Category: history

The Status Nightmare

Sometimes I stare at the computer, listening to some meditative music, and wonder why things are so difficult, why it feels like every day is a Herculean battle against all odds, when the real story is just “I’m designing and building some UI for my boring corporate employer.” That’s something I’ve been doing for 25 …

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Sometimes it’s hard to understand that actions which affected me greatly had very little effect on someone else. At my final duty station, one of the troops I supervised was born after September 11th 2001. Although she understood 9-11 as a historical event, there’s no way that she could understand it emotionally, how it impacted …

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Great Men And Superheroes

     If you attended high school around the same time as I did, you undoubtedly learned about the Great Man theory of history. For our younger Gentle Readers:      The Great Man theory is a 19th-century idea according to which history can be largely explained by the impact of “great men”, or heroes: highly influential …

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Twenty-One Years

     A few Gentle Readers have written to ask “Why no 9/11 post, Fran?” Honestly, I thought about it for a while, and decided that I had nothing sufficiently fresh to say on the subject. Anyone who’s been following my screeds will know how the event affected me, and frankly, I can no longer afford …

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The Most Awful Day, 108th Anniversary

     If you haven’t read this Baseline Essay, today is the day for it. Most people’s historical memory is weak. Few know anything much about the War to End War. This, everyone should know.      Make your day a better one than the one commemorated above.

Too Plain To Permit Being Said

     I’m sure my Gentle Readers are all aware of the New York Times’s rather self-serving front-page motto: All the News That’s Fit to Print. There have been some send-ups of that bit of journalistic pseudo-piety. In these latter days of the legacy media, now that they’ve openly embraced the role of information managers for …

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Were He Not a Ruthless Killer, This Might Garner Some Sympathy

Some background first. On FB, Wretchard introduced an Elon Musk tweet to the video below with the comment: Some ideologies see ‘no people’ as the most humanitarian outcome. Naturally such a line caught my attention. Then this was how Musk introduced the video: Pretty good summary, although national pride is underweighted relative to economics. Latter …

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History And Its Lesson

     “The only thing that we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.” – Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel      I sometimes envision History as a teacher standing before a classroom filled with squalling teenagers. The kids are entirely uninterested in what Miss History has to say. Who cares about all that old …

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Data Points

     Nations, like men, are best advised to heed one another’s actions rather than their words. A steady diet of diplomatic and strategic duplicity will nullify one’s ability to negotiate for anything – and that is what the American diplomatic and military establishments have fed the world since 1975.      Vietnam.      Iran.      Libya. …

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On Rereading Old Favorites

     If you’re a reading junkie – which I am – and find yourself bereft of unread material that strikes your fancy, you’re blessed if you have a pile of old favorites into which to plunge. I have such a pile, and it’s both large and varied. The reference works alone fill eight large bookcases. …

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