Re: Deprogramming

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Like, do you address the secondary etiquette of how to politely ignore the teacher on certain topics? Or when to shut up and write the "wrong" answers on the test, and when to argue in class?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 2:27 PM
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It's a school holiday here. I doubt that helps much in terms of not mentioning it.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 2:28 PM
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I'm still worried about how to get him to not ignore the teacher on any subject.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 2:30 PM
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I'd say "Sometimes people do things that are partly good, partly bad. Columbus was one of those."

Bringing the Americas and Eurasia together (e.g., the "Columbian Exchange") was a good thing. The stuff that went on that made that happen had a lot of bad too.

Would we want Europe to have never discovered the Americas, and vice versa? Given the stage of enlightenment at the time on both sides of the Atlantic, it would have been a long time until they were on an equal footing.

Oh yeah, just be sure that the "Only Columbus thought the world was round" thing gets utterly squashed.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 3:01 PM
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Get her to sing along with For Gods, For Kings and For Gold.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 3:18 PM
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There needs to be a TMBG kiddie album dedicated to setting the historical record straight.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 3:21 PM
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I suggest "American Genocide" sung to the tune of "I Am A Paleontologist."

"That's what it was, that's what it was, that's what it was."


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 3:25 PM
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I'd double check your state's social studies standards. You may find that you have little to worry about. At least where I live (Colorado), what's taught about European contact has evolved greatly from when I was a kid.


Posted by: Calypso | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 3:47 PM
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Today was parent-teacher conference day. AB ran into one of Iris' teachers, a youngish guy that everyone likes, and he commented that he wished they had school today, so he could say a thing or two about Columbus.

Earlier in the day, we were all in the car driving to a vegan restaurant way out in the boonies, and I mentioned recent news about Columbus shunning (e.g., the Seattle thing), and Iris piped up with, "Good, Columbus was an idiot" (which I'm pretty sure was her way of saying that holding racist beliefs is dumb, not mocking his miscalculation of the diameter of the earth).

I'm pretty sure this is because any time Columbus Day comes up (mostly due to a parade in the nearby Italian neighborhood), I mention that he was a monster.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 3:59 PM
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8: You do know I live in Texas?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 4:01 PM
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The "Elbow Room" Schoolhouse Rock sort of makes me die now. ("No More Kings" is also insane, but in a way that I enjoy.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 4:09 PM
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||

dalriata: Kerry Gold butter confirmed at Palestinian challah baker.

|>


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 4:15 PM
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I went with a version of 4. Supplemented by "People don't like to talk about the sad and bad parts of stories, but your father and I think it's better to know all the parts, even if some of them are sad or bad."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 4:16 PM
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There is something admirable about venturing off across the sea in tiny ships to explore places that none of your people have ever been to. I think that gets lost in the rush to pin 500 years of oppression on the guy. Not that he wasn't an asshole, but history is full of assholes.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 4:27 PM
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Kindergarten:

(2) History. The student understands how historical figures, patriots, and good citizens helped shape the community, state, and nation. The student is expected to: (A) identify contributions of historical figures, including Stephen F. Austin, George Washington, Christopher Columbus, and José Antonio Navarro, who helped to shape the state and nation; and (B) identify contributions of patriots and good citizens who have shaped the community.

3rd grade:

(1) History. The student understands how individuals, events, and ideas have influenced the history of various communities. The student is expected to: (A) describe how individuals, events, and ideas have changed communities, past and present; (B) identify individuals, including Pierre-Charles L'Enfant, Benjamin Banneker, and Benjamin Franklin, who have helped to shape communities; and (C) describe how individuals, including Daniel Boone, Christopher Columbus, the Founding Fathers, and Juan de Oñate, have contributed to the expansion of existing communities or to the creation of new communities.

5th grade:

(17) Citizenship. The student understands important symbols, customs, celebrations, and landmarks that represent American beliefs and principles and contribute to our national identity. The student is expected to: (A) explain various patriotic symbols, including Uncle Sam, and political symbols such as the donkey and elephant; (B) sing or recite "The Star-Spangled Banner" and explain its history; (C) recite and explain the meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States Flag; (D) describe the origins and significance of national celebrations such as Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Constitution Day, Columbus Day, and Veterans Day; and (E) explain the significance of important landmarks, including the White House, the Statue of Liberty, and Mount Rushmore.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 4:30 PM
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When she's a little older, buy her Howard Zinn's The Young People's History of the United States.


