How is this antiwar?

I found this collection of photos on a fashion blog. They appeared in Vogue Italia a couple of months ago. I’m not usually interested in fashion (or very knowledgeable about that world) but I am curious about the anti-war nature of art.

When I first saw them I would not have thought of them as antiwar, except that the flickr title is Make Love Not War. They are lovely photographs. The photographer, Steven Meisel, has worked with Madonna. I’m pretty sure the MTV programming of my childhood makes me especially susceptible to his style.

But how are these photographs antiwar?

For me the answer to that question came to me with this photograph, which reminds me of M * A * S * H. Here is an […]

Blue Beetle: Antiwar Comic

A couple of years ago I read an essay about the contradictions of antiwar literature. The essay was written by Kenneth Burke in response to a 1930’s publication of an antiwar photography book titled The First World War: A Photographic History. Burke’s essay was titled War, Response, and Contradiction and clarified many of the pitfalls of using shock ? art as antiwar.

The pitfalls of antwar art have many modern examples. Naive artist may in fact be spreading pro-war propaganda disguised as antiwar art.

But John Rodgers, writer of DC Comics’ Blue Beetle manages to invoke the contradictions and pitfalls, while writing in the superhero genre, and come up with a story that sings its antiwar message loud and proud.

The main characters in this issue of […]

Before the War it Was the War

I started a new job today, painting houses. One of my co-workers put on a radio station, KGNU. This station has a very pronounced political slant. Another co-worker called it the propaganda machine ?.

And much of it was definitely propaganda. And even if it’s antiwar propaganda, that stuff is annoying.

But one of the programs did catch my attention, Before the War it Was the War is an audio-documentary on Lebannese blogger: Mazen Kerbaj.

Kerbaj is an artist, living in Lebanon. During the most recent bombings of Beruit, he kept a blog of what was going on.

I want to listen to the program again and spend some time reading his blog. I could […]

Silver Surfer: Antiwar Comic Book

The Silver Surfer has a long reputation as the bleeding heart ? hero of Marvel Comics. I haven’t yet seen the new Fantastic Four movie, which features Silver Surfer, but I hope they keep his tender/compassionate nature.

Just in time for the new movie, Marvel Comics is publishing a 4-part comic series: Silver Surfer Requiem, written by J. Michael Straczynski. This month the 3rd part of the series was published and it was tale of antiwar.

Spoilers Warning

The basic premise of the miniseries is that Silver Surfer has a terminal illness. The first two issues he is on planet Earth saying good-bye to his adopted home and friends. In the third issue, Silver Surfer begins his journey to his home planet, Zenn-La. But on the way […]

Antiwar Text: The Martyr’s Mirror or The Bloody Theatre

I found an interesting lecture by Julia Kasdorf that she gave at Penn State last April on The Martyrs Mirror, an explicitly anti-war text in the Mennonite tradition.

Mirror of the Martyrs: The Martyr’s Mirror (Thieleman J. van Braght, 1660) and its American Legacy

Author: Julia Kasdorf

Fri, Apr 13, 2007

Download File – 57.4 MB

Listen To This Podcast (Streaming Audio)

July 23rd, 2007 | Tags: , , | Category: Ahimsa | Comments are closed

Thesis research, Murakami, and Taste of Salt

I haven’t been writing much these past few weeks. I’ve had some personal issues to take care of instead. But I have been researching my critical thesis. That means I’ve been watching hours of lectures by and interviews with Joseph Campbell. I’ve also just finished reading Kafka on the Shore. I read Wild Sheep Chase a couple of years ago and wrote this review. My response to Kafka on the Shore is lukewarm compared to Wild Sheep Chase. There were sections of the novel that dragged and I had to force myself to continue. But some aspects were delightly such as the librarian assistant who befriends young Kafka, Johnny Walker and Colonel Sanders, and the Stone. Now I am reading Taste of Salt. This is a young adult novel about modern Haiti. The three narrators are: Djo, a street boy who begins the novel by telling his story from a hospital bed after being firebombed; Jeremie, a young girl who is being educated by nuns in hopes of escaping the slums of Port-au-Prince; and President […]

Road Work by Jack Lewis

In Road Work (Operation Homecoming, Random House 2006) by Jack Lewis tells what I would call an anti-war story.

I know Jack through Zoetrope, where he is a member of the Antiwar Poetics & Writing Office. While he is anti-war, he is expressly not anti-military which may seem like a paradox but is one that many soldiers and families of soldiers have to deal with. He calls it his veteran’s agnosticism ? and says he won’t sell out his friends to take a stand ?.

That’s key to the stories success: not taking a stand. That is what makes the writing powerful anti-war writing. It doesn’t take a stand, which would really just be a disguised pro-war activity. Isn’t that what war is about: choosing a side, taking a stand, defending a way of life?

November 11th, 2005 | Tags: | Category: Ahimsa, Long Tail Reader, Poiesis | Comments are closed

Antiwar Contradictions

Along the lines of my last post, Sounds of Peace, about anti-war literature actually having pro-war implications, I came across an essay by Kenneth Burke in The Philosophy of Literary Form which concerns anti-war literature and the associated contradictions. Burke discusses the antiwar photography book The First World War: A Photographic History published in 1933. Burke writes: It is questionable whether the feelings of horror, repugnance, hatred would furnish the best groundwork as a deterrent to war. They are extremely militaristic attitudes, being in much the same category of emotion as one might conceivably experience when plunging his bayonet into the flesh of the enemy. And they might well provide the firmest basis upon which the heroism ? of a new war could be erected. and I have never seen anyone turn from The Iliad a-froth with desire for slaughter. .such a human picture might be less likely to encourage the hysteria which, in its intensity, can be converted into its antithesis at a moment’s notice, becoming the counterhysteria of rabidity and ferocity.

Samuel Clemens said No War! ?

I came across this article about Mark Twain’s anti-war writings. Did you know that Mark Twain was an anti-war activist? I didn’t. This article explains why history has forgoten that part of his life. When I mentioned this to a friend who as reading Lies My Teacher Told Me who told me other startling lapses in my (and I’d guess other’s) knowledge of U.S. history. For example, did you know that Helen Keller was an active radical socialist and helped found the ACLU? Nope. Neither did I.

Mark Twain’s Anti-Imperialism, Then and Now by Jim Zwick (2004).

The article has many links to actual essays and letters by Twain.


July 30th, 2005 | Tags: | Category: Ahimsa | One comment - (Comments are closed)