dirty_diana: profile image of television version of  Peggy Carter (peggy)
[personal profile] dirty_diana
Posting about Agent Carter with the permission of the mod.

Recently a tumblr user posed a question about the nature of Sousa's injury/prosthesis in the AC tag, which sent me into a bit of a google spiral trying to figure out what the options would have been. Trying to match Enver Gjokaj's performance to what the technology would have been at that time, our conclusions were best summarised by [tumblr.com profile] yalumesse as
So we can pretty much say that, if he has a prosthetic*, it’s got to be a socket type that starts somewhere on his thigh, has a knee joint, can take some weight but is stiff and can’t bend easily, but does bend, and he doesn’t need to use his hands to manually bend/lock it. He doesn’t absolutely need the crutch to move in emergencies, but probably can’t go without it too long without getting exhausted/causing more or long-term damage to himself. Sound right?

You can read our meandering chain of logic/research here. One source about the progress of prosthetic knee hydraulics I read but didn't explicitly credit is here, which adds that balance would also have been an issue.

We don't go into it much but it seems like a lot of the engineering progress was spurred by complaints and protests about lack of quality care and prosthesis availability that the veteran amputees were making in 1945-ish, which is an interesting read on Sousa's sometimes jaded tone.

Then [personal profile] lilacsigil directed me to the life and times of Douglas Bader, who flew fighter planes for the RAF in WWII after his double amputation a few years before. About whom wikipedia says
It was thought that Bader's success as a fighter pilot was partly because of his having no legs; pilots pulling high "g-forces" in combat turns often "blacked out" as the flow of blood from the brain drained to other parts of the body, usually the legs. As Bader had no legs he could remain conscious longer, and thus had an advantage over more able-bodied opponents.

Linking in case of interest and/or desire to correct our understanding of medical history. :)
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen
(x-posted to Tumblr with followup.)

So I recently did some reading about WWII in the Arctic in hopes it would give me useful stuff about Capsicle (sadly, it didn’t, although the story about the guy who was so bored on the Greenland station that he taught himself falconry out of a book really wants to be relevant somehow). I even got the main primary source on ILL, a volume called “War Below Zero” that was published before the war ended and is a collection of semi-first-person-accounts, in the hopes that it would also help me with authentic WWII language in my writing.

So the first couple of pieces in the book were published in magazines, co-written by the base commander and some reporters, and they were interesting and sounded a lot like other early-20th-century popular writing I’ve read. And then I got to the next-to-last section, “Flight East”, which purports to be “written by the pilot of one of the [P-]38’s [in the Lost Squadron], Lieutenant Harry L. Smith, known to his comrades as ‘Snuffy’ Smith (all Southerners named Smith in the Air Forces are invariably known as ‘Snuffy’, or sometimes, if they had a good running start, as ‘Chicken Haid’ Smith)”, and, folks. I am never attempting to write authentic WWII GI slang ever again.

I made copies of that section before I returned the book because it was so… amazing; I haven’t gotten around to typing up the whole thing, but here are some random representative paragraphs, for flavor:
"The Labrador base is a hellhole with slimy chuck, knotty beds, and an enemy squadron of 109s disguised as mosquitos. Guy who’s stationed here insists the mosquitos have so much of his blood in them that they sent him a card on Father’s day. Allah, take me home! What the coke, though? Letcha beard grow, ya teeth turn yellow, and live today ‘cause we ain’t made to last forever. Some of those lads on the other side of the world would give more’n I’ve got to be right here where these old flying boots are now… And so to the sack."

"Egg and I were hanging around our crates giving ‘em the last touch after running the engines on morning pre-flight when wing-daing! … Spider hits his Bucket, winds her up and starts billowing forth— damme, looks as if we’re taking off. Seven hundred miles of cold drink ahead, and nothing but a blast of pop to say ‘Let’s go’ … I hit the seat, alert style, wind old Sugar up and blast out on the strip — the Egg Crates are Snafu’d as usual so we have plenty of time to get set for the gun. Two 17’s, two peashooters, and now — me. Whoa, Josephine! Pulled ‘er off at 95 and got a partial stall…"

"The flight turns left and follows the coast northward. Sugar, you blasted beautiful bucket, you can quit running any time now, because I’ll set your tin hide most any place along that shore and be a live cookie."

"Caphonia Cafranz! It’s only 2 a.m… we’ve had no sleep for the last 18 hours.. but the weather is good. Green flight’s finally joined us, so Hitler, here we come. Eight days is a long time in this monotony of eat and sleep, so le’s give ‘er the kiss-off. Poor Buck! some knucklehead let his ship roll off the strip, and the tail was torn up. More of this monotony; ‘tis rough!"

And here’s the last paragraph, after the rescue:
"We finally got aboard the cutter after six hours of waiting for it to break its way to us through the ice. Once I said the coast of Greenland was the sweetest thing I ever saw. That’s retracted. It was the steak those Navy boys gave us aboard the cutter. That was true love, Spider said. Brother, you can say that again."

