Historiography at work

Historiography is the study of History.    It was one of my favorite mandatory seminars as a grad student at the University of Akron.

One of friends and cohorts here in Blog Land, raised a very interesting point in  a comment on how the Historians of 100 years from now would treat the scenario in rage now of the Great Republican Plan to Obliterate the Obama Presidency.    Obviously all of us reading this will have no interaction whatsoever in the future century.   Who knows how the History of our age will be preserved, or how it will be reported to future generations.    The History of the Present hasn’t happened yet.

The Trump-Obama factionalism is too multi-faceted to tackle here.   However, the question is a good one, and leads me to ponder the basic differences between Now and Then…meaning past and future coverage of historical events.     There can be two designations here: Paper and Digital.

The most glaring difference is that what was written, published, in real books is that they were permanent.   Not necessarily the absolute authoritative sources on a given subject, but through a sort of consensus of opinions and research, and yes credentials.   In order to reach a thesis statement for a given publication, the writer presented his or her own ideas….something new, an alternate position.   There are always at least two sides to any proposition.

Here is a proposal that when it comes to Digital History, that which is presented over the internet by countless diverse sources, the information comes across only as permanent as the print-out a student or proponent, or indeed, opposition commentator, understands—or prefers to present as Truth or Falsehood—to their respective readership at any given time.

Digital History is much easier to alter, re-write, or inadvertently  distort  because of its fluidity…never permanent, always subject to a myriad of changes.    We see reports on the internet news channels… a statement made by an anchor person on CNN or Fox, MSNBC, BBC…at a given hour—that never airs again.

No one in their right mind for long will be able to watch Cable News constantly to keep up absolutely on the stream of information.    Remember when the internet was actually referred to as the Information Highway?   That was back in the 1980s, when major newspapers made the change from individual typewriters to the chaotic stream of News-all-the-Time.   Up-to-date means “constantly changing,” which isn’t necessarily a good thing.

 

the dance of the miscreants, a fairy-tale?

… and all of the miscreants danced in a ring
singing and clapping and everything.

Chicken Little handed out cups with holes in the bottoms…
and urged everyone to please help themselves.

Uncle Paul smirked and grinned, and dreamed
when he slept, of clever tricks and double crosses.

Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, sent out engraved linen notes
that read: “Be here or else—but mind what you say.”

The Ice Queen giggled and tried to look cool,
as she whispered to the boss “you’re starting to melt.”

The King beamed and preened to adoring crowds
who cheered as he told them: “You all are invisible to me!”

The Witch of the Beltway cackled with glee:
“Listen to me!   What do I say?  What do I mean?”

…and the Tall Man looked down on everyone
until he tripped and came crashing down…

Topsy Turvey turned and spun… telling tales and amazing everyone.
“Ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies.”

Mr. Dowdy Pudding frumped and preened,
beady eyes glistening with malice and mildew.

It’s all a cruel joke intended to wound—impossible tricks every day:
the Media chatters and makes up titillating tales.

The Wise Women lecture and try to make sense
while the Old White Men tell them “sit down and shut up.”

The Lawyers, in turn get their say…don’t let facts in the way!
Believe nothing you hear—nor even what you say!

…and all of the miscreants danced in a ring
singing and clapping and everything.

©Sometimes, 2017

 

let’s not over-react (yeah, right…)

Scary news out of Virginia.    Too bad the shooter is dead…why is this always the case?   These people who kill other people are always a mystery, and it would be interesting and helpful to be able to hear what they have to say.   Normally such comments are suppressed, except for a shouted out inanity in a courtroom, or incoherent suicide note.

My old Journalist Hat comes out of the closet when some of these events occur, and too often the questions that I would ask… if I were doing the asking…never get asked.       What would these shooters say?    One would think that a perpetrator of such a criminal act albeit stupid and cruel,  probably pointless, would have something to say.    Oh, right, it is more than likely that if left to speak without restrictions…or to explain their motivation or explanation.

