The Online Journal of Insight, Satire, Desire, Wit and Observation

Never Again

400,000 Americans and 20 million Allies died violently fighting Fascism in World War II. Another 35 million were tortured, gassed, burned, died of disease and privation, slaughtered, bombed, starved, shot, and beaten to death.

Yes Mr. Trump, I expect that “some of them were good people.”

And God bless them all for saving the world. And damn us all if we let it happen again.

Never. Again.

Copyright © 2017 Henry Edward Hardy


24 August, 2017 Posted by | eternal war, Fascism, Never Again, scanlyze, Trump, war, war crimes, WWII | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Scanlyze response to ‘Army Suspends two NYT journalists’ on ‘Conservative Thoughts’

Conservative Thoughts has a bit on two journalists associated with the New York Times who have been “suspended” by the US Army for their reporting from Iraq:

Army Suspends two NYT journalists

My response to CT:

So the New York Times shouldn’t post any picture or video of someone dying? Only happy news, then?

Or is the issue that they showed an American soldier dying?

This war, which has cost the lives of thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, is supposed to be covered without ever showing anyone dying?

This family should be a LOT more angry with George W. Bush and the US Congress who wrongfully sent their son to be killed in an illegal aggressive war on the basis of lies, lies, propaganda, and more lies. Waging an aggressive war was one of the four main categories of charges at the Nuremberg Trials after World War II for which the Nazi leaders were imprisoned, or in most cases, executed.

Images of dying soldier renew war coverage debate Houston Chronicle, January 31, 2007
Marjorie Cohen Aggressive War: Supreme International Crime Truthout

Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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1 February, 2007 Posted by | Army, Bush, censorship, conservatism, customary law, freedom of the press, international law, Iraq, journalism, law, law of nations, media, military, national security, New York Times, repression, scanlyze, war, war crimes, WWII | 1 Comment

Comedian Bill Maher talks about Steve Allen, Lenny Bruce, Condi Rice, 9/11

Comedian Bill Maher talks about Steve Allen, Lenny Bruce, Condi Rice, 9/11

by Henry Edward Hardy

I did this interview with Bill Maher back around October of 2004 in conjunction with a local appearance he was making at EMU in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Bill Maher is probably the funniest and one of the cleverest people I have interviewed (or met). I was really enjoying myself during this interview.

I understand that your career got helped along by [originator and first host of The Tonight Show] Steve Allen?

That’s one I haven’t been asked about in a while. That’s true — you’re making me feel old here. When I first started in New York, there was like three clubs, and you had to belong to one of them … I was a Catch a Rising Star act. And Steve Allen was doing a show in New York called Seymour Gluek is Alive But Sick, which was silly, you know his silly songs, and then there was an MC in the middle of it. When he moved out here [to California], he just, you know, picked me to take over his part — he didn’t want to keep doing it the rest of his life. So you know, when I was 25, that was a kind of feather in my cap.

You had an illustrious film career. I noted Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death.

Henry, I can hear your sarcasm dripping there, and it’s appropriate, because it certainly was not illustrious. You know, everybody in show business has to find their way, and when we were young comics coming up, all we cared about, all we thought that mattered, was getting on a sitcom. That was our whole thing — we kind of didn’t realize that we were sitting on the golden goose, which was stand-up. What we were really doing was so much better than trying to get on Benson, or Mork and Mindy. We were young, and that was Hollywood, and that was more money and fame. And so that’s the route I went.

But you see yourself as coming pretty much out of the stand-up or vaudeville tradition?

Yeah. Vaudeville. There’s nothing that’s really different about vaudeville and a guy going out on the road performing an act in different cities — that is vaudeville. In the ’80s, when comedy was exploding, that was vaudeville. We were all on the road, we’d all see each other in the train stations — we were all together back then as young comics — Jerry Seinfeld, Paul Reiser, Eddie Murphy. I worked my first gig with Eddie Murphy for 50 dollars at a Chinese restaurant.

You were born in New York City in 1956, is that true?

Yes, ’56, yep.

So obviously you weren’t going out to clubs and listening to Lenny Bruce. He comes to mind because he was so topical, and so trenchant and political…

… and ballsy.

Brave guy.

