14 February 2018
Men Make War
After reading Susan Sontag’s article, Looking at War I kept wanting to come back to one specific line towards the beginning of the piece: “Men make war.” I was intrigued by this line for two reasons: one, I had spoken about this idea with some of my friends just the day prior to reading the article, and secondly, before that conversation and before reading this piece, I hadn’t really put two and two together and thought about war in that way. War was war in my eyes, not a ‘man’s sport.’ This idea was what really inspired my attempts at making a cover for The New Yorker.
My first mock-cover is a battlefield with cannons made from the male gender symbol. This symbol was turned into the firing power on war grounds and is meant to express that war and battle are generally a man’s place, or doing. The background colors on the cover are pretty murky, with the fire and cannons popping out in the back and foreground.
My second mock-cover includes a man pointing at an unknown entity while standing next to a dead man/soldier. The original idea for this cover was to include men in all different uniforms pointing at each other over a dead body, which was meant to express the idea that importance is placed on blaming others and getting back at someone rather than on who gets hurt. What I ended up doing was simplifying it so that one man, whose importance is shown through his daunting shadow, points at someone or something unknown while being ignorant to the fact that there is a man bleeding out right next to him—war is more important. This idea stemmed from Sontag writing, “by defining one people as less human than another legitimizes torture and murder.” But not only this, because in the next paragraph she follows up by asking the question, “ Whom do we wish to blame? More precisely, whom do we believe we have the right to blame?” People are being tortured and killed who weren’t even involved in the war. Civilian towns are bombed, civilians are killed, and the war-wagers keep waging war—seemingly indifferent.
Sontag’s Looking at War was dense and held many ideas that could inspire artistic covers. I wish I could have included another cover based on what the role that the media and photography play in war and how people looking from the outside in understand it, but I found myself enthralled with the original statement, “men make war.”
Others Covers that had less to do with the readings:
Cover based on Parsons/New York: