(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
It was a time of gaiety and dancing and singing and fighting and drinking and – well not so much the naughty because Mother Church frowned on such goings on except with the scarlet ladies beyond the pale that my father told me about in Ireland.
A typical household consisted of a straw hut, a mother, father, passel of kids and a pig. Not only was furniture rare (rocks sufficed for chairs) but so were utensils and dinnerware. Just outside the front entrance was a pile of pig shit. If you never smelled pig shit, count yourself blessed.
An Irish peasant with much more than the usual amount of land allowed the Irish peasantry by the English overlords for growing potatoes sadly noted that he had to hire a maid because his wife got so lonely for the gaiety of the commons.
This is part of the beginning of a book on the Irish Potato Famine told largely through drab documents and letters and other tedious products of deep research that puts a lie to the usual apocryphal notions of the famine. It is a horror far beyond the artistry of even the master of horror, Edgar Allan Poe. It is some hard reading and I will probably never finish the book.
The problem was not so much the hatred and contempt for the Irish by the English, though there is no shortage of that and vice versa to this day, but a misunderstanding of the genius of Adam Smith along with a benevolence that often did more harm than good. Who can top the widely circulated pamphlet on how to cook rotten potatoes? The Irish were already and are the only people on earth with worse cuisine than the English.
One has to be insensate not to notice the relief, even among Republican stalwarts, that Romney, who is now revealing himself plainly for what he always was, did not attain the reins of power. Instead, says Cornell West, we got Romney in blackface. You don’t have to agree fully even if you can get past the – ahh, umm – insensitivity of Mr. West but how to explain glowing promises that the U.S. will be pumping more oil out of the ground in the near future by a fine fellow who says he accepts the science of global warming which decrees Sandy is just a red-haired stepchild of what is to come?
Contrary to crazed popular notions, America was not founded on Christian-Judaic doctrine (whatever that is supposed to be) but on contempt for the hatred espoused by religions, including atheism. George Washington and, I think, Adams were Deists. Deists decreed that God created the world but God takes care of God and man can damn well take care of himself. Man isn’t doing so hot at the task.
Jefferson was a Unitarian, which is little different but far more elaborate and colorful. Kinda funny that Jefferson would go for the pomp and circumstance. But he, like all the others with the usual human failings, wanted real change and respected science and learning.
That was then. This is now. Hope there is a tomorrow for the kids and grandkids.