Break it down (80s style)

  • Yesterday, my electronics went on strike. The battery on my phone died, and then my iPod up and quit for no reason. A hard reboot last night fixed it and now it seems to be working fine.
  • Unfortunately, I forgot my cell at home today. I hate it when I do that.
  • Monday I read a chapter in my World History textbook on the American Revolution, French Revolution, and the revolutions in Latin/South America. Then I read a chapter in my US History textbook on the America Revolution (much groaning). Last night, I sat through 3 hours of lecture on these revolutions, including over an hour on the American Revolution. This morning, I sat through an hour and a half lecture on the American Revolution. I am very, very tired of this subject. It’s one of the few pieces of history I was already very aware of. Boo.
  • There was a girl in my class last night that I almost beat down. She’s the one who always annoys me – she’s so very juvenile and disrespectful of the class and generally unaware of what college is supposed to be like. (She expects exceptions to be made for her all the time, and for us to be proud of her when she shows up for class, since getting a ride is so difficult for her….) At one point we broke up into groups to play Jeopardy, and we numbered off to do so. She was 2, I was 3 (did I mention she sits next to me?). However, she insisted that she was a 3 because she wanted to be on a team with the smart guy (a natural history buff), and made a huge deal about it. I would have just given in and switched teams, but I was tired of her antics.
  • I learned a few things in class last night that have more global application than I first realized.
    • One, when the guillotine first came out, it was considered to be quite humane and dignified (much to our modern-day sensitivities’ horror). Thinking more about this…. Earlier, the Romans had actually perfected the art of public killing with the crucifixion, making it a horrendous, painful, torturous death. Yes, the guillotine seems much more humane than that. How will our children’s children look at our methods of execution hundreds of years from now?
    • Two, throughout history revolutions have taken place in a variety of places and ways. Time and time again, when power is abruptly removed from a system (like when the French beheaded the King), chaos ensues (like the Reign of Terror and thousands being beheaded and mass riots and so forth). If you need more examples, look to many of the countries that fought for their independence from colonialism. One of the reasons the American Revolution wasn’t so bloody, so chaotic, was that people had had experience participating in their own government for quite some time. They had local political bodies and voted and so forth. When they were granted independence, structures were already in place so that chaos did not ensue. Now, I’m not going to come out on one side or the other for the Iraq situation, but let me put this out there: they/we removed an absolute dictator from power, and concepts of freedom, democracy, etc were just that, concepts and theory. No one had any idea what they were like in practice. As history has proven, this inevitably leads to chaos and often to violence. Perhaps some of the reason we are over there is to prevent absolute chaos from taking over. I’m not saying that we should or shouldn’t be over there or that we should have military presence there indefinitely, but just offering up the idea for you to ponder.

See, I’m learnin’ stuff all over the place!