Knowing How to Make a Point

So I was looking through those old WWII propaganda/motivation posters the other day, as you all saw.

And, you know, they’re awfully effective. They depict how individual actions add up in the long run–and that’s something we don’t see a lot of anymore. They alsodemanded sacrifice from individuals for a larger end.

These posters make me think about how differently the country responded to the crisis of World War II and the current (and, of course, less dire) crisis of terrorism. I could write a whole essay about how the problems are different, but I’ll skip that by noting that all the pants-pissing poltroons on the right claimed that the threat of terrorism was JUST THE SAME as the problems we faced in World War II. In fact, the more batshit insane of that group claimed that this crisis was even more serious than the world conflict against fascism. 

But, when push came to shove, did any of them call for sacrifice? Did Young Republicans enlisten masse? Was there any attempt to unify the country?

Fuck no. Go shopping, Bush said. Say a prayer. Hug your loved ones.

Empty advice from an empty shell of a man.

I mean, this poster makes a point about overconsumption of resources:

And this one? Holy fuck.

It would work with Osama bin Laden in the passenger seat, wouldn’t it? I mean, if people understood the connection between money flowing to Saudi Arabia and being basically transferred to terror organizations.

But you can’t expect calls for conservation from former oil executives, can you?

18 thoughts on “Knowing How to Make a Point

  1. Didn’t Bill Maher have the “ride alone” graphic on one of his books?

  2. I don’t think there is any doubt that if our country faced a terrorist threat that was even 10 percent as dire as the threat from Nazi Germany during WWII, our government would be constantly asking us to conserve, to volunteer, to be drafted, to avoid undue profit making off the national effort, etc. None of this has been done. So, any sane person would conclude that there is no threat that comes anywhere near being as bad as that during WWII. In fact I doubt that there is any threat more serious than what we face during any time of peace.
    Yes, there is certainly a threat against the obscene profits of the oil industry. Without being able to bank the profits from selling the crude straight from the pumps in the Middle East, American oil companies are forced to endure just the obscene profits they can get from $5 a gallon gas. I shed a tear for them.

  3. These posters are good to get into wide circulation right now. My mom lived through the WWII era as a child and she always talks about rations and Victory gardens and just shakes her head at how little sacrifice is asked from people now in a so-called crisis.

  4. nor can we expect change from Secretaries of State who had oil tankers named after them in the 90’s.

  5. Pansy – you’re hitting the nail on the head a far as I’m concerned. Our suburb style society makes it impossible to share rides. And few places have a mass transit system making taking it possible.
    In my own town, there used to be a commuter train to the big city. That rail was closed and torn up.

  6. I was in NYC shortly after the WTC was destroyed and picked up a booklet put out by some branch of the city government titled New York Needs You Strong. The city was feeling pretty funereal at the time. There were funerals and memorials all over the place, and there were a lot more people smoking in the street. The booklet gave advice on dealing with the shock and how important it was to keep oneself on an even keel now that a new national mission was being shaped.
    Of course, we know how that turned out. FDR responded to Pearl Harbor by going after Stroessner in Paraguay. Hitler successfully invaded England and the Japanese took Hawaii and much of Alaska. (There actually was a big push for fighting fascism in the New World, behind the barrier of the Monroe Doctrine, so I’m not making this up).

