Saturday, January 23, 2010

Irrewind, 20100123: History

I am, simply put, a history nut. I can't get enough of it. While I do have two favorite specific subjects of history (World War II and Classical Greece), I really do appreciate pretty much 100% of it. And I'm talking the good stuff and the heinous stuff. The old cliché is that those who don't study history are doomed to repeat it, and while you will find many who believe this as much as I do, you will find no one who believes this more  than I do. The major fault I have with history is that, well, I don't write about it enough, which is probably why my progress towards a PhD in the topic is at a standstill (and looks to remain that way for the foreseeable future). Perhaps this will change soon; perhaps not. And perhaps I'll take the time to write about it here a bit more often. Admittedly, the idea appeals to me.


Anyway, here's some stuff that I have actually written:

"World War II: Pearl Harbor"
Not too long ago (probably sometime in June or July), I had to listen to a rant by my roommate/landlord about how FDR knew the Japanese were going to bomb Pearl Harbor. This, of course, made FDR a complete rat bastard in the eyes of my roommate. However, while I can't lay claim to whether or not FDR was a rat bastard, I'm pretty... Read More

"Iran: The White Elephant That Probably Shouldn't Be"
...despite the probability that Iran does harbor terrorists (something our state department rather judiciously reminds us of), the man likely wanted to pay his respects to a tragedy that even his country felt was an extreme response to so-called American imperialism. After all, a little known fact of Iran is that damn-near the entire... Read More

"War: What is it Good For?"
My intent is not to get too political here, but as I'm head-first into a ton of history at the moment, I've been finding the liberal peacenik question "what is war good for?" a little odd. Not that I'm a war mongering conservative asshole, mind you, but it is definitely a funny question ask. Especially because the answer is, well, it's good for quite... Read More

"Divisions of the United States Army"
This list of United States Army Divisions is divided into three eras: 1911-1917, 1917-1941, and 1941-present. These eras represent the major evolutions of Army division structure (there have been several minor changes during these times). The 1911-1917 era lists divisions raised during the Army's first attempts at modernizing the division... Read More

"American Independence"
When great minds gather, things change. Academic and intellectual rebellion is a given. The status quo starts to bend. The pen, they say, is mightier than the sword, but without the gun, America does not stand. With the gun, the status quo breaks... Read More


  1. nice. i enjoy history as well. will come back and check out a few of these later today...

  2. Jeff,
    Have you read Howard Zinn's "People's History of the United States"? Talk about the lack in public education, this one blew my mind. Being as steeped in history as you say you are, this book aught to rock your world.

  3. "When in the course of human events, after all. Liberty is not free. It requires a pen and a gun. Let us hope the pen remains loud and the gun remains silent."

    I may borrow this thought sometime soon.

    Your roommate may be right. We had cracked the Purple Code soon enough that there was a strong chance that we knew something; flip side is that the actual attack fleet travelled under radio silence.

  4. everything i know about history comes from cable TV, or from my History teacher wife (a genius i may add) I learned nothing of it in school. You may not write much directly on History, but your fervor surfaces in your writing.

  5. Did you ever see Battlefield Britain? It's hosted by a father-son team (Peter and Dan Snow) and it was one of the best series I've ever watched. I'm an actor by training and what I loved about it was that when re-enactments were filmed for the series, instead of the general or some well-known name or leader being "interviewed" documentary style for the series, often it was the foot soldiers, or ordinary men at the front lines being interviewed about the battles and the brief 2-3 minute monologues they would each give were so well-written and well-acted, it was incredibly moving and made you think about the point of war. I also loved the documentary The Fog of War which I'm sure you've seen. Incredible. What was intriguing about that documentary was that the director used a device so that his image was reflected inside the camera. In this way, when McNamara was being interviewed by the camera, instead of his eyes being cast off to the side to the director behind a camera, his eyes were directed INTO the camera. It made his comments so much more confessional. Quite the effect. I haven't watched television for three years now, but I do miss the History channel from time to time. It was a favourite of mine. I hope to catch up on all these past posts you posted. Intriguing stuff, Jeff. Thanks for sharing (and good luck with that PhD...)

  6. The best stories in the world come from history. Although I agree with the idea that historical eras are important in the overall sense of understanding trends and themes, I wish that history teachers would spend more time on the fascinating people of these eras. The individual stories of people's real lives are something that people can identify with and find interesting.

  7. I haven't been back yet. After the Saints-Vikings...


  8. Thanks for these rants, the Pearl Harbor one was very interesting, I heard about this "conspiracy" for a long time already.


  9. Now you've peaked my interest.
    I like your perspective on Iran. The more we intervene, the more we dig a hole.
    As for war, it's a natural state. It's what we do whether our reasons are altruistic or just plain dumb. I guess more civilised people combat via sport or debate but just like prostitution, you'll never get rid of it.