". . . 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

Saturday, October 31, 2020

The Last Four Years Every Day Has Been Halloween Terror

     . . . .Realization when sitting down with tea for the daily AM online news cruise: I feel lighter now that I have voted, i.e. knowing I cast a vote that would be counted.

Over the entire period since the postponed so-called Dem primary, in which I have no way of knowing whether my ballot was counted or not – we never even heard an account of what happened in that primary, as NY is so late as not to matter since everybody else is seemingly in January of a primary year – I’ve been increasingly anxious about voting in this election on Nov. 3rd.

What was going to happen to handle voting in this novelcorona virus election, nationally and state, constantly changed.  Even whether, at one point, there would be an election at all.

Shoggoths deliberately sabotaged the post office to essentially negate voting by mail,*  the cops and armed terrorist who call themselves militias are everywhere, physically intimidating voters, burning ballot drop-off boxes, hiding mailed ballots, destroying them, and otherwise working very hard in every way to stop us voting, with the assistance and advice from Russia even! to halt the election entirely.  And this was going on even before the 2016 election -- including destroying the USPS by rethugs increasingly starving it of funding.

And our mail-in ballots really did NOT arrive, and they really weren’t even processed, according to the BOE's ballot application request online tracker -- once we supposedly got one. The BOE made it increasingly difficult to get any information at all.

Suddenly, it was a cascade of so-called instruction and options, and early voting it was …. Then all the trouble as to whether one could vote in person, early or not, if one had applied for a mail in ballot, and yet never received it, or maybe decided to vote in person instead of mailing it in, because, you know, the sabotaged USPS. Then all the difficulty to vote for all of us, and particularly to those of us who cannot stand for very long due to damaged spine, etc., because the eagerness of people desirous and determined to vote, created the endless lines, again due to incompetent, lazy and voter suppression ambitions. Then what happened when I did vote -- machine malfunction.

But once I actually voted, and then el V voted, it was like a huge pressure had been excised from inside my head.

What this means, I figured out, was that U’d transferred all my terror and fear of what may or may not happen with the election itself, before and after, to ME VOTING. And now I’ve voted, I’m much calmer.

This has to be fairly universal, you think? 

Americans Surge to Polls: ‘I’m Going to Vote Like My Life Depends on It’

Anxious but determined, Americans are pushing through challenges like the pandemic and long lines to cast their ballot. The country is on course to surpass 150 million votes for the first time.

Calmer, but still frightened and anxious, because, you know, of information such as Face Book is deliberately suppressing the Biden campaign ads, the ads the campaign has even paid for. 

Yet, nearly everyone I know has an FB account that they insist cannot be done without despite the knowledge that a personal account, social or 'professional' on FB  further supports and enables the corruption of this election and the maintenance of the fascist-shoggoth take-over.. FB cannot exist without those accounts to sell to all and sundry.

So, yes, I remain scared of what will happen, but I am calmer.  For now.


*  Further, of the many ways the USPS sabotage by rumptubtupshoggothinchief has hurt just our personal lives and those we know: some of the talent featured in POSTMAMBO)/CUBANola's NOLA Reconnect requested to be paid by mailed paper check, not a digital money transfer.  They're still waiting for those checks, mailed three weeks ago.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Despite Them, I Am Happy Dancing.

      . . . . Despite all the obstacles put up against it, and many of the obstacles put up deliberately, to keep me from voting, yesterday I managed to Early Vote.

I Voted!

I Voted!

I Voted!

They really don't want me to vote, despite being in a state that never counts for primaries because we're too late in the travesty called a process, and we're considered a 'safe' blue state.  Though, ya, we're not that safe for blue in reality because most of all it counts on the vote of NYC -- and that doesn't include rabid red Staten Island filled with cops, haters of diversity, etc. -- and now big chunks of the Bronx, Brooklyn, and suburbs, some closer to the City and some further away, that rabid religious sorts have declared not only NYC, but not America, but independent rumptubtupshoggoth Country with their own laws, not ours.

Between shoggoths destroying the USPS, and the New York Board of Elections which is the last remnant of Tammany Hall, all nepotism and utterly incompetent and corrupt figures -- I couldn't even get a ballot, despite in early September hand delivering in person to a post office person our filled out census form and our requests for mail-in ballots.  There was no record that I'd even requested one on the Status of Application tracker.  

Early voting began last Saturday.  Three lines, around and around and around, the blocks, 5 = 6 hours waiting lines.  The Board of Elections, you see, looking at polling places, decided to assign the polling places in districts with the fewest number of election day voters the largest number of voters from other districts for Early Voting, because for Reasons, all voters couldn't vote in the places they always vote which are in their precinct and district.  So the Barclay Center polling spot in Brooklyn, in the sports stadium, had no voters.  Whereas mine, in the basement of  church had thousands and thousands.  And every day MORE voters waiting to vote than the day before.

