As we say: -30-

We’ve been having some terrible restaurant luck lately. The last couple of Easters, we have been meeting Alan’s sister for a meal halfway between our places, i.e. Toledo. The place we went last year went out of business, and this year’s choice, a boîte in the hipster district called Manhattan’s, should do the same. I hope they serve a great cocktail, because their brunch was an overpriced festival of disappointment. Fortunately, Toledo has a fine zoo, and that’s where we spent the afternoon, looking for the meerkats but not finding them — their exhibit was being remodeled. We did see the baby elephant, whose name is Louie. And the usual complement of beasts large and small. Alan was in search of the monkey house of his childhood memories, and we finally found it. It had been renovated into a food court, and the old cage-type setup is perfect for housing junk food-eating people, if you ask me.

Maybe Manhattan’s should investigate a rehab.

Otherwise, a fine weekend. One of my Facebook network, a professional photographer, posted a socko picture he took early Saturday morning, one he said he’s been trying to capture for four years. If you live around here, you know this weekend was exceptionally clear, and the moon was full Friday night. Another one.

That was a hell of a “Mad Men” last night, ain’a? I’m impressed by how well they’re conjuring the ’60s so far this season. Say “the ’60s” and it’s easy to default to hippies. It’s much more, and we forget how the drumbeat of urban violence really began to get loud around this time. Discuss, if you’re so inclined.

As many of you know, eight years ago I was fortunate enough to be a Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan, a sabbatical year for mid-career journalists. The fellowship was named for its major benefactors; the Knight was the foundation, and the Wallace was Mike, who died this weekend. He came to town every year, to meet the fellows and hobnob around his alma mater, where he was much-loved and respected. He didn’t come our year, however. Charles Eisendrath, the fellowship director, apologized on his behalf: “The bad news is, Mike had to cancel. He’s crashing deadline on a story. The good news is, he’s 86 and crashing deadline on a story.”

And so I didn’t lay eyes on him until a few years later, when he came in for a reunion to celebrate some milestone or another. I didn’t talk to him, as he was the sort of guy who is surrounded by people clamoring for his attention, and what do you say to Mike Wallace? That was great, when you nailed that guy that time, maybe. I haven’t watched “60 Minutes” in years, and when I have, I’m struck by what a throwback it is, but the fact remains, it’s a classic, and classics don’t change because everything else does. For many, many years, it was the gold standard, and Wallace was the most important reporter they had. I’m sure, in the days to come, some bold gnat will sneer about his early days as a pitchman for Fluffo shortening, or some vapid actress interview, but the fact remains, when it counted, he cast a long, long shadow.

Posted at 12:28 am in Media, Same ol' same ol' |
 

39 responses to “As we say: -30-”

  1. moe99 said on April 9, 2012 at 12:53 am

    Why the Battle of Shiloh matters.

    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/06/why-shiloh-matters/

  2. Hattie said on April 9, 2012 at 3:28 am

    True about Mike Wallace, and a nice tribute.

  3. Linda said on April 9, 2012 at 5:05 am

    Off topic, here’s a not so great day in journalism: Fox News in Orlando reporting that a “civil rights” group is now patrolling Sanford, FL. Oops, they’re neo-nazis! And they hid so well behind the innocuous-sounding name of “National Socialists.” Do they hire news people on the basis of having NEVER read a history book? The offending story is gone, and now the station names them as neo-Nazis.

  4. Deborah said on April 9, 2012 at 5:51 am

    Nancy, Have you been to the glass museum in Toledo across the street from the art museum? It’s designed by the Japanese architecture team, SAANA. Quite a stunning building.

  5. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 9, 2012 at 7:26 am

    I’d forgotten how much the Speck case was a topic of hushed, constant conversation that year in Chicago, and interesting to realize that it was (of course) discussed beyond Chicagoland; I was a boy, and a couple of years older than Sally, but still. A spectre haunting. Then the riots when King was shot; by the time Bobby was shot, my folks were well and truly terrified, and then the Democratic convention just north of us, and the Tate murders the following year, which I was just recollecting in their moment from a kid’s view after seeing Crazy Charlie on TV last week (up for parole again this week).