What goes through one’s mind when actually taking a rifle and shooting into an area of innocent people?     Is it madness that drives the crime?   Are they making a statement?   Thinking that they are proving a point?     Attempting to set the stage for some kind of mad-crowd riot?   Calling for confiscation of guns that kill people—or emphasizing the “right to bear arms?”

Unfortunately it is unlikely that we will ever know the shooter’s rationale for what he did this morning.   What we will hear, is speculation, interpretation, opinionated points of view…over and over.   The original account of what happened will be related in sound-bites and rambled on and on in talk shows, CNN Commenters assisting the rhetoric by presenting assorted factions’ “talking points” for incessant rehashing.      Sadly—the whole incident is like a  made-for-TV political presentation—complete with Party Politics, and frought with grandstanding and posturing.

This can’t be allowed to warp into a distraction from the investigations unfolding in Washington now.     How could it be more obvious that the honest and honorable committee members must put the Russia investigation on the fast track NOW.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mad Magazine revisited…the return of the spies and good old espionage tales

 

 

 

Image result for Spy vs Spy Cartoon Characters in public domain
Illustration is from a selection of Spy vs Spy images that are in the public domain.

 

Long ago and far away…in the scheme of my life…Mad Magazine was the favorite magazine for satire and farce, and making fun of the Cold War—which actually was not at all funny, and jokes about the Russians (called the Soviets then) were much in vogue.   The world being divided pretty much dominated by two camps: the United States and Russians.   Us and Them.   The rest of the world was either with us…or against us.

The Free World—in which the benevolence of the U.S. supervised and kindly contributed to the rest of the world.    Our motto: we will help you and give you goodies like weapons and allow a great measure of independence and sovereignty—as long as you do what we say.    That includes voting with the U.S. in world organizations, and supporting our extensive military bases in virtually every country in the world.      This has two major purposes: 1. holding strategic locations in the world from which the U.S. maintains control.   2. We will protect you from the enemy—which is namely: The Soviet Union.  The old USSR—behind the Iron Curtain.

And so the present situation unfolds…and the position of good old Uncle Sam deteriorates under this virtual siege by an unstable, unknowledgeable, poorly educated minority in the United States.

God knows where it will all end.

 

 

 

 

 

The tyranny of fear, reblogged from “420 ways to reach the sun.”

(Here is a new-to-me site I found yesterday. I really like the site, theme and layout, and especially the content. This article on the inconsistencies and idiocracies of politics and the “will of people.”   I really relate to what the author says., and the way in which she writes. I have written elsewhere about my personal experience with fear and sanitation of war back in the 1940s when young children knew all about the chances of surviving a nuclear blast and could discuss it sensibly. ( I will re-post my Me and the War next.)  Thank you, ginsberg420!   🙂

420 ways to reach the sun

The face of fear has no expression.

Heaving dreams are hard to realize in a world where being a pacifist is akin to being a “radical idealist”. I remember when my father called me that. In this entire political rhetoric of normalization of war, it’s the opposition that is demonized. It’s a tragedy to be 20 and deprived of the privilege of being naïve. Never mind the fact that he owns more than the rest of the country put together. Never mind his disregard for the value of human life. Never mind the heaving dreams he stepped on with a smirk in his head. Never mind his rage, his tyranny, his plutocracy, his fast flying drones. Never mind.

Growing up to the politics of war hasn’t been easy, but watching a hateful, angry plutocrat get elected as one of the most influential men in the world has shaken me. Not…

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FYI about the Khan Sheikoun affair for open-minders, from the Huffington Post

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/syria-chemical-attack-al-qaeda-played-donald-trump_us_58ea226fe4b058f0a02fca4d

Even for readers who already have their minds made up owe it to themselves to read this detailed Huffington Post article by Scott Ritter, and to add it to all available sources of information.     Here is a great example of “Alternate Facts,” in a logical sense of being mixed information from different sources, that as a whole may lead to knowledge of what really happened in Khan Sheikoun.

There is a creditable “trail of misinformation” under the smug expressions of media reporters.   We can’t believe selectively here…this situation is important enough for followers to be informed and alert…research, research, research!

