The Arkansas legislature is considering a bill that would prohibit "any books or other material authored by or concerning Howard Zinn" in its schools, on the grounds that Howard Zinn says means things about America, like, "It has the kinds of censoring, undemocratic state governments that ban all books by and discussions of critics of America and its actions."
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The Arkansas legislature is considering a bill that would prohibit "any books or other material authored by or concerning Howard Zinn" in its schools, on the grounds that Howard Zinn says means things about America, like, "It has the kinds of censoring, undemocratic state governments that ban all books by and discussions of critics of America and its actions." Read the rest
One of Frederick Douglass's most famous speeches was his 1852 "The Meaning of July 4th for the Negro." Read the rest
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
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
Realityland: True-Life Adventures at Walt Disney World (David Koenig) The secret history of Walt Disney World 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
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
Tomorrow's nonfiction day, and Monday'll finish up the series with DVDs and CDs.
The Perry Bible Fellowship: The Trial of Colonel Sweeto and Other Stories (Nicholas Gurewitch) Hilarious, surreal webcomic 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
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 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
"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.Link (via diepunyhumans) Read the rest
"...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..."