I’m pretty sure the slang was punched up in this at least a *little* for publication (possibly to make up for the relative lack of obscenity and blasphemy, although there are plenty of ‘damme’s and ‘hell’s left in.) I still kinda want to see somebody write up Steve Rogers’s final post-mission briefing in this style, though, it would be amazing. Anyway here is some more Authentic Colorful Period Language to punch up your Cap and Bucky characterization with, courtesy of Lt. “Snuffy” Smith:

* Sugar, this ain’t true love (used constantly, to describe anything from suboptimal to catastrophic)
* Stand by ypsiporrah!
* Swee’pea, that’s enough of that.
* Cousin, it looks as if this is IT
* Chickadee (To address the audience. Also “babe”, “baby”, “sweetheart”, “chum”, “brother”.)
* Caphonia Caphranz!
* so le’s give ‘er the kiss-off
* before long, zingo!
* the only place you could set a poker chip on
* I’m colder than an Alp dog’s nose
* it’ll put us home with Momma!
* Haw! Funny as Hell!
* Susie-Q, it’s true!
* Holy Joe!
* Hot jive!

…I kinda regret ever finding this, because now any fic that doesn’t write WWII Cap and Bucky talking in 3/4 impenetrable slang is just pale and limp in comparison.

(Two actual capsicle-related things to note: a) the Northern route - via Greenland and Iceland - was a major Allied air route during the war; flying warplanes across the Arctic one at a time was the safest and fastest way to get them from the US to England for the war in Europe. So Cap would have been flying right into what he probably knew was a busy Allied air lane studded with bases and radio beacons, from which some pretty spectacular and already publicized rescues from plane crashes had been carried out, not into a desolate unknown.

And b) the pilots who flew on that route universally referred to the Ice Cap as just "The Cap", and reviled, feared, and respected it, because landing safely on the ice was possible - if treacherous - but getting safely off again was a lot harder. So Howard's rescue missions - at least at first - aren't as much of a long shot as they might seem from this end. And would also have been full of arctic Air Corps veterans making endless puns about Cap/Cap.)
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
[personal profile] synecdochic
This rant brought to you by me seeing a reference in a Steve-and-Bucky-before-the-war fic that "cigarettes were much too expensive for them to buy regularly and Bucky had to carefully ration them" and just thinking: no. )

That about covers the "stuff I've seen in fic that bugs me", but if there's anything else people want to know about smoking in-period (or smoking now, as a matter of fact), hit me.
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen
(xposted to Tumblr 'cause I'm testing whether xposting or xlinking works better.)

Can we talk about Howard Stark and the Manhattan Project? Because, okay, in the first Iron Man movie, Tony says, "My father helped defeat Nazis. He worked on the Manhattan Project." In the days when Iron Man was all there was to MCU, there were some really great fanworks exploring this. But then, when we see him in the Captain America movies, he is really manifestly not working on the Manhattan Project, and in one of the tie-in comics he pretty directly declares that he is doing Rebirth and the SSR instead.

And this is a really important question for Howard Stark's history, because - because, well, if you look at all the most eminent American physicists, chemists, mathematicians and engineers in Howard's generation, and the generation after, and a couple generations before, they pretty much all worked on the Manhattan Project, at least the people doing the sort of things he was doing in IM 2. And they didn't just work on the Manhattan Project, they spent most of the war in top-secret hothouse conditions in Los Alamos.

So if Howard wasn't in Los Alamos - whether he did peripheral work for the project or not - that means he was basically left out of the most important, defining experience that all of his peers shared. Read more... )
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen
I've seen some posts going around talking about the lists of diagnoses we see for young Steve Rogers in the MCU, and trying to conceptualize them in terms of Steve as a character with disabilities, and while I fully support people writing fic with Steve having any disabilities they want, there's some misconceptions that I'm seeing gain more and more of a foothold in fanon.

So here's my poor attempt at talking about Steve's diagnoses.

I say "diagnoses" rather than illnesses or disabilities deliberately, because the most important thing to keep in mind when thinking about this is that disability and disease are both defined by culture - the same person with the same symptoms in two different cultures might be seen, by both themself and the culture, as having entirely different problems.

Here's an example: it's easy to say that "a broken leg is a broken leg", but where a broken leg, in today's America, might mean a few weeks in a cast and crutches followed by a while in a walking cast and some annoying medical bureaucracy, the exact same injury in a culture with different medical capabilities might mean months of being unable to get around without help, followed by permanent mobility impairment and chronic pain if the bone heals wrong, and a serious risk of death from blood poisoning. Or a broken leg these days might mean a hairline fracture that's only visible on medical imaging, which a different culture might not classify as the same kind of injury as a broken leg at all. Or maybe in a hundred years, a broken leg will mean a week in a custom power exoskeleton and home regen treatments, and the only reason you have to skip soccer practice is that power armor is cheating, and it's less annoying than a cold. When you get into conditions less straightforward than a broken leg, it gets exponentially more complicated.