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 4:31 PM
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The "Elbow Room" Schoolhouse Rock sort of makes me die now.

The one on the national debt is also pretty nauseating.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 4:37 PM
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Columbus really did get things off the an especially bad start. He was actually brought up on charges in Spain for "tyranny" in his governing of Hispanola, and the Spaniards of that time weren't exactly bleeding heart liberals.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 4:45 PM
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I'm in Arizona right now. Only the Feds are observing the holiday.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 4:58 PM
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My coworkers were deeply confused that I am travelling for work today (and working!), because they thought everyone in the US had a holiday. DC sure is different.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 5:09 PM
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if I recall my own childhood correctly, your children shouldn't pay attention to you, either.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 5:16 PM
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15: At a superficial level, the Massachusetts standards exhibit some similarities. And yet...

Pre K-K

At the preschool and kindergarten level, learning in history and social science is built on children's experiences in their families, school, community, state, and country. Children listen to stories about the people and events we celebrate in our national holidays and learn why we celebrate them. They also become familiar with our national symbols. The purpose of the preK-K curriculum is to begin the development of their civic identity.

Grade 1
In first grade, children listen to and read folk tales and true stories from America and from around the world. They learn about major historical vents, figures, and symbols related to the United States of America and its national holidays and why they are important to Americans. The grade 1 curriculum continues to strengthen children's identity as American citizens.

Grade 2
Second graders learn world and United States history, geography, economics, and government by studying more about who Americans are and where they came from. They explore their own family's history and learn about distinctive achievements, customs, events, places, or landmarks from long ago and from around the world. The chief purpose of the grade 2 curriculum is to help students
understand that American citizenship embraces all kinds of people, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, and national origin. American students come from all countries and continents in the world. A history and social science curriculum should elp students acquire a common under­ standing of American history, its political principles, and its ystem of government in order to prepare them for responsible participation in our schools and civic life.

Grade 3
Drawing on information from local istoric sites, historical societies, and museums, third graders learn about the history of Massachusetts from the time of the arrival of the Pilgrims. They also learn the history of their own cities and towns and about famous people and events in Massachusetts' history.

Grade 4
In grade 4, students study the eography and people of the United States today. Students learn geography by addressing standards that emphasize political and physical geography and embed five major concepts: location, place, human interaction with the environment, movement, and regions. In addition, they learn about the geography and people of contemporary Mexico and Canada. Teachers may choose to teach the standards on the geography and social characteristics of the nations in Central America and the Caribbean Islands. Teachers may also choose to have students study in the first half of the school year one early civilization. We recommend China because it is not taught in grade 7 and can be easily connected to the English language arts curriculum through its myths, legends, and folktales.

Grade 5
Students study the major pre-Columbian civilizations in the New World; the 15th and 16th century European explorations around the world, in the western hemisphere, and in North America in particular; the earliest settlements in North America; and the political, economic, and social devel­opment of the English colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries. They also study the early develop­ment of democratic institutions and ideas, including the ideas and events that led to the indepen­dence of the original 13 colonies and the formation of a national government under the U.S. Constitution. The purpose of the grade 5 curriculum is to give students their first concentrated study of the formative years of U.S. history.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 5:18 PM
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because they thought everyone in the US had a holiday
I remember going to college and being entirely gobsmacked to discover that not everyone in the country had always gotten all the Jewish holidays off from school.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 5:23 PM
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Working in Yurp, I showed up to work a couple of times to discover that things like Epiphany or Ascension or Buß- und Bettag meant no work that day.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 5:27 PM
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Strange that Europe, which has become the most secular place on earth, should keep so many religious holidays. Taken as a whole, NA is much more religious, but because always pluralistic, particular holidays like the European ones rare. Just Christmas, I think. Localities like oudemia's native Chicago North Shore have our nearest equivalent. And perhaps in rural and homogenous places Easter is still observed, perhaps the Friday or the Monday, but I don't know.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 5:34 PM
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oudemia is JERSEY STRONG! (But yeah, the North Shore is not dissimilar.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 5:40 PM
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Diwali is coming next week, I get that off.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 5:44 PM
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We have a Monday-morning meeting with our team in Zurich, and it's become a running joke to figure out why they have the day off. It's going to be hard to top the half-day off for a target-shooting competition for teenagers.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 5:46 PM
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I like to imagine OP.last as a slogan on a poster. Pocahontas, si! Columbus, no!


