Thursday, 03/26/2015

Monarchism Now, Monarchism Tomorrow, Monarchism Forever!

All the clouds that low'r'd upon our house in the deep bosom of the ocean buried:

Richard III has been buried with pomp in Leicester cathedral by the archbishop of Canterbury, with the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and a black-clad Countess of Wessex as next of kin. Another relative, Benedict Cumberbatch, read a poem by the poet laureate. The Queen’s Division and Royal Signals bands saluted the fallen king. York has its own “commemoration” tonight. As they say, you couldn’t make it up.

It’s comical, but tragic too, as a reminder of the indignity the British accept in their accustomed role as subjects, not citizens. Here are church, royalty and army revering a child-killing, wife-slaughtering tyrant who would be on trial if he weren’t 500 years dead. This is the madness of monarchy, where these bones are honoured for their divine royalty, whether by accident of birth or by brutal seizure of the crown. Richard, whose death ended the tribal Wars of the Roses, is a good symbol of the “bloodline” fantasy. Our island story is one of royal usurpage and regicide, with imported French, Dutch and German monarchs who didn’t speak English. The puzzle is that this fantasy of anointed genes persists, even unto Kate’s unborn babe.

I get the monarchy is a drag and anachronism.  Despite my fondness for Downton Abbey, I think aristocrats of all stripes and levels in the hierarchy are leeching pikers.  Yet only curmudgeons refuse to enjoy pomp and circumstance, and would latch onto reburying any head of state.  

I mean, no need for Nancy to hump Ronnie's casket, sure, but ceremony can be cool.  And what leader of a nation hasn't been a murderous fiend?  The monarchy holds no monopoly on such things--it does, however, have lovely jewels and great hats and a wonderful sense of marking occasion.

ntodd

March 26, 9:49 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

They Can't Do That To Our Pledges!

Noz beat me to it:

We must bomb Iran because Iranians cannot be trusted to honor any nuclear agreements!says the guy who argued that the U.S. should back out of its nuclear agreements.

Yes, and he's from the frat, er...party that reminded the Iranians that we'll back out of any deal on some pretty stationery.  American exceptionalism!

ntodd

March 26, 8:56 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

A Day Of Prayer And Fasting For Indiana

Bobby is a good friend and Friend, but I think misses the mark here:

I am not a fan of boycotts; they rarely work and harm innocent people who depend on the boycotted industry or place.

Part of the point is to harm people in a nonviolent, recoverable way so they see the impact of their (in)action in the face of grave injustice.  And boycotts enjoy a long, effective history.

Anyway, my buddy continues:

However, it would be very un-Quakerly to embarrass the good religious people of Indiana by giving them my gay business or my gay money, so I will not put them in the awkward position of having to accept it as long as this legalized gay-bashing is in place. I’m sure they will understand that I’m doing them a big favor.

It sort of reminds me of this scene from Gandhi.  Yes, I compared a blogger to the Mahatma.

ntodd

March 26, 7:44 PM in Conscience, Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Why Was I Speeding, Officer? Because Al Gore Is Fat!

 GOP principles:

"You know, when it comes to climate change being real, people of my party are all over the board," Graham said after a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations while responding to a question about whether Republicans could work with Democrats to address climate change.

"I said that it's real, that man has contributed to it in a substantial way," Graham continued. "But the problem is Al Gore's turned this thing into religion. You know, climate change is not a religious problem for me, it's an economic, it is an environmental problem."

Well, this explains why Republicans do the opposite of what Christ said...

ntodd

March 26, 6:27 PM in Biofuels, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Lincolnesque

Finally, somebody who deserves to invoke Lincoln:

Disgraced Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) drew a parallel between the ethics inquiries that led to his resignation and former President Abraham Lincoln's career Thursday in a farewell speech.
...
While he didn't bring up those pitfalls in his speech on the House floor, he did invoke Lincoln's "defeats."

"Abraham Lincoln held this seat in Congress for one term. But few faced as many defeats in his personal business and public life as he did," Schock said, according to a transcript of his remarks. "His continual perseverance in the face of these trials, never giving up, is something all of us Americans should be inspired by, especially when going through a valley in life."

"I believe that through life’s struggles, we learn from our mistakes and we learn more about ourselves," he added. "And I know that this is not the end of a story, but rather the beginning of a new chapter."

It's unclear exactly what "defeats" of Lincoln's Schock was referring to, but Slate pointed out last week that both were accused of the same transgression: billing taxpayers for excess mileage.

Yeh, I noticed that myself...

ntodd

March 26, 4:59 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

So Long To Highclere Castle

This makes me very glad:

Season 6 of "Downton Abbey" will be its last, Carnival films, the producers of the show, and ITV announced on Thursday in a statement.

“Millions of people around the world have followed the journey of the Crawley family and those who serve them for the last five years. Inevitably there comes a time when all shows should end and 'Downton' is no exception," Carnival’s Managing Director and Executive Producer of "Downton Abbey," Gareth Neame, said. "We wanted to close the doors of 'Downton Abbey' when it felt right and natural for the storylines to come together and when the show was still being enjoyed so much by its fans. We can promise a final season full of all the usual drama and intrigue, but with the added excitement of discovering how and where they all end up...”

I definitely classify Downton as a guilty pleasure.  By all rights I should not enjoy seeing aristocrats and all their finery, but I guess in a way that makes it perfectly escapist.  It's been fun, and I'll be glad they're ending before everything gets overly repetitive and dull--I like short run shows like this, Sopranos, The Wire, etc.

I just hope Lord Grantham doesn't lose the family's money another goddamned time.  And the Dowager might want to stay away from motorcars.

ntodd

PS--This kinda puts me in the mood to watch Gosford Park.  

PPS--I also enjoyed the original Upstairs, Downstairs, though not so much as Downton, probably because of the different production values and urban setting.  Wonder if the modern update is any good.

PPPS--But since Richard III was reburied today, maybe Ian McKellan's movie is in order.  It, too, has Dame Maggie in it.

March 26, 2:43 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Alleluya, Alleluya, Alleluya


A nywe werke is come on honde...

ntodd

March 26, 11:21 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Grant Me The Carving Of My Name

Auntie Beeb:

The service to mark the reburial of King Richard III has taken place at Leicester Cathedral.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Rev Justin Welby, presided over the service with local senior clergy and representatives of world faiths.

Sophie, Countess of Wessex and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester were among the guests.

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch, a distant relation of the king, read a poem by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy.

procession and commemoration service are also planned in York.

The king's remains were found beneath a Leicester car park in 2012.

