Monday, June 15, 2009

Some Changes

When I started this blog 2 and a half years ago, it was mostly an intensely personal blog. I was reeling from the murder of my close friend Mark, and dealing with a couple of other things-- the loss of a teaching job I loved, and my father having cancer.

These days, things are calmer. My father is doing well. I'm getting ready to start school for one last career, one that I have a feeling will be my most fulfilling yet. And at the end of the summer, the guy who took my friend's life will go on trial for that murder (he's going on trial for the murder of one of the accomplices, who he was afraid was going to "roll" on him, at the end of this month).

My blog will remain personal-- I still find it a nice venue for thinking out loud, for writing a little about the wonder I find in life, no matter what difficulties are thrown my way, and of course like any parent, I love braggin' on my kids.

I've always had a pretty big political component in my blog, and occasionally a little history. I plan on doing all the other things, but would like to expand the history part of it. My ideal roll model for this is Erik's blog, which blends the historical, political, artistic and personal as nicely as I've seen it done in the blogosphere. And I'd like to get back to blogging every day. As busy as I am, these days, I find blogging rewarding.

When you talk to most people, and ask them what subject they found most boring, it is frequently history. I don't think it's the fault of history-- it's the fault of historians. History is innately interesting-- a fact not always conveyed adequately by some historians.

In 1994, I went to visit one of my closest friends, Viktor Zeitgeist, in Frankfurt, Germany, where he was living at the time. One day, we were walking through downtown Frankfurt, and he pointed out some ruins right in a central plaza there. He told me the story about it: the town of Frankfurt had decided to build a new city hall. When they began excavating for it, the construction workers ran into ruins. It turned out that the ruins were Roman. Previously, it had not been believed that the Romans were in that area. That day, the ruins, which had lain there for more than a thousand years, changed history.

History is alive, never dead, and moving, never static. It's essential to understanding our present and our future. Blogger Kristi recently discovered one of my favorite quotes about history, by George Santayana, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Watching our "leaders" make mistakes recently that had entirely predictable results (banking deregulation, an unnecessary war, etc.), those words have never rung truer.


SkylersDad said...

You can change the blog if you wish, but you are not allowed under any circumstances to shut it down my friend!

LegalMist said...

One of the things I've enjoyed most about your blog is the mix of items - personal, political, musical, historical. And I've learned quite a bit of interesting history here; your pieces are thoughtfully written and entertaining. I am quite sure I'll continue to enjoy your blog, with whatever mix of topics you put out there.

I hope the trials and sentences play out as you want them to.

Erik Donald France said...

Beautifully put -- and hey, thanks for the shoutout!

The response to history baffles me, too. If history is everything that's happened before now, and one has no interest in that, it's like voluntary amnesia or voluntary ignorance (gee, like today's Republican Party ;). Maybe it's the concept of history that can be reshaped post- forcefeeding in school. History is certainly more than bunk. Maybe it's also the active component that all can share in, anyone need only engage and challenge assumptions.

In any case, three cheers and best wishes!

Johnny Yen said...

Thanks! No worry about me ever shutting up!

Thank you so much!

Apparently, the case on the accomplice is a slam-dunk (he admitted the killing to the police). It's going to be a little more difficult with Mark's case. My concern is that the guy is put away for life.

If the death penalty is put on the table, I will have a dilemma. Mark was opposed to it and so am I.

My son and I were talking about that this weekend-- the 22-25% of Americans who consistently swallow the far-right's kool-aid-- it requires a willful ignorance. My hope at one time was that the internet would foster better education of people. Instead, it's allowed them to further their pre-existing prejudices and reinforce irrational fears.

Churlita said...

I love your blog. it is a perfect mix of information and personal posts. It's never boring.

SamuraiFrog said...

I've always loved your history posts, and I'm excited that you're going to do more of them. You're exactly right: history is alive and moving, and it echoes into the present. I look forward to whatever you plan.

Distributorcap said...

i love your posts on anything but i love history as well! -- an excellent combo if you ask me