Thursday, October 25, 2012

Ques. Do you not find yourself mistaken now? Ans. Was not Christ crucified.

Christopher Tomlins on Walter Benjamin, Max Weber, and Nathaniel Turner's Confessions:
Why did Memnon's reverberations haunt Thomas Roderick Dew? What was the sound that the broken, thrown-down statue of an Ethiopian warrior-king made when touched by the rising sun every day, day after day? Pausanias says it was like 'the breaking of the string of a lute or lyre.' Perhaps that was what Turner's voice sounded like in Southampton's courtroom -- the breaking of an 'endless pagan chain of guilt and atonement.' Not guilty.
Read more here:

Monday, October 8, 2012

columbus day

Arawak men and women, naked, tawny, and full of wonder, emerged from their villages onto the island's beaches and swam out to get a closer look at the strange boat. When Columbus and his sailors came ashore, carrying swords, speaking oddly, the Arawaks ran to greet them, brought them food, water, gifts. He later wrote of this in his log:
They ... brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