It really makes me wonder why many of the same pundits who daily attack Donald Trump as a liar and self-advantage seeker suddenly hail him as a hero—are we really a people who judge our presidents by their bully-characteristics?   Are we understanding the “America First” thing to mean “America As Boss of the World…Richer and Stronger and Meaner than any other nation?”

Cure for lagging respect and trust—bomb somebody.

 

“Moving South” and NAFTA

When I was growing up and into the 70s and 80s, my home area of Northeast Ohio was booming…the steel mills in Cleveland and Lorain were blasting night and day, round-the-clock shifts, and there were plenty of good-paying jobs in the mills and in auto manufacturing plants.   THEN the plants started to close and move down South….no, not to Mexico then, but to Alabama and Georgia .   The cause (they told us) was the labor unions guaranteeing good-pay and benefits and decent working safety conditions.
 “Illegal” workers picked tomatoes, worked on ranches in the broiling southwest sun, and worked laborer construction jobs and washed dishes and mopped floors in restaurants and hospitals etc, etc.   Ranchers hired these “pickers” because local-white boys would not do these jobs.         They also worked as nannies and housekeepers for our well-to-do,
NAFTA has provided a free-for-all atmosphere that harmed American workers.    The worst I personally know of is that NAFTA decimated the Mexican farmer corn business….flooding the Mexican markets with American corn.   An even greater atrocity is that under NAFTA came the genitically-modified corn itself, which was treated to prevent re-growth from seed.
The so-called “maquiladoras” throughout Mexico hired cheap and mistreated labor…big companies like Tommy Hilfiger and The Gap.   I have seen these with my own eyes, workers stand for long shifts, begging for bathroom breaks, standing at sewing machines (etc.) for 12-14 hour shifts on tiled concrete floors.   Yes, these people ARE glad to get the work at any price.
These points are just a few, and may be arbitrary…..but are facts.   .  TRUE FACTS, not Alternate Facts.

circling the wagons…

keeping up with the shenanigans
leading up to the off-again/ on-agains
complacent in our political wagons
endeavoring to circle… Old-Western style…
made difficult by attempts to  mis-beguile
by conflicting opinions and factions

turning the political order on its head…
keeping promises to the rabid, illogical  crowd
flies in the face of common-sensical thought
due to ignorance of which they are proud;
defying the principles by which they were taught,
…the  cost with which our freedom was bought.

© Sometimes, 2017

 

they can do better than that

Day 13, 2017

As a long-time fan of spy fiction
I like to keep an open mind
and far be it from me to take a poke
at intelligence dossiers and spy reports
but it all seems to me a very bad joke!

Normally reading the details of a carefully-
teased expose…dragged across our nose…
gives fuel to the fire and facts to the tale
but when details sound to be suspicious
they usually are just as they seem.

The truth is sometimes hidden, for lack
of sufficiently shocking details (better presented
in a colorfully embellished story-form)
with salacious stories of sex and smut,
to present a more spicy distraction.

© Sometimes, 2017

incongruous

(Day 11, 2017)

who was Cleopatra’s hubby?

right… the King of Denial

that’s my new nickname for

The Donald

who will soon be the leader of the

free world…such as it is.

Never so much the urge to giggle

as watching the Press Conference

in which our Prez-To-Be  developed a temper

at the bad reporter who wouldn’t shut up.

Really quite a valuable lesson:

when backed in a corner just snarl

and deny it ever happened.

I really want to take them seriously,

Don and his Won Tons of stand-up comedy,

but really—its not at all funny—

snickering at nuke-talk

the bane of existence!

© Sometimes, 2017

 

 

Second Guessing myself…

Day 8, 2017.

Wow!  We are already heading into the second week of the new year.   January is the busiest month of the year as far as family birthdays count.   My late husband, two grandsons, a son, great-granddaughter, son-in-law, and daughter-in-law.  And that is just my immediate family, not counting at least one niece from my Florida-Clan.

