". . . 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, October 9, 2014

Not The Best of Days Or Night Either

Over the weekend a very close friend and colleague collapsed.  He was diagnosed with a non-infectious form of meningitis.  He's been in a medically induced coma ever since.  This has depressed el V as much as would be expected.

Yesterday, before going to the hospital to sit with R, I sliced open my left forefinger while washing el V's tea pot. A chunk had broken out of the rim, which I hadn't noticed until the blood rushed out.

Sat with R for a while. El V played him some music that he knows R likes and R waved his foot when el V addressed him, to say what he was going to play.  The doctors had expected r would have died by now. The meningitis infection had indeed spread into his brain.  He's a tough bird, all right.

After leaving the hospital I went to get my annual flu shot -- and unlike previous flu shot this one hurt and hurt worse as the night went on and hurts like heck this AM.  I Feel draggy and tired, and my throat is scratchy.  I've never had this kind of reaction to a flu shot before.

It's a kinda dark day.  Well, honestly no, it's not at all.  It just feels that way. Weather yesterday was very nice, and warm -- though windy, which may be the real culprit responsible for the sore throat. Today is nice too, but not as warm.

I'm doing the acknowledgements in preparation for really getting The American Slave Coast: A History of the Slave Breeding Industry out of the house. I should be happy -- particularly as writing thank yous is such a pleasurable part of of making a book. Instead, I feel, depressed.

Maybe it's due to having spent these last weeks studying the slave trade in American Indians, particularly that engaged in by colonial South Carolinians.  The numbers from the Mississippian culture tribes populating what would become the antebellum Cotton Kingdom are mind-boggling. That so many survived for Andrew Jackson, later, to wage a war of extermination against them for more decades, should put down for once and for the lie justifying the land thefts by the invaders settlers because "there was nobody there and those who were weren't making use of the land anyway".  The decades' long depopulation of these lands via slave trade mirrors in every way the methods used in Africa, just as Jefferson Davis's CSA government, right down to naming the president's house in Richmond, "the White House," mirrors that of the Union.  Of course, there were significant differences too -- slavery, no draft, no interstate cooperation, invasion of other lands for conquest to spread slavery, etc.

I've been listening to interviews and talks by David McPherson this last week, promoting his new biography, 
Embattled Rebel: Jefferson Davis as Commander in Chief (Penguin). These have reminded me of that mirroring I'd noticed between the two capitals of the U.S. War of Rebellion (to employ General Grant's nomenclature for it).  It was so extensive that both commanders in chiefs' families lost a dear child while in their White Houses.

McPherson approaches his subject non-polemically. So much so, the study comes across as detached from the matters at hand, which, so far, has left me, at least, wondering why he bothered?  McPherson hasn't had anything new to add to the tale of Jeff Davis, the never reconstructed, never asking pardon, representative par excellence for the Glorious Lost Cause -- which Jeff Davis did so much to create as a polemic that ruled our historic thinking about the war of southern rebellion until the last three decades or so.

Studying these matters within this current political climate of, at best, irresponsible rhetoric, incompetence and corruption is enough all by itself to depress a person.  It doesn't need a flu shot reaction or even the imminent, projected death of an old friend to provoke it.

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