Fishing for compliments. #fatherofthenationbod
During Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Russia this May, enjoy this honest and unbiased video in which ORDINARY CHINESE PEOPLE have DEFINITELY NOT BEEN COACHED OR COERCED into giving their opinions of Russia and particularly of its “handsome leader, like President Xi”: Vladimir Putin. Show solidarity to COMPLETELY UNPROBLEMATIC COMRADES WHO ARE IN FULL COMPLIANCE WITH INTERNATIONAL LAWS AND TREATIES by eating bread, consuming dairy products, admiring Putin’s “big muscles” (not shown in these pictures), and repeatedly, SINCERELY expressing your desire to marry him. But REMEMBER to appreciate Putin’s big muscles only in a HETEROSEXUAL MANNER because he strictly forbids any reception upon his person of HOMOSEXUAL EYE BEAMS. Pity all countries which do not have handsome, shirtless, DEFINITELY HETEROSEXUAL leaders with big muscles. Presumably photos of Xi Jinping in his budgie smugglers are to follow shortly. You will ENJOY THEM and praise the MANLINESS of President Xi and announce SPONTANEOUSLY and VOLUNTARILY that you would like to marry him.
His Little Pony.
An East German propaganda leaflet issued during the Berlin Airlift (1948-1949), when Stalin attempted to blockade the already geographically surrounded people of West Berlin into submission. American and British crews flew in food and other supplies, thereby demonstrating both the superiority of Western air capabilities and the extremes they would go to in order to check Soviet politicking. And so began the Cold War.
This leaflet about Amikäfer (“Yank Beetles”) claims that the airlift is just a pretext for ruining East German farming by dropping “imperialist weapons”: potato-devouring Colorado beetles (Kartoffelkäfer). The back cover warns about confusing them with harmless Marienkäfer (ladybirds).
Ridiculous propaganda even by the standards of ridiculous propaganda, but I have to admit that the adaptation of the beetle’s markings into the Stars and Stripes is pretty good.
See the first post about Japanese kamishibai (paper theatre) for more information and commentary about the origins and context of these images.
Here we move into the 1940s, WWII and the dodgy, overly-positive world of propaganda. Propaganda is almost by definition absurd and deceptive; if it wasn’t so cognitively dissonant and detached from observed reality then we’d just call it informative or documentarian. But there’s still something particularly disturbing about the hijacking of a medium intended mainly for children. The slides shown here are from How to Build a Home Air Raid Shelter and from Kintaro the Paratrooper. The latter is a militaristic rewrite of the traditional story about Momotoro the Peach Boy, who joined up with animal friends to defend Japan from invading demons. You can see what they did there, obviously.
Kintaro the Paratrooper. Here come the British soldiers. Their tank seems a bit wee, but perhaps that’s intentional. I’m British but I still can’t really object to this racist caricature of us with our stupid shorts and our sunburned ears and noses. Stereotypes all have an original.
Kintaro throws a grenade at the British tank. Kawaiiiiiiiiiiiiiii.
Poster by Viktor Koretsky, USSR, 1960.
“From oil we take for the needs of our country a river of gasoline, oil and petroleum and in addition thousands of items for the home and for domestic comfort!”
It’s 2013, my computer is over five years old and that means the hard drive is full of crap. During a recent attempt to clean up and rationalise I’ve found a number of things that interested me at some point, or were research materials for writing, art or film projects that never came to anything (i.e. most of them), or that I otherwise downloaded for reasons now lost to posterity. Sometimes I had the foresight to rename them so I could tell what they were, sometimes not. All posts involving this material will be filed under HD detritus; if anyone knows what any of these things are, where they come from or to whom they should be credited, please let me know in the comments.
Let’s start the recycling with this interesting/inexplicable collection of Chinese Communist LP covers, because I think we all need more of those in 2013. I last interacted with them in December of 2007; I lived in China at that time, but I definitely didn’t do these scans. Some of this stuff– and its modern equivalent– is still available on CD in Chinese shops and let me assure you there’s nothing good about any of it, not even kitsch value. If anybody owns up to having these LPs then we’ll all know what to say when she or he asks us if we’d like to hear a few records.
In this lady’s house, simple requests for a cup of tea often end with a trip to the Accident & Emergency department.
Is she balancing tea on her arm? Good trick, maybe a bit dangerous, but they’re not big on health and safety regulations in China. The woman on the right seems to agree with me, if her expression is anything to judge by. I think this one is attempting to suck up to Hua Guofeng, who briefly took the place of Mao after the latter’s death. Despite remaining a hardline Maoist, Hua deserves some credit for curbing the worst excesses of the Cultural Revolution and for ousting Jiang Qing and the Gang of Four, who were far worse than him. Despite this looking like something from the 1960s or even the 1950s, this record can only be from late 1976 to mid 1981– disco era in the West!– because Hua was ousted in his turn by Deng Xiaoping in 1981. Continue Reading
Recently I was looking at a book about the world’s most photographed people. The book was published by the National Portrait Gallery in London and is called ‘Knit Twenty Outfits for Pet Monkeys at Home’- no, not really. Obviously it’s called ‘The World’s Most Photographed’. It’s by Robin Muir.
Anyway, the inevitable chapter about Adolf Hitler had this fabulous picture of the Führer looking exactly like the totally camp and podgy old knob end he really was [left].
- < “Fierce”, “work it bitch”, and so forth. Hitler in Lederhosen, Munich circa 1926, camp as Christmas.