[lit-ideas] Re: What a day!

  • From: cblitid@xxxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 24 Jul 2012 09:05:06 +0200

Today's 'Kalenderblatt' commemorates the premiere of Fred Zinnemann's film HIGH NOON in New York on this day in 1952.

On a not unrelated note: one of the more interesting recent today-in- history broadcasts on German radio was the 15-minute piece on the 150th anniversary of the passing of The [American] Homestead Act of 1862 on May 20th, (unsurprisingly) 1862.

The English-language version of Wikipedia did not find it worth mentioning under the 'On this day ...' rubric on their main page (although it is included in the 'list of historical anniversaries' for that day at that more detailed site).

I was surprised not to find it there - and not surprised that it featured so prominently in the German media. Homesteading looms large in the mythical and historical image which most 'aliens' have of America; I had thought that it was also such a large part of American identity that it would have featured largely in any today-in-history reflections of American origin. (I also find it interesting that the aforementioned premiere features in neither Wikipedia's 'On this day ...' nor 'list of historical anniversaries'. I'd have thought that HIGH NOON embodies as essential an element in the mythical and historical image of America - and the identity of Americans - as homesteading. I note that HIGH NOON was selected for preservation as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States National Film Registry at the Library of Congress in the first year of its existence.)

I was also surprised to learn that the Homestead Act of 1862 was in effect until as late as America's Bicentennial Year (and, in Alaska, 1986).

Chris Bruce,
whose ancestors pioneered in Western Canada
under the Dominion Lands Act of 1872 (modelled
after the American Homestead Act), but whose
forebears have long given up the land so acquired,
and has returned to Europe to reside in
Kiel, Germany
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