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 5:51 PM
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I feel like I should have advice here, but that sort of thing happened pretty organically -- like, I ramble on about stuff enough that they had a fairly good sense of when to come home with something that sounded off from school. I guess, come to think, I'd ask about what they were doing in school and then start rambling about that, rather than specifically trying to correct anything they were learning.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 5:55 PM
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I'm pretty sure in kindergarten we learned something along the lines of 4. At one point we got a worksheet on the American Exchange which included both smallpox on the European side and syphilis on the American one, but I think that was 4th grade. Columbus really was a monster whose brutality was considered unusual even by the standards of the time, which is saying a lot. He pretty much directly responsible for wiping out the Tainos and the death of millions of other Indians in the Caribbean.

When we were older (4th-5th grade), we "celebrated" Columbus day as a day of remembrance of the Native Americans killed by European invasion.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 6:47 PM
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Columbus, Ur-libertarian?


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 7:31 PM
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What makes Columbus Day pernicious to me is not so much the various moral and mathematical atrocities he committed but the fact that the celebration serves to "other" the people living in the Americas when he arrived while also establishing "our" identity as being of European descent (in which European is a category where differences between the Portuguese and the Germans are trivial but differences between Europeans and non-Europeans are profound). It basically lays the foundation for white supremacy in a very implicit way that seems very hard to genuinely correct later.


Posted by: Disingenuous Bastard | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 7:55 PM
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Columbus really did get things off the an especially bad start. He was actually brought up on charges in Spain for "tyranny" in his governing of Hispanola, and the Spaniards of that time weren't exactly bleeding heart liberals.

It's true that Columbus was exceptionally brutal even for his time, but the last part of this is an oversimplification. There was actually a vigorous debate in Spanish society at the time over the ethics of the conquistadors' actions and the rights of indigenous peoples, with many dissenting voices especially in the clergy, Las Casas being the most prominent example. They weren't just voices crying in the wilderness, either; the Spanish Crown did enact various laws to try to rein in the most egregious abuses (admittedly to little effect).


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 7:57 PM
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oudemia is JERSEY STRONG!

Huh. Wonder where I got my Chicago associations for you. I think I remember you, or maybe it wasn't you, recalling "Scotty Pippin's The Dodge Store" in my neighborhood, at Grandville & Western. Since demolished and replaced by a Walgreen's parking lot.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 8:06 PM
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Because you can argue almost literally anything if your counterfactual is big enough, I think you could make a good case that there wasn't anything good about Columbus. There's nothing inherently good about establishing regular contact among all the landforms on earth. Would it have been better for China to get there first? For contact to be established and grow gradually from the fishing trade in the North Atlantic? There were Basque and Portuguese in the area at the time, so it could have happened that way. What if Europe got so engulfed in internal war that the trips across the Atlantic stopped almost entirely for a few centuries and changed the disease + conquest + settlement pattern, leaving things very different demographically when regular contact started up again.

Who knows? Therefore, Columbus could really be history's greatest monster and it's our patriotic duty, as non-Italians and non-heirs of the Spanish Empire, to leave that conclusion open for all to make.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 8:08 PM
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Columbus' story can also be a lesson for our times about the dangers of public-private partnerships that go forward without adequate regulation and oversight.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 8:12 PM
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Speaking of Italians, I think the fact that there's not really another widely celebrated holiday in America that they can claim is why Columbus Day is celebrated still. Maybe boosting Santa Lucia Day would help so long as all the Norwegians didn't try to get a piece of the action.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 8:15 PM
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34: These days, Bartolomé de las Casas is a major figure in the story of the conquest that kids learn in school. I never heard of him growing up.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 8:15 PM
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I learned all about Bartolomé de las Casas as part of a program of intensive study about the early colonial period playing Sid Meier's Colonization.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 8:17 PM
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Cortez gets you more treasure but de las Casas gets you citizens.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 8:19 PM
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I recently read Jane Smiley's The Greenlanders and was surprised to learn* that Leif Erikson's trips to North America were not obscure and quickly forgotten, but were in fact widely known for several hundred years amongst the Norse diaspora. (And it's really not that surprising, since Greenland isn't so far from Newfoundland. Actually, if there was more timber in Greenland, North America would probably have been fully explored by the 12th century.)

Also, Viking women were warriors. Who knew?