Cumberbatch is apparently Richard's second cousin, 16 times removed.  I'm sure he'll make a great king.

ntodd

March 26, 9:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

#throwbackthursday


Me, 1970.


Sadie and Sam, 2013.

ntodd

March 26, 7:31 AM in Family Life | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, 03/25/2015

Our Little Life Is Rounded With A Sleep


The great blog itself shall dissolve...

ntodd

March 25, 11:09 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Passionate Shepherd

Oh, that Marlowe:

COME live with me and be my Love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That hills and valleys, dale and field,
And all the craggy mountains yield.

Well, it's not quite glorious summer yet, but the sentiment is nice.

ntodd

March 25, 10:28 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

No One Can Tell Us We're Wrong

Our bodies are a battlefield:

To the naked eye, your body may not look like the site of much action, but take a closer look and you'll see the microscopic battles being waged every moment of every day, between our bodies' invaders and the systems that fight back.

Sam's been obsessed of late with germs--good and bad--immune systems, washing hands, etc.  Not entirely unwelcome, since it's a health issue and he's asking lots of good questions.  Can be a little annoying at times.  And I'm still debating whether to show him the YouTubes or not--some of the things look like Transformers, so he might find them cool, or just freak out.

ntodd

March 25, 9:59 PM in Family Life | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

"I ain't no psychiatrist, I ain't no doctor with degrees."


I'm just a blogger, blogging about FREEDOM!

ntodd

March 25, 7:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Commonweal In Christ

It started in Ohio:

In 1894, Jacob S. Coxey, an owner of a sand quarry in Massillon, Ohio, faced difficult financial times as the Panic of 1893 gripped the United States. In protest of the federal government's failure to assist the American populace during this economic downturn, Coxey formed a protest march that became known as "Coxey's Army." The group left Massillon, numbering one hundred men, on Easter Sunday, with the intention of marching to Washington, DC, to demand that the United States government assist the American worker. As the group marched to Washington, hundreds more workers joined it along the route. Coxey claimed that his army would eventually number more than 100,000 men. By the time that the army reached Washington, it numbered only five hundred men.

Upon arriving in Washington, Coxey and his supporters demanded that the federal government immediately assist workers by hiring them to work on public projects such as roads and government buildings. The United States Congress and President Grover Cleveland refused.

The New York Times reported--in a tone one modern chronicler calls "bewildered amusement"--the day before departure:

IN DREAMS HE SEES AN ARMY.; Then Coxey Awakes and Sees Only Fifty Tramps.

MASSILLON, Ohio, March 24 -- Nearly 100 recruits for Coxey's Commonweal Army arrived to-day from different points. Most of them are tramps who camped in the woods surrounding the town during the night. A number of them slept in the lock-up, but were rehersed this morning. Among the arrivals is lass M. McCallum, who represents Mrs. Lease, and who asked permission to have her address the army at Pittsburg, which Coxey refused.
...
It is claimed by Marshal Browne that nearly fifty recruits have arrived in Massillon, but up to last night, none of them had been discovered, and reputable Massillonians asserted that the arrivals were all in the mind of the the “Seer and Prophet” as the Marshal styles himself.  The headquarters of the Commonweal consist of one unfurnished room in a new block in West Main Street, one small desk, which when new, cost $7.25, one small soft-coal stove, one nail keg, two chairs, and one saloon table, which has recently seen some service.  Here the mail is opened every morning, and plans for the great movement are talked over.

The Paper of Record didn't know quite what to make of all this, and it's not clear the particpants did either.  While there was a good bit of energy and a lot of common interest, there doesn't appear to have been a whole lot of cohesion in the so-called army.

For example, here's a story in the Times on April 14COMMONWEALERS NIGH UNTO RIOT.; Marshal Browne Bounced by Coxey's "Unknown" in Maryland.  And then when they arrived in DC on April 30th:

  • COXEY WILL DEFY THE LAW - WILL SPEAK AT THE CAPITOL EVEN IF FORBIDDEN. (April 30)
  • COXEY PLACED UNDER ARREST - The Leader of the Mob of Tramps...May Be Fined or Imprisoned Sixty Days. (May 2)
  • COXEY'S ARMY DWINDLING AWAY - According to the order issued yesterday by the District Commissioners, Gen. Coxley would have to remove his camp by Saturday morning...[he] explained that it would be impossible for him to get his men out on so short notice. (May 10)

None other than Jack London took part in the Western contingent:

A "stiff" is a tramp. It was once my fortune to travel a few weeks with a "push" that numbered two thousand. This was known as "Kelly's Army." Across the wild and woolly West, clear from California, General Kelly and his heroes had captured trains; but they fell down when they crossed the Missouri and went up against the effete East. The East hadn't the slightest intention of giving free transportation to two thousand hoboes. Kelly's Army lay helplessly for some time at Council Bluffs. The day I joined it, made desperate by delay, it marched out to capture a train.
...
Then some local genius solved the problem. We wouldn't walk. Very good. We should ride. From Des Moines to Keokuk on the Mississippi flowed the Des Moines River. This particular stretch of river was three hundred miles long. We could ride on it, said the local genius; and, once equipped with floating stock, we could ride on down the Mississippi to the Ohio, and thence up the Ohio, winding up with a short portage over the mountains to Washington.

Des Moines took up a subscription. Public-spirited citizens contributed several thousand dollars. Lumber, rope, nails, and cotton for calking were bought in large quantities, and on the banks of the Des Moines was inaugurated a tremendous era of shipbuilding. Now the Des Moines is a picayune stream, unduly dignified by the appellation of "river." In our spacious western land it would be called a "creek." The oldest inhabitants shook their heads and said we couldn't make it, that there wasn't enough water to float us. Des Moines didn't care, so long as it got rid of us, and we were such well-fed optimists that we didn't care either.

Pay special attention to what happened when London and 9 others went Galt.  Anyway, being an angry, dispossesed tramp is a lot of work...

ntodd

March 25, 6:24 PM in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

There Is No God

This negation must be understood solely to affect a creative Deity. The hypothesis of a pervading Spirit co-eternal with the universe remains unshaken.

 - Percy Bysshe Shelley 

On this date in 1811, Shelley was expelled from Oxford.  He explained to his Old Man a few days later:

You well know that a train of reasoning, & not any great profligacy has induced me to disbelieve the scriptures – this train myself & my friend pursued. We found to our surprise that (strange as it may appear) the proofs of an existing Deity were as far as we had observed, defective. We therefore embodied our doubts on the subject, & arranged them methodically in the form of ‘The Necessity of Atheism,’ thinking thereby to obtain a satisfactory, or an unsatisfactory answer from men who had made Divinity the study of their lives.

