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Calling George Washington (or text msg if you prefer!)

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“The boundary of the young child’s world is marked by his horizon. To him (or her), nothing exists beyond the place where earth and sky meet. For the more fortunate child this horizon soon is pushed outward through his experience and through that of those about him. For the great majority of children, however, the widening of the horizon largely depends upon books and the classroom.” Katheryne Whittemore, “Asia, The Great Continent” (1937)

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I have been a historical and futuristic person basically my whole life. This to a large degree explains why I am so often misunderstood.                  I simply have a different reference point.  Other things would factor into the equation such as not being rich and famous, not being a charasmatic speaker (I prefer to write and work behind the scenes) and I don’t exactly look like a movie star either.

My grandparents are of “The Greatest Generation”.  So being one who came along in the mid 1970’s, I was exposed to Black Sheep Squadron, The Waltons, Charlie’s Angels, Star Wars and all those science fiction shows, DOH, etc… I knew who George Washington, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Al Capone and “Pappy” Boyington were by the age of 5.

The 1980’s and 1990’s were a wonderful time both personally and to a large extent the U.S.A. itself. I reminisce about those days quite often especially in the past few years.  Since the turn of this century, I find myself having first-hand exposure to six generations and also connect to what The Lost Generation went through too.  I have just this year seen a copy of my great-grandfather’s WWI draft card, several census records, and a picture of both him, his wife, my grandfather when he was a child, and many other relatives that I had not seen before. This is due to two things: having the internet and being able to share online and having a family reunion soon. This will be the first reunion in about 25 years.

So my perspective is this: In my adult life, I relate to and communicate most effectively with the Greatest Generation. They know who George Washington was. I am deeply in love with their movies, the clothes, cars, etc… They have the most patience and conversations can last for several hours and run the gamut of topics. I have often felt both in childhood and especially since the economic downturn that began in 2001 that I should have been born around 100 years ago. Perhaps it is a reaction to those high aspirations and big dreams that I had for myself not panning out like I had hoped. To go from wanting to work in the movies (primarily as a cinematographer and maybe later on producer) to simply things not working out (odd jobs, trying career changes, only to realize that wasn’t me) and so on and so on.

When it comes to the Baby Boomers, their achievements during an unparelled time of economic prosperity are certainly noteworthy. I like their movies (although nothing tops 1920’s-40’s in my mind), TV shows, music, etc… They had fun from the 60’s-90’s. In more recent years however, this fairly obstacle free life has led to a mass delusion of granduer. They expect Social Security and Medicare to be there just like their parents, but they have no experience with a Great Depression or World War. They have gone from fighting the system to joining it. They have lived in the suburbs their whole lives, so the notion of growing your own food and riding a horse is foreign. They kind of know who George Washington was and that he did something like fighting the British, but who cares! They are a bit spoiled by it all. A college degree was a guarantee of riches and a long career. That approach made sense from 1950-2000. It is not a guarantee today. This vastly different result certainly will create tension when they wonder why it did wonders for them, but it doesn’t yield even better results for their children and grandchildren. The American Dream was their overriding ambition and largely obtainable. Guess what? Times change!

Generation X and Y have big ambitions and tech-saavy.   Yet even with a age gap of around 15 years, there are some very subtle yet critical differences. A child of the 70’s-80’s didn’t go around with an iPhone in their hand by age 5. The only people who would have been using an Acoustic Coupler and TDD were people who were deaf/hearing impaired or blind.  People thought that was a bit odd back then. Now they think I’m odd because my cell phone is basic and while I would thrive professionally in an technology oriented environment (if only all those resumes and a few interviews would amount to something), I personally wouldn’t mind having a few acres of open land, a barn and a few animals. The kids ran around the neighborhood, went to the arcade and movies, enjoyed primetime TV, etc… We also have memories of the Cold War, Berlin Wall, and conflicts in the Middle East.  We know that George Washington was around sometime in the 1700’s and that he fought the British. But not much else.

Those born around 1990 have basically spent their most formative years growing up with the internet, cell phones, and the United States during its last (to date) period of economic prosperity. So when will the economy get better? I don’t have a crystal ball, but my study of history leads to me to believe it may not occur until 2020 or so and that is only with radical changes in our basic government structure and some changes in how we live our daily lives.           But that is hard to do with several generations who have little or no experience with farming, horses, trains and a USA without a massive government structure and the mass hypnosis that has occurred over the past few decades.   They have heard the name George Washington, but don’t know anything about him.