    If you asked my folks about “the Sixties,” they’d remember that sequence and a feeling of utter unstuckness & anxiety. I didn’t hear about Woodstock with any sort of clarity until ’75 or so, and hippies were a dimly perceived flickering phenomenon on the fringes of my awareness (as filtered thru my parents’ perceptions). It was just an arc bending up out of what we hoped was a temporary nadir in Nov. of ’63, rising through The Beatles on Ed Sullivan and the Civil Rights Act, but swiftly diving back down through what seemed then like an endless series of violent signs that everything was coming unstuck — and Civil Defense drills & alerts just to keep the edge on. Those little CD triangles on the Buick’s radio always reminded me as an unseatbelted front seat oldest kid that it was my job to get my younger siblings in the basement if the Nike base down the road blew the alert sirens . . . I was a few years away from reading “On the Beach,” “Alas, Babylon,” and “Malevil” (let alone “Canticle for Leibowitz”) and realizing that those were pointless exercises themselves.

    That’s the element of neurosis I don’t think they’ve picked up in “Mad Men” at all, that seems like it should be there — the nuclear shadow. Anyhow, last night was a good reminder of the grim undertones of the late 60’s from a suburban point of view; and the whole non-verbal over the purse and the attempt to be not-racist by Peggy, growing up like so many of us in more racism than we even knew we needed to get over — pitch perfect.

  6. coozledad said on April 9, 2012 at 7:36 am

    Linda: If it had been Jonah Goldberg, he’d have just said Sanford was being patrolled by liberals.
    It really is too bad Reagan can’t come back from the dead to get a boot in the ass for making hate fashionable again, and for flooding the country with guns.
    But maybe he’s rotting in hell, and who would want to stop that?

  7. nancy said on April 9, 2012 at 8:48 am

    No, I think you’re closer in age to Bobby, Jeff. Sally has to be 12-13 by now, and I was 8-going-on-9 that summer. And you’re younger than I am.

    What I liked about it was, a) how effortlessly the writers nailed the seductiveness of violence, how you’re appalled but when a colleague walks in with crime-scene photos, you clamor for your turn with the loupe. Pauline was practically in ecstasies, talking about how each… one… waited… for her turn with the killer, etc. Wait until Charlie Manson gets going, Pauline; you’ll be beside yourself. And, b) how often this violence was aimed at women. At a time when they were just starting to enter the workforce, here they were confronted with all this horror — urban riots, racist cabbies, cops just looking for a reason to bust heads, etc. Mystery Date, indeed — who is the dud waiting behind the door?

  8. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 9, 2012 at 8:55 am

    The Mystery Date touch was perfect — not too much, but well placed.

    I’ll cop to being Bobby, except I’ve pretty much been the same actor right on through.

    For anyone puzzled by the references: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Speck

    His after-story in prison takes the horrific and raises it to Grand Guignol.

  9. brian stouder said on April 9, 2012 at 8:59 am

    Moe, that was an excellent essay that you linked to, about the battle at Shiloh. Pam and I visited the Shiloh battlefield in March of 1993, right after we were married*, and when you are there, you are well and truly in the middle of nowhere!

    The area remains (at least as of 19 years ago) in a state of nature (and is especially beautiful this time of year), and one cannot help being affected by reading all the markers and memorials and so on, peppered across the countryside near the river. As at so many other big battlefields, Indiana and Ohio and Illinois and Michigan (etc) all have their monuments there, and one has no trouble at all imagining how far from home those fellows must have felt, especially on the first day of the battle, when they were losing, and the Tennessee river was at their back.

    *A pleasant drive down the Natchez Trace Parkway from Nashville to there

  10. Linda said on April 9, 2012 at 9:22 am

    I went to Shiloh once, and many of the dead are buried in mass graves, since even in early April it was getting warm. There is no way you can see these mass graves–some 30 feet or more long–and not be amazed at our capacity for mass violence.

  11. Julie Robinson said on April 9, 2012 at 9:43 am

    brunch was an overpriced festival of disappointment
    What a brilliant turn of phrase!

    I guess I would have been about 10 when Speck killed the nurses, and the Chicago media was full of stories about the murders for a couple of years. We had a boy named Richard Beck in my junior high class, and his life was made a misery by the similar name. His family moved away soon after, and I hope they decided to change his first name.

    But I don’t recall ever going through nuclear drills or cowering under our desks.

    After all the Holy Week/Easter dinner busyness, I got to veg for a couple of hours last night with this book: http://www.amazon.com/World-Downton-Abbey-Jessica-Fellowes/dp/1250006341/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1333978747&sr=8-1. The women’s dresses are even more unbelievably gorgeous in the photos. And, now that I think of it, so are the men’s costumes. It’s some great escapism.

  12. Deborah said on April 9, 2012 at 9:53 am

    I had one of those hard to believe our capacity for mass violence moments when visiting the British war memorial in Amiens (spelling?) France. I hadn’t paid much attention to WW1 in history classes, it was an eye opener. While we were there in 2000 the BBC was filming a documentary and the oldest living British veteran was there. It was extremely moving.

    Edit: in July of 1966 I was 15. I remember the Speck murders clearly.

  13. Jolene said on April 9, 2012 at 10:23 am

    Did anyone catch the wording of the note that Dawn left for Peggy in last night’s Mad Men? It began with “Thank you for your hospitality and sorry for . . .” (or I’m sorry for . . .), but I couldn’t see what she was sorry for.

  14. brian stouder said on April 9, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Jolene – this is why I quickly became hooked on our dvr (“what did he say?”; or on the news channels “what did the crawl say?”; or “Pam – come here; you’ve got to SEE this!” etc)

  15. Dorothy said on April 9, 2012 at 10:29 am

    I have seen all but the last 10 minutes of Mad Men, Jolene, but I plan to see that part when I go home for lunch. If no one chimes in before that, I’ll pause the DVR and let you know what it says.

    A few of you are Tom Waits fans. Just thought I’d send along this link to a poster my son found – he’s buying it as a gift for his sister who is a devotee. http://society6.com/product/VISIBLE-TOM-WAITS_Print?tag=humor

  16. nancy said on April 9, 2012 at 10:32 am

    It was something innocuous, like, “sorry to put you out.”

  17. MichaelG said on April 9, 2012 at 10:59 am

    The “nuclear shadow”, as MMJeff puts it, is an excellent and descriptive phrase. Only thing is, for me it was in the fifties when I was a little kid. During the early sixties I was in college at the U of I and in July of ’66 I went to Vietnam. I remember the Spec murders but had other things on my mind at the time and was away from the news. Living in Berkeley and spending a lot of time in SF during all of the sixties, I have many and fond memories of the hippies. School year in Champaign and summers in the Bay Area. It was a fun time for me until it got serious.

  18. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 9, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Easter Monday* Threadjack – what is your Bacon Number? Mine’s 3, and we already know LAMary’s is 1.

    http://oracleofbacon.org/help.php

    *Civilized countries take this day off to recover from the dang Easter vigil et alia.

  19. Deborah said on April 9, 2012 at 11:07 am

    My brother-in-law sent my husband a link to Richard Speck on Murderpedia this morning. We had never heard of Murderpedia before. Here’s my husband’s response to his brother:

    The way Speck creeped into the national psyche: Don’s feverish dream of strangling his ex-lover and then shoving her under the bed; Sally sleeps under the sofa; her step-grandmother keeps the meat cleaver by her side; panty-hose over the face. The national paranoid underbelly.

    Mother’s Little Helper

    One pill makes you larger, the other one makes you small.
    But the ones that Mother gives you, don’t do anything at all.
    Go ask Sally, with her Seconal.

  20. Minnie said on April 9, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Though I don’t watch “Mad Men”, I did read T&Lo’s recap and the conversation here about Richard Speck. In the summer of 1966 I read newspaper accounts of the murders with the perspective of a young woman one month past her 22nd birthday, very close to the age of the victims. Imagining what those women experienced was terrifying in itself, and the idea that one man was able to commit that night’s crimes uninterrupted even more so. Of course, most who read or saw news of the crime were just as horrified as I, but there also was some blaming of victims – how could they have allowed themselves to be bound and taken singly from the room? There was even a coarse joke or two about Speck’s assumed ability to sexually assault eight women in one night.

    I’m thankful that today attention is payed to violence against women, so that it sometimes can be prevented or circumvented before it escalates. However, reading about legislative efforts to lessen women’s control over their lives, even to rescind some laws that protect women by defining rape and ameliorating its consequences, leaves me feeling less certain about continuing progress in stopping such violence.

  21. alex said on April 9, 2012 at 11:39 am

    His after-story in prison takes the horrific and raises it to Grand Guignol.

    And here’s what Jeff’s talking about. Imagine a penitentiary where the inmates enjoy access to such contraband as cocaine, hormone injections for the purpose of growing boobies and video cameras with which to make prison porno movies. Yes, it really happened.

  22. Maggie Jochild said on April 9, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    I went to Shiloh in 1985 with my then-partner and her sister, both of German ancestry from Oregon. I was so devastated by day’s end that I couldn’t bear to talk to either of them. My ancestors lived in McNairy County and heard the battle raging from their fields. Many of my people fought in the Confederacy there. One thing stood out for me:

    It was with this battle that, as the article states, Grant understood “total subjugation” would have to be his goal. Therefore, contrary to all custom prior to this, once the battle was over, local people were not allowed in to carry off wounded or bury the dead. Grant used his troops to bury the Union dead or tend to Union wounded. Confederates were left to die and rot. It was unconscionable then and now.

    (2) The “military” battlefield at the end of the tour holds no Southern dead. The mass graves mentioned in the article, buried in woods along the tour route, hold thousands of Confederates who were dumped with no attempt at identification. Hence, Shiloh became a void into which CSA soldiers disappeared and were never heard from again. Honoring the dead is a deeply held value among the rural south, and to have no headstones, no ID, is shocking.

    Despite my absolute antipathy to the Southern cause, to racism and all its cohort then and now, I felt personally humiliated by my people’s treatment at Shiloh by the end of that day. I used my intellect and other tools to sort through it in the months to come, of course. I have resource, liberalism, community to assist me in sorting emotion from reality. But so many otherwise smart folks raised in the South are going to be flummoxed by Grant’s decision to treat opposition soldiers as subhuman. It simply doesn’t help anyone to change, that kind of hate, and change is what the South needed to do. The aftermath of the war gave citizenship to black men for a brief period, left black women disenfranchised, and addressed the economic shift for African-Americans not at all. Change on a basic level did NOT occur, still has not occurred, for too many of this battle’s descendants wherever they lived.

    We spend no money or effort as a culture in learning how to recover from war and dehumanizing laws.

  23. Deborah said on April 9, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    Maggie, exceptionally well said. That is something about the south I have not considered before.

  24. LAMary said on April 9, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    I remember reading about the 9 nurses in Time Magazine, which is where the character showing the photos worked. I remember the name of the surviving nurse, Corazon Amurao. I was Sally’s age, 13, and it scared me a lot. I thought of nurses as being sweet and untouchable, just this side of nuns.

    Oh, and you’re right about my Bacon number. I attended a lecture by his father when I was in art school in Philadelphia. I shook his father’s hand when I was 18.

  25. Sue said on April 9, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    I didn’t know about this, in spite of the multiple discussions here over the years:
    http://www.salon.com/2012/04/09/thomas_kinkade_the_george_w_bush_of_art/

  26. Deborah said on April 9, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    LA Mary, Was your meeting with Kevin Bacon’s father while you were in art school related to urban planning? He was an urban planner and is credited with causing the architect Louis Kahn much misery over his attempts at urban renewal for the city of Philadelphia.

