". . . 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

Monday, October 11, 2010

Bloody Bloody Andy Jackson

History Suddenly Got All Sexypants!  (That's a direct quote from the subway poster's banner that's stamped on the six-gun totin' image's ass, ripped right off from the back of  Bruce Springstein Born in the USA album, for the musical, Bloody Bloody Andy Jackson, mashed up with contempo so-called rock 'n roll.  We're contemporary as heck, ain't we.)

Originally musical only, it played at the Public. It's opening on Broadway at the Barnard B. Jacobs Theater.  I cannot express how twitterpated this show has the New York theatrical cognescenti.

History is sexy is very old news over here.

The review in the Times back in April is kind of interesting:

Don’t assume, though, that “Bloody Bloody” is a satire of a single contemporary political phenomenon. When I saw the show last May, it was the grass-roots campaign of Barack Obama that first came to mind. What Mr. Timbers and Mr. Friedman are examining is a fierce emotionalism in American politics that transcends party lines and has existed for centuries. Though the United States may have been founded on the rational principles of the Enlightenment, this show suggests that what really makes it run — then and now — is the crazy, mixed-up energy of enduring adolescence.

Idealism, resentment, a short attention span, a fear of being perpetually misunderstood and a ravenous sense of entitlement are mixed together here in one big, gawky, sexually charged package: America, the eternal teenager. And who better to lead this restless, appetite-driven creature than a red-blooded rock star?
A good description of Jackson, though it leaves out his awful hair-trigger temper coupled with great piety.

That this is opening right now while I'm so busy charting the Clay - Adams - Jackson imbroglios on the national stage in the 1820's seems almost a sign of ... well, surely, not the zeitgeist?

In any case Obama read the wrong book.  Instead of Team of Rivals he should have read a biography of Henry Clay.  The Jackson crew punked Adams - Clay just like the rethugz have been punking the dems for decades now.  It's time the dems start studying history as carefully as the rethugz.


K. said...

They say all that like it's a good thing. Maybe the Dems should recruit the guys from Animal House.

Foxessa said...


But in our national politics that's what won ever since Jackson ... and Jefferson opened the door for it, which is one of the primary reasons the friendship and alliance between Washington and Jefferson broke, leaving Martha to say that the election of Thomas Jefferson was the worst possible thing to befall the nation. Jefferson began the sleazy politiking. (And even he, despite the Jackson campaign propaganda, thought Jackson a very dangerous man, unfit to hold any office, much less the presidency.)

Of course, another primary fallout difference was that Washington was always firmly in the camp of reconciliation and alliance with England - Britain, while Jefferson, having so very carefully cultivated and nurtured the alliances with France for so much of his life -- that's why the Louisiana Purchase fell into his lap. Literally. It was most arguably the single and only achievement of his presidency, and it happened by happenstance.

Of course Napoleon and the French weren't going to want the Brits to have New Orleans and the Territory! Jefferson was most certainly the right man in the right place at the right time.

Love, C.

K. said...

J&J wouldn't have politicked like that if it didn't work. You know more about it than I do, but didn't Jackson capitalize on what amounted to pent-up class resentment over the institutionalized political power that the landed elite had granted itself?

Another thing you can say for both is that they mistrusted banks and established a financial policy that succeeded without a Fed or huge investment banks for most of the 19th C. (See 13 Banks, Johnson and Kwak.)

Foxessa said...

Exactly. So why haven't the dems studied this like the rethugz have? The same people with very few exceptional decades, have been in power in this country since the beginning. It's pretty astounding when you look at it up close and with actually naming names.

That's what Jackson did, while also identifying himself with Papa Sleaze, Jefferson, outright lying that Jefferson thought Clay was a man too dangerous to allow to be POTUS -- which is exactly what Jefferson said about Jackson! As well, a true born sons of Virginia, Jefferson was a friend of Clay, who even visited him during his dying.

Love, C.

Foxessa said...

Of course, it didn't help the whigs that the first incarnation of Hamilton's bank was so badly mis-managed .... Another lesson here for the dems, which they can't seem to learn either.

Love, c.

Foxessa said...

Then, of course, Jackson had the benefit of Van Buren on his side (so definitely also not a little guy), who learned political sleazy operations and how to manage disparate groups to get he wanted with his mother's milk of New York state political shenanigans ....

Man, my state has always been a political sewer. I wonder if it was like that during the time it was Dutch?

Or did it take the English to plunge into slime?

More I think of all the Indian fur trading, the land grants starting with the great fiefdoms handed out to the Dutch upper class, maybe they too ....

You know even unto and after W Wilson's day, the Virginians complain of how King James took the New York Indian trade from them, so you know there must have been giganomous fortunes being made there.

Love, C.