". . . 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

Friday, October 15, 2010

The War of 1812, Sometimes called the Privateers' War

This is why.

I'm absurdly excited about going on a sail down the Chester into the Chesapeake on the Lynx, part of the College's participation in the long "Downrigging Weekend," a week from Saturday afternoon. It's a 'private' sail, meaning the Board of Trustees, staff, patrons, benefactors etc. and their families from the Starr Center and selected Washington College people. I have never done anything remotely like this before -- and this is a replica of a period 1812 U.S. privateer out of a Maryland boatyard.  This week I've been reading period accounts published in the local paper about the local burnings, pillagings, killings by the British navy in our area -- and the death of British Captain Parker.  This war, which when taught at all, is taught faintly as a joke in U.S. History, feels personal and terrible.

It's as if I'm ten or 11 again; it's the kind of thing that you dream about and anticipate for weeks when that age, and this is what I've been like  ever since we got the invitation last month.

Our passenger experience will probably be a little different, as we disembark for a reception, followed by a sit-down dinner at the Customs House.

This happens right after el V does The Year Before the Flood and Fats Domino at the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.*  I flat out told him that I wouldn't miss this even for Fats Domino.

How 'bout us and American history, huh?

* The organizer of these events is so knocked out by The Year Before the Flood in general, and the R&B chapters, that's why they determined El V was the right person for this.  That has made him so very happy!

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