Generation Z are tech savvy by the age of 5 and can even teach their great-grandparents how to do three way video conferencing on a Samsung Galaxy 4. One of my great-grandmothers didn’t even have a washer until she was around 50. They are bright, but perhaps spend way too much time wired up. Believe me, it won’t kill you to get your hair wet or your hands muddy once every month or so. They do everything super fast just because it is the times we live in and they have the attention span of a hornet’s nest.  They have probably never even seen a hornet’s nest.  I on the other hand have plenty of experience with poison ivy, snakes and even took a nap on  the back of a cow once.  Mention George Washington and you might as well be from Mars. They will have to deal with some harsh realities in the coming years like Gen X and Y are realizing.

Now stay tuned for the rest of the story. One thing is for sure: We are living in interesting times.

GW

Written by chrisforliberty

May 18, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Posted in U.S. History

An Answer About The 2nd Amendment

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americaslasthope1775 August 25. (to John Randolph). “I am sincerely one of those [who still wish for reunion with their parent country], and would rather be in dependance on Great Britain, properly limited, than on any nation upon earth, or than on no nation. But I am one of those too who rather than submit to the right of legislating for us assumed by the British parliament…would lend my hand to sink the whole island in the ocean.”

This is a response to Denae’s question about the 2nd Amendment: The 2nd Amendment was drawn up specifically to deal with the issue of tyranny. You don’t fight a war of independence because the King says we can’t hunt quail anymore. Personally, I lean towards being a vegetarian. But that is another story. Why was there an American Revolution?

In order for a state to be free, the lessons that they learned as that the people being informed and armed was necessary. Whether a gun holds 1 round or 20 is simply a matter of style.  No different than if a journalist today reporting on the internet.  Reporters can be a valuable resource for an open and free government/society. But as we know, newspapers, radio, TV, etc… can be used for the negative too. The average reporter probably doesn’t care all that much. Other reporters will have an agenda. Others are idealists. But if they don’t do as their editors tell them, they are out of a job. This is why critical thinking skills and in the matter of spiritual warfare, discernment is important.

Pull up a copy of the Declaration of Independence on the web (or a pocket Constitution from the Cato Institute would be nice). As you read through it, notice the list of abuses by the King? Jefferson is spelling out the rationale for why they are declaring their independence.  BTW, those old guys would have loved the internet. Not every single thing. But they would support its existence wholeheartedly. Thomas Jefferson would never stop answering his email and James Madison would be constantly printing stuff off for his files.

“A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence agst. foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people.” James Madison, Constitutional Convention, Max Farrand’s Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, vol. 1

As for me, I have a background in both newspapers and TV. I am totally cool with doing radio too mainly as a producer. I have a deep love for film. As a child, I shot my great-grandfather’s guns. I have relatives who are World War II vets. Guns are a tool, not a toy nor some voodoo stuff. Some people are careless and others swear they are possessed. I just know to keep the finger off the trigger until I’m ready to fire and don’t aim at something you don’t intend to hit.

Written by chrisforliberty

February 8, 2013 at 3:23 am

Posted in Politics, U.S. History

The Music of Misunderstanding

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Sir, do you not see?
What?
Don Quixote battles six merchants from Toledo and saves Dulcinea’s virtue!
Who the devil is Dulcinea?

Mozart

All my life, I’ve taken an interest in certain things: the classics, movies, music and anything historical.  In a major way, I’m a 19th-20th century man.  In learning about the greats of the past, I’ve come to realize that I have some common traits with a number of people.  The ones that connect to me most on a personal level whether in terms of my physical stature, mode of thinking, outlook on life would be James Madison, Stonewell Jackson, Annie Oakley, Nikola Tesla, George Patton and Pappy Boyington. There would be others, but in my current frame of mind, these hit home the most.

Because my mindset and the current times are not in sync, my physical existence therefore is not in sync with the times.  So Kayne West is going to have a baby. This is big news today, yet I’m sitting here studying Patton and all the more thankful for it.  I love movies from just about any decade.  My musical tastes are all over the map: Mozart, 1920’s Jazz, MTV, etc… We live in a world where we are just to be interested in one thing.  We can’t figure out why an attorney would ride a Harley Davidson or why a farmer would read Shakespeare. We can’t figure out why a good Christian girl would work at Hooters’ or why a guy works the graveyard shift.