Brave guy. I just contributed to his liner notes on … a book coming out about him. I said one of my favorite quotes about Lenny was a Chinese proverb, “One generation plants the trees, the other gets the shade.” And I really feel like with Lenny, he planted the trees and a lot of us got the shade. Because I am talking about those kind of subjects that got him in trouble.

Because now you can say “cocksucker” on the air and the police aren’t going to pull you off …

Not just “cocksucker” because lots of guys say that. But I mean talking about religion, criticizing the government. Things like that. You know, Lenny Bruce had nine trials. He went to trial nine times. That’s a lot.

So he paid some dues.

He paid the dues; he planted the trees.

You have a routine about the 9/11 Commission. What degree, if any degree, of foreknowledge about the 9/11 attacks do you think there was by the Bush Administration?

Well, I don’t think there was foreknowledge of the specific attack. You know, when the commission was being set up, issuing their reports and Bush was sort of under the heat of…that he kept saying [Maher imitates Bush voice and mannerisms], “If I’d known there was an attack coming on this country, I would have done everything I could.” No kidding, asshole! We get that. I mean, I’m not your fan, but I don’t think if you knew something about the specific attack, you wouldn’t have done something about it. The bigger point is when Condolezza Rice says things like, [does Rice voice impression] “Who could have ever imagined that they would take planes and fly them into buildings.” Well, you know what, lots of people imagined it. Moviemakers had imagined it. Those two little pricks at Columbine had imagined it.

She had a briefing that said, “Al Qaeda to use airplanes …”

Yes, yes! Exactly.

“…to attack buildings.”

Plus…when your name, what you had is “National Security Advisor,” it’s your job to think about things like that.

So you don’t think she’s done a very good job?

No, I don’t. And you know, this week something else came out that didn’t reflect well on her, which is stuff about the aluminum tubes. The main argument that the Bush administration used for attacking Saddam Hussein was that he, you know, “the smoking gun might be a mushroom cloud.” Remember that?

Right. Just to background that, the aluminum tubes they claimed were to be used for processing nuclear fuel; it turned out they were missile parts?

Exactly. And the intelligence community really knew this. Again she claims, “Not my job,” like Freddie Prinze [does impression] “Not my zhob, no, its not my zhob.” She tells the President …

Well, whose job was it?

Exactly. If she had been doing her job she would have said, “You know, if you want to attack Iraq, go ahead, but I’ve got to tell you, its not because he’s building nuclear bombs in these tubes. Just stop running around the country and saying that.”

What you’re saying seems to me to say … well, let’s take an analogy of Pearl Harbor. After Pearl Harbor, Admiral Kimmel and General Short who were the Navy and Army commanders at Pearl were court-martialed and dismissed from the service. Now who has been held accountable in any way for 9/11?

No, nobody.

Aside from you.

It always gets a rip-roaring response in my act when I say, “you know the only person to have been fired for terrorism is me?”

Bill Maher
HBO: Real Time with Bill Maher
Bill Maher (wikipedia)

By the way, it is interesting to note that Kimmel and Short were exonerated in 1999 by an act of Congress. According to wikipedia (permalink): On May 25, 1999, the United States Senate passed a resolution exonerating Kimmel and Short. They were denied vital intelligence that was available in Washington, said Senator William V. Roth Jr. (R-DE), noting that they had been made scapegoats by the Pentagon. Senator Strom Thurmond (R-SC) called Kimmel and Short, the two final victims of Pearl Harbor.

A version of this article appeared previously in Current Magazine and on Electric Current

Copyright © 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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25 January, 2007 Posted by | 9/11, archives, Bill Maher, comedy, Condoleezza Rice, EMU, interviews, Lenny Bruce, media, national security, politics, Steve Allen, television, WWII, Ypsilanti | 3 Comments

Looking Down on Lee Miller: Carolyn Burke’s Lee Miller: A Life

Looking Down on Lee Miller

Carolyn Burke’s Lee Miller: A Life

by Henry Edward Hardy

Lady Elizabeth Lee Miller was ahead of her time — and in many ways ahead of our time too. Model, actress, surrealist, freethinker and war photographer, Lee Miller was a lifelong champion and exemplar of absolute freedom and self-determination.

