Posts Tagged ‘patriotism’

Daily Batman: We hold these truths to be self-evident

July 4, 2011


via Comically Vintage on the tumblr.

Don’t listen to the crackpots, kids.

69 Days of Wonder Woman, Day 38: Who the world needs me to be

December 7, 2010

All-Star Comics No. 8, featuring the first appearance of Wonder Woman, debuted in December, 1941. It hit the stands amidst the tumult following the Japanese strafing of Pearl Harbor on December 7th. After President Roosevelt’s Infamy Speech and declaration of war, patriotic fervor was wild. The response to the fortuitously back-storied and red-white-and-blue-attired Wonder Woman on the team of the Justice Society was overwhelming. The following month, January, she appeared in Sensation Comics No. 1, this time on the cover. Six months later, United States involvement in the second world war at full swing, Wonder Woman’s own title comic line debuted. It has not ceased publication since.

I’d like to later do a thing comparing Wonder Woman to all the Joan of Arc propoganda through the decades but I need to make dinner. Catch you on the flip.

E.E. Cummings month: “My sweet old etcetera”

August 27, 2010


via

my sweet old etcetera
aunt lucy during the recent
war could and what
is more did tell you just
what everybody was fighting

for,
my sister


via

isabel created hundreds
(and
hundreds) of socks not to
mention shirts fleaproof earwarmers
etcetera wristers etcetera, my


via

mother hoped that

i would die etcetera
bravely of course my father used
to become hoarse talking about how it was
a privilege and if only he
could meanwhile my


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self etcetera lay quietly
in the deep mud et

cetera
(dreaming,
et
     cetera, of
Your smile
eyes knees and of your Etcetera)

(E.E. Cummings. “My sweet old etcetera.” is 5. New York: Liveright, 1926.)

is 5 was a collection of satirical and anti-war poems which Cummings wrote during his time as an ambulance driver in France during the Great War. That’s when he also began working on his novel The Enormous Room.


via

The above letter of August 15, 1918, is transcribed:

“My Darling little sweetheart,

Just a few lines hoping that my letter finds you in the best of health, I’m very well at present and my family the same, Well loving, you see I’m faithfully thinking of you,

You know I love you very well my little heart, I am never loving anyone else,

If you are killed I will stay with you all the time and with my little baby if you give me one, I hope to see you very soon,

So will leave you now with my best remembrances from all my family,

Best love, from your loving little sweetheart, wife very soon.”

The beautiful and painstakingly artistic letter has recently become part of the Love and War exhibit at the Australian War Memorial, who are asking anyone who recognizes the couple, a Martha Gybert of Saint Sulpice, France, and the Australian soldier to whom she writes, to notify them as to what became of the two. They believe the letter may have made its way to Australia because it had either come over from France with the bride, or was returned with the soldier’s body and other effects. Obviously, the hope is that it is the former explanation. More info here.

Yesterday, in lieu of my previous service plan for the 100th birthday of Mother Teresa, I was called in to substitute for my ill colleague again. So, during the time the children write in their journals, I had them instead follow a basic form letter and write thank you notes, with drawings, to soldiers who will be serving in Afghanistan. The Cappy (he has been promoted now but calling him the Commie seems … “off”) is hooking it up because he knows the unit and the chaplain to whom I’ll be sending the letters, for which I’m so thankful. It was a spur-of-the-moment idea that ended up working out much better than I could have imagined; I initially thought it was hackneyed but I hadn’t counted on the children’s reaction to the letter-writing. The kids were genuinely fascinated by the project, and we traced over the world map in the classroom to demonstrate the countries their letters would cross before they arrived in their recipients’ hands.

I was surprised by how engrossed they were in the idea and how the details of why there are U.N. forces in Afghanistan at all seemed so revelatory to them. (I stuck mainly with the line that there are bad people there who are keeping the good people in the country from having the resources they need to succeed, so we and other forces are trying to help the good people get their country back from the bad; like, how do you explain the complexities of involvement in Afghanistan to fourth graders? Even explaining it to ourselves is problematic.)