30 years ago, I was ahead of everyone else in terms of technology.  I knew what a modem was before the word was even in existence.  I thought about technologies that would enable people to speak from distant locations, sending each other a written message via computer which would have made it easier in my case since I have hearing loss and doing school news via a linkup that goes out to the whole school as opposed to listening to it on the intercom all the time.  Nowadays, I am glad the technology exists. But my major concern these days is it is technology for the sake of technology.  The Frankenstein effect.

My childhood consisted of fighting the Soviets (in my mind), running all over the neighborhood, hanging out in arcades, my aunt’s barn in Tennessee, my aunt’s bar in Florida, etc… I would prefer that any time over these modern times that kids are living in. But because they have come into a world that didn’t exactly have my experiences, they can’t relate. Long-term, this can have serious consequences.  I have already decided that if I have children of my own, they will not be getting a cell phone at age 3.

Reflecting back on it, given that my grandparents are of the Great Depression/World War II generation, I can kind of see why my grandmother would have been concerned about men having long hair and listening to rock n’ roll. To go from John Wayne to Jon Bon Jovi was a trend towards the decline of Western Civilization.  🙂 I personally have concerns about the constant rush and over-reliance on technology.  What are you going to do when you can’t just go to the grocery store and buy a loaf of bread for $50? It happened before.  See my point. I study history for a reason.  It is so we can relate and interconnect and perhaps learn from each other no matter the time period.

And be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:2

Written by chrisforliberty

January 11, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Posted in Media, Movies, U.S. History

What George W. Bush Should Have Done

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Bushfamily“Poor George. He can’t help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.”  Ann Richards

My first visual memory of George W. Bush was when I watched the 1988 Republican National Convention. I was a huge baseball fan at the time (still am, just don’t follow MLB like I once did). My impression of him was he was out of his element. He didn’t belong in this environment.

Many things have been said about Bush, positive and negative. My basic impression of him was that he was never truly his own man.

He faced the dilemma that many children of the rich and famous have to deal with. Imagine being a George Patton. His own career in its own right was distinguished. But he was never going to be as well-known as the father. His youngest grandson took an entirely different path.

George was married to Laura Welch, a school teacher and librarian. It seems he was interested in being a Cowboy. He never was going to be a 4.0 student, but he was involved in one way or another with different pursuits. Back when he was a teenager, he should have told his dad, “I want to go my own way.” Maybe he could have been a curator. A teacher. Who knows.

Children who come into a world of high expectations face pressures that their parents and grandparents didn’t have to deal with. We are living in those times now. Parents, yes raise your children. But don’t be overbearing. Children should be allowed to go with their heart’s desire and not solely use salary and 401K as the basis for a career or life’s pursuits.

Written by chrisforliberty

January 10, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Posted in Politics, U.S. History

War (Or Why We Should Either Love It or Hate It)

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“All glory is fleeting”

I’m a student of history. Always have been. Some of my earliest memories are rooted in history, specifically war. I remember The Black Sheep Squadron coming on the air when I was just a few months old. My grandparents are children of the Great Depression and entered their adulthood on the brink of World War II. So I had a living breathing example of that conflict during a time when I was learning about figures like “Pappy” Boyington, “Old Blood and Guts” Patton, George Washington, etc… Basically it was stories of being a medic in Burma, malaria, being bedridden for a month, how Japanese people were (or thought to be at the time) yellow bastards or maybe a Jewish conspiracy to take over the world. Sound familar? Yet people think I’m crazy because I point these things out.

Yet I’ve eaten dinner with Japanese people while discussing baseball or Madonna. So perhaps it isn’t surprising that I have a certain fondness for Japanese culture and women. No different than my great-uncle (who is a veteran of the Battle of the Bulge) having an a certain fondness for English and French women. Basically it was stories of being in a cafe while on leave, the smell of dead horses and the sight of corpses in concentration camps. Yet people say to this day, “It can’t happen here.” To wit: at that time, Germany was the most advanced nation in the world. They had the finest doctors, engineers, scientists, and were ahead in terms of military doctrine. Yet it happened.

