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When comic book ‘heroes’ were sexist women beaters

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We don’t have to time travel like Dr. Sam Beckett to find out just how terrible things were in the past. No, we’ve got the Internet to do that for us.

If you’ve ever wondered how easy sexism, misogyny and violence is passed on generation to generation then look no further than this brutal gallery featuring some of the world’s favorite cartoon characters and comic book superheroes spanking women. Their actions are supposed to be funny. Their actions are supposed to be normal. It’s even encouraged by their fellow comic strip characters and worse accepted as a suitable punishment by the women being hit.

Dr. Beckett would have had a hell of a time trying to sort all this sexist crap out and “change history for the better.”

Between the 1940s and 1970s, spanking in comic books appeared to be mandatory. Virtually every comic book hero from Batman, Daredevil, the Phantom, Li’l Abner and Superman indulged in this kind of abuse. Let’s be clear Lois Lane would have dumped Clark Kent for his psychotic penchant for domestic abuse. Bruce Wayne would have been put on at least on community service for his cosplay sadism. Then there were all the dimwits in the newspaper “Funnies” who only reinforced the worst kind of behavior.

The spanking may have stopped but the sexism is still very much a part of today’s comic books as can be seen by the cover of Spider-Woman #1 or through the Hawkeye Intiative. No doubt Dr. Beckett is out there right now trying to fix that too….
 
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More sexist superhero violence, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
There’s a Tumblr full of Nazis getting punched because that will always be awesome
01.24.2017
09:01 am

Topics:
The wrong side of history

Tags:
Nazis


 
It’s astonishing me how punching Nazis has become a controversial discussion since that wonderful, WONDERFUL footage of fucking evil shitstain and actual neo-Nazi Richard Spencer getting decked by what looks like a Black Bloc protestor went all-consumingly viral over the weekend. I know you’ve seen it so I’m not even going to link it here. It’s been set to music, captioned, and shared on social media in some form or another probably more times than the USA has people.

And there are some milquetoast pearl-clutchers who imagine themselves to be on the left who deplore the assault committed against this actual genocide fanboy…

What idiots and enablers they are! You punch Nazis, because the only language they understand is the language of violence and punishment. There is no “let’s discuss this” with a Nazi. That implies that Nazism is just another point of view that can be discussed.

It’s not. It’s NAZISM.

Nazism is being normalized now, and that’s terrifying. When he got punched, Spencer was being interviewed for television as though white supremacism was just another viewpoint in the political landscape. It’s not. It doesn’t matter how sophisticated his messaging is and it doesn’t matter if he hides behind the euphemistic “Alt-Right” tag (a label he invented in an attempt to make palatable the fact that he’s a neo-Nazi). You don’t normalize a Nazi. And when you deplore his spectacularly awesome and life-affirming assault and say we should have a discussion about his views, YOU’RE contributing to the normalization of Nazis at a time when society needs to be punching them. Love doesn’t fix these people. Neither does punching, but the point isn’t fixing them, the point is showing them they’re vulnerable and robbing them of their newfound boldness in expressing their psychopathic genocidal wills to power. The point is to steal their fearlessness; the alternative is they steal your life. Understood?

If your dad or grandpa went overseas to kill Nazis, relax, it’s OK for you to punch one. If Nazis confined, enslaved, or exterminated any of your family members, it should go without saying that you can punch a Nazi and that’s just fine. Hell, if you went to see Captain America: The First Avenger and cheered when Red Skull’s body burned up in the Tesseract (oh, sorry, spoiler alert, Captain America wins in his own movie), even that qualifies you as a fully licensed puncher of Nazi scum. 

To those who would that say that since I’m hand-waving violence I’m no better than they are, fuck you, I’m SO MUCH better than they are. I’m saying society must immediately put the fear into the growing white supremacist movement (and you don’t even have to literally punch anyone to do that). You, conversely, are essentially talking about appeasing Hitler. Fucking prioritize. Even if you don’t want to commit to taking that swing, merely approving of punching them helps more than hand-wringing over how we mustn’t “dehumanize” them. They debased their own humanity when they became full-time philosophical and political advocates of institutionalized and systemic bigotry.