  7. Our suburb style society makes it impossible to share rides. And few places have a mass transit system making taking it possible.
    respectfully disagree. People saying that things are “impossible” is what makes it impossible. There’s nothing except our own embarrassment and conformity preventing any of us at least trying to set up ride shares with our neighbors.
    Lets say someone lives in a subdivision. Has that person asked their neighbors on each side of them to ride share? What about everyone else on that street? The next street over? Did they maybe put up a sign on the main intersection out of the subdivision? Or on the bulletin board at the grocery store? My guess is folks are much more willing to walk up to a stranger who is having yard sale but have some sort of mental block about approaching that same stranger and talking about ride sharing.
    I think one thing about us and the way we live, and I’m including us liberals too, is that we expect things to be done by someone other than ourselves. We think every single one of our problems are the fault of others and more often than not, that our solutions will come from others too.
    Yeah, this administration has fucked things up. No they aren’t going to fix it. They and their enablers are monstrously wrong and should all be in jail. No argument from me there. It sucks. It is not fair. Yes there are/were failures and criminal acts all over the place. Yes many other people in our country are wrong and not helping things.
    Something has to change.
    But there is nothing that says we have have to wait till the government asks them (like that’s going to happen) to start changing. Nothing that says we have to wait till the Democratic part starts to pull its head out to start changing. Nothing that says we have to wait till Atrios or Digby or Glenn Greenwald or Athenae comes up with an idea to get us out of this to start changing.
    So– what are YOU doing, you yourself, what are YOU going to do? Wait for all that stuff to change or change yourself? Keep blaming the folks that put you in this crappy situation and leave it at that? WAit for someone else to fix it, or try to fix the part that starts in your front yard and with your car or your own commute yourself?
    After Katrina, scout finally picked up her little video camera, scraped together some money and did something on her own to try to help. Others did other things on their own to try to help. It’s still a big clusterfuck, it’s still not fixed, but a lot of people did a lot of things to make some of it better.
    After 9/11, my friends in Brooklyn told me about how the old lady a few stoops down, the one we all hated so much because she was rude, started walking up and down the street, going from house to house, stopping folks coming home from the subway, and organizing the street to start cooking food for the handful of firemen that survived at the local fire station. They also started asking around to find out if everyone on the block made it back home that day, had they worked near the towers, had they lost anyone, did they need any help?
    That old lady and the college student next door, and the gay guys upstairs, and the obnoxious couple who never cleaned up after their dog, and a few others who had never taken the time to get to know each other, organized and did something that had to get done. They didn’t wait till the mayor or the president or someone smarter asked them to. They just did it.

  8. Well I’ll be damned.
    Bill Maher and I had the same idea.
    Now if only we had the same paycheck.

  9. i actually ment all those damn limos and SUVs in the entourage. tho i loved NYC’s mass transit. but you have to clump humans closer to make that make sense. in montana it doesn’t. maybe do pneumatic tubes in montana.

  10. Hi Virgo,
    no problem. My guess is that you are emphasizing the possibilities while I’m looking more at the situation from hinderances.

  11. Maple, I hope you know I wasn’t railing at you or anyone else here personally.
    It just seems there’s a paralysis syndrome at work sometimes.

  12. Virgotex: *applause*
    (Another thing to do would be *ahem* to start lobbying your local municipality for more transit services, less sprawl development, and more high-density housing.)
    Athenae, one thing jumped out at me — for all that those posters involve individual actions, they’re not individual actions the way we’re used to thinking about individual actions these days, with the culture of “rugged individualism” there is. Our cheap-labour conservative overlords wouldn’t like it very much if the proles rediscovered that individual actions can add up tocollective action, would they?

  13. Can we change the picture of the sinking ship to one of the empty hole at ground zero in NYC.

  14. virgo –It just seems there’s a paralysis syndrome at work sometimes.
    I’ve felt fairly paralyzed these last 7 years. We’re not supposed to organize, we’re supposed to shop. We’re not supposed to talk to our neighbor, we’re supposed to buy a home security system that records the neighbors on CCTV should they dare come by for a cup of sugar.
    We’re not supposed to make the world better, we’re supposed to be preoccupied with duct tape and plastic sheeting.
    We’re supposed to just follow without question, and question those who won’t just follow.
    Where you live sounds grand, but where I live the neighbors don’t want to know each other. They want good schools and roads as well as low taxes. They want their lawn trimmed by Brazillian immigrants, and I truly believe they want nothing more than to know they make 1$ more than anyone else on the street. I am a ‘have not’ living amongst the ‘haves’.
    No, not all my neighbors are that bad, but more than half of them are. Yes, I’m moving. No, I have no idea why I live here other than that it was convenient 5 years ago.
    I truly can’t imagine what will change this situation other than teaching their children better.

  15. Where you live sounds grand,
    I wasn’t clear in my comment. I was no longer living in NY during 9/11 but heard that from old friends there.
    I live in central texas now, and it is grand. I do see that “can-do” spirit in my current small town out in the hills, as well as in Austin.
    If we are lucky, we all have the choice and the ability to wake up and change, even if just a little bit, even in the face of overwhelming odds. We can do small steps at first to start to come to grips with the new reality.
    Because it’s not going to go back to the way it was.

Comments are closed.