a very profitable war

sufferpuffin  asked:

hey like a rly long time ago u said tht in George Washington's time, people bought teeth--esp slaves' teeth--for reasons other than dentures. what reasons r there to own teeth other than dentures?? i apologize bc this is alrdy a ghastly topic but i just couldn't think of...other reasons to own teeth.

MOST OF THE TEETH WERE ACTUALLY SOLD OR PURCHASED FOR DENTURES. SOME WERE LIKELY BOUGHT AS DECORATIONS OR CURIOS, BUT THE MAJORITY OF HUMAN TEETH SOLD WERE USED AS A REPLACEMENT FOR MISSING TEETH.

THERE IS AN INACCURATE NARRATIVE BOUNCING AROUND THAT GEORGE WASHINGTON HAD TEETH FORCIBLY PULLED FROM HIS SLAVES TO MAKE DENTURES, WHILE THE TRUTH IS MUCH MORE ROUNDABOUT AND MUCH MORE SINISTER

THE SALE OF HUMAN TEETH FOR DENTURES WAS VERY PROFITABLE. JUST ABOUT ANY WAR WOULD MEAN MILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF PROFITS FOR SCAVENGERS WHO WOULD DESCEND ON THE BATTLEFIELD AND STEAL THE TEETH OF THE DEAD, MAKING THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS (AND WE’RE TALKING 18TH CENTURY DOLLARS) ON THEIR SALE. THIS ACTUALLY LED TO A SLANG TERM, “WATERLOO TEETH,” USED TO DESCRIBE THE FACT THAT, FOR A TIME, MOST HUMAN-TEETH DENTURES IN FRANCE WERE TAKEN FROM SOLDIERS KILLED AT WATERLOO. 

SO, BECAUSE SO MUCH MONEY COULD BE MADE ON THE SALE OF HUMAN TEETH, MANY SLAVES WOULD HAVE THEIR TEETH PULLED IN THE HOPES OF USING THE PROFITS TO BUY THEIR FREEDOM AND THE FREEDOM OF THEIR FAMILY. IN AMERICA, MANY (BUT NOT ALL) HUMAN TEETH SOLD WERE PULLED FROM THE MOUTHS OF SLAVES. 

SO, WHILE THESE STATEMENTS ARE ALL TRUE:

  1. GEORGE WASHINGTON BOUGHT HUMAN TEETH AND MAY HAVE OWNED DENTURES MADE FROM HUMAN TEETH
  2. IT IS VERY LIKELY MANY OF THOSE TEETH MAY HAVE BEEN TAKEN FROM SLAVES
  3. SLAVES WERE OFTEN FORCED TO CHOOSE BETWEEN THEIR TEETH AND THEIR FREEDOM SINCE THEIR TEETH WERE THE ONLY MEANS THEY HAD TO GET THE FUNDS TO BUY THEIR FREEDOM

THE COHESIVE SINGLE STATEMENT OF “GEORGE WASHINGTON HAD HIS SLAVES’ TEETH PULLED BY FORCE TO MAKE HIS DENTURES” IS NOT TRUE AND, HONESTLY, LETS HIM OFF THE HOOK EASY, SINCE HIS ACTIVE PARTICIPATION IN AND SUPPORT OF THE INSTITUTION OF SLAVERY IS WHAT FORCED THE SLAVES TO SELL THEIR OWN TEETH IN THE FIRST PLACE

anonymous asked:

Tony absolutely isn't the villain in Homecoming (bc c'mon, really?) but Iron Man 1 shows Tony pitching the Jericho missiles to military contractors in the hopes that they will buy & use his weapons. Before he decides to shut down the arms branch of Stark Ind. he is knowingly & willingly an arms dealer and war profiteer. His (sometimes bungled) attempts to make up for it is what makes him a compelling mentor for me. I love that he still has hope, both in Peter & in his own ability to guide/teach

Yes, of course. But the important thing here is to, in the context of that this is a comic book character, is to look at that and apply critical thinking and our own knowledge. Is Tony an arms dealer? Yes. He creates weapons, is contracted by the US military to do so - and here we have to consider the morality. Is Tony the one using the weapons? No. Does Tony decide how the weapons are used, where they’re used and why they’re used? No. He is not responsible for that - but he is responsible for giving his weapons over to the US military. The problem here is that our view on the US military and the MCU view on the military is widely different, which creates a clash.