I’d like to share the perspective of Warren Ellis here—the British author, not Nick Cave’s violin player, though I’ll bet he doesn’t much care for Nazis either:

All I can tell you is, from my perspective as an old English socialist and cultural liberal who is probably way to the woolly left from most of you and actually has a medal for services to free speech — yes, it is always correct to punch Nazis. They lost the right to not be punched in the face when they started spouting genocidal ideologies that in living memory killed millions upon millions of people. And anyone who stands up and respectfully applauds their perfect right to say these things should probably also be punched, because they are clearly surplus to human requirements. Nazis do not need a hug. Nazis do not need to be indulged. Their world doesn’t get better until you’ve been removed from it. Your false equivalences mean nothing. Their agenda is always, always, extermination. Nazis need a punch in the face.

Which brings us to “Nazis Gettin’ Punched.” It’s a single-purpose Tumblr page that’s exactly what it says on the box. “A satisfying repository of images, still or in-motion, actual or fictional, featuring those who espouse Nazi ideology being struck by mighty but non-lethal blows.” Plenty of Captain America and other comics panels are to be found there, along with stills and clips from TV and film (including Raiders of the Lost Ark, unsurprisingly), and even one marvelous real-life example, depicting righteous takedowns of the actual worst people in the history of Western Civilization. Because if there’s one thing you’d goddamn think sensible people could all agree on: wasting pigs is radical, man.
 

 

“April 13, 1985, Växjö, Sweden. Danuta Danielsson, 38, the daughter of a concentration camp survivor, strikes a marching Neo-Nazi with her handbag. This photo was taken by Hans Runesson, and was named “Picture of the Century” by the Photographic Historical Society of Sweden.”
 

 
More Nazis getting what’s coming to them, after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Take a chilling look inside the Glore Psychiatric Museum


A mannequin peering out of a ‘Lunatic Box’ on display at the Glore Psychiatric Museum in Saint Joseph, Missouri.
 
In 1874 the state of Missouri opened the “State Hospital for the Insane #2” more commonly referred to as the “Lunatic Asylum #2.” The asylum prided itself as the kind of institution that took on the “noble work” of “reviving hope in the human heart and dispelling the portentous clouds that penetrate the intellects of minds diseased.” While this claim does sound noble, the methods that were used to “penetrate” the minds of the patients who found themselves in one of the institution’s 25 beds were often medieval at best. At their worst the treatments administered by the staff were variations of what would be considered torture and were often experimental in nature—usually causing more harm than good.

The asylum would fill all of its available beds. In 1899 the institution changed its name to the far more friendly sounding St. Joseph State Hospital. Five decades later over 3,000 patients had passed through the hospital including dangerous criminals who had long taken leave of their mental faculties. These criminally insane people walked the halls alongside of residents who were struggling with depression. The hospital would continue to operate for 127 years. In 1967 a long-time employee of the Missouri Department of Mental Health, George Glore opened a museum in one of St. Joseph’s many wards. Glore’s on-site museum housed various mental health related artifacts that had been used over the centuries to treat patients with mental health problems, such as the horrific sounding “Lunatic Box” which was routinely used to treat patients that could not be easily controlled and were prone to act out, perhaps violently. The box, which strongly resembled a fucking coffin of all things, would house the patient in complete darkness in a standing position for hours. Patients were not even allowed to leave the box to go to the bathroom, leaving them to do their business in the box until a member of the staff felt that they had reached the appropriate level of zen.

In 1997 what is now known as the Glore Psychiatric Museum moved to a large, three-story building in order to provide enough room for its vast array of oddities. Below you’ll find many images from exhibits on display at the Glore including some haunting artwork done by patients who resided at St. Joseph’s during its century-plus existence. If you’re planning on visiting Saint Joseph, Missouri anytime soon the museum is open Monday to Sunday and kids get in FREE. Yikes.
 

A long shot of the ‘Lunatic Box’ which was used during the 18th and 19th century.
 

A display containing 110,000 cigarette boxes that were collected by a resident of the St. Joseph State Hospital.
 
