Tag: History

Senate confirms Ketanji Brown Jackson

The Senate confirmed President Joe Biden’s Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson on Thursday in a historic vote that paves the way for her to become the first Black woman to serve on the highest court in the nation.

The tally was 53-47, with Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska joining Democrats to vote in favor.

Senate confirms Ketanji Brown Jackson to be first Black woman to sit on Supreme Court

Scene from Anti Vietnam War Protest – April 1971

The veterans’ presence in Washington today is deeply confusing to the American mood. A police sergeant on duty at the Capitol says, ‘Hell, I’d throw in my badge before I touch these guys.’ A businessman, who was just passing by, now fussily clears a path for Bill Loivie, who has spent two years in military hospitals and will always need crutches. An old couple, he in red baseball cap, she in blue rinse, have come up from Georgia to see Washington in the spring and now they march with a woman who lost a son over there. Even a party of enormous ladies from the Daughters of the American Revolution, an organization that would gleefully detonate the world tomorrow and which happened to be meeting in Washington today, stand transfixed and almost crying, almost, as the carnage passes them by, including Jack Saul from California wearing a grotesque mask of Richard Nixon smiling. And when someone asks Jack, jokingly, what he himself looks like, he takes it off and reveals a face that looks as though he has just finished pouring acid on it. ‘Peace,’ he says.

Eyewitness to History
Civilization’s most momentous events come vibrantly alive in this magnificent collection of over three hundred eyewitness accounts spanning twenty-four turbulent centuries — remarkable recollections of battles, atrocities, disasters, coronations, assassinations and discoveries that shaped the course of history, all related in vivid detail by observers on the scene.

See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_Veterans_Against_the_War

Harvey Fierstein Interview – Village Voice

FP: After downtown celeb Harry Koutoukas’s apartment caught fire, in 1972, you authored In Search of the Cobra Jewels, a show about his attempt to help clean up the mess. You played Koutoukas. Your memoir recounts that Village Voice culture writer Arthur Bell “was arrested for holding another man’s hand as they crossed the street” from the theater. Progress has been made, but with record-breaking trans deaths and a Conservative backlash, are we moving backward on queer issues?

HF: I don’t believe it’s possible to move backward. We must allow each generation to find its way. What we see happening now with MAGA is the death throes of a generation that can’t stop progress. Conservatives want to move back to a time when they felt more comfortable. But that time is coming to an end.

FP: But there’s such a strident push to recreate the past.

HF: There’s a saying in the antique business—“You can’t go broke by selling people their childhood.” Hucksters are selling back to MAGA a picture of America that no longer exists. Think of it as the difference between weather and climate. The weather changes (MAGA arises) but not the overall (political) climate of ongoing, unstoppable change. That makes them all nervous.

FP: Hyperbole abounds while critical thinking skills evaporate.

HF: My “eBay theory” helps to explain. A postage stamp for sale is displayed in a 3-by-4-inch screen image. A Rolls Royce is presented in the same image size. Over time, Internet and social media technologies have us believing all things are equal.

FP: As in, my opinion is as legitimate as your evidence-proven fact?

HF: Yes. The idiot next door is a COVID expert because he says he is. If everything is equal, then what are critical thinking skills for? As the COVID pandemic progressed, we learned new ways to treat, what/what not to do regarding transmission. It’s a constantly moving target. What was true last month may not be true today, so we adjust our perceptions. We evaluate with critical thinking skills. Many have lost the ability to do that.

Harvey Fierstein Cleaned Off His Desk During COVID
The actor, playwright, and screenwriter talks about his memoir, sobriety, women in politics, and what’s next

Oscar Wilde in Jail

Hard labor in late Victorian prisons was still the treadmill and the crank, but as Wilde was pronounced unfit for these he was set to pick oakum, shredding coarse rope, another painful and largely useless task (“…until one’s fingertips grew dull with pain”), and this, too, he had to perform, as they all did, alone, in silence in the cell. During the first three months a prisoner was allowed no books (except the Bible), no visitors, and no letters; later on he was allowed one book a week from the prison library, whose stock “consisted chiefly of third-rate theological works,” and one brief letter and one visitor four times a year. “The system,” Wilde wrote later, “seems almost to have for its aim the wrecking and destruction of the mental faculties. The production of insanity is, if not its object, certainly its result.” No personal possessions whatsoever were permitted, not even a photograph of a man’s family; there were, however, the prisoner’s “tins,” his regulation toilet and feeding utensils and these had to be kept laid out in a certain way.

A daily inspection was carried out, at which each prisoner had to exhibit the contents of his cell…in the prescribed order. These official visitations became a nightmare for Wilde and in consequence he developed a nervous habit, which his friends noticed when he came out of prison, of always arranging objects in front of him symmetrically. “I had to keep everything in my cell in its exact place,” he said, “and if I neglected this even in the slightest, I was punished. The punishment was so horrible to me that I often started up in my sleep to feel if each thing was where regulations would have it, and not an inch either to the right or the left.” In time, however, he was to learn to do this correctly. One of the warders…has described how Wilde, when he had arranged all his tins as they should be, would “step back and view them with an air of child-like complacency.”

