Hacking Old Globes.

There's a modest collection of 20th century globes at a local travel shop. Tucked in with about a dozen, fairly non-descript models1 is the manuscript 'Texan's Globe.'2 The hand-drawn and coloured globe shows the world in the mind of a stereotyped Texan. Half the Earth is filled by a swollen United States, with Texas taking up about one third of that. Canada is squeezed between New York and an Alaska that touches the 49th parallel. Beyond, the geography becomes even more bizarre.

HawaiiHawaiiTexas & SWTexas & SWFlorida & SWFlorida & SWThe SouthThe SouthCanadaCanadaThe Philipines, Indonesia, New Zealand, and Australia are all in the Atlantic, south of Britain. Central and South America have disappeared near the South Pole, while Cuba remains just off the Florida coast. Europe, Africa, and Asia are all jammed into the remaining space. Texas, then, becomes the centre of a largely American world, with its friends close by and its enemies insignificant and distant.

BritainBritainAfricaAfricaMost nations are unmarked and unlabeled. Those which are labelled often come with short, xenophobic remarks. "We pretty much got it all down here..." adorns Texas, but there is little to gain beyond its borders. Sure, there are "Mormons (good)" and "LOTS of Mexicans (generally good, Especially when they vote Republican)" to the west, but in northern California, "Are these people actually AMERICANS? Geez." Most of the US is rated "good", while abroad most nations are "bad" or "suspicious."

Chad ValleyChad ValleyBankBankWeather GlobeWeather GlobeCanadians are, "Kinda like Australians, but snootier, plus a whole whack of 'em speak FRENCH. I kid you not..." Australians "speak English, sorta" and Japan is labeled, "Good cars. Sneaky though." South America is summed up with, "Lotsa drug smugglers, left-wing terrorists & guys with mustaches. Very suspicious." South Africa is "Home of Nelson Mandela." Also, "Very suspicious." Several fighter jets, helicopters, and missles fill up any blank spaces over the oceans, especially where they surround Cuba.

Personally, I see this as satire and think it's funny as hell. The maker has put some real thought into the geography and the notes to make his point. The colouring is carefully done and the labeling is clear and consistant. I've asked the shop's owner to keep me in mind if she remodels.

You may not care for the Texan Globe. If so, I challenge you to produce your own. What the maker did was take an old Cram's or Replogle globe, spray paint it white, and then begin drawing. (As noted above, a little talent may help too.) It's still pretty easy to find cheap, outdated globes produced between World War Two and the breakup of the Soviet Union. I haven't tried it (yet), but I think it would be best to start by removing the stand. Hang the globe from a string and spin some tension into the string. Then you can spray the globe as it spins out the tension in the line. (Try lots of light coats to avoid drips and/or a grey primer.) Let dry, compose geography, post results. (Try not to be too nasty and no death treats, svp.)3


1 About a dozen globes gathered by a local interior designer:

-Sm. metal T[errestrial] globe (5"?) on tin stand, by the CHAD VALLEY CO., HARBORNE, ENGL.
-Similar T globe, manufactured under the name, THORNE'S, LEEDS, ENGL., dated 1955 under the stand.
-c. 2" metal T globe on a red plastic, pencil-sharpener base
-c. 32" teacher's blackboard globe: The prof who taught the second half of my Earth & Atmospheric Sciences course had one of these, although I don't recall him using it. (He may have. I did a lot of his portion from the textbook.) I think the idea is that you can draw jet streams and pressure systems on it.
-12" Inter-war T globe with Italian Somalia.
-c. 5" globe on a deskset base. Hand assembled from printed gores on stiff paper.
-3 or 4 other non-descript Replogle and Cram's T models, incl. one fairly modern (post - 1989) light-up.

2 My title. 12" manuscript globe - black and coloured [highlighter?] felt marker on white paint over over a Replogle / Cram's globe. See scratches near Florida and Indonesia. The blue colour is the underlaying ocean. I'm told the maker is from BC, Canada. I think the most modern reference on the globe is to Sicily, as "Home of the Sopranos." (See Africa) There is little or no mention of Iraq or Afghanistan (see Hawaii), nor 911, so I'm guessing late 2000 to late 2001, at least for the composition.

3 I was looking for info on the chalkboard globe and found this link for making your own Idea GlobeTM or Polar Chalk Board. An "open source globe technology!"

Rewritten from an entry of 10/20/2007.