[lit-ideas] Re: Media violence

  • From: John Wager <johnwager@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 29 May 2004 07:23:38 -0500

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Re: [lit-ideas] Re: Media violence
John Wager <johnwager@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Wed, 26 May 2004 14:57:59 -0500


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My favorite "Canadian" story about the "glorious" American Revolution 
actually came from a semi-pornographic novel of the 1960's, Terry 
Southern's CANDY.  In it, two characters are riding in a car through 
northern Vermont, and the patriotic American is waxing eloquent about 
how much we owe to the glorious patriots whose blood created the freedom 
and the prosperity visible all around them. This speech goes on for a 
few paragraphs until the other person in the car points out that for the 
last few miles, the car has actually been in Canada, not the U.S.

Ursula Stange wrote:

> 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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