  27. coozledad said on April 9, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    Maggie: The burials at Shiloh were more a product of the heat and Grant’s recognition that the war in the west would have to be a war of maneuver whenever possible, and attrition and starvation of the enemy whenever necessary. He wasn’t the best Union general, but he was among the first to learn the fundamental lessons of fighting the south: One, you’ve got to butcher the poor ones who are stupid enough to do the fighting for the rich, and two, you’ve got to put the torch to the homes and businesses of the rich let them know it’s put up or shut up. He and Sherman correctly judged they would not continue the war if children of privilege were forced to fight it. The dead were the least of his worries in a region where he faced the howling sociopath Bedford Forrest, and so shortly after Stonewall Jackson massacred union troops who had attempted to surrender at Ist Bull Run. In fact, it was Jackson who maintained that “it was the true policy of the South to take no prisoners,” as “the war was an offence against humanity so monstrous that it outlawed those who shared its guilt beyond the pale of forbearance.” In other words, “The Feds started the war. Kill them all.”
    I grew up in a dixietard household with all the hagiographies of the Southern generals substituting for actual military history, and even my readings in that subject area in college were perverted by Southern apologetics.
    The fact is, the Confederacy was the first semi-modern totalitarian state founded on racialist theory and militarist morality. Lincoln’s comparison of them to Czarist Russia was spot on. Failure to burn them out would have been morally equivalent to pursuing a negotiated end to the Second World war.

  28. Maggie Jochild said on April 9, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    But Coozledad, it didn’t WORK. Short of killing them all, how do you actually transform such a culture? Racism is as imbedded in Northern history as Southern, it just took different forms, and the vast majority of Union soldiers were not fighting for the rights of African-Americans. I mean, before and during the war, so many Northern and Midwestern States were passing laws intended to keep freed blacks from moving there. Humiliating monsters and monstrous notions drives them underground, and long-term that is not enough. I’m speaking from an activist perspective — yes, stop the abuse (racism, classism, woman-hating, child abuse), stop it immediately, but then what? It’s not just that prisons don’t work, it’s that if we slammed into a cell every man who is sexually abusing children/treating women like shit/denying humanity to people of colour, the streets would empty.

    The fact that we find it so hard to imagine change not based on violence and submission IS the problem. The racism of America is woven into every thread of our history — we stole the land, and then we stole labor to exploit it until it became more profitable to industrialize than to produce raw materials. We’d still much rather kill brown people than seriously alter our relationship to energy consumption. The American way of life declared by foam-flecked teabagger lips to be what they are willing to kill for means going on stealing more than our share, and those folks are just as likely to be Northern and Western as Southern. They are organized around fear and shame, so more fear and shame is not going to break the cycle.

    Written on one of my more practical-minded days, when I’m not humming “If I had a rocket launcher” under my breath.

  29. LAMary said on April 9, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Deborah, I think he was talking about urban planning and public art. It’s been 41 years. I was lucky enough to have some college friends who dragged me to lectures, concerts, plays and everything else an 18 year old should go to. I remember hearing William Kuntsler speak at an outdoor rally. I also participated in a conceptual art piece by diverting a fountain. Rafael Ferrer rounded up some students to assist on that one. He’s the brother of Jose Ferrer, brother in law of Rosemary Clooney who is the aunt of George. That’s what, 3 or 4 degrees?

    Broadway plays would try out in Philadelphia and student tickets were relatively cheap. Student tickets to the symphony were cheap, and art gallery openings were free you could eat enough fruit and cheese and canapes to consider it a meal.

  30. Jen said on April 9, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    I loved “Mad Men” last night. I almost waited to watch it because I was so tired from Easter festivities, but I’m glad I ended up watching it. Between “Mad Men” and “Game of Thrones,” Sunday night is fast becoming my favorite night of the week.

    Shiloh on the (extremely long) list of places to visit, since my husband and I are huge history buffs. We went to Gettysburg last fall, and it was a great experience. It’s amazing how much more of an understanding you get about history when you actually visit the sites. It really slaps you in the face to realize what actually happened when you visit historical sites, especially ones that are connected with such large-scale events.

  31. coozledad said on April 9, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    Maggie: You’re right. It didn’t work. I think if there had been an effort to nail the perps, maybe a Nuremburg trials followed by every available judicial remedy, they could have lanced the boil that was the planter class. It was Grant himself who ultimately got political leverage from kissing the racist south’s ass.
    But there was a brief window during and shortly after reconstruction where poor whites and blacks found political common ground. It cost the major political parties at least a little money and effort to get the racial animus stoked back up to prewar levels. It’s practically the only tool the Dixiecrats (your modern Republican party) had. At this point, it would be political suicide for the Republicans to let the hate vote go, and you can bet they never will.

