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Maxx
09-17-2012, 06:30 PM
I'm slowly trying to get a bit of blogging underway. Is that a mixed metaphor or just an odd-sounding turn of phrase?

The blog is about the Cold War as a technical and cultural pile of stuff.

You can see I can't quite get my ideas in any order here (or there).

There's an interesting book (pub 1996) -- the Closed World. It's not very focused either -- which might be helpful -- It starts with how digital command and control computers evolved from analog anti-aircraft computers, moves to "cybernetics" and then to narrative by an interesting leap or two.

In the realm of narrative, the Iliad stands in as an instance of the Closed World of Command Control and (you guessed it) the Odyssey is put forward as a instance of Green World narrative.

Finally! An over-arching metaphorical scheme! And an excuse to read Chapman's Homer's Odyssey!

Here's a pointer to the book:

http://books.google.com/books/about/The_Closed_World.html?id=5OqWQgAACAAJ

RichardGarfinkle
09-17-2012, 07:12 PM
First you're tempting me to argue with your metaphors of both the Iliad and the Odyssey for Cold War and Green World. So that's a good sign for blog.

On the other hand, I, hypocritically, applaud classical metaphor for modern circumstances.

If you need an overarching organizational structure, you might simply parallel Homer. Starting with the first book of the Iliad and how it illuminates the Cold War and go on from there.

I would be tempted to make the first post about the first word of the Iliad (Menin or Wrath) and how much the Cold War concealed anger (and acted as plague to push on with the first sentences). But that's just me.

Maxx
09-17-2012, 08:04 PM
First you're tempting me to argue with your metaphors of both the Iliad and the Odyssey for Cold War and Green World. So that's a good sign for blog.

On the other hand, I, hypocritically, applaud classical metaphor for modern circumstances.

If you need an overarching organizational structure, you might simply parallel Homer. Starting with the first book of the Iliad and how it illuminates the Cold War and go on from there.

I would be tempted to make the first post about the first word of the Iliad (Menin or Wrath) and how much the Cold War concealed anger (and acted as plague to push on with the first sentences). But that's just me.

In my experience nothing about the Cold War works very well -- you have many very bloody "proxy" wars and semi-proxy wars (Vietnam, Afghanistan). So the Coldness was more a matter of convention (nobody fired any nukes so no matter what happened things were "Cold") than reality.
On the other hand, the supposed central nexus of the conflict (ie that which by omission from reality forms the Coldness) -- the superpower nuclear mutual destruction -- was built as much out of simulations and computers as it was in reality. But even nuclear testing was too hot (Test Ban Treaty -- 1963) -- go figure. So the Coldness had some logic of its own.

Maxx
09-17-2012, 08:30 PM
First you're tempting me to argue with your metaphors of both the Iliad and the Odyssey for Cold War and Green World. So that's a good sign for blog.


The Iliad and the Odyssey would be (in the blog scheme), two different narrative models for describing the same simulations of particular possible provincial proxy actions in the same hypothetical version of the Cold War.

We, the inspectors of simulations and the writer of the blog, will take the view of a Zeus vacationing among the Ethiopians on the shores of Oceanus: the fighting may be set up initially as a Closed World (a bounded region under some kind of panoptic control), but it will play out in a Green World, where the storms of heaven and the muddy depths of the sea will have their say as the missiles and torpedoes slide through the layers of water or rumble through the clouds.