When a girl told me, “My grandfather is a vet. He lives with us now,” and I said, “Oh, was he in World War II, or Korea?” and she replied, with a look at me like I was deranged, “Vietnam. My uncle was in the first war in Iraq,” I realized that these nine-year-old American children have grown up with the Towers down and all manner of skirmishes and action in the Middle East as a matter of course. They were so “in to” the project because the idea of a military presence in the Middle East, with attendant nightly television news reports of suicide bombers and attacks on bases, is so completely de rigeur to them as to be almost meaningless; unless someone in their life has been personally touched by the violence, it is just another part of the buzzing adult world that surrounds them.

For most, this was the first time it occurred to them to put a physically human face on stories that are a regular — and regularly ignored — part of their daily lives. This was a first time of actual connection, emphathetic thought and prayer for people serving around the globe in wartorn places that are just names on television for the kids.

For my part, I’d been concerned, because it is a parochial school, about taking care not to conflate patriotism with a love of God because that can lead down such dangerous behavioral and judgemental alleyways, as well as being always wary of the wavering line between informed support and general jingoism. But I was surprised that, beyond drawing war planes and helicopters or crosses and flags, the kids wanted to know more about the actual lives of the people who would be receiving their letters: I learned something, too, from this project, and that was that I can be as guilty of stereotyping an abundantly adamant yellow-ribbon-sporting, SUV-driving fellow citizen as I suppose they might be of me, who approaches an understanding of conflicts in what I thought was a less black-and-white way. I don’t know it all and neither do they. These kids drew their symbols and wrote out their dutifully trite declarations of support, but it was from a place of real love, and curiosity, and empathy. They are the next generation who will decide how to successfully negotiate international conflicts, and they are not a lost nor entirely manipulable cause. It was a very sobering and educational experience for us all. Probably more so for me than them, but I am glad that they seemed to have derived a real pleasure from the project.

Daily Batman: We hold these truths to be self-evident

July 4, 2010


via Comically Vintage on the tumblr.

Don’t listen to the crackpots, kids.

The flag is NOT a weapon

June 13, 2010


“USA 101” by amadteaparty on the flickr.

I was taking a break from yardwork to make lunch and my daughter was dancing around me swinging something little and slappy on a stick at me. This exchange followed:

Me: Dude! Quit hitting me with that.
Kidlet: (continues trying to hit me)
Me: What even is that?
Kidlet: (stills long enough for me to see it is a miniature U.S. flag on a thin wooden dowel)
Me: Oh, no. That is not — (starts hitting me again) — Hey! Not okay! The flag is NOT a weapon!
Kidlet: The flag IS a weapon! (holds up the dowel end and mimicks stabbing the air Psycho-style)


“American Headache” via the awesome broken spectre on the tumblr.

Tomorrow is Flag Day here in the United States and while I am wary of overdoing it in an oppressive way such as our founding fathers would not have favored and accidentally sewing the seeds of jingoism, I do expect informed respect for patriotic symbols, especially the flag. (See my vitriolic Memorial Day entry for expansion on the issue of this inner conflict and dislike of corporate co-optioning of patriotism) Guess I’ll use it as a jumping-off point to explain to her about flags and traditions, etc.


Steve McQueen.

I did a good, short unit on the National Anthem with the Scamps. Maybe I’ll dig that out of my current tutoree’s textbook when I see her this week, since her mom muscled the school library in to letting her take all her books home for the summer (I’ve said it before but the woman is literally a bulldozer in pumps; it is all I can do not to submissively pee when she enters a room). I remember some of it.


via hellobaltimore
Did You Know? The giant flag about which Francis Scott Key wrote seeing wave over Fort McHenry at the end of the Battle of Baltimore was made in just about six weeks by Mary Young Pickersgill, with the aid of her mother and her thirteen-year-old daughter, Caroline, along with her nieces and two freed African-American houesmaids. They were commissioned by Major George Armistead to make the largest flag ever to be flown over a fort up until that time — the apocryphal story goes that he told the women he wanted to make sure the British could see it. The flag is presently going through a restoration to the tune of 18 million dollars right now in preparation for its centrality to the new, redesigned Smithsonian National Museum of American History.


via leotarded on the tumblr.

