Green Army men with PTSD

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107 Responses to “Green Army men with PTSD”

  1. glaborous immolate says:

    “Returning soldiers were committing murder at a rate 20 times greater than other young American males”

    Citation needed.

    • kmoser says:

      Not to minimize the effect being a soldier can have on one’s psyche, but I’d like to know how many of those returning soldiers who committed murder would have done so whether they had been in the army or not. Perhaps those people prone to murder simply join the army at a higher rate, too. In other words, where’s the control in this experiment?

      • cub says:

        control/account for dropping criminal record restrictions previously in place –dropped by recruiters/military. then factor in the rape rates among this population during service against fellow service people and civilians– and that’s just for one statistic.

        who would want to go to war? the kind of man who might be a likely rapist? that is a question that comes to mind every time i read about sexual assault involving military/ex-military men. this is a comment that will get someone’s back up, but please know that i simply care more about your victims, the victims you didn’t help, or the fact that you didn’t police your fellow servicemen when they were bragging about their crimes.

  2. scifijazznik says:

    Neither the factoids they cite nor the intent behind the project prevent this concept from being in extremely poor taste.

    • Flying_Monkey says:

      It’s not remotely ‘poor taste’ as it’s done in complete sympathy with the people involved, and it is taking on the blandly celebratory portrayal of soldiers that is the norm in toys.

      I find them both eerie and really rather moving.

      • scifijazznik says:

        It’s not remotely ‘poor taste’ as it’s done in complete sympathy with the people involved…

        Like I said in my original comment, the intent doesn’t matter. What matters is the end product. You’re moved by them, I find them trite and tasteless. Tomato/Tomahto.

    • LoTekJunky says:

      Ignoring reality never helped anyone.

      • scifijazznik says:

        Ignoring reality never helped anyone.

        And making ironic plastic figures did?

        Tell you what, grab a handful of these and drive down to the VA nearest you and pass them out to the soldiers there. I’m sure they’ll appreciate that you’re not ignoring reality.

    • Anonymous says:

      Welcome to something known as “art”.

      • scifijazznik says:

        Welcome to something known as “art”.

        Thanks for clearing that up. Sometimes I forget that the simple act of having an idea and turning it over to a plastic injection-molder for fabrication makes one an artist. You’d think after living in L.A. for so long, I’d have learned that by now.

    • pinehead says:

      I agree with #3. Raising awareness for PTSD and trying to get our soldiers the help they need is noble and I’m all for it, but this project is in very poor taste.

    • Kimmo says:

      Neither the factoids they cite nor the intent behind the project prevent this concept from being in extremely poor taste.

      That’s grade-A, prime-cut fucking balderdash, pal.

      Can’t you see how that sort of attitude only serves to further obscure the real costs of unnecessary (at least in terms of their ostensible justifications) troop deployments?

      I’m willing to bet a significant fraction of those gung-ho, undereducated, brainwashed-from-birth grunts would be a little less keen to go kicking a-rab a-hole if their superiors were to admit those boys were expected to give their lives not for apple pie and the constitution (ha, the irony), but to secure the resources necessary to continue an unsustainable, guzzling, wasteful, exploitative and ultimately doomed status quo… or maybe even just to save some evil pollie’s face for electoral purposes.

      Face it, the rep the US earned in WWII as The Good Guys has been well and truly worn threadbare. Venal, short-sighted self-interest has been the order of the day pretty much ever since.

      I heartily endorse these ‘tasteless’ Army PTSD figures. If it’s tasteless to acknowledge the human cost (even if only on your own side, FFS) of blindly marching in time to the corrupt machinations of unrepresentative scum, then colour me tasteless to the hilt.

      IMO the invention of these sympathetic little green dudes presents a wonderful culture-jamming opportunity; imagine a realistic fraction of these casualties sprinkled through thousands of packets of these little molecules of brainwash.

      I can just hear the ‘think of the children’ outcry… what can I say? Open. Your. Fucking. Eyes.

      Something I’ve noticed from across the Pacific, that’s writ large to my eyes but may be less obvious in the midst of it: American institutions put a great deal of energy into sustaining all these national myths… not a unique thing in itself, but the pervasive scale of the exercise makes anyone else’s propaganda look tacked-on and half-arsed.

      It’s little wonder so many USAnians are so convinced of their divinely-granted superiority, so ignorantly belligerent; that’s what the recipe’s for: unquestioning pawns.

  3. IamInnocent says:

    It’s already disgusting that the news, let alone the Armed Forces, only reluctantly acknowledge the dead but that we almost never hear of the physically and mentally wounded, other than for stories of miraculous or heroic recoveries, is downright obscene. Any action to break that taboo is an act of courage in itself.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I don’t recall reading about PTSD sufferers after WWII or the Korean War. And while my father and my uncle certainly brought back “baggage” from WWII (and combine that with being in ones teens or twenties during the Depression), they (and their compatriots) seem to have been less afflicted by six years of war than contemporary veterans.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m not going to even get into the post about how PTSD wasn’t that bad or didn’t exist during wars of the previous century, that’s just absurd. I have a complex PTSD, or C-PTSD, and at first I was offended by this art, but then examined my reaction and changed my mind. The poster was correct who said anything that brings attention to PTSD is good, barring violence of course. It took my years to accept the diagnosis that it took 20 years of therapy to get, once I did I understood myself and who I am so much better than I ever thought possible and began some level of recovery. I have had this for over 35 years, I’m only 44, so it’s literally part of me now. It is hard to be “out” with this diagnosis, but it is a hell of a lot better than not knowing what it is and/or hiding it. Only because most people are so surprised, friends included when I tell them, that they can’t help but ask, I was sexually assaulted when I was 4 and due to heavy duty childhood asthma (which I was fortunate to outgrow) I had several near death medical emergencies when I was a child, including a coma. I am glad to be alive today and having the ability to look at art and decide what I think about it and be able to share my thoughts. I also believe that everybody has some crap they have to carry, we have varying loads and stories, but the burden is the same.

