Rewriting History

My brother-in-law, Sandy, changed my reading habits dramatically when he bought me a subscription to the New York Review of Books.  Every two weeks an ungainly magazine arrives in our mailbox relatively devoid of advertising other than new books and the personals at the end of the magazine that include the pleas of widows and divorcees seeking the company of similarly oriented men.

What I enjoy most are the occasional glimpses of history that accompany the book reviews.  Being a relative neophyte whose exposure to history ended in the eighth grade, the information is fascinating.  Yes, some of the articles are beyond my comprehension such as a recent one dealing with the brain and how we think; that one might as well have been written by the ancient Greeks.

The June 23 issue contains an article entitled A New Approach to the Holocaust.  I am somewhat more conversant with that subject than others and, no matter how often I read about it, continue to be simultaneously repulsed and fascinated by the events contained in that human tragedy.  Like a moth to the flame, I am drawn to anything written about it.

The article contains the usual story line that the Nazis had not intended the extermination of the Jews.  Rather, deportation was the original preferred method of solving the problem.  But things change, especially when your plans begin to go awry.  And 6,000,000 died.  In particular I found the following intriguing…

The Final Solution took place, but not according to plan.  Rather than being a war aim, it became part of the war itself.  Hitler in August 1941 spoke of a war against Jews.  That December, after the Soviets began a counteroffensive at Moscow and the Americans entered the war, Hitler spoke of a world war brought about by the Jews.

One of my brain synapses clicked and I remembered Sunday’s call from our darling daughter Nancy.  A good girl, she regularly calls to check on the emotional and clinical status of her parents.  Following the usual organ recital, the conversation occasionally switches to politics and, in particular, the elected imbecile of the day…which, with the recent exception of Anthony Weiner, generally focuses on Republicans.  Must be genetic.  Nancy launched into a five minute dissertation of Michelle Bachmann’s recent confusion of Founding Fathers and slavery.

Asked by George Stephanopolous if she stood by her earlier comments that the Founding Fathers fought to eliminate slavery, Michelle incorrectly identified John Quincy Adams as one of the Founders.  Stephanopolous, with a far greater grasp of history than I, pointed out that it was John Adams, Quincy’s dad, who was the Founder and that many of those guys were inveterate slave owners.  Given the opportunity to recant and admit her mistake, she did not.  In support of the Bachmann version of history, her supporters altered the John Quincy Adams page on Wikipedia to include him as a Founding Father (he was eight years old when the Declaration of Independence was signed.)  That alteration has since be corrected.

Michelle also misspoke the day before while in Waterloo, Iowa announcing her run for president, saying that John Wayne was born in Waterloo, Iowa, when in reality John Wayne Gaycee the serial killer was born in Waterloo, Iowa. The Wikipedia page for John Wayne was also changed to make his birthplace Waterloo, even though John Wayne was born in Winterset, Iowa.  Good thing the Duke isn’t around.

Having laughed this off as something not worth worrying about and having said good-bye to Nancy, I was then confronted with the Ventura Star’s Monday headlineGOP Pins Budget Cuts on Democrats.  The world’s greatest newspaper then went on…

Republicans hope to pin the blame for massive spending cuts to social  programs and higher education on Democrats, while claiming credit for holding  the line on taxes. Assembly Minority Leader Connie Conway, R-Tulare, stressed  that the budget was “not ours…They’re the ones that chose who got cut. They are the ones that made their  priorities, and so if people are suffering and hurting, they need to contact the  people that did that to them.”

What?  Duh?  Refusing to negotiate any kind of revenue increase, these minority party bozos sat by and watched the Democrats slash and burn in order to try to balance California’s budget.  They gleefully participated in the travesty that allows a minority of the legislature to block any kind of tax increase.  And the Star, knowing full well that most of their subscribers only read the 16 point print, stoop to being co-conspirators.

Maybe I should go back to the eighth grade and pay more attention.  And maybe we should all stop laughing.

4 Responses to “Rewriting History”

  1. 1 Harry Levin July 4, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    Glad to see that you could tear yourself away from your new TV to write a blog. You also make we wonder about what I see in the History channel.


  2. 2 leila kleiman July 5, 2011 at 11:32 am

    I so enjoyed your comments. Up here in “mountain folk” country one gets use to re visions of history being quoted by the elected officials of cowboy land.


  3. 3 Kay July 8, 2011 at 10:23 am

    Being a truly uneducated person I have decided to refrain from saying anything about the politics of the country other than—they’re all phonies, liars & trouble makers & you can’t believe any of them. Nuff said.
    Regarding the Holocaust..I just read an interesting article in the August 2010 (I’m a little behind in my reading) Readers Digest titled “The Secrets of Sobibor. The story is about a Survivor, a Villager, Searcher, Archaeologist, Historian & Geophysicist. Unbelieavable. Check it out if you haven’t seen or read it.


  4. 4 Jon Lambert July 11, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    What is ‘history’ other than a series of reputed facts and/or events strung together in more or less a chronological order attached to an interpretation of said information that is designed to make the writer feel good about him/herself and/or an opinion/belief that is dearly held. A Chinese history of the world is a bit different that the sixth grade history tome found in our gradeschools. Revisionist history is all around us- it only took surviving the wear and tear of many years to come to understand the relativity of it all.


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