[lit-ideas] Re: Media violence

  • From: Ursula Stange <Ursula@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 26 May 2004 15:47:10 -0400

The older I get, the more I am dumbfounded how little of their own 
history many Americans know. (Actually, I'm not sure that Canadians are 
much better at this, but it doesn't matter as much because they don't 
sit astride the future in the way that America does.)   In particular, I 
wish more Americans understood how much the birth of the US depended on 
terrorists.   When I was in school in Chicago, we were taught that the 
Sons of Freedom and the Minutemen were brave and colourful heroes who 
stood up for their right not to be taxed (who wouldn't identify with 
that?).   They participated in colourful pranks such as the Boston Tea 
Party and pushed their Loyalist neighbours to line up on the right side 
with equally cute pranks such as tarring and feathering them and riding 
them out of town on rails.   It's only when you begin to see this story 
from the other side that you read about how terrible these two 
punishments were and how they were the tip of the terrorist iceberg.   
Because of their cute names, these punishments were deemed acceptable 
even for children's books.  Arson and theft and rape and murder were 
just never mentioned.    From the Canadian side, the Loyalists were the 
good guys and the Sons of Freedom were undisciplined, ungrateful and 
dangerous louts.  We should compare political cartoons from the time....

John Wager wrote:

>Ursula Stange wrote:
>>. . . . Whose history is the most 'true'?  I've never lived 
>>in the South, but I suspect that the history of the civil war looks 
>>different there than it did in Chicago.  
>FINALLY a question I actually know something about! I grew up in north 
>Florida, graduating from high school in 1964.
>I took American history and "Civics" in high school from an excellent 
>teacher, and I actually remember quite a bit of both. I remember that 
>there was NO MENTION of "The Civil War" in any of our textbooks whatsoever!
>Oh, we did study Grant and Lincoln and Lee and Gettysburg and Atlanta 
>and reconstruction. But the term "Civil War" NEVER appeared.  What DID 
>appear was the term "The War Between the States." This is still a live 
>issue in the South, and was partly what the war  was fought over: Were 
>the "United States" individual sovereign states which had voluntarily 
>associated with each other like the "United Nations" in a way that 
>retained individual states' sovereignty, or was the "United States" a 
>single entity with primary sovereignty residing at the Federal level. 
>Calling the war a "Civil War" implies acceptance of the "Northern" view 
>of sovereignty: There is ONE entity, the "United States," and parts of 
>that single entity are at war with other (internal) parts. A "civil" 
>war. But in Florida in 1964 the people in charge of textbooks thought 
>that the "Southern" view was still correct: The war was fought between 
>various sovereign states that had the right to go their own way when the 
>voluntary association with the "United States" proved harmful. 
>My point here is that THIS is history, both ways. Students need to know 
>BOTH viewpoints. History isn't just one "true" picture, it is a mosaic 
>of clashing colors.
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