    • Anonymous says:

      “I don’t recall reading about PTSD sufferers after WWII or the Korean War. And while my father and my uncle certainly brought back “baggage” from WWII (and combine that with being in ones teens or twenties during the Depression), they (and their compatriots) seem to have been less afflicted by six years of war than contemporary veterans.”

      Consider him (and yourself) lucky.

      My father fought in the Battle Of The Bulge, and saw some heavy action. He was taken prisoner by the Germans. When he was liberated from prison camp, he weighed ninety pounds.

      In the 1950s, he told a doctor he was extremely nervous all the time, and asked for tranquilizers. The doctor scolded him “Be a man!”

      So my father spent the rest of his life self-medicating with alcohol and abusing my mother, leaving me with some PTSD issues of my own.

      They had different names for it back then (shell shock, battle fatigue) but humans have been suffering from battle as long as there has been war. It didn’t start with Vietnam, people just started paying more attention.

      But not enough.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      I don’t recall reading about PTSD sufferers after WWII or the Korean War.

      My uncle, who was at Anzio, would never travel except by walking, and spent the last twenty years of his life as a hermit. My father, who was in Korea, drank himself to death in his early 50s. You don’t need a diagnosis to recognize the symptoms.

      • Courtney says:

        Also, a lot of the ones that *would* have come home from those wars with PTSD just died on the battlefield back then. Our vast improvements in military medical care have come with a price.

        My brother has PTSD. You don’t need to come home in a coffin to be a casualty of war.

      • blueelm says:

        They didn’t call it that, or even call it. The media insisted it didn’t happen, and people who showed signs of it were stigmatized and ignored.

        “Anyone complaining that these are in bad taste actually have PTSD?”

        Yes.

    • Brainspore says:

      I don’t recall reading about PTSD sufferers after WWII or the Korean War.

      There also weren’t a lot of written contemporary accounts of gay people back then, and for the same reasons:

      1) People used different terminology back then
      2) Public and medical understanding of the phenomenon was not what it is today
      3) At the time it was considered a source of shame/mental weakness and something that wasn’t discussed openly in polite company

    • Ito Kagehisa says:

      I don’t recall reading about PTSD sufferers after WWII or the Korean War.

      Try looking up “shell shock” (ww2) or “battle fatigue” (korea).

      And while my father and my uncle certainly brought back “baggage” from WWII (and combine that with being in ones teens or twenties during the Depression), they (and their compatriots) seem to have been less afflicted by six years of war than contemporary veterans.

      Perhaps that’s because they were liberating lands that had been invaded, rather than invading. Personally I think I’d be more psychologically comfortable with fighting Nazis in France than fighting Afghans in their farmhouses. But I’m just guessing.

      • gwailo_joe says:

        I have heard that one reason for lack of PTSD in WWII may have had something to do with the method of their return home.

        Boats. Nice, slow boats…surrounded by buddies or at least fellow soldiers. Gave them some time to decompress.

        Vietnam? Wham, bang: from being shot at in the jungle to downtown Detroit in about 24 hours.

        I don’t care where in the U.S.: that kind of jarring juxtaposition could mess a guy up.

    • Anonymous says:

      @ Anon @5: The major difference between WWII / Korea and Vietnam / Iraq II / Afghanistan is the ratio of time in battle to downtime. WWII units saw battle on average 2x a year. Korea’s average was 4x/year. Vietnam’s was 17x/yr. How we wage war has changed — urban and guerilla warfare are more difficult than strategic pitched battle/aerial bombardment war. Further, a guerilla war is a harder war because there is no down-time or safe space. WWI had a high rate of shell shock (the old term for PTSD) because of the unceasing nature of trench warfare. (1:4 according to some UK sources.) WWII had a higher rate of what we now call ASD (Acute Stress Disorder), that was, to an extent, treated in the field with battle respite leave (R&R) and a crude form of peer-group therapy. We don’t have respite leave now because we treat being in battle like a job, which is isn’t.

      We’ve also built a point of failure into our current system. In WWII and Korea, the vast majority of forces were transported to and from battle by sea in the company of their peers, and spent 1-5 weeks in barracks after return. This gave them an average of 4 weeks to cope in an environment of shared experience. Their communication with the civilian world whilst in the field was necessarily limited to letters, often with a 2-3 week lag time (longer, in earlier wars.) This made the experience of war a separate state and space from the civilian world. Now, troops can be in the field on Tuesday and home on Thursday. While in the field, they can know exactly what’s going on at home, and have to manage an unprecedented degree of task-switching. There’s no decompression time. Historically, the retreat period after a war ended served as a means to process the emotional toll taken by battle. That we get troops home quickly is done with the best intentions, but it’s not necessarily the best idea.

      Finally, we can diagnose PTSD now. We know sort of how it works in the brain. We know what behavioral clues to look for. The post-WWII civilian world ignored child and spousal abuse as a societal norm. It accepted functional alcoholism. The Mad Men comparison is apt — that world is no longer acceptable, but it was a product of WWII and Korea.

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you joking?! WWII’s issues with shell shock created the demand for clinical psychology that MADE THE PROFESSION. Psychology had very very little to do with treating the mentally ill until the VA hired some psychologists to investigate the issue. Shell shock was actually the FIRST psychological disorder to have a list of diagnostic criteria, and the VA is still one of the biggest benefactors of the abnormal psych movement. Furthermore, the world wars were a contextual force that prompted psychology’s popularity as an applied science–for several decades, psychologists scoffed at the idea of practical application of psychological concepts. It was seen as impure and irrelevant. The usefulness of clinical psychology to veterans is really what prompted the American populous to accept and investigate mental illness.

