Black Slavery: The Source of White Real Estate and Power

(05-16-2018, updated 07-08-2018) To discuss race and real estate, we must go back the beginning of white land use in America. Slavery gave the white South land ownership, labor, currency, collateral and political clout. The wealth and power of the large plantation owners -- the richest and largest property owners in the country --depended entirely on the number of slaves they owned.

Salsbury’s Slavery Spectacular!

(02-23-2018, updated 07-08-2018) The Black America Show: Slavery as Entertainment. Like Buffalo Bill's "Wild West Show", but about the Old South. A news headline called it a show about the “Fun-Loving Darky of Old Slavery Days.” I kid you not. This may well have been the beginning of Southern revisionist history: whitewashing Southern slavery and romanticizing the antebellum South.

Book Bans and Gag Rules and Fox, Good Grief!

(10-29-2017, updated 07-11-2018)  Propaganda, Censorship and Other Suppression of Dissent. The fascist attitude: if you're not for us, you're against us and therefore an enemy of the state. Suppression of opposition is key. Book bans, book burning, press censorship, etc. The flip side of government suppression of dissent is government propaganda. Distorting facts and history to create a convenient story to force-feed to the masses.

Land of the Free and Home of the Brave

(09-26-2017, updated 07-12-2018) What Are American Values? What Is Patriotism? NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem!They're  disrespecting the troops! The country! The flag! You are confused, but I understand. The symbols have become so important to you that you forget what they stand for. Do I need to remind you what your ideals are? Well fine, if you insist. Here's a little refresher, from an immigrant. You're welcome.

Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen: A Look at American High School History Education

(11-18-2015, updated 07-14-2018)  This explains American lack of historical perspective, the weird nationalist pride, the idolization of individuals and the notion that universities are communist breeding grounds. Loewen argues that high school history textbooks are the source of the problem.

Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump’s Campaign Demagoguery

(11-12-2015) This is when high school history education comes in handy, if you've had any. The 2016 presidential election campaign is in full swing and the angry goldfish at the top of the GOP presidential candidate polls blames all the country's woes on a vulnerable group in society--undocumented immigrants in this case.

History and Time in Harry Mulisch’s The Assault Part 10: Time Eternal

(05-11-2014, updated 07-26-2018) With The Assault, Harry Mulisch has not only written a World War Two novel that connects perfectly with the Dutch collective memory; his ideas about history and time, expressed throughout in metaphor, imagery and myth, ultimately manifest themselves by means of the very structure of the book, making it a historical novel par excellence.

History and Time in Harry Mulisch’s The Assault Part 9: Familiar Imagery

(05-11-2014, updated 07-26-2018) Dutch readers in the 1980s, recognized many of the historical aspects of the novel. In fact, history is so cleverly woven together with fiction that many readers thought the whole story was factual. The Belgian television even came to film at the location of the assault, but they could not find it

History and Time in Harry Mulisch’s The Assault Part 8: Selection and Reduction

(05-10-2014, updated 07-26-2018) Harry Mulisch addresses the fact that historical events, as well as events on a personal level, are determined by both causality and sheer coincidence. History is also a matter of selection and reduction. History is not just reduced to symbols. Mulisch believes quite specifically that what remains of history is fiction.

History and Time in Harry Mulisch’s The Assault Part 7: Causality and Coincidence

(05-08-2014, updated 07-26-2018) It has been argued that The Assault is not a real historical novel, since many of the events are determined by coincidence; however, this view denies that history is, in fact, a combination of causality and accident.

History and Time in Harry Mulisch’s The Assault Part 6: The Changing Past

(05-07-2014, updated 07-26-2018) The narrator of The Assault (De aanslag) by Harry Mulisch mentions that this is "the [history] of an incident". Not history, consisting of a series of incidents will be described, but the history of an incident--an incident that changes over time.

History and Time in Harry Mulisch’s The Assault Part 5: Time Stands Still

(05-06-2014, updated 07-26-2018)  Everyone is alone in his own present. Time comes to a standstill for Anton, and this isolates him from the rest of humanity. During the hunger winter, life has literally come to a standstill. There is no food, no water (the pipes in the houses are frozen, as is the canal), no fuel, no transportation, no information, no light.

History and Time in Harry Mulisch’s The Assault Part 4: Mulisch’s Five Times

(05-05-2014, updated 07-25-2018)  By structuring The Assault as a Greek tragedy, Mulisch has created a timeless epic.. And so we arrive at the element of time, which plays an important part in most of Mulisch's work.

History and Time in Harry Mulisch’s The Assault Part 3: Structure and Narration

(05-04-2014, updated 07-25-2018) The Assault by Harry Mulisch is structured like a Greek tragedy. The prologue sets the stage for the action, and it mirrors the main themes of the book. Anton watches a man push a barge forward with a pole, "a man walking backwards to push something forward, while staying in the same place himself".

History and Time in Harry Mulisch’s The Assault Part 2: Summary

(05-03-2014, updated 07-25-2018)  The Assault by Harry Mulisch is divided into five episodes, covering a time span of thirty-six years, in which the protagonist, Anton Steenwijk, suffers the violence and guilt of the German occupation of the Netherlands.

History and Time in Harry Mulisch’s The Assault Part 1: The Time Capsule

(First published 05-02-2014)  Anton was reading an article in Nature and Mechanics. For his birthday he had been given a secondhand bound copy of the 1938 edition: “A Letter to Posterity”. A photograph showed a group of well-fed Americans in their shirtsleeves looking up at a large, shiny capsule shaped like a torpedo that hung vertically above their heads.

Stay Tuned For “History and Time in Harry Mulisch’s The Assault”

(05-02-2014, updated 07-25-2018) The Assault by Harry Mulisch: a historical novel par excellence. The following posts are a paper I wrote in graduate school about The Assault (De aanslag), a novel by my favorite Dutch author, Harry Mulisch. It's titled "History and Time in Harry Mulisch's The Assault". It discusses the different ways Mulisch uses time and history, while examining structure, narration and Mulisch's ideas about time, history and fiction.

A Few Books and Movies About Slavery

(04-03-2014, updated 07-15-2018)  A rather random list, I know, but It's my list. If you want a longer list, google it. And if you want a complete book review or movie review, again, google it. This is just a list. Of course the first book about slavery on any list should be Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. It's fiction, but based firmly in the harsh reality of slavery.

Paquette and the Nazis: or: My Greatest Fear

(01-10-2013, updated 07-15-2018)  Books and babies, the stuff of nightmares. A random writing prompt: write about being locked in a room with your greatest fear. Nightmares are a good metaphor for that. When B was about six months old, we were staying with my in-laws for what was supposed to be a week to ten days, because the front windows in our house were being replaced.