* OK, I'm a dumbass.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 8:19 PM
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if there was more timber in Greenland

Instead, out of work giants were forced to find odd jobs along the Gilder frontier.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 8:23 PM
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The standards excerpted in 15 mention Benjamin Franklin only once, while mentioning many other people also only once. They don't even mention THOMAS JEFFERSON at all. Therefore, they fail to reflect the TRUE importance of AMERICA'S FOUNDING FATHERS. Why do California's so-called educators HATE America?

Also, I had to look up Navorro. But you can't blame the public schools for that one; I was in a private school during kindergarten.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 8:30 PM
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40: That was such a great game.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 8:31 PM
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I learned about Las Casas in school, though.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 8:32 PM
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We got to go see "The Misson" in school. I am assuming that covers the same ground.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 8:48 PM
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I learned about Las Casas in school as well. But I went to high school in a city that celebrated the 500th anniversary of Columbus' first voyage by renaming Columbus Day Indigenous People's Day.* That was while I was in high school; I don't remember what I learned that. Probably stuff about how the earth was thought to be flat along with rumors that that story wasn't accurate. Also something something sailed the ocean blue something.

*Welcome to the club, Seattle.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 8:51 PM
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What I learned before that.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 8:52 PM
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Are there any other examples of someone using their ignorance of common but technical knowledge, and a lot of luck, to become influential and powerful? Columbus stumbling upon America is like a lottery winner using his winnings to start a fortune 500 company.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 9:09 PM
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My son's 7th grade social studies teacher taught the class that Thomas Jefferson really and truly loved Sally Hemings, but couldn't marry her because of the racism of his society. I guess she must have watched this miniseries. "Bound by slavery. Freed by love."


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 9:25 PM
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Columbus stumbling upon America is like a lottery winner using his winnings to start a fortune 500 company then running it into the ground and eventually being fired as CEO and thrown in jail for embezzlement and other crimes. Which I suppose is not that implausible an outcome from that scenario.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 9:26 PM
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52: ...and then, for hundreds of years, be honored as a ethnic and national hero. Pretty sweet deal if you can swing it.

There's a Columbus statue around here that's actually more impressive than most of the monuments to the robber barons. Which says a lot.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 9:44 PM
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Pretty sweet deal if you can swing it.

Well, it didn't do him any good personally as he was dead at the time.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 9:46 PM
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But yes, I see your point.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 9:50 PM
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54.last: show me the corpse!

Oh, they found it a few years ago. Nevermind.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 9:52 PM
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I remember when CD went from Oct 12 not-a-holiday-if-you-weren't-Italian to the second Monday federal holiday, but I have no idea why. I blame Nixon.

Well, I want to blame Nixon, but see that LBJ signed the bill creating 5 Monday holidays. So it was probably a horsetrade of some kind.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 10:34 PM
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Huh, I didn't know it was so recent as a federal holiday. Most (all?) states still don't observe it, I think. Alaska certainly doesn't.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 10:36 PM
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58: God, worst government employee ever. Quit looking gift horses in the mouth.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 10:43 PM
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Hey, I have Friday off for Alaska Day, so it all balances out. For me, at least.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 10:53 PM
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Education-related, at least:

Kid A is almost certainly going off to university next year, thank god - offer from Glasgow came last night, less than 24 hours after her application went in.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 11:23 PM
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Yay! Congrats to her.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 11:24 PM
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Although as an American I have to express my envy at that sort of turnaround time. We have to wait months for admissions decisions.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-13-14 11:26 PM
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It is unusually short! Her application was in early, for a not-particularly-popular course (Classics), and she has good predicted grades for next year and a good school reference, so I guess it was just a quick "yep, we'll have her". She has to get their required grades next summer, but they're realistically-achievable, rather than aspirational.

One place she's applied to are apparently known for not making offers until the January application deadline has passed. Two interview most prospective candidates (fortunately the two nearest to home). So it will be another 3 months or so before she has all 5 decisions I think. But having one in hand is rather nice.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 12:24 AM
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Ah, okay. Yes, nice to have one in hand regardless of how the rest go.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 12:41 AM
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38
You can pry Sankta Lucia Day out of our cold, dead, hands!

