So I saw this quoted in that other thread and decided to post the whole thing.
We Futurists, who for over two years, scorned by the Lame and Paralyzed, have glorified the love of danger and violence, praised patriotism and war, the hygene of the world, are happy to finally experience this great Futurist hour of Italy, while the foul tribe of pacifists huddles dying in the deep cellars of the ridiculous palace at The Hague.
We have recently had the pleasure of fighting in the streets with the most fervent adversaries of the war, and shouting in their faces our firm beliefs:
1. All liberties should be given to the individual and the collectivity, save that of being cowardly.
2. Let it be proclaimed that the word Italy should prevail over the word Freedom.
3. Let the tiresome memory of Roman greatness be cancelled by an Italian greatness a hundred times greater.
For us today, Italy has the shape and power of a fine Dreadnought battleship with its squadron of torpedo-boat islands. Proud to feel that the marital fervor throughout the Nation is equal to ours, we urge the Italian government, Futurist at last, to magnify all the national ambitions, disdaining the stupid accusations of piracy, and proclaim the birth of Panitalianism.
Futurist poets, painters, sculptors, and musicians of Italy! As long as the war lasts let us set aside our verse, our brushes, scapels, and orchestras! The red holidays of genius have begun! There is nothing for us to admire today but the dreadful symphonies of the shrapnels and the mad sculptures that our inspired artillery molds among the masses of the enemy.
- F.T. Marinetti circa 1910
I remember reading this as a teenager and finding it morbidly quaint. I guess I kinda still do, considering two of Futurism's main proponents died in the war, and the movement as a whole died with armistice. However, now I feel less inclined to view it as a comical footnote to one of man's greatest follies and more as a crude albeit powerful articulation of the seductive appeal of power.
I remember thinking it was cool, even subversive to view wars in purely aesthetic terms, I lined my bookshelves with volumes on obscure conflicts bereft of caution and luck like the Triple Alliance War in which Paraguay faced down the giants of South America, Brazil and Argentina leading to vignettes in which naval infantry battalions armed with machetes attacked Brazilian ironclads, and colonels strode into battle barefoot. Those Paraguayans were some badass motherfuckers and they suffered mightily for it after the war was over, but this is the fate of every brave and proud people. Yes.
I still view such things with awe, but after 5 years (got my dd214 in september, praise jeezus) in the Navy as an enlisted hospital corpsman attached to the 3rd marine battalion and the USNS Comfort my juvenile aesthetic delight is wholly gone, replaced with revulsion. Now when I think of war, as a concept, I think of dead friends and feral dogs eating human flesh. (Soldiers kill dogs. You would too.)
It's hard to dismiss my youthful naivete with a laugh and a shrug, unless I can rationalize it as being the product of an imperfectly formed mind, drawing an easy parallel between the fact that I no longer care about my once-beloved chevys and mopars and would much rather find myself behind the wheel of an underpowered yet sophisticated faggoty euro car, preferably of french extraction. Mind you, my decision to enlist was informed more by boredom and an affinity for the medical professions. I even considered myself a pacifist. The disturbing thing about my former self is that, even with all of the information in the world at my fingertips, the words of those who had gone before, I lacked the human insight to bury once and for all those seductive notions of glory and violence and kinetic energy.