More from the Glore after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Vintage publications attempt to diagnose transvestism, masturbation & other sexual ‘deviations’


The cover of the 1960 book ‘Transvestism Today: The Phenomenon of Men Who Dress Like Women.’
 
According to a note on the back cover of the 1960 book Transvestism Today: The Phenomenon of Men Who Dress Like Women, viewing the book was only for the eyes of those affiliated with the medical community, psychoanalysts or students currently pursuing degrees in “psychology or social studies.” Written by the rather prolific Dr. Edward Podolsky and noted “hack” Carlson Wade, the duo authored many books together on sexuality and psychology. Including The Modern Sex Manual in 1942 which divulged some rather stunning revelations such as the “abnormal” act of masturbation can “dull” the feeling of intercourse:

Masturbation, if it has been indulged in excessively before marriage maybe be a cause of lack of orgasm during coitus. In women, masturbation brings into play abnormal channels of nerve stimulation, and as these are not stimulated during the normal act, the woman fails to achieve and orgasm. In most cases if masturbation is dropped completely and normal sexual activity substituted for it, the normal channels of nerve stimulation will in time bring about a normal enjoyment of the act.

It seems all that is missing from the good doctor’s assessment is that you might also go blind while pleasuring yourself. Podolsky and Wade’s Transvestism Today book is chock full of photographs of famous drag queens such as the alluring Parisian “Coccinelle” (born Jacques Charles Dufresnoy). Coccinelle was notable for many reasons including being the roommate of Salvador Dali muse Amanda Lear and the first French-born man to undergo sexual reassignment surgery which was performed in Casablanca in 1958.

When it comes to Wade’s contributions to the literary world, in addition to to his many collaborations with Dr. Podolsky (including six manuals from 1963 referred to as their “Epic Sexual Behavior Series”) he is also responsible for a series of sleazy pulp paperbacks such as a book on Coccinelle published in 1963 titled She-Male: The Sex-Reversal True Life Story of COCCINELLE. There was also a claim made by Bob Blackburn, the executor of Ed Wood’s estate (on behalf of his second wife Kathy O’Hara) that Wood was actually Carlson Wade and had written the 1958 book by Wade Conquering Goddess. And just because I love to throw our DM readers a good old-fashioned curveball, Wade also penned loads of trash under the name of “Ken Worthy” among other pseudonyms. But as I often do, I digress. Why don’t we take a look at the table of contents from Worthy/Wade/not-Wood 1967 book The Queer Path, shall we?:
 

The Table of Contents from Wade Carlson’s book ‘The Queer Path,’ 1967.
 
Moving on, here’s more anti-gay rantings from Worthy/Wade as published in 1965’s The New Homosexual Revolution lest you have any doubt of the author’s feelings about the gay community of the 1960s:

As the ranks of the homosexual is constantly swelling by greater and greater acceptance of this condition as an ‘illness,’ the ranks of the male prostitute is also swelled.

I’ve included images of both pages from both authors’ books as well as other salacious imagery that I’m sure will make you wonder if Dr. Podolsky perhaps got his degree out of a box of Cracker Jacks.
 

A page from ‘Transvestism Today: The Phenomenon of Men Who Dress Like Women.’
 

An illustration accompanying Carlson Wade’s article on the ‘strange erotic impulse’ of ‘Vampirism.’
 
More after the jump….

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
That time David Duke and KKK patrolled the Mexican border…


A 27-year-old David Duke (the then Grand Dragon of the KKK) helping to keep the Mexican border safe, 1977.
 
On October 27th, 1977, David Duke the then 27-year-old Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan held a press conference to announce that the members of the KKK would start independently patrolling the Mexican border in Southern California, New Mexico, Texas and Arizona. Duke dubbed his plan the “Klan Border Watch.”

