-go mission to capture higher-ups under the command of Mohammed Aidid, a Somali warlord. Before it was all over, many hours later, 19 US servicemen and 1000+ Somalis were dead.

PBS has a decent writeup on the Bakara Market ambush, but I still feel like I am missing something. Some sources share the movie's claim that the US was there to support humanitarian relief efforts, that Aidid was preventing the distribution of food. Others say we were there to protect American oil interests.

So what really happened on that day in October 1993? The movie opens on Friday, I saw it last night, and I am still exhausted. Admittedly, this film is far better than Pearl Harbor (no contrived love-triangles are used as a framing device here), but for all the simulated shooting and on-screen heroism, it still seems hard to make out the truth through all of the Hollywood dust. So I guess I am wondering, can we prevent Hollywood's versions of history from replacing the truth (or even the truth-as-we-knew-it)? Should we even try? Is it even possible?
posted by grabbingsand on Jan 16, 2002 - 39 comments

"Today's heroes don't have to do anything; they just need to be noble victims"

"Today's heroes don't have to do anything; they just need to be noble victims" The people who lost their lives on September 11 -- office workers, firefighters, airline pilots -- have almost unanimously been labeled "hereos." Were they really, or were they "just" victims who tragically died while "doing their jobs"? According to this article, we should be hesitant to loosen the requirements for heroism: "Heroes often end up as role models, a task not well suited for victims. Moreover, by lowering the bar for heroism, we cheapen the word and, in some ways, the exploits of people who have earned the right to be called that in the past. " (via a & l daily).
posted by pardonyou? on Jan 15, 2002 - 58 comments

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