  32. Bitter Scribe said on April 9, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    God, I’m so tired of this “Northerners were racists too” trope. It’s right behind “the war was about state’s rights” on the list of obnoxious Civil War rationalizations.

    Who was fighting 1) to keep black people enslaved and 2) to free them? It’s not hard to figure out.

  33. Maggie Jochild said on April 9, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    A will to end slavery does not mean someone was not viciously racist, and that equation is a big part of why emancipation did not equal human rights for African-Americans anywhere in this country post-war. Furthermore, the Union Army had to draft most of its troops, and aside from Ken Burns’ selective euologizing, most of the actual journal entries/letters I’ve read written by ordinary Union soldiers demonstrate no desire to find a place for blacks in their own world. And the genocidal war we waged on Native folks post-war was gleefully, bloodily carried out by the same troops who fought the South. Racism is innately American, bedrock to every community, written into our Constitution, and mutates to fit the mythos of whatever region you are studying. If you think your people/your area wasn’t just as racist in a different form than most of the South, you’re kidding yourself (with rare exceptions — W.E.B. Dubois, for example, had an almost modern comprehension of what racism really looks like.) But there’s a high percentage of Americans who think we waged war on Iraq/Afghanistan/etc for democracy and freedom instead of race and class-based greed. Folks in Iraq know better.

  34. coozledad said on April 9, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Maggie: A good start would be to erect a “Museum of American Racism” in various locations such as Montgomery, Boston, Wilmington NC, Rapid City, and Tulsa Oklahoma gets three or four.
    Oh who am I kidding. The crackers there would all have a fuckbuddy inside straight on the docent jobs.

  35. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 9, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    Of course I was wrong — LAMary has a Bacon Number of -1. Well played, ma’am.

    Coozledad, I’m torn between my distaste for aggressive vulgarity and my respect for an accurate pithy statement on your last line. So many historical sites have exactly that problem. If you want a fascinating experience, spend a few hours talking to Gerard Baker, a Mandan-Hidatsa NPS superintendent who stepped into the job at what had formerly been Custer Battlefield National Monument with the task of adding Indian viewpoints to a site which had long been a tangible Taps to the losers (and he finished the job of renaming it Little Bighorn National Battlefield). Then he was asked to take on the thankless task of bringing a Native perspective to Mount Rushmore National Monument, which was itself seen by many Indians, especially Lakota Sioux, as an affront, carved as it is onto a peak in the Paha Sapa, their Black Hills.

    They said it couldn’t be done, given the Rapid City preferences as to Indians, let alone the visitors, but the Indian interpretation is still there for everyone to walk past on their way to look at the dead presidents.

  36. James said on April 9, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    Bitter scribe:

    Yes… Racism was rampant in the North, at least when I was growing up. Columbus Ohio was totally segregated. I never dealt with someone of another race (except maybe to get my hair cut) until I attended college. I remember our neighbors being horrified when my mom contemplated selling our house to blacks.

    The klan was HUGE in Indiana. At one time the entire legislature and the Governor were members.

    At least in the South blacks and whites interacted with each other. For better or for worse.

    Participation in the civil war isn’t a gauge of who’s racist or not, it’s just a stark division in a continuing struggle to do what’s right.

  37. brian stouder said on April 9, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    Let me just say, with regard to the American Civil War, I agree with everyone who has posted today!

    The Civil War is incomprehensible, if we willfully blot-out “revisionist history” (and “revisionist history” is supposed to be an epithet, I guess. But the idea that “revisionist history” is intrinsically a bad thing is an essentially dishonest and bizarre notion. Afterall, “non-revisionist history” would be equivalent to a totalitarian “party line” and willful ignorance, yes?), where “revisionist history” = Americans treating other Americans as subhuman (whether as lower-class citizens, or as outright property).

    An unblinking look at what the hell we did gives the lie to all that antebellum 19th century malarchy about “American Exceptionalism” (unless we mean “exceptionally cruel” or “exceptionally murderous”), which continues to this very day.

    An unblinking look at where we were (in 1862, for example) gives the lie to such Pollyanna bullshit, pretty quickly.