A widow with a spine of steel, Mrs. Pickersgill was one of the first independent female business owners in America. She successfully negotiated contracts for her flagmaking business with the United States Army and the Navy. She was also a passionate humanitarian, being notable in town for “color-blind” hiring in her sewing shop, with a special bent for women’s issues: she founded the Impartial Female Humane Society, which provided school vouchers for young girl children of any race or religion to be educated, along with the provision of networking and employment to their single mothers.

The More You Know.


Flag kicks from Converse. Chux are cool, yes, but please remember they are owned by Nike. I’m just sayin’.

Guess I should have saved all these flag facts for tomorrow, but I figured I had better strike while the iron of my interest was hot — I know what a fickle creature I am, and by tomorrow the flame of my curiosity about flags, Mrs. Pickersgill, and the history of the women’s movement would have died down to embers at best.

A touch of HST with your plastic red, white, and blue pinwheels on the graves of the veterans we will never get back and a nice hot dog and sale on sheets at the Macy’s. Happy Memorial Day.

May 30, 2010


Hunter S. Thompson as sketched by Robert Rodriguez.

This may be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves; finally just lay back and say it — that we are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms at all about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.


It is American to be thin, you know.

The kids are turned off from politics, they say. Most of ’em don’t even want to hear about it. All they want to do these days is lie around on waterbeds and smoke that goddamn marrywanna… yeah, and just between you and me Fred thats probably all for the best.

Maybe, but I think it’d be great if you turned back on, because things really will fall in to ever greater shit the more apathetic orphans there are who set themselves adrift from current events. People in the past and up to the present have made great sacrifices for a comfortable standard of living in America and I believe strongly that we owe it to them to return the favor in the smallest ways we can, which include love, thanks, support …


Emmy Rossum in the style of the pinups popular during WWII.

… and also, and I think most importantly, we can demonstrate our empathy and gratitude by casting our votes on pertinent legislation and for compassionate and logical politicians who do not pander to the middle but appreciate a balance in their policymaking. I can get as terribly discouraged as anyone by the state of this wicked modern world but I also don’t want to give up hoping that we can make peace on earth an actuality.


The ugly fallout from the American Dream has been coming down on us at a pretty consistent rate since Sitting Bull’s time-and the only real difference now … is that we seem to be on the verge of ratifying the fallout and forgetting the Dream itself.

Let’s don’t let that happen? And let’s don’t let this day be about materialism and stuffing our faces? I was so excited today at the end of Mass when our closing song was “Let There Be Peace on Earth,” and what was even better, it was kidlet’s first time hearing the song — she fell in love with it and she’s been belting it out about the house all day as we prepare for a barbeque for church and neighborhood friends. What a great hope that gives me for the future.


Hunter S. Thompson photographed by Al Satterwhite on the island of Cozumel, Mexico, in March 1974, while being interviewed.

Please do buck the trends of apathy and, conversely, overly-stringent, empty-rhetoric-loving, non-specifics-seeking bandwagon-jumping and instead make compassionate, well-informed voter choices. Let’s respect the veterans we remember with love today while doing our best to make sure we make fewer graves on which to place flags and flowers in the future.

All quotes come from Fear and Loathing: On The Campaign Trail ’72. (Serialized in Rolling Stone, 1972, and pub. by Straight Arrow Books, 1973). HST followed the campaign of George McGovern. He also commented presciently that to win the American presidency it seemed one had to be some kind of rock star these days (this is a criticism of the ever-growing circus of presidential campaigns and not of the present president, himself.)