Category Archives: Poetry

WWII British Soldiers Successfully Deployed God and Sugar to Defeat Nazi Disinformation

It’s really a footnote to stories about Nazi Germany losing the war in 1942, yet refusing for years to quit… by brainwashing their youth into suicide missions.

Basically the Nazi children (Hitler jugend) were indoctrinated with fear and hate. Then they were forced into the unjust war their fathers already had lost, told they would be killed if they refused or surrendered.

A British soldier recounts what that looked like:

Sandy also spoke about encountering Germany’s child soldiers. He explained: “The other thing that we experienced at that time were the soldiers – German soldiers. They were 12 and 14-year-olds because everyone else was up on the Russian front. Some of them used to start crying because again they had been told that they would not be taken prisoner, that they would be killed.”

The tactics used then were oriented around establishing trust through two methods. British soldiers began feeding both a hunger for foundation/faith and for food:

“Women and kids were down in the air raid shelters. Hitler had already indoctrinated them and told them they would never be taken prisoner – that British troops would kill them. They wouldn’t come out of the air raid shelters. We used to shout down but they still wouldn’t come out.” However, their breakthrough came when the unit’s Roman Catholic padre, a Fr Costello who could speak several languages, persuaded the children and their mothers into the open. “You put a bar of chocolate in their hands and it alters the whole war – as far as the children are concerned,” he said.

As William Wordsworth wrote in his poem The Rainbow “the Child is Father of the Man”.

Kanye West Won a Grammy in 2006 With Anti-Semitism. Are You Really Surprised at Him Today?

Seems to me some obvious hate propaganda methods (even “fighting words“) were being overlooked as they came from an American artist.

I mean there’s art to shock or express distaste, and then there’s… targeted hate as intention.

“Out of political and historical responsibility, I would check whether something in this exhibition violates human rights, whether something offends Jews or other minorities,” [Wolfgang Benz, the former director of the Center for Research on Antisemitism (ZfA) at the Technical University of Berlin] told the Tagespiegel daily newspaper. “Artistic freedom ends,” he added, when an artwork violates those considerations.

Kanye seems more obvious to me, perhaps, than even controversial lines by the provocative Public Enemy song “Welcome to the Terrordome”.

Crucifixion ain’t no fiction
So called chosen frozen

My first exposure to that prose was actually from Pakistani and Egyptian kids in early 1990 gleefully chanting them as they blasted it from cheap boom boxes.

The related news of 1989 was how that music group’s “Professor Griff” (Richard Griffin) also gave newspaper interviews (since Twitter didn’t exist yet) to clarify that he believed Jews “were responsible for the majority of wickedness that goes on across the globe.”

Surely Kanye grew up watching such words come out of fame and fortune, yet somehow he missed the part about a music career ending due to hate speech.

Fast forward to today and all I know is that one of my least read posts ever on disinformation was back in 2006 about his art:

Kanye here tries to flip the story, like he’s making Kristallnacht into a song, to attack Jews for the crimes of these modern-day Nazis. The video goes even further than lyrics, using well-known propaganda imagery tactics to breed racial tension and anti-semitism.

Griff didn’t make it and yet somehow Kanye sailed along making profit from hate for so long.

Black Snowflakes: “Where was your wedding? When? Any airstrikes?”

A first book of poetry by U.S. Army veteran Ryan Stoval is titled “Black Snowflakes Smothering a Torch: How to Talk to Your Veteran – A Primer”.

In order to facilitate dialogue, between those who have experienced the crushing arms of war and those who have not, at its foundation Black Snowflakes presupposes that many issues veterans face when reintegrating originate not from war trauma but from the hypocrisies inherent to American civilian culture itself.


It’s a quick read and I’ve found many pithy and moving pieces about a struggle to make sense of life-changing moments when forced into sharp contrast. The pages are often processing polarity or managing binary/dichotomous survival decisions, which should resonate deeply with anyone who thinks deeply about the grey scales of risk.

If nothing else, it’s a philosophical journey through some of the pain and remorse of being forced into high-stakes high-speed context switching.

For example I allowed myself time to pause to think about a “Cheerios” reference in a poem titled “American Weddings”, which only amplified the clarion call that comes next through his vision.

Were was your wedding? When? Any airstrikes?

That’s a great example to me of how directly and quickly he will deliver contrast, repaint a picture.

Perhaps an even better example of such polarity and switching is a piece called “But By The Grace of Poor Weapons Maintenance”.

It opens with a narrative like “I hesitate, thinking here is surely one of ours” and then, in “an instant” flips the narrative to…

Well, you can probably guess the “horrified” inverse when the inevitable battlefield identity switch is flipped into someone NOT being “one of ours”.


Soldatenlieder Der Einsame Posten of 1865, classic poem with a battlefield identity switch.

Also, the anti-war poetry of War Pigs

SPIN: For some reason in “War Pigs,” it always bothered me that you rhymed “generals in their masses” with “just like witches at black masses.” Why use “masses” twice? Did you try to think of a different word?

Butler: I just couldn’t think of anything else to rhyme with it. And a lot of the old Victorian poets used to do stuff like that — rhyming the same word together. It didn’t really bother me. It wasn’t a lesson in poetry or anything.

Etymology of “Cockpit”

Around the 17th century (1600s) an experienced seaman was rated as “midshipman” because of the location of his duty, or his compartment below deck — it was the middle of the ship or midship for short.

Source: University of Wisconsin, Madison. Click to enlarge and find the midships label.

In the 18th century the title of midshipman transitioned to anyone who was a candidate for a commission on a ship.

From there the term midshipman came to mean an apprentice officer on a ship, someone who aspired for promotion.

That aspirational role seems to be where an old English term from the 17th century comes into play. An apprentice or servant was called a cocc (“one who strutted like a cock”)

The middle of the ship where an aspirational officer apprentice would roam like a proud chicken of the sea… thus probably generated the term “cockpit”.

The word “pit” likely referenced the midship again, where work was done or maybe also because the decks of a ship were lower versus high stern and bow.

The 1862 Man-o-War “Midshipman’s Diary: Cockpit Journal” makes this fairly plain to see.


Today midshipman is still a term used to describe the entry level role for someone who wants to become commissioned as a naval officer. However, now it means an academy on land instead of constrained into the middle of a ship at sea.

Cockpit meanwhile somehow elevated way beyond the aspiring midshipman into the place on a vessel for command and control, such as the nose of an airplane or aft area of a sailboat.

One other thought on this topic is that chickens had a superstitious meaning at sea. “Pig on the knee, safety at sea. A cock on the right, never lose a fight” was one saying about where to put sailor tattoos. Another was that the cock tattoo on a right foot would prevent drowning.

It’s hard to find evidence for why such superstitions evolved. Some say it was because wooden crates often floated ashore after a shipwreck with chickens surviving despite them being unable to fly or swim. Some might say chickens were a source of food to ensure human survival, meaning they represented good luck after a wreck.

In any case I doubt midships with crates of chickens is where cockpit comes from. Perky ostentatious midshipmen seems the more likely story, given British sea humor and the fact that a term like “pigpen” was never used.