The Fallacy of Success

This piece dives right into it’s subject which is plainly stated in the title, Chesterton makes certain to give examples to other genres before seriously laying into the matter of point, but once doing so, doesn’t let up, giving specific reasons to support his side throughout the article.

Chesterton starts by describing different sides of the spectrum of the genre of focus, then lands on chivalry and religion at least being about their respective subjects whilst the genre of success is about “nothing”. He continues by relating these texts claim to tell of how men can succeed in anything, but the writers themselves not even being able to succeed in doing their job of writing about the subject correctly. Chesterton states the idea of success doesn’t exist, but then allows this is because success is in anything if one looks at the available examples given: “Any live man has succeeded in living; any dead man may have succeeded in committing suicide.” , as well as listing a couple others. He goes on to explain how writers of success try to convince those who read their subject matter can be helped to succeed in their specific area of need, but how if it were any other person writing about a distinct subject and didn’t actually deliver in seeming to know about what they were writing of, the piece would certainly not be published.

Chesterton reiterates his argument of people who write of success and those who’ve obtained it don’t have the knowledge of why this is so. He then informs of two ways one is successful, one of which most (hopefully) would rather choose, but some would be satisfied with the underhanded way of procuring the desired gem. We learn by Chesterton’s deductions of how one would usually try to go about learning a specific subject, those including the seeker being a natural, a cheat or acquiring books on the various subjects relating to the talent wanted, but the idea of going straight for a book on success due to the general statements within such a text shouldn’t be at the forefront of one’s mind.

We get another couple of examples of how a book on success would go about giving “advice” on how to attain triumph over one’s various endeavors, but how empty they would seem since it would lack detailed strategies about how one could potentially go about this. Chesterton then shares an article title of success about Lord Rothschild which he found odd and entertaining going on to add some article excerpts after, including a description of Vanderbilt’s background, he having been a millionaire and his successes, this obvious selection was given due to its sober evaluation of how whilst one couldn’t necessarily find success the same way, it gave the optimism it was still possible for others, Chesterton listing this article as, “…the horrible mysticism of money.” He perceives the author was in awe of Vanderbilt’s ability to have been given such success, but was only giving a fanboy list of Vanderbilt’s achievements rather than truly knowing how he’d become one of the few and the sparkling and celebrating Vanderbilt’s mysterious wealth.

Chesterton then debunks another statement by the same author which brings to light his careful cover up of facts to support his theory on those who were able to succeed, showing some mentioned, didn’t stay successful. Chesterton then admits how whilst he’d read about the figures mentioned and knowing he might not be able to fall into success easily, he admitted to also having not tried, preferring to focus on other more attainable pleasures. He begins to wind down with statements of how he doesn’t deny others’ successes, but had felt they may have been keeping something hidden and hoping people would soon come to disdain these success books as they should (which people still struggle with today, obviously) since all it seems to do is educate people on how to be conceited and give a false sense of experience. Chesterton ends with how some qualities should be preferred over the ones made to seem important, for instance the want of doing good work for not the possibility of becoming rich, but for being good at one’s job, he ending with the question of what could happen to those who are encouraged to attain greatness through their indecency rather than morality.

I quite enjoyed Chesterton’s flow and giving entertaining examples as to the absurdity of what authors of success books try to do with their “work”. There didn’t seem to be any arguments on the subject since I can relate to his viewpoint on success or D.I.Y. books. Chesterton set out to describe the lack of facts to back up what success writers publish, and I believe he succeeded (gold star, Chesterton, already ahead of the game). He sets out his arguments with viable representations of the facts and regardless of how long ago it was written, it still holds up even by today’s standards. Whilst this is just one article from a collection, I may some day decide to read the rest, but for now I’ll be glad to continue my reading of him with Father Brown.

The Soloist: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music

A touching story about a homeless man with schizophrenia and a journalist in L.A. I liked most of the book and I loved how most of the story reflected what they put in the movie. I saw the movie first, the story being sad, of course, but the book was better; which is how it normally is. What I didn’t like was how they don’t really give too much information about what happens to Nathaniel at the end, or where he is now and if he’s still trying to get help. Other than that it gives an inside look of what Nathaniel’s background was and what Steve Lopez wanted to pursue, career-wise and a bit more on his family, also adding how he’s tried to keep in touch with Nathaniel and his sister.

America (The Book) & I Am America (And So Can You!)

Preface to my short blurb review: I read this well before The People’s History of the United States, and this book is meant to be a humorous overview of what every American typically knows of history and politics, so I’m still glad I read this and would still read more from Stewart in the future because of his smart, funny take on politics; same goes for Colbert.

This is very similar to a history textbook, with a subtle side of The Daily Show humor. Entertaining, but definitely not meant to be read in one sitting. Enjoyable way to read about American history.

When I started this book, I thought, ‘I like Colbert, I’m going to try it.’ At first it was kind of slow going, but once I got a few pages in, I started to understand the humor. There are so many side notes that I found it hard to want to read all of it, but once I got past the thought, I realized how funny this book was. He also talks about his personal life along with childhood pictures and more of the like, but not enough to digress from his main point. I’m looking forward to reading more of Colbert and Stewart if more becomes available.

A People’s History of the United States

It starts with the Indians greeting Columbus, who takes some prisoner in order for them to show him where gold could be found. After being given a golden mask, they begin dreaming of even more riches. If I had learned about the Indian captives taken aboard the Nina and Pinta, perhaps I would have found more reason to have history stick, due to its depravity. Columbus made up part of his findings by this point, saying he’s “found” Asia (Cuba), basically making him sound like a desperate fool trying to convince his “buddies” back home he’s found a mecca of rivers with gold. It makes me imagine Charlie from Always Sunny In Philadelphia. The Indians begin learning the true intent of Columbus’ crew and retaliate en-force. Since Columbus’ promise of gold fell through, they dedicated their time to gathering more slaves to be sold in Spain. Due to Columbus’ lies, he had to become what we would consider a mob boss and began giving tokens to the Indians who found gold and those who didn’t, lost a limb and were left to bleed to death; hardcore dealings. They began committing mass suicide and taking out their infants to keep them out of the Spaniard’s hands; It only becomes more gruesome from here.

We also get background on the Arawaks and how they were polygamist except without the attachment. They have liaisons as long or short as they wish and women seem to have as much control of the relationship as the men. They also share communally so are unphased by giving personal items to others without a thought since they believe everyone would do the same for them. The Spaniard’s full control became completely cruel to the Indian slaves and is accounted in detail; They were Nazi-nasty cruel. Zinn then cites Las Casas testimony of what other horrible situations happened to the Indians before being wiped out. Quite detestable happenings, only makes my resolve in leaving the country much stronger. We are then shown, even if the numbers were closer to 250 thousand instead of starting at 3 million, end with none, but only before leaving 500? Quite a massacre. So even when we are cited with the detailed biography of Columbus by Morison, he shares the truth of Columbus’ genocide, but does in a way which doesn’t make him seem bad despite of it; pish. Zinn keeps the information simple and adds scope to make sure one grasps the concepts therein. I’m enjoying my second history lesson thus far. Zinn explains why historians don’t focus on the genocidal tendencies of our history, which is pretty logical. I also like how he gives a smattering of references throughout and the view of a community coming together peacefully is a myth and well-preserved. It’s interesting how my view has widened, I didn’t make an assumption of what is covered here, so it’s a bit easy-going into this and being able to let it broaden what little was already there from years ago. Then Zinn extends the fig leaf of knowledge informing outrightly what he’s covering and from what view. Zinn gives pretty sound advice with his declaring of this side of history, as well. He admits, regardless of what view is being presented, they’re both limited in standpoint. The executioners were also victims and the cycle continues, as do the victims themselves, but the executioners being victims doesn’t apply for America apparently: We came from the starting line of bullies as it turns out.

It moves on to the Aztecs and Cortes comparing what Columbus did with Cortes and Mexico. The Spaniards massacre the natives and take what they want and leave. We weave our way through the time comparing massacred native stories by different men for different and sometimes trivial reasons. One story involved a man trying to make a settlement in VA where he sacked and burned the Indian village when a silver cup was stolen. Then a governor runs into a chief in Jamestown, Powhatan and when some Englishman go to the Indians when they’re starving in the winter and the governor requests their return, he sees the chief’s response as arrogant and so sends a soldier to exact revenge by destroying the village and killing a multitude and kidnapping the chief’s wife and children, putting them in boats, then throwing the children overboard with great detail on how brutally they were shot. Over a decade later more of the Indians fought back, killing over 300 Englishman, women and children, starting a war. The English don’t go down easily either, they play at raising a white flag and kill the Indians when they let their guard down and kill them and their crops right when they’re ready for harvest, avenging the deaths of the 300 many times over, due to this plan working over 2 years. Powhatan gives a speech which has a part asking, “Why will you take by force what you have quietly by love?” He goes on to berate them with logic which is of course ignored. Then we start on the Pilgrims. Winthrop decides the Indians may have a “natural right” to the land, but not a “civil” one, which doesn’t make their claim legal and is considered acceptable to bully from them. They lie in wait making nice until an Indian criminal acts out and they use it to start a war and steal their land; We get more terrible comparisons which follow. Whilst the English won these wars, the Indians learn how the English were petty in warfare. Then I come across a passage reminding me of people I know personally, which is why I’m so good at staving them off; Years of practice doesn’t hurt. “They were clearly the aggressors, but claimed they attacked for preventive purposes…’All men of conscience or prudence ply to windward, to maintain their wars to be defensive.'” Hopefully my awareness and ability to smack down those who attack, as such, with my words will soon be noticed so I can put them behind me without them following like blood suckers.

Metacom, also known as King Philip, didn’t go down without taking down a significant number of Englishmen and when they killed him, the attacks by natives continued giving as good as they got. Unfortunately the English literally plagued the natives to death with disease and other tactics of war which dwindled their numbers from 10 million to under a million after Columbus’ arrival. Other islands had similar results of the natives being slaughtered due to inexperience of men with technology and trusting natures. Zinn rounds off the chapter by giving the opposing view’s side a knock down to size, to cover all bases. He questions whether Morison was correct in focusing the story of genocide in relation to human progress, but once he supports this argument with similar situations involving Stalin’s killing peasants for industrial Soviet Union progress and Truman explaining Hiroshima, I at least still follow the feelings of disgust and indignation, but it’s all to support the idea to have all the knowledge from both sides is more important than having one’s country look better or worse because of who won or has control over the history books. It may have been done for progress, but it shouldn’t be buried and forgotten; Own it, bitches. Also, when those who reaped the spoils of war financed more wars, it ultimately failed and left everyone either better (if one was rich) or worse for the others. We also stay ignorant by keeping the incorrect names for the people who were conquered only because of their loss in the war, but Zinn covers both sides consistently by incessantly asking questions to wonder whether these people deserved to be “brought down” by the leaders of “advanced” societies: It’s looking pretty sordid still. Then we trace the history of the people described as Indians to, perhaps validate Columbus in some way for his arrogant assumption. They were the minds to perfect growing corn and other veggies as well as what many claim for their own people’s: peanuts, chocolate, tobacco, and rubber!

Learning again, but seemingly more about the Hopi and Zuñi tribes, it’s deflating to see how comfortably and cleverly they were living before the arrival of the European explorers. We follow more tribes from the Eastern side of the country, among them including the Iroquois and Mohawks, who’s chief was Hiawatha and again showing how liberal and community-oriented they were. Sharing most everything with each other and living contentedly. They were also opposite in how they regarded women. The man would join the woman’s family and ultimately was decided by the wife when a divorce was wanted. They allowed the men to make decisions for the clan, but would veto the men out of office if they strayed too far from the women’s views for the betterment of the clans. Since the women were in charge of everything in the villages and worked closer to them, they were in charge of everything to do with them, whilst the men hunted. Also due to their manufacturing of war moccasins they had a bit of control over military matters. They taught the children their heritage of the tribe and independence and not to bend to overbearing authority (imagine where other cultures would be if they followed those values rather than picking and choosing which arrogant ignorance’s to value?) Iroquois also let the children decide when to potty train and being weaned (an interesting concept). Another interesting tactic (especially when considering this specific upbringing), if someone acted in an untoward fashion in war, they would be ostracized until the people decided he properly atoned for his action and had “morally purified himself.” When the Europeans tried to impose their own ways on the Iroquois, they responded how anyone would: You’re in my land, my rules, as it should have been. Before the Europeans stepped in, the Iroquois seemed to have an extremely idyllic lifestyle which would be nearly impossible to find today, (I’d like to be proved wrong). The Iroquois also were tentatively aware of their psychological health in their people and tried to aid in those developments. It makes one wonder why we don’t hear about more about those who were wiped out other than to hide how we may have mucked up our chances to learn from people who lived in a society which is what their “betters” were striving for.