According to Duke, Klan members would be disbursed throughout the 2000 mile border with 230 assigned to monitor and detain illegal aliens attempting to cross the Mexico/California border, 150 in Texas, 75 in New Mexico and a scant few in Arizona. During the first night of the KKK’s unofficial duties as border watch dogs actual Border Patrol agents said they didn’t see a single white hood. According to others there were apparently at least ten Klan members and six vehicles with cheap signs taped to the doors that read “Klan Border Watch” (classy!) sighted along the California/Mexico border. Much like you-know-who (whose father might have been a Klan sympathizer in his youth), Duke made statements to the media saying that he had the “full support of the American people” when it came to the Klan’s efforts to block Mexican immigrants from entering the country illegally and “taking jobs away” from American citizens.

The U.S. Border Patrol refused to work with the Klan, and their independent actions were denounced by government officials and minority activists. The rejection of the Klan’s plans to patrol the border led to a large coalition of anti-Klan activists protesting the Klan’s unwanted help along the border in San Diego. The U.S. Ambassador to Mexico at the time, Patrick Lucey, also released a strong statement condemning the Klan’s actions saying that in “no way would the Klan be allowed to patrol the border.”
 

 
Despite all the push back and assurance from government officials and the Border Patrol itself, Duke continued to spin yarns about how he had met with members of the Justice Department as well as other federal agencies insinuating that he had somehow received authorization for the klansmen to add “border patrol agent” to their resumes along with cross burning and you know, good old-fashioned lynching. Of course all of this was just a way for the attention-hungry Duke to shine a spotlight on himself and the Klan in an effort to somehow convince the general public that the KKK was trying to protect them from job-stealing illegal immigrants. Does any of this sound familiar to you?

If you perhaps think that over the decades the Klan has changed their perspective on how to secure our borders, you’d be correct. In 2014 during an television interview two KKK members in North Carolina dressed in their best white sheets and hoods advocated for shooting Mexican children (or “popping” them off) as they attempted to cross the border then leaving their corpses behind to rot in order to reinforce how “serious” they were about “immigration.”

If you voted for a candidate that the “modern” version of David Duke and the KKK vividly supported and endorsed during the election, that’s your burning cross to bear. After all, you could have taken a look at who all the bigots and white nationalists were going for and in the privacy of the ballot box voted for someone else instead. But you didn’t, did you?

And sure, sure I know the president-elect eventually denounced these endorsements (after trying to lie about having no knowledge of who Duke was), however he didn’t do much of anything outside of appear straight-up annoyed at all the fuss. And he only did it under duress. He gets no points whatsoever. Perhaps Trump could have taken a queue from the GOP’s beloved St. Ronald Reagan and copied the Gipper’s response to the hate organization that endorsed him in both 1980 and again in 1984. You see, even Reagan clearly understood how vile the KKK is and even wrote a letter to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in April of 1984 about how dangerous the Klan, and organizations like them really are. It read in part:

Those of us in public life can only resent the use of our names by those who seek political recognition for the repugnant doctrines of hate they espouse. The politics of racial hatred and religious bigotry practiced by the Klan and others have no place in this country, and are destructive of the values for which America has always stood.

Trump voters, though you can try all you want to rationalize that your vote was for “change,” your IQ test at the voting actually just confirmed that you—yes you—are in fact “okay” with racism. Which actually makes you a racist, too.

More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Morbid and grotesque Italian anti-German propaganda postcards from WWI


‘Danza Macabra Europea’ number 23 by Italian artist Alberto Martini.
 
Alberto Martini was a prolific Italian active during the late 1800s and a good portion of the 1900s who dabbled in many disciplines including painting, illustration, engraving and graphic design. During WWI Martini was enlisted to create a series of postcards called the “Danza Macabra Europea” that were used as propaganda, grotesquely lampooning figures such as German Kaiser and king of Prussia Wilhelm II as well as members of the Austro-Hungarian empire such as the Emperor of Austria Franz Josef. 

Martini’s cards are absolutely horrific, filled with depictions of dismemberment, cannibalism and executions. Sometimes the Germans in Martini’s propaganda cards are pantless or appear to take on feminine forms. Copies of 54 lithographs of the Danza Macabra produced during 1914 and 1916 were widely distributed to Allied forces fighting against the rising Austro-Hungarian empire. According to cultural historians familiar with Martini’s work for “Danza Macabra Europa” the artist’s goal was to show the “horror” of war by using barbaric symbolism such as portraying the neutral country of Belgium as a child whose hands have been severed off at the wrist.

