Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A good word worth spreading

is right here.
I had a piece on the internet some of you may have seen a few days ago, and there's a story about Tiberius, who’s one of my favorite Roman emperors. He's had a very bad press, because the wrong people perhaps have written history. But when he became emperor, the Senate of Rome sent him congratulations with the comment, “Any law that you want us to pass, we shall do so automatically.” And he sent a message back. He said, “This is outrageous! Suppose I go mad. Suppose I don't know what I'm doing. Suppose I'm dead and somebody is pretending to be me. Never do that! Never accept something like preemptive war,” which luckily the Senate did not propose preemptive wars against places they didn't like. But Mr. Bush has done that.
Gore Vidal.

The fact that the words of Tiberius Claudius can be privileged over the "babble" of the usurping president of the United States speaks volumes concerning the institutional integrity of the U.S. government.


has become nothing but one long set of sales pitches for policy.
I've heard the usurping president is going to try to sell people on more and more choices in healthcare . . . confusion to the enemy, right George et al?
Wherever medicine is mixed with profit, compassion is dead.
It's not news, it's just another phase of the continuing economic, social, and now shooting war against the working classes of America first, the rest of the world second.

Monday, January 30, 2006

I also want to read

Dark Princess, by W.E.B. DuBois.
I've downloaded The Souls of Black Folk, which I read in extended excerpts some years ago.

Richard Wright's career was

similar to that of Herman Melville. The people who published him wanted him to write about the Jim Crow south and the black experience when he had simply grown beyond it. I agree with Gilllroy on an intuitive level about Wright. I want to read two works from his later period: The Outsider and The Long Dream. I just hope they're in print or recorded somewhere. Hard to believe, long dead and yet still in exile.
Just like Melville!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Reading: Gillroy & Dawley

I'm reading two books this weekend.
Dawley, Alan. Changing the World: American Progressives in War & Revolution.
Gillroy, Paul. The Black Atlantic: Modernity & Double Consciousness.

The first looks at late 19th & early 20th century progressivism as an international movement, and the second is about slavery and coercive labor as features of modern society that are continuous and how they are constructed as harmonious with humanism and the Enlightenment societies emerging in the Atlantic world.
Gillroy's first chapter was so heavy with theory that I could barely make sense of it. In the second he started getting into narratives, those of Frederick Douglass & Margaret Garner, and that was where his thesis became intelligible to me. Gillroy looks at process over events. The introduction also promised a look at the career of Richard Wright, which I'm excited to find. Wright is an unacknowledged giant in the philosophy, literature and history of the United States. It's about time an intellectual historian took him seriously and integrated his thinking into his times.
I don't have a toothache, but my gums are really irritated. I'm tempted to make a dental appointment. Flossing doesn't hurt at all, but brushing is really irritating. I think it's time for some hydrogen peroxide.
Every time I read about the Gilded Age, or even about what Dawley calls the "retreat from reform" in the 1920s, I can't avoid comparisons with the present that are extremely close. The White Plan, created by the Army War College is an albatross that should be hung around the neck of the Federal government for eternity. Conspiracy theory? No, it's history that is reaching out in the present.
Damn the generals and civilian leaders who make war on their own people. There's no hell hot enough for them-- and I mean both then and now.

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