The next chapter starts us on the African slave trade. Zinn poses the question of whether racism between blacks and whites will ever truly end: Ha, ha. There was a thought the first black slaves were supposed to be looked upon like those from Europe: “indentured servants”, but of course weren’t treated the same due to their trusting and native culture. To give us an idea of what the white settlers were dealing with in Jamestown, we learn of the starvation which lead to cannibalism. The colonists continued to suffer issues with the Indians defiance and resourcefulness due to the Englishmen not having the numbers to overpower them. The men who had decided to come weren’t necessarily all peasants needing to offer their services as servants, but some being skilled and those well off, not wanting to get their hands dirty and being forced to work by John Smith in the fields for necessity. The Indians meanwhile, didn’t need to put forth as much effort, since they knew the land and lived from it properly, making the settlers feel like fools. Then as people started joining the Indians, the jealousy became too much and so killing the Indians made the settlers feel superior and even killed those “traitors” who joined them, although none of this helped the settlers grow crops any more easily. Bringing in black slaves was, supposedly, the “answer”, but it wasn’t legalized for many decades.

The slaves from Africa and the Caribbean were first brought to the Portuguese and Spanish colonies by 1619, fifty years before Columbus; ten black slaves were brought by the Portuguese to Lisbon. So it had already been established for 100 years  which  black  people could be used as slaves. Sadly, their helplessness made their position as slaves easier for them to accept. They were put in a situation where they had no one of the same language, culture, or family to make them feel like they belonged there, of course besides the reason for their being there in the first place. Everything they knew was obliterated other than what they could hold onto by sheer willful tenacity, there being some aspects the Westerners couldn’t overcome by the Africans. They had military capabilities beyond them and would set up on the coast, but couldn’t penetrate the interior land, needing to make deals with the chiefs. African civilization is said to have been as advanced as Europe. The one downside for them was how easily swayed they were to sacrificing their own human lives for religion and or profit. It was a civilization of 100 million people skilled in farming with the use of iron contrivances. They also were skilled in weaving, ceramics and sculpture. There are also reports of even more “civilized”, from a European standpoint, living in 1602 in Benin, a West African kingdom. In 1680, there are more reports of how generous and friendly they are towards visitors.

The African way of punishing crimes which would be taken much more seriously elsewhere, were dealt with in fines or various degrees of servitude. They had more civility than Europe did at the time, which dealt with the same crimes by death. Also, whilst Africa had slaves of their own as well, it was more of a serf situation, but it was still used to justify Europe’s more aggressive slave trade. In African slave situations, most of them began to have more rights and inter-marry with the owner’s family, owning land, inter-merging with the culture, which if it was acceptable to the serf-like slave, I suppose isn’t too terrible to what happened in America at the time. Granted, African slavery wasn’t anything to be proud of either, but America took the whole lit-frosting cake with the terrible reign of hatred slavery brought. Since the blacks being brought into slavery were more impressionable and were being approached by their own people who were making a profit and being torn from their communal living, made it more difficult for them to fight back. They hadn’t the tools to understand this underhanded approach and were being thrust into a singular way of life. They were “smart” about capturing blacks of different tribes mostly who spoke different languages making camaraderie and trust improbable. The process of eliminating the weak was brutal as well. Amistad gave a taste of this line of history, as well as Roots, of course, but to read it in this detail is incomparable. First the Dutch, then the English dominated slave-trade. By 1800 10-15 million slaves were transported to America and Africa lost roughly 50 million to death and slavery in what was popularly called the beginning of modern Western civilization.

So due to the inability to get Indians or the settler to work the difficult land the availability of blacks who had been through the worst traumatic test of survival were easily used as slaves. Although it was the start and seemed controlled by the owner, those who had slaves who ran off or co-mingled were dealt with in a way to sway how they handled the slaves, making it methodically cruel regardless of what one would hope could be an escape-able life. Then there’s also the predisposition at the time of the color black being negatively defined and seen in a terrible light whereas white being described alongside beauty, etc. Also blacks and whites who were slaves and servants of America weren’t necessarily seeing each other as threats, obviously since laws began being passed against fraternization between them. Then punishment of the white servants was usually given by adding years of servitude to their sentence, drawing the line between races more still. Blacks may have been easier to enslave than Indians or whites, but not necessarily easy in itself. From the beginning they resisted enslavement (Ok? I understand the people weren’t pushovers, hell anyone who reads this book should be able to deduce the same!) through mutilation and death throughout the 200 years of slavery African-Americans rebelled. More often than not, they would try to escape, even more common was sabotage and other tactics which might be part of the stereotype of certain races being known as lazy, but only to assert they are human!

Some blacks were so desperate to escape from slavery they would jump ship to drown rather than suffer the sardine conditions aboard the ship, but those who stuck to communal lifestyle would run away in groups and try to live in the wilderness whilst those born into slavery would runaway singly and try to pass off as free men later. Once realizing their tactics, the Americans tried to adapt accordingly. Slave owners began realizing owning slaves and “breaking them” in was not easy and they usually not being “tame-able” until the slave was too old to be as willful. Later, as slavery became legalized, slaves consistently rebelled and drove owners to paranoia of the capacity of their capabilities, rightly. They fought back in groups, but would be defeated eventually due to their numbers not being large enough. There was even a time before racism firmly took hold which whites indentured servants teamed up with slaves due to being treated as badly as slaves and banded together due to the shared predicament. Since the owners saw the potential in winning their favors through offering previously withheld benefits, they began to do so to make it seem they were on their side and attentive towards their interests and well being. There was also an intricate design to keep blacks and poor whites apart, since whites clamored for whatever amount of higher status they could get and the upper class fearing rebellion and needing to control them as well as they could; They certainly did their job well.

The 3rd chapter begins with Bacon’s Rebellion and how to deal with the Indians, which Bacon had blatant enthusiasm in killing. He also came from high class, being more interested in the sport than helping the poor. When elected to the House of Burgesses only to organize armed groups to dispose of Indians, Governor Berkeley believed his to be a “rebel” and had him detained until 2,000 Virginians marched in his support, which Berkeley let Bacon go, only for he to continue on trying to “raid” Indians. He seemed to detest any kind of Indians and also accused Berkeley’s administration for favoritism to positions, not protecting farmers from Indians and giving him one more reason to attack and kill friendly Indians nearby. Bacon soon died from an assortment of bacterium. After his death, the rebellion soon lost steam. In the 1600’s-1700’s, people who were considered beggars would be exiled or put into workhouses. Those forced into exile to different countries had some hellish conditions to live through, including starvation leading to cannibalism and descriptive illness of all sorts. Through the 1600’s, detestable conditions and treatment of servants continued which left the masters invariably paranoid of rebellion. It seems due to the hardship of success and becoming a servant for need of employment gave the rich more reason to believe they were being wronged by the uprising, discontented servants. There was also mass desertion by white servants, so documentation was needed to prove one’s freedom and escape to another state wouldn’t help much since they would be extradited back. More than ½ the colonists in the colonial period were servants.

Mostly English in the 17th century, Irish and German in the 18th and as late as 1755, white servants made up 10% of Maryland. Whilst some indentured servants became successes after their allotted time, few of them were lucky enough to be among them. Those which were forced into labor, usually 1 in 10 would become “decently prosperous” and 80% were “hopeless, ruined individuals” becoming “poor whites”. Also, 17th century’s first group of servants in Maryland became more of a success than the latter half of the century, staying landless. Due to the amount of poor by the 1730s New York, a poor/work house was constructed. Although, some white workers who weren’t bound to servility, were still being mistreated, some having their wages withheld and would turn on the employer and essentially go on strike, but this being before there were unions, the workers were prosecuted for not doing their jobs, regardless of the “binding of their hand” which were the government fees they were charged. There are many stories confirming the greed of merchant dealers, as well. Also, there was a sense of discrimination from the employers by their employees which was noticed and soon being tried to extinguish them from their lofty positions. After one hundred years of discontent between the poor and rich, the gap between them, filled by the threat and doing of violence continued to escalate and needing to be gotten under control.

One fact also stayed the same, Indians were still impossible to enslave and when coupled with whites, not deciding to join the “advanced society”, but when the opportunity for whites to live among the Indians arose, they usually preferred to stay among them (Interesting, en’t it?). Which was soon dealt with by keeping the Indians isolated from poor whites, forcing the “pioneers” to move to the frontier, making them more dependent on the government and making the whites turn on the Indians, thus protecting the “security of the elite”; (crafty English/American bastards). Blacks and Indians had an even lesser chance of teaming up. Only in the Carolinas in the 1750s had they the chance to turn the tables for their numbers, but plans to divide and keep them in check through policies were made, making it so free blacks would be banned from stepping foot in Indian country and if fugitive slaves were to flee to Indian territory, policies were made to “require” them to return them, making it easier for blacks to have an aversion toward the Indians and whilst it did keep the fraternization to a minimum, there were some tribes who would still harbor and integrate black slaves into their communities. To help prohibit the same type of fraternization between black and white servants, it became a numbers game, making it so only 1 white to 6 blacks, to keep the black slaves in line. Racism was coaxed into existence more easily with how whites were given certain rights upon release which blacks were not making “class scorn” and white over black status more obvious and “racial contempt” another way to control the mixing between races (Jeez, how would all them black-haters explain this away? I’m referring to any which don’t rely on uniformed ignorance, if such a person exists). Another “handy control” of keeping the “little people” down was “profiling.

The 4th chapter begins with a summarizing of the 7 Years War, The Stamp Act and Boston’s discontent with the rich, which soon covered The Regulators. Then we get details about the Boston Massacre and once the English saw they had done enough damage, withdrew to settle the people down. Also a source for argument of The Stamp Act, Boston Massacre and the Tea Party is given as well as questions of disobeying the law, government loyalty and rights and obligations. It goes on to cover bits of the Declaration, in particular the bit about being harassed by “Indian Savages” and although Jefferson wrote of his “moral indignation” of slavery this was coming from a man who owned loads until his death, but had the hope of its abolishment and his mentioning of it was taken out of the Declaration, in the end; We also learn who read it after its completion.

The 5th chapter begins with Bunker Hill and a soldier being interviewed of the reason for his service and then heroic doings by William Scott. We move to George Washington and his way of handling a war where black slaves wanted to fight and Washington declining, but the British opposition commander offering freedom to those who fight for him in Virginia. It goes on to describe Indians fighting for their land and fighting on the side of the French, who were also fighting against the British. Then a successful attempt at biological warfare against the Indians is implemented. To those who did fight for the British, thousands were given freedom and chose either to leave on British ships to go to England, Nova Scotia, The West Indies or Africa, but many decided to stay in America, (land of opportunity). In Boston, blacks were trying to get something like welfare like the whites, to educate their children. Charles Beard, an author, realized the makers of the Constitution had a bit of economic interest in founding a federal government. Four groups were excluded from the Constitution: slaves, indentured servants, women and non-land owning men and didn’t reflect the interests of those people. It goes on to explain how the Constitution serves the interests mostly to the wealthy elite, enough to the small property owners to build a base support and they are buffers to the minorities and poor whites, making it easy for the “elite” to stay in control with the least effort, maximum law and made easy to accept with the bonding of patriotism and unity of the people (sounds about right). So by the end of the chapter we learn the Founding Fathers were protecting the rights of mostly the rich, keeping the status quo as it was, a balance of the dominant class, they not wanting equal rights between slaves and masters, property-less and property holders, Indian or whites. Half the people weren’t even considered by the Founding Fathers, specifically speaking, women making up half.

The next chapter starts where we leave off at the last chapter’s end. We’re first told of America and those other societies which oppressed women or saw them as a part of their property, then skip back to tribes who had greater respect, not necessarily not oppressive, but held more positions of authority and were valued more as equals than what women have tried to fight to regain. When girls came to America to be indentured servants they weren’t treated properly either and so from the master’s point of view, they were lazy, stupid, and or malevolent, (no wonder there are stereotypes for any race, as long as one’s a part of the working class). We are also given firsthand accounts, through letters to loved ones of the conditions for indentured servants and slaves alike. After, information of the surviving women who made passage on the Mayflower is given. So this nonsense of men being power-holders or “wearing the pants” came from English marriage indoctrinated religion. It’s not Christian, it’s ignorant teachings brought to the “New World” didn’t die on the ride here. There is also one of the longest dialogues in the book thus far from a woman who has more than a few children out-of-wedlock and fined for each of them. Also due to the severe lack of compromise of religion and the writings published to support the narrow-minded view made it more acceptable to follow these ideas as facts to be made rules and law of marriage. Anne Hutchinson, known for her outspokenness on religious matters is covered and a “coffee party”, the counterpart to Boston Tea Party is mentioned by letter from a woman to her husband. We are also given names of women who helped in the American Revolution who were portrayed as whores whilst women who had a less direct hand in it, like Martha Washington, were more revered (I remember being unimpressed learning about her in school, though the educators tried to make it seem highly important). Although due to the low volume of women on the frontier, they were more valued and like Indian society, had positions of power, at least enough to exert some standing.