The culture Steve Rogers grew up in, 1920s-1940s New York City, had a lot in common with modern American urban culture, but it was very different in a lot of ways, and one of the ways it was very different was in terms of medical culture. The medical advances that came around WWII changed the ways Americans think about illness, disease, and disability in dramatic ways - as two random examples, antibiotics weren't widely used until after the war, and it wasn't shown that DNA contains genetic information until 1943.

So you can't just look at a list of diagnoses made in 1943, and assume they mean at all the same thing that a similar diagnosis would mean today, in terms of what symptoms they're describing, or in terms of what those symptoms meant for the person experiencing them, or in terms of the way the medical establishment and culture responded to them.

The other thing to keep in mind is that most of the information we have comes from Steve Rogers' army intake medical forms, which were not exactly a reliable source even in that 1940s context, given that we know Steve was lying his ass off in them. Even if he wasn't lying, his initial interview and exams would have been hastily done by a doctor who had probably done hundreds of similar exams that day. So we can't assume that the marks we see on the papers are even accurate in terms of describing Steve's health - there could be all sorts of errors, shortcuts, and downright lies on them.

Also, most of this information comes from prop canon, which is legendarily unreliable (Bucky currently has two different birth years based on prop canon!) There are several lists of diagnoses going around, which are all different from each other. I've tried to trace back the actual canon they come from, when I can (mostly using Google Image Search, to be fair.) I'm going to go down them in order of presumed reliability.

First, we've got actual, non-prop canon, which comes down to the two things that were said out loud at Steve's initial exam:
Actual movie canon )

So that's it for non-prop canon, but by itself that's enough to give him a childhood of disability and a solid 4F for quarantine reasons. Then there's the prop canon on top of that. I'm going to go over the stuff from prop canon (and other canon) in vague order of how reliable I consider it.

The most extensive list from prop canon is a Selective Service medical history checklist, which I believe is shown at least partially in the movie though I am not 100% sure, and is available in full as a prop reproduction. It gives his name as "Rodgers, Steve" and his address as Brooklyn, so presumably it was either before he started or after he stopped lying his ass off. This seems to be the list that Marvel's PR/Merch people are treating as canonical - it's been reproduced in several "official" merchandising things and was on the Marvel website for awhile. Here's the list, pulled off the Marvel website:
The first Selective Service list )

There's also a different version of the same form going around, which definitely appeared in the movie, but I've only found as a partial screenshot - it doesn't seem to have been reproduced in full. It contradicts the first checklist in major ways, and from a Doylist POV, my guess is they just had somebody check a bunch of boxes that would show on the film in a nice pattern. If we want to assume it's real, though, presumably it's the medical history screening checklist from one of Steve's other attempts to enlist. We can only see a few lines of it, but there's some interesting differences, especially if we assume the one above is when he wasn't lying, and this is one when he was saying whatever he thought would get him in.
The second checklist )

There's also another list going around, which comes from an SSR intake form that seems to have been distributed with a special edition DVD box set - as far as I know, this is never visible in the movies. It has a list of "medical ailments" and a list of "family history of medical problems", which don't line up well with the other lists, so I'm hesitant to consider it reliable canon. However, this could be due to the fact that Steve is being more honest with Erskine than he ever has previously, or had much more thorough medical exams. So let's look at it anyway.
The SSR form )

There's also an Army form on the Marvel Look Inside Gallery for Captain America that gives the same list of health issues as the first Selective Service form, and also gives results of an eye and ear exam: his vision is apparently 15/20 in his right eye and 16/20 in his left eye. This, afaik, makes no sense - visual acuity measures in that format should always start with either 20 or 6, and that hasn't changed over time. If they meant 20/15 instead of 15/20, his vision is actually slightly better than normal. If they meant "slightly worse than 20/20", he might have minor blurriness, but he'd still be allowed to drive a car without glasses. For hearing, he's listed as having "ear discharge" - I have no idea what that means in this context, except an ear infection - but, notably, no hearing impairment.

I'm not going to discuss that one in any more depth since it's all duplications, but here's the form:
The Army form )

There's also an exhibit at Disney's Tomorrowland which apparently has a poster about "Skinny Steve" with another list of ailments. It has very little in common with anything from the prop canon. I'm tempted to take this one with a very large grain of salt, because not only is it not even prop canon, but it's not even a medical report - it's in context as a propaganda display, comparing Sick Steve to Captain America Steve, so even if you read it in-universe, it's likely to be exaggerated, or even deliberately falsified for security reasons, or to make a better story. Note, for example, that he's three inches shorter and fifteen pounds lighter here than on either of the medical forms. However there's still some interesting stuff on here, assuming I found the right poster (this required some creative googling and I found it on a photo aggregation site with no attribution).

