Thursday, August 30, 2007

Already it is the Future!

Here is a wonderful old propaganda film by none other than General Electric from the Prelinger Archives depicting the history of electricity in the United States. A great study of propaganda in general and a frightening/inspiring look at what GE was trying to accomplish back in the day, including a list of modern household, agricultural and industrial innovations, and possible new realms of electricity generation (they mention that home atomic generators probably won't be developed and they talk about harnessing the energy of the sun through photosynthesis).

I wonder a bit about the significance of the fact that the word communism is never actually used, so that the freedom from tyranny line seemed to me to come out of left field with no overt enemy. I suppose back then it really wasn't necessary to spell it out, however. Everyone knew that it was the domino effect we were afraid of, but I think it's an interesting manifestation of the way the Cold War was fought, in this underhanded, irrational, unspoken kind of way.

Look! Already it is the Future! Here is greater freedom from drudgery than ever before! Today Freedom and Power are inextricably linked. But now our freedoms are threatened by forces that would crush our liberties and tyrannize the minds of men. Against these forces we have the weapons of Freedom, Courage, Faith and The Creative Spirit. And we have the tool that built our way of life: Productivity. With this productivity we can add to our freedoms and defend them (this is accompanied by an image of an infinite stream of war planes).

Double points if you decide to watch a newer piece of propaganda from the same company... Ah! The evolution of propaganda from the cosiness of your own Personal Computer.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Remembrance of Things Past

Conde Nast has done something quite wonderful: they're opening up the classic photo archive of House & Garden and selling the prints. While magazine photography has always been looked down upon by the art world, I've always been captivated by those glossy pages. And, in retrospect, the spreads are works of art; photographers like Andre Kertesz, Horst P. Horst and Cecil Beaton made their mark. Check out their store; it's like a who's who of classic design, with portraits of Aldous Huxley and Alfred Hitchcock, as well as shots of "An Elegant Tea" and "Leisure Furniture Heads for the Sun" (above). There's something absolutely magnificent about the head-on collision of dated parties and utterly timeless moments.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Clip-On Earrings

I have a ton of old clip-on earrings that I've either inherited from my great-grandmother or collected from junk sales (I can't shake the desire to be prepared for playing dress-up with ten-year-olds at a moment's notice). I recently came up with a new way to use them in the everyday, though. If you were giving someone money or just like to keep money in a drawer (I like to stash a little in case I can't get to an ATM) you can use clip-on earrings as a money clip. Depending on the sturdiness of the earrings, you can only do a few bills at once.