Happy Independence Day From The Shattered Lens


Happy 4th of July from all of us at the Shattered Lens!

Usually, when it comes to the holidays, it falls upon the TSL’s ennui-stricken kitty, Doc, to wish you a happy one.  But I like to handle the Independence Day posts because they provide a chance for me to offer up some advice.  If you live in the city or the suburbs, give it a rest with the fireworks!  I mean, a few fireworks are okay but if you’re still shooting them off at three in the morning, you’re an asshole.  End of story.  And don’t tell me that it’s because you love America because anyone who truly loved this country wouldn’t be keeping its citizens awake at four in the a.m.

I would also say this.  Check on your pets and your neighbors.  As much as most of us love fireworks, they can be terrifying for animals and for people suffering from PTSD.  I guess what I’m saying is treat each other with a little bit of respect.  

I mean, don’t get me wrong.  I understand why — especially after the previous year that so many have suffered through — many people are going to be tempted to go a bit overboard celebrating this Independence Day.  I’m planning on celebrating it myself.  I’m a Texas girl and, though I’m currently happily taking part in city life, I’m also enough of a country girl that I can understand the appeal of blowing stuff up.  My family loves fireworks.  I don’t think there’s a single fireworks stand in Oklahoma that hasn’t been hit up by one of my cousins at one point or another.  I’ll be watching fireworks tonight, assuming it doesn’t rain.

I will admit that I love the whole ritual of Independence Day.  I love getting together with family.  I love the cook outs.  I love the fireworks, as I mentioned before.  Even the oppressive July heat really doesn’t bother me.  Last year, because of the pandemic, all of my usual Independence Day traditions were cancelled and I spent the weekend at a cabin up at Lake Texoma.  I got to watch fireworks explode over the water.  It was a beautiful sight and I’m glad that I go to do something but it still didn’t feel quite right.  Independence Day is perhaps the only day of the year when I don’t hate crowds.

Don’t get me wrong, of course.  Independence Day, for me, does not mean blindly worshipping the government.  (I certainly won’t be doing that as long as our current administration is in power.)  Nor does it mean ignoring some of the troubling realities of America’s past.  If you’re someone who refuses to celebrate Independence Day, that’s your right and I support you, regardless of how much fun I’m going to have today.  No one should be forced to celebrate anything and nothing makes me cringe more than when I see people doing the whole, “This person dared to criticize America on her birthday!” routine.  The whole point of Independence Day is that everyone has the right not to celebrate it, if they so choose.

So, do what you want this Independence Day!  But, seriously, go easy on the late night fireworks, okay?

Happy 4th!

Let’s Go To The Cities With The Pulps!

by Glen Orbik

With the 4th of July approaching, let’s celebrate the American city with the pulps!  Ever since the early days of the pulp industry, writers and artists have excited readers with stories about the lives of those living in America’s cities.  Here, curtsey of some of the best artists to have worked in the industry, is a pulp-guided tour of those cities!

by Al Rossi

by Barye Phillips

by Barye Phillips

by C.C. Beall

by James Avati

by James Meese

by Lou Marchetti

by Mitchell Hooks

by Owen Kampen

by Rafael DeSoto

by Raymond Johnson

by Robert Maguire

by Robert Schulz

by Robert Stanley

by Rudy Nappi

by Rudy Nappi

by Rudy Nappi

by Stanley Meltzoff

by Victor Olson

by Walter Popp

by William George

Let’s Go Country With The Pulps

With the Fourth of July just a few days away, let’s celebrate the American countryside with the pulps!  From the early days of the pulps, life in rural America has been a favorite subject.  Here are a few portrayals of that life, courtesy of some of the best artists and illustrators to work in the pulp industry!

by James Meese

by Barye Phillips

by Emmett Watson

by George Gross

by Hans Helweg

by James Avati

by James Avati

by Julian Paul

by Paul Rader

by Rafael DeSoto

by Raymond Johnson

by Robert Bonfils

by Robert Bonfils

by Robert Maguire

by Robert McGinnis

by Rudy Nappi

by Sam Cherry

by Samson Pollen

by Saul Levine

by Stanley Zuckerberg

by Victor Kalin

by Walter Popp

Happy 4th of July From The Shattered Lens!