The Tomorrowland Display )

That basically covers it for the things I've been able to find some sort of canon or semi-canon or hemi-demi-canon for. There's at least one wiki out there that also lists "hypermobility" and "social anxiety", but since I can't find any source for those, I'm just going to leave it that neither of those would have been used as diagnoses in Steve's pre-serum days, as far as I can tell. They may be somebody attempting to translate "trick joint" and "nervous trouble" from the forms into modern terminology, but if so, they're extrapolating far beyond the available data.

Anyway! So that's Young Steve's list of diagnoses. As you can probably tell, I am by no means an expert in any of this, and I welcome corrections and links to sources. And if you're planning on writing about any of this, please, please do your own research - and make sure you research specifically in the 1920-1940s context, not just what the terms and conditions mean today.

Here is Pre-Serum Steve's theme song to play you out. This was a major hit in 1942, you can't tell me Steve didn't listen to it on repeat and cry, and I'm also pretty sure the title of "Star-Spangled Man" was picked to reflect back on it as part of the 4F narrative.

There's a Star-Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere )
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen
I posted some stuff on tumblr about what assets Steve Rogers might have had waiting for him when he woke up - specifically, on MIA/POW back pay and on intellectual property/royalties.

How Steve Rogers has a crapton of money.

I was going to write it up for this community after I'd done some slightly more rigorous research to ensure that I wasn't just talking out my ears, but I got really stuck on the question of whether Steve would have been legally dead or not.

He would have been still listed by the Army as MIA rather than KIA - that's pretty clear (and I've been struck by a sudden interest in the way Steve and Bucky's stories were used by MIA/POW activists, communities, and survivors) but found it surprisingly hard to find information on how likely it is for an MIA servicemember to be declared dead while still MIA, especially if there are no surviving family members to complicate things. I've seen contradictory stuff about whether what's necessary is "no evidence of survival" or "credible evidence of death", and very little about how those have been applied in practice, especially given that procedures have changed many times over the seventy years that Cap would have been MIA.

Has anybody already done the research on MCU Cap's probable legal status? Or happens to be an expert on the law around MIA? I'd love to get better answers on this (also love any corrections to what I put in the tumblr post.)
beatrice_otter: Captain America (Captain America)
[personal profile] beatrice_otter
[archiveofourown.org profile] ashen_key noticed something weird: Steve's handwriting, as seen in Cap 2, looks modern and not like someone who grew up in the 1930s.  So zie wrote a fic about it, which is short and excellent: Penmanship.
beatrice_otter: Captain America (Captain America)
[personal profile] beatrice_otter
I have a problem with always-a-girl genderswap AUs of Captain America.  Not because I dislike genderswap--in fact, I love a good genderswap.  Because of the name.  I know the genderswap convention is to just feminize the name (Tony becomes Toni, Steven becomes Stephanie, James becomes Jamie, etc.).  And there's a reason to do it that way; it's immediately obvious who the character is a genderswap of.

But the thing is, when people name babies, they don't have one name and then choose the female form or male form when they find out if it's a boy or a girl.  With some names, such as Anthony (Tony) vs. Antonia (Toni), they're both relatively popular names, and at that point I don't mind it.  But for Steven/Stephanie, well, let's take a look at some hard numbers, shall we?

I get my numbers from SSA.gov, which has name frequency rates for the top thousand names since 1896 available on its website.  Pulling up "Top Names of the 1910s," which includes Steve Rogers' year of birth, we find that Steve is 116 on the list, with 9,639 boys born in that decade named Steve.  Not the most common name, but not terribly unusual, either.  (James, by the way, was number three, with 275,079 boys in that decade named James, which may be why he went by "Bucky" instead.)  If we go over to the girl's side of the list, the name in the 116th slot is "Cora."  "Stephen" (spelled differently, but basically the same name) is 89 on the list, with 13,502 boys in that decade born with the name of Stephen.  (The corresponding girls' name is "Ellen").  If we take Steve and Stephen as basically the same name and add the numbers of boys with those names together, we get 23,141, which would put us up in the mid-50s on the list, between Chester and Herman (corresponding girls' names being Bessie and Pearl).

Where is Stephanie on this list of common American names in the decade of Steve's birth? It's not even on the list.  See, the bottom names on the list are the 200th most common names, and those are Bert and Lela, respectively.  Where was Stephanie?  Well, if we pull up the popularity of the name "Stephanie" from the same site, (here's the search page but I can't find a way to link the specific search) we find out that in 1918, Stephanie was the 333rd most popular girls' name.  In that decade, it varied between 423 and 302--hardly a name one would expect to see very often.  In the mid-40s, it began creeping up, until from 1960-2007 it was always higher-up than 100 on the list.  (It peaked from 84-87, when it hovered at 6th most popular name.)  People my age are named Stephanie, not people my grandparents age.