Wages of women factory workers come next and literacy of women, since it’s not attended to, or thought important to educate women and became a personal goal to those as primary school teachers between the years 1780-1840. Two power-house sisters, Angelina and Sarah Grimke’ who spoke and wrote for equality for their gender in the 1830s made this chapter gripping. The next one focuses on the “Indian Removal” to make way for white society. This history is also taking away the idea presidents were ever noble, like Washington and Andrew Jackson. Jackson seemed manipulative with his ways of handling the Indians. If it wasn’t by killing, he accepted their help to defeat others, then get them to take part in capitalizing off their own land, becoming a part of “society”. Also the “Florida Purchase” was much more violent than it’s title allows. Jackson burned his way through villages until convincing Spain to sell. As the Indians were overcome and slowly pushed out, leaving them with the “option” to accept compensation for the land being occupied by settlers or staying, but being forced to abide by the American laws, made it impossible for them to continue to live as they did. Any American who tried to defend the Indians right to stay on their land was arrested regardless of being unconstitutional. Indian removal certainly was ruthless, but how else is one supposed to believe a nation was handed over, with no casualties?

Walt Whitman is quoted in the Brooklyn Eagle near the beginning of the American Revolution. Henry David Thoreau is also mentioned when he was put in jail (which I don’t remember hearing anywhere), for not paying a poll tax, which was paid by his friends against his consent, because he opposed the Mexican war and his stay in jail ended up being quite short. After, Ralph Waldo Emerson is quoted with a question to Thoreau whilst during his stay in jail. Frederick Douglass is quoted after, continuing on the topic of why going to war with Mexico was supported if not created by reporters to get people to be in line with the popular demand. From there we’re given opinions of the people against the war, increasing because of news supporting it, it seems and how the foreign-born living in the States increased by 10% after the war began. There’s a quote from a “free-thinker” about the war as well, which I’ll leave out so as not to make this longer than necessary. Men were being “persuaded” to join by getting drunk and made to sign the enrollment paper as well as being outright lied to so as to have as many “volunteers” as possible. There was much dissatisfaction from recruits, which today is widely accepted as a part of serving. Graphic war depiction is given after. Then we get quotes about Canada’s take-over by America and the threats to the Indians on the requirements on being allowed to stay, quoted by naval officer Revere. After short blurbs of New Mexico’s rebellion and of Los Angeles being reclaimed, we get first hand accounts of soldiers losing their humanity in support of pillaging and raping in Mexico. Once soldiers experienced what a tour in the military in Mexico consisted of, most didn’t reenlist despite offers to “sweeten” their stay. As the trek to overtake Mexico continued, some soldiers’ detestable behavior is given in more detail by their comrades accounts, most of the men fueled by alcohol. Also, because most soldiers resented and disliked being a soldier and on top of which disliked Mexico and its people, made them more susceptible to act out. Half the time the commanding officers were brutal and sadistic toward their men and so if called upon to help alleviate rebellion, no one would aid him, in particular, Col. Paine’s section. The end of the chapter gives the results of Mexico’s surrender.

The chapter after discloses how slavery is ended and why it failed with John Brown’s attempt and also the reason Lincoln succeeded a year later. It goes on to describe how one is supposed to relate to the details of slavery if one wasn’t one, giving statistics and how they sound in different ways. Also, slave revolts tended to occur more and in greater scale outside America, but we’re given an account of possibly the largest one in America happening near New Orleans and the reason for destroying the trial record of Denmark Vesey is also disgustingly detestable. An account of Harriet Tubman soon follows, after. We are also given more reasons why poor whites decided to help slaves and coincidentally, why they’re hired to oversee slaves; Also the details of marriages between slaves with their mutual monogamy and resistance to planned engagements; they also helped each other care for their children, as a community and gave responsibility to the elder children, making rivalry among them uncommon.

We move on to David Walker’s beliefs of slavery and why a high reward was given in the event of his capture. Then we move back to a quote by Frederick Douglass from his autobiography. It goes on to cover the Fugitive Slave Act and a speech is given by J.W. Loguen, half-black and escaping slavery and going to college to become a minister. His story becomes more interesting with the mention of his role in the Underground Railroad, his mistress and response to her blackmailing letter which his returning letter was printed in a newspaper, this all being covered in his memoir. After, Frederick Douglass’ fourth of July address is quoted, which I couldn’t agree more with at this moment; it’s not my fault America has disillusioned me, and since this seems to give logical support to my logically emotional reaction, I can’t help but tip my never-has-been patriotic hat. Then it moves on to covering Secretary of State, Daniel Webster’s quote in response to the recollection of the Revolution and the 1812 war.

By this time black abolitionists used every tactic available to further their cause and comparisons between the white abolitionists and black are given. It’s also covered whilst white abolitionists did “courageous…pioneering work”, black abolitionists were the backbone, understandably and also less publicized. Sojourner Truth is quoted before moving on to W.E.B. Du Bois quotes from his book, John Brown. When going through more quotes of supporters of John Brown and himself, we get to Abraham Lincoln again and more details as to why he succeeded in his end to slavery. He was fluid in his stance, enough to satisfy according to the city and times of election. We also find through corresponding letters between Lincoln and the editor of the NY Tribune, Greeley found Lincoln was hugely on a single-minded path, whether using the Union to be his main and only concern or helping free the slaves, we learn Lincoln pushed for laws to be passed, another main goal seemed to be trying to make every man equal regardless, even if he failed; enlightening.

We then go back to a quote from Du Bois about the Civil War. Many white slave-owners are surprised when some of their slaves run to join “the enemy”. Many people did seem to delude themselves slaves enjoyed their bondage, oddly. Also, after a time and protest made, blacks did eventually get equal pay as white soldiers in the war; not knowing if this meant much. Even when finally being told of their freedom and happiness for which, they still understood there would be hardships in having an acceptable status and possibly having to offer services as a “housekeeper” of sorts. Lincoln, unfortunately didn’t go on to make it any easier for the freed slaves to live, as it goes on to show. Although, upon Lincoln’s assassination, Andrew Johnson did help to reverse the little progress made. We see the rise and fall of power for black independence and equality from 1873-1901.

The next chapter begins with farmers rebelling against the landlord for collecting rent which seemed unfair, joined together and went up against a sheriff and 500 mounted posse far surpassing their numbers to begin the Anti-Renter movement. Landlords believed and assumed the right to take any and all timber from farms and none of the renters believed their conduct acceptable and when they signed an anti-rent bill and it failed to be passed, the war continued. Once two leaders were caught and given the option for lighter sentencing if they wrote letters to have the anti-renters disbanded, “the Law thus crushed the Anti-Rent movement.” They were made to believe voting would be the only acceptable mode of change. It moves into the Jacksonian period soon after and how he was a strikebreaker. Whilst “Jacksonian Democracy” tried to make every one support the system, the usual players were outside the realm of support: women, foreigners, every race besides white, but despite the white working class still felt they were being spurned, as well. We also cover when Irish immigrants were being overshadowed by the plight of blacks at this time. We move on to women textile workers who continually had to strike for the conditions and employers setting their hours back to get more work from them. An 11-year-old girl also gives testimony for the strike she was a part of. Also in Paterson, New Jersey we get a story about children going on strike due to the lunch hour being changed from noon to an hour later, but the threat of bringing in militia got them back to work, although to alleviate any more trouble, it was switched back. The largest strike to occur before the Civil War, happened in Massachusetts by shoemakers. July 1863 brought many black deaths due to white workers having to compete for jobs and a mob at a recruiting office began a three day killing spree; along the lines of 400 people were killed and a graphic description given from an observer.

We move on to how laws protected companies more than the workers around the time of 1860, one being in Massachusetts when 900, mostly women workers are trapped inside a collapsed mill and even with evidence the building couldn’t support the machinery, the jury found no criminal intent. When unions were being formed, most of the time blacks had to form their own, but apparently there were some who were less discriminating, the National Labor Union in an 1869 convention being mentioned. There are also a couple other races who had their own Declaration of Independence, one quoted from by the German Socialists in Chicago. In 1877, due to infested water and the Depression at its depth, the deaths of babies were being expected and numbers given, also the same year strikes by railroad workers in many cities brought the nations attention like no other conflict in labor had in its history. Those sympathizers of the railroad strikers in Baltimore took a more violent way of showing their support, getting the soldiers to react by firing back at them. The results of which had two handfuls of men and boys dead, one soldier wounded and a crowd of 200 smashing the engine of a passenger train, along with tearing up the tracks. Some soldiers sent to alleviate the riots decided to give up the arms due to the deaths of citizens in Pennsylvania. Many people, among them those who realized the hardships of those dealing with the railroad company’s and blacks learning they didn’t have enough to get the promise of equality in the Civil War and working class people realizing they aren’t united enough nor strong enough to overtake private capital and government power.

The next chapter begins with an opening of how different races and sexes of workers were oppressed differently to keep the wealthy safely in power, only making it seem more of a sick social experiment. From there it shows how labor for farming and mills became more efficient by machines and then goes on to mention who offered themselves for labor and the success driven minds to invent the machines to further the manufacturing processes. We also find the useful tactic of the reality of a “rags to riches” story and how common they truly were; most coming from well-off beginnings. One has to sell their soul before walking into the “club”. We learn more of the dirty dealings between those companies who owned railroads and how they plotted to keep their business between themselves and how much they valued human life. They bought as many companies they could and were able to capitalize off the people working for them, paying them barely enough to survive on due to being such deviously shrewd businessmen. We then learn the finer points of the Cleveland Presidency focusing on keeping bondholders happy more than relieving farmers for a drought which left them without seed-grain.

We then delve deeper into the people’s ideas of how becoming rich occurs and a stigma of one man believing it was the poor’s own fault most of the time they couldn’t extricate themselves from their plight. Also, businessmen began buying and giving charity to universities and coining the phrase “philanthropist” for their “kindness”. Covered after is how other nationalities were taken advantage of to work almost as slaves. In 1883 an anarchist manifesto is excerpted basically supporting equal rights without dividing sex or race. It then goes on to a bombing at Haymarket Square in Illinois where 8 anarchists are arrested and sentenced to death. It made a great stir internationally, but all but three were hanged, one taking himself out dramatically whilst being held. After all of this, the bomber is not confirmed and rumors of an undercover cop being the culprit stayed as such. I also realize now, this moment in history was covered in a thoroughly funny Comedy Central show called Drunk History; worth the gander, as well as being a movie called the Chicago 8. After, we follow more strikes and radicals during the Depression years, then go on to talk of the Farmers Alliance. During this time black farmers were also struggling for the same rights and some white farmers did team up and support having black delegates in the state executive committee. By the end of the chapter it’s declared the “supreme act of patriotism” is war, and how two years after McKinley becomes President, war with Spain is declared.

We begin on the profit system and the overseas continents and countries American government forces overtake and protect for their own cause. After which it focuses on the major manufacturing marketed and successfully sold overseas by well-known companies. It goes on to cover the Cuban Revolution in the 1890’s and how Winston Churchill wrote of how it’d be better if Spain kept it’s reign. It goes on to talk of the Lattimer Massacre and soldiers getting food poisoning, not knowing how many of 5000 died because of it. It reports of Cuba and how they saw the Platt Amendment. It seems American government wanted Cubans to give them rights which should be honored to the Cubans themselves above any others. It also reveals the takeover of the Philippines. Mark Twain as well as others comment on the war in the Philippines being a cruel one and helping America become a definitive power monster. Also the way black soldiers were treated during the war whilst they were in the U.S. drove them to egregious behavior in response to the violence and disdain they were looked upon with. By the end of the chapter, it describes how blacks, whites, men and women were plagued with unpatriotic feeling.

