Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Scholarly Christmas

Although our Xmas was subdued this year, skipped in some ways (in terms of doing much commercial stuff), Tara and I were happy to join with Quakers at Janet's for a generous feast.

Janet has the "Quaker guts" poster in a more recent edition, and in much better condition than mine, battle scared from Dan Stutesman's office (exAFSC).

Rachael, in college, spoke about ethnic identity as reflected in language, focusing on Italy and Japan. She discussed the mix of dialects, standard Italian, and English, changing patterns and roles. Japan's absorption of Chinese characters, but with different meanings, had nationalist elements.

MT and I discussed how post WWII propaganda, including Rocky and His Friends (a precursor to Rocky and Bullwinkle), seemed to deliberately confuse Russians with Nazis. Former allies (Russians) were to become enemies (Communists). Per Wikipedia:
Although Pottsylvania's chief spies are given ersatz Russian accents, Fearless Leader's accent seems more in keeping with the German stereotype. In fact, his sharply-angled features were taken directly from an anti-Nazi propaganda poster that had circulated during World War II.
Going into WWIII (see below) the OSS liked Ho Chi Minh (read Prouty or Our Ho for more info). Quiet American Gen. Ed Lansdale was more a Diem guy.

After we got home (bus 75) I stopped by the Lotts and learned more about Jimmy's maternal great grand dad, one Harvey J. Sconce. He was deemed "best farmer in Illinois" in some post-WWI milieu.

An official delegate to the agricultural conference in Rome, he provided detailed analysis in favor of exporting North America's food surplus on credit. He proposed using the St. Lawrence Seaway and Great Lakes for transport, to keep mid-western food sources competitive.

I then built a rare fire in the fireplace and Tara read out loud Roger Zelazny's Way Up High about a girl who befriends and rides a pterodactyl, gets lots of overview. This and Here There Be Dragons came as a boxed set, a gift from Laura Creighton in Gothenberg.

The night's video marathon began with Paragraph 175, an award winning documentary about the rise of National Socialism in Germany and the resulting campaign of terror against homosexuals (males in particular).

As Christians and German citizens, they were mostly spared the gas chambers, but about 2/3rds perished in the camps, as slave laborers, victims of atrocities, objects of medical experiments. A few still living tell their stories.

We also watched some Laughing Horse videos about Iran-Contra, the invasion and cover up of war crimes in Panama, the sanctions against Iraq pre occupation, other attacks on mostly defenseless civilians by overwhelming force, with weapons in need of field testing.

Ralph McGeehee (exCIA), John Stockwell (exCIA), Rear Admiral Eugene Carrol (Ret.), Bill Moyers, Amy Goodman, other patriots, fight the deep mental illness we Jungians call the military-industrial complex. As a latter day boomer, I've had the good fortune to meet some of these people over the years.

Tara took in a lot of history. Most high schools won't show any of these films (or assign Grunch of Giants, over 25 years old, still timely). As a speech and debater though, she's supposed to be looking at economic sanctions as a tool of foreign policy. Is depriving people access to medical supplies a good way to go? For doctors without borders, this is never an option, ditto AFSC.

Speaking of exCIA, at our last lunch meeting on Flextegrity, Sam Lanahan seemed unaware this'd been Ed's career as well (another ex when I met him, as was his wife June). Sam didn't seem surprised though, was immersed in that subculture as a kid back in the day (I'm forgetting why at the moment).

The Edgar I'm referring to is of course the late E.J. Applewhite, collaborator with Fuller on Synergetics and author of Cosmic Fishing, Washington Itself and Paradise Mislaid.

So was Fuller a cold warrior? In Critical Path he writes of WWIII (world war three), as does John Stockton. Striving to keep this world war from going thermonuclear (as WWII did) is one meaning of keeping it cold. Colder is better in this scenario, as in not cold enough.

I'll be taking some Flextegrity to our private undercover party tomorrow, maybe get some reactions for the audio track (we're not doing much video yet, except that one time, though I do tend to share stills). We might have some kids again. I'll be taking my Fuller Projection as well.

took me to the Cosmos Club on DuPont Circle that time, showed me a framed acknowledgment of Paradise Mislaid on one of the walls, pointing out its proximity to a picture of Mark Twain, another one of my heroes, in part for his strong stance against imperialism in the Philippines (prefiguring Vietnam in some ways). Ed loved his country, was also Fuller's first teenage fan (Fuller called him Sonny).