Saturday, December 13, 2014

At War with Perception: War Books by Jean Norton Cru— A Study in Historical Criticism by San Diego State University Press (SDSU Press)

Who is to tell what is behind the eyes of a solider? The horrors, terrors and nightmares that they are faced with and merely told to endure. The fear of death so heavily etched into their minds despite all forms of rationality and perseverance— they are forced to continue onward. Stories that are rarely told from those who carry the rifle. Officers were given details of the battlefield and the wars were recorded without the officer ever leaving their desk. Inaccurate accounts from some were given to help bolster the “valiant and heroic” war efforts, disguising the bloodbaths that they really were.

Blinded by the glory, shinning medals of recognition and the seeming honor that comes with the title, many have jumped headfirst into the battlefield without truly knowing its dangers. Society has glorified this battlefield without a second thought for the soldier. While medals can be displayed equal to injuries, non-visible injuries of physiological damage is something that is often brushed aside and ignored. Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has plagued and haunted these men and women returning from battle. Some look at these returning soldiers without regard to their emotional distress. 

 It is the personal accounts of soldiers that alter our perception of wars history. These ideas transform from dates, strategies, and victories to become emotions of pain and suffering. The observation of war alters itself once we are able to change our perception to the individuals that endure it. The soldiers in War Books become more than a number, a statistic, and tool for political purposes. In Jean Cru’s book, we learn the real side of the soldier and are better able to grasp the reality that for so long has been shoved aside by opposition. 

Songwriter Serj Tankian from the popular alternative metal band System of a Down has written multitude of songs, which look at the Solider's Side. Like the book, he too, tries to grasp the reality of what war is to the soldier and the ones waiting at home.

To read more and buy the book click this link. 

Make sure to check out the rest of the San Diego State Universities Press releases by clicking here.

Searching for Identity in the Metropolis: Representations of Fashion by Antonio Rafele— An Obiter Dictum of Social Commentary by San Diego State University Press (SDSU Press)

Identity has become obscured as cultures are formed, or rather fashioned, into a state of development. They restrain, trap, strangle, and stifle the individuals within the confinements of these metropolises. The trapped individuals form social groups, cliques, parties and eventually the lines between them bleed together until there is not an identity left. They scream wanting out, a need for individuality, a want to be different, the need for an identity. Each person walks with his or her canvas— blank in hopes of inspiration from another passerby. They dream of captivating senses if only for a momentary millisecond.

The past has become a mere stepping-stone for fashion, becoming nothing more than an endless sequence, unable to offer new life sustaining individuality. Already existing elements, such as mass media, television, and an industrialized society become a distraction for the passage of time. Even the ticking clock has to evolve and mend its ways in the metropolis. Individuals become a part of the matroyoshka (a doll inside a doll) where each life mimics the other, each person looking towards someone else for the simplest change that will upset their daily lives, that will give their lives thought, purpose and meaning.

In the essay Representationsof Fashion by Antonio Rafele we get a sense of just what is happening in our city glorified culture of today. The eyes of the individual are glued to the screen to see the next big thing, the next motion that could give meaning in an otherwise monotonous life. The fashions of an individual are nothing more than the clothes our society makes us wear.

"The metropolis and photography, television and the web transform existence into a succession of isolated and disconnected moments, of worlds, once experienced, remain fragile and provisional" (23)

In modern society, we would call them fads, the clothes and attitudes that accompany a popular trend only to quickly fade before it is fully realized. Sociological fads as portrayed by Lady Gaga, writers like FlannO’Brien or Haruki Murakami, were we have seen these struggles for individuality lead to new conventional thought and theory which others quickly adapt to. Society has become a blank book where the first one with a pen of creativity wins. Rafele describes these incidents and describes where we might just be heading.  To find out more about Representations of Fashion follow this link and make sure to check out the rest of the San Diego State University Press releases by clicking here.