The chapter after gives background and an excerpt of a speech by Emma Goldman. Then it moves on to literary authors of the 20th century including Twain and a brief timeline of Jack London. We then move on to Taylorism and are given quotes of the strikes which occurred. Also a fire in the Triangle Shirtwaist Company is covered which went against certain laws making it so 146 workers were trapped and killed within the building. It goes on to notify of the American Federation of Labor after and how they chose their members, leaving out “unskilled workers”. We then get a background of what the Industrial Workers of the World went through in practicing their right to free speech. Once, in Massachusetts, parents began sending their children to families in New York so they could continue to strike. Lawrence tried to cite a statute preventing anymore children from being sent away, going so far as to post police at the railroad station, and upon trying to board, clubbing and trampling women and children, taking them to military trucks. The strikers held out and negotiations to end the strike began March 1912. Helen Keller is then quoted on her thoughts on the socialist movement and specifically toward Bill Haywood. It goes on to describe the growth of suffrage, which has another quote in response to an editor of the Brooklyn Eagle arguing her socialist stance like a “little bitch”. Keller’s response, printed in another newspaper is quite satisfying. It also gives the start of the NAACP founding and W.E.B. Du Bois’ position in it at the start. We also learn more of the repression of Socialism and the Ludlow Massacre which occurred in Colorado. It goes on to mention the war in Mexico happening at the same time and how WWI would be coming in four months.

The next chapter begins with the idea WWI was an Imperialist War. We are given an idea of the casualties of British and French soldiers against the German soldiers, then America steps in on the Spring of 1917 also giving the idea “conquest” of the foreign market gave prosperity to everyone and not only J.P. Morgan. W.E.B. Du Bois is quoted on his insightful thoughts of “the nature of the First World War”, which is printed several years before Lenin’s Imperialism. In 1917 when America declares war, the public doesn’t rush off in favor of it and it actually became quite an “unpopular war”. Then the Espionage Act is passed, which goes against one’s freedom of speech. Around 900 people went to prison because of it with no mention of its eradication, instead we read of immigrants being deported for unknown reasons and falsified crimes and the “class war” is continuing on through the 20s and 30s despite the U.S. supposedly being a “classless society”. If it’s one other thing this history provides it’s where and why a typical citizen should feel in debt to America. Perhaps one of its charms, to make one aware of whether one is getting the best attributes out of it’s government or not.

In February 1919 in Seattle, WA a strike was beginning for shipyard workers. During the strike, the city’s crime rate decreased to such an exponential proportion as to not being seen before by a commander of the U.S. Army in his forty years of service. The strike ended in five days due to “pressure” from international officers of assorted unions, according to the General Strike Committee. When the strike ended, arrests were made for being “ring-leaders of anarchy”. Then some “crazy shit” starts going down with Frank Everrett, a lumberjack who was a soldier and after he kills the leader of a mob, which was after he shot at the mob earlier, they get major revenge on him through torture and his death not long after. A mayor is quoted about his view of what the strike signified, being to “overthrow the industrial system”. Then in September 1919 another strike begins with steelworkers in Pennsylvania as well as other workers. The year after the war, still more were going on strike. By the start of the 1920s though, work became tolerable enough to the right number of people and the unrest calmed and further rebellion quelled. Immigrants were also having their numbers monitored so as to stay below a certain quota according to race; an interesting range. We move on to how Capitalism still seemed, in 1929 an undependable system. By the start of the 1930s people were losing their jobs. Children and adults alike were demanding to be fed, whether by school officials or restaurants in their town. Once Hoover badly handled veterans being evicted, Roosevelt was successfully able to win the election. He started the New Deal to help stabilize society, but people still dealing with evictions began backing each other up once targeted. Roosevelt’s New Deal was to keep the lower class from starting a revolution, but another example of D.I.Y. was in Pennsylvania when unemployed coal workers dug in small mines, then sold the coal below commercial rate, were prosecuted and local juries and jailers wouldn’t convict or imprison them. It goes on to mention the white and black farmers compensation differences and the committees and meeting they begin holding in regards to the mass unemployment. When the New Deal ended, Capitalism stayed intact and by the end of the chapter, war was still coming to America after covering the early 1930’s.

The next chapter begins with a quote including Great Britain, U.S., Canada plus twenty-one other countries declaring the war wasn’t imperialist and then two years later Germany invades Soviet Russia and the American Communist party continually describe the war an imperialist one and “a people’s war” against Fascism. It goes on to debate if this were true, showing it was the most popular and whether it was what it seemed or if there were those against the war. It mentions the popularity of air-raid shelters in the mid-1950’s and ends the chapter on Kennedy’s budget not changing much in his first year of office. During World War II it was too sensitive a time with war mentality to allow open discussion and the U.S. being a “hero” to “weaker” countries is something one might learn in school, but not through its actions in world affairs: instigation of war in Mexico and taking half the country, pretending to help Cuba get freedom from Spain and making a military base there instead, plus other exploitation’s of Japan and China. At one point setting 7,000 troops in Russia in 1918 and adding 5,000 to a Russian port as an “expeditionary force”.

Apparently there was also hesitation in speaking out on Hitler’s persecution of the Jews at first in 1934. It goes on to question the reasoning behind “covert” support of certain wars between other countries all to advance imperial interests of the United States. Then we are given the reason why America joined WWII, not to try and help the Jews, what did it was Pearl Harbor and whilst the American public was shocked to being bombed, the government wasn’t, also Roosevelt might not have known Pearl Harbor was going to be attacked, but did lie to the public for a cause he thought was right. It goes into quite a bit of detail, as do most of these I’ve mentioned. It continues to report of the United States’ plans to become an economic power and pushed Britain out of the way for oil rights in Saudi Arabia. It also mentions the reason the U.N. was created. As well, whilst Roosevelt started the Fair Employment Practices Commission, he didn’t seem interested in enforcing its orders, so blacks and women still had a hard time being treated as equal, obviously. Then we cover the Japanese and those American-born who experienced the internment camps after Pearl Harbor’s attack. Then we get statistics of the people who fought compared to those who deserted and how differently officers over enlisted men were treated. We get the black men’s perspective of joining the war as well, which didn’t seriously affect them either way. Then we are given to consider whether bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki were necessary to end the war, the answer being to the negative, it was not, but was done so as to have control of Japan before Russia declared war.

The war re-invigorated capitalism in America and Russia worked to rebuild its industry, which gave the Truman administration the ability to present them as an immediate threat. It then goes into the war between North and South Korea and the U.S.’ involvement. McCarthy also became an anti-Communist thorn, going so far as lying about documents from the State Department only to bully the Communist party from power, threatening Republicans and Democrats alike. J.F.K. seemed to share McCarthy’s views, however. Then Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are mentioned and the historical figures who tried to have their sentence appealed by two former Presidents, a stay of execution was given, but only for a short time, to prove a point no one accused of Communism would escape consequences. From this time throughout the 1950’s, America was on the lookout for Communists. There’s also mention of Captain America vowing to take out Communists as well, ha ha. Military funding increased during the 1950’s and got even higher when Kennedy was President in 1960, still gaining power in the 1970’s. Then we segue to Fidel Castro’s rise to power and after going to prison and getting out, he meets Che’ Guevara and after whom takes over Cuba’s government, America trying to make Castro’s uprising difficult, but failing to intimidate. Kennedy, upon election seemed to have adopted the responsibility to continue the attack and tries to bully Castro out, but his army was too much for America to reach its objective. By the end of the chapter Kennedy’s changes concerning economic structure is given and in the 1960’s a “series of…rebellions in every…”part,”of American life…showed…all the systems estimates of security and success were wrong.”

The next chapter starts with an excerpt of a Langston Hughes poem which also titles the chapter, proceeding with other poems showing the discontent of the black community. We than get a background of Angelo Herndon, a black man who joined the Communist Party and eventually was incarcerated for insurrection in Georgia. We then get to Truman’s slow-to-proceed policy of equality. 1965 still had 75% of segregation in schools in the South, 10 years after the guideline was made. We then go to Rosa Parks story and quote also including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s part as one of the leader’s of the boycott at age 27 and his home being bombed. Also whilst King preached to fight back with non-violence and love, others came to realize sometimes there has to be another way, in respect to dealing with Klansmen; even Indians used firearms to defend themselves against them. In 1960 blacks were having sit-ins at restaurants to show they wanted to have equality, peacefully and it continued until “Freedom rides” were added, where blacks and whites would travel by bus together across state lines and whilst J.F.K. was in office at this point he was more concerned getting the support of white southern leaders than enforcing equality. The two buses which tried this didn’t return, getting confronted with violence as local police and FBI stood by and watched, not interfering. Then after M.L.K. Jr.’s “I have a dream…” speech at a march was embraced by President Kennedy and other national leaders, Malcolm X’s quote seemed to be the typical feeling of those at the march, a much more serious than uplifting note. Kennedy found control of the march, making it no longer what it was, but a “democratic coalition”. There’s also a gun fight mentioned comparing it to be as violent as WWII in Watts, Los Angeles, CA in 1965. The Chicago 8 are again mentioned in regards to the Civil Rights Act which was passed being used against them. After, we cover the finer details of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. Then we find in the mid to late 1960’s to early 1970’s the FBI was a part of violently silencing any black militancy groups who were getting attention, including the Black Panthers. The chapter ends with a lecture on white and black poor in competition to attend inadequate schools.

The next chapter focuses on Vietnam and starts with the Vietnamese Declaration of Independence from French colonialists. We find the U.S. was also supporting 80% of the French war effort on Vietnam in 1954. Which the reasons for being possibly due to what could be cultivated from their land and if they would be swayed by Communism. After the French withdrew due to support of Ho Chi Minh being too great, the U.S. stepped in to make South of Vietnam their base, which became South Vietnam solely for American reasons. The NLF were helping Vietnam villages keep control whilst Ngo Dinh Diem tried to have otherwise. After Kennedy’s assassination, President Johnson outright lies to the public on an American destroyer, Maddox being attacked unprovoked. Then it goes on to describe the mass killings and hut destroying of the Vietnamese people. An American living in Laos at the time of the bombing and knew the language interviewed many locals during the massive upheaval. Once President Johnson declared he wouldn’t run again for all the negative feedback for keeping American soldiers in Vietnam, Nixon announced he would begin withdrawing troops and did, but also carried on the war by different means and also launching an invasion of Cambodia in 1970. In protest of the war, some Americans were going so far as burning themselves alive. We also get descriptions of Americans and some celebrities openly speaking at the White House of their disagreement of the war and the first time I’ve ever heard of Americans hijacking an American ship which had bombs going to airbases in Thailand. Then we find how the Pentagon Papers began. ROTC programs also became impacted by protests of the war. It also turned out grade-school educated people were against the war more so than college-educated. We also get an excerpt from Born on the Fourth of July from Ron Kovic’s point of view and by the end of the chapter Nixon admits in his Memoirs he knew the power of public opinion swayed the stay of war in Vietnam.

The chapter after starts with the struggle of women to get out of the appearance of only being good for making themselves be the support system for their husbands and how much beauty regimens they need in order to keep themselves at par to making their men happy; I paraphrase, of course. We then get a couple excerpts from The Feminine Mystique and it goes on to show even when women were getting more opportunities for equality, it was still a stressful struggle. After a thorough section on women liberation and family values, it goes to the conditions of prison inmates. We are also shown whilst the poor did commit more crimes than the rich, it was solely due to the law being on the side of the rich, not needing to break the law to get what they wanted; also helping was the ability to get attorney’s who could shorten or lessen the severity of a sentence leaving a larger number of poor black people being the ones to stay in jail. Then we get a description of how George Jackson’s murder inspired prisoners of Attica to protest and come together; it also mentions the film. We then revisit American Indians and how they only maintained their reservations because they couldn’t be made to take individual plots of land.

Then describing how many times America made treaties with the Indians only to ignore them for their own selfish reasons; mentioning one the Kennedy administration ignored to make a dam which flooded the Seneca reservation. Then in Washington state, Americans wanted sole fishing rights to what the Indians already had rights to and arrests began for defiance of their rights being ignored. We also get a humorous anecdote from an American Indian who spoke to a “non-Indian” of how they didn’t make proper use of their land when they had it. At one point Indians even stayed on Alcatraz Island making peaceful protest to the conduct of how the United States had ignored their agreements. We also learn in 1977 there was a teacher of 4th and 5th grades trying to break the stereotyped views of Indians by presenting the old and new texts inspiring some students to write to the editor with their opinions, one being quoted. After, we cover the Oglala Sioux Nation’s fight to keep their land at Wounded Knee and then being unencumbered of men and women talking about sex and the lack of use of bras in the 1960’s and ’70’s, gay and lesbian openness to talk, the wearing of pants by both sexes, and the protest musicians which became popular. We also cover the semi-liberalness of religious servants and their starting of families instead of only with Jesus. The end of the chapter imparts how much in the span of two centuries were we able to learn how to control people and how by the mid-seventies it started to show.