Now we should consider Steve's family background (after all, in his day, children were a lot more likely to be named unusual names if they were family/ethnic names.  It's not like today where couples get baby name books looking for exotic names they like.  There had to be a reason to name a child something unusual).  Well, Steve was a working-class Irish Catholic.  Stephanie is not a working-class Irish Catholic name.  The only reason I can think of for an Irish Catholic working-class family in 1918 naming their daughter "Stephanie" is if they were naming her after St. Stephen, but usually you do that if the child was born or baptized on the feast day of that saint, and St. Stephen's feast-day is December 26th.  And he's the patron saint of martyrs and stone-masons, so not necessarily the guy you'd choose to set up as the patron saint of your baby girl.  If Steve's father were named Steve, I can see "Stephanie" in honor of him after his death, but his name was Joseph.

So what can we call always-a-girl!Steve that would be more period appropriate than Stephanie?  Well, you could go with Cora, Ellen, Bessie, or Pearl (which were as popular as the variations of "Steve"), or you could go with something that sounds similar and is on the list of popular names.  Stella, for example, is at #64 out of 200 on the "Popular Names of the 1910s" page, and Estelle is at #125.  Those sound similar to Steve's name so it would be easy for the audience to remember, and they are actual period names that she might realistically have been called.

(Crossposted from my journal)

mikes_grrl: (Default)
[personal profile] mikes_grrl
The Boo-Hooray Gallery on Canal St. is hosting an exhibit of selected items from collector Harry Weintraub's 100,000+ collection of pre-Stonewall queer ephemera.

ARTICLE: Now on View: The Best of 10,000 Old Gay Photos, Ephemera

Too late for my story "More Man than You" but if anyone else is in the area and working on a "gay!Steve in the 30s/40s" story, this would probably worth a visit! I wish I could go anyway. :(
loki_of_sassgaard: (Default)
[personal profile] loki_of_sassgaard
I'm going to preface this by saying that this is not a discussion about how Marvel is an alternate universe. I realise this, because we do not have super powers.

But there have been multiple attempts to try to put Captain America into a cohesive timeline, and it just doesn't work. There was some really weird, really basic knowledge fail somewhere along the line, and none of it makes sense.

Let's start with this, which is what I'd originally been using: http://www.filmbuffonline.com/FBOLNewsreel/wordpress/2012/05/13/a-marvel-cinematic-universe-timeline-2-0/

7 December 1941: The day that will live in infamy. This happens, we assume, as it did. The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour, and the US ends its neutral stance in the war.

24 December: Bucky enlists.

March 1942: Schmidt finds the Tesseract in Tønsberg, Norway.

14 June 1943: Steve successfully enlists. Finally.

Now, here's where it starts to get really wonky.

15 June 1943: Steve arrives at Lehigh. That's less than twelve hours later. He would have been shipped off quickly, but not THAT quickly. Even if a platoon was going out to Lehigh the very next day, Steve would not have been in that one. He'd have been in the next, whenever that was. He'd have had about two or three days to get his affairs in order before disappearing into the cause.

Not only that, Bucky only just now gets shipped out. That's eighteen months of training. The 107th (which didn't even exist during the war) was infantry. Infantry trained for ten weeks during this time. There were divisions that spent two years in training, but those were experimental divisions, like Airborne. What was Bucky doing Stateside for so long? I really want to know!

21 June: Steve's been at Lehigh for a week when Erskine picks him. That week... really doesn't match up with what we've seen. You don't just go straight into the assault course; you learn how to drill, how to march, how to fold your shirts and make your bed. The first week is when you learn how to follow orders. There would be some basic physical training and evaluation, but no assault courses. No weapons training. What the hell were they doing at Lehigh?

22 June: Steve gets all super-soldiered up. We know this, because the newspaper article we see, with him holding the cab door, is dated 23 June. So, he's undergone a week of training, saves a kid, and then gets the choice to become a lab rat or a dancing monkey. Did Steve even finish basic? I'm not so sure that he did, since the very next thing we see is the USO show.

After this, the time jumps up to

2 November 1943: The 107th goes up against Hydra. Two hundred men go out, fifty come back. First off, no. Not even a timeline thing, but this makes no sense. The 107th, if it were a real thing, would have had about 3000 guys at minimum. Perhaps it was Baker company, first battalion, of the 107th that went out. Still, where's the rest of them?

3 November: Steve and Phillips have an argument about rescuing the people trapped behind enemy lines. Thirty miles behind enemy lines. In Austria. In 1943. That's a lot earlier than we ever got to Austria. We finally made it that far in April 1945. Less than a month later, VE-Day. VJ-Day followed in June, and then the war was over. But this was 1943. Yes, there are superheroes and supervillains, but up until this point, the only super powers were Axis. That should have kept us even further from Austria, rather than letting us rock right up to Hitler's doorstep a year and a half early.