I used to send cards with detailed notes in them, and even money.    Now that I am basically a poor church mouse, I’m lucky if I get a card out at all.   Oh, sure, there are electronic cards that are relatively easy to send, and I must say those are often very attractive…and they even sing or play music for the recipient.

My intentions are good, and yes, I do know what they say about good intentions.   I do at least think about people on their birthdays.

Unfortunately (I guess,) I am not really into Facebook or other social media.   Let’s not go into that here, with a wink and a nod to my excuse/reasoning that these venues cause a LOT of trouble.   E-mail was bad enough, always a risk for correspondents.

Blogging is my love, being a source of endless blank pages on the computer screen, beckoning with a promise that I can write/say almost anything about nearly any subject.  I write poetry, essays and diaries about the good old days…at least MY good old days.     My goal for this new year is to write something every day…or at least re-post something that I have written since my blog SOMETIMES was born.

One of the sweet things about blogging is that we tend to attract like-minded writers who more or less follow our work.   We enjoy each others’ photos, essays, and poems, and short stories.

One rule I set for myself is to write with care.   To me that means avoiding offending anyone, getting uppity with those who do not agree with me, or writing obnoxious or unsubstantiated  things.    Normally I rest fairly well assured that when I push the SEND button, and later when someone opens my post to read it, there will not be any adverse effects.    Sometimes (often, actually) what I write is intended to be humorous, though representative of my views and opinions.   Satire and sarcasm I use sparingly,  with care and judgement.

I have published 671 posts to this blog, Sometimes, as of a glance to my Stats page just moments ago.    This represents steady publications the last couple of years, and the total over the life of my blog since 2011.   I have deleted two posts that I recall, rewrote a couple, but most have stood as written.      I don’t think I’ve offended or insulted anyone, and I take great pains to avoid such writing.

My number one goal this year is to write every day.    Actually I do write daily, usually in a variety of diaries and notebooks…then transfer items to my blog.    Once in a great while I have misgivings about a post, and accordingly re-write it, edit it for spelling or grammatical errors…and for any questionable content.     It takes a few moments to go back in the pages and fix typos or mis-spellings, or to make glaring corrections of fact.

Yesterday I wrote one of my problem pieces, and have mulled it over in my mind since.   It is about the infamous Wall which has been proposed…whether actual or theoretical, our president-elect now owns this idea, and possibly feels he has an obligation to “build the wall.”.     My purpose was to post the link to photos of the existing wall between the United States southern border and Mexico.   The suggestions that were included in my post are facetious…tongue-in-cheek…sarcastic.   When I came to my computer this morning I fully expected (dreaded, perhaps,) some negative comments about my rather outrageous “suggestions” for extending the border.    Especially worrying to me are “guests” or browsers who happen-upon  what I write, not regulars that recognize snide…ok, snarky…sarcasm.    So far so good…

 

 

 

the trouble with time limits

Every election, and whenever the subject comes up in between elections, there is a big
“thing” about term limits.

“Throw ’em all out…ALL of them.”      This seems like a good idea…on the face of it…except that it would almost always be a disaster.     This point of view is often described as “clear the swamp.”      I like my clichés to have literal meaning, so when someone says that I picture a real swamp, with hanging moss, fragrant jungle flowers, glass-bottomed tour boats, and alligators sunning themselves in mis-leading innocence.    Yeah, this is all very picturesque.    The thing to “clear out” of the actual swamp/jungle, presumeably is the alligators, and other creatures that will eat you if they get a chance.   In the metaphorical  swamp, to which the plotters and pundits refer,… is of course Washington D.C.   The best allusions may be to the alligators, standing in for elected members of Congress.     (No aspersions cast on the alligators.)

Depending on the speaker, there is usually no consensus of exactly WHOM to throw out.     The “commenters” are not very specific either….they mostly just advocate getting rid of “ALL of them,” and starting over with an all-new brand-spanking lot of Congress people and their respective entourages.

“Don’t throw out MY Congresspeople though!”    Ah-ha, therein lies the rub…the Dems want their own representatives, and Republicans back theirs (most of the time…moreorless.)     That could be called the “Your Rep is a crook…Mine isn’t” theory of political adequacy.