The early seventies showed there was not much trust in the government. It then goes into the Watergate debacle and how it would have been the other aid for people to start mistrusting the government, (the first being Vietnam). When Nixon resigned from office, it is made clear because he’d left, didn’t mean his policies would be abandoned. Ford pardoned Nixon from having criminal charges brought against him and was able to live comfortably on his pension in California. It goes on to mention the milk industry hiked up retail prices so as to make more money to contribute to the Nixon campaign. The reason for people’s discontent of the government also came from the inflation of prices and high unemployment occurring. Then we go into the decline of authority the President began to have and how after election he needed to find the support of powerful institutions. By 1960, the interest in voting was waning. James Carter was elected to change the disillusionment those before him had instilled in the public, and apparently did a pretty good job of it, getting the approval of blacks and appointing people who seemed appropriate to the areas mentioned, but then began to make some not so morally high-grounded decisions, like not helping rebuild Vietnam and not changing how the FBI and CIA went about their dealings, supporting their keeping of “secrets”. There was also a point when the public began to show less enthusiasm to his presidency when he made it clear he didn’t care if poor people could afford abortion and if life was unfair to those who didn’t have money. We are then shown the protests of people still working under unfair conditions and fighting for their rights.

The final chapter relates this textbook is biased in the opposing direction of most historical texts for the reason being the other side is so commonly acknowledged and taken as the whole truth and story. Which is why this covers the people’s movements so closely. The fact Zinn mentions how the “…American system is the most ingenious system of control in world history…” seriously disturbs me, but this chapter, if one is debating whether not they should delve into this slightly daunting text, should read the seven pages and see whether they’d like to learn another side of a history we’ve all heard and been bored silly by the teachers who lectured its requirement; but overall, if one has an open enough mind, one shouldn’t need the extra kick in reading this epilogue-like chapter and go for it straight on. It’s a good one and ends on a positively hopeful note, which at this particular moment in time, seems like an unattainable fantasy from a Californian perspective. Otherwise, tremendously worth the read, I learned more than I ever did in public school and would have read this in a heart-beat if I’d been told of it in my high school days.

Bored to Death

I read only the short story, but from the book The Double Life is Twice as Good, which, if I locate again, will try to continue, but I started watching the show on the behest of my boyfriend; I laughed. Hard. So I was definitely intrigued by the short story, finding it at an exceptionally local book/music/movie, etc. trade store. Whilst Jonathan Ames describes his alcoholism, it also reminded me of someone close to me. After reading the page in the introduction of the show, I figured I’d enjoy the story as well. Ames is likable and straightforward. He had decided to give up on serious relationships, due to the anguish and guilt involved and gives me more authors to research, i.e. Hammett, Goodis, Chandler, and Thompson. He does put up an ad on Craigslist, like the show. He used it as a means to write an essay, which isn’t what the character Jonathan has in mind. We do get the same story as the first episode as we begin his unlicensed P.I.-ing. The story gets funnier with the description of himself which Schwartzman wouldn’t have been able to use; He is a humorous writer. Then a line given to Galifianakis’  character is used to get into the building where the boyfriend lives to the missing girl, also used for a different episode. One other change is how Ames misses seeing the boyfriend, this time being caused by a bathroom break. He also gets in an easier, less funnier made-for-TV way and discovers said boyfriend on the bed doing drugs instead of girl’s sister. Also the outcome is much different and less funny. Then Ames describes his reaction in a pretty hilarious way, to what he uncovers, which he hadn’t encountered before. After trying and failing to contact the college girl, Ames is properly freaked out. So much so, he calls the number given to him by the bartender: G.; guy sounds like a wannabe gangster. G. was what I expected when Ames meets him at a café and goes outside to talk to him. They get in a car with a driver, G. has them driven to a secluded place where they have Lisa, the girl’s sister, bound, but not on a bed, it instead being a couch. Ames is in a much stickier, less funny situation than the show gives, and I’m quite entertained, but it does end quite abruptly. I almost can’t believe the reality of the situation, it’s so wild I now want to research whether he did time for his “actions”. Lively story, for certain. Also, after finishing the series I can see where some of this story seemed to be mixed through some of the later episodes due to seeming to fit better with those story-lines.

The Tin Drum

I got this edition from the library so I only decided to read the first story, The Tin Drum and the third, but due to the due date and subsequent move out of the city of “Hell’s” Angels, I’ll have to wait to continue to the third. This story, however starts with Oskar, who’s interested in writing his thoughts down on paper and resides in a mental institution. He has periodic visitors, among them a lawyer and Bruno whom he refers to as his keeper; the latter brings him reams of “virgin” paper whenever he runs out. He then begins to share a story about his grandmother, which is when it feels like the story truly begins. (This is also where I’m noticing if I continue to read German novels it might be in my interest to look for the Polish authors, since so far I’m distinguishing this text more easily read and less depressing than more Germanic writers are. I also learned this is where Alice Cooper got his inspiration for his out-of-school song. It’s so blatantly similar I was surprised to recognize it so nonchalantly mentioned near the beginning of the book.) Oskar is precocious and quick for his age, which is shown throughout; it’s mentioned he’s a Virgo and shows the personality traits of one, also with the large ego of being even more clever than everyone around him, he plays dumb so a neighbor will teach him to read (since he blew his one and only chance to be taught at school; ignorant rigidity of the teachers of the era).

Once truly in the story, it’s easy to delve into Grass’ world; or so I believed, soon changed. Oskar starts to become something of a super-hero with his precision glass cutting scream with a side of mischief making and also with his drum sabotaging anything instrument-related he discovers within stomping distance, but there’s bits which are quite dull to get through and I identify myself plodding difficultly. Although after a rough patch, I read an article which made me stick with it. I’ve now made the connection between Grass and John Irving. They’re both clinical in their descriptions at times, sexual in a backward interest topic, and extremely vivid. (It’s also quite like a reverse Benjamin Button, but only if I want to stretch the analogy as far as it can go. But once I plodded ever vigilant to getting finished with this book, I realized how obsessed Oskar was with his mother; it was a nice realization once it dawned on me, which made him protective of her. Although once I was 124 page’s deep, it made perfect sense why he would be allowed this odd relationship with her, since he ended up suffering far more due to the unfortunate circumstances which occur to them).

Oskar befriends Herbert Truczinski when he is around 14 because Herbert has a plentiful amount of scars with “back” stories; Ha-ha. He is an old friend who influenced Oskar. (Later on Oskar’s Western Astrological sign is mentioned yet again, for personality quirk purposes, I suppose.) It describes, in some detail, many streets and stores in the city, and then gets much more interesting. He convinces Herbert Truczinski to buy him a ticket to accompany him, since Oskar still looked so young he was able to get in for the kid’s price. The only problem and good thing about this book, is it’s detailed structuring. (Sometimes it’s wonderful, other times it drags on and I need frequent breaks. This is like the German Les Miserables. And I believe I enjoyed Hugo over this by a bit. And then it shifts again and I realize I’m enjoying the story.) It is a book with waves of good and tired bits.

Oskar then discloses of keeping a book of all his drums and their “careers” since 1949 (the list-taking is a Virgo thing for sure, I can relate, and know many who do, as well.) Oskar also deals with a point where he had to question who his father was. Which was entertaining to figure out. (This is also the only book I’ve read so far which could make a card game called skat, let alone any card game, sound exciting and maintain it’s feel of camaraderie. I’m also realizing I’m relating to Oskar having to begrudgingly take command of the situation whilst under the stress of being bombed and keeping up a game of skat with his Uncle/Father and dying postal worker and staying calm and keeping Jan focused and the postal worker moving so he doesn’t literally lay down and die.) The end of the story is a grim one, but fascinating none-the-less.

Then, once I start thinking this is beginning to sound Don Quixote-like, lo and behold, he’s referenced not too long after my thought. Also Maria sure does become a good friend to him in the way of drums for awhile. Which was satisfying in a small way, but then to learn she eventually becomes Oskar’s first love when he’s almost 16 feels awkward, but doesn’t linger; instead, it’s more embarrassing for Oskar, since he allows himself to be treated like a small child still, but doesn’t consider changing since he knows how to work adults more easily in his current state. (Due to many of the course sexual references, I keep wondering why I’m continuing the story: it’s well written, descriptive, imaginative, also Grass shares a birthday with Oscar Wilde, which I believe foretelling since I read Wilde’s complete works and it may be the qualities which are helping me stick with this: those being listed above.) Although, Oskar’s introduction to oral is quite surprising and amusing, but also odd since the reader has to catch the metaphor. Any 15-year-old would hate to remember or at least truthfully divulge a story like this, but he does “get lucky” in a lucky way.

Grass, through Oskar also makes known something which should become a more known disgust if not fret of men. Oskar says at one point he despises how his downstairs takes over at the most bewildering of times, with no rhyme or reason. There are also many strange and sexually ambiguous characters whom are thoroughly explored. Some are more fascinating and easier to read than others, but they are all well-written and the ones who emote a sense of respect towards one another and pure friendships bloom because they are good, but some are troubled more than others, as well. Oskar becomes more desperate after meeting Maria and she becomes a more constant presence in his life, until she decides a different path and he’s surprised by what she does and doesn’t do in this time in their lives apart. Oskar has some strange fantasies about his family revolving around his grandmother’s skirts. Oskar gains a crew when he is followed and then shows them his breaking windows talent. The leader takes him in as one of them, begrudgingly, and Oskar takes the opportunity to make himself seem beatific by introducing himself to them as Jesus. Oskar then becomes the new leader of the youthful gang and proceeds to get them to implement troublesome plans, which he designated out to his crew as he sits back and hears about the wonderful mayhem. Oskar becomes more egotistical, once Lucy starts ruffling his feathers. He at one point sees himself as a, “human unicorn” and the most important of his group, the Dusters. They certainly do undertake some blasphemous missions which Oskar shows mild guilt at the start of the discussion of his Catholicism, but by this point, he’s obviously reached a new more contemptuous viewpoint of what he feels acceptable sacrilege.

It starts to adopt a dark humor I enjoy, in the church during their prank and how one of the Dusters gives a speech so moving, even Oskar has the desired feeling of soul-saving sermonizing. The next episode of Oskar, preludes us with a story of a young man who climbs a high-jump dive-board at a public pool, to see the view, when his buddies put him on the spot whilst everyone’s attention was already being diverted by his climb, from the start. Oskar introduces his similar story with the Dusters, but for them, it’s Lucy who’s a part of a panel of judges who was to encourage the Duster’s to jump. Then she tries and fails to get Oskar to jump, proving one does not have to be conquered by suggestion. Even when Lucy tries her whispering tactic, “Jump, Sweet Jesus, jump.”, doesn’t work, Oskar makes his way back the way he got there. Matzerath is then approached by a court official mysteriously alluding to getting, “the child off the streets.” Calling him gullible and easily swayed by “bad crowds”, essentially. Lucy does become a thought of dread to Oskar since he doesn’t see her again, so when he hears of unexpected visitors at the mental institution, he fears it’ll be her. Oskar still does utilize his size and his ability to act toddler-like to get him out of trouble, if he can. Even though by this time he should be around eighteen or nineteen years old. (I must remind myself he wouldn’t necessarily have found maturity at his age since he became counter-obsessively using his “baby” act for so long.) Oskar has also kept his respect for Goethe and Rasputin since his first discovering and learning to read by them so long ago. Oskar usually feels the need to show off his talent to those who show talent themselves or to help others through his talent. He liked pretending he didn’t care, out of arrogance and ego, (in line with what I would expect) which doesn’t change through his childhood or young adulthood.

Matzerath’s cellar is shown, along with the rest of the family, plus Oskar to await the invading Russians with devastating results. The next bit gives background on the city name and who pillaged it. It goes on about the history of how battles started and how the people tried to defend their homes. The Russians are still about, so Oskar and the family stay hiding in the cellar, to wait. The man who takes over the grocery story helps the family deal with some hard tasks Lina Greff would have done, if not for her hosting a houseful of Russian soldiers. They move in to Mother Trucszinski’s flat. (Then I learn Matzerath hates margarine as much as I hate it, today!) Similarities throughout the ages. Also something similar is how the newly adult military “kids”, goof off during their tours. These Russians take what now is considered one of the world’s most beloved pastimes and wheeled transportation, free-style bicycling with items taken from homes and jumping ramps off them and using bathtubs, grandfather clocks and radios, among other items, doing stunts. Meanwhile Oskar is studying Fajngold the grocer to see if he can deduce what he’s contemplating. Whilst trying to get where they’re going, they accrue two young Russian cadets with tommy guns to escort them wherever they’re going and they make their unwanted presence known by their obvious clumsy inexperience trying to cover it up with silent, serious exteriors. How serious would you take a sixteen year old? Exactly.