    Jeff tmmo makes a great point about the addition of points-of-view at historical sites. A few years ago there was a (fairly huge) hullabaloo at the Gettysburg National Military Park because they wanted to add a discussion of slavery to their displays and visitor centers.

    So, the argument against the inclusion of some information about slavery amounted to: you can go see who shot who and where, but we ain’t gonna discuss WHY all the shootin’ was goin’ on!

    I recall spending a night at a bed-and-breakfast at the Piper Farm on the battlefield near the Antietam Creek, just outside of Sharpsburg, Maryland. It was perfectly marvelous, and more than a little eerie; when the sun goes down near Antietam Creek, with the Blue Ridge in the middle distance, it gets inky black dark, and you can see every star in the sky. I was asking the woman who ran the place about the various buildings and so on, and she pointed out the ‘summer kitchen’ and the entrance to the root cellar and the barn…and one additional building, in front of the house – that was the slave quarters. Good God in Heaven! Really? Can I see inside? Sure – but the National Park Service used it to store lawn mowers and the like – nothing to see there.(!)

    Talk about a place that needed a major re-thinking, and inclusion of “other viewpoints“!

    In the years since, the NPS has acquired the Piper farmhouse, and last I knew, it was no longer a B&B. Here’s hoping they have properly restored the slave-quarters, so that people who go there might brush up against the cause – as well as the consequences – of that terrible battle (still the bloodiest single day in American history) within that cataclysmic war.

    Pull my finger, and I’ll go on and on about why I admire Lincoln so very much; how his rigorously (brilliantly) thought-out struggle with a flawed Constitution and practical political reality – on the one hand; and a clear idea of right and wrong – on the other, lead to political and rhetorical masterworks of art (shall we call it exceptional American art? Yes, I think so!)

    James hits it right on the button: “…a continuing struggle to do what’s right., with the emphasis on “continuing”.

  38. DellaDash said on April 9, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Woah! The Shiloh discussion is interesting, but I thought I’d keep my dog out of the racism hunt. Overwhelming. Even so…

    …I was at Iowa State University in 1970 when the first black girl came through sorority rush. All the southern affiliates immediately cut her in the first round (an education in campus Greek roots). As a sophomore, it was my first time to go through rush week on the other side; having survived the awkward process the year before. Actually, it was all downright humiliating, in spite of receiving enough invitations to be able to make a choice. By the time it was my, and my pledge class’s, turn to join our sisters in going down into the secret chapter room…to scrutinize and pass judgement on every hapless girl who had swanned or ducked her way through our priviliged portals each day…I was already slipping away from the herd mentality.

    When they decided to cut my younger sister, a triple legacy for pity’s sake (mother, older sister, and me), I almost quit.

    Two reasons to hang in there:

    First of all, I decided a grandstand gesture would only make things worse for my (real) sister. They did bend the rules and let me tell her, myself, instead of letting her get the whack via mail drop at her dorm. She ended up pledging the party sorority…better suited to her personality, anyway. (Ours was the high-grade-point-average one.)

    Secondly, I wanted in on the racial thing that was blowing so hot and cold, smackdab in the center of Iowa, that particular year. The things said in the chapter room by supposedly intelligent young women utterly blew my mind…what a clusterfuck of middle-American ignorance and bigotry! Wouldn’t we all be uncomfortable sharing living quarters and a BATHROOM with her? (Shades of ‘The Help’.) A fierce contingent tried to blackball her; but there were enough of us on the counter-attack to overrule and carry the vote. Ultimately, we were the only sorority to extend an invitation, although I was hoping against hope that she’d turn up her nose and turn us down flat with a ‘Thanks, but no thanks’. She didn’t, wasn’t really political, and fit into the sister-student culture so much better than I ever would, or did.

  39. JWfromNJ said on April 9, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    My bacon number is three as my cousin is Christine Harnos (dazed and confused, ER) and she was in Denial with Jason Patric who was in Sleepers with Kevin Bacon.

    I’ve been assigned coverage of the tin foil hat beat – covering a county commissioners meeting where they are going to approve a opt-out clause reccomedation re: smart meters which has no bearing on FPL’s installing the meters.