Sunday, April 02, 2006

Sunday Reading

Lost Manhood: Milli was finally neutered on Friday. So far, he hasn't realized that 'something' is missing. He's even still a bit randy, although the peculiar odor of rabbit potency is missing. Perhaps he'll retain his manliness by drinking bull testosterone, the earliest form of doping known in baseball.

Over at Cliopatria, Ralph Luker shares invaluable insights on MLK's predecessor, Vernon Johns.

History Carnival is up at Patahistory. I must commend David for including comprehensive descriptions of each entry, and including each of my six nominations. Among the plethora of entries: as Enlightenment has returned as a topic of interest, Virtual Stoa looks at What is Enlightenment; Marc at Cliopolitical argues that we should teach a baseline history first before introducing complexity of historical knowledge in primary and secondary schools (something that I think is worthy of debate); and The Moor Next Door gives a comprehensive account of Jews and Christians in Algeria.

Mark Lilla reviews Michael Burleigh's Earthly Powers, a book about secularization of Europe.
The French Revolution, then, raised two specters simultaneously across the whole of Europe: of a world without religion, and a world with new, improved religions. Both outcomes are consistent with the ambiguous term "secularization." Sometimes the word is used to describe a process of laicization: when a court system, for example, moves from enforcing biblical injunctions to enforcing laws passed by a parliament after public debate, we say it has been secularized. But sometimes we use the word to describe a supposed transfer of religious essence from a divine object to a human one, as when a nation's founder is worshiped as a "secular" god. (Think of Mao in the Yangtze River, or Lenin's tomb.) Burleigh never makes clear whether he thinks Europe was secularized in the first sense, the second or both — though, to be fair, neither did the authors he discusses. Instead, like trauma victims, they kept returning to the French Revolution as the source of all their hopes and fears. It became an enormous screen upon which all sorts of fantasies about religion and politics could be projected.
Joel at Far Outliers has been in Japan, and he has been posting a series of "Wordcatcher Tales" to highlight aspects of Japanese culture:

[ETA:] Geitner Simmons reproduces an editorial from his newspaper, the Omaha World-Herald, concerning the use and reception of flags in demonstrations:
The controversy also has shown how two sides in a debate can look at flag symbolism from starkly different perspectives. Participants in Latino protest marches against immigration bills before Congress have said they see nothing wrong in waving the Mexican flag to express their cause. Critics have voiced concern, saying such a display indicates a troubling dual loyalty.


At 10:37 AM, Blogger Marc said...

Thanks for the mention of my historical baseline piece, Nathanael. The bottom line of it is that even we pedigreed historians learned the simple version of things before we moved on to the more sophisticated history as we got older. Having said that, I recognize that there can be an argument against oversimplification as it could put up false barriers, so to speak, against which future historians/teachers will have to overcome. Not being an educator myself, I'm not totally up to speed on the current pedagogy. Like you said, I think it's a worthy discussion.

On a lighter note...perhaps it's only a reflection of my thoughts at the time, but I read "Jews and Christians in Algeria" too quickly because my mind processed it as "Jews and Christina Aguilera." Yikes!


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