Monday, October 22, 2007

Bradford's Zippos

Monsieur Bradford Edwards' Vietnam-American-war era zippos and zippo-pieces are on display in Santa Barbara... there's a wee video clip embedded in that report.

"A lot of these sentiments I heard before, 'We're the unwilling led by the unqualified doing the unnecessary for the ungrateful'," he says. "It rings a bell."

Zippos by the thousands were left behind in Vietnam. Fifteen years ago artist Bradford Edwards began collecting them at Vietnamese flea markets.

There's a more in depth piece on Edwards and his zippos from the NY Times last year here: He collects the metal lighters by the hundreds; he studies them; he celebrates them as tiny symbols. He searches for deeper meanings in the epigrams etched into their shiny sides by the American soldiers who left them behind. With grave whimsy he turns them into art.

If Vietnam and his warrior father remain enigmas to him, the answer, perhaps — if it is not blowing in the wind — can be found etched on the sides of Zippo lighters:

“Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for I am the evilest son of a bitch in the valley.”

“Death is my business and business has been good.”

“I’m not scared, just lonesome.”

“Please! Don’t tell me about Vietnam because I have been there.”

“I know I’m going to heaven because I’ve spent my time in hell: Vietnam.”

“Ours is not to do or die, ours is to smoke and stay high.”

“You’ve never really lived until you’ve nearly died.”

“If you got this off my dead ass I hope it brings you the same luck it brought me.”

No comments: