"people's history"

Christopher Columbus: raping, murdering, enslaving, genocidal pedophile

The latest of The Oatmeal makes a pretty compelling case for hating Christopher Columbus, whose achievements ("discovering" America, sailing from Europe to America, proving the curvature of the Earth) are all BS. More importantly, though, is what Columbus did do: launched a campaign of genocide in order to terrorize indigenous people gold-mining slavery, a program buoyed up by mass slaughter, mutilations, and systematic sexual slavery of girls as young as nine or ten.

Matthew Inman, the Oatmeal's author, proposes celebrating the life of Barolome de las Casas, who also set out to slave and murder his way through the New World, but changed his mind, took the cloth, and spent 50 years defending indigenous people. That's a nice idea, but if we're going to celebrate the struggle of indigenous people against genocide and slavery, maybe the right people to celebrate are the indigenous heroes and victims of Europeans, not Europeans who thought better of the unconscionable, no matter how thoroughly they repented.

Inman cites Howard Zinn's excellent People's History of the United States as a primary reference for the piece, and I concur: Zinn's work and those derived from it (like the graphic novel and the audio of dramatic readings) are important and fantastic works. Read the rest

This Day in Blogging History: Song of Mitt's self; Graphic novel of Zinn's "People's History"; Tropical skin-sore

One year ago today Song of Mitt's Self: The real Mitt Romney stands up and reflects on who he is, what he believes and why he is running for office.

Five years ago today Howard Zinn's "A People's History of American Empire" graphic novel: A new edition illustrated by Mike Konopacki and aided by historian Paul Buhle. A People's History of American Empire focuses on the history of American foreign policy, starting with the policy of conquering America itself, with brutal massacres like Wounded Knee.

Ten years ago today Please diagnose my tropical island skin sore: I noticed it when I accidentally brushed my hand against the side of my shin. A crusty weirdly-fragile scab came off. And an oozy sore was there. Read the rest

Boing Boing's Holiday Gift Guide part five: Nonfiction

Here's part five of the Boing Boing Holiday Gift Guide, a roundup of the bestselling items from this year's Boing Boing reviews. Today's installment is nonfiction books.

Don't miss the rest of the posts: kids' stuff, fiction, gadgets and comics. Tomorrow I'll wrap it up with DVDs and CDs.

Good Calories, Bad Calories (Gary Taubes) Gary Taubes, whose NYT article on Atkins rekindled the low-carb eating movement, sums up his reserarch on low-carb eating Original Boing Boing post

Transit Maps of the World (Mark Ovenden) Sheer subway-porn Original Boing Boing post

Magic and Showmanship: A Handbook for Conjurers (Henning Nelm) Classic book about conjuring has many lessons for writers Original Boing Boing post

Laika (Nick Abadzis) Graphic novel tells the sweet and sad story of the first space-dog Original Boing Boing post

Mutter Museum Historic Medical Photographs (Laura Lindgren) Haunting book of Victorian pathological curiosities Original Boing Boing post

Realityland: True-Life Adventures at Walt Disney World (David Koenig) The secret history of Walt Disney World Original Boing Boing post

In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto (Michael Pollan) Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. Original Boing Boing post

Clear and to the Point: 8 Psychological Principles for Compelling PowerPoint Presentations (Stephen M. Kosslyn) Cognitive science vs. crappy PowerPoint slides Original Boing Boing post

Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations (Clay Shirky) Clay Shirky's masterpiece Original Boing Boing post

The Pirate's Dilemma: How Youth Culture Is Reinventing Capitalism (Matt Mason) To get rich off pirates, copy them Original Boing Boing post

Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found (Suketu Mehta) Exhausting and beautiful love-note to Mumbai Original Boing Boing post

Urawaza: Secret Everyday Tips and Tricks from Japan (Lisa Katayama) Make Magazine meets Hints From Heloise by way of postwar Japan Original Boing Boing post

China Shakes the World: A Titan's Rise and Troubled Future -- and the Challenge for America (James Kynge) Book captures the grand sweep of changes in the most populous nation on Earth Original Boing Boing post

Punk House: Interiors in Anarchy (Abby Banks, Timothy Findlen, Thurston Moore) Communal homes of the anarcho-syndicalist lifestyle Original Boing Boing post

The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You'll Ever Need (Daniel H. Read the rest

Boing Boing's Holiday Gift Guide part four: Comics, graphic novels and funnybooks

Here's part four of our week-long "Best of Boing Boing" holiday gift guide: basically, it's a list of the bestselling items from among the stuff we reviewed this year, reflecting your favorite items from among our picks. Today's list is comics, graphic novels, funnybooks and the like.

Don't miss the previous installments: kids' stuff, fiction and gadgets!

Tomorrow's nonfiction day, and Monday'll finish up the series with DVDs and CDs.