42
My grandmother used to talk about this all the time when I was a little kid, as part of her "Norwegians: the unsung heroes of history" narrative. You probably also didn't realize that we invented the cheese slicer, which is arguably up there with the wheel and gunpowder and clearly superior to paper, since we all have computers anyways. Interestingly, I had a high school history teacher who had a theory that lactose intolerance destroyed the Norse settlements in North America. There was a period of peaceful settlement and then the Native Americans drove away the Norwegians, and his theory was that the Vikings shared their dairy products with the Native Americans, but as they were lactose intolerant, they became sick and assumed the Vikings were trying to poison them and then kicked them out.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 1:26 AM
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Buß- und Bettag meant no work that day.

And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

Nice to see some Protestants celebrating salvation by works. Even nicer to see them doing so by not working.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 1:31 AM
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64. Yay! Classics! Congratulations, you'll have to make her friend Oudemia.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 1:33 AM
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61: Congrats!


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 1:37 AM
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re: 61

Excellent. Glasgow is also a lovely place to live and study. The West End, around the University, is great. Also good if Kid A is into music, and arty things.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 1:46 AM
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It has just come to my attention that Megan McArdle is a fucking infection control consultant on facebook and is giving the NHS the benefit of her advice.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 2:03 AM
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71. !?!?!?!


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 2:10 AM
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71: Could you link to whatever you're talking about so I can stop being frightened about it?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 4:30 AM
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Guh, it's just a bunch of mouthnoise on one of Russell Fox's posts (he seems to be the vector bringing McArdle into my social network): https://www.facebook.com/russell.a.fox.9/posts/10154696998000291

But it's incredible. first she's all rah! rah! USA! USA! because the Spanish had a case of transmission, and this demonstrates the superiority of the US healthcare system. then, in mid-thread, Dallas turns out to have its trousers around its ankles. and suddenly it's everyone else's fault and the UK would do even worse. I point out that in fact the Royal Free did just fine looking after an Ebola patient without getting any of its staff infected. And then she discovers a fauxscandal that somebody shat themselves in Lewisham that she couldn't find on a map. I check, it is bullshit, but she will not shut up because she read that checklists book and now she's a fucking doctor.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 4:52 AM
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There's no way 71 won't somehow end in ebola for all.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 4:53 AM
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75: well, nobody in the UK but me and about three other commenters here knows who she is, and the chance of her having any actual influence is zero, but it's still galling that McArdle is babbling on about something so serious. as if punditry had any place in an Ebola outbreak.

Of course there are left-wing versions of this - Seamus Milne thinks the only help sent to West Africa are the heroic Cubans, and the British military medics and engineers in Sierra Leone are a sinister plot to seize its...whatever. Mary Dejevsky, chiming in from the vital centrist-liberal-conservative-feminist-but-you-wouldn't-notice constituency, thinks the Royal Navy's only hospital ship sailing for Freetown means they're secretly preparing to set up Ebola concentration camps in the UK.

But can't they just shut the fuck up for five minutes? It's like when Nick Clegg had very serious opinions about how often to dredge the Somerset Levels. The maddening bit is that it's not just that they blether about politics, but that they claim actual technical expertise.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 5:03 AM
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Doesn't everybody worry about dredging. I'm in a fantasy Somerset Levels management league.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 5:24 AM
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And then she discovers a fauxscandal that somebody shat themselves in Lewisham that she couldn't find on a map

I'm having difficulty parsing this. I'm sure people shit themselves in Lewisham every day. And everywhere else in the world.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 5:36 AM
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Speaking of the Somerset Levels, I thing the Sweet Track fascinating. Not the least because the dating is apparently very, very precise.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 5:37 AM
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Grammar didn't exist back then.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 5:38 AM
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51: I don't know whether to hope it's an all-white class or hope it's not, but wow. Maybe it was that he was extra squeamish about incest and married to her half-sister at the time, right? I mean, let's give the guy the benefit of the doubt!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 5:49 AM
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36. There have been a lot of SF novels and stories on exactly your ideas; either the Norse or the Irish (St. Brendan!) or the Chinese discover American and expand into it slowly enough that there is no genocide, no epidemics, etc. Pretty much a fantasy along the same lines as "The South wins the Civil War and then frees their slaves," but some of them are pretty decent.

42. Kim Stanley Robinson had a great short story, "Vinland the Dream," which was about how it was actually all a hoax. (Since it was written more physical evidence has been found, but it's still good.)

