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Saturday, March 06, 2004

Don't Mention the War!

George Bush is being criticized for including some images of 9/11 in his campaign ads. I saw a brief clip from one on Fox News last night, but they only showed the 9/11 bits, not the whole ad, so it was difficult to judge based on that. I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, it would be crass to exploit pictures of the burning towers or people jumping to their deaths; on the other hand, as others have pointed out, Bush is running on his record, and his reaction to 9/11 is part of it (a positive part of it, as far as I'm concerned).

(The story linked above includes a quote from the father of one of the 9/11 victimes, who claims, "I would vote for Saddam Hussein before I would vote for Bush", so we know he's a reasonable guy.)

However, in these matters it's helpful to have a little historical perspective. I went googling for WWII campaign posters, and didn't find a whole lot. There is this one, however, which suggests that Hitler and Tojo wish you would not vote for Roosevelt, lest he should finish the job of kicking their asses ragged.

(That poster is from the "Japanese American Internment Curriculum" from (dah-DUM, dah-DUM) San Francisco State University. Click around and be dutifully horrified at the cruel racist caricatures in some of them. Wonder at the caption-writers' emphasis on "white" women. And check out this one, which has got to be the prize winner in the Violatin' Our Wimmenfolk category. A complete slander on the Imperial Japanese army, of course. Not a bit of truth to it.

While you're there, you might also wonder what Tojo's granddaughter and Mickey Rooney are doing in a collection of "posters from World War II".)

Then there's this poster, which thankfully doesn't have any nasty mockery of other people's leaders, but which does suggest that Uncle Sam himself wants Roosevelt re-elected. Read the accompanying text. Note how it analyzes the poster in excruciating detail. Using really simple comments. Look! Oh! Oh! Look, Spot! Look at how the colors are red, white, and blue. Blue means reliable, to the simple-minded, while white is honesty and red is passion. See Uncle Sam's red "scarf" [sic, it's a tie]. This means he is passionate. See how the sponsors of the poster are in very small type at the bottom. It's a committee to re-elect Roosevelt! They put it in small type hoping people wouldn't see it. Our grandparents probably thought Uncle Sam himself had those printed up. Good thing we're smarter than they are, right, Spot? Er, Spot? Puff?