". . . 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

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Flu Precautions

I remain as stymied as to my personal behavior right now.

We have Biden telling us NOT to ride the subway right now. But how in the world do we get around here without the subway? If the concern is a sneeze in a confined place -- well, what about your cab driver? Or who was in the taxi before you?

Tonight our friend, T.J. Stiles, is at the NYPL Humanities, doing a presentation and reading from his celebrated new work, THE FIRST TYCOON : The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt.

If we were wise we'd stay home I suppose. We have lots of these going on right now, including one sponsored by PEN on Saturday with Dany Laferrière and Madison Smartt Bell, as well as dinner with Bell and some others from the New Yorker round table on Haitian music and revolution later.

Should all these events be cancelled? What do you think?

Yesterday I went to the library to pick up some works for my project, some dvds, including tge Criterion Chushingura and Yojimbo (and The Spirit, which had a sticky note inside warning the next borrower that this is one of the worst movies ever made -- the page checking out my materials dutifully passed on the warning, but I assured him that I knew it was awful already, just checking it out), and Steel Remains by Richard K. Morgan, which has been highly recommended. The library was full of people using all the materials. Should I not have gone there?

Then I went shopping for warm weather clothing and found some terrific high quality bargains, including light weight white pants that fit perfectly and fall just right from waist, through hip, to arch of foot. There were lots of young people shopping their brains out from all over the world. Should I not have gone shopping?

I have a hair appointment next week. Should I not go? I have to ride the subway to get there. How do I get groceries? I cannot afford to hide in the apartment.


K. said...

Vanderbilt makes an appearance in Marge Piercy's Sex Wars. In thrall to Tennessee Woodhull's tender ministrations, he provides Tennessee and her sister Victoria with insider trading information.

Foxessa said...

The Woodhulls are fascinating figures. They show up in so many places, like Samuel Ward does.

Love, c.

Foxessa said...

I suspect that this surge will burn out fairly quickly, but will return far more widespread and virulent in the mid-late fall, when flu season usually starts.

Will there be a vaccine for it by then?

In any case, for any epidemic this city is not prepared and I doubt any one is, with the progressive gutting of all public health staffing since Nixon. Which includes food inspection, rat monitoring, garbage disposal and restaurant inspection. The nation is absolutely unprepared for any national disaster.

Ever since I was so sick with the flu the first time (in graduate school), a flu that made me so sick that I realized how you can die from mere flu, that likely that was the way I would go out. From flu. I am so prone to respiratory illnesses, and really bad cases of flu. I can stay down, literally, for weeks with a case.

Love, C.

K. said...

Ft Worth schools are closed for 10 days. We may have a niece and nephew joining us.

If you haven't rea Sex Wars, give it a try. It's a good New York novel about the early days of feminism.

Foxessa said...

I've read most of Piercy's novels over the years, but not this one.

Probably because I've read so much in history and biography about all the featured figures.

We had dinner tonight with T.J. Stiles and Madison Smartt Bell, though that wasn't planned. It just happened. Much talk about capitalism, all these figures, Haiti, music, etc.

I never dreamed back in the 80's and early 90's when I was reading all of Madison's novels like eating chocolates, that one day we'd be friends.

I read Soldiers Joy while Ned was working on learning to play banjo ....

Love, C.