Unfortunately Carlyn Burke misses the mark. Her book is ponderous and self-important, with cloying third person references to “the biographer.” Her fundamental idea about Lee Miller seems to be that she was a victim, first of her childhood experiences and then of war trauma. In particular, Burke seems to focus on a supposed rape when Miller was seven. Although she admits “the details of what happened were unclear,” she bases much of her pseudo-psychological analysis of Miller’s adult life on this premise.

Lee’s father made a number of photos of Miller nude, including some very fetching, but not per se erotic, 3-D stereograms of her as a teenager. Certainly by the time she was an adult Miller was accustomed to being photographed naked. Her father worked for a Swedish company and frequently visited Stockholm, where he was influenced by the liberal attitudes there toward nudity and self-expression.

In 1929 Miller saw the surrealist photographer and artist Man Ray in a Paris cafe. Burke quotes Miller’s accounts of their meeting: “I told him boldly that I was his new student. He said he didn’t take students, and anyway he was leaving Paris on a holiday. I said I know, I’m going with you … and I did.” Miller said of Man Ray, “We lived together for three years, and I learned a lot about photography.”

After she refused to continue to live with Man Ray as an obedient “wife, married or not,” as he put it, Lee returned to New York in 1932. With her command of Man Ray techniques which she had improved, or invented, such as “solarization,” — later popularized by Andy Warhol– Miller became a much sought-after photographer in New York City.

In 1934, Miller married Egyptian businessman Aziz Eloui Bey. Bey was tolerant of Miller and her willful ways. Her images from Egypt are stark and magical, very beautiful but desolate.

Miller’s great years as a photographer and the period for which she will most be remembered by future generations, began with Miller’s move from Egypt to England in 1938. Moving in with her lover, the surrealist (and later, second husband and Commander of the British Empire Sir) Roland Algernon Penrose, Miller joined Penrose’s other ‘houseguest’, Man Ray.

As a photographer and correspondent for Conde Naste (who published Vogue), Miller became one of the first accredited female war correspondents of World War II. Her war photos combine tragedy, beauty, irony, a wicked humor and a sense of mystery. The idea of surrealist war correspondent may seem contradictory, but in fact Lee Miller was at her best in the middle of this war and chaos. Her photo of a duck on a battlefield, her pictures of Dachau, and David Scherman’s portrait of her nude in Hitler’s bathtub during a wild party at Hitler’s former house, her combat boots and army uniform beside her, rank as unique works both as war documentary and as art.

Regrettably, Burke’s biography is at times condescending, judgmental and moralizing. She presumes to speak for the reader, which is presumptuous to say the least. Regarding Lee Miller’s father, Theodore Miller’s nude stereograms of her, Burke says, “To us, Theodore’s ‘art studies’ are disturbing … We wonder why a father would take such pictures, why a mother would not intervene, and what long-term effects such sessions would have…” To see Lee Miller as a victim as Burke does is just as dehumanizing as to see her as an object, as many of her surrealist compatriots such as Jean Cocteau, Man Ray and Picasso seem to have done.

Burke’s fawning and yet hostile attitude toward Miller perhaps has influenced her selection of photos — she seems to have selected the frumpiest, most out of focus, and least appealing pictures of Miller for the book. Although Miller doesn’t look bad in Burke’s selection, it is quite difficult from this meager ration of images to discern the outstanding beauty who was a “vision so lovely … one forgot the purpose of one’s visit.”

Similarly, the selection of Miller’s own work is curiously lacking. Given Burke’s access to the Lee Miller Archives and the gracious cooperation of Miller’s and Roland Penrose’s son Antony Penrose, one wonders at the paucity of Miller’s best, and best-known work as a model and as a photographer.

Burke’s book rates as not a bad biography of a remarkable intellect and freethinker. But the interested reader would do far better to consult her son Antony Penrose’s book, The Lives of Lee Miller (Thames and Hudson, 1988), which is both more objective and more sympathetic.

Google image results for ‘Lee Miller’
Lee Miller Archive
Lee Miller (wikipedia)
The real surrealist (Guardian)
Beauty and the Beasts (Washington Post)

A version of this article appeared previously in Current Magazine and on Electric Current

Copyright © 2006, 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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21 January, 2007 Posted by | archives, art, books, Lee Miller, modeling, photography, reviews, scanlyze, surrealism, war, WWII | 4 Comments