Archive for ‘War’

October 9, 2018

Auto-destructive Art

Balloon Girl

Auto-Destructive Art (ADA) is a form of art coined in 1959 by Gustav Metzger, an artist born in Bavaria that moved to Britain in 1939. Auto-Destructive Art was highly influenced by World War II. After the many casualties and mass destruction, people around the world were distraught and horrified. The extensive use of aircraft and the introduction of nuclear weapons greatly inspired artists to approach art using new means such as corrosion, stress, or heat.

ADA represents the war and its casualties. Artists in this time period wanted to explore issues in new ways. In order to explore these issues in the industrial society, Metzger encouraged artists to work with scientists and engineers.

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September 22, 2018

Emeco 1006

Emeco

The Emeco [ehm-uh-coh1006 [ten-oh-six], also known as the ‘Navy chair,’ is an aluminum chair manufactured by Emeco, a furniture manufacturer based in Pennsylvania. Emeco founder Wilton C. Dinges developed the Emeco 1006 chair in 1944 in collaboration with the Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA).

It was originally designed for the US Navy, which needed a chair for the deck of battleships that could survive sea air and a torpedo blast to the side of the ship. The chairs had eye bolts under the seat, so they could be attached to a ship-deck using cables. When competing for the Navy contract, Dinges is reported to have demonstrated the chair’s durability by throwing it out of an eighth floor window of a Chicago hotel where the Navy was examining submissions. It bounced, but didn’t bend or break.

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May 29, 2018

Trust, But Verify

Reagan and Gorbachev by Terry Mosher

Trust, but verify is a Russian proverb that became well known in English when used by President Ronald Reagan on multiple occasions in the context of nuclear disarmament.

Suzanne Massie, an American author living in Russia, met with President Ronald Reagan many times between 1984 and 1987. She taught him the proverb, advising him that ‘The Russians like to talk in proverbs. It would be nice of you to know a few. You are an actor – you can learn them very quickly.’ The proverb was adopted as a signature phrase by Reagan, who subsequently used it frequently when discussing U.S. relations with the Soviet Union. Using proverbs that the Russians could relate to may have helped relations between the two leaders.

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May 8, 2018

Flower Power

Levitate the Pentagon

Flower power was a slogan used during the late 1960s and early 1970s as a symbol of passive resistance and non-violence ideology. It is rooted in the opposition movement to the Vietnam War. The expression was coined by the American beat poet Allen Ginsberg in 1965 as a means to transform war protests into peaceful affirmative spectacles.

Hippies embraced the symbolism by dressing in clothing with embroidered flowers and vibrant colors, wearing flowers in their hair, and distributing flowers to the public, becoming known as ‘flower children.’ The term later became generalized as a modern reference to the hippie movement and the so-called counterculture of drugs, psychedelic music, psychedelic art, and social permissiveness.

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October 24, 2017

Barry Seal

Barry Seal

Barry Seal (1939 – 1986) was an American airline pilot who became a major drug smuggler for the Medellín Cartel. When Seal was convicted of smuggling charges, he became an informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration and testified in several major drug trials.

He was murdered in 1986 by contract killers hired by Pablo Escobar, head of the Medellín Cartel.

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August 12, 2017

Mission Creep

Black Hawk Down

Mission creep is the expansion of a project or mission beyond its original goals, often after initial successes. It is usually considered undesirable due to the dangerous path of each success breeding more ambitious attempts, stopping only when a final, often catastrophic, failure occurs.

The term was originally applied exclusively to military operations, but has recently been applied to many different fields. It first appeared in 1993, in a ‘Washington Post’ article concerning the UN peacekeeping mission during the Somali Civil War.

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February 20, 2017

Troll Army

pepe

The ‘web brigades,’ also known in English media as the ‘troll army,’ are state-sponsored anonymous Internet political commentators and trolls linked to the Russian government.

Participants report that they are organized into teams and groups of commentators that participate in Russian and international political blogs and Internet forums using sockpuppets (fraudulent accounts) and large-scale orchestrated trolling (harassment) and disinformation campaigns to promote pro-Putin and pro-Russian propaganda. It has also been found that Wikipedia articles were targeted by Russian internet propaganda activities.