People love to apply our own historical, political accuracies to the MCU but it doesn’t work like that, even if our world is the cornerstone for the MCU. The thing is, Iron Man 1, as well as the following Marvel movies, are all American movies, with a majority of America actors, screenwriters, producers, etc. The movies, and indeed the comics (I mean the fact that that Iron Man was actually facing off communists in the original comics should tell you a lot about how biased these comics really are) are very biased.

Ultimately these movies are not that forward-thinking and that brave in criticising the US military and it’s war crimes and it’s involvement in countries who didn’t want them there, and it’s lack of involvement in countries who needed them. But the MCU, as both a superhero movie and not a critical piece of writing and as a film intended to sell and as an undoubtedly American piece of art, is not going to do that. 

Because of this there is a clash between our realistic knowledge of what people like Tony Stark actually are and who Tony Stark is. Because as a character, Tony Stark is very much not what we imagine playboys and millionaires to be like. Every day we criticise the upper class, we criticise how much of the upper class is indeed conservative, likely Republican, white men who are probably misogynists and racists. That’s our reality. But Tony is not a real person, he’s a character and thus is allowed to completely break through that stereotype.

Stan Lee talks about who he based Tony Stark on and his admiration really shows through that. Lee focuses less on the US military when he talks about his inspiration for Tony Stark and focuses more on the individual creator, the man who sits down and makes things. Stan Lee took someone like Tony, who at the time people weren’t fond of and challenged people’s views by giving them a character who was likeable, despite the historical/political context at the time.

And here’s the thing, even though Tony is an arms dealer (legally), I would be very hesitant to name him a “war profiteer”. The reason for this is because the word war profiteer doesn’t just mean someone who profits from war - if it was just this, we all wouldn’t use it as a critical term to describe Tony. Does Tony earn profit from selling the weapons? Yes. Because that’s how our economy works. If Tony didn’t accept money for it, it wouldn’t be good business - and note, this doesn’t just affect him. If Tony’s company isn’t earning enough money then how is he to pay his workers a fair wage? If you want to blame Tony for yes, getting some profit from designing weapons then go ahead, but I’m not sure how you can expect anyone to say “fuck capitalism!” and just give them away for free. 

The point is - there’s a connotation to “war profiteer”. We all know this on some level, otherwise we wouldn’t throw it around like an insult. The term war profiteer connotes a certain level of influence and power used actively to create strife and perpetuate conflict for personal gain so that they can profit off of it. And this is why Obadiah Stane is an integral part of Iron Man 1, and in understanding Tony Stark.

Because Obadiah serves as a character foil. Whereas Tony remains ignorant, Obadiah purposefully sells weapons not only to the army (through Tony), but double deals with terrorists - in doing so, he provides both the army and the terrorist group, the Ten Rings, with the same weapons. Not only is Obadiah profiting by selling the weapons to two parties, but he is undoubtedly perpetuating the conflict between the US military and the Ten Rings. Essentially, Obadiah Stane is the perfect example of what a war profiteer really is. Whereas Tony passively profits from war, Stane actively seeks to continue the conflict, selling to two different parties with no remorse or guilt, simply for profit. If that’s not the perfect example of a war profiteer, I don’t know what is.

Does Tony make mistakes? Yes. Is Tony ignorant and careless at times? Yes, absolutely. Despite this, he’s not a bad person - just a flawed one.

I got an ask (and something went wrong and tumblr refused to allow me to repond to the ask, and then deleted it), so I’m responding as a regular text post. 
The ask asked if we know what happened with the slaves that the Donquixote family owned. Were they set free or not, and Doflamingo’s father never condemned slavery outright. So, that said, here was my reply:

That’s a curious thing… I imagine that they were released, but if the other Celestial Dragons wished it they easily could have taken them back, or even just simply executed them out of spite. Homing never directly said that slavery was wrong, though he did imply it

This is something I’ve talked about before–the implications of what Homing said here. A lot of people think that Homing and his wife were great parents and that Doflamingo being such a jerk as a child is evidence that he was just born to be evil. However, as indicated by Homing’s line here… Doflamingo had never been raised previously to believe that slavery was wrong. The idea that he won’t have slaves or that he shouldn’t have slaves was totally new, indicating that prior to Homing declaring his humanity and moving out of Mariejois, Doflamingo was educated just the same as all the other Celestial Dragons. I talked about this and more regarding Doflamingo’s upbringing and the differences between him and Cora in this ask.