    • Anonymous says:

      The suggestion that WWII veterans did not suffer from PTSD is not in lines with the historical facts. WWII were not diagnosed with PTSD and social expectations prevented them from identifying as depressed but they suffered horribly and were institutionalized and ‘treated’ by such ‘cures’ of the time as EST.

      • Anonymous says:

        While it’s good to clear up misconceptions, let’s be careful to not perpetuate others in the process. While EST (now known as ECT) was not always practiced under safe conditions, it is actually an extremely safe and effective treatment for many different mental disorders. ECT is generally regarded as the safest medical procedure performed under general anesthesia, and is nothing like the portrayals seen in the media.

    • Anonymous says:

      Then you haven’t done much reading. The term PTSD wasn’t entered into the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (aka the DSM) until 1980. Just because the term hadn’t been invented doesn’t mean that the horrors of war haven’t ALWAYS affected soldiers.

    • RedShirt77 says:

      “I don’t recall reading about PTSD sufferers after WWII or the Korean War.”

      Watch an episode of Mad Men and ask yourself why drinking and smoking yourself to death While destroying your family was the national pastime.

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t recall reading about PTSD sufferers after WWII or the Korean War.

      That may be because the phrase was not coined until after Vietnam, but what was previously known as shell-shock has been recognized since WWI.

    • Anonymous says:

      The diagnosis didn’t exist then, you know. You would hear of soldiers being “shell-shocked”. Also, prior to the connected era, there was no real collective sense of whether this sort of thing was going on around the country. There was no Google news with thousands of newspaper articles awaiting your perusal.

      I posit previous generations weren’t made of sterner stuff. It’s just that they were less likely to seek help for a condition that was even more poorly understood at the time, and there was no nationwide visibility.

  5. Anonymous says:

    we have to admit that while these are shoking they are not made-up interpretations of what some soldiers returning from War with PTSD have subjected themselves to.
    Goblin Mentions: “Think Andy Warhol and Campbell soup, the repetition in his art was his message. That our society was perhaps a little too good at copying itself. ” That comment alone raised my brow to see art in a whole new way.
    raising a mirror to our humanity is one of the only ways many of us will really see. Most of us are in denial and won’t look at things that make us feel badly about ourselves. There are many “suggestions” on how the artist should have done differently, but in actuality this way was the most telling for me. The conflict between something as “innocent” as a childs toy and so graphic as the war that childs toy is mimicking. replace the “traditional” toy soldier with one from above and there is no difference because they are one and the same (metaphorically). To those that are offended by this, you have the right to be. Understand that the real offense should be in the lack of education and healthcare to treat PTSD than in looking at someones art bringing awareness to that cause.

  6. Mithras says:

    Yes, number one, extremely poor taste. Opportunistic garbage. These figures were “inspired” by a single newspaper article, not from any kind of actual interaction with the soldiers returning from duty overseas.

    Two, just because someone served in combat does not make them automatically in need of pity. Everyone has different responses to similar experiences.

  7. glaborous immolate says:

    well, here is something about the murder and suicide rate.

    http://www.gazette.com/articles/rate-110081-carson-fort.html

    For one, it seems the absolute number of murders was 10, which is pretty high ratewise, but pretty low for the sample size.

    For two, the rate seems to have dropped dramatically through better care.

    Three, the article i cite says ““The top thing, the first step, was elimination of the stigma —making sure everyone knew, no matter who you are, coming forward to get help is a sign of strength, not weakness,” said Graham, who is now stationed at Fort McPherson, Georgia.”

    I wonder how making green plastic army men with rifles under their chins, or slapping what looks to be Aunt May does for their sense of stigma.

    • EH says:

      I wonder how making green plastic army men with rifles under their chins, or slapping what looks to be Aunt May does for their sense of stigma.

      Well, we now know that it reveals that people like you have an interest in forcing the stigma to persist as you compulsively tell everyone within ear/eyeshot how bad these images are. How dare they cheapen your pity!

    • aguane says:

      As someone who works with veterans with varying degrees of PTSD, I would think that an image of a regular army person, doing nothing other than being a regular army person would be a more accurate portrayal of “Green Army men with PTSD.”

      So many people (both those in the military and civilians) have images like these burned into their head as what PTSD looks like, that those who could use the help think they aren’t “sick enough” and instead silently suffer and withdraw.

  8. Major Variola (ret) says:

    Dude, collect the series where you
    rape the 14 year old, then shoot and burn her and her family!! Happy meals II

  9. Major Variola (ret) says:

    Can we get DADT models in pink?

    • Brainspore says:

      Can we get DADT models in pink?

      I hope my sarcasm meter is off today and that was actually meant as some kind of jab at homophobes.

  10. Neon Tooth says:

    If you’re not, there was this guy, Duchamp

    lol, ok. I’m not an artist, but I have a general knowledge of art, especially ‘arts greatest hits’ man…

    I also don’t think that you speak for every U.S. veteran either. As others have pointed out, art doesn’t have to be in ‘good taste’ and what’s ‘good taste’ is entirely subjective, just as the interpretation of this project is. Personally I find it kind of ‘meh’, but that’s just my taste, there is no doubt, however, that it’s generated a discussion on PTSD. Anyway, arguing about art, next we can end the debate about which ice cream flavor is truly and objectively best.

  11. Neon Tooth says:

    “The fastest way to end a war, is to surrender.”
    George Orwell

    Or to just leave, and quit making it on people.

  12. Anonymous says:

    what a brilliant piece of art, erm, i meant to say: discussion.

    .~.