But yesterday, it was cold, pouring rain all day (Hurricane Zeta, which knocked out New Orleans), wind.  I'd run some errands, walking to the polling place just to see how things were -- and no wait.  Down into the basement I went.  Then. oooops. the machine that is supposed to scan my ballot, then allow me to vote on the screen, then scan it again, and then print it out malfunctioned. It would neither read nor let go of the ballot.

"Gee. Hmm.  This one's been acting up all day."

I was there for a very long time, surrounded by people -- in masks, but still -- right in my face, as they tried to fix it.  Finally it worked again, and I was able to take the printed out ballot with my vote choices on it to another scanner to be recorded.  I dunno.

But, in the end I got the vote in, and I got it in in person. And then el V went and did the same thing.

This has been hanging over me for weeks and weeks, would I be able to vote or not?  So much contradictory information, such as if one had applied for a mail-in ballot, whether one had received it, or not filled it out, one would not be allowed to vote in person. Nor could I get any information from anybody at the Board of Elections, even though I was on hold never less than 40 minutes any time I called them.  One really believes that the New York Board of Elections doesn't want anybody to vote, indeed, just resent the shyte of anybody wanting to vote, or even voting, because, you know that's work and that interferes with them going to the gym and shopping and watching netflix.  Not kidding.  Read that about them in the New York Times this week.

Maybe, if the NY Assembly this year stops being dominated by rethugs we can reform the BOE here?

Anyway -- October has been a month all right.

Postmambo/CUBANola New Orleans Reconnect all three weekends was an unqualified success, even with a hurricane in the middle so one of the day's activities in Arcadiana had to be rescheduled for the next weekend.  But New Orleans dodged the bullet yet again on Delta.  It took what may be the final of the 5 to hit Louisiana this season, Zeta, this week, to get NO.  Our peoples all seem to be OK, without loss of home, though certainly loss of power. Still very lucky, that it moved fast and got outta there, and it was wind mostly, not rain.  If it had been one of the crawlers filled with all that rain, New Orleans would now be history in the present and the future, as well as history in the past.

All this has made the month go very quickly, though looking at the first weekend of October from the last weekend of October, that first weekend seems months ago.  The first week of this month I got my hair cut and styled, got a flu shot and a pneumonia shot.  Had a phone that did not work for shyte, which didn't help with my calls to the Board of Elections or getting the doctor's appointments since stupid T-Mobile's signal just didn't happen here in the apartment, and then last week the phone muted itself and refused to ever unmute again even outside.  So had to get a new phone again, which at least seems to be allowing to me and receive calls inside the apartment. A good thing as of today the temperature at waking was 38°

Soon will begin work on the next installment of this sort of travel immersion project, because the Travelers want it.  Also some universities want some version of this for a course. So, though very tired, still working.

But, you know Fauci says we're probably unwise to expect any "semblances of normality" until 2022.  And we won't have them then either, unless we vote, and vote in vast numbers.

It was so cool when I went out today to see the numbers of the Young with their "I Voted Early" stickers on their masks!

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

The Good Old Days: Reading the Fictional 100 Years War

Doyle, Arthur  Conan (1891) The White Company and Sir Nigel (1906)

     . . . . Both novels are set in the 14th century within the 100 Years War.  But the later published Sir Nigel takes place earlier in the war against the backdrop of the Bubonic Plague.

The White Company, featuring a fictionalized mercenary company, under  the command of of the fictional Nigel Loring (modeled on the Prince's Neil Loring), is an historical novel of the Black Prince's Trastámara campaign, forced on him by his father, Edward III. Historically, this campaign broke the Black Prince's non-stop winning streak in place since his heroism at Crécy, broke his finances (his own habits helped, of course), and destroyed his health. Here began one of the declines of England's fortunes in France during this endless conflict.

This is the campaign of the famous historical Battle of Nájera, the campaign where Geoffrey Chaucer, the great English poet, was present, at least at the start, during the organization in the small Navarrese city of Olite, in the Pyrenees.  It was a catastrophic venture, because Edward III, falling into dotage, ordered his son to make it, without consideration of any of the realities on the ground, where King Edward wasn't present.  Edward III wanted the usurping but much saner and superior figure, the bastard brother Henry Trastámara, removed from the throne of Castile and replaced with the insane, corrupt, cruel but legitimately birthed scion (the Black Prince knew all this), Don Pedro. The Prince was never healthy again, which meant leaving the kingdom in England and France to an infant who grew up feckless and so we are all about the Wars of the Roses rolling afterward.

When I read The White Company as an undergraduate, I knew none of this history or geography. 

