Almost 73 years ago now, the future of warfare was changed forever with one simple move, (Or two). That move was the dropping of the Atomic bomb first on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and then on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. This altered the way war could be perceived to an already bad killing of people changed to the utter annihilation of an entire nation. Once these were dropped, multiple nations started developing and testing their own nuclear weapons, including the Soviet Union and Great Britain developing their own within ten years of the drop. France, China, India, Pakistan and North Korea have all also tested their own nuclear weapons in the more recent past, with North Korea being the latest in 2006.
Right after the ending of World War II came the Cold War. This was a silent battle between the Communist country of the Soviet Union and the United States, and there were multiple threats of nuclear warfare. In 1962 came the Cuban Missile Crisis. The Soviet Union put a plan in motion to install missiles in Cuba in response to rumors that the United States was planning on overthrowing the Cuban Government and assassinating Fidel Castro. Eventually there was a standoff and the Soviets backed down, but a nuclear war seemed to be very possible.
Now, with Donald J. Trump as the president of our country, the possibility of nuclear warfare feels even more present than before. When running for president, he used the option of nuclear weapons as a real way to deal with problems. He tweets all the time about random stuff, including nuclear policies, etc, such as in December of 2016 when he tweeted out that the United States needs to expand its nuclear capabilities. He has also tweeted about North Korea as a threat as well a Russia. “North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the ‘Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times. Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”1. He talks about nuclear war like there is a winner out of it, but no one would come out on top. More recently he also tweeted about Russia and that they would shoot any missiles down that are aimed at Syria, but boasts that we have “smart” missiles. He acts like a child trying to prove he is the best. The evolution of the Atomic bomb from World War II to now is honestly horrifying and the potential war to come is terrifying. Read more
The “American Gothic” by Grant Wood is for sure an American Icon. Almost everyone in America recognizes the painting of these people, although most don’t really know where or when the picture is from. As advertising companies and other companies and political cartoonists tend to use icons in their work, they also do that for this painting.
In advertisements, this very known painting is used many times so that people can recognize the image the are seeing, and associate the product with the painting. Nescafè, a coffee brand, uses this painting with the two people in the picture shown with especially wide eyes, showing that they are wide awake due to Nescafè’s product that they are advertising, the Instant Espresso. Another example is when Naked Juice released an advertisement with two people with a pitchfork in between them, playing off of this painting. Another blog talked about the link between this ad and the painting, and has a hard time with it because the entirety of the ad is pretty much flipped around in the Naked ad . I find this interesting and goes back to when we talked about how the subway advertisement with the Statue of Liberty created a lot of backlash for the negative connotations it had for Americans. It is interesting that this ad sexualizes the iconic painting and changes its meaning from hard workingness, etc to a lackadaisical nature, and yet it still has not caused an uproar, and I actually had to do a little bit of digging to find this. It shows that while this is an icon, it is not up to the caliber of the Statue of Liberty in terms of being recognized as a symbol for the American people.
Forbes used this painting in a very similar way that Subway used the Statue of Liberty too, showing that the country is getting fatter by showing these two figures, but adding a significant amount of weight to them. Interesting depictions of the painting show the two people replaced by different characters, such as Kermit and Ms. Piggie, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Barack and Michelle Obama. I like how it associates pairs that people always think about, and in a way it shows other people who are hardworking, such as Barack and Hillary.
These different depictions of “American Gothic” by Grant Wood, as stated by Wanda Corn , don’t always get Wood’s point of view and idea for what he wanted to get across to come, but it is inspiring to see different ways and what it means to other people in America.
 rstanf3. “Let’s Critique a Naked Juice Ad!” Insert Name Here [Blog], 9 Mar. 2014, rstanf3.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/semiotic-criticism/.
 Wanda Corn, The Birth of a National Icon: Grant Wood’s American Gothic (Chicago: The Art Institute of Chicago, 1983) 253.