Then have spent the rest of the day pretty much watching Doctor Five's adventures, starting with the fun romp Time Flight and am now in the middle of the Turlough series. Turlough may have started out a traitor, but he's already far more interesting (and watchable) than Adric was. Also? Mawdryn Undead was about my favorite Doctor Five story yet. The Brig rocks. And while Tegan may whine and complain all the time, she does manage to handle all of this insanity while remaining very stylish and wearing high heels (and Five did run around almost as much as Ten did). I find the more I watch of Five the more I like him, and he got quite a bad rap simply for not being Tom Baker.
I WAS going to make that cheese sauce for dinner, but turns out everyone had to cancel tonight (get well soon, edgedancer) so since it was just Barb and me, she made up a lovely Asian-inspired seafood coconut-milk soup and a salad, which was dandy, and I finally opened the bottle of Caribbean rum I brought back from the Caribbean (serendipitous, that) and discovered that REALLY GOOD RUM is a lot stronger than the cheap crap (Malibu) I usually buy. I've had to cut it rather drastically after mixing a Mojito so now it's two drinks rather than just one.
Have felt low-grade "not right" for a couple of days. A lazy day is actually a good day.
So I've done a little writing, a little Tweeting, a little prowling around on Dragon sites, and generally not much else (except try and entice my idiotic cat to eat something).
A Confederacy of Dunces
By GAIL COLLINS
Published: April 7, 2010
April is the cruelest month. Or, if you live in Virginia, Confederate History Month.
The state is buzzing over Gov. Bob McDonnell’s proclamation urging citizens to spend the month recalling Virginia’s days as a member of the Confederate States of America. Although since McDonnell had previously turned April over to child abuse prevention, organ donation and financial literacy, perhaps it was O.K. to just pick your favorite.
The original Confederate History proclamation was a miracle of obfuscation. It did not even mention slavery. On Wednesday, the governor apologized for that and said that slavery “has left a stain on the soul of this state and nation.”
People, what’s our bottom line here. The governor of Virginia has decided to bring slavery into his overview of the history of the Confederacy. Good news, or is this setting the bar a wee bit too low?
Maybe we had better be grateful for small favors. It’s been a tough time lately for those of us who take social studies seriously.
History took a hit in Texas, where the state Board of Education tried to demote Thomas Jefferson, presumably because of his enthusiasm for separation of church and state. This week, John McCain rewrote his own political biography, telling Newsweek: “I never considered myself a maverick.” And on the geography front, Representative Hank Johnson of Georgia took time during a recent Congressional hearing to express his concern that stationing additional Marines on Guam would make the island “so overly populated that it will tip over and capsize.”
Obviously, all these developments are not equally problematic. The admiral being questioned somberly assured Johnson that the military does not anticipate any island-toppling. And if McCain wants to re-imagine the 2008 presidential campaign, he is free to give it a try. Although if you are planning to deny that you ever thought of yourself as a maverick, it would be better not to have subtitled one of your memoirs “The Education of an American Maverick.”
The love affair with all things Confederate is way more worrisome. Once again, it’s in to talk secession. The Republican attorneys general are lining up to try to nullify the health care bill.
“Many issues of the Civil War are still being debated today,” said Brag Bowling of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, which led the push to get that proclamation in Virginia. That seems extremely depressing, as if we were Serbs stewing about what the Turks did at the Plain of Blackbirds in 1389.
Actually, a national discussion of Civil War history sounds fine — as long as we could start by agreeing that the whole leaving-the-union thing was a terrible idea. In the proclamations, it generally sounds as if everything went swimmingly until the part where the South lost and grudgingly rejoined the country.
Virginia has been making big leaps lately in the category of general craziness. We all remember the Legislature’s heroic work in passing a bill to protect Virginia citizens from having microchips planted in their bodies against their will. And that the sponsor said he was concerned the chips could be a “mark of the beast” that would be used by the Antichrist at the end of days.
Confederate History Month was promoted by former Gov. George Allen, who was fond of Confederate flag-décor and suffered from a sense of history so imperfect that he did not discover his mother was half-Jewish until he was 54. Allen’s proclamation celebrated the Civil War as “a four-year struggle for independence, sovereign rights and local government control,” with such cheer that you would really think the fight was all about zoning.
Allen’s Democratic successors took a pass on celebrating Confederate history, while the Republicans followed his lead with differing degrees of enthusiasm. McDonnell, like Allen, seems to have a rather shaky grasp of the principles of intellectual inquiry. During last year’s campaign, reporters discovered that the master’s thesis he wrote at 34 denounced working women and feminists. McDonnell waved it off, saying that his work was “simply an academic exercise” that “clearly does not reflect my views.”
When he came up with his original proclamation this week, many people wanted to know why McDonnell didn’t say anything at all about slavery. “I wasn’t focused on that,” he explained.
No, for McDonnell, Confederate History Month was all about “tourism,” so much so that slavery slipped under the carpet. This was also a theme in Georgia when the State Senate recently passed a bill to dedicate April to remembering the Confederacy. “It’s for education and to help benefit tourism in the state,” said Bowling.
Have you ever noticed that tourism has been the excuse for more dreadful developments in modern history than anything but Twitter? Cheese museums. Highways to nowhere. Confederate History Month.
I want this.