  13. pjk says:

    I think the point is to juxtapose them with the traditional green plastic “Army Man,” which are toys for kids that are supposed to be fun and heroic, etc. (See: Toy Story) In that context, I think they’re meaningful as reminders that war is not a game. I grew up “playing army.” Now THAT’S twisted.

  14. Goblin says:

    I think the response to this work has been rather typical. Most people like the “idea” or “political cause” behind whatever the shocking thing was even if they don’t care for the art, and of course someone (me in this case) does the typical hating and calls for decency.

    Brainspore has expounded upon Warhol and he’s right. We as a country respect the practice of “hate” or “distasteful” speech. The courts generally view it as acceptable unless it is also accompanied by real violence (which at that point the laws suddenly ratchet back up).

    In lots of ways art as a discipline hasn’t evolved since Warhol’s days when they originally pushed those boundaries. Now I fear that this means, in modern terms, that art is no more “art” then it a gestalt of politics and crafted material.

    After all many people here seem to be suggesting that my “hate” and the words I wrote because of it are the proper products of this art. Fancy that? It leaves me with the nagging question, am I the “art” or are those figures the “art”? Perhaps the “art” only exists when such an individual with mine or similar experience engages with the art?

    Since we brought up Warhol we might as well bring up Roland Barthes as well. Such is the “subjective” approach endorsed by most commenters on this. Yet there is a catch here most miss when taking this subjective tack along the outlines of Barthes, Death of the Author. Most people allow their view of the shock to be shaped by the author. However if you stay true to Barthes then we shouldn’t care about the intent of the artist, period.

    So, if the political response (hate) is the “art” then where’s the true art? If we were to follow Warhol, who improperly suggested that “art is life” we would be forced to find that the only “artists” in this work are the Veterans who happen to see this and respond with the “hate”. It’s plain that Warhol’s conclusion is a reduction ad absurdum. Art can’t both be an experience that the artist hasn’t lived and an experience that the soldiers ( or viewers of the work) have lived. This all just seems so typical; every participant of this art is a hollow.

    We are the hollow men
    We are the stuffed men
    Leaning together
    Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
    Our dried voices, when
    We whisper together
    Are quiet and meaningless
    As wind in dry grass
    Or rats’ feet over broken glass
    In our dry cellar

  15. Anonymous says:

    I wonder how the posters who think this is ‘extremely poor taste’ feel about all those black ops first person shooter video games..

  16. Anonymous says:

    PJK – exactly what i thought.

    It’s time for us to stop glorifying war and start opening our eyes for what it really is and the harm it causes. This is a good way to start.

  17. bbonyx says:

    “A seperate investigation into the high suicide rate among veterans published in the New York Times in October 2010 revealed that three times as many California veterans… ”

    I blame California, not Iraq or the military.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      I blame California, not Iraq or the military.

      You try driving on the 405 at rush hour.

  18. Anonymous says:

    It took me a moment to pinpoint the source of my discomfort at these figures, aside from the suffering of war veterans. I have no problem with the idea itself, it is a clever and subversive play on the traditional heroic, square-jawed toy soldier. The problem for me is that the figures are cariacatures, adopting rather ham-fisted poses each designed to illustrate a particular ‘issue’. It would have been better IMO to avoid the urge to merely illustrate, and instead base the figures on sculptures of real people, each with an authentic identity. Contrasting a collection of such figures with the traditional ones would then be truly poignant. A wasted opportunity.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think you’ve raised a really good point…I don’t find these offensive, I get that the artist is trying to remind us that real men and women in uniform are NOT anonymous, disposable, interchangeable like plastic toys…But going that extra step would really erase any doubt that this is just a cheap exercise in postmodern irony. (With the permission of those depicted, of course).

      Oh, and what the other anons said: Proceeds to charity, and sell them by the bag for anti-war culture jammers to leave off at Toys R Us…

  19. Nash Rambler says:

    I’m sorry, but I find the poor taste far outstrips any value in communicating a message.

  20. Goblin says:

    Doesn’t this make you angry about regular toy soldiers and other soldier toys? Sanitizing war and grooming the next generation of children for it? I would think that was the whole purpose of the project, to show a more real face of war. Just my guest though, I’m certainly no artiste..

    In a word, NO.

    You’re reading too much into things again.

    Are you’re familiar with the R.Mutt phenomenon? If you’re not, there was this guy, Duchamp, who was a well know artist. He painted the letters “R. Mutt” on a urinal and put it on display as “art.” And guess what this act deeply influenced what the meaning or “art” was. Now given that.

    What became important in modern art is HOW the artist changed things. Think Andy Warhol and Campbell soup, the repetition in his art was his message. That our society was perhaps a little too good at copying itself.

    Given this, the repeating Campbell soup cans still represent Campbell soup cans; and, in the same way regular toy soldiers are just that, plain ordinary toy soldiers, so why should I care? What is important to the work above is how the artist changed the standard presentation of that everyday mundane object.

    Now as a soldier who has been to some shocking places and seen a few shocking things, I’ve grown to dislike this new requirement of our modern society. Why must you imperfectly shock everyone else at the expense of those who’ve experienced the real shock. Why must OUR dignity be impinged for the sake of someone’s “poltical” message? One that isn’t even made detailed or explicit by either the blurb or the work.

    The answer is it shouldn’t, now I find it telling that no one has argued that this work “is in good taste.” You’ll notice that all the arguments are for the acceptance of the bad taste, not for the fundamental goodness of the work. So think about it a little bit, what are you saying about yourself and the artist(s) you’re defending?

    You’d rather take in an artful, if badly stereotyped, brew then acknowledge the true bitterness of conflict from the words of those who’ve tasted it…

    • consistently disappointed says:

      Goblin,

      As someone who wore the uniform and defended the freedoms we cherish in this nation, I would think you recognize that any effort to censor someone’s freedom of expression (outside of hate speech and incitement to violence) is a degradation of the principles that you served and fought for. While I admit that I found the shock treatment of the figures problematic and troubling, I also recognize that I donned that same uniform for the artist’s freedom of expression as much as I did for your freedom to express your disgust and frustration. If we don’t defend the freedoms of all, then what are we defending?