“Fights between individuals, as well as governments and nations, invariably result from misunderstandings in the broadest interpretation of this term. Misunderstandings are always caused by the inability of appreciating one another’s point of view. This again is due to the ignorance of those concerned, not so much in their own, as in their mutual fields. The peril of a clash is aggravated by a more or less predominant sense of combativeness, posed by every human being. To resist this inherent fighting tendency the best was is to dispel ignorance of the doings of others by a systematic spread of general knowledge. With this object in view, it is most important to aid exchange of thought and intercourse.” Nikola Tesla, “The Transmission of Electrical Energy without wires as a means for furthering Peace”, Electrical World and Engineer (7 January 1905)

In our times, we are constantly innudated with stories of global Muslim conspiracies of world conquest or that we are over there to liberate the oppressed. How does it happen? It is actually pretty simple. Just tell the people we have been attacked and accuse those who are opposed to going to war of treason.

Perhaps it would be more enlightening to understand the interesting connections between the Bush family, bin Laden family and the House of Saud. So why aren’t U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia? I will even mention the Project for the New American Century. But it is not my job to do your homework for you. So if you choose willful ignorance even after I pointed out certain details, you have only yourself to blame.

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Written by chrisforliberty

January 6, 2013 at 4:17 pm

How The West Was Won

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The Great Train Robbery, directed by Edwin S. Porter in 1903, captured the attention of the moviegoing audience because for the first time it told a story, the tale of how robbers came and tied up the station agent, robbed the train, murdered two railroad employees and a passenger, and were captured or shot by a posse of Westerners, who left a jolly square dance to track them down. It was filmed in the woods of New Jersey. No actors were listed in the credits, but film scholars have discovered that Broncho Billy Anderson (later a famous Western movie cowboy) played three separate parts: one of the robbers, the murdered passenger, and a tenderfoot who wanders into the hoedown and is forced to dance by cowboys who shoot at his feet. As there were no close-up shots of actors’ faces, an actor could play many parts without being recognized. To show an actor’s face without showing his hands and feet was felt to be cheating the audience, who after all had paid good money to see the whole actor.

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The first train robbery on record occurred not in the Wild West, but in John Mellancamp’s hometown.

Here is an account of the first train robbery in the West.

D. W. Griffith brought a greater sophistication to the motion picture process. He and his colleagues were inventing the vocabulary of moving picture images in the same way that the Elizabethans invented English as we know it. In The Musketeers of Pig Alley, filmed in New York City in 1912, the shots are elegant, the crowd scenes varied and focused, the acting restrained yet convincing, the gang war tense and thrilling. Lillian Gish stars; Elmer Booth is charming as the boss of the gangsters; young Lionel Barrymore has a bit part. No credits are listed for the actors, once again, for the longer the movie industry could put off crediting the actors the less they would have to be paid.

Specifically, I would like to address the look and mood of the Hollywood Western in comparison and contrast to the Spaghetti Western and the “Wild West” in general.

Let’s begin with the High Noon Showdown

The Year: The Wild West.
The Place: In the middle of an empty, dusty road outside a saloon.
The Time: The instant the clock strikes high noon.

Some guys enter a bar.  A argument ensues.  Basically they take it outside.

You get the picture.

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Its familiarity, of course, makes it a favorite plot device in Westerns along with the train robber galloping on a horse and springing onto the train. In said parody, one character is required to say, “This town ain’t big enough for the two of us.” Quite rarely will it occur to them that some urban expansion could solve all their problems.

There was an authenic showdown that involved Will Bill Hickock in Springfield, Missouri. There is also this account: “I was standing near Wild Bill on Main Street, when someone ‘began shooting up the town’ at the eastern end of the street. It was Bill Mulvey, a notorious murderer from Missouri, known as a handy man with a gun… Mulvey appeared on the scene, tearing toward us on his iron grey horse, rifle in hand, full cocked. When Wild Bill saw Mulvey, he walked out to meet him, apparently waving his hand to some fellows behind Mulvey and calling to them: ‘Don’t shoot him in the back; he is drunk’. Mulvey stopped his horse and, wheeling the animal about, drew a bead on his rifle in the direction of the imaginary man he thought Wild Bill was addressing. But before he realized the ruse that had been played upon him, Wild Bill had aimed his six-shooter and fired – just once. Mulvey dropped from his horse – dead, the bullet having penetrated his temple and then passed through his head.”
Eyewitness account of Miguel Otero from his book, My Life on the Frontier, 1864–1882 (1936)