Yes, I DO have an allegorical illustration for my point…which is that it is basically impossible to start over completely, from scratch, at a grass-roots level.     Once…back in the proverbial day…a would-be entrepreneur presented to our City Council a plan to open a new restaurant.    He said he intended to hire ALL NEW staff—new cooks, new waitresses/waiters, now known as “Servers.”      New hostesses, new managers, new bartender…even new dishwasher/busboys.     By “new” was meant workers who had NO experience in any of the positions.   They would be trained “to order” by the owner, in his own expectations for how to do their jobs.    In other words, no one would have even a clue of what they were supposed to do.    Needless to say, if the restaurant ever had materialized as planned it could have been named “The Fiasco Diner.”

That’s what would happen in Washington if there was a law that all new politicians had to be completely inexperienced.    Wow!     As if the atmosphere there is not already terrifying!     Actually the current experiment in Foggy Bottom threatens to loom menacingly as The PEOTUS seems to be introducing a concept of “let’s just see what happens!”     Maybe its a principle of “…keeping one’s friends close and enemies closer.”

Here’s a scary one: “let’s call up all our enemies and suggest we all play nice.”

 

Rules For Commenters…or Think First!

There should be a rule
on commenting protocol
requiring at least
(if not a working knowledge)
mini-common sense.

Every school age child
with a mite’s  intelligence
should have learned restraint
in matters of opinion…
at least a few facts.

No one should ever
consider as an expert
smart snappy comments…
an internet free-for-all
sans supervision.

Our Rule Number One:
Start out with a set of clues,
a few question marks,
a reasonably open-mind
and process of thought.

For Rule Number Two,
should be needless to expound,
an unspoken rule–
have proof, or at least
citations of information.

Who, what, when, where, why
How the commenter knows,
…at least Who Said So?
citation of source
and last—Who Cares?

© Sometimes, 2016

 

STILL GOT YOUR SOCKS ON? THIS WILL SCARE THE BEJEEZUS OUT OF MOST ANYONE! (from the Washington Post)

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/president-elect-donald-trump-is-about-to-learn-the-nations-deep-secrets/2016/11/12/8bf9bc40-a847-11e6-8fc0-7be8f848c492_story.html?wpisrc=nl_rainbow&wpmm=1

 

OK….I admit it…I’m scared!

There are people that I know very well, family members, friends, acquaintenaces from various times of my life who snicker or sneer at my fears.    They say I am of the “old school”—the “Cold War era”—afraid of bogies and ghosts of the past, as gifted us from the best selling authors of Spy Fiction.    You know—Tom Clancey et al.

I have been told in so many words that the old Cold War politics are passé.   I have been told, that  being an old woman— one having studied matters of the World, and especially the United States, of which I am an informed citizen and Historian—my views are left over from the bad old days when Russia was not our friend.

In the recent past I have been accused of “hating” my country.    WRONG…as our new president elect would say.    I have always likened this theory of un-Americanism to the case of a loving and devoted Great-Grandmother who accepts and loves all family members the same no matter what they do or how they live…or what they do.        She (ok… I….) love my country but not necessarily everything they do.

“My country right or wrong” was the slogan of a more patriotic time when we the people were psyched up for war, or invasion, or over-throwing sovereign governments, or killing world leaders that we don’t like.

Demonization…a process by which a leader/country/nationality/situation by which the citizenry is often known to fall in with a given idea at a proverbial snap of the fingers by whoever is  in charge.     Pick up the morning paper…or sign onto Yahoo…or flick the radio switch.   Chances are there will be a brand new name of someone that we as citizens need to oppose.   We are expected to absorb and believe in whatever truths and half-truths spew forth from the powers-that-be.

Remember a few years ago when we were all expected to be mad at France—because they declined leaping happily at invading or bombing or otherwise harassing another country?   Sort of a “We are having a War, and you are cordially invited (expected) to participate…or else we will make French Fry jokes and remarks about your manly prowess…”