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.

I think our country should pull a Roosevelt and focus on our problems, instead of the world's problems. If we fix our own problems, then we'll have an easier time dealing with the problems of others.

On your mouth...perhaps you simply scraped your gums with your toothbrush. I do it sometimes.
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