Friday, October 21, 2005

Too Much Information...

…runnin’ through my brain,
too much information,
drivin’ me insane… CHA!

What can I say? I’m old. Can you name the band?

There is so much crap going on I really don't know where to dive in.
It's like standing on the edge of the pond kind of wanting to take a swim and there's debris and icky stuff covering the surface,
and you're looking for a break just to get in the water. Kind of...

Delay, Rove, 'Scooter', Miller, Cheney, Bush, Hurricanes, Iraq, Saddam and Miers. Did I leave anything out? Probably, but there's no room left at the inn. (Frist)

The only thing I'll touch on in this area is this bit from the AP:

Reporters and television crews were lining up outside the courthouse more than two hours before DeLay was scheduled to appear, after three weeks of failed legal maneuvers by his attorney, Dick DeGuerin, to get the charges dismissed,
the trial moved, the prosecutor questioned and the judge replaced.
"We're ready for court. We want a trial," DeGuerin said. "We've wanted to get in court for too long. There's only been one side of this being presented in any tribunal."

Lawyers. A very strange animal indeed. Comicaly infuriating. Great when you need them, pass the shotgun.
This guy DeGuerin reminds me of an ex-girlfriend, transparent to the point of invisibility except for the very long nose that keeps getting longer. Come to think of it, there's a lot of that going around in the Bush administration and its periphery.

Ok, moving on.

I'm sick, have sinus-allergy-congestion-whatever that I got from doing yard work all day Saturday and that's part of the reason I have not taken to shooting these various fish in these various barrels. No energy to do the unchallenging task of "look - they're a bunch of crooks and liars!" This place does a fab job of doing just that.

I need to add a bunch of sites to my blog roll as I've been skipping around by visiting Pepper, Doc, Spud, OWL, Vestal, and then launching from there. Mark has taken a leave of absence but my gut tells me that when he does return it will be in grand style, just a guess.

Let's see, in which direction can I shoot off into next?

Last night after class, I got home and flipped on the tube to be entertained by these two and their mom. There is plenty of information about the Gaede family and their...ideals. Try this if your interested.

Last but not least: the history essay assignment to supplement the mid-term.
The essay assignment was this: “Imagine you have been transported back in time to the 1400’s. Select what culture you would rather be a part of and explain your position. Be sure and compare and contrast the cultures. Native American Indian, African or European.”
I missed one question on the midterm: "First colony in New World, did not have a charter?" That bottle of tequila is still available, but I did nip on it a few times since nobody got the “how many jalapeños in this picture” correct. Anyhow, it’s an easy question but I missed it, feel free to take a stab.
The following is the essay, which was worth 10 points added to the midterm test grade. With the essay and missed question, my score was 109. Thank you, thank you, please, no please sit down, thank you, thank you, what a wonderful audience.

Forced to Choose

“Mr. Fitzgerald, you have been accused of high crimes and misdemeanors by the United States Government. Specifically on the count of Treason, how do you answer?”

“Well, I wasn’t aware that attending a peaceful rally against the Iraq war was considered treason…”

“SILENCE! You and all your liberal traitor friends knew that dissent against President Bush and his agenda was considered treason before you went to Washington! Free speech ain’t free and you idiots just don’t get it. Now, answer the charge!”

“Not Guilty your Honor.”

“This court finds you GUILTY of Treason! Normally, the penalty is death, but we have devised a new punishment for traitors like you. You will be transported back in time to America in the 1400’s and forced to choose whether you will be an Native American Indian, an African or a European. Just a quick hint there treason-boy, the Indians got their butt kicked and are all alcoholics living on reservations, and the Africans were all slaves and have been sentenced to poverty ever since. During the transport you will have about twenty minutes to make your choice. Make your choice wisely! Failure to do so may indeed result in the penalty of DEATH!”

“Holy crap” I thought, “this can’t be happening.” But it was…

I was led to the pod, uncuffed and stuffed in. The door was shut behind me and there was complete darkness. There was a whirring sound, the pod began to shake, and I had twenty minutes to think about life in America in the 1400’s. Oddly enough, this day is Columbus Day.

Ok, let’s see, how do I decide? Do I go with my heart and soul or do I just give in and take the choice that’s being held over my head. I’ve got to break this down into some categories and compare each culture and then decide.

First up: religion. I’m not a religious person. In fact I’m an atheist. What choices do I have?

