We’re not gonna hand you and your band of lunatics the keys to the kingdom

This is what happens when you start clicking around the web. The Modern Girl Around the World Project

Our collaborative research project analyzes the emergence of the Modern Girl, a figure who appeared around the world in cities from Tokyo to Berlin, Beijing to Bombay, Johannesburg to New York City in the early to mid twentieth century. Modern Girls were known by a variety of names including flappers, garçonnes, moga, modeng xiaojie, schoolgirls, vamps, and neue Frauen. By wearing provocative fashions and pursuing romantic love, Modern Girls appeared to disregard the roles of dutiful daughter, wife, and mother.

Sought of the Modern Girl as a young woman’s Renaissance, the early 20th Century changing culture of women. Outward details like clothing and make-up changed, but this were also markers of some deeper sociological shifts. In the opening years of the 21st Century it may be difficult for some to think of the 1920’s as modern, but a trip to a local retirement home might find someone who has memories of that time. While it seems sometimes that social trends happen all at once and the internet and cell phones have increased the rate of trend assimilation to some degree; lasting social and esthetic impact tends to play out over decades. Unlike the famous scientists, writers, and politicians, many of the lead players of these social and artistic trends are nearly forgotten except by academics or serious hobbyists. From Flappers To Film Noir

The sexual essence of film noir is the image of the woman as black widow, poisonous destroyer of a man trapped helplessly in her sensual web. Black widows are often counterbalanced by a ‘good’ woman, whose love is often squandered by the man who has been seduced by the deadly allure of the world of the darkside. It helps that this man is usually a broad-shouldered bozo, with a one-track mind and half-track brain. Think of Dana Andrews, or Glenn Ford, or Cornell Wilde.

Professor Laura Mulvey of Birkbeck College, who programmed the flappers series, sees the ‘new woman’ of the 1920s as a product of increasing urbanisation and economic boom which provided new opportunities for employment and new consumer power for women. Joining the workforce created ‘leisure time’, and chief among the things American women consumed was the Hollywood film. “It was a period of almost utopianism for working women in America,” she says, “and issues of equality at work and voting rights were subsumed into those of sexual liberation. Hollywood wove folk tales defining self-expression through sexuality fuelled by a consumer boom. These had a huge impact around the world, and while selling a sort of democracy of glamour, also helped Hollywood sell itself overseas.”

It is important not to think of this as an exclusively American phenomenon. Others countries were both influenced by American trends in fashion and art, but America also assimilated trends from other countries. Film noir of the American films of the 1940’s for example, grew out of early German cinema. Its difficult for me to sought out at this point, but it looks like there were ( as mentioned above ) various incarnations of the American flapper and cinema fem fatales around the world, including Japan, which didn’t embrace a strident form of nationalism until the late 1930’s. Camera Obsura’s online edition has some tremendous history up on the trends in Japanese culture that paralelled in some ways the American flappers, New Women of the Silent Screen: China, Japan, Hollywood . I read part of this article, Irie Takako in The Water Magician

Irie Takako was the most popular actress throughout the 1930s in Japan, even though today her contemporaries Yamada Isuzu and Tanaka Kinuyo, who continued successful acting careers into the post–World War II era, tend to outshine her legendary stardom. Born in 1911 (her father was Viscount Higashibojo¯), Irie made her screen debut in 1928 at Nikkatsu studio, following a brief amateur stage career. She promptly became a star, playing rich, intelligent, proud, glamorous, and often bitchy modern girls in so-called tendency films (social problem melodramas with leftist tendencies) such as Ikeru ningyo (A Living Doll, dir. Uchida Tomu, 1929), Tokyo ko shinkyoku (Tokyo March, dir. Mizoguchi Kenji, 1929), Tokai ko kyo gaku (Metropolitan Symphony, dir. Mizoguchi, 1929), and Matenro(Skyscrapers, dir. Murata Minoru, 1929).

I highlighted that part because its something that we take for granted today, That both women and men will play characters in a realistic way. As it was considered modern or shocking depending on who one talked to at the time, Clara Bow’s ‘It Girl’ and Irie Takako’s modernist portrayal of Shiraito were not just wives, girlfriends, or maids , they were females more closely representing the growing social, sexual, and economic power of a contemporary woman.
And a kind of footnote for the 1920’s equivalent of the iPod, The Formation of Modern American Mass Culture, Period: 1920s

Mass Entertainment

Of all the new appliances to enter the nation’s homes during the ’20s, none had a more revolutionary impact than radio. Sales soared from $60 million in 1922 to $426 million in 1929. The first commercial radio station began broadcasting in 1919, and during the 1920s, the nation’s airwaves were filled with musical variety shows and comedies.

The phonograph was not far behind the radio in importance. The 1920s saw the record player enter American life in full force. Piano sales sagged as phonograph production rose from just 190,000 in 1923 to 5 million in 1929. The popularity of jazz, blues, and “hillbilly” music fueled the phonograph boom. The novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald called the 1920s the “Jazz Age”–and the decade was truly jazz’s golden age.

