Archive for March, 2008

Everything in perspective.

March 30, 2008

<>In the course of my studies I have learnt many things — not only of the subjects but also of people and how they interpret/judge/weigh events and people. What many do not seem to understand is that people more often than not behave within the standards of their time.  That their actions would be considered fully anethemic to modern sensibilities is irrelevent. It would be difficult to honestly say that anyone living to-day would be any different in those circumstances.  George Washington, for example, had slaves. That should not dimish the respect given to the man. Having slaves in his era was not uncommon nor was it considered unacceptable. Andrew Jackson, despite my own personal opinion of him, was very much a man in touch with the common people of his era — in fact he was a man who came from not only a common background but a common Irish immigrant family. That he was responsible for the death of 25% of the Cherokee people and similar percentages of the other four “civilised” tribes that he had force-marched to Oklahoma from the South-East. Okey, never mind I’ll drop that one.  To get back to the point… People do not evaluate things fully before making comments about them. The more I’m around other people studying a subject the more I see this. To-day I read messages left in my Art History class regarding 19th Century French Orientalist Paintings.  One student wrote “Jean-Léon Gérôme, Moorish Bath, c. 1880 clearly show the relationship of white to black as a young white women looks to be getting a bath from a black woman. The inferiority of blacks exists even between women. Women that are brutalized and tormented by men are still placed on a better scale than those of a darker race”.  He didn’t seem to comprehend that most women were not brutalised (though they were deprived of their equal status) or that women were no less racist than men. Not only that but that people stuck to their own, they took care of their own. They rarely had much interest in looking out for others.



The American Right’s Obsession With John Howard.

March 28, 2008

It still amazes me that nearly 5 months after the Australian people found it in their hearts to give their former prime minister a much-needed and long over-due retirement many in the American right are still obsessed with John Howard. Obsessed enough in fact to even write articles about making him a US citizen and changing the US constitution to be able to run for the presidency. Of course the claims they make about how wonderful he was are based mainly on the words that came out of this mouth rather than his actual track record. The attitude these people show to the Australian electorare is appaling. There is a reason why he became only the second Australian Prime Minister to have lost his own riding. Here’s a hint: it’s not because the Australian people were thrilled with him. The man is and was always good with words — so good that he even fooled me. Not always a hard thing to do. I lost much of my respect for the man after checking his actual record. Manipulation, scare-mongering, cheap tricks, usw. His record is not exactly stellar. Once again he was good with words, and the opposition was weak. All things considered he did not win the last two elections — the Australian Labor Party lost them.  So they want him as a candidate for the Republican Party. They want him to be president. These are the same people who had a disturbing love affair with Blair — despite the fact that he did so many things that are anathemic to their beliefs.  They fell for empty words and not reality — and now they want more of it. Australia got smart, so did the opposition — now the majority and the ruling government. Now it’s up to them to figure it out. Now that many Australians wouldn’t mind giving Howard to the Americans.

Speaking English at Work.

March 20, 2008

On Monday I was at work. A man who is actively involved in the local German expat community came in with his wife and some young relatives visiting from Germany. I like the man and his wife, and since I’ve never met them before I had no opinion on his relatives. I offered to give them a speech/demonstation on/of Miwok artefacts. I’m used to dealing and working with mostly English-speaking American visitors, so I’ve never given the demonstation in anything but English. He, the the man asked me to give the demonstation in German — something I declined to do on the grounds that frequently visitors join in later on. He was dis-appointed, but I held firm my ground. Probably 90 seconds into the demonstation a man visiting from Sacramento and his young daughter joined in. Neither one could speak or understand German.