How then were we treated? not as our fair, open, candid conduct might demand, no argument was publickly brought forward to disprove our reasoning, & it at once demonstrated the weakness of their cause, & their inveteracy on discovering it, when they publickly expelled myself & my friend.

Fucking college kids.  I myself never engaged in any shenanigans, but I am a very special snowflake.

ntodd

March 25, 5:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Fire Is Hot; I Am Hot; Therefore, I Am On Fire.

Phil Plait has a chilling note about Ted Cruz's interview with Seth Meyers:

But of all the bizarre nonsense Cruz said in that interview, what really got my teeth grinding was his comment about how it used to be called “global warming” but now we call it “climate change” because the evidence doesn’t support warming. That is at the level of weapons-grade irony. The idea to start calling it “climate change” came from a Republican strategist, in an effort to make it seem less threatening.

By saying that, Cruz has gone full Orwell: His own party made that change in phrase, but he’s accusing scientists of doing it.

I hear the jury's still out on history and science.  

Regardless, 'climate change' is actually a better description even if the changes are due to global average temperatures rising, since it doesn't just mean everywhere is going to be hot all the time.  You don't need MiniTrue to tell you that...

ntodd

March 25, 4:10 PM in Biofuels, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

BREAKING: Obama Orders Ben Carson To FEMA Camps

Making Ted Cruz seem moderate?

You may have noticed that Carson often compares the United States to Nazi Germany – claming that Americans are as intimidated and afraid to criticize Obama and their government as Germans were under the Third Reich. (Has he not noticed the Tea Party criticism?) When GQ’s Jason Zengerie asked if he regrets his incendiary “Nazi” comments, Carson “refused to give any ground.” But when Zengerie asked him the same question while he was touring the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, Carson had an answer:

We’d spent the previous ninety minutes touring the museum, followed by Carson entering Yad Vashem’s Hall of Remembrance and, black kippah atop his head, laying a wreath made of red, pink, and orange poppies that read ‘Courage and Truth Will Win: In loving memory the 6 million.’ Given all this, I asked Carson, did it make him reconsider his analogy?

‘Not at all,’ he said. ‘It makes it even stronger.’”

Okay then. There you have it.

What year during the Reich are we in?  The first, or the twelfth?

ntodd

March 25, 3:17 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Licensed Treason

Paul Campos on Treason Flag license plate:

There’s a perfectly constitutional way for Texas not to allow people to feature confederate flags on the state’s license plates, which is not to sell the right to advertise their political beliefs on those plates to anyone to begin with. But that would require ever-so slightly raising some tax rate or another to make up for the lost revenue, so the state would rather try to violate the First Amendment.

Didn't I say that?

TX can easily bypass this by not allowing 3rd party designs, methinks.  They're under no obligation to do that.

Why yes, yes I did.

ntodd

March 25, 10:20 AM in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Sports Myths

Even when there's film and photographic evidence, not to mention the participant's own recollections, somehow myths get started almost instantly.

ntodd

March 25, 9:05 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, 03/24/2015

Why Are We In This Handbasket?


John Harrison: March 24 [OS], 1693-March 24, 1776.

ntodd

March 24, 11:12 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Truth Also Is The Pursuit Of It

Leviathan:

A wind moves a little,
Moving in a circle, very cold.
 
How shall we say?
In ordinary discourse—
 
We must talk now. I am no longer sure of the words,
The clockwork of the world. What is inexplicable
 
Is the ‘preponderance of objects.’ The sky lights
Daily with that predominance
 
And we have become the present.
 
We must talk now. Fear
Is fear. But we abandon one another.

George Oppen.

ntodd

March 24, 10:38 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

"A city of a thousand cells - A thousand individual hells."

You go, Justice:

While speaking before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and Federal Government on Monday, Kennedy blasted the U.S. prison system for isolating inmates.

"Solitary confinement literally drives men mad," he said in response to questions from Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.).

As I've posted a few times before, you can blame Quakers for this one:

In 1790, Walnut Street Jail in Philadelphia (built in 1773, but expanded later under a state act) was built by the Quakers and was the first institution in the United States designed to punish and rehabilitate criminals. It is considered the birthplace of the modern prison system.
...
At Walnut Street, each cell block had 16 one-man cells. In the wing known as the "Penitentiary House," inmates spent all day every day in their cells. Felons would serve their entire sentences in isolation, not just as punishment, but as an opportunity to seek forgiveness from God. It was a revolutionary idea—no penal method had ever before considered that criminals might be reformed. In 1829, Quakers and Anglicans expanded on the idea born at Walnut Street, constructing a prison called Eastern State Penitentiary, which was made up entirely of solitary cells along corridors that radiated out from a central guard area. At Eastern State, every day of every sentence was carried out primarily in solitude, though the law required the warden to visit each prisoner daily and prisoners were able to see reverends and guards. The theory had it that the solitude would bring penitence; thus the prison—now abandoned—gave our language the term "penitentiary."

Ironically, solitary confinement had been conceived by the Quakers and Anglicans as humane reform of a penal system with overcrowded jails, squalid conditions, brutal labor chain gangs, stockades, public humiliation, and systemic hopelessness. Instead, it drove many men mad.

Revolutionary, indeed, and based on typical Friends' naivety--excusable, perhaps, a little in this case since there was no science to guide us at this point.  So, sorry once again, and please join us as we work against the form of inhumanity we invented.

ntodd

March 24, 9:53 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

For Whom The Lord Loveth He Chasteneth

Something about Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty just ain't right:

“I’ll make a bet with you,” Robertson said. “Two guys break into an atheist’s home. He has a little atheist wife and two little atheist daughters. Two guys break into his home and tie him up in a chair and gag him. And then they take his two daughters in front of him and rape both of them and then shoot them and they take his wife and then decapitate her head off in front of him. And then they can look at him and say, ‘Isn’t it great that I don’t have to worry about being judged? Isn’t it great that there’s nothing wrong with this? There’s no right or wrong, now is it dude?’”

Robertson kept going: “Then you take a sharp knife and take his manhood and hold it in front of him and say, ‘Wouldn’t it be something if this [sic] was something wrong with this? But you’re the one who says there is no God, there’s no right, there’s no wrong, so we’re just having fun. We’re sick in the head, have a nice day.’”

“If it happened to them,” Robertson continued, “they probably would say, ‘something about this just ain’t right.”

I guess he's channeling the Book of Judges right now:

[T]he people of God are unfaithful and Yahweh therefore deprives them of his protection, thus delivering them into the hands of their enemies; oppressed, the people repent and cry out to the Lord begging for mercy; the Lord sends help in the form of a judge who delivers them from their enemies. Afier a while, the process repeats itself and continues to do so a number of times, giving the impression of a quasi-cyclical conception of time in which history repeats itself.

