At times, it looked as if the election of 1812 would be a close one. At any rate, its outcome was more important than remembered. Even as late as July 3 1813, the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser in Australian was speculating on who the winner was. Their information, which came from across the sea on the 12th January of that year, supposed that they could have been wrong about a DeWitt Clinton victory, but “The electors of Vermont are said to be in favor of Mr. Clinton.” Continue reading “The re-election of James Madison”
Month: November 2012
bookmark_borderTopsy Turvy (1999) Review
I purposely avoided Moliere, Shakespeare in Love, and almost every other movie about a playwright. I do this because I respect writers like Shakespeare, and I find their period fascinating. I likewise avoid most movies about Thomas Jefferson. I prefer the Jefferson that I read in his letters, or from his contemporaries, to the cartoon lecher that Hollywood spoon feeds us with.
It ain’t just reverence and respect for the past, I don’t like the glossy misinterpretations. Those movies about great people are often like sampling Mozart into some kind of techno elevator music. Continue reading “Topsy Turvy (1999) Review”
bookmark_borderAre Students dumber than they were 90 years ago? I sure hope not.
We’ve all heard that today’s students don’t know history, and can’t find anything on a map. Is it reassuring or not to know that their ancestors weren’t much brighter?
American students back in the time of Gandhi and Mussolini didn’t even know who those two famous people were.
“Gandhi is an Italian Ambassador in Washington” said students at Syracuse university, back when “British Rule in India” was “confronted with its gravest crisis.”
“Freudism is a revolutionary party in Bavaria,” they added. Well, at least Bavaria is geographically closer to Freud’s birthplace than Italy is to India. “Mussolini is an alcohol rub” which was apparently used in massage. Or, Mussolini might have been the forerunner to Ganghnam style. Continue reading “Are Students dumber than they were 90 years ago? I sure hope not.”
bookmark_borderReview: Le Rayon Vert
NAPOLEON DYNAMITE meets AMELIE POULAIN. Or, the grandmother of both films.
Le Rayon Vert is a classic. It’s not black and white, it’s not silent, and you probably never heard of the actors. The director’s name, Eric Rohmer, may easily be confused with a military general.
It’s title is apparently taken from a Jules Verne novel, but this is no sci-fi. No, Le Rayon Vert is the same down to earth, independent filmmaking that made Napoleon Dynamite seems so at home with audiences. And the main character is sort of the kind of hopeless romantic as Amelie. Only, she’s a bit more self-absorbed and socially maladroit, perhaps like young master Dynamite. (Or a female, French version of him.) Continue reading “Review: Le Rayon Vert”
bookmark_borderLesson from history: only a madman would write for a living
It started as a story on the Hokusai Manga, for the 1812 timeline, and it turned to the study of an inconvenient truth.
Okay, some writers are billionaires. I’m ready for your list of best selling authors and other freaks. A lot of Hollywood’s top producers started as writers, or at least a few of the top CEOs have degrees in subjects like literature and English.
But history tells us that these successes are freak. And that’s where 1812 comes into all this.
You know Manga? No, not the fruit from India, the art from Japan. Yeah, out East somewhere. Well, apparently the “Mangas”, or Hokusai Manga, a series of historic cartoons, were started in 1812. They weren’t published until two years later, but hey.
The artist needed money, and so he taught. This involved travel, and seeing a lot of interesting things (which had more inspiration). He also published some books of his work. And this is where we get to writers. Continue reading “Lesson from history: only a madman would write for a living”
bookmark_borderFrench terrorists vs Spanish insurgents
At the start of 1812, insurgents were big news in the French media.
“We learn from Valencia that the small fortress that Marshall Sechet has left in his rear, blockaded by various corps of the army, have successively surrendered, and the siege of Valencia has been seriously prosecuted by General Harispe, who commands under the orders of the Marshall. The Spanish General Blake is attempting to collect a force, in order to make a second attempt to relieve the place, but the uniform terror spread by the armies of France, is sufficient to impede his design; and the insurgents have, by the last account, been driven from the right bank of Guadilaviar. The Polish division has particularly distinguished itself in the late encounters with the enemy.”
One thing I notice in looking at old documents is the use of the word “terror” in war, as if it were a good thing. The French weren’t alone is using “terror” as an instrument. Even in the US Navy, ships carried the name “USS Terror” as late as World War II. (The Terror was a minelayer, a ship whose primary purpose was to lay sea mines in the water.)
Of course, the word terror does not necessarily mean what we today call a terrorist. But has the definition of the word insurgent changed as well? Continue reading “French terrorists vs Spanish insurgents”
bookmark_borderTaft’s fight is your Fight!
(A Republican fight against free trade and an out of control financial industry)
Do you remember 1893-4 — the free soup houses, bank failures, thousands of men out of work and the bread line?
Do you remember at this time we had a democratic President, Grover Cleveland?
Woodrow Wilson, the Democratic candidate and his free trade doctrine will bring this condition on again and it is your duty to see that he is not elected. Continue reading “Taft’s fight is your Fight!”