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April 21st, 2005
Historical Poetry - With this week being the 229th anniversary of the start of the Revolutionary War, what other poem could I highlight besides Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere?
Listen my children and you shall hear
He said to his friend, "If the British march
Then he said "Good-night!" and with muffled oar
Meanwhile, his friend through alley and street
Then he climbed the tower of the Old North Church,
Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead,
Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
It was twelve by the village clock
It was one by the village clock,
It was two by the village clock,
You know the rest. In the books you have read
So through the night rode Paul Revere;
Quite an interesting name for a war, don't you think? Revolutionary War - should "Revolutionary" refer to the manner of fighting in the war, or to what it was fought over? Despite popular history, the fighting was mostly according to the conventions of the time; that is, most of it was not hit and run, shoot from behind rocks, trees, & everywhere. They fought each other mostly in lines because that's what they knew how to do, and that's what their weapons were best at. The rifles did not have that much larger a range than the smoothbore muskets, and they loaded slower. They were also not as plentiful. The Americans mostly lost, but because of a handful of strategic victories at the right places and right times, we came out on top.
No, the Revolution was in the manner that ignored grievances were forced to be addressed. Having lived a life where both England and the Colonies ignored the mutual wills and needs of each other, is it little wonder that the Americans rejected abusive authority when it tried to reassert itself violently? No. What is revolutionary about the whole thing is that instead of giving up, knuckling under, and crawling to lick the palm of those who beat us, like so many others had done before, we stood up and pushed back, taking a grievous hit in the meantime, but eventually earning the ability to fend for ourselves. The revolution was in not only applying truth to the relationship, but not backing down when the truth was ignored. It is a singular moment in history, and deserves to be remembered here and emulated abroad.
Deep Wounds Heal Slowly - Very slowly, apparently.
My Guilty Pleasure - The Contender. Tonight I saw a guy with a gimpy leg come back in the final round and beat his opponent like a bass drum. He had a lot of problems with confidence, but overcame them with inspiration from his family.
Mark Burnett has come up with a pair of equally addictive TV serials that are diametrically opposed - on the one hand the Contenders are people willing to lay down their physical comfort for the sake of their families, and on the other the Apprentices are willing to throw down with anyone who gets in the way of their pursuit of the top of the executive world. The fact that The Apprentice routinely garners more audience than The Contender gives testimony to the fact that the nation identifies more with the young, hip self-promoters than the young, self-sacrificing athletes.
It's a bit sad, really. Whatever happened to laying down your life for another? It apparently went out of style. Fortunately, its not out of substance, which is all that really matters.
Apparently I've been labeled again - The elites are desperate to pigeonhole my generation so they can study us more closely. The latest term to describe those in my generation is the creative class, which apparently means they are curiously piqued about our ability to come up with original ideas - not exactly something unknown in history. From the article, referring to the growth of the Phoenix area:
Having lived in Mesa, the largest suburb of Phoenix, for almost two decades I can tell you both what is driving people into the Phoenix area and what is keeping them away. On the one hand we have a fast growing population powered by good jobs and relatively affordable housing, especially when compared with California. Arizonans also have lower taxes, and the typical bevy of services and social functions that serve as entertainment. But the one thing that drives away people from the Phoenix area is the size of the place. In square miles its larger than the Los Angeles area, when you include all the suburbs, which you must - except for the street signs, you can't tell where the borders of the individual cities are. It takes more than half an hour to get from Mesa to north Phoenix, and that's on the freeway. People (like Jen & I) move away from Phoenix to get away from the sheer largeness of the place.
But there are simpler reasons why people don't like to come to Phoenix. With frequent Summer high temperatures above 110, its easy to understand why backyard pool construction in Arizona is a growth industry. You want to overcome the coolness deficit? Get some air conditioners, seriously. The culture is fine, but disregarded by cultural elites, which means it takes a lot of effort to draw big names like Yo Yo Ma and Broadway plays. Leave it to the people to create the atmosphere that will attract others.
Being a member of the "creative class", I take it I'm expected to be mobile, especially towards the "cool urban experiences". Yawn. My creativity does not take inspiration from the dandyish narcissism in love with not only itself, but also the urban lifestyle. I thought the creative class was called that because of their ability to create new and innovative things, not their ability to follow a predetermined mindset. I don't own the future, but I do take custody of it for my posterity, because someone has to create a world they can live in without fear.
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