Most of the approximately 450,000 prints of Martini’s exquisitely grim postcards, captioned in both Italian and French, were sent to those fighting on the front lines of the war to help create a clear understanding of the horrific atrocities being committed against soldiers and civilians. Many consider Martini’s work a precursor to the surrealist movement. I’ve included many images of the 54 lithographs done by Martini in this post—all of which are absolutely NSFW.
 

‘Danza Macabra Europa’ number thirteen.
 

 
More ‘Danza Macabra Europa’ after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
‘Answering the Call’: Filmmaker returns to Selma, AL to see what’s changed—and it’s not enough


 
Despite legitimately heartening developments like the legalization of same-sex marriage, it gets easier every day to arrive at the cynical conclusion that social progress in the United States just might be impossible because the troglodytes have at last reached critical mass. Look at something as fundamental to democracy as the vote: since the Supreme Court’s shocking 2013 evisceration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, new onerous and racially-applied voter suppression laws are being trail-ballooned to take the place of long-outlawed tactics like poll taxes and literacy tests, all to ensure that African Americans can’t vote in significant enough numbers to topple white hegemony. And if people of color are excluded from the voter rolls, they can’t serve as jurors, ensuring not just the continuation but the strengthening of our nation’s enduring tradition of judicial outcomes that are skewed dramatically against non-whites.

(Before some “Party of Lincoln” troll points it out: yes, the Republicans used to be the somewhat less racist major party. That changed in 1964 and it’s been the party of white bigotry ever since. You’ve had 52 years to figure that out, and if you haven’t yet, you need to permanently shut your wronghole.)

The long and the short of all this is that if things continue going south (seewhatididthere) America might experience another Selma.

There’s a good reason that Selma, AL became a significant locus in the Civil Rights Movement, especially as regards voting rights. Selma in the early ‘60s was half black, but only 1% of black citizens were registered to vote. It’s not that they were disinterested. Besides the literacy test, Klan violence and other extra-legal disincentives to registration were widespread, and the registration office was only open two days a month, at difficult hours. By 1964, when serious voter drives were happening in black communities, a judge actually enjoined against organizing. The official nationwide desegregation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did little for voting rights, so activists organized a march from Selma to Alabama’s capital city of Montgomery. That march took place on Sunday, March 7th, 1965, and due to the unhinged brutality of the attacks on demonstrators by state troopers and county deputies, all basically acting under the aegis of the notorious segregationist Governor George Wallace, that day is forever known as Bloody Sunday.

Two weeks later, on Sunday the 21st, the march was attempted again. This time, the National Guard protected the marchers from violence by county and state authorities (and enthusiastic amateurs). About 3,000 people started the march in Selma—many of whom had traveled from around the country, shocked by the images of Bloody Sunday they’d seen in the news. By the time the marchers arrived safely in Montgomery, the demonstration’s population approached 25,000. The Voting Rights Act passed and was signed by President Lyndon Johnson later that year. And every hero who shed blood in the name of equality on Bloody Sunday was spat on by the SCOTUS in 2013 when they rendered that law utterly toothless.

To tie that history to contemporary perspectives on voting rights in America, documentary filmmaker Brian Jenkins, previously known for the vinyl-freak ode Records Collecting Dust (which you’ve perhaps read about on this very blog), has made Answering the Call. Jenkins’ uncle John Witeck was among those who heeded Dr. King’s plea for support in March of 1965; he marched on the so-called “Turnaround Tuesday” march on the 9th, and remained in Selma for other protests leading up to the final march to Montgomery, an experience which wound up catalyzing a lifetime’s work for social progress. For Answering the Call, he returned to Alabama with his nephew and a camera crew.
 

 
The doc doesn’t just trace the history of black disenfranchisement, it’s engaged in the now. With a racially-charged (to say the LEAST) presidential election fast approaching, the issue has reached new heights of urgency, and it’s amazing to hear the Secretary of State of Alabama letting NASTY racist dog-whistles fly so freely while discussing the franchise. I’m perpetually, existentially disheartened that we still have to be struggling over the exact same shit after half a century—Alabama’s Constitution remains loaded with segregationist provisions. They’re currently unenforceable thanks to federal laws that supersede them, but given the right SCOTUS, that could change shockingly quickly.