4 November: Steve leads everyone back to the base, wherever it is. Italy? Austria? I don't even know. Then they spend the rest of the war taking down Hydra.

Either way you look at it, it doesn't really add up. Either the Allied forces had some other super soldiers we didn't know about, or Steve and the Howling Commandos won the war in less than a month. One would assume that, since the key dates (Pearl Harbour Day, VE-Day, VJ-Day) are in the comics as they are in real life, then they're the same in the movies. I don't think there's really any way to fix or fanwank this, but it's just really weird that the writers would change so much like this. It seems to me that if they were already that far into Austria when they were, the war was basically won.

As a war movie, Captain America makes absolutely no sense at all. It's a great comic movie, but I don't actually know what's going on in it.
derryderrydown: (cap - peggy in action)
[personal profile] derryderrydown
Instructions for American Servicemen in Britain during World War II

And if anybody wanted to write the story with Steve carefully studying it and trying to apply his knowledge to conversations with Peggy, I would award them a shiny internet.


Sep. 27th, 2012 09:19 pm
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen
I just posted an offer on my journal to post recipes from my American cookbook collection for anyone who gives me a) a decade, b) an ingredient, and c) a part-of-meal.

It was partly inspired by going through all my Captain America-era cookbooks and not being able to decide what to post on this community, so I hereby invite you over to that post to request things that Steve Rogers might know!

(I have a couple of 1920s cookbooks, more than a couple 1930s cookbooks, several early 1940s cookbooks including one specifically for stretching your ration coupons, and several more "American cooking through the years" type cookbooks, I can probably do you whatever you're looking for.)

And on that topic, the National Archives had a really cool exhibit earlier this year called "What's Cooking, Uncle Sam?" on the influence of the government on food in the US. There's still some fun slideshows about 20th century cooking and the government up on the show's website.
ellid: (Default)
[personal profile] ellid
While researching my weekly blog post at Daily Kos, I found the following web site that may be of interest for anyone wishing to know more about the Army's glorious campaign against that scourge of the soldier, venereal disease.

Do not read while consuming food or drink. I'm not joking.
ellid: (Default)
[personal profile] ellid
And we move on to the 1930s, a decade of Depression, fascism, and a whole lot of upheaval throughout the world....

Since Yesterday, by Frederick Lewis Allen - a sequel to Only Yesterday about the upheavals of the 1930s. Not as good, but still useful.

American-Made: The Enduring Legacy of the WPA: When FDR Put the Nation to Work, by Nick Taylor - excellent history of the Works Progress Administration, the government program that put literally millions of Americans back to work doing everything from delivering library books to painting murals in public buildings. Essential for anyone interested in how the Federal Arts Project worked, or why Americans saw FDR as their savior during time of unbelievable want...and remember, according to Marvel canon Steve did work for the FAP for a couple of years late in the decade, so he could have done anything from work on murals to teach at the community art center up in Harlem.

Berlin Diary, by William L. Shirer - Shirer was a foreign correspondence in Berlin and Vienna during the Nazi rise to power, and he knew many of the senior Nazis personally. His loathing for Hitler and his buddies is obvious, but you can't find a better first-hand account of what it was like to see a country invaded by its own government.

Hitlerland, by Andrew Nagorski, and In the Garden of Beasts, by Erik Larson - two books about the experience of Americans encountering the early Nazi party. Nagorski covers the two decades between the end of the Great War and American's final break with Germany in December 1941, while Larson concentrates on an American ambassador and his daughter in 1932 and 1933. The cluelessness of a lot of sharp people who should have known better is terrifying.

The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck - if there was one literary novel that Steve would have read during this time, it's Steinbeck's masterpiece about the Joads and their hopeless emigration to California. Searing look at the poverty of the Dust Bowl and the plight of the dispossessed.

Pulps - science fiction, horror, romance, confessions, mysteries, adventures, Westerns, what passed for smut, Doc Savage, whole magazines about zeppelins…you name it, there was a pulp magazine devoted to it. Mainly for working class audiences, but some titles were read by the educated public as well.

Music - more blues, more authentic jazz, folk music thanks to Alan Lomax and the WPA, and the brilliant work of George Gershwin and other composers who began building the store of popular song that became the Great American Songbook. Classical music meant Aaron Copland, Gershwin, Ferde Grofe, and a huge number of composers trained by Nadia Boulanger in Paris, as well as the NBC Symphony under the direction of Arturo Toscanini. Best of all, records actually could fit more than three minutes on a side!

Theater - Orson Welles got his start directing a revolutionary all-black Macbeth starring Paul Robeson. Add in Broadway, Hallie Flanagan's Federal Theater Project, socially conscious plays like Waiting for Lefty, and the legendary "perform from the audience" opening night of Marc Blitzstein's The Cradle Will Rock, and it's doubtful that the New York theater scene was ever livelier or more controversial. One thing to keep in mind: the arts scene in general (theater, writing, music, fine arts) was permeated by radical/progressive/Communist/socialist thinking thanks to the rotten economy, the Third International, and the progressive ideals of New Dealers like Hallie Flanagan.

