Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Entries Tagged as 'propaganda'

How They Saw Us, Cont’d

July 5th, 2012 · Comments Off on How They Saw Us, Cont’d

Quite some time ago, I posted about classic Soviet animation that hilariously stereotyped America as a Darwinian nightmare. As someone who grew up thinking that life in Moscow was accurately portrayed by that Wendy’s fashion show commercial, I was strangely pleased to learn that my Soviet peers were similarly duped into thinking that human happiness […]

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“That’s Some Big Hole You’ve Got There”

July 2nd, 2012 · Comments Off on “That’s Some Big Hole You’ve Got There”

Thanks a million for your patience while I was up in Maine, hacking away at the book and knocking back a whole mess of these. Catching up on a zillion different things today, then back tomorrow with a post about Somali immigrant remittances.

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Striving for Perfection

January 24th, 2012 · 3 Comments

Given my attraction to tales about how folks cope with nasty twists of fate, I was bowled over to discover this rarest of Korean War artifacts: a program from the 1952 prisoner-of-war Olympics held at Pyoktong, North Korea. In addition to containing numerous photos of the sports contested—such as tug of war, football, and bizarre […]

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Kafka in Seattle

January 4th, 2012 · 4 Comments

Amid all the wearying hullabaloo over the Iowa caucus, the passing of a major figure in American history seemed to have slipped off the radar. Gordon Hirabayashi, who died at 93 on Monday, was one of a small handful of Japanese-Americans to legally contest the Roosevelt Administration’s internment policy—a policy that, in this project’s humble […]

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The Christmas Fake-Out

December 23rd, 2011 · 4 Comments

Put yourself in the shoes of a G.I. slogging his way across Italy or New Guinea in December 1943. You’ve been subsisting on tinned ham and cold coffee for days; your feet are bleeding; your best friend took a bullet to the skull on Thanksgiving. The last thing in the world you want to think […]

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The Roots of the Infographic

October 13th, 2011 · Comments Off on The Roots of the Infographic

I’m almost ashamed to admit how much time I’ve wasted over the past few days sifting through this nifty archive of World War II “newsmaps,” which were essentially weekly progress updates published by the Army’s Special Service Division. Though tinged with the air of propaganda—it’s not like they ever reported on setbacks, and the enemy […]

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For Research Purposes Only, Of Course

September 27th, 2011 · 2 Comments

When President Richard Nixon visited China in 1972, his hosts treated him to a performance of The Red Detachment of Women, a “revolutionary ballet” in which girls with guns dance en pointe to music about the evil of landlords. When Nixon expressed his admiration for the production to Madame Mao, she replied with a ready-made […]

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Everything’s Better with Disco

September 14th, 2011 · Comments Off on Everything’s Better with Disco

Invoking khan’s prerogative to steal a day for book writing. Because if I don’t finish this chapter by week’s end, I fear the worst for the family’s future over the long winter. Even in Queens, keeping a yurt heated ain’t cheap.

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More Than Words Can Say

August 5th, 2011 · 3 Comments

Back in 2009, I meditated upon the question of whether or not wartime propaganda leaflets are actually effective at weakening an enemy’s resolve or ability to flight. The main takeaway was that design really mattered, as only certain kinds of leaflets—those with clear messages that eschewed graphic imagery—made a real impact on recipients. Ever since […]

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“Success in Work, Comrade”

July 18th, 2011 · 1 Comment

Searching for motivation to once again get cracking on my book for an eight-hour stretch, I stumbled across this excellent trove of East German labor propaganda. These particular images were produced at the tail end of Communist Era, and they reflect the nation’s struggles to keep pace with the West. There are plenty of mentions […]

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How They Saw Us

June 24th, 2011 · 2 Comments

All the time I spent delving into the Soviet sports machine for my hammer-throw saga got me thinking a lot more about the “Evil Empire” my youth. One of the first truly adult books I read was Hedrick Smith’s The Russians, because I as so curious about what daily life was like in the nation […]

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Fortune’s Supposed Favorites

August 23rd, 2010 · 2 Comments

The morning grog is heavy today, on account of the fact that I stayed up late watching Crossing the Line, a documentary about Virginia native James Joseph Dresnok‘s 1962 defection to North Korea. Despite some clunky Christian Slater narration, it’s a stellar flick—a deeply researched portrait of a man whose tragic background made him yearn […]

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Leotards for the Proletariat

May 13th, 2010 · 8 Comments

One of the first “heavy” books we ever read was Hedrick Smith’s The Russians, which came out at the height of the whole “Evil Empire” period. Before cracking open Smith’s honest investigation of daily life in the U.S.S.R., we imagined that Moscow resembled a vast outdoor version of the Death Star, absolutely devoid of color […]

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Psyops on Thin Dead Trees

December 8th, 2009 · 7 Comments

The advent of electronic media has apparently done little to diminish the use of propaganda leaflets during wartime. Over the first six weeks of the Iraq War, for example, the United States Air Force dropped 31.8 million leaflets, primarily geared toward encouraging conscripts to surrender and oil workers to resist scorched-earth orders. This June 2003 […]

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“The Palm Beach of Manchuria”

April 29th, 2009 · 4 Comments

The best novel we’ve read so far this year is Ian Buruma’s The China Lover, a criminally underrated fusion of first-rate historical reportage and thoughtful meditation on the nature of art. The book’s backbone is the true-life tale of a Japanese actress-turned-politician, whose career is recounted through the eyes of three lonely, movie-obsessed observers. The […]

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