Asked for a statement on the film, director Jenkins responded to Dangerous Minds in an email exchange:

Only 60% of eligible voters in the United States will turn out on election day for a presidential election (even less for midterm and primary elections). I’m sympathetic to the 40% who choose not to participate but I’d like to pose the question, “If voting doesn’t matter, then why is the Republican Party working so hard to keep us from the polls?” Whether it’s gerrymandering, voter ID laws, eliminating early voting and same day registration, or switching up polling locations at the last minute, the GOP has made access to the polls a primary target and priority since the election of Barack Obama.

I had the chance to sit down with Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill and discuss the controversy surrounding the state’s voter ID law and it’s recent decision to close 31 DMV locations across the state—which made it even more difficult to register and vote in Alabama. Voting is a right guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. So to hear a Secretary of State refer to this right as a “privilege” is deeply troubling and wrong.

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
The Reich Stuff: The grim Nazi propaganda magazine aimed at women


An issue of ‘Frauen Warte’ a Nazi magazine marketed to women, 1940.
 
Frauen Warte (or “Women’s Worth” at least when translated using Google) was a women’s interest magazine put out by the Nazi party starting in 1935. Published twice a week Frauen Warte was full of recommendations and “advice” on how to properly raise children so they would be strong enough to “defend their fatherland with their lives,” how to clean and maintain their homes, and fashion advice that fell within the Führer’s tastes of respectability. Frauen-Warte even went so far as to include specific sewing patterns for clothing for women to make for themselves and their children. In more than one issue during the magazine’s run, a school set up by the Nazi party called the Reich Brides’ and Housewives’ School in Husbäke in Oldenburg was discussed in great, rather enthusiastic and misogynistic detail.
 

A page from ‘Frauen Warte’ detailing the activities at the Brides’ and Housewives’ School in Husbäke in Oldenburg.
 
Brides and aspiring housewives (according to Nazi doctrine a woman’s place was to get married, have children and care for their family) would attend the school for a period of six weeks during which they would learn various skills to help them succeed as they embark on their “careers” as housewives, such as cooking, sewing, how to properly decorate their homes, creating and maintaining a household budget, and of course, how keeping their hardworking German men “comfortable” when they comes home from work. During this time women were also told to adhere to the following guidelines in order to ensure they would emulate the “ideal” German woman:

Women should not work for a living
Women should not wear trousers
Women should not wear makeup
Women should not wear high-heeled shoes
Women should not dye or perm their hair

Various articles in the propaganda masquerading as a magazine included such topics as “The Expert Housewife of Today,” the bleak sounding “Ready to Die, Ready to Live” (whose focus was to encourage women to propagate even during wartime), and “Strength from Love and Faith” that stated that all Hitler really wanted for his birthday was for his followers (in this case specifically women) to work hard. To reinforce Hitler’s feelings about the role of women, the failed painter and leader of the Third Reich even wrote for the rag about the importance of a woman’s role when it to the advancement of the Nazi’s quest for global domination.

What a man proves through heroic courage, the woman proves in eternal patient suffering. Each child that she brings into the world is a battle she fights for the existence or nonexistence of her people.

This feel-good article finishes up with a passage seemingly straight from Satan’s own playbook requesting that anyone reading the magazine (which had a circulation of 1.9 million readers by 1939) follow Hitler “on this path through the raging fire of war.” Which as we know was what the Germans figuratively and quite literally did. A large volume of detail including covers of the magazine, numerous articles and photos from the magazine (which you can see in this post) have been cataloged by Randall Bytwerk, a Professor Emeritus of Communication Arts and Sciences Calvin College in Michigan in the German Propaganda Archive hosted by Calvin College’s website. Issues of Frauen Warte published between the years 1941 and 1945 (which put out its last issue shortly before the Nazi’s unconditionally surrendered in France in May that same year) can be seen over at The University of Heidelberg website. If this is of interest to those of you that collect these kinds of artifacts copies of Frauen Warte are fairly easy to come by online.
 