Reading under Major Nelson who, though bound by the rules himself, did for Wilde—and others—what he could and more; daily use of pen and paper for the first time since fourteen months and the composition of the letter to Lord Alfred Douglas, later known as De Profundis; the execution of the young guardsman which became the central subject of The Ballad of Reading Gaol; the three very small children, one too small to be fitted in a prison uniform, whom Wilde saw, and heard cry at night with hunger (they had been fined for snaring a rabbit, their parents could or would not pay their fine and so the children were sent to prison; Wilde paid their fine and got them released; a warder who had given a sweet biscuit to the youngest child was dismissed from the prison service, forfeiting his pension); the flogging of the lunatic soldier. This, one might remember, happened not in a concentration camp but in one of Her Majesty’s prisons sixty-five years ago;

The Agony of Oscar Wilde
Sybille Bedford
NYROB – January 23, 1964 issue.

The article was reviewing this book:
Oscar Wilde: The Aftermath
by H. Montgomery Hyde

50 Best Memoirs of Past 50 Years – New York Times List


Fierce Attachments – Vivian Gornick
The Woman Warrior – Maxine Hong Kingston
Fun Home – Alison Bechdel
The Liars’ Club – Mary Karr
Hitch-22 – Christopher Hitchens
Men We Reaped – Jesmyn Ward
Palimpsest – Gore Vidal
Giving Up the Ghost – Hilary Mantel
A Childhood – Harry Crews
Dreams From My Father – Barack Obama
Patrimony – Philip Roth
All God’s Dangers: The Life of Nate Shaw – Theodore Rosengarten
Lives Other Than My Own – Emmanuel Carrère. Translated from the French by Linda Coverdale.
A Tale of Love and Darkness – Amos Oz. Translated from the Hebrew by Nicholas de Lange.
This Boy’s Life – Tobias Wolff
A Life’s Work – Rachel Cusk
Boyhood – J.M. Coetzee
Conundrum – Jan Morris
Wave – Sonali Deraniyagala
Always Unreliable: Unreliable Memoirs, Falling Towards England and May Week Was in June – Clive James
Travels With Lizbeth – Lars Eighner
Hold Still – Sally Mann
Country Girl – Edna O’Brien
Persepolis – Marjane Satrapi. Translated from the French by Mattias Ripa and Blake Ferris
Negroland – Margo Jefferson
Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys. – Viv Albertine
Experience – Martin Amis
Slow Days, Fast Company – Eve Babitz
Growing Up – Russell Baker
Kafka Was the Rage – Anatole Broyard
Between the World and Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates
The Year of Magical Thinking – Joan Didion
Barbarian Days – William Finnegan
Personal History – Katharine Graham
Thinking in Pictures – Temple Grandin
Autobiography of a Face – Lucy Grealy
Dancing With Cuba – Alma Guillermoprieto. Translated from the Spanish by Esther Allen.
Minor Characters – Joyce Johnson
The Memory Chalet – Tony Judt
Heavy – Kiese Laymon
Priestdaddy – Patricia Lockwood
H Is for Hawk – Helen Macdonald
The Color of Water – James McBride
Angela’s Ashes – Frank McCourt
Cockroaches – Scholastique Mukasonga. Translated from the French by Jordan Stump.
Life – Keith Richards
A Life in the Twentieth Century – Arthur Schlesinger Jr.
My Lives – Edmund White
Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? – Jeanette Winterson
Close to the Knives – David Wojnarowicz

See also – The 50 Greatest Rock Memoirs of All Time – Rolling Stone List

History and Graphic Novels – Syllabus

Enrollment NOW OPEN | Starts Summer 2022

Week 1: How Liberty and Oppression Went Hand in Hand, 1800-1839
Graphic Novel: Run For It: Stories Of Slaves Who Fought For Their Freedom AND Abina

Week 2: When the World Broke: Cataclysmic and Connection, 1840-1869
Graphic Novel: The Communist Manifesto

Week 3: How a European Civil War Engulfed the World, 1870-1919
Graphic Novel: Boxers and Saints AND Red Rosa: A Graphic Biography of Rosa Luxemburg

Week 4: Mania and Depression: The World Between the Wars, 1920-1930
Graphic Novel: The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt

Week 5: World War II, 1931-1945
Graphic Novel: Maus AND Moi René Tardi, prisonnier de guerre au Stalag IIB (Tome 1)

Week 6: Polycentrism vs. Bipolarism: The Cold War and those Who Resisted It, 1945-1959
Graphic Novel: Laika

Week 7: Anti-Colonialism and Youth Uprising: 1960-1969
Graphic Novel: Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63 AND March AND Arab of the Future

Week 8: Economic Crisis and the Rise of Neoliberalism in the 1970s
Graphic Novel: Persepolis AND My Friend Dahmer AND Kampung Boy

Week 9: Francis Fukuyama Was Completely Wrong: The Collapse of Communism and How History Did NOT End, 1980-Today
Graphic Novel: Safe Area Goražde AND Sabrina