Oskar starts feeling cheated by not having the shop go to him and only having Kurt and Maria to show for his years with his family. Their goal of destination is shared, and they continue on foot due to the obstacles being too large to get to where they needed with whom they had in tow. Kurt doesn’t change, his brandished reckless violence making him easy to see him as an expendable brat. No one is beyond Kurt’s abuse, but in this section, he goes after a caged lovebird. Oskar has come to a life-changing decision near the same time his son, Kurt does. A long coming confession from Oskar regarding the Party pin Matzarath almost got caught having in his possession is also confessed. Oskar’s main memorable moments of Matzarath being about his cooking and nothing so sentimental as his possible paternity. He lets his last Bebra-bought drum symbolize his farewell to Matzarath. Oskar believes the nosebleed which follows is the start of his growth. Shugger confirms this when reacting with fear as Oskar faints out the end of the scene,ths also when Oskar’s height is learned. Also, by this time it’s determine he’s older than 21 and he was only three feet by then. A reiteration of the cemetery and Heilandt’s strange reaction to Oskar’s growth spurt is gone over. He also tries to forgive his son his violent act against him by trying to believe he did it to help him accelerate his growth, so Oskar would finally get some acknowledgement from Kurt he is his father. Doctors also come up with a physical explanation for Oskar’s stop and then spurt of growth later, which Oskar doesn’t believe at all. His thinking was, he had started growing and stopped after, and before the physical “traumas” occurred.

When Oskar becomes ill due to his sudden growth a lady doctor is found, and he appreciates her upfront and terse countenance, which I can relate to, Grass was thorough in at least his astrological and most likely his geographical knowledge. I also learned more about the characters of Rasputin and Goethe both of which I haven’t read or done much research on, but soon enough, I will be. Fajngold realizes his family plus Maria and the children (Oskar included) were infested with lice where the explanation goes on with Oskar feeling more relief whilst his illness when Fajngold disinfected everyone putting him completely at ease. (It then mentions a concentration camp story involving Fajngold, which is engaging, but I’m indifferent to, since I’ve sworn off reading Holocaust related materials due to the overabundance of reading them in school.) Oskar’s illness continues to recede and flare through the spring. Fajngold changes the grocery store’s merchandise and Kurt becomes a prolific salesman at the age of 5. They get a visit from Oskar’s Grandmother where Fajngold and she swap stories. After, Maria decides to go live with her sister. Mr. Fajngold bids them farewell and Oskar uses a way of seeing the world which has become easy to adopt and quite calming to apply: He says, Fajngold waves them goodbye from the train station until he no longer exists. I use the same concept, depending on mental faculties and if the person has done everything in their power to combat it, if they haven’t I don’t consider them “real” and don’t necessarily give them the deserved normal courtesies all “healthy-minded” individuals worked at receiving through normal means.

The next section is told by Oskar’s nurse, Bruno, of when Oskar and family are on the train and it keeps being stopped by gangsters and such and when Oskar showed a picture of his Grandmother, it saves their belongings from being stolen for an odd reason, which is why I bring it up at all. Oskar also attributes his growth, lengthwise and of his, ahem, nethers, were aided by the jiggling and jolting of the tracks, also relieving the constant pain so much growing gives, another funny observation. He also lost the ability of breaking glass with his voice on this trip. After getting Oskar to a hospital, Maria gets him transferred closer to where her sister lives. By the close of this part, Bruno finishes his writing and a full description of Oskar’s person and also a mysterious charge Oskar was put in to the hospital for in the first place, is mentioned finally. Oskar continues saying he doesn’t even bother reading what Bruno wrote. He than says he’s grown another inch and was released from the hospital. He then goes to Maria’s sister Guste’s house to discover Maria dealing black market synthetic honey and Kurt begins a business venture of his own, even having a mysterious source which irritates Oskar for not knowing whom it could be. Oskar reiterates Bruno’s description of himself and what his view is toward himself: handsome, despite his hump which now developed on his back.

Oskar applies an everyday exercise I use, except he conceives it, perhaps more “fun” to label, in this case, happiness according to various types of stone since he was able to acquire a job helping a tombstone engraver, similar to Simon Birch now I think of it. Possible tsk-tsk on John Irving?Anyways, they both get fitted for suits and Oskar pulls off a demonic intellectual look whilst Korneff, his employer, who has boils all over his neck looked quite impressive as well. Oskar was feeling lucky, so he decides to ask Gertrude, a nurse from the hospital he stalks once in a while and they go out to dance. Oskar was going to back out of the date if he could when he realized Gertrude is normal looking outside her uniform, but doesn’t get the chance, so when they get to the dance hall, they wait a bit to get settled and then Oskar asks Gertrude for a dance, which is hesitantly accepted. The completion of the dance has everyone clapping to them and Gertrude becomes embarrassed and excuses herself. The night gets more eventful when he meets two young telephone-operators, one of which asks Oskar to dance. Gertrude isn’t seen again, other than the hospital. Oskar then talks of the headstones he’s carved and where they were put. He witnesses a woman’s exhumation and when he tries to help the diggers (since he had his spade handy) he shovels some of the woman’s corpse fingers and notices their beauty, oddly. Oskar spirals his conversational thoughts to himself until ending up acknowledging he may have hallucinated Lucy Rennwand when he thought he saw her on the train.

Oskar decides to move on from his telephone girls and their connections in favor of taking Maria out and recognizing he’s been responsible for Maria and Kurt’s financial well-being for over a month already and how he was in preference of this, also being told it was partly due to Kurt’s connection drying up. He proposes to Maria and gets strung along until she locates the scissors to finally cut Oskar’s hope of typical family living loose. Oskar mopes about his declined proposal, thinking it would have led to his career as a stonecutter being expanded etc., but because of the plan not working, now he must capitalize off his hump instead. He also spent his time sitting in the park for long periods and letting his appearance go, naturally. On one of his sittings he’s approached by a girl at the behest of her companions to uncover a model to paint. Oskar took to the offer seemingly readily, but he soon realizes being sketched may not mean it coming out flatteringly. He isn’t bother by this for long, since Oskar keeps an aloof exterior, and is soon offered a position to pose nude for the instructor who sketched and molded Oskar’s form in clay. They bonded over their previous careers and Oskar continues to pose for the students on the side. As he advances forth to posing, he becomes something of a hidden gem, until the painters on the floor above discover him and see what the sculptors have been studying and Oskar poses for them also, which seems to satisfy his obsession with wanting his blue eyes to be accounted for, but like the others, the students use blue for most of him, (which reminds me of Sacré Bleu) which describes the reason of some painters obsession and fascination with it.

Oskar decides to join in what is known as carnival week where his costumes makes Kurt laugh so hard he can’t stop coughing. His costume didn’t have the same effect on the carni-revelers, though, but he makes it to the party, where the artists try to sell food and whatnot rather than actually partying. Oskar makes acquaintances with two Chinese lesbians, interestingly and they “make use” of his hump in a way which gives him confirmation of his hump being lucky for women. His companionship with them and the champagne turns him introspective, though and he contemplates the meaning of life. After, he is asked for a cigarette from an old acquaintance, meanwhile being captivated by the soldier acquaintance’s young, drunk date while reminiscing. The girl’s name immediately reminds me of Wonder Boys since they share the name Ulla. Michael Douglas’ character says, “I never forget an Ulla.” Which apparently helped me not to forget either. Oskar decides to help Ulla in her want to becoming an artist which makes Lankes happy. They all retire at Lankes’ place and Oskar gets a chance to be closer to Ulla; the horn dog. When Ulla confesses to them of not wanting to be a muse to artists, but only wanting to “belong” to Lankes, he institutes the usual acceptable response to women in those days and she accepted being a model to the academy, with the help of Oskar. For a “young girl” she is of model-esque height and Oskar and she become the popular duo with the title of Madonna 49, where Oskar poses as a broken Jesus. Maria is upset by the poster which is made of them, but it does get sold for a generous sum and Oskar and Ulla become a popular modeling team. Ulla doesn’t escape Lankes’ wrath, though, since he seemed to be of the malevolent nature he had shown from the start. Oskar also developed these feelings toward Ulla, oddly, but instead of succumbing to assault, he treated her to going out, either to a pastry shop or to buy her small gifts.

One of the artists had a more intimate relationship with Ulla, later described by getting her in a certain position and doing a similar act as those of porn-buffers without having to touch her; ha-HA. Oskar was used to being made to have some object put in his hands to offset Ulla and eventually he brings the one object Oskar had no desire to hold and he says so. Ulla convinces him otherwise, with much distress on Oskar’s side. Maria sees this version of the Madonna 49 and cracks Oskar with his son’s school ruler. She believed it was vulgar and felt above him due to her upstanding position in a delicatessen, she wanting nothing more to do with Oskar. She takes it back, but Oskar didn’t want to continue living with his son and her sister. Maria agreed and offered Oskar to look for a place not far from them, which he seemed to agree to. Oskar stays with the Academy of Arts to be painted and drawn for the winter through the next summer and has no trouble admitting his own foolishness, identifying with Parsifal, a fool also. Besides, he visits Korneff the stone-cutter once again and ends up being offered some part-time work on top of posing as a model due to rent being raised.

After starting a carving and finishing in 3 hours, Oskar’s paid and goes to look at an apartment, which he accepts and learns a nurse, among other tenants share Zeidler’s home. Then sufficient description of the abode and Oskar witnessing a spat between Zeidler and his wife. Zeidler’s outburst resulted in him breaking and cleaning up a glass which made Oskar remember his glass shattering days, minus the clean-up after. Before Oskar takes his leave of them to go to his room he demonstrates some acrobatic moves to show how healthy he is since Zeidler asked how he stayed so small and also about whether he still played the drum attached to his suitcase which he didn’t care whether he did due to his absence from the house on most occasions, which didn’t impress upon Oskar since he played little, if at all. Oskar begins to think of the nurse which he admits is an obsession he can’t and doesn’t want to give up on. Bruno believes only men make proper nurses since they give particular care and sometimes are cured whilst women have the ability to seduce the patient sometimes to recovery and sometimes through “seasoned” erotic death.

Oskar won’t let Bruno’s view mar his of lady nurses though, due to being saved by them every few years. Oskar believed Bruno’s opinion was a professional jealousy. He then lists all the nurses he’s loved and been saved by through the years until the one he’s rooming with is related. He explaining having to take a bus which brings him straight to the stop which picks up nurses and it’s the same as his own and at first he acts with distaste to them, but than hunts them, essentially for their smell coming off the uniforms. He begins noticing them pass him at work which costs him an indiscriminate amount of money. After, Sister Dorothea, the nurse rooming next door begins to catch Oskar’s attention more by her noise of coming and going. He also has a tendency to check the door whenever he hears her and when the mail comes, he would take special interest in what she received. Obsessive little Oskar even has an inventive fantasy involving becoming a physician to be closer to Dorothea. Oskar goes on to say how his whole life wasn’t completely overrun by nurses and how he had to stop inscribing tombstones once the summer semester started at the Art Academy. He teamed up with Ulla once more and they both made good wages from modelling. Lankes has left Ulla to which she easily forgot by immersing herself in the art of Meitel; she believes her relationships will be long-lasting and serious. She did learn one thing stuck from him and their engagement, which was an extended vocabulary which she tested on Oskar, after which another artist began collaborating ideas of Oskar’s which eventually included the addition of a nurse being portrayed by Ulla.

One day though, Oskar tries Dorothea’s door, which is unlocked and he decides a bit of breaking and entering is in order since half the job was already done (her room was unlocked already). The room is described in a dilapidated way and Oskar identifies the smell he’s been noticing is vinegar and then wonders if perhaps she’s been having to use her meager sink to wash her hair with said liquid considering she may not have been able to use the more pleasant accommodations of the hospital bathroom facilities. He then discovers her hair color and she might be losing her hair to which, in his blind love of her, he wants to help her with by supplying her with some hair treatments as soon as he can. Then he takes some of her hair from a comb and stores it in his wallet, removing what was in there to make room. After slight examination of her bed he decides to give in to the temptation of curiosity to look in her cupboard. Oskar deduces even more about Dorothea from the cupboard which fascinated Oskar, making judgments about the articles she did have and the amount of importance she must have had of them. Oskar then becomes intrigued by the type of books she stored in her hat compartment. He wanted so much to become a part of her cupboard area, he moved into an area which fit him perfectly and closed the doors most of the way shut. An item he discovers in the cupboard behind his back brings a reminiscence to him of his mother, Jan Bronski, and Matzerath when he was three. Dorothea’s belt reminded him of an eel from his memory. Oskar’s recollection expands to eclectic thoughts of his mother, which ranged from her singing a particular song to how she would gorge herself on a particular foodstuff until she couldn’t divulge in it any longer, to her graveyard of choice. Then it’s alluded he may have masturbated and smudged the belt to the point of needing to buff it to make it look like it did, before leaving her room. Cheese and crackers, nasty little Oskar.