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August 21, 2016

Efraim Diveroli

Arms and the dudes

Efraim Diveroli (b. 1985) was the founder of AEY Inc., a major weapons contractor for the U.S. Department of Defense that was prosecuted for violating an American arms embargo against China. In 2007, AEY provided 42-year-old substandard Chinese ammunition in ‘crumbling boxes’ that was re-branded and re-packaged. Documents showed that the company totaled more than $200 million in contracts to supply ammunition, assault rifles, and other weapons in 2007, despite the fact that his partner, David Packouz, and Diveroli were in their early 20s at the time.

As a result of the publicity surrounding the contract and the age of the arms dealers, the United States Army began a review of its contracting procedures. He was indicted on several dozen counts of fraud, and eventually pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy. He was sentenced to four years in federal prison. He is a subject of a 2016 Todd Phillips drama comedy film, ‘War Dogs,’ in which he is portrayed by Jonah Hill. The film was based on a ‘Rolling Stone’ article by Guy Lawson which he later adapted into a book titled ‘Arms and the Dudes.’ The film is heavily fictionalized and dramatized, and many of its events, such as the duo driving through Iraq, never took place.

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March 13, 2016

How to Photograph an Atomic Bomb

National Atomic Testing Museum

How to Photograph an Atomic Bomb is a book written by Peter Kuran and published in 2006 by VCE. It documents the stories of the men who photographed US nuclear weapons tests between 1945–1963 and the techniques they used to capture nuclear blasts on film. The book contains 250 photos and 12 technical diagrams, some of which were previously classified.

Research on the book began while Kuran was working as an animator for ‘Star Wars.’ He was able to interview and collect material from photographers who witnessed the blasts, whom he calls unrecognized patriots. A traveling exhibit based on the book was purchased by the Atomic Testing Museum and put on display in 2007. In 2010, the ‘New York Times’ featured a 23-image slideshow on its website with photos taken from the book accompanied by an audio recording of George Yoshitake, then one of the few surviving cameramen.

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March 10, 2016

Shoe-throwing Incidents

Bush Shoeing by Dmitry Borshch

Shoe-throwing (also called shoeing) and showing the sole of one’s shoe as an insult are forms of protest in many parts of the world. Posters of George W. Bush’s face have long appeared through the Middle East with shoes attached to them, and some people have called former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice ‘kundara,’ meaning ‘shoe.’ Shoeing received widespread attention after Muntadhar al-Zaidi threw his shoes at then President George W. Bush during a 2008 press conference in Baghdad.

‘This is a farewell kiss from the Iraqi people, you dog!’ yelled al-Zaidi in Arabic as he threw his first shoe towards the president. ‘This is for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq!’ he shouted as he threw his second shoe. President Bush ducked twice, avoiding being hit by the shoes. Since the al-Zaidi incident, copycat incidents in Europe, North America, India, China, Hong Kong, Iran, Turkey, and Australia have been reported. Shoes are considered unclean in the Arab World, but Matthew Cassel of ‘The Electronic Intifada’ has expressed the opinion that the Western media overplayed the phenomenon as being ‘Arab’ in particular.’

February 1, 2016

Survivor Guilt

sophies choice

war by leif parsons

Survivor guilt is a mental condition that occurs when a person perceives themselves to have done wrong by surviving a traumatic event when others did not. It may be found among survivors of combat, natural disasters, epidemics, among the friends and family of those who have died by suicide, and in non-mortal situations such as among those whose colleagues are laid off. The experience and manifestation of survivor’s guilt will depend on an individual’s psychological profile.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders defines it as a significant symptom of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Characteristic symptoms include anxiety and depression, social withdrawal, sleep disturbance and nightmares, physical complaints and mood swings with loss of drive.

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January 18, 2016

For Want of a Nail

Butterfly

camel nose

For Want of a Nail is a proverb, having numerous variations over several centuries, reminding that seemingly unimportant acts or omissions can have grave and unforeseen consequences: ‘For want of a nail the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe the horse was lost. For want of a horse the rider was lost. For want of a rider the message was lost. For want of a message the battle was lost. For want of a battle the kingdom was lost. And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.’

The earliest reference to the full proverb may refer to the death of Richard III of England at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485. This short variation of the proverb was published in ‘Fifty Famous People’ by James Baldwin. Richard III is unhorsed in the rhyme, but, historically Richard’s horse was merely mired in the mud. The reference to losing a horse is directly linked to the titular character famously shouting ‘A Horse! A Horse! My Kingdom for a Horse!,’ in Shakespeare’s ‘Richard III’ (c. 1591).

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