The Native Americans were polytheistic in their worship. They worshipped the elders of the tribes and worshipped natural gods, the rain god, the sun god and the like.
The Africans had something similar going on but quite different in one aspect; Islam. I find voodoo and it’s concepts very interesting, and of course revering nature through worship is very appealing to me, but the whole Islam thing is too organized and scary to me. It’s too much like Christianity and Catholicism, plus I believe voodoo has Catholic influences as well.
The Europeans were predominately Catholic, with Protestant worshippers fighting for power over the Catholics.
I really love the natural world, and the Indians seemed to appreciate nature and work with it. I also like the fact that they paid homage to their elders through ancestor worship. I like that they compared human traits to animal traits, like the warriors being compared to eagles, bears and wolves. It seems that European religions separate man from nature, that's a huge mistake and I just can’t get on that bandwagon. When it comes to religion, Native American Indian it is.

Ok, property ownership. Of course in modern time, I like that idea, but it’s early in the 1400’s, so let’s rethink.
The Indians were not into property ownership per se, they were more communal in regards to property. The Africans were the same way, everybody shared the property, it was for the good of all.
The Europeans were all about feudalism, a very few rich and well connected men owning and controlling all the land while everybody else just worked the land as tenant farmers and indentured servants. The men always gave their land to the oldest son, so if you weren’t born first, tough cookies. Forget being a sister. Your best bet there was to marry somebody else’s first born male. Talk about narrowing the choices!
Most of the property that was owned in Indian and African culture was passed through the maternal side of the family. I like that idea. The women bear the children and take care of the children once they are born. Let’s face it, without women, the tribe will not continue. Convoluted reasoning? Maybe, but this round goes to the Indians as well.

Alright now, how does the work get done in each society?
The Indians shared the load with the men going out to hunt and gather and bring the food back to the tribe or village, and the women then prepared the meat from the hunt. The women also took care of the agriculture of the tribe by planting and harvesting, and then preparing the bounty for community consumption.
The African culture behaved similar, with men doing the hunting and the women taking care of the crops. One difference between the Indians and Africans was that the Africans had craftsmen, a specialty within the village. These craftsmen were responsible for making tools, weapons, ‘cookware’, and other useful items needed in the tribe. The Africans were a tad more advanced than the Indians as far as that was concerned, but both cultures seemed to pull together within themselves to get the work done.
The Europeans relied heavily on serfs to do all the work. Basically a serf is a peasant under the feudal system. They were considered the lowest social class of the feudal society and serfs were forced to do all the work on the farms and other agriculture related fields like forestry and transportation. Serfs differed from slaves in that serfs were not property themselves and could not be sold apart from the land which they worked. Being a serf just doesn’t sound all that glorious, rewarding or like there was any chance to ‘move up’. Not too different from being a slave in the long run, minus the physical abuse and you did have a chance of freedom at some point. Ok, they were very different.
I like the idea of everyone pulling together to get the work done and since I’m already two into the Indians, I’m going to make it three. Indians win on the labor front as well.

What did each culture rely on for food?
The Indians were at one with nature and relied on wild game, fish and agriculture. I have eaten venison and find it rather tasty. As a boy I used to bow hunt in the swamp where I lived. I guess in some ways I fancied myself as an Indian, stalking my prey with a bow. It was rather difficult and the success rate was very low. I used to fish in that same swamp and would bring home quite a catch on a regular basis. Arrowheads, often called duck potatoes, grew in the swamp as well. I have seen deer wade into the water and pull them up by the stalk, and eat the root. It is my understanding that Native Americans also collected these starchy tubers for food. Being largely hunters and gathers, the Indians would collect as much vegetative food as they could. This included berries, fruits, and nuts of all types in the wild.
The Africans were very similar in that they were gathered from the wild as well. One difference was the lack of rich food diversity. Largely, sub-Saharan Africans consumed much bush-meat, it seemed they had little else. Africa has always been linked to the Middle East and Asia via the Egyptian and Ethiopian civilizations which brought many crops to Africa even in prehistoric times. More non-native crops came to Africa in two long migrations, the first from Asia, the second from the Americas. The latter came about as a result of the slave trade.
In Europe the food consisted of farmed meat, agriculture and minimal hunting. Livestock provided most of the meat, with wheat and barley and the like grown in the fields. Quite frankly, I find the European method of providing food for the commuity rather boring and nonadventurous, not to mention not very eco-friendly. Mass producing food has negative effects on the natural ecology, and as noted earlier, European religions seemed to separate man from nature.
Not being a big meat eater cuts me right out of the European diet, as beef was a major staple in their diet. I’m more of a fish and ‘yard bird’ consumer, plus I love all kinds of fruits and vegetables. The Indian diet and their lifestyle of acquiring it is very appealing to me, the Indians win again.