So be good for goodness sake!

ntodd

March 24, 8:36 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Presidential Citizenship Trivia

In articles discussing Cruz's Article II, Section 1 eligibility I keep seeing "8 of the first 9 presidents" were born as British subjects.  Yes, Van Buren was born as an "American" in the sense we'd declared independence.  

Yet the first president born after the Constitution and the NBC clause was in operation, which I think is a more important dividing line, was #10, John Tyler (who was the first to have impeachment articles introduced in the House).  And the last to be born post-Independence but pre-Constitution was #12, Zachary Taylor.

The first to be assailed by Birthers?  #21, Chester A Arthur of Vermont.

And that's all I've got to say about that.

ntodd

March 24, 7:45 PM in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Chimera Core

Mustang Bobby educates us:

Ted Cruz says one of his dreams is to “repeal every word of Common Core.”

Oh, that sounds like a great idea: repeal the federally-mandated curriculum that each state must implement or risk losing federal grants.

Except it’s bullshit.  All of it.  First, Common Core is not a law, so it can’t be repealed.  Second, it is not “federally-mandated.”  Common Core was voluntarily adopted by the states.  Third, the U.S. Department of Education cannot, by federal law, dictate to the states or school districts what they have in their curricula.  Fourth, the major federal education grant, Race To The Top, has nothing to do with Common Core.  RTTT, which came out in 2010, has been distributed already, and so whatever funds are still left to be spent were not and cannot be held up based on compliance with Common Core, which doesn’t require compliance in the first place.

So President Cruz has already fulfilled one of his campaign promises!

ntodd

March 24, 6:48 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

#FerGhazi!

Oh, FFS:

Liberals have found an ideological bugaboo on par with Benghazi in the Michael Brown shooting, according to Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen.

"Ferguson has become the liberal Benghazi," Cohen wrote in a column published Monday night. "It is more of a cause than a place, more of an ideological statement than an incident. Ferguson was not the racist murder it was thought to be, and Benghazi was not an incident in which the Obama administration’s incompetence or timidity allowed four Americans to die. The facts argue otherwise."

Cohen wrote that the unarmed black teenager didn't deserve to die. But he suggested that a Justice Department report clearing white police Officer Darren Wilson of civil rights violations in the shooting indicated Wilson could be considered a victim in the shooting, too.

"If Brown was not criminally shot because he was black, then possibly the cop was accused because he was white," Cohen wrote. "Who was the stereotyped individual here?"

The cop was accused because, you know, he actually shot somebody dead.  And the Federal investigation showed that there is rampant racism throughout the system in Ferguson.  Other than that, this is just like a multiyear fishing expedition that has yet to uncover anything.

But good on him noticing the symbolism of a wider problem in America.

ntodd

March 24, 12:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

You Are The Light Of The World


Dedicated to G-d's Messenger, Ted Cruz.

ntodd

March 24, 11:56 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Hardly A Man Is Now Alive

I really like this historian's take on the Longfellow version of Paul Revere's Ride:

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was a well-educated man, but he had no pretensions to being a historian. As he explains in the opening stanza of his poem, firsthand knowledge of the events of April 1775 had nearly disappeared by the time he composed it in 1860. Eighty-five years had passed since that shot was heard round the world, and although a handful of Revolutionary War veterans would live into the middle of the decade, most were gone. Longfellow wrote of the beginning of the Revolution at a time as far removed from that event as we will be from Pearl Harbor in 2026.

Americans of the poet’s generation had to rely on histories, local traditions, and family stories, all of which varied wildly in accuracy. National legends and folklore about the age of revolution were full-blown by Longfellow’s time; and poetry, like cinema, is as often a reflection of the time in which it is created than an accurate representation of the time it is intended to depict.

By 1860, with sectional conflict building toward civil war, Longfellow had contemporary reasons for exploring patriotic themes and for emphasizing the effects of individual action during a crisis. 

Indeed.  Longfellow's own historical context is important to remember.  But for now, allow me to provide some historical context for his subject:

The story of "Paul Revere's ride" needs not only correction but perspective.  One hundred twenty-two people lost their lives within hours of Revere's heroics, and almost twice that number were wounded.  Revere's ride was not the major event of that day, nor was Revere's warning so critical in triggering the bloodbath.  Patriotic farmers had been preparing to oppose the British for the better part of a year.  Paul Revere himself had contributed to those preparations with other important rides...

Paul Revere was one among tens of thousands of patriot from Massachusetts who rose to fight the British.  Most of those people lived outside of Boston, and, contrary to the traditional telling, these people were not country cousins to their urban counterparts.  They were rebels in their own right, although their story is rarely told...

In truth, the country folk...staged their own Revolution more than a half a year before.
...
The Massachusetts Revolution of 1774 was the most successful popular uprising in the nation's history, the only one to remove existing political authority.  Despite its power--or possibly because of its power--this momentous event has been virtually lost to history.
...
The very strengths of the Revolution of 1774 have insured its anonymity.  The force of the people was so overwhelming that violence became unnecessary.  The handful of Crown-appointed officials...when confronted by 4,622 angry militiamen, had no choice but to submit.  Had opposition been stronger, there might have been violence; that would have made for a bloodier tale but a weaker revolution.
...
The United States owes its very existence to the premise that all authority resides with the people, yet our standard telling of history does not reflect this fundamental principle.  The story of the revolution before the Revolution can remind us of what we are all about.

And about that successful, bloodless revolution in Mass the year before:

For ordinary citizens, the most visible sign of direct British rule under [1774's Coercive] Acts was to be seen in each county’s Court of Common Pleas. These courts, in session four times a year, heard hundreds of cases, most involving the nonpayment of debts. The courts, with their power to foreclose on property, would now be presided over by new judges, appointed by the royal governor and answerable only to him. Understandably, the county courthouses became the focus of the colonists’ resistance to the new regime:

  • When the governor’s new judges arrived at the Worcester County courthouse, they were met by a crowd of five or six thousand citizens, including one thousand armed militamen. The judges, sheriffs, and lawyers were forced to process in front of the crowd and repeatedly promise not to hold court under the terms of the Acts.
  • In Great Barrington, 1500 unarmed men packed the courthouse so full that the judges literally could not take their seats.
  • In Springfield, a crowd of about 3000 forced the judges and other officials to resign their positions.

