Archive for the ‘Abner Doubleday’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: DEER TICK-“Main Street” (Field Recordings, July 18, 2012).

NPR created a bunch of Field Recordings at Sasquatch Music Festival.  I picked this one [Deer Tick Among the Honey Buckets]  primarily because it featured Deer Tick front man John McCauley singing front of a bunch of porta potties.

I actually don’t know much about Deer Tick, so I don’t know if they normally sound folky or what.  But this song, in its acoustic setting is very good.  John McCauley’s voice works great here.  There’s even a nice shout out to MCA.

There’s not a ton to it, and this alone won’t make me a fan, but I’ll certainly check out more by them.  It’s also a nice video to watch, especially for the amusing encore.

[READ: August 1, 2012] “The Use of Myth in History”

Most of the articles in Colonial Williamsburg have to do with, well, Colonial Williamsburg.  This one, however, talks about myths that we as Americans have created and continue to believe, from colonial times to more days.

The article opens by explaining that Patrick Henry’s famous “give me liberty or give me death” speech was written down forty-two years after the fact by William Wirt.  And he wrote it down from memory, so who knows what words Henry actually spoke.  But no doubt Wird got the gist right.  So the Henry speech is a myth–not necessarily wrong but not exactly true either.

Klein explains that some historians would like to remove the myths from history and focus only on the facts, but stories like Henry’s are so popular, so ingrained in our memories, that removing them would do more damage than the beloved myths do.  Indeed, some historians believe that myths are very important.  Micheal Gerson wrote, “We know that myths are not the same as lies” and John Thorn said “Historians have an obligation to embrace myth as the people’s history”

Klein writes that America’s mythology was largely created by writers from the early 1800s.  Pressure was building towards the War of 1812 and they needed support.  The mythology was designed to get people to forget about the ugly Revolutionary War.  And so stories were created just in time for the birth of public education in America to disseminate the stories.  And so mythological stories like George Washington and the cherry tree or the midnight ride of Paul Revere or Plymouth Rock or even Pocahontas became enshrined in textbooks.  Now, most myths are based on facts, but the truths were embellished and made more romantic and given a moral.  So, yes Patrick Henry did give a speech, the Pilgrims settled in Plymouth and Paul Revere did ride into the countryside to warn of the British invasion. but probably not exactly as we think they did.  So nineteenth century writers made George Washington the symbol of our country–a unifying power to embody a nation. (more…)

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