      That being said, I think your Warhol reference is instructive in this matter. I think there are multiple interpretations that could be drawn from these figure, including the way that vets who struggle with PTSD are sometimes dehumanized – even by those who seek to be their allies – by the extreme nature of the portrayals that are drawn upon to make the point. This discussion thread offers that example – the question of murder rates has been picked apart and used to divert attention from the question, when in reality PTSD strikes at all kinds of vets in all kinds of ways, and focusing only the extreme cases tends to trivialize or ignore the cases that don’t erupt into domestic violence, suicide, etc.

      Another problem becomes the distraction we create by becoming so inflamed over the content of the art that we fail to have any discussion of the problem and how it might be better addressed. I’m all for demanding better funding of VA services to work with veterans on this, and I’m all for demanding that the military hierarchy do more to combat the stigma that has been placed on PTSD, traumatic brain injury, moral injury, and so forth that prevents active service members from seeking help when these things are destroying them and their loved ones – not to mention the combat readiness of their units!

      Ultimately, I suspect that it takes all kinds, and that includes some of the more radical voices, too. I don’t have to necessarily like it to appreciate the point that it is trying to make, and if this fosters more discussion on the issue that really matters – the disruption and destruction of the lives of some of our finest – then I’m in favor of seeing where this might take us.

      • Goblin says:

        Like said, I’ve had my say, I’m interested in what you have to say.

        What does this art mean to you?

  21. blueelm says:

    Hmmm… I’m not sure the intent is coming across in this work. It seems more punishing of the mentally ill, whether by war or any other reason, and on sketchy information too.

    This is an area where it’s hard to get your point across. I think it just falls short and ends up more like a stale joke.

  22. irksome says:

    Perhaps we’d be better served by little green men that draw attention to the noble but poorly funded efforts of the VA and to the ignoble efforts of Republican Congressmen who try to de-fund them?

    • Anonymous says:

      Perhaps we’d be better served by little green men that draw attention to the noble but poorly funded efforts of the VA and to the ignoble efforts of Republican Congressmen who try to de-fund them?

      American political parties are just a dog and pony show to occupy the minds of stupid people.

      If Democrats and Republicans alike weren’t engaged in a 30 year long continuing effort to divert all my tax dollars into the hands of hereditary billionaires, nobody would be trying to de-fund anything, since the US Federal Government would be rolling in dough.

  23. Anonymous says:

    I know they’re out there, along with germ denialists and other
    sad forms of social neurosis, but seriously…the sheer amount of crazy some people are willing to put to print about this is kind of sickening.

    PTSD really looks like that. It really does. And trying to sweep it under the rug is very wrong.

  24. Dan Mac says:

    I think Douglas Coupland did it much better with his gallery display of a few years back, portraying toy soldiers with missing limbs etc, as a paen to those who are handicapped in society.

  25. anansi133 says:

    What I’ve been wanting to buy, are some civilian plastic people for the army guys to interact with. Y’know, to fill out my war crime playset.

  26. wookiedingleberry says:

    This is an inspired idea.
    Bad taste, really? The artist has shown incredible restraint in choosing subjects. Imagine what could be dreamt (fuck off spellchecker) up by someone who was trying to shock?

  27. _Username says:

    Politics aside…I feel portraying the real and very tragic effects of war ( any war) in such simplistic toy like media is stunning at best and possible offensive to those who do have PTSD. Would you want your worse nightmare reduced to Happy Meal swag

    • Neon Tooth says:

      Politics aside…I feel portraying the real and very tragic effects of war ( any war) in such simplistic toy like media is stunning at best and possible offensive to those who do have PTSD. Would you want your worse nightmare reduced to Happy Meal swag

      Americans fetishize the troops, but forget about their problems once they’ve come home. Consider this story, how many homeless vets there are, vets struggling for care etc. etc. Sometimes a hypnotized, distant citizenry needs to be shocked awake, or at least stimulated to discuss issues like this. That’s some of what art can facilitate.

  28. Anonymous says:

    So, why can’t we buy these with the proceeds going to a non-profit organization to help veterans? I’d take two sets.

  29. EeyoreX says:

    I find the discussion and debate incited by these sculptures to be far more interesting than the artworks themselves.

    Wich is exactly as it should be.

    However, some people here are just flaunting their ignorance. If you think this is somehow the first time contemporary art deals with PTSD, you simply haven’t been paying any attention.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzMy7-7WV44

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qIgVrOy9vM

    If you think an art work is in bad taste, go create one on the same topic but in better taste. That is all there is to it.

  30. Anonymous says:

    As an epidemiologist working in the field of PTSD (lifelong civilian, not military), let me chime in a few things here:

    1. Most members of the armed forces returning from deployment having experienced combat do not suffer from PTSD or any other mental health issue. Some do, but most do not. This is not in any way to minimise the significance of the problem to those who do suffer, but it is inaccurate, lazy and borderline insulting to assume that returning troops have mental health difficulties.

    2. Civilians suffer PTSD. In the UK, the lifetime risk is actually not that different between an infantryman who has seen combat and a civilian who has never been anywhere near a war zone (cannot cite, as different methods of measurement yield different results, but we’re talking around 3-6% for both populations depending on who you ask). As others have said, where are the controls? (The situation is different in the US, where veterans do seem to report a high level of PTSD, but there are many potentially explanatory factors for this, not least the free medical care for those who claim service-related conditions…)

    3. As to the “slow boat” argument… in fact, every Western nation does already provide some “decompression” process, varying by nation, and have done for years. This point is frequently raised by concerned citizens and is utterly incorrect. The utility is another question, of course, but it is not true that the military are unaware of the issue or that they have failed to take steps.