So yeah, Homing wasn’t perfect, for more reasons than just because he was naive or ignorant about what it would be like for his family if they left Mariejois. I also want to use this as an opportunity to talk about something else that’s been on my mind, which is a subject I seem to think about quite often, the moral ambiguity of some other parts of Dressrosa. I’ve written before about some of the shortcomings that Cora himself had in this post. Cora has done some very violent and questionable things, and Oda went out of his way to characterize the people who Cora hurt as deserving it, rather than allowing a more complex view of Cora’s actions to be shown.

And the people of Dressrosa… during the course of the arc, the fact that these people LOVED watching horrible bloodshed in the Colosseum for their own entertainment was simply forgotten about.

Bellamy stabbed these guys in the feet and snapped their spines and the crowd loved him for it, and praised how brutal it was. They were shown to be selfish cowards when Bartolomeo threw a baseball at them and people were shoving each other out of the way to save themselves, and they mocked Rebecca brutally until Cavendish shut them up. Doflamingo’s philosophy on the Colosseum was brutal

and the crowds at the Colosseum–the people of Dressrosa–never proved him wrong. They went to the shows, the cheered for the brutality. Some people may have been forced to fight, but the audience genuinely enjoyed being there watching it. And yet, these are also the good, kindhearted people who came together so beautifully and peacefully in song and cheer after Doflamingo was defeated, despite the fact that everyone was now homeless and the entire structure of their island was destroyed.

This is something that Oda seems to like doing–having people lose everything and yet being happy and peaceful regardless because they survived a great ordeal. On Skypiea Enel destroyed Angel Island, the place where virtually all the Skypieans lived, but nobody seemed to care after Enel was defeated and all the difficulties on both sides were instantly smoothed out. And while there weren’t two warring peoples living on the same land in Dressrosa, Oda still did a similar thing there by having the entire island come together in unparalleled cheer despite having lost so much. It makes a little more sense in Dressrosa, since people had a chance to be united with family and friends who had been turned into toys, and they got to see their old king’s name cleared and reunite as the country they used to be. Still, all this, and what Oda did earlier in the arc, feels like Oda is trying to cast poverty as romantic. Dressrosa experienced great wealth under Doflamingo, while under Riku they were poor. However, their former lack of prosperity was always framed in a positive light

If you actually think about it for even a minute… what do these two things have to do with each other? I suppose some countries manage to make a profit off war, but just as often war is very expensive and only drains money. Most places that are reasonably well off are simply because they have something to offer. Water 7 is the best example. Water 7 used to have a serious problem with poverty, but thanks to Tom’s efforts building the sea train, and then later Iceburg’s efforts in uniting the shipyards, Water 7 became a mostly prosperous city. No war needed. What exactly is the point of the guy here bringing up the lack of war to a hungry child? He might as well say, “You may be hungry, but the most important thing is that we’re not all dying from the plague.” What was stopping King Riku from doing something like working to create products that could be exported in order to bring money into the country. There were always plenty of people at the Colosseum, even back then. Why not have them actually work to produce something rather than fighting for show?

With the way things go in One Piece, poverty often is cast in a very romantic light. Oda has shown how terrible poverty can be, in places like the Grey Terminal, but then there’s plenty of other moments like the above panels that cast being poor as something that equals being a good and happy person. And on the other hand, wealth is almost always characterized as inherently bad in OP, since this is how Oda keeps drawing rich people as ridiculous caricatures who are nothing but spoiled, ignorant, and ugly

This is on my mind because I saw someone talking yesterday about how the narrative of “being poor teaches compassion and appreciation” is pretty much exactly what rich people who want to stay rich at other people’s expense would like everyone to believe. This doesn’t necessarily apply to the world of One Piece directly, since they don’t exactly have a capitalist world (there are elements of it, but they mostly have a class system where wealth is inherited), but this repeated trend of praising the virtues of having little while demonizing almost everyone who has a lot still supports this message in the minds of the readers.

I suppose this answer has been pretty rambling. It touched on a lot of different things, but the main common thread is that I feel sometimes Oda simplifies things too much for the sake of making us feel a certain way about people, and it doesn’t always make 100% sense and isn’t always consistent. The people of Dressrosa went from being happy and proud of their country’s pacifism and lack of wealth (good), to cheering and encouraging maximum bloodshed and violence in the Colosseum (bad), to being happy and kindhearted again after their whole country was wrecked (back to good). Maybe that’s part of why it’s been hard for me to care much about all the time spent on the people of Dressrosa after the climax of the arc. I don’t feel like their collective characterization has been all that consistent of convincing.