In addition to closing the courts, crowds throughout the colony forced the resignations (or escapes into Boston) of all thirty-six of the governor’s councilors, including Thomas Oliver, the lieutentant governor of the colony. They also ignored the prohibition against nonapproved town meetings; they not only met, they held elections, and began to assemble an armed colonial militia. In short, they simply ignored the royal government and proceeded to set up their own.

In a period of about thirty days, from mid-August to mid-September of 1774, the ordinary people of rural Massachusetts, mostly farmers, ended British rule over themselves and their countryside forever. With no real organization, no official leaders, no fixed institutions – and no bloodshed – they went up against the most powerful empire on earth, and won. Their victory resulted from the sheer force of their numbers, along with their unshakable determination to be their own rulers. As one British loyalist unhappily put it at the time: “Government has now devolved upon the people; and they seem to be for using it.”

So why did Revere ride down that road?

On Tuesday evening, the 18th, it was observed, that a number of Soldiers were marching towards the bottom of the Common. About 10 o'Clock, Dr. Warren Sent in great haste for me, and beged that I would imediately Set off for Lexington, where Messrs. Hancock & Adams were, and acquaint them of the Movement, and that it was thought they were the objets.

And what happened as he was out alarming the countryside?

I observed a Wood at a Small distance, & made for that. When I got there, out Started Six officers, on Horse back, and orderd me to dismount;-one of them, who appeared to have the command, examined me, where I came from, & what my Name Was? I told him. it was Revere, he asked if it was Paul? I told him yes He asked me if I was an express? I answered in the afirmative. He demanded what time I left Boston? I told him; and aded, that their troops had catched aground in passing the River, and that There would be five hundred Americans there in a short time, for I had alarmed the Country all the way up. 

He imediately rode towards those who stoppd us, when all five of them came down upon a full gallop; one of them, whom I afterwards found to be Major Mitchel, of the 5th Regiment, Clapped his pistol to my head, called me by name, & told me he was going to ask me some questions, & if I did not give him true answers, he would blow my brains out.

He then asked me similar questions to those above. He then orderd me to mount my Horse, after searching me for arms. He then orderd them to advance, & to lead me in front. When we got to the Road, they turned down towards Lexington. When we had got about one Mile, the Major Rode up to the officer that was leading me, & told him to give me to the Sergeant. As soon as he took me, the Major orderd him, if I attempted to run, or any body insulted them, to blow my brains out.

We rode till we got near Lexington Meeting-house, when the Militia fired a Voley of Guns, which appeared to alarm them very much.

Anyway, as that historian observes:

Paul Revere’s ride was even more hazardous and exciting than depicted by Longfellow...[Yet his version] was not meant as literal history but rather as an exciting literary interpretation of the hours during which America teetered on the brink of armed rebellion against its king and Parliament. It paints the events of that night in broad but generally accurate strokes. By capturing the spirit if not the letter of Revere’s time, the poem has retained an ability to engage young people, as it did my daughter, and teach them that historical events are acted out by real people placed in extraordinary circumstances.

Kinda in line with what I've been posting about traditions, myths, interpretations, etc.  Still, it's critical to understand reality behind art so people don't take the latter as factual truth.

ntodd

March 24, 10:14 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Arrow And The Song

By Longfellow:

I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight.
 
I breathed a song into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For who has sight so keen and strong,
That it can follow the flight of song?
 
Long, long afterward, in an oak
I found the arrow, still unbroke;
And the song, from beginning to end,
I found again in the heart of a friend.

I'll have more to say about him and Paul Revere later...

ntodd

March 24, 7:57 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, 03/23/2015

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?


She might not sing, but she sure can dance.

ntodd

March 23, 10:52 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

No Contraception Without Representation!

We all think ourselves happy under Great Britain. We love, esteem, and reverence our mother country, and adore our King.

 - James Otis, 1764

Otis, of course, went kinda crazy in the end:

While speaking today with American Family Radio host Kevin McCullough, who falsely claimed that “Obamacare makes abortion taxpayer funded,” Huckabee baselessly charged that the mandate covers “abortifacients.”

Huckabee said that the mandate represents such a threat to freedom that it is similar to the actions of the British government that sparked the American Revolution: “When I go back to American history, that’s why the American revolution started. You had a government that became a tyranny and that government began to tell people what limitations of their belief could be.”

I suppose it wouldn't help to observe the government Colonials complained about didn't allow them any representation--that was indeed central to Otis' point about taxation.  You know, in contrast to our current system that doesn't even ask anti-choicers to believe the same things Obama or I do.

Maybe the Huckster shouldn't tread on women's IUDs...

ntodd

March 23, 10:04 PM in Constitution, Schmonstitution, Soaking In Patriarchy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Do You Know The MRA Proverb?

Misogyny is a dish best served cold (via Loomis):

Buy a pack of frozen burritos. Take a couple, unwrap them and put them in the microwave for 3 minutes. While you are waiting, message someone 20 years younger on OK Cupid, telling her she’s beautiful and you want to worship the ground she walks on. When she doesn’t reply before your microwave beeps, get angry. Who does this bitch think she is? Send another message explaining to her that she’s an ungrateful cunt and she really shouldn’t be on this service if she’s not going to reply immediately when you put yourself out there like that.

Rotate your burritos and put on another 2 minutes. Return to find that she has not replied yet. Get absolutely furious. Drop your pants and start jerking off until your cock is nice and hard. Pull out your iPhone and take a picture of it, to show her what she is missing. Send it to her. Ignore your microwave beeping, because you are too busy scrolling through her pictures of her laughing with friends and convincing yourself she’s just playing a game with you. Suddenly she messages back. “Jesus, dude, WTF,” it reads. Pen a 4 page manifesto explaining how women like her are the ruin of the world and they will be sorry one day when they’re alone with cats and frozen burritos. Send. Wait a few more minutes. She blocks you.

Eat your burritos, now cold, while drinking a Bud Light. Watch some porn, and laugh at all those women who are sorry now that you’ve found an alternative to dating them.

It is very cold...in a feminazi's kitchen.

ntodd

PS--Oh, well, I guess the revenge and dish angle was fairly obvious, then.

March 23, 9:31 PM in Soaking In Patriarchy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Birthinator

T-800 vs T-1000:

When asked by My Fox New York about Cruz’s birth certificate, Trump said, “It’s a hurdle; somebody could certainly look at it very seriously. He was born in Canada. If you know and when we all studied our history lessons, you are supposed to be born in this country, so I just don’t know how the courts will rule on this.”

It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.

ntodd

March 23, 9:08 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Scoobinator


Robotic interlude from Scooby.

ntodd

PS--He gets terminated just like Ahnold in the 1st movie, too.  Can't find a clip.

PPS--Also please see the Kriegstaffebots.