    I fully agree that the artist is free to make whatever statement they feel necessary, of course, and I am not saying that I agree with all armed forces mental health policy. However, I would say that this particular work is flawed in that it presents a hugely oversimplified picture of a complex problem which could likely lead the observer to draw false conclusions. In other words, it fails to hold a mirror up to truth. And it certainly doesn’t help those stigmatised to seek help.

  31. jonw says:

    Oh Iwanttobuythesesobadly.

  32. Anonymous says:

    I’d love these off on a RepRap, bag them in slightly modified army men packaging, and then leave them at Toys R Us as a culture jamming project. Force people to talk to their kids about what war really does to the heroes.

  33. irksome says:

    I think they used to call it “shell-shock”.

    My grandfather was a medic in WWI and was witness to horrible battle and surgical scenes; he came home with a nice little morphine habit as his coping mechanism.

  34. Drabula says:

    I always find it odd when folks get far more worked up by artistic representations of, or commentaries on things, than the actual, real tragedies that might have inspired the work. Art doesn’t ruin lives, war does.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Liked your Green Army.

  36. gwailo_joe says:

    First thought: ‘Ha-ha!”

    Next thought: “That’s Terrible!!”

    Third and final thought: ‘well, why not?’

  37. Anonymous says:

    A bucket containing a single green army man alone, clutching his weapon, in an ocean of yellow civilian men, women, and children doing normal things would be a more powerful statement of what PTSD does to its victims.

  38. Jimmer says:

    These seem to be in very poor taste! What’s next a special olympics action figure series?

    • Anonymous says:

      Your comparison doesn’t hold water; people with “special needs,” or mental retardation, or cognitive disabilities, aren’t really analogous to soldiers and people who go to war. Putting oneself “in the line of fire,” so to speak, involves,in some measure, choice. Down Syndrome, or the like, does not. You don’t get to opt out of that. Moreover, when I last checked, Special Olympics didn’t involve killing people, or destroying livelihoods.

  39. jetsetsc says:

    “PTSD” is far too sterile and clinical a name for this condition. These people have stared into the abyss of human suffering and the depths to which mankind is capable sinking in inflicting destruction on each other. “Shell Shock” is a little better. Something like “The Horrors” is more like it. As clickers on internet links to goatse/3-girls/etc can attest: you can’t un-see things. And war is often that times 10 million.

  40. Anonymous says:

    If you care about people in the military, then it makes no sense to defend their decision to fight wars of aggression.

    There are a lot of decent folks in the military. I don’t think these individuals need to be demonized. Most people are trying to achieve a personal goal, while at the same time helping society. I’ve even met people who wanted to join the military just to lose weight or travel. Yes, there are also guys like Jeremy Morlock, but I think they’re in the minority… Everyone has their own personal reasons for joining up and we live in an extremely pro-military society.

    However, if we still believe in the Nuremberg principles, then we must condemn the act of participating in aggressive warfare.

    If we won’t tell them to quit, to stop fighting aggressive wars, then we aren’t really opposing these wars where it matters most. Soldiers shouldn’t be expected to be unthinking, unfeeling robots lacking free will. Indeed, they are required by both US military and international law not to be. “Following orders” is not an excuse to commit war crimes. In these cases, you may disobey, actually you must disobey, your commanding officer.

    We must suggest that these people not fight or assist military efforts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Libya, or Yemen etc…

    Troops, don’t be a butcher for big business, you have options:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ehren_Watada

  41. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Anyone complaining that these are in bad taste actually have PTSD?

  42. imorgan73 says:

    YOUR SUBJECTIVE EXPERIENCE IS WRONG!

    NO, YOURS IS!

    Continue ad infinitum.

  43. Kimmo says:

    I have a dream.

    It’s naive, and starry-eyed, and of course, I can’t ever see it happening.

    But it’s fucking beautiful…

    Cue the usual build-up to war: some fig-leaf of an incident is trumpeted as a compelling reason for invading some far-off land in order to secure its resources. Maybe some outlandish claims about WMDs are repeated ad infinitum… the tame corporate media are busy baying for blood and fanning flames of ignorant hatred; you know the deal.

    The military-industrial complex is all geared up to do what it does best – take a bunch of human potential, lots and lots of metal and compounds of nitrogen, and very messily convert it into years of acute agony and misery in an orgy of splintering bone and blood mist, followed by decades of chronic despair punctuated by the occasional land mine going off under somebody. Oh, and truckloads of sweet, sweet cash.

    All the pieces are lined up on the board, ready to play their part. Only this time, something’s different. This time, somehow, a significant proportion of individuals have miraculously decided to exercise what separates them from mammals with fur, and actually learned something from history.

    Not everybody of course, but enough, have decided they conscientiously object to the whole exercise, and there’s too many to throw in jail. So many in fact, the whole operation is scuppered from the outset – not enough unthinking drones to get the job done.

    Humanity victorious against its cancerous scum whose occupation it has been to divide and conquer the collective to further their networks of influence and power… the worm turned.

    Have a good long think about the reasons why this isn’t possible.

    I always found Lennon’s original too hopeful; too pie-in-the-sky… but a quarter-century later, A Perfect Circle nailed it.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Tasteless art is art too… War is ugly from every angle, so are these.

  45. blueelm says:

    But honestly, does some one have to have something to have the right to show concern over it?

