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by Lee Carleton
Thursday, May. 22, 2003 at 5:32 AM
email@example.com 804-267-5616 7313 Longview Drive
Review of Micah Wright's remixed propaganda posters.
You Back the Attack! We’ll Bomb Who We Want!:
Remixed War Propaganda
by Micah Ian Wright
Seven Stories Press, 2003
If the foreword by novelist Kurt Vonnegut and the Introduction by historian Howard Zinn don’t wake you up, Micah Wright’s remixed propaganda posters certainly will. As a veteran of the “liberation” of Panama, this former Army Ranger has updated old Office of War Information posters from WWII and given them a distinct spin so they speak powerfully to a post- 9/11 America. Posters that were used to mobilize Americans against the fascist threats of the past are now re-issued to awaken us to the dangers of increasing militarization, unending war and the insidious influences of the Patriot Act and the Department of Homeland Security. Perhaps most impressive is
Wright’s own testimony as a soldier about his “moment of clarity” upon seeing the carnage wrought by misguided bombings in Panama.
While the artwork for this volume is a delight, readers are treated to brief but thoughtful text throughout. Vonnegut notes the spiritual echoes of 1920’s artists like Kathe Kollwitz and George Grosz while reminding us that the fledgling German democracy was undermined by “psychopathic personalities…smart, personable people who have no conscience.” In his Introduction entitled “Dissent and Democracy”, Zinn observes the stark difference between today’s wars and the war he fought as an Army Air Corps B-17 bombardier when the cause was clear and soldiers could have well-founded confidence in their leaders and their motives. This is a book of posters acknowledging our loss of innocence that urges us to reconsider what America stands for and where we are headed.
Each poster is accompanied by commentary from The Center for Constitutional Rights providing provocative detail regarding America’s actions in the world and the frightening practical implications of our new “war on terror.” At the end of the text,
a list of 77 notes cite information sources and encourage further exploration. In addition, there is an Appendix that reproduces each poster in its original form and lists each artists name (when known) and the date their work first appeared. Best of all, Wright encourages readers to reproduce his posters and plaster them all over! Whether you are a dangerous civil libertarian, a concerned citizen or a student of art and propaganda, this slim volume is well worth the time and money of anyone concerned about where America is headed since 9/11.
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