Oskar becomes quite interested in learning who a Dr. Werner was to Dorothea and searched her books for an inscription or picture and found neither, which pleased him since he seemed to have the upper hand in personal details about Dorothea. Meanwhile another tenant, Mr. Munzer seemed to want to get Oskar’s attention to which Oskar failed to notice nor care due to being consumed with Dorothea, but he did feel a little guilty after, since talk with Mr. Munzer would at least break the lonesome monotony. After a few days past, he continued his modelling with Ulla and they posed as different Greek mythological gods and demigods. Not long after, he was getting the mail and noticed a letter from Dr. Werner and Mrs. Zeidler set it at her door and Oskar bided his time calmly and then boiled some water to steam the letter into opening, the little blighter. He learned Dr. Werner did have feelings for Dorothea even though his letter was extremely conservative in intimate details. When finished he reseals it and leaves the letter where he found it, then hears Mr. Munzer speaking to him from the other end of the hall asking for water. Oskar makes an excuse for himself to comply with the request since he didn’t think it right to do it because he asked unless he were ill. Mr. Munzer or Klepp as Oskar began to know him as, had such a pungent aroma, from his first moment well into the times he would come to visit Oskar in the hospital which Bruno would open every available window once he left (similar to a character in Kingdom, another Stephen Fry TV show). Klepp, at the time of his bedridden-ness had taken to pissing in empty beer bottles; his living in filth is quite extensive. Oskar, at the time, introduced himself as Matzerath for some reason, since he was feeling humiliated at the moment. Only on rare occasions did he use the name Bronki, usually using his Grandma’s name Kojaiczek or by his first name. Klepp looked older, but proved younger than thirty.

Oskar then is told by Klepp of he believing in destiny, but doesn’t believe everyone may be born for a reason since he was certain he was born by mistake. He also discerns the length of Klepp’s stay thus far at Zeidler’s. They agreed it was a shame they hadn’t met sooner and blamed him for not mentioning it sooner. Oskar then learns the reason for Klepp’s being bed-ridden is because he’s determining the state of his health…(Okay). Then Oskar shares a pot of spaghetti which would make anyone pause, if not throw away all set before him and run to the nearest five star Italian restaurant, but Oskar, bless his heart, first stared and then ate it down like a little champ, then to his surprise and my disgust and dubiousness, enjoyed the contents. Oskar and Klepp share their interest as they get to know each other spending their day together, then Oskar decides to pick up his drum once more for Klepp and to Oskar’s surprise and pleasure, Klepp joins him with his flute. After finishing their impromptu jam session, Klepp gets up from bed and washes himself, like a purification process, then they congratulate each other warmly, for their musical moment was to them, like a resurrection. Klepp’s new lease on life had everything to do with Oskar deciding to team up in his jazz band idea. He bacame a new man, but because of this, Oskar believes Klepp is trying to do the same for him, to get him out of his mental hospital bed, because he had “deprived” him of staying in his own. Oskar is then mentioned to possibly not being in his bed on his own recognizance, but also because it was court-appointed and so Klepp, besides his futile attempts of convincing Oskar out of bed, also petitions the court, all because Oskar begrudged Klepp of his own and although they had the two of them in the band, they felt a guitarist was needed and took pictures and enjoyed the movie theater a lot. In the end, Klepp found a wife instead; ha.

Bobby, who led a dance band in a bar would let them play with him sometimes because he got a kick out of Oskar’s drumming even though, he also was a percussionist, despite a finger missing on one hand. Oskar meanwhile, was getting distracted with thoughts of Dorothea during their gigs and so would miss his cue periodically. Klepp would misconstrue these moments as hunger pangs and order sausage. Oskar let him believe this was so as to let him torture himself with thoughts of her independently from Klepp. Oskar had also given up modelling unless with Ulla, who was engaged to Lankes for the Nth time, but only if they needed cash for more movies, otherwise Oskar was dedicated solely to Klepp’s band. He also rarely visited Maria and Kurt since her new husband stayed present.

Klepp and Oskar then had a task of tacking down a fiber carpet-runner for Zeidler so as not to break anymore glasses, so when they finished and tested it, they were in the midst of congratulating themselves, when their doing so put Zeidler in a spiteful tantrum and began breaking glasses. After this Oskar finally meets Sister Dorothea. It was after a late night with Klepp and having left him to continue the search for a guitarist, Oskar goes home with the intention of sleep and failing to do so, comes up with the idea it was due to having stood on the leftover coconut-fiber mat and the stimulation had perked his brain into restless activity. He hears two doors of the front half of the home open and close and decides it’s Klepp, though not believing it at the same time. He resolves to actually stand on the mat since he kept thinking about it, then he uses it to cover his lower half, since he left his pajama’s at Maria’s for washing. He then enters the hallway and aims his trajectory for the toilet, determining one had occupied it already, but didn’t leave since it was the only un-fiberless-carpeted area, to the dismay of the female sitting there already. Oskar tried to make a light bantering response to her scream and cries of him getting out in the hopes of distracting from the awkwardness. She wasn’t having it and tried to push Oskar out, but aimed too high.

When Maria re-aimed lower and felt the fiber she screamed again and thought Oskar an evil entity, which amused Oskar when she asked again who he was. Oskar playfully goes along with her feared presumption and reveals to her he’s Satan, coming for her which makes her ask the reason and Oskar, given the opportunity to confess the truth, replies he’s in love with her, which Sister Dorothea wasn’t about to tolerate and said so. Then when trying to escape, she runs into Oskar and the pelt and his body made her feel faint. She fell and Oskar helped guide her descent onto the carpet outside the toilet. He continues his joke in the hallway and tries to “excite her with the carpet he had used as cover for himself; what a little pervert. Meanwhile Oskar couldn’t get excited himself to his own embarrassment and tried to think of his past exploits to help him along whilst referring to “it” as “Satan”; in this case, suitable, but he couldn’t unearth the feeling. When she felt his skin and humpback, Oskar admitted the truth of his name and feelings for her. She responded with sad tears and left him sitting there and locked herself in her room, rightly so. Then Oskar, still not having given up, goes to her door and scratches at the front whilst hearing what must be her packing up her belongings to leave; sensible lady. Oskar gets this confirmation when she opens the door finally, kicks him aside and leaves, to Oskar’s dismay. He also has woken the Zeidler’s with all the noise and should leave the hallway for his room, but he stays lying there whilst Mr. Zeidler instructs him he should get to his room, and when he stays silent, unmoving, admits to Oskar they should put him out because of his behavior, whilst Mrs. Zeidler giggles until being told to be quiet by her husband who is getting properly rageful, but Oskar is saved by the entrance of drunken Klepp with their equally drunken new guitarist. They pick him up and dress him, then get his drum on him and take him out as he continues to wax woe. They sit on the river Rhine and jam, during which they come up with a name and Oskar treats them all to breakfast.

Oskar and the band liked playing alongside the Rhine so much they befriended a restaurant and nightspot owner through mutual environmental interests. Whilst they played, Schmuh, the owner, “hunted” sparrows. They didn’t start off friendly, though and had met whilst both were occupying space in the area. Schmuh had been annoyed of their playing scaring away the birds whilst Klepp complemented his rhythmic shooting perfectly in time with their music, making Schmuh pleased. Schmuh’s wife thought it would be serendipitous if he employed them at his restaurant and he agreed. Klepp negotiated their salaries to everyone’s satisfaction. The Onion Cellar, was a newer higher class restaurant nightclub which a list of other quirky sounding titles are listed. It was like any dance club one would wait in a line to get into these days. The Onion Cellar was actually at one time a ground-level apartment, so whilst it didn’t have a cellar, the name still suited the place. (Similar to some cafe’s and restaurants in downtown Phoenix , as I’m told and I’m sure, as well as other interesting cities, but couldn’t say off the top of my head.) Anyways, a summary of The Onion Cellar and how artsy and classy it is follows, along with the other restaurants, old and new in the vicinity, the impression being about the reason for The Onion Cellar’s popularity revolving around Schmuh, a shawl and the entertainment he gives and interaction with the guests.

It’s then shared why the place is called The Onion Cellar. (I also found a pairing of food I have yet to try, but am curious about: Onions with apples, and/or onion rings; I like the idea.) Also there’s a second, more “human conditional” reason people flock to The Onion Cellar, a sad and pathetic one, but still a reason we struggle with in this century as well. Meanwhile, Oskar and the band, have their out-of-the-way sitting spot and hear all the people confess here and Oskar goes on to mention a few guests appearances as well as a favorite confessor. Oskar is one strange character himself, suffering abuse from the same person the confessor spoke of. All for love, interestingly enough. Oskar loses both big toenails because of it. Oskar also speaks of a young odd-couple who meet through the train and end up at The Onion Cellar. (It worked out quite well for them, which I believe, the first couple had a good outcome as well.) The band was there to help get the people back to normal and move on for the next group to come in. Quite odd reasons for a band to be hired, but this seems to be Grass’ shtick. Also like certain jobs, the band had a clause forbidding them to use onions how they are used in The Cellar, which suited all of them one way or another: Oskar had his drum to help him, Klepp was backwards and didn’t understand the right time for such emotions, and Scholle was too happy of a person. I can identify with all three, some moments are easier to laugh at, plus a sunny/realistic disposition doesn’t hurt.

Then after Schmuh’s wife gets a hold of an onion whilst with her friends Schmuh is partial to, she confesses terrible habits he had making him give an extra round to the group after his wife and her entourage leave, which makes everyone go crazy to the point of Schmuh asking Oskar to do something since Klepp only found amusement in the debacle and Scholle followed Klepp’s suit. Oskar drums them like the pied-piper to get themselves together, out the door and apparently thinking they’re kindergarten age making them all have a surprising reaction, which stays with them, including Schmuh well after releasing them, leaving them all wet, but not worse for wear.

Schmuh couldn’t forgive Oskar his charade, though since it didn’t include the “power” of his onions. He fired Oskar and the band then goes so far as to hire a fiddler passing for a gypsy, but when complaints and steadfast refusal to continue attendance at The Onion Cellar from regulars, Schmuh had to accept a compromise. It being only to play three times a night with the fiddler playing three as well, plus a raise and tips. It goes well until the day of Schmuh’s death. The Schmuh’s and band had gone on a Rhine outing. On this day Schmuh goes against his 12 cap limit, the dope. When they’re ready to leave, Oskar decides to stay for a walk instead and they go on without him. Oskar takes the same direction and soon sees the Schmuh car overturned with only one serious victim. The reason behind the crash is reminiscent of The Birds, except with sparrows. At Schmuh’s funeral, his widow still in the hospital, Oskar is approached by a doctor who was a guest at The Onion Cellar and present for Oskar’s regression session, wanting to offer him a contract as a solo drumming act to perform large concerts for equally large sums of money. Oskar would have done so if not so shortly after Schmuh’s death and declines until a healthy mental-health vacation is had, to think it over. Oskar does accept an advance along with calling card, though and goes on his trip with Lankes, preferring Klepp, but hospital-bound and also Maria, but she would have had to bring Kurt and they both were still tied to Stenzel. Oskar also wanted to invite Ulla, but Lankes hi-jacked the offer as well as boxing Ulla’s ear for considering going. Oskar was now on vacation with Lankes and they head to Normandy where a taste of how stingy he is being related. He had brought his easel and Oskar his drum along with luggage.