66. Your high school teacher's lactose intolerance idea is actually pretty widespread. On the other hand, "strange people move into your neighborhood and trouble ensues" is usually enough explanation for any problems. As far as I can tell, once the Norse and the local Native Americans got mad at each other, the latter basically scared the former away. So much for the mightiness of the Vikings.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 5:54 AM
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83

82: I was always fond of L Sprague de Camp's "The Wheels of If" along those lines.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 5:57 AM
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84

I think they should get credit for sticking it out as long as they did being so outnumbered.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 5:58 AM
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85

The Norse had a track record. Their response to meeting people while gathering wood further north in America (Canada?), which was a regular thing for the Greenlanders, was usually to launch unprovoked attacks as far as I know. Not good neighbours.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 6:05 AM
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86

Nice to see some Protestants celebrating salvation by works. Even nicer to see them doing so by not working.

The reference is not to good works in the sense of the Epistle of James, but rather to visible signs of true repentance. Confusingly, Buße can mean both penance and penitence. Though the former is more common in everyday speech ("Das wirst du mir büßen!"), it's the latter meaning that applies here. Not that anyone cares or anything.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 6:26 AM
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87

Ahem.


Posted by: OPINIONATED JESUS CHRIST | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 6:29 AM
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88

66: Isn't that as described in the Thorfinn Karlsefni's bits of the Greenlander Saga? Although I think things don't break out into open conflict until the Skrælings try to take Norse weapons in trade and the Norse interpret this as a hostile act.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 6:35 AM
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89

I can't believe how much anti-Columbus stuff is on my Facebook and Twitter feeds this week. The only thing that unites the internet more than wanting Idris Elba to be the first black star of every TV and movie series, is hating Christopher Columbus.

Pretty soon Americans will think Columbus was actually an incredibly bad outlier among early explorers and conquistadores. We don't get a special day every year to bemoan the excesses of Cortes or Afonso de Albuquerque.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 7:01 AM
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90

Not that anyone cares or anything

I care, and always appreciate it when you push back on these subjects.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 7:05 AM
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91

I would actually vote for Pizarro as the worst of the worst, but it's actually a futile exercise, as most of them were unspeakable monsters. Perhaps the right approach to Columbus day is to investigate why they were. I mean, it was a rough age and yadda yadda, but even so most people didn't carry on like that.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 7:09 AM
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92

It's not quite TMBG but there is Chomsky for kids http://youtu.be/UQBWGo7pef8


Posted by: conflated | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 7:16 AM
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93

It seems like the opportunity to be that monstrous hasn't come up for that many people, and of those who have had the opportunity, I wager many if not most have taken it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 7:16 AM
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how much anti-Columbus stuff is on my Facebook and Twitter feeds this

Huh. My feed had some anti-Columbus stuff but a far greater number of posts celebrating (ironically) Canadian Thanksgiving.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 7:23 AM
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95

Canadians got national health care and now they can't even been unironically grateful.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 7:25 AM
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I mean, it was a rough age and yadda yadda, but even so most people didn't carry on like that.

Many of the early conquistadors were mercenaries and/or veterans of the reconquista, which was itself a fairly brutal affair. Plus the prospect of crossing the ocean to an unknown mosquito infested place a thousand miles from known civilization is the sort of prospect that would tend to attract either desperate or desperately greedy individuals.

Imagine that we discovered a previously unknown continent and the first people to arrive there were the dregs of Blackwater, who had previously been busy shooting civilians in the middle East.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 7:31 AM
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To the OP, one of my favorite things in the school library at the age of 10 or 11 was a series of books on the explorers and conquistadors. It covered Columbus, Cook, Henry Hudson, Vespucci, Magellan, de Gama, Cortez, Pizarro, and the whole host. I ate that stuff up. And it was a total whitewash: glorified imperialism, suffused with implicit racism. None of which I recognized as problematic at the time.

As I matured, I learned to critically examine a lot of what I had been told. Generalizing from my personal experience, I would say you don't have much to fear from any particular nonsense your children learn in school, as long as you model the right values and encourage the children to think critically and empirically. While I concur with DaveLMA in 4 that it's a good idea to correct actual historical falsehoods they may pick up, I wouldn't worry too much about the reactionary spin that the school may put on historical facts - your kids will most likely come to see through that.



Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 7:33 AM
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Imagine that we discovered a previously unknown continent and the first people to arrive there were the dregs of Blackwater, who had previously been busy shooting civilians in the middle East.

