The Artifacts: A Focus On the Objects of War

Previous entries of this blog often have put a vague focus on the arts and the artifacts of war, ranging from weaponry of medieval combatants to cinematic interpretation and the contrast it has toward other forms of genre. Many questions, however, still linger about these living pieces of history that we often come to reflect on. I will be addressing several of these questions and trying to provide answers to long running humanistic questions from this: the discipline of humanities known as the arts.

Certainly a lot of ground to cover in this field!

A question of my initial posts that still often lingers is the agency of a soldier and the role of his weapon in describing his agency. A soldier, in essence, is not a human being, but the instrument of a larger force commanding him, thus depriving him of many of his freedoms and greatly limiting his ability to act. A soldier, however, does not agency altogether. A soldier lays a claim to agency through the greatest expression a soldier could have on the battlefield: his weapon. The weapon is for the soldier what the soldier is for the army: a means to exercise force in a manner seen fit by the wielder. A soldier is a human again when locked in combat, his weapon being his agency to commit action and earn glory and fame as a hero. Essentially, the only time when a soldier is not a soldier is when he is in a fight for his life, free from orders with only his strategy and his weapon to guide him.

Another question that yet remains to be answered is why war still exists in today’s society when we are supposedly “beyond war”. The reasoning that this is so is because we are still in a society that idealizes scenes of epic combat. Through cinema, through literature, our belief is still firm that there is something enticing about ferocious struggles and atrocities. This is not to say that many have tackled the view of a war from below, such as Grimmelshausen and Brecht with their respective works, but it is obvious that society cares more about the beauty of the fight rather than ending the horror of it.king_henry_v_at_the_battle_of_agincourt_1415

There are many questions that are yet to be addressed. The arts themselves may not hold an answer on every question, though many of the mysteries of the humanities can be addressed through the various realms that comprise the arts. My focus will often drift into these realms in order to develop a variety of responses for the conundrum of war. A goal of this blog, thus, is the creation of a comprehensive and living collection of relevant ideas to answer age old debates and conflicts.

Works Cited

Liu, Alan. “What Are the Humanities?” 4Humanities. N.p., 21 Dec. 2014. Web. 14
Nov. 2015. <;.

Gilbert, John. King Henry V at the Battle of Agincourt. 19th century. Oil on
canvas. Private collection.

Tonton, Ed T., III. Rack of Maces, Daggers, and Replica Pistols. N.d.
Photograph. Arms and Armor. Ed T. Tonton.

The Draft: War Is A Continuation of Societal Expectations By Other Means

In today’s society, many young men achieve adulthood to face a strange circumstance. They are met with not just reaching an age where they are legally responsible, but where they must legally put themselves forward as potential draft candidates in the chance that there is ever a conflict great enough to require heavy recruitment. This process, known as the Selective Service, is one of the oldest traditions still held by the military, and perhaps one of the most controversial. The argument rages on about the legitimacy of the Selective Service, and the debate of whether or not women should need to perform the process of selective service still arises on occasion. This particular subject is, in fact, a statement that war is another medium for society’s expectations and the repetitive tradition of upholding them.

The Selective Service, originally known as “The Draft” during WWII and the Vietnam War, was a way to recruit more fighters without actually needing to recruit anyone. By law, any man drafted must enlist after being drafted or can be subject to arrest. These circumstances, however, have never applied to women. Women have been exempt from the draft namely because of the long held belief that women weren’t suited to fight in war alongside men due to the standard held in 20th century society towards women’s roles. Now, in the 21st century where equal rights are almost the status quot in America, we still have a male only selective service that excludes women from being eligible. Essentially, war is holding an old, heinous stereotype that undermines the hard work many have put towards equality because it denies an equal responsibility, maintaining this dead societal expectation that women are just too fragile for war.

Political Cartoon Making a Statement On Female Ineligibility for the Draft

War, in essence, is allowing a stereotype that it’s a man’s war, when women serve on the front lines today as voluntary recruits. Why should a draft limit itself to only “male persons”? Women should be allotted the equal responsibility that they have rallied for time and again, and the process of strictly using men should be abandoned all together. Anything otherwise would be promoting stereotypes that have no place in our society or in the military.

Works Cited

What an Army of Men We’d Have If They Ever Drafted the Girls. Advertisement.
Matthew’s Island of Misfit Toys. N.p., 28 Jan. 2015. Web. 3 Nov. 2015.

“Should Women Have to Register for Selective Service?” N.p., n.d.
Web. 3 Nov. 2015. <

Selective Service Act. 50 USC. Sec. 10. 1980. Selective Service System. Web. 3
Nov. 2015. <;.