They stayed on the Atlantic Coast and Lankes traded his picture for a fish, which Oskar cleaned and made ready to cook as Lankes found wood and cartons for himself to paint on. Lankes then, needing to make sure he got the best of everything wanted Oskar’s opinion as to which side of the fish was best, Oskar gave him the advice he remembered from both of his parents, which conflicted, and of a doctor which Lankes didn’t trust the advice of, anyways. He does the opposite of the doctor’s advice to be safe, but it didn’t fully satisfy him until not only did Oskar offer him to try his piece, but reassure him his tasted better, after trying his in turn. What a Seinfeld; his mother told an anecdote where he wouldn’t accept a slice, but wanted the whole pie or nothing at all. Then Lankes informs Oskar he ran into Lt. Herzog and how he’s been going to Cabourg for years and would visit them, which he did, surveying the area and then trying to inspect inside their nature-made abode, which Lankes refused to allow him to do. When Herzog wouldn’t take no for an answer, Lankes puts him on his back with fork from fish still in hand. Then Lankes made sure he got the point by dragging him, then tossing him over a dune. Herzog made a quick exit after. When done reminiscing about some nuns Lankes and Oskar had met way back when, some real nuns come walking along the beach, one young, far ahead of the others, which Lankes keeps an eye on from the start. At first she declines the advances and follows the others calling to her, but when the nuns are ready to leave, she makes her way back on pretense of shell-gathering for children and does naughty business with Lankes in their hut. After she leaves to go swimming, Lankes detects inspiration in her being a nun along with titles for the art inspired by her which he makes some success from which prompts Oskar to call up the doctor to do likewise for himself. Klepp was feeling spurned because of Oskar’s growing lack of interest to playing jazz, until he discovers a replacement.

Oskar discloses how he couldn’t consider moving back in with Maria and how he’d occasionally drop by the Academy as a guest model. Ulla, proving to be a ditz or at least in the eyes of Oskar, dropped Lankes again because he kept cheating on her and didn’t beat her any longer; odd. Oskar seemed to be struggling with the idea of calling Dr. Dosch and so tore up his card to realize it was engraven to his memory. He was obsessed with the thought of calling, he finally did and was asked to come in the same day to meet with the boss. When he arrives he’s surprised to see Bebra in an interesting condition. Bebra begins by going through all the terrible acts Oskar’s committed. A contract is then set before him which allowed him to drum in concert and start touring. Though Oskar had the money advanced to him to move, he stayed on for Klepp’s sake who didn’t like Oskar’s official contract dealings, but Oskar didn’t care. When he started his tour, the publicist had made him out to be a faith-healer and so the crowds were drawn to him were of the mid-to later years. Oskar became so popular, a word was made from his name. After his third tour he made a studio album which made him a rich man, but he still didn’t move out of Zeidler’s, because of Klepp and due to the room where Dorothea resided. Oskar decided to proposition Maria with a promise most would consider difficult to refuse: He’d finance her own delicatessen if she didn’t marry Stenzel. She, being a proper business-woman, goes for it and now has two branches.

Oskar then has a nice inheritance given to him after learning Bebra had died many weeks before whilst he was touring. Due to grief, Oskar cancelled some tours without giving sufficient notice and was sued. To make matters worse Klepp had decided to get married and didn’t invite him, then left Zeidler’s, Oskar being the only tenant left. Zeidler had begun to treat Oskar with respect once he became famous. To prevent further depression and/or loneliness, Oskar rents a rottie named Lux and he’d walk him in the hall. They also ended up walking the Rhine where Lux would lead him. Oskar began disliking Lux’s loyalty, even when setting him off the leash, the dog still following and when Oskar kicked him and the dog would run, he’d loyally return, acting guilty. At one point at a rye field, he gets the dog to stay gone for longer and reminisces until noticing, upon Lux’s return he has some object of doggie desire with him. It turned out to be something of human relation and so Oskar took the object with him and then Vittlar, noticing Oskar and dog, compliments the dog. Oskar, not in the mood for conversation with Vittlar asks him why he’s up in a tree, and he responds it’s to do with apples. Oskar gets more annoyed when he’s dragged into an allegorical conversation and Vittlar asks what Lux found in the rye field. He continues to question Oskar until getting to his point, since he had seen more than he’d let on. Oskar, after being properly introduced to Vittlar, called him a friend from then on, even though Vittlar had, after turning him into the police. Then Vittlar’s testimony in court is shared, during which Oskar is described acting oddly with the object found, making stops to drop off Lux and visiting Korneff. Oskar then informed Vittlar of his intentions to keep what was found, giving his reasons.

After ending their day and making arrangements to meet again, they meet up three days later with a surprise for Vittlar from Oskar. Soon it is identifed whom the object belongs. Vittlar goes on to testify the goings on after they had commandeered a streetcar and thus ran into someone about to be executed from Oskar’s past from the post office during the war and the execution was going to take place where Vittlar’s mother lived near the rye field, which both protested. When Oskar drums at the execution though, it puts them off and Vittlar becomes bothered by Oskar’s indifference to success, which Vittlar hadn’t experienced, this being when it’s realized the reason it being Oskar whom was given up to the police and how they still could have stayed friends. Then a jump to present and on Oskar’s 30th birthday, his lawyer gives the news the police reopened the case due to uncovering the real culprit of the crime, to Oskar’s dismay. Now he’ll have to leave his comfy, life-blocking bed, which he’d stayed in for nearly 2 years and contemplated going to America to be with his Grandfather. Then it seems Oskar has the longest elevator ride as he awaits to be arrested and also at present contemplating his future and what to do now he’s thirty. He seems to digress into nervous confusion and being obsessed by running into the black witch and the poem accompanying it. Strange story, vast and not half bad with its winding interlinking characters.

Lets Explore Diabetes With Owls

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As soon as I start, Sedaris doesn’t disappoint with his descriptive and hilarious deadpan, humorous style. Playing into the typical American outlook of wanting to have “serious” doctors, and treated with a certain gravity we’ve become accustomed to. He accompanies the humour with odd tales from his personal life, some of which are unsettling, but quite entertaining. Sedaris does make a valid point about today’s parenting, however in his second story. Parent’s treat their children extremely on the verge of being slaves to the child. “They did not live in a child’s house, we lived in theirs.” Which Mike from NoFx said about his daughter with his wife. They wanted a child they could share their lifestyle with, but I’m pulling two similarities where none need be. Although this second story proved funnier than the first.

The third proves Sedaris showing what seems his disenchantment when having to hear of people’s possible over emotion about a loved one’s death and they dying too young. Sedaris proves when one is young and from a large family and possibly only from his era, there’s a better chance of one being able to prey on people’s weaknesses and avoiding attention if you’re clever and don’t get overcome by self-loathing and being a praise-stalker. Wistful ending, quite introspective. Oh, my gosh, the next story tripped me out; it was so funny how stereotypical Sedaris made me believe “his” Black girl’s were. He brought me right into his classroom with Delicia, so hilarious! Also he and his siblings relationship with their Grandmother is so unique and again made me laugh out loud. He also has such dramatic outbursts at the age of fourteen with his mother I wondered whether they actually happened the way he describes them sometimes, they are certainly funny to imagine, at least.

Again, Sedaris has made me fall for his funny story ploys are so obvious he seems to want me to giggle at them. A description of his best friend’s mother: “In a neighborhood of stay-at-home moms, Shaun’s mother worked. A public-health nurse, she was the one you went to if you woke up with yellow eyes or jammed a piece of caramel corn too far into your ear. ‘Oh, you’re fine,’ Jean would say, for that was what she wanted us to call her, not Mrs. Taylor. With her high cheekbones and ever so slightly turned-down mouth, she brought to mind a young Katharine Hepburn. Other mothers might be pretty, might, in their twenties or early thirties, pause at beauty, but Jean was clearly parked there for a lifetime.” David has a way of making these stately declarations. They’re the little laughs one gets because they are so wildly recited. Another essay is out-rightly sad if one loves animals and especially endangered species and feels bad about a child losing their father at an early age. Still entertaining, it’s the unfortunate situation of having the “information at your fingertips” “trouble” again. Then there’s a short “rant”, I suppose deals squarely with the Lord-ah. It’s realistic enough anyways, so in a sense was entertaining. I do look forward to saying whatever lie taught me on Pimsleur, as David experienced; It was a good laugh, as well. Also if one ever comes across the chance to ask a German if they are from Minnesota couldn’t sound any more enticing.

While Sedaris does sound more wistful compared to his other books, I think he’s trying to work through the memories surfacing which aren’t as hilariously upfront as others, and perhaps trying to remind himself to live in the now, because his life sounds pretty good to me, and I think he’s trying to convey he realizes this, too. Then David shares a story about his father when his sister Gretchen moves in nearby him to await a college admission acceptance letter. The story proves on the darker side of female’s and dealing with night assault. His father brings him on “rape” runs to locate the guys who keep going after Gretchen, nothing comes of it, but David’s outlook proves bleak in regards to his current situation, which was working as a clothed model for a college on a severely minimum basis and feeling like he’s stuck (I can relate). He stayed “stuck” for 3 years, but obviously it was temporary.

Just a Quick Email is a short and exceedingly funny scenario characterization. It reminded me of two morons who are continually trying to make themselves my personal pair, who may even be able to relate to parts of it (they do love a good “shout-out”), at least in the case of the drunk-driving *wink wink*, but I do digress.  Another story had to do with David’s lack of ability at fighting, when relating a story to a straight man whom he incidentally had interest in, he relates the story of his failed fist-fight attempt. Now I can also appreciate Sedaris’ reasons for all the wacky and odd questions to fans and most anyone: He’s a note-taker which I can appreciate. He also gets extreme discomfort from having his picture taken, probably an insecurity he feels unnecessary to “work” through, which I can understand. Why be more uncomfortable on the job? The stories still get better when we learn more about David’s first boyfriend and how racist Americans still seem to other countries; Hilarious unto itself. Sedaris’ perception on how French people have a self-satisfactory tone in their voice when they show how they approve of America choosing Obama for President, I have to wonder if it’s only because it’s been so long since we’ve had a positive, intelligent seeming leader. He also reveals he thinks the French, or whichever European people are jealous we got the half-Black President first. The whole theory is entertaining.

Sedaris also has a strange situational essay about a character dealing with gay marriage in an extreme way. Mostly weird, a bit funny. If anyone knows the show Oddities, understanding will arise quickly in one of David’s later stories in this series where he’s in a taxidermy shop and is presented with definite oddities, one including the head of an approximately 14-year-old girl from Peru was around 400 years old. I suppose the main downside of traveling to China would be all the phlegm and piss/poo makers in the street/bathrooms. It sounds nasty and coupled with the theme of food, begins to sound less than inviting. The essay after makes fun of people outside the periphery of intelligence and so begrudge Obama for seeming to talk down to them. It was a pretty entertaining short essay. Also while harbors righteous anger towards slow-pokes it seems he hasn’t mastered the ability to verbalize to said slow-poke what their dumb problem is; I could be of so much use in that department by now, I could make so much money.

Sedaris, who is a diary-addict, can’t seem to stop himself, nor would we want him to, since I believe it would mean less to no more books from him. Where else would we get strange anecdotal stories about whichever strange family or close friend he has? (I’d end up missing them.) He takes the “women” way of fighting and has put an O.C.D. twist on it. Since he writes everything down, he can go back to an argument which started years before and states his stance on it to his boyfriend, which of course is even harder to make a fight end if it’s with someone with “passion”, but seems so ridiculously over-the-top I can only imagine someone bursting out laughing at such a reaction. Unfortunately, possibly due to age, he has the “age-old” view of pot-smokers who, whilst a good source for a joke, not so much when it’s necessary about remembering a trip to Greece is a concern. Too bad he hasn’t run into some with intelligence, but when regular intelligence is so hard to uncover, how can one expect someone to wait for a specific variety. *Sighs* Life. I guess he hasn’t delved into stand-up comedy much. Not necessarily the best source for the intelligent comedians, but for the collected few, which is all I can hope for; and to discover a 7-year-old kid who would look at a guinea pig and marvel at its size by repeatedly and incredulously saying, “Jesus, will you look at those? Christ Almighty. Someone should take a picture.” I mean, come on, I’d appreciate the mentioned candor over the dull diatribes I hear people spout behind me in lines all day every day.

Now it’s my turn to take the Lord’s name in vain though, because Oh my God the next essay is funny to any who has either watched the BBC or knows Britain on a more personal level. David recounts another personal experience involving his father, at which point his extreme fascination with British terminology is shown. Oh, and when Sedaris’ laptop and bag are stolen and his passport was in the pocket of the bag, one of the funniest stories. Plus, David doped up on anesthesia makes me want to laugh and laugh. Also, if one doesn’t want to end up like Michael Jackson, take Propofol with care. I can’t say I’m thoroughly disappointed with this addition to David’s books. The fact he ends with a dog version of “There once was a man in Nantucket…” and make it sound more dirty and clever and then make me think it could mirror the rhythm to the Jim Carroll Band – People Who Died is a feat in itself. Gold-star, Sedaris.