Art - social realism was the trend in America, but Picasso's masterpiece Guernica was a searing reminder of what was going on in Spain. Art Deco was triumphant in buildings like the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings, and of course Radio City Music Hall and Rockefeller Center. Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton, Bernice Abbott, and even Jackson Pollack were active, and the FAP was decorating hospitals, schools, and public buildings across the country. And of course Maxfield Parrish was still painting naked girls on rocks :)

Movies - not only did movies talk, they were increasingly in full color, and ranged from musicals to screwball comedies to melodramas to gangster flicks to science fiction. Possibly the greatest year in movie history was 1939, when America welcomed Gone With The Wind AND The Wizard of Oz AND StagecoachM AND a bleepload of other superb films. On a more ominous note, Leni Riefenstal's magnificent but horrifying Nazi propaganda films Triumph of the Will and Olympiad came out, and scared the pants off of anyone with a brain...and yes, they're both on Youtube.

Culture in general - labor unrest was endemic, including sit-down strikes and plenty of violence directed at both unions and management. The Lindbergh kidnapping was all over the news, especially after accused kidnapper Bruno Hauptmann was captured in the Bronx. Prohibition was repealed and decent alcohol was available again. The Olympics were held in Berlin, and American were delighted when Jesse Owens beat the supposedly superior Aryan athletes of Nazi Germany (even if Owens himself couldn't be served in far too many places in his native land). Monopoly appeared, Father Coughlin and Henry Ford preached anti-Semitism, and the World's Fair attracted visitors to Flushing Meadows. Disaffected veterans marched on Washington to demand their promised bonuses (and were dispersed at bayonet point by, I kid you not, Douglas MacArthur), while college wags formed a group called the Veterans of Future Wars to demand their bonuses now…and despite the isolationism of the early years of the decade, by the late 30s it was becoming increasingly clear that war was coming to Europe courtesy of Hitler, and America would be drawn in. Edward VIII abdicated to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson, and the Allies were spared a national leader who thought Hitler was just a swell guy who only wanted peace (yes, really).
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[personal profile] ellid
In response to popular demand (such as it is), I've compiled a list of source material on the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s as a guide for anyone who wants to write Captain America/Avengers fanfic. This is by no means definitive - yes, I'm a historian or play one at medieval studies congresses, but my specialty is pre-1600 quilts and textiles, not the first half of the 20th century. So please take this with a couple pounds of salt, use as much or as little as you like, and have fun.

Part I: The 1920s

Only Yesterday, by Frederick Lewis Allen - excellent history of the popular culture of the Harding/Coolidge years written in the early 1930s. If you need a quick and dirty guide to fads, fashions, and the mood of the country during the Roaring 20s, this is a great place to start.

Exile's Return, by Malcolm Cowley - Cowley was one of the Lost Generation of writers and artists who congregated in Paris during the 1920s. This memoir of his time there is a wonderful source if you're interested in the artists, writers, and intelligentsia of post-Great War America.

In Our Time, by Ernest Hemingway - this little book of short stories literally reshaped American literature; the prose is clean, sharp, and insightful, and the model for much of what came after. I'm not a Hemingway fan but this book is the real deal.

This Side of Paradise, by F. Scott Fitzgerald - Fitzgerald is best known for The Great Gatsby, but this book's depiction of hopeless, decadent American youth caused a firestorm and made its author's reputation.

The Poisoner's Handbook, by Deborah Blum - terrific look at the origins and evolution of the New York City coroner's office as told through significant poisoning cases (many of them caused or exacerbated by wood alcohol). Lots and lots of period scandals that everyone would have known about and followed in the papers.

Pulp fiction - the real heyday of the pulps was the 1930s and 1940s, but magazines like Amazing Stories, Black Mask, and assorted romance, adventure, and confession titles were immensely popular. The highbrows read Hemingway but the working class read these.

The Stratemyer Syndicate - this venerable publishing house printed literally dozens of series of wholesome but exciting children's literature like Tom Swift, the Rover Boys, the Bobbsey Twins, Orissa Kane, and so on. The Syndicate was still going strong in the 1930s, too, with Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, so it's all but certain that Steve would have read at least some of its output.

Art - there was still some realistic art, most notably illustration, but highbrow art ranged from Dadaism to Surrealism to German Expressionism. Art Deco, sleek and streamlined, began in the 20s but reached its height about ten years later. Popular illustrators included JC Leyendecker, John Held, Jr., and Maxfield Parrish, the last of whom created a series of promotional calendars for Edison-Mazda lamps.

