Sonic Sunday: A Day of Remembrance Edition (February 19)

I know I’m a few days late and several dollars short, but certain algorithms which shall remain anonymous prevented me from getting this sad reminder on Wednesday. On February 19, 1942, FDR signed off on a measure to incarcerate Japanese Americans. Do not let contrarians play up the atrocity of Pearl Harbor or allow revisionists to gloss this over; more than 100,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated because of how they looked, and we must never risk repeating it. Russ Feingold indicated as much in his speech on the Senate Floor condemning the Patriot Act in 2001 (though he has reoriented his opposition more recently).

Two summers ago, I was wandering through an estate sale in North Knoxville and I came upon some old postcards that included this fascinating propaganda by Carl Crow, folded up within the family’s correspondence. The “general interest” magazine Liberty probably (and hopefully) would regret publishing this. I’d be loathe to call it white supremacy since Crow had spent most of his adult life in Shanghai, but its still shocking my any metric today. The note included in the family’s correspondence read “isn’t this just awful.” The same fervor which justified (to a powerful few) the desire to uproot American citizens and America-loving immigrants was perpetuated by a magazine with almost one and a half million subscribers.

Propaganda is a powerful and terrifying thing, and its our duty to punch holes in it every opportunity we get. This is something I think about when I see people signal-boosting talking points about Presidential hopefuls which are completely fabricated.

Anyway, more material coming in the next couple weeks. New post coming to @postcardsfromirving tomorrow. Enjoy the rest of your weekend(s)!


Interesting Thought on Objects in Place and Time


Because the victors write history and their narratives are saturated with prejudices, historians are going to emphasize things to prove their point of view. I’m concerned with the truth in all its complexity. No written account… has ever satisfactorily explained how Hitler would come to power and dominate… a country that had the first social security system in the world and the most educated, civilized people on earth. It remains and will forever remain a mystery. I figured that if you went back and studied the artifacts of the time you might understand how this preposterous thing occurred. You know, glasses, chairs, tables, rugs, and telephones don’t lie. In contrast to historical narratives, you can’t make them lie, because their purpose, their function, and their design are clear.

– Mitchell Wolfson Jr, major Floridian philanthropist, and the world’s top collector of Nazi and fascist artifacts (and Jewish, as inversely unsurprising as that is), in conversation with Gregory Maertz, 1998. Quoted from the collection Acts of Possession: Collecting in America (2003, Rutger University Press), edited by Leah Dilworth.