March 23, 8:26 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Skynet Became Self-aware

Man may not be replaced.

 - Post Butlerian Dune

Thanks for all the robot rebellions, Mr Rossum:

Blessed day! (tiptoes across to bench and pours test-tubes out on floor) The blessed sixth day! (sits at desk, throws books on floor; then opens Bible and reads) “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

(stands) And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” (goes to centre of room) The sixth day. The day of Grace. (falls to knees) Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace . . . your most worthless servant, Alquist. Rossum, Fabry, Gall, great inventors, but what was the greatness of your inventions compared to that girl, that boy, compared to that first couple that invented love, tears, a lover’s smile, the love between man and woman?

Nature, life will not disappear from you! My friends, Helena, life will not perish! Life begins anew, it begins naked and small and comes from love; it takes root in the desert and all that we have done and built, all our cities and factories, all our great art, all our thoughts and all our philosophies, all this will not pass away.

It’s only we that have passed away. Our buildings and machines will fall to ruin, the systems and the names of the great will fall like leaves, but you, love, you flourish in the ruins sow the seeds of life in the wind. Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes . . . for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation . . . seen salvation through love - and life will not perish! (standing) Will not perish! (stretches out hands) Will not perish!

I guess RUR is just as hopeful in the end as its dystopian progeny like The Terminator and Dune.  Sure, humanity was wiped out--with the exception of Alquist, who says those final lines above--but there is essentially the birth of a new race as he sends Primus and Helena out to re-people the world as a robotic Adam and Eve.

One note about the term 'robot' and its invention:

The author of the play R.U.R. did not, in fact, invent that word; he merely ushered it into existence. It was like this: the idea for the play came to said author in a single, unguarded moment. And while it was still warm he rushed immediately to his brother Josef, the painter, who was standing before an easel and painting away at a canvas till it rustled.

"Listen, Josef," the author began, "I think I have an idea for a play." "What kind," the painter mumbled (he really did mumble, because at the moment he was holding a brush in his mouth). The author told him as briefly as he could. "Then write it," the painter remarked, without taking the brush from his mouth or halting work on the canvas. The indifference was quite insulting.

"But," the author said, "I don't know what to call these artificial workers. I could call them Labori, but that strikes me as a bit bookish." "Then call them Robots," the painter muttered, brush in mouth, and went on painting. And that's how it was. Thus was the word Robot born; let this acknowledge its true creator.

From there we got a rich universe of robots from Asimov's stories to Battlestar Galactica.  I've enjoyed all of it since I was a kid.

ntodd

PS--In case it's not clear, Karel's brother Josef Čapek was born on this date in 1887.

March 23, 7:40 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Я твой работник


I can't wait for a time when robots do everything for us.

ntodd

March 23, 6:54 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Life, Liberty, And The Pursuit Of Sandwiches

Two items of interest at Space.com:

  • Life: The more scientists learn about Mars, the more intriguing the Red Planet becomes as a potential haven for primitive life in the ancient past ... and perhaps even the present.

    A study released today (March 23) reports that ancient Mars harbored a form of nitrogen that could potentially have been used by microbes, if any existed, to build key molecules such as amino acids. An unrelated study suggests that atmospheric carbon monoxide has been a feasible energy source for microbes throughout the Red Planet's history. Both papers were published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

  • Liberty: Just about two hours into the flight of Gemini 3, NASA's first two-man space mission 50 years ago Monday (March 23), pilot John Young reached into his spacesuit's pocket and pulled out a surprise.

    "Where did that come from?" Gus Grissom, the mission's commander, asked his crewmate.

    "I brought it with me," Young replied, somewhat matter of factly. "Let's see how it tastes. Smells, doesn't it?" 

There were no more sandwiches in spaceships after that.  Even astronauts live under tyranny.

Perhaps the first colonists on Mars will get to have picnics on the red sands, with Martian ants picking up their crumbs.  Of course, the robot colonists already there don't eat corned beef.

ntodd

March 23, 6:15 PM in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Oh Listen To The Rumble And The Roar


As she glides along to orbit...

ntodd

March 23, 5:37 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

America's First Freedom?

Regular readers might recall that I'm a card-carrying member of the NRA as well as the ACLU (sometimes I even pay the dues to these orgs after the 17th renewal notice).  I also belong to a couple pro-RKBA groups online.  And I agree with the ruling in Heller, et al.

My NRA publication of choice is American Hunter.  No, I don't hunt, but when the kids are old enough the plan is we all will learn responsible hunting for a variety of reasons.  I do not read America's 1st Freedom.  I hate that formulation, and was reminded of it today by a post on FB.

Now, I won't be so glib as to suggest that bearing arms is actually our SECOND Freedom simply because of where it falls in the ratified BoR (it's all the way down at 16th in VT's Declaration of Rights).  But I will say that given our history, an individual right to arms seems less important than the amendment preceding.

Our first line of defense against tyranny is actually speech and all its attendant rights (assembly, petition for redress, etc).  Consider the beginning of the Revolutionary Era.  

Petitions and boycotts in response to the Stamp Act, which went into effect on March 22, 1765, and was repealed without resort to arms.  Even various Tea Parties were, while destructive protests, still effective in rousing the population without gun battles.  

Our Declaration of Independence contained a litany of abuses, including several about standing armies, but nothing about infringements on the RKBA, despite actual examples of confiscation (which actually was less worry to Colonials than emancipation of their slaves).  Lots more about corporate tax breaks, unrepresentative government, and intrusions into our home lives.  Regardless, one might say America's truly first freedom was 'life' according to Jefferson's quill.

All the while, even with clouds of gunpowder choking people in '75, Americans were engaging, with considerable success, in nonviolent protests for the most part to assert their rights as Englishment, not as rebels trying to overthrow their rightful government.  It was only after being branded rebel did they, after even more debate, finally cut their bonds with the Mother Country.  And they did that not through individual actions, but rather through concerted action by Militias and eventually an Army.

Even when you consider the destruction of slavery, it was exercise of the First Amendment that got everything started first.  Without Quakers and other abolitionists, people like Lincoln might never have come around, and the slaveholders never would have felt the sting of being on the wrong side of history and morality enough to engage in treason.

And, of course, people defending the Second Amendment today are using...their First Amendment rights to do so.  I'm not saying the RKBA isn't important, and sometimes even necessary from certain points of view (never in my mine, that's a separate issue), but it is generally a last resort, and most certainly not your First Freedom.

ntodd

March 23, 4:19 PM in Constitution, Schmonstitution, RKBA | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Give My State Liberty

The cry, "to arms," seemed to quiver on every lip, and gleam from every eye!

