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i could tell you but then you would have to be destroyed by me - badgerblog
July 2nd, 2011
09:49 am


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i could tell you but then you would have to be destroyed by me

Been a bit lax on these in the last week or so: I know I have a couple of items that came in I haven't shared with you. However, here's the one that arrived yesterday: Trevor Paglen's _I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have To Be Destroyed By Me_, his study of the heraldry and iconography of unit and project patches associated with classified and secret projects such as test pilot squadrons that work at Area 51. Given the small display space, every item or portion of a design for a patch carries a freight of meaning and symbolism with it, not all of which Paglen's been able to interpret. But they're fascinating to look at.

front cover:

back cover:

I heard the author speak back in 2008 at Duke but hadn't gotten around to picking up this, his best-known (that I know of) work. I have some discussions of his on radical cartography in other works. I special-ordered the out of print hardcover because while the softcover is in print and easier to get, the hardcover has an actual cloth patch on the cover which I thought was cool. (The softcover's on Amazon and anywhere else you want to buy a book from, too.)

On Paglen's website he has a section for this book where he includes corrections, updates, new patches he's found since the book, and additional content that didn't make it into the book. There's one patch that maegwynn wants to have made into an apron: a Whitley Streiber-esque Grey alien clutching a stealth bomber with To Serve Man across the top and encircling the bottom of the patch is the Latin for tastes like chicken.

Now then, where do I *file* this one in the library? Conspiracy theory? Photography? Military reference? Hmm.


(3 comments | Leave a comment)

(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
Date:July 3rd, 2011 06:21 am (UTC)
It's a fun book.
[User Picture]
Date:July 3rd, 2011 02:16 am (UTC)
Oh that sounds like a great book. I read through a good chunk of the mission patch analysis from thespacereview.com (link1, link2) and found it fascinating. Didn't realize there was a book dedicated to the subject. Off to amazon. (and to figure out if lintqueen's fancy sewing machine can do embroidered patches...)
[User Picture]
Date:July 3rd, 2011 06:21 am (UTC)
The softcover's recommended :).
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