". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Sunday, February 17, 2008

After All, Yesterday

Yesterday was a good day.

It began to be good with the phone call from P heads-upping about the Edwards - Vaquero radio program. It continued to leap ahead to better and better until we finally drifted into sleep, post the post-prandial birthday champagne.

And -- A well-known South American historian was among the surprising numbers of people who heard the Edwards program. Upshot of that is Vaquero goes to NYU to talk about The Book too.
It stays, um -- wintery. It is February, after all, and this year it feels like February, though still not as cold as where and when I grew up. I did find myself missing the traditional heart-shaped birthday cake that my mom always made for my birthday. She had four cake pans shaped like hearts and they were for MY birthday cake -- 4 layers, in pink and white icing, with my favorite red cinnamon heart decorations among others. Mom had many failings, but she was the best when it came to her kids' birthdays, making them unique to each one of us, throwing the best birthday parties for us in the community.

Tomorrow -- Presidents Day. It's still as difficult as it was when I was a grade school kid trying to figure out which President I most admired: Washington or Lincoln?
(Isn't this a relief from the forced preoccupation of these decadent days of ennumerating the ennumerable most despised president and reasons why?)

When in middle school I had assumed at some point I'd know so much history that I'd be able to pick a different president as the one I most admired, instead of trying to choose between these two best-known historical figures whose birthdays fell into the same month as mine, whose images were up as February's decorations all over the school, along with the hearts for Valentine's Day. It happened though, that the more history I learned, the more these two continued to stand out. Funny, that, right?

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