1939.
 

1939.
 
More good housekeeping tips from the Nazis, after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
The USSR’s first TV ad was a surreal stop-motion musical about corn


 
Right this moment, I really wish I spoke Russian, the better to understand this 1964 commercial that turned up yesterday on the wonderful Soviet Visuals Twitter feed.

Perhaps calling it a “commercial” is a misnomer—Soviet agriculture was mostly organized into a system of collective and state farms, so commerce wasn’t the objective here—there was no brand competition. The context for this ad was a big push for corn that Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev had undertaken in the mid-‘50s. Corn was never important to Soviet agriculture, but Khrushchev valued it as livestock feed.
 

”Corn—The Source of Abundance,” 1959
 

 
Corn’s failure in the USSR was one of the factors that weakened Khrushchev (the Cuban Missile Crisis was a much bigger one) and allowed for the more conservative Leonid Brezhnev to successfully conspire to depose him, but while that’s interesting, it’s not singing corn interesting. This ad is great fun, and about the only thing that could have improved it would be if it had starred Eduard “Mr. Trololo” Khil. It features animated ears and cans of corn, seemingly petitioning a singing chef to cook them. We’re then treated to a panoply of corn dishes. It’s supposed to demonstrate the grain’s culinary versatility, but every meal looks sufficiently unappetizing to have been culled from The Gallery of Regrettable Food. And I particularly love the overwrought fake smile on the woman near the ad’s end who’s eating corn on the cob as though for the first time ever in her life.
 

 
Many thanks to Beth P for this find!

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Gulf War kitsch: Some red-white-and-blue numbnuts reads his ‘Letter to Saddam Hussein,’ 1991


 
I’ve been waiting for this primo item of Desert Storm-abilia to turn up on YouTube for years, and Lord knows I have waited patiently; for as the Good Book reminds us, “the race is not to the swift” (Ecclesiastes 9:11), and some of these fuckers are anything but swift.

Back in ‘91, Jerry Martin (a/k/a Jerry Buckner) rode the tide of blood unleashed by the first Gulf War all the way to #71 on Billboard’s country chart. I’m still struggling to understand how this epistolary spoken word release qualified as a country song, but I’m going to bet it had something to do with the kinds of radio stations that played it and the obscure regions of our nation to which their signals penetrated. A cassingle issued in a plain gray sleeve, Martin’s “Letter to Saddam Hussein” had little in common with Jello Biafra’s contemporary Gulf War cassingle, “Die for Oil, Sucker,” which pointed out that we might not be fighting for the noblest of causes.

Martin left that kind of thinking to eggheads, Poindexters and Philadelphia lawyers. On his cassingle, he allowed as how he didn’t know much of anything, because being so ordinary, regular and real didn’t leave a lot of time for studies. But there was one thing he did know: our pride would be Saddam’s shame.
 

 
I mentioned that Jerry Martin was the pseudonym of Jerry Buckner. Now, I can’t be sure this is the Jerry Buckner of “Pac Man Fever” fame, but I do wonder how many vocal talents named Jerry Buckner might plausibly reside in the Atlanta area. To whom was Saddam supposed to address his reply? Whatever, I bet the dictator thought twice about showing his face down south after this tape came out. Cut way down on his trips to Georgia.

Now a quarter-century old—its sleeve no longer the shiny gray I remember from my Sam Goody youth, but the dull gray I see in my Sam Elliott beard—this curiosity fetches outrageous prices on Amazon. I can’t imagine why. I hope it’s because there are a lot of Big Lebowski and Nevermind fans researching the beginnings of American history’s most bogus journey.

Without spoiling the dramatic ending of “Letter to Saddam Hussein,” I can tell you that we kept its promise. Our boys showed Saddam who was boss, thereby transforming the entire Fertile Crescent into a fiery whirlwind of widows’ blood and children’s limbs. Now our boys will be there showing Saddam who’s boss forever!

Mission accomplished, numbnuts!
 

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
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