  46. jesusio says:

    I’m going to say this in a non-ironic way. I’m what’s commonly referred to as Native-American, we have a Warrior Culture and respect our veterans. Now here’s the thing, asking warriors to kill for your society and not accepting them for the psychic toll they have paid is shameful. In my culture (traditionally), a warrior who has killed in battle is brought home to a cleansing ceremony, 21 days of isolation and reflection. Then he is given a mentor from an older generation (also a combat vet) who is given the responsibility of counselling that young man for the rest of the older man’s life. When the young man gets old, he takes responsibility for a young man, the cycle continues. Now I know that is not practical, it’s not that far from being achievable. The point is, don’t dispose of members of society after you’ve asked them to do something that humans are naturally averse to doing. It’s disrespectful, and pretty chickenshit. Be respectful and treat them well, the are only doing what we’ve asked.

  47. Goblin says:

    As an Army man and veteran I find these in poor taste.

    I also don’t care for the comments that suggest there is only one way to interpret this work of art. Seriously, is that what “art” means these days; that we absolutely MUST accept the politics of the artist or whomever else wishes to monopolize its supposed “message?”

    Perhaps I should explain why I think these are in poor taste. More then anything it is the fact these men look SO generic. In my mind that muddies the intent. Are these really about “That” Battalion mentioned in the blurb or are they just a generic stigmatization cast in plastic? Frankly it appears the artist is invoking the image of soldiers in the loosest of terms.

    You know, kinda in that way a real soldier relates to a child’s green army toy. Put it another way, these figures say to me that the artist is commenting on our society’s ill-formed and child-like preconceptions of the real army. That much I agree with.

    However, lets face it, do you think its easy for veterans, such as myself, who have gone through a very REAL experience to see those stereotypes and stigmas cast in a generic green resin? That’s it! That what we are to the artist, generic pawns disproportionately prone to societal problems?

    Think about it for a moment. Did the artist(s) even think about how veterans might feel when they might see this!?!? Any thought at all for our dignity?

    The real tragedy here is that this not a single person in this whole art group who could place themselves in our boots. They couldn’t or wouldn’t see the world through our eyes or venture a thought about our collective dignity.

    • Neon Tooth says:

      However, lets face it, do you think its easy for veterans, such as myself, who have gone through a very REAL experience to see those stereotypes and stigmas cast in a generic green resin? That’s it! That what we are to the artist, generic pawns disproportionately prone to societal problems?

      Doesn’t this make you angry about regular toy soldiers and other soldier toys? Sanitizing war and grooming the next generation of children for it? I would think that was the whole purpose of the project, to show a more real face of war. Just my guest though, I’m certainly no artiste..

    • Brainspore says:

      Seriously, is that what “art” means these days; that we absolutely MUST accept the politics of the artist or whomever else wishes to monopolize its supposed “message?”

      Fortunately art demands no such thing. In fact I suspect this artist might be a little disappointed if nobody found this in bad taste. So hate away!

      • Goblin says:

        Fortunately art demands no such thing. In fact I suspect this artist might be a little disappointed if nobody found this in bad taste. So hate away!

        Do you think we should graphically depict the victims of violent crimes at that painful time moments after, or even during, their victimization and suffering just so we can “raise the awareness” of such acts? Imagine how hard is a trial on a victim’s family?

        Think about it, aren’t we as a nation enlightened enough to where our society has finally accepted those with PTSD as “victims” of war? Rather then some ill fitting rabble to be tossed out of society and left to fend for themselves?

        The artist(s) don’t truly care about PTSD, they’re using hate as a tool to gain notoriety for themselves (unless I am completely misconstruing the purpose of “shock value”). Frankly it’s sickening. Why should anyone make their name off of some other victims’ pain? There are a million-and-a-half better ways to raise awareness besides grafting a painful image without even bothering to talk to one who is experiencing that pain. It’s kinda like a guy trying to express the pain of childbirth, he might be able to “depict” it but he can never truly understand it.

        I’m going to step down off my soap box now before the moderator jumps in. Suffice it to say I am completely at odds with this concept “shock value.” Such a notion only has meaning in a society where true shock and pain is not part of the common experience.

        • Brainspore says:

          Do you think we should graphically depict the victims of violent crimes at that painful time moments after, or even during, their victimization and suffering just so we can “raise the awareness” of such acts?

          Since you brought up Warhol earlier it’s worth noting that some of those “repetition” prints he made were of photographs depicting horrific car crashes. Not fictionalized illustrations inspired by written accounts of car crashes, but actual photos taken from newspapers. Warhol did this in an artistic attempt to show how media desensitizes us to violence, but I imagine a family member of one of the crash victims might find those prints at least as off-putting as you find these toy soldiers. Heck, a lot of survivors from Guernica probably weren’t big fans of cubism.

          Art by its very nature is subjective and elicits a wide range of valid reactions from different people. You find this art distasteful and I respect that. I hope you come to accept and respect the differing opinions of your peers.

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        Initial reaction to the painting is overwhelmingly critical. The German fair guide calls Guernica “a hodgepodge of body parts that any four-year-old could have painted.” It dismisses the mural as the dream of a madman. Even the Soviets, who had sided with the Spanish government against Franco, react coolly. They favor more overt imagery, believing that only more realistic art can have political or social consequence. Yet Picasso’s tour de force would become one of this century’s most unsettling indictments of war.

        http://www.pbs.org/treasuresoftheworld/guernica/gmain.html

        • Brainspore says:

          Exactamundo! Today’s crank might be recognized as tomorrow’s genius and vice versa- especially in the realm of political art. The best any contemporary artist can hope for is to create something that gets noticed and maybe even starts a discussion.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            Exactamundo!

            If I didn’t already know where you lived, that word would tell me.

          • Brainspore says:

            The world may mock Californians, but sooner or later they all end up talking like us whether they mean to or not.

  48. tyree says:

    The military haters forget that “provide for the common defense” is sort of at the core of our country and our culture.

