Monday, June 7, 2010

Back . . .

Just back from a quick visit to my "homeland"--south Louisiana. I was down there to make a presentation to the Deep Delta Civil War Symposium, a group I've spoken to several times now. A few random thoughts spurred by return to Oklahoma.

General P. G. T. Beauregard, C.S.A.
  • I'm a professional historian, but I increasingly find the historical disputes in whatever area of history you want to talk about are not all that engaging anymore. I made a presentation about General P. G. T. Beauregard. I spent a lot of time preparing it, and when I finished it was like, so what? What does it matter what I think about him or anybody else, for that matter? Not when BP is killing the Gulf of Mexico while I'm talking and they're all listening about events that happened almost 150 years ago. I know I have to go to at least one more of these symposiums--I wrote "symposia" and the program flags it misspelled--in connection with a series of essays in honor of my major professor, but I think after that, no more. 
  • I ate too much when I was there. I always do because I have yet to come across convincing evidence that there exists anywhere in the world better food than there. One treat I enjoyed was soft shell crab, which is a seasonal dish you cannot get all the time. Then there was shrimp ettoufee at my sister-in-law's place. It doesn't take me long to feel like I'm "home" when I'm there. Oddly--or don't know whether it's odd or not--Louisiana seems more important and special to me the older I get, in ways it didn't before. I've been gone a long time, but it's still home.
  • Susan's family (and a portion of mine, too, I suppose)  is so violently anti-Obama that I no longer discuss anything remotely connected with political events. My sister-in-law has Fox News on 24 hours a day. I makes me think of Orwell's 1984 with the endless propaganda spewing from the loudspeakers all the time. Have you ever seen Fox News? It's really disturbing to me. A constant stream of propaganda. The misinformation and blatant disregard from the basic truth, much less the nuances of things, is something Fox simply does not regard as important. It's sole purpose is to stir up opposition to the White House. No Fox News, no Tea Party movement. I'm convinced of it.
  • Didn't mention it above, but the continuation of the Deep Delta Symposium series is in serious doubt. The cuts to higher education in Louisiana have been drastic and deep. Indeed, they were telling me that the administration tried to squeeze the life out of this past one, and it was only preserved in its present form (i.e., with honorarium and expenses paid for the speakers) with great effort. Honestly, I don't think it will survive. The one just finished was the 22nd, I think.
  • Air travel still sucks.
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