Even now, I find it annoying that for many chapters 'the prince' is referred to only as that, rather than as the Prince of Wales or even the Black Prince, which would have given this ignoramous some kind of chronological marker.  John Chandos figures in both of Doyle's 14th century novels, and I had no idea who he was either.  (But then, I didn't know who Froissart was either, who is one of the primary foundations for the study of the 14th century of England and France!  I mention this because I get such a kick out of knowing I learned what I didn't know then!)  It really frustrated me back then that The White Company wasn't what Barringer's Nuestra fantasy history was -- where I didn't need to know who anybody was, because none of it was history, except, to a degree, the idealized version of the 14th century's aristo chivalric view of itself, culturally and socially, that the class expected the entire social and economic strata to accept.

I found Barringer's trilogy around the same time I found The White Company.

So it was other historical fiction progenitor and progeny I've been considering most while reading these 14th century historical novels of Doyle's. Closes to his period was Leslie Barringer's 14th century historical fantasy trilogy, The Nuestrian Cycle. These were published more than two decades after Doyle's. Like Doyle's, Barringer's first volume of the trilogy opens with a primary figure-protagonist in a monastery, from which both are expelled due to family necessity.

Out earlier historical fiction, I noticed how much The White Company owes to the father of historical fiction, Sir Walter Scott, in his opening pages of Ivanhoe, though it takes place in the highly fictionalised 12th century. The romance tropes Scott initiated in this, his first work composed entirely of English subjects, are in full view in the earlier section of The White Company, particularly including as a featured hero, one descended of of the Saxon line as is the knight, Ivanhoe. 

While reading Doyle's books, though nearly 100% certain it didn't happen, I've been amusing myself with the idea it isn't beyond the realms of possibility at some point, Doyle, Kipling, Owen Wister, H. Rider Haggard and Theodore Roosevelt had dinner together. Owen Wister was a life-long friend of TR's, dedicating The Virginian to him. Both were Harvard men; TR's mother was a Georgian unreconstructed plantation belle, and Wister's mother was the daughter of Pearce Meese Butler, the largest slave owner in the south).  TR knew Haggard and Kipling, quite well too, and like Wister, they even spent some time with him in the White House.  In the run-up to WWI TR and Kipling were in close contact -- both snapping their teeth to convince the politicos and the public that preventive war with Germany was necessary.

Though he never did meet Arthur Conan Doyle, "When Doyle engineered his [Holmes's] return, Theodore Roosevelt sent word to him that a guest room awaited him at the White House."

Edgar Rice Burroughs should be at that dinner too, but maybe he wasn’t of the right class, despite being of the right time. He certainly read TR's On African Game Trails (1910), on his own 1913 visit to Africa. "The New York Times made its first mention of Edgar Rice Burroughs on June 14, 1914, when the paper’s Book Review included Tarzan of the Apes among “One Hundred Books for Summer Reading...." 

The Review's description of the book that follows would have been irresistible to TR except TR was engaged in his own hair-raising jungle adventure in 1914, in the jungles of Brazil, which damned near killed him and should have. One feels that only TR himself could have survived what he survived, with his pre-existing conditions, of a leg wound prone to re-erupting septically, recurrent malaria acquired in Cuba (called doncha know 'the Cuban sickness', overweight and hypertensive.

TR, frequently described as "a great boy" by everyone from his wife, to himself and other politicians, was well known for his love of what was called 'boys' books' of his time, including Booth Tarkington's Penrod stories.  What all these writers have in common, with the possible exception of Leslie Barringer (and Scott), is they were one and all conscious white supremacists,  imperialists who bought into the cult of ‘manliness, race and eugenics,' and that ‘good’ (white) women were owed their protection and respect, and ‘bad’ women were malicious schemers who worked for their enemies. They were indeed, of their time.  Not until the end of the 20th Century would we see again so many supposedly adult men devoted to entertainment that was originally aimed at kids, self-identifying with every sort of superhero, even overtly evil ones.

WWI – and the Great Influenza --was the explosion that shredded that.  So far, not even the novelcorona virus has done that to us. People are just itching to employ their manliness in shooting libs and blacks and feminists and LBGQT people and intellectuals-college-educated-writers-journalists and immigrants and atheists and depending on who and which group(s) among them Catholics and Jews and socialist-commies.  Gosh, people -- don't these manliest of the manly white supremacists look just like the Khmer Rouge?


Currently reading as well, still in the 14th century, and graduating slowly into the 15th, A.J. Pollard's Late Medieval England 1399-1509 (2000), Hugh Bichino's The Wars of the Roses 1455-1487: The Blood Struggle for England's Throne (2015; 2015), and re-reading for the 4th time, Malory: The Knight Who Became King Arthur's Chronicler (2005) by Christina Hardyment.

On another topic the book with which I'm deeply engaged is The Haitians: A Decolonial History by Jean Casimir (2020). This is meaty brain food, in the way French-Caribbean intellectual-historians of their world always are, providing viewpoints and conceptualization foreign and shocking to the historians born, bred and trained in the – former? – colonialist power nations.