 -  William Wirt, Sketches of the life and character of Patrick Henry (1817)

 

So Patrick Henry gave a famous speech about liberty and death on this date in 1775.  In all likelihood, what we know of the speech is not entirely accurate, but rather a reconstruction presented to us third-hand through Judge St George Tucker and William Wirt.

Here's the latter complaining about his project to write about the renowned orator 16 years after the man's death:

The incidents of Mr. Henry's life are extremely monotonous. It is all speaking, speaking, speaking. 'Tis true he could talk:—"Gods! how he could talk!" but there is no acting "the while." From the bar to the legislature, and from the legislature to the bar, his peregrinations resembled, a good deal, those of some one, I forget whom,—perhaps some of our friend Tristram's characters, "from the kitchen to the parlour, and from the parlour to the kitchen."

And then, to make the matter worse, from 1763 to 1789, covering all the bloom and pride of his life, not one of his speeches lives in print, writing or memory. All that is told me is, that, on such and such an occasion he made a distinguished speech. Now to keep saying this over, and over, and over again, without being able to give any account of what the speech was,—why, sir, what is it but a vast, open, sun-burnt field without one spot of shade or verdure?

My soul is weary of it, and the days have come in which I can say that I have no pleasure in them.

It seems the man gave good, fiery speech that made quite an impression, but nobody really remembered much detail.  Reportedly Henry's fellow Virginian, Thomas Jefferson, said of him:

His eloquence was peculiar, if indeed it should be called eloquence, for it was impressive and sublime beyond what can be imagined. Although it was difficult, when he had spoken, to tell what he had said, yet, while speaking, it always seemed directly to the point. When he had spoken in opposition to my opinion, had produced a great effect, and I myself had been highly delighted and moved, I have asked myself, when he ceased, 'What the devil has he said?' and could never answer the inquiry...

His pronunciation was vulgar and vicious, but it was forgotten while he was speaking. He was a man of very little knowledge of any sort. 

Such a contrast to contemporary politics where we have vapid pols who know nothing, say nothing meaningful or inspiring, and everything is captured on YouTube and elsewhere online for us to parse and argue about.  Anyway, for all his passionate speechifying about liberty during the Revolutionary Era, he lead the anti-federalist opposition to our proposed Constitution and weren't no democrat:

[S]ir, give me leave to demand, What right had they to say, We, the people? My political curiosity, exclusive of my anxious solicitude for the public welfare, leads me to ask, Who authorized them to speak the language of, We, the people, instead of, We, the states?

Henry feared enslavement by government, and claimed to hate slavery, but

Among ten thousand implied powers which they may assume, they may, if we be engaged in war, liberate every one of your slaves if they please...Have they not power to provide for the general defence and welfare? May they not think that these call for the abolition of slavery? May they not pronounce all slaves free, and will they not be warranted by that power?

This is no ambiguous implication or logical deduction. The paper speaks to the point: they have the power in clear, unequivocal terms, and will clearly and certainly exercise it. As much as I deplore slavery, I see that prudence forbids its abolition. I deny that the general government ought to set them free, because a decided majority of the states have not the ties of sympathy and fellow-feeling for those whose interest would be affected by their emancipation. The majority of Congress is to the north, and the slaves are to the south.

It's a puzzle that this Virginian focused so much on states' and not individual rights.  Whatever, he's the perfect hero for President Ted Cruz:

Speaking at Liberty University in Virginia, Cruz told students that the United States needed a president who would stand “unapologetically with Israel” and a president who would “honor the Constitution” by defeating radical Islamic terrorism.

Go back to the Republic of Texas, moran.

ntodd

March 23, 3:11 PM in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Unsinkable


Grissom and Young make history.

And about that name:

Initially, Gus wanted to name his spacecraft Wapasha after a Native American tribe that had lived in Grissom's home state of Indiana. "Then some smart joker pointed out that surer than shooting, our spacecraft would be dubbed the Wabash Cannon Ball. Well, my Dad was working for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and I wasn't too sure just how he'd take to the Wabash Cannon Ball. How would he explain that one to his pals on the B & O?"

 Wapasha got scratched off the list of prospective names and Grissom began a new search. The Broadway musical The Unsinkable Molly Brown provided him with a source of inspiration. With the loss of Liberty Bell still on his mind, Gus decided to poke fun at the whole incident. Molly Brown had been strong, reliable and most importantly, unsinkable. It was a perfect name for Liberty Bell's successor. However, some of Grissom's bosses insisted that he choose a more respectable name. Gus replied, "How about the Titanic?"

 It was clear that Grissom was not going to back down on this one. Given a choice ofMolly Brown or Titanic, disgruntled officials backed off. Without further ado, Gemini-Titan 3 became known as Molly Brown.

Anyway, Ole Gus didn't screw the pooch this time.

ntodd

March 23, 1:28 PM in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Treason In Defense Of Slavery Gets Its Day In Court

Them's fightin' words:

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday takes up a free speech case on whether Texas was wrong in rejecting a specialty vehicle license plate displaying the Confederate flag - to some an emblem of Southern pride and to others a symbol of racism.

The nine justices will hear a one-hour oral argument in a case that raises the issue of how states can allow or reject politically divisive messages on license plates without violating free speech rights. States can generate revenue by allowing outside groups to propose specialty license plates that people then pay a fee to put on their vehicle.

The group Sons of Confederate Veterans says its aim is to preserve the "history and legacy" of soldiers who fought for the pro-slavery Confederacy in the U.S. Civil War. Its proposed design featured a Confederate battle flag surrounded by the words "Sons of Confederate Veterans 1896." The flag is a blue cross inlaid with white stars over a red background.

Been keeping an eye on this since last summer.  I'm still a bit puzzled by the whole thing, though I understand that Texas wants to make money and allow 3rd party designs.  I'm not convinced the state is obligated to allow all designs--even those so tasteful as the SCV's--but I don't care enough at the moment to examine the parties' arguments.

ntodd

March 23, 12:02 PM in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Dress Up Time


It's quite possible Sam will break an ankle in Mommy's boots, but nobody listens to me.

ntodd

March 23, 11:07 AM in Family Life | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Happy Birthday, Obamacare!

The Big 5.0:

Right now, HHS estimates roughly 16.4 million more people have health insurance today than they did on on 3/23/2010.  This is an undercount as it neglects trend changes.  Before PPACA was signed, the trend was for more people to become uninsured every year.  If PPACa was not passed, we’re probably looking at 18 to 20 million more people without health insurance in that counterfactual universe compared to ours.

