American Eugenics Programs and the Holocaust

Americans Gave the Nazis Eugenics Know-How (12-19-2017, updated 07-11-2017)  An article I saw yesterday: "The Nazi Breeding and Infanticide Program You Probably Never Knew About". Yeah, there's a reason you probably never knew about this. 1920s: Hitler's impressed by American eugenics programs. Rich Americans give Germans funds, science and technology for their own programs. 1940: news of atrocities reaches America. 'Eugenics' is never mentioned again in America.

Authoritarianism Is the American Way

(10-20-2017-updated 07-08-2018)  Respect: American For Blind Submission to the Authorities. Americans, you sacrifice too many freedoms to institutions. The president should not be an adored god, the police are not heroes (as a collective group) and you pay schools to educate and care for your children, not to police them. It's ridiculous how you let them abuse their powers to the extent that they do. Powers that, half the time, they shouldn't even have,You really need to take a step back and have a good look. 

Dutch Police Training: Lessons From History

(10-13-2017, updated 07-11-2018) Respect For Authority: The Dutch Learned From WWII. The German occupation (1940-1945) was a watershed moment for us. Before discussing authoritarianism in America, I'll talk about authoritarianism and the police in the Netherlands,  so you understand where I'm coning from. And I'll describe 1980s Dutch police training, which focused more on de-escalation training than on using force.

What is Fascism in America? Definition and Identification

(09-30-2017, updated 07-12-2018)  American Fascism: Don't Get Me Started! I was invited to speak at an anti-fascist group meeting today, to give my  Dutch perspective on American fascism, since Holland was under German occupation during WWII. Folks, be careful what you wish for! I had way too much information just getting through a definition of fascism. That's okay, though. It gave me fodder for another series of posts (and a year later  it's the reason I'm starting a separate blog on the topic! 07-12-2018).

Trump’s Muslim Registration and Identification Plans

(11-20-2015, updated 07-14-2018)  What Americans should learn in History class: Just because something starts off small doesn't mean it's not a big deal. In an interview on NPR a few people discussed Trump's Muslim registration and identification plans. One person immediately brought up the Holocaust. Another thought it wouldn't hurt anyone to just register Muslims and require a Muslim ID.

What Passes for History Education Here is Pathetic

(11-17-2015- updated 07-14-2018) Historical bibliographies with unimportant anecdotes, alphabetically arranged; wars are about dates of battles and numbers killed -- I can see why kids think, "Why even bother?"

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 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 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.

“That’s just the way it is. You don’t ever talk back to a cop”

(05-06-2013, updated 07-15-2018)   Reese and the police: this country is a police state and nobody seems to notice. Last week Reese Witherspoon's husband was arrested for driving while intoxicated. Bad. Badbadbadbadbad. You get no argument from me there. But Reese was arrested, too. Why? She got out of her car! That's not all. When the cop ordered her back in the car, she told him she had a right to stand on American soil. Gasp! The horror!

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.