The plot of Avatar, basically.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 7:35 AM
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99

That and airbending.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 7:36 AM
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100

Haven't read the thread yet, but I assume someone advised heebie to just give Hawaii some Howard Zinn and then let her decide whether she wants to sit passively watching another generation be indoctrinated with the lies that keep the oppressors in power or is willing to spit in the face of hegemony and bring truth to the benighted masses of central Texas.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 7:41 AM
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Further anecdata to 97: My mom still has the history book she learned from in elementary school (in the South, ca. 1940s), and holy shit does it not get any more racist and jingoistic than that. But she got past that.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 7:46 AM
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OT: The bedbug sniffing dog just came by my office. It looked like a beagle/dachshund mix. It was really cute.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 8:11 AM
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103

Even the cutest puppy can get caught up in the seedy underbelly of the illicit bedbug-sniffing scene.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 8:17 AM
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104

The official 90s-era Mexican Priísta account of the European-indigenous encounter is an interesting exercise in trying to stay within the bounds of known facts while giving the colonial Spanish outsize credit for any morsel of decency shown. It's almost like the party communications officers are nervous about casting skepticism over the benevolence of rule by a non-democratic political class.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 8:20 AM
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105

How is it possible that this semester is only halfway over? I feel like I just smashed head-on into a giant wall of apathy.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 8:55 AM
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106

105: Did you care?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 9:23 AM
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83. Is "Wheels of If" the one where the Norse and Irish and the ... hmmm ... Iroquois are re-enacting 19th century political electoral politics and the the Civil War. If so it's one of the ones I referenced.

91. I read somewhere years ago that there is no statue of Cortez anywhere in Mexico. If that was and is true it certainly ought to count for something in the race for worst. But Pizarro was certainly a very bad person.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 9:56 AM
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108

There is what is now a luxury beach resort town called "Mata de Indios" in Veracruz (following the oodles of things called "Matamoros").


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 10:11 AM
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109

107.1: Since you mentioned KSR, his Years of Rice and Salt has a degree of that. Western North America is Chinese with an oppressed Japanese minority, Eastern NA is mostly a Haudenosaunee-led confederacy. This is a side-show to a decades long World War I being fought between China and the nations of Islam in Central Asia.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 10:39 AM
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110

107.1: That's the one.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 10:44 AM
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111

You guys have read Farley Mowat's Farfarers, right?

Fact not fiction.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 10:45 AM
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109. That was pretty good! I remember enjoying it but it's one of the few KSR books I haven't re-read.

111. Fiction, not fact!


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 11:46 AM
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113

Somewhere in Hakluyt's _Principle Navigations_ is an account of a European ship (Spanish, I think) that stopped at some American coastal village, started the kind of piles-on-the-beach trade that apparently was familiar to both sides; the Europeans got greedy and bullied and cheated and took stuff without paying; a few days later they had, as a group, had a sufficient revulsion of feeling that they went back and made amends. I came across this while the books were going through Project Gutenberg and didn't keep a note of the specific journey and date.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 12:53 PM
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114

_Principal Navigations_, though that isn't the oddest spelling variant you could find there.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 12:54 PM
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114. But Hakluyt was well after the sorts of dates claimed by Mowat or any other fantasist.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 5:28 PM
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116

I don't know whether to hope it's an all-white class or hope it's not, but wow.

The class is about 40 percent African-American.


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 6:07 PM
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The Hakluyt incident is evidence that even terrified scurvy sailors of the 16thc. could decide that trading by mutual consent was the only moral -- indeed, Christian -- way to interact with the New World. Just makes Columbus look that much worse.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 9:18 PM
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Hakluyt himself had some pretty decent views on the subject for a fervent advocate of colonization (which incidentally means he may not be the most reliable source for stories like this). Edmund Morgan talks about this in some detail in American Slavery, American Freedom.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 9:22 PM
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119

Either he's not a reliable source or he's evidence that even rich colonialists were generally less awful than Columbus.

I have been enjoying the book face snarks: "Columbus Day Sale at Macy's. That means I can just take anything I want, right?" or "As we worry about a epidemic coming to this continent, let me wish you a happy Columbus day."


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 9:33 PM
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120

119.1: Right, even if the story isn't true the fact that he would tell it at all reveals something important about attitudes among colonialists.

119.2: I have noticed more snark (and earnest anti-Columbianism) in my own feed there than in past years. My feed is pretty Native-heavy these days, which may explain it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 9:36 PM
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121

aw, they've set the margin-paragraph headings all pretty. Those were a pain to proof.

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/40803/40803-h/40803-h.htm#Page_283


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 10-14-14 9:42 PM
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