Sunday, May 4, 2008

What do we know? Why? How do we know it?

I posted an image in my May Day post (below) that I thought was immediately, nearly universally recognizable as the Haymarket Martyrs' Monument.
Oops, was I wrong. That I know about shit like this doesn't mean everybody does.

What does it matter anyway? 1886 was a long time ago. 122 years long ago. 1968 was only 40 years ago and even that world changing year is a mere footnote in our history books. With all the crap that's happening NOW isn't it more important to be "in the present"?

"Dude, I took history in school. It was names and dates and dead people. Big Deal. Boring. It's 2008 baby! Get over it."

"All the really important people get holidays named after them. They name streets, parks, schools, airports and highways after them. Hell, they name towns after important people. That means they were important."

"We get 24 hour cable news now. We have the internet. We have all the information we need."


Why does it matter? "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." George Santayana

"Santa who?
I thought it was Santa Claus?
Who is this George Santa Yanni guy?
Is he in a band?"


Yep, Ford invented the Mustang. Edison invented the Electric Company. Columbus discovered Ohio. Unions are dumb/evil. Been there done that. Get over it.

An editor once told me that I was writing above my readers' heads. I told her that I was writing where their heads needed to be. I knew she was right, but I hoped that at least a few would elevate their game.

We've grown. We're more aware now. We know more shit.
We can't be expected to know everything. Everybody hates the elitist know-it-alls anyway.

The thing is that we need historical context. You can't possibly LEARN from history if you don't KNOW the history. History isn't only the big stuff. It's all the little stuff too. The stuff we accept as how things have ALWAYS been is being re-packaged, re-written and used against us far faster than ever before. In that sense, 9/11 truly did change everything.

This frightens thinking people. Opportunistic people can find power, riches and advantage in this flux-like state of affairs. I firmly believe they've done exactly that since it was "morning in America again". They managed to marginalize history. HISTORY!!! WOW! How'd they do that?

Hey, I don't have an ending for this. I don't have the answers. I'm not even sure this is a recoverable error.
The information still exists. The accepted context and formatting has been transmorgified. At some point the information will be dusted off and re-packaged. Out of time, context, perspective and relevance.

A bomb went off in 1886 that shook the working world.
In 122 years, I guess the lesson that was learned best was that you can successfully limit the effectiveness of people by splintering them, pitting them against each other to prevent a critical mass from forming.

Or to heed my editor's advice: Take the Barney Fife, "Nip it in the bud" approach.

2 comments:

larue said...

Ok, it was ChiTown. Not Grass Valley and I don't know NO one cept Utah in the pics.

History's wierd.

About age 16 I begin to learn that the history in learnt in schools wasn't quite the same as the history that people lived in and told about.

THAT history wasn't really told or talked about in school, on the radio, or the TV. Sometimes, back in the early to late 70's you'd get a a good program on PBS, or maybe KPFA-FM in Berkeley was doing something kewl.

We were raised in SE Asia, my pops worked for the State Department with refugee resettlement programs (turned out to be covers for CIA aka Air America and more).

That was mostly my first ten years on the rock.

When we hit the states for the last time, on a permanent basis, man I was in for a shock that's never left me. Racism, hatred for all foreigners old and new, all the OLD small town ways were what we had in Santa Cruz, CA in the early to mid 60's. Then, off to San Mateo. Bigger, more cosmopolitan, but full in the neighborhood of people who hated people of color, etc.

So as I got into my early teens, my pops started to tell me about stuff that was wrong in the world. Stuff NO ONE told me about. Cuz I was always in trouble, fighting for what I thought was right, cuz that's how I was raised.

Then he gave me Studs Terkel to read. Told me about the '30's Labor Struggles, told me about McCarthy and Witch Hunts, told me about the evils of Nixon, and Reagan, as reps of CA.

And then in high school we got some pretty hip liberal teachers cuz the times they WERE a changing. And I WAS in the Bay Area, and I was 16 in '69, and shit was happening!!!!!!

I KNOW I once knew about the Haymarket Riots.

I once could draw stuff off the top of my head.

I don't remember as much now as I did then, but what I've NOT forgotten is etched in deep.

The value of our labours has been increasingly diminished over my time on the planet.

The value of our minds too, has been equally diminished.

The value of our communion, as humans, to SHARE and BENEFIT from the values of our labours and the values of our minds has been beaten, splintered, crushed, and eliminated.

The deck is so stacked, only our IMPENDING RUSH to our doom as a species will pave the way for a new and fresh beginning.

The 1% have taken us so deeply bad and wrong and destroyed that it will eat them up, too, sooner than later.

And then, we the species, start over.

In our lifetimes? If yer aged 40-70 as of today, it's only gonna get worse. But yer ready for it, and you know it's coming. It's our cross to bear.

By 2030 the worst may be over, and we'll be living without oil, fossil fuels, and electricity as we know it today. No cars, for the most part. No airline travel, for the most part.

But community will return. As a matter of survival.

And at THAT point, the color of your skin will only matter to a few communities, that will likely die off anyways. Like the 1%.

Bottom line? The human species is both the dinosaur, AND the meteor.

And things are gonna change, with or without us.

You can take that to the food bank.

Rehctaw said...

Utah's the celeb in the photo.
The rest? Common rabble, mostly.
Sharing a day honoring the fallen.
Some wondering where/when the ideas and ideals went missing.

worry not.
larue's got game and it's elevated/
but you knew that.