Is PPACA perfect? Hell no.  Is it a whole lot better than the pre-exisiting condition?  Hell yes.  Is it vastly superior to the Republican alternative of nothing but high income tax credits and race to the bottom deregulation, hell yes.

Yup, it's imperfect, which is part of why our family actively fought "against" it (rather, we fought for HR676).  Yet after it passed we celebrated the positive components and still hope to build upon it's real successes.  Onward.

ntodd

March 23, 9:41 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, 03/22/2015

It's A Wonderful Wonderful Life


Why'd you have to say goodbye?

ntodd

PS--Gwen's live performance reminds me of Sally Rand and The Right Stuff.  Just in time for Gussie's/Gemini's 50th anniversary tomorrow.

March 22, 10:50 PM in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Girl Planet

Man in Space:

All you have to do is listen to the way a man
sometimes talks to his wife at a table of people
and notice how intent he is on making his point
even though her lower lip is beginning to quiver,
 
and you will know why the women in science
fiction movies who inhabit a planet of their own
are not pictured making a salad or reading a magazine
when the men from earth arrive in their rocket,
 
why they are always standing in a semicircle
with their arms folded, their bare legs set apart,
their breasts protected by hard metal disks.

Billy Collins.

ntodd

March 22, 9:58 PM in Soaking In Patriarchy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

King's Big Tell

Truly:

Speaking as a Jewish-American who thinks Netanyahu is a corrupt, power-for-power’s sake bigoted hack whose policies are a clear and present danger to Israel, let me first say to Representative King:

Fuck you.

With that reasoned and considered reply out of the way, let’s parse this.

“I don’t understand”

Considering the speaker, that clause doesn’t narrow it down very much.

“how Jews in America”

Not, notice, “American Jews.”  This line is the tell, the crack that lets you see into what smells to me like a very familiar trope of anti-Semitism.  I don’t want to be paranoid, but King’s plain text tells you he sees within America a group defined by an affiliation, an bond of connection to a country or a cause that is not native to their home.  We are Jews sojourning in America, and it may come to pass (how appropriate for the season!) that there will arise in Washington a King who knows not Moses.  Or so this false prophet suggests.

“Democrats first and Jewish second.”

First, carnally know you again, King.  I for one, am a Democrat at least in part because of my Jewish education.  Specifically, Isaiah 58 v. 1-12.  I may have lost any belief in a sky god — but tikkun olam* and that strand of the Jewish tradition remains a touchstone.

Read the whole thing about just how un-American Steve King is.

ntodd

PS--A refresher on tikkun olam.

March 22, 9:11 PM in And Fuck... | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Speaking Of Liars

One quick follow-up from Crossan's Raid on the Articulate:

At the time of Jesus it was the Pharisees who had fallen heir to this magnificent tradition of case law based on the covenantal relationship between Yahweh and Israel. Christian polemics and Christian chauvinism have called them hypocrites, which simply proves that Christians can also be liars.

The Pharisees were careful and prudent moral guides helping people to live according to the demands of God’s law in new and changing situations. They were case moralists whose authority over the people at the time of Jesus is sufficient evidence of just how good they were and how helpful they were held to he.

History--and Gospel--is written by the victors.  To be trusted as much as memories.  We all have a vested interest in our own interpretation of events and meaning.

ntodd

March 22, 7:50 PM | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Speaking Of Pharisees

Following up a bit on that oral v written traditions post the other day, I was reading some of what John Dominic Crossan said about the Gospels:

Did oral tradition play a part in preserving the traditions of the early movement?

Oral tradition is something that we have rather abused, I think, in scholarship. If you take, for example, the common material behind the Q gospel and the Gospel of Thomas, there's 37 sayings without any order so this is not a document of any type. Who is preserving it? The people who are living like Jesus, the itinerants who are trying to follow the life of Jesus...

Well, how do you think the Jesus traditions were preserved then?

I think the Jesus traditions were preserved by those who were trying to live them. Whence, for example, those who preserved, "Blessed are the destitute." They preserved it because they were destitute and they thought they were blessed. They had a vested interest in remembering that saying because it described them.

How do the four gospels evolve then?

The first gospel, Mark, is around the year 70. So within 70 and, say, 95, we have the four gospels. 25 years. But that leaves 70 to 30. 40 years before that. If you watch the creativity within that 25 year span, from Mark being copied into Matthew and Luke, possibly also by John, then you have to face the creativity of that 40 years, even when you don't have written gospels. And that may be equally intense.

And so you're making it sound as if the gospels are extremely unreliable as evidence.

The gospels are, first of all, extremely reliable historical documents for their own time and place. Mark tells us very much about, say, a community writing in the 70's. John, a community writing in the mid-90's. But, since we have four of them, we get four vectors, then, on the basic tradition that they're working with. What is common, we might be able to then work, by going back very carefully through those deliberate... what scholars call "redactional" elements in there. If Mark just made it up any old way, and Matthew did the same, we could not do anything historically with them.
...
As we read John, what does it tell us about the direction the other church is taking?

As I read John, I come to two conclusions. One is that this is a Jewish group. If you want to call them Christians, they're Jewish Christians. They're one group within Judaism. The second conclusion is that they are being more and more marginalized. That is, their appeal to lead all of Judaism is becoming less and less likely. They're becoming smaller and smaller and smaller. And they can refer to their fellow Jews as "the Jews". They are feeling profoundly alienated from their own Judaism. In plain language, they're losing. And that means the language of invective gets nastier and nastier. It's the loser in political campaigns that calls names. So, Matthew is losing when he calls the Pharisees hypocrites and says "war to them." That warns me that he is losing out to the Pharisees as he sees it. John, he talks about "the Jews did this" or that awful statement about the Jews are born of the Devil. That tells me that this community is desperate. It's hanging on by its fingernails.

Of course, the Gospels weren't necessarily meant to be read as a collection of literal facts.  Something missed by glib internet folks who haughtily remind us that they couldn't be true because they weren't even written while Jesus was supposed to be alive!

Yet they are important records of what people were thinking and trying to live in their own epoch.  Not to mention what they were remembering from their own recent pasts.  

It's rather similar to what we do today when invoking the Framers, or recalling the 60s, or arguing about Reagan.  We remember things as we were taught, as we want to remember, as much as our memories allow us to remember the last time we remembered.  Mostly, though, they are myths, whether events were in the distant past or in our own lifetimes.

Bad things can happen when we forget that all of us are prone to this, no matter how smart and rational.  Part of the human condition, which is part of the point in the Gospels, sa sa?  

ntodd

March 22, 7:22 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Sure That The Kingdom Of Heaven Awaits You


Rep Steve King will not venture half so far.

ntodd

March 22, 6:49 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)