Westerns leave the impression that there was one occurring every week somewhere. In reality, the actual number of authentic showdowns probably never exceeded more than a dozen. If a person was shot, it was during the course of a bank robbery or a shot in the back. Yet even those were rare compared to how they are portrayed on-screen. Train robberies were mostly the robbers deciding ahead of time to rob a train, checking out the scene and entering as paying customers before springing into action as opposed to them leaping off a horse onto the back and working their way over the top.  The Wild West was not nearly as violent as portrayed in cinema.  Most violence that occurred was between the Indian tribes and the federal government.

Then there is the look of the Western. Golden Age Hollywood Westerns portrayed the classic “good guy”: clean shaven, spotless, wearing white; the “bad guy”: menacing look or facial expressions, some dirt on him whether literally or in terms of his character, and wearing black. In reality, good guys never were all good and bad guys never were all bad. The look as portrayed in the Spaghetti Westerns would have been more accurate.

The same goes for the women. Some of them were prostitutes, but not all of them had teeth. Small towns mostly grew up around the mines and railroads and since employment opportunities for women weren’t exactly plentiful, you have to earn a living somehow.

So in a nutshell, the “Wild West” is more hype than reality, people were complicated and people didn’t exactly take showers every single day.

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Written by chrisforliberty

December 16, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Posted in Movies, U.S. History

George S. Patton: The Man

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Patton

You know General, sometimes the men don’t know when you’re acting. 

It’s not important for them to know. It’s only important for me to know.

I’ve often imagined what would it be like if Jesus looked like Andre The Giant or had red hair much like Alexander the Great and Thomas Jefferson. He would have stood out. But I’m inclined to believe he looked average, probably around 5’5″ or so and didn’t have the Force. Maybe he could hit a curve ball.  Then again, they didn’t exactly have baseball back then.  But yet even today, if he was a redhead and could hit a curve ball, he would get some of this treatment. Why? Probably because he would be a catcher who has bad knees instead of playing first base. You are supposed to stand out, but if you do, they will beat you up for standing out. Damn if you do.

This is what George Patton himself has said about another historical figure, “Blackjack” Pershing: “To those who have known General Pershing, only by his pictures or by an occasional distant view, he appears as a grave, austere man of fine presence, but cold and almost frigid in his loneliness. Just so it is with Mount Washington. Viewed from afar, it rises in cold and isolated majesty; in, but not of, our universe. It takes the more intimate personal knowledge of a ramble on it’s craggy sides to discover the warmth, beauty, and latent grandeur of it’s very self. All great men suffer from this fact. Of American generals, none has suffered more than General Pershing, because none have commanded such hosts or risen so high.”

Most people only know Patton from the movie Patton which portrayed him as vainglorious, bombastic, acting without thinking. But he was more than just a tank general.  I first heard of Patton around 30 years ago from reading about him in a WWII book. All my life, I’ve been interested in history.  From studying the man aside from the portrayals in the media, I’ve come to realize that while he could be colorful, he didn’t use profanity as part of daily discourse.   He only used it for dramatic effect. You can’t run a military especially at the lower level of the hierarchy using formal speak all the time. But the military itself is based on rank and file just like the world at large.  Enlisted men do not eat with officers.

He was a human being.  He understood the nature of war and that is the best way to prevent war is to not start one in the first place. If it does start, the best way to end it is to put the leaders out of power even if you have to personally shoot the paper hanging son of a bitch yourself. If the people had not followed Hitler, Stalin, the Japanese military elites, etc…, it could have been averted.  This is why it is important that even if you attend a public speech or watch TV, that you think critically.

This was the last straw for Beatrice, and her temper flared. She unsheathed one of the swords and chased “Saber George” around the room, cursing with expletives that should have made her warrior husband proud. After she had “treed” him on top of the crates, stabbing at his legs, and making him dance quite a jig, he pleaded, “G– D— it, Bea, I’m sorry! I’ll pack them myself!” And he did.

Written by chrisforliberty

November 11, 2012 at 1:50 pm