Music - popular music was a weird combination of novelty songs like "I Used to Shower My Sweetie With Presents But It Ain't Going To Rain No More," jazz as interpreted by the likes of Paul Whiteman, and dance tunes like the Black Bottom and the Charleston. The blues and "old timey music" (aka country) were around, but the former wasn't respectable in white neighborhoods and the latter was pretty much confined to the South. Gramophones and radio brought classical music to the masses, but only in short bites since the records could only hold a few minutes per side.

Movies - these were all silent until The Jazz Singer in 1927, but there were some great ones; just think Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Mary Pickford, Gloria Swanson, Douglas Fairbanks Sr., Mabel Normand, and Fatty Arbuckle, and you'll get the idea. Even better, they had live organ accompaniment! Art films from Europe included masterpieces like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, The Passion of Joan of Arc, and Metropolis, but I highly doubt that Steve would have seen any of them until much, much later, if not until he was introduced to the glory of the Stark video-on-demand collection.

Culture in general - women had just gotten the vote in 1920, and were celebrating their freedom by going to college, smoking in public, wearing short skirts, and cutting their hair. The great cultural flowering of the Harlem Renaissance was in full bloom. Prohibition had banned legal booze but people were drinking in record numbers, often with disastrous results. The Ku Klux Klan was ascendant in many states, and lynching in the South was so common that the NAACP headquarters in New York flew a black flag whenever word came of another incident. Crossword puzzles were ridiculously popular, Charles Lindbergh was a national hero, and the daring ventured in to Chinatown to try that mysterious substance called "chicken chow mein."
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[personal profile] dragonfly
Ancestry.com has just unveiled a fun little toy based on the recently-released 1940 U.S. census data. You put in some basic information and they give you a tour of what your life might have been like in 1940. It is a good little context refresher.


There's no need to have an ancestry.com account. They ask for your name (the graphics insert your name into things in the tour, to personalize it) and they do ask for an email address. I can't swear to what they will do with that email address, but so far I have not found them to be evil, just commercial. Anyway, they also ask you for the name of an ancestor who might have been alive in 1940. At first that put me off, because I was trying to set up Steve Rogers, but it turns out all they do is, at the end, offer to search the 1940 census for your ancestor for you. ::shrug:: So just put in anything. It really is kind of fun.


Hmm, maybe an appropriate tag would be context:daily life. Or context:civilian life, which was proposed in the tagging post.

EDIT March, 2013: They've taken the time machine down, so now the above links just take you to ancestry.com.
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[personal profile] dragonfly
I was rewatching Avengers and it occurred to me to wonder why Captain America, of all people, showed any outrage on discovering that SHIELD was trying to create weaponry out of tesseract technology. Stark, yes, we know about his about-face wrt selling weapons technology. Banner spent a lot of time trying not to be a weapon for the U.S. military, so he makes sense, too. But Captain America was involved in a nearly-global conflict where superior technology was coveted and prized and it wasn't at all obvious that the good guys were going to win. I now blink at that scene where he slams some gun-thing down on the table and confronts Fury with what Phase Two was. I'm really not convinced he should be that upset.

On an unrelated note, it appears that plastic didn't have widespread use until the 1950s. So Cap came from a world before plastic. FWIW.

Source: https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=114331762

Could I have a "context:technology" tag?
[personal profile] crunchysalad
Hi everyone! After [personal profile] beatrice_otter alerted me to this comm, I decided to make a write-up of major information found in Allan Berube's Coming Out Under Fire: The History of Gay Men and Women in World War Two for people who don't have access to it. I would highly recommend the book, which is available for purchase on Amazon; it might also be found at your local library. The book contains a great deal more in terms of information, details, and anecdotes, as well as chapters about the post-war era that were not touched upon here, since they weren't applicable to Captain America. It's an extremely interesting read and worth checking out even if you're only marginally interested in gay history or history in general.

Enlisting in an Anti-Homosexual Army )

Fear of Exposure )

Acceptance, Uneasy or Otherwise )

The Homosexual Milieu of Military Life )

Military-Sanctioned Drag Shows )

Captain America's Military )

Slang and Terminology )

Other Resources )

Also, while this doesn't have anything to do with homosexuality, the book has this great quotes that I thought is really interesting when applied to Captain America and possible dynamics with other soldiers: "While most soldiers would and often did risk their lives to protect their buddies, they shunned heroics and often used the term hero as an insult rather than a compliment. Hero described the undependable man who displayed a foolhardy bravado that could get him killed or endanger the lives of his buddies." (177)

Apologies in advance if I'm slow to reply to any comments, I don't check dreamwidth that often.

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[personal profile] petra
Steve wouldn't say "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot," he'd say "William Tare Fox?" At least if he was inclined to such terminology.
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[personal profile] thatfangirl
I recently wrote two posts on the historical and canonical evidence for Steve's attitudes about race, sex/gender, and homosexuality:

Racial integration in Captain America: The First Avenger

Sexism, homophobia, and Steve Rogers

Discussion very much welcomed. Also, links that might be of use for writing Steve fic:
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