    Memorial Day is coming up, please take some time to remember the men and women who didn’t come home. It would also be a good day to take a veteran out to lunch and tell them “thanks”. Who knows, it could brighten both of your days.

    “The fastest way to end a war, is to surrender.”
    George Orwell

  49. Anonymous says:

    This IS the most important thing I’ve seen for years of carousing around the art land in San Francisco and on the web! This piece from the Dorothy Collective belongs in the MOMA and on the cover of TIMES, and definitely in front of legislation.

    My old friend’s best friend killed himself after coming back from Afghanistan. Maybe I should really do something about that instead of just sitting around and feeling sorry for him, huh?

    @Goblin, the fact that these men look generic is part of the point- veterans are reduced to statistics all the time, both before and after war! Numbers are easy to push to the side, to worry about later.

    These green ‘toys’ put a loud, angry face in reaction to the general public’s lethargy regarding veterans. You should be glad. I’ve been shocked by this image and am taking initiative to see what I can do to help those who served our nation. The first begins with spreading this article far and wide… second, e-mail the Dorothy collective and see their plans on this… and third, research local initiatives for soldier and veteran support.

  50. cubicblackpig says:

    There was a life-size version of this idea made for the 2008 Sculpture by the Sea exhibition: Soldier Scale 1:1. Not overtly PTSD but certainly shellshocked.

  51. abb3w says:

    Remembered from alt.music.filk days of yore and dredged back up from the depths of Google’s USENET archive (with a bit of spelling/punctuation editing)….

    “One Armed Soldier” by A.D. Burrows
    (Tune: “One Tin Soldier” by Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter)

    Once a tinker made some soldiers for a rich man and his son
    So that they could play together since they thought tin soldiers fun.
    Gently cast and brightly painted in a box with velvet line
    And he was paid quite well for them for his work was very fine.

    Well the tinker cast his soldiers from his molds all well came free,
    All but one which had a bubble where its left arm ought to be.
    Next day was the rich boy’s birthday no time left to cast anew,
    So he made a one-armed soldier, just to show what war could do.

           Go ahead and form your men up just the way that I do mine
           Knock down all the poor tin soldiers standing on the firing line
           And when the men are lost or broken rusted clean away
           Put it to the artist’s credit
                                            One-armed soldiers stand today

    So the boy had fine tin soldiers cavaliers and infantry,
    Plus the one man labeled veteran with his left sleeve hanging free.
    What to do with one poor slogger in his box of velvet black?
    Give the boy a decent burial on a high shelf in the back.

    Chemistry it knows no season, ‘spite the best a man can do;
    Paint rubs off enamel chips and tin too soon is rusted through.
    Things get lost and metal broken in the course of active play;
    Soon of all the brave tin soldiers all but one was thrown away.

           Go ahead and form your men up just the way that I do mine
           Knock down all the poor tin soldiers standing on the firing line
           And when the men are lost or broken rusted clean away
           Put it to the artist’s credit
                                            One-armed soldiers stand today

    Once a tinker and a molder artist fine, all pale and thin,
    Found his proper avocation; traded bronze for working tin.
    His proud statues earned him honour; he was buried well renowned,
    But of all his brave tin soldiers not a one was ever found.

    When the rich man died an old man left his fortune to his son,
    Who became a wanton spendthrift; soon the money all was gone.
    Searched the house for things of value for his mother sick in bed,
    ‘Til he found the sculptor’s soldier: “Veteran” the label said.

           Go ahead and sell the soldier just the way that I would too
           Sell it to an art museum to put it up on public view
           You know it has a lot more value when it’s on display
           Put it to the artist’s credit
                                            One-armed soldiers stand today

    Copyright 1993 Allan D. Burrows (lyrics only)

    “One-Armed Soldier” may be performed, recorded, copied and distributed freely, but may not be used for commercial or publicity purposes without written permission from the author. This notice must accompany all copies.

  52. Anonymous says:

    PS Amazing amount of comments, for something nobody seems to be paying any attention to no matter how we try and get them to. And as one of these people, stop commenting here and start calling your congress rep, news channel, sen rep etc. Also, do some research on subject of vet suicide and see if you feel the sense of panic and despair I do that there is a plague loose and no one GAF.

  53. wrybread says:

    I didn’t read very far in the comments, but I was surprised so many of the first 20 or so called this in poor taste. I say taste has nothing to do with this project. This strikes me as absolutely brilliant, and a point that needs to be made: that sending soldiers to war has very serious consequences. And furthermore that giving kids green army men to play with sort of sweeps all kinds of issues under the carpet.

    I look forward to the sequel, which I hope is green mangled victims of soldiers, including women and children.

    • Cowicide says:

      I think life-size photo-realistic statues depicting destroyed civilians are in order along with statues showing the destroyed lives of American service people. Something like this, but in “actual size”. I hope artists all over the United States start making them and leave them in the streets. Maybe if more Americans are forced to view their handiwork, some might finally start to question why the money they earn goes into war mongering profiteers hands.

      It’s time to smell your own shit, Americans.

  54. JProffitt71 says:

    So.. people seem to be pretty divided on this piece. I wonder if its possible to explore the horrors of war artistically without offending a great many people, since art by nature can be interpreted many different ways and the topic of war can be offensive in many ways.

    I thought this piece was touching, but I understand how a veteran would see it as degrading by reducing them to a faceless stereotype.

  55. Cowicide says:

    It’s such horrible taste and bad form to focus on harsh realities that make people uncomfortable. Never gaze upon anything but happy rainbows and keep blindly supporting the military-industrial complex no matter how many suffer and die. Murder in the name of money is so damn fucking classy. Stop this tasteless “art” before it makes me think about any of this stuff… or even think at all.

  56. MacBookHeir says:

    I wonder if the collective considered molding little toy soldiers in flag-draped caskets?

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