Bollards and Ballard (not be confused with "bullets vs. ballots", another thing entirely)

by Jon on August 1, 2007

in Uncategorized

Every trip to the SEMP website is well-rewarded.

“Ballardian Catastrophe”:

described in British J.G. Ballard’s (born 1930) novels and stories, especially dystopian modernity, bleak man-made landscapes and
the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments.”

SEMP learned of this term, apparently, when mentioned in a post on

: “The Suburban EmergencyManagement Project, always on the lookout for some major Ballardian catastrophe.”

Okay – that’s J.G. Ballard – the author of, among other things, Empire of the Sun, which (I’m given to understand) is based on his childhood experience as an internee. (Readers may be familiar with the Spielberg film, or the book of the same name).

[Cf. KayeBallard, of whom we’ve been fond since Laugh-In, but whose body of work is in no way dystopian. ]

A Bollard, however, is

 a short vertical post typically found where large ships dock. While originally it only meant a post used on a quay for mooring, the word now also describes a variety of structures to control or direct road traffic.

Wikipedia entry here

.  (For those of you who getting ready to complain about our use of Wikipedia, our two initial responses are: (1) we don’t use it for matters of apparent controversy; (2) we’d be happy to accept a contribution of an on-line subscription to Britannica, (3) in this case, I can vouch for the accuracy of the entry quoted),

Lastly, “Ballots-vs-Bullets”: my recollection is that this phrase was coined by the late Bernard Fall. Biographical summary from the JFK Library: 

Journalist, author, educator. War crimes research analyst (1946-1948); professor of international relations, Howard University (1956-1967); author The Two Viet-nams (1963), Last Reflections on a War (1964), Anatomy of a Crisis (1969). Research materials, books, clippings, magazines, maps, writings, relating to Southeast Asia, China, Germany, and Vietnam.


things magazine

– which is remarkably cool and seductively interesting.

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