Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing The Manhattan Projects 24, originally released October 8th, 2014.
“How did they build those pyramids?” They just threw human death and suffering at them until they were finished. “How did we traverse the nation with a railroad so quickly?” We just threw Chinese people in caves and blew ’em up and didn’t give a shit what happened to them. There’s no end to what you can do when you don’t give a fuck about particular people. You can do anything. That’s where human greatness comes from: that we’re shitty people and we fuck others over.
Drew: Has the phrase “you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs” ever been used for anything other than falsely justifying horrific acts? It’s so strongly associated with evil advisors, it’s a wonder that it could ever persuade a unsure advisee, but it also has the unfortunate quality of being true to our experience of the world. Few, it seems, ever reach the top without the boost of standing on someone else’s neck. It’s easy to become bitter about people being used as pawns, but it’s also the stuff of great dramas — to what lengths are people willing to go in order to attain power? Manhattan Projects obviously has more in common with those heightened fictions than reality, but issue 24 never minimizes the monstrosities its protagonists commit in order to hold on to power, focusing on one of the more traumatizing events in US History. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing The Manhattan Projects 20, originally released April 23, 2014.
“Now I am become death, destroyer of worlds.”
Robert Oppenheimer, actual American History
Patrick: J. Robert Oppenheimer repeated this phrase, which he had read in the Bhadavad Gita, when we witnessed the first test of the atomic bomb. This is recorded in actual history text books, and widely believed to be true, but what exactly he meant by invoking the passage remains up to interpretation. Is he calmly asserting his own will over the strength of human life? Is he mourning his eternal loss of innocence? The odd syntax and the double verb make it an ungainly sentence, and speaking it aloud feels just as strange as the realization itself. Manhattan Projects has long been a series about an alternate American History, but this is the first issue to make a point of a similarity between all universes: Robert Oppenheimer is the face of evil.
Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing The Manhattan Projects 17, originally released January 1st, 2014.
Taylor: One of the more amazing things about evolution is its ability to create creatures that are perfectly adapted to their environment. For example, take the Great White Shark. It can smell a single drop of blood in Olympic sized swimming pool. It re-grows a tooth whenever one falls out. And it can also propel its massive body above water in order to capture cute little seals. The animal is basically a killing machine that can’t be stopped by any natural force. By comparison, you have to wonder if humans have been given the same treatment by nature. We make a lot of mistakes, we fart, and even though our brains are amazing, you have to wonder sometimes if they couldn’t be better. In Manhattan Projects 17, Einstein asks these same questions and the result is a creation made not by evolution, but science. The question is, is it as perfect as its creators hoped it would be? Continue reading →
Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing The Manhattan Projects 16, originally released November 13th, 2013.
Taylor: You know that one picture of Einstein, the one where he’s looking at the camera and playfully sticking his tongue out at the camera? Of course you do — of all the hundreds of pictures of Einstein that exist, that particular portrait sticks out in our collective consciousness. There are probably several reasons for that, but perhaps one of the most powerful is that the picture portrays the author of the general theory of relativity in the way we would like to think he existed. With his frizzy white hair and iconic mustache, Einstein cuts a figure that is both endearing and intelligent. We like to think of Einstein, the grand scientist, as having a playful and childlike streak because it makes him lovable and human, rather than untouchable and superhuman. In this way, we all liken ourselves to Einstein. If that zany dude can revolutionize the world, why not me? However, this disregards the real Einstein, who was often angry and frustrated with himself and the science he devoted his life to. But which of these pictures of Einstein is more accurate and, more importantly, does it matter?