Happy Independence Day!

Obviously, this 4th of July is going to be different for a lot of people.  I’m not even sure how many counties are still going to be doing an official fireworks show and I know a lot of people aren’t going to want to spend all day outside, wearing a mask in 100 degree heat.  This is probably the angriest Independence Day in my lifetime and I know there’s some people who are even saying that it’ll be our last because America’s on the verge of collapsing.

Personally, I don’t think it’ll be our last and I think that, though it may not seem like it today, things will get better.  America’s been through tough times before.  If most of the people out there knew as much about history as they thought they did, they’d know that.

Now, myself, I have to admit that I love the whole ritual of fireworks.  I’m a Texan and I’m probably more of a country girl than even I’m willing to admit.  I mean, as sophisticated as I may try to be here on the Shattered Lens, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t own an American flag bikini and if I didn’t kind of get a thrill from the sight of fireworks exploding in the night sky.  In fact, since I’m up at Lake Texoma, I’m planning on spending tonight out on the deck, wearing an American flag bikini while watching fireworks explode over the water.  Of course, I’ll also be writing about classic movies while I do so because I love cinema even more than I love fireworks.

Anyway, here’s my point.  There’s going to be fireworks tonight, whether they’re “legal” or not.  A lot of them will probably be set off by drunk idiots in their backyard.  People have been locked up for a long time.  There’s a lot of frustration and a lot of people are going to be expressing that frustration by making as much noise as possible.  (I don’t blame the people, by the way.  I blame government officials who, instead of understanding people’s frustrations and trying to help them deal with them, have instead used this entire crisis to act like a bunch of petty authoritarians.  A little empathy goes a long way to convincing people to do the right thing.)

So, please, as a favor to me — GET YOUR PETS INSIDE!  KEEP THEM INSIDE!  Seriously, they’re going to be scared to death.  Every 4th of July, our cat hides underneath a bed and refuses to come out until after the fireworks have stopped.  Erin and I usually toss one of his kitty toys under there and he’ll usually end up playing with it until he eventually decides to come out.  It’s funny.  As much as we would worry whenever we saw Doc scramble under the bed, that’s where he feels safe on the 4th of July.  I don’t know if it’s the same for dogs but cats are all about finding a safe place.  Once they do, they can handle just about anything.

Also, please remember that fireworks may be fun to you and me but they’re not fun for people who have served in war and/or who are suffering from PTSD and who might find them triggering.  So, check on your neighbors.  Keep them in mind before you go crazy trying to recreate a combat zone in their neighborhood.

“But Lisa, you just said you love fireworks….”

Yes, I do.  But I love animals and treating people with consideration even more.

Anyway, stay safe out there!  Happy Independence Day from the Shattered Lens!

Independence Days Of The Past

Though it was celebrated long before that, the 4th of July has been an official holiday since 1941.  In honor of the Fourth’s long history, here are some vintage photographs from Independence Days of the past.  As you can see, you don’t always need fireworks to celebrate America’s birthday:













I hope everyone has a good 4th of July!  Usually, I celebrate Independence Day by taking a lot of blurry photographs of the fireworks exploding in the sky above me and then posting them to twitter.  I won’t be doing that this year but I’ll still find a way to celebrate everything that’s good about my home country.

Celebrate the 4th of July With These Vintage Firework Ads!

It’s just not the 4th of July without fireworks so, here to help you get in the mood today, are some vintage, 20th century firework advertisements!  I think most of these are from the 50s and the 60s.

Have a safe and happy 4th of July!

New York 4th of July Parade, 1911

And, for those celebrating, please remember this safety tip: lay on ground, light fuse, get away!