For those on the left and right of conscience its not too late to let your Representatives and Senators know that you’re not crazy about the idea of the president acting more like a Politboro Chief then the executive of a democracy:

Update [2006-2-15 11:23:23 by georgia10]:: There’s still time to contact Senate Intelligence Committee members and demand an investigation. Rather than calling Democratic members who are the ones calling for an investigation, we’ll be more effective acting against the WH pressure on Republican committee members. The toll-free number for the Senate switchboard is 888-355-3588. More below the fold…

Leaders Lead

So it looks like the Judiciary Committee is going to do the big el-foldo on the NSA spying scandal and some Democrats in the congress are going to simply vote with the Republicans make the president’s illegal program legal and call it a day. Once again their losing strategists have misunderstood why Americans believe that they are weak on national security. Indeed, if they capitulate on this they will have reinforced that image much more than if they oppose it outright.

[ ]…Capitulating on issues of such huge importance is even more damaging when it’s clear that it’s the Eunuch Caucus who are truly soft on this issue, not the Democrats. The Republicans hold both houses and have the power to defy this presumptuous administration on a matter of fundamental principle to the conservative cause: unfettered government power.

“Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.” – Abraham Lincoln,January 27,1838

Why do conservative pundits lie ? Media figures repeat claim that disclosure rendered NSA surveillance useless. Conservative media swarms an issue and the first casuality is honor.

Missing the point on Cheney

where were the shows of righteous indignation last week, when it was revealed by the National Journal that Cheney’s former chief of staff, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, had told a federal grand jury he was “authorized” by Cheney and other White House “superiors” to disclose classified information to journalists as part of a plot to defend the Bush administration’s manipulation of prewar intelligence to make the “case” for going to war with Iraq.

more at the link.

Like vultures on a rotting carcass the blogs of wingnuttia have descended on this story, EXCLUSIVE: The Secret Tapes — Inside Saddam’s Palace  

One of the most dramatic moments in the 12 hours of recordings comes when Saddam predicts — during a meeting in the mid 1990s — a terrorist attack on the United States. “Terrorism is coming. I told the Americans a long time before August 2 and told the British as well … that in the future there will be terrorism with weapons of mass destruction.” Saddam goes on to say such attacks would be difficult to stop. “In the future, what would prevent a booby-trapped car causing a nuclear explosion in Washington or a germ or a chemical one?” But he adds that Iraq would never do such a thing. “This is coming, this story is coming but not from Iraq.” 

[  ]…”Intelligence community analysts from the CIA, and the DIA reviewed the translations and found that while fascinating from a historical perspective the tapes do not reveal anything that changes their post war analysis of Iraq’s weapons programs nor do they change the findings contained in the comprehensive Iraq Survey group report,” the spokeswoman said in a statement.

“The tapes mostly date from early to mid 1990s and cover such topics as relations with the United Nations, efforts to rebuild industries from Gulf war damage and the pre 9/11 situation in Afghanistan.”

There’s some more thoughts on this story from The Counterterrorism Blog. The Right has a way of sensationlizing these things, other then being able to hear Saddam’s voice , so far anyway, these recordings provide little in the way of new information. We know that Saddam had chemical and biological agents at one point because the U.S. and Britain sold them to him, How Did Iraq Get Its Weapons? We Sold Them

Reports by the US Senate’s committee on banking, housing and urban affairs — which oversees American exports policy — reveal that the US, under the successive administrations of Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr, sold materials including anthrax, VX nerve gas, West Nile fever germs and botulism to Iraq right up until March 1992, as well as germs similar to tuberculosis and pneumonia. Other bacteria sold included brucella melitensis, which damages major organs, and clostridium perfringens, which causes gas gangrene.

U.S. Had Key Role in Iraq Buildup 

The story of U.S. involvement with Saddam Hussein in the years before his 1990 attack on Kuwait — which included large-scale intelligence sharing, supply of cluster bombs through a Chilean front company, and facilitating Iraq’s acquisition of chemical and biological precursors — is a topical example of the underside of U.S. foreign policy. It is a world in which deals can be struck with dictators, human rights violations sometimes overlooked, and accommodations made with arms proliferators, all on the principle that the “enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

REYNOLDS
“I know thy works and thy labour
and how thou canst not bear them
that are evil. And thou hast tried
them who say they are apostles and
hast found them to be liars”.
Revelations II.

HAMERSLEY
What the hell does it mean?

REYNOLDS
It means who’s side are you on?

HAMERSLEY
You didn’t ask me to meet you 30
miles from my office for a Bible
study class.

REYNOLDS
It’s a bi-partisan issue. Everyone
needs to swallow hard. No one,
including you, wants to be fingered
as the one obstructing efforts to
crack down on terrorism, and–

HAMERSLEY
Fuck you.

REYNOLDS
What?

HAMERSLEY
I said fuck you.

REYNOLDS
Is that anyway to talk to an old
school chum?

HAMERSLEY
You’re gonna finger me as soft on
terrorism? Terrorism, you
unconscionable asshole?

REYNOLDS
There are planes falling out of the
sky, buildings blowing up. American
buildings. Americans getting bombs
in the mail. What are we gonna do!?

HAMERSLEY
We’re not gonna hand you and your
band of lunatics the keys to the
kingdom. I’m not gonna sit in
Congress and write a law that
allows the NSA to point a camera
and a microphone at anything they
damn well feel like. And the next
time you have something to say to
me, we do it above-board, in my
office, like everyone else. Now get
outa my car, I’ve got a committee
meeting on the hill.

from the screenplay ENEMY OF THE STATE by David Marconi and Aaron Sorkin