Who’s got the best government? If you look at each cultures' way of life, the government will be a reflection of it.
The Indians had a tribal organization where everyone participated on some level. The women of the tribe would select a chief and the chief would make the rules to govern the tribe. Almost an elected official kind of system that supposedly exists in America today, only probably not quite as polluted.
The Africans had tribes and had kingdoms as well. The women had a much more limited role in government than that of the Indians. Kingdoms had kings and much like the European systems of government, the King ruled.
In Europe, they had city-states, kings, lords and barons. The feudal system just plain stunk as far as I’m concerned.
The Indian way of governing is much more appealing. It appeared much more democratic and communal, much like the rest of Indian culture. It also appeared that status was achieved through merit as opposed to how much money or property one had. The somewhat limited role of women in the African tribe is a little disappointing as women played major roles elsewhere in that society, much like the Native American Indians. In Europe, it was all about the man. Men controlled everything and women were second tier at best. The only shot at having any power was if you were born into a prominent family. Queen Elizabeth just didn’t rise up from being a handmaid, she was born into royalty and there she stayed.

The Native Amerians were not concerned with wealth as much as Africa and Europe. This could partly be attributed to the geographic isolation of America relative to Africa and Europe. The Indian trade was not that complex, and they traded more cultural items than monetary items. Things like jewelry, stones, beads, salt and metal were traded amongst the tribes. Their culture was more communal thus there was little need to have more money than your neighbor.
African trade was a little more complex as Asia and the Middle East were geographically accessible. Salt and spices found their way around as well as gold and silver. Riches were an important part of the trade in that region.
Europe of course traded with all of the known world, and they traded anything and everything they could. The European way of life was very class oriented and having riches and wealth were important. The need to stay at the top of the food chain economically was important to being a world power and England was all about being a world power. Once the English defeated Spain, England was largely unchallenged as a world power. Part of exploring America was due in part to England needing more economic resources in which to rule the world. I think we call that imperialism.

The whirring of the pod seems to be slowing down, so I guess my twenty minutes is just about over.
After considering the choices, I’m leaning heavily with Native American Indian. It’s a lifestyle that I can relate to and is very appealing to me.
The African culture comes in a close second, but the three main things I don’t like are the lack of voice women have in government, the ratio of meat to vegetation in their diet, and their proximity to the rest of Europe. The European culture, well, not very appealing for a variety of reasons but one in particular: feudalism. Feudalism might be great if you are born into royalty, but I’m all alone, and the second son for that matter. Without question I have serf written all over me.
I prefer to do things on my own, lend a helping hand if somebody needs it, and look out for my neighbors regardless of their place in society. The European system screams ‘Fuck the poor’, and that just ain’t me.

The American Indian culture was doomed by European influence, and the African culture that made it here was nearly destroyed by the slave trade. Both cultures have been absorbed and manipulated by the massive European influx, but that did give birth to the wondeful society that America is today.

Since I’m sure I face death by the Bush administration under false pretenses in present day, and must choose a culture during the 1400’s in which to live, I have decided to choose death in a noble fashion. I will die like a warrior, fighting the English to preserve my homeland. Live free or die!

6 Opinions:

Anonymous Pepper speaks!

I'd be a serf, too. Well argued! Congratulations on that score!

5:59 PM  
Blogger oldwhitelady speaks!

Darn, I wish I had some sort of paper I needed to turn in to anybody. I'd copy your post, put the date and my name on it and turn it in:) Kidding, but that was a great post!

9:40 PM  
Blogger Dr. C speaks!

Sounds cool, R.J. The Native Americans I've found most interesting are those in the SouthWest: Navajo, Hopi and Zuni. The Navajo are actually related to the Athkabaskans from Alaska. I guess they were the last over the Bering Straits and they look like it. High cheekbones, other Asian features. Tony Hillerman has a lot of good stuff in his novels. Particularly re their "religion." The Navajo are sophisticated healers; particularly in things psychological.

12:47 PM  
Blogger Redjalapeno speaks!

Thanks everyone for the kind words.

Pepper my fellow serf, we shall toil the land to raise more peppers, it's in our nations best interest.

OWL, (shaking my head) giving the devious students ideas! I never thought about that but I suppose someone somewhere could lift pieces/parts.

Doc, there is so much to learn I will never learn it all, but I intend on dying while trying!

3:33 PM  
Blogger Scorpion Breeder speaks!

the band is The Police?

7:47 PM  
Blogger Redjalapeno speaks!

The Police it is!

Tequila for everybody!

3:55 PM  

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