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Posts Tagged ‘20th century

Dec 5 was the 75th anniversary of Repeal in the US

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Pottsville, Pennsylvania
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I count on the NY Times to provide me with the news of the day, as well as reminders of past news that could be significant today. In these parlous economic times, what can be more soothing than one or two or … stiff drinks. Here is a reminder from NY Times:

Although there’s a general trend towards permitting drinking and a number of previously arid locations have gone under — including the gloriously named Slippery Rock in Pennsylvania, which had been alcohol-free since its foundation by Zebulon Cooper in 1798 — the anniversary of repeal should perhaps be celebrated not with cocktails, but, following the example of H.L. Mencken, with a glass of some alcohol-free fluid, preferably someplace where you’d rather be drinking something stronger — to remind you of how pleasant, indeed life-enhancing alcohol can be, and to sympathize with the people who used to be dry and those who still are.

For hooch has the power to inspire, to console, to make celebrations brighter, and hard times more bearable. In the words of the Roman poet Horace, drink “unlocks secrets, bids hopes be fulfilled, thrusts the coward onto the battle-field, takes the load from anxious hearts. The flowing bowl — whom has it not made eloquent? Whom has it not made free even amidst pinching poverty?”

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2008/12/08 at 08:51

The making of modern myths

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A History of Europe Since 1945 cover

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I am going to read this collection of essays by Tony Judt, who is a recognized international authority on world politics and often an essayist for the NY Review of Books.

Here’s what Stefan Collini wrote about Judt in The Nation:

“The past has nothing of interest to teach us.” That, fears Tony Judt, is the presiding assumption of the early twenty-first century. The speed of social and economic change, the exhaustion of the twentieth century’s dominant ideologies and a desire to put the horrors of that century’s carnage behind us all conspire, he believes, to encourage a culture of forgetting. And this belief frames and justifies his sense of his own role; he appoints himself the Reminder-General in contemporary society (or at least in the United States), a particular version of the historian as public intellectual.

I was born in the 20th century, 1935, Oct 8 to be exact, and my early life was deeply affected by war and family upheavals in Spain 1936 and France 1940. So I relate very much to the objects of Judt’s writerly and professorial interests.

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2008/10/20 at 08:08