Laika (Nick Abadzis) Graphic novel tells the sweet and sad story of the first space-dog Original Boing Boing post

The Perry Bible Fellowship: The Trial of Colonel Sweeto and Other Stories (Nicholas Gurewitch) Hilarious, surreal webcomic Original Boing Boing post

Invention of Hugo Cabret (Brian Selznik) Award-winning steampunk graphic novel for kids Original Boing Boing post

Good as Lily (Derek Kirk Kim) Ass-kicking girl-positive graphic novel for young readers Original Boing Boing post

The Plain Janes (Cecil Castellucci, Jim Rugg) Funny, spirited little story about a gang of girls named Jane at a strait-laced high-school, rejected by the mainstream, and their art adventures. Original Boing Boing post

100 Days Of Monsters (Stefan G. Bucher) Book showcases blob-to-monster art Original Boing Boing post

Army @ Love Vol. 1: The Hot Zone Club (Rick Veitch) Romance/war comic deals out the offensive yuks Original Boing Boing post

Three Shadows (Cyril Pedrosa) Haunting and dreamlike graphic novel of love, bravery and sacrifice Original Boing Boing post

St. Trinian's: The Entire Appalling Business (Ronald Searle) Ronald Searle's original dark, weird and hilarious St Trinian's comics Original Boing Boing post

The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You'll Ever Need (Daniel H. Read the rest

Voices of a People's History of the United States: Fantastic voice actors read the historic work of people who demanded justice from America

Howard Zinn's remarkable book, A People's History of the United States tells the underside of American history, the stories of everyday people who were on the losing side of America's prosperity and expansion, from the indigenous people and slaves to the conquered people, conscriptees and refugees. People who demanded, but did not receive, justice.

A companion to this book is this CD, "Readings from Voices of a People's History of the United States" -- a collection of famous speeches from people who held America to the standard it set, and found it wanting. These are inspiring and infuriating, and are expertly read by a cast of talented voice-actors including Danny Glover ("The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro -- Frederick Douglass"); Paul Robeson, Jr. ("Ballad of Roosevelt -- Langston Hughes"); Wallace Shawn ("Why We Fight -- Vito Russo"); Marisa Tomei ("It's Time the Antiwar Choir Started Singing -- Cindy Sheehan"); John Sayles ("Comments on the Moro Massacre -- Mark Twain") and many others.

These are the words of people who refused to accept injustice as inevitable, who demanded better. Someone once said, "All countries fail to live up to their ideals; the ideals that America fails to live up to are nobler than most." I agree with that sentiment. The liberty and justice guaranteed by America's foundational documents are a high standard to meet, and if the country is to live up to it, it must be held to account by those who suffer as a result of its failures. Read the rest

Howard Zinn's "A People's History of American Empire" graphic novel

Howard Zinn's A People's History of American Empire is a fantastic comic-book adaptation of Zinn's classic A People's History of the United States (the best and most important critical history of the life of everyday people in America from 1492 onward), a new edition illustrated by Mike Konopacki and aided by historian Paul Buhle. American Empire focuses on the history of American foreign policy, starting with the policy of conquering America itself, with brutal massacres like Wounded Knee.

Zinn is an uncompromising critic of the imperial history of America, the unilateral deeds of its leaders, the atrocities committed by its military and its contractors through Asia, Africa, Europe, and around the world. But the book is also part memoir, describing the emotional commitment to democracy and America that led him to join the military and fight in WWII in Europe -- a campaign that ended with the first-ever napalm drop on a village in France, roasting surrendered German soldiers waiting to be taken away to a POW camp.

Zinn is a fierce lover of democracy, of justice, and of freedom, and he makes it clear that America is a land divided by dreams of affluence (no matter the global cost) and dreams of liberty for all. As a wise man once said, "All countries fail to live up to their ideals. America fails to live up to better ideals than most." We can't forgive or forget the atrocities of Iran-Contra, My Lai, Wounded Knee, or the many other shameful moments in American imperial history, because the price of forgetfulness is fresh horrors, in Abu Ghraib, in Guantanamo, in Afghanistan. Read the rest

The value of endangered languages

A great interview with linguist Alexandra Aikhenvald, in New Scientist:
"If these so-called "exotic" languages die, we'll be left with just one world view. This won't be very interesting, and we'll have lost a vast amount of information about human nature and how people perceive the world. (...) [W]ithout their language and its structure, people are rootless. In recording it you are also getting down the stories and folklore. If those are lost a huge part of a people's history goes. These stories often have a common root that speaks of a real event, not just a myth. For example, every Amazonian society ever studied has a legend about a great flood.

"...In English I can tell my son: "Today I talked to Adrian", and he won't ask: "How do you know you talked to Adrian?" But in some languages, including Tariana, you always have to put a little suffix onto your verb saying how you know something - we call it "evidentiality". I would have to say: "I talked to Adrian, non-visual," if we had talked on the phone. And if my son told someone else, he would say: "She talked to Adrian, visual, reported." In that language, if you don't say how you know things, they think you are a liar. This is a very nice and useful tool. Imagine if, in the argument about weapons of mass destruction, people had had to say how they knew about whatever they said. That would have saved us quite a lot of breath..."

Link (via diepunyhumans) Read the rest