RE: "Friendly Fire," or Just when you thought the 60s were over

Maggie Jaffe (
Fri, 9 Aug 1996 14:31:16 -0400

Dear Sixties People:

The Vietnam War might be long over and forgotten (by whom?), but the
language of the war is still very much with us. Under the rubric "Friendly
Fire," local San Diego artists, Louis Hock, Scott Kessler, Elizabeth Sisco,
and Deborah Small, have designed artware in honor of the Republican
Convention. The artists have created faux black satin bulletproof vests
for adults and children with provocative statements stenciled on the backs,
such as "The Queer Vest, The Affirmative Action Vest, The Bottom Line Vest,
The Rodney King Vest," and so on. As a political statement as well as
fashion statement, the vests ironically point to the various ways in which
the Republican Party have declared "war" on California citizens. The
artists, who call themselves "dada-capitalists," intend these vests for
purchase: "Buy Friendly Fire when the illusion of protection is all you can
afford" is their marketing slogan. Instead of the usual inflatable
elephants or tacky plastic flags, the vests make a fine memento of the
Convention. They may be purchased at 519 Island Avenue or call 619
696-FIRE for more information. I already told Deborah to save The Welfare
Vest for me. Oops. Wrong Party.

On a more somber note: on the campus of San Diego State University, or
"State" to the
30,000-plus students who take classes there, I noticed that a new war
memorial was in the process of being built which lists the names of
students who died in World War One to the Vietnam War. As usual, I had
very mixed emotions: cold comfort for the names on the memorial, perhaps
small comfort for family and friends of the student-soldiers. I'm not sure
if any names from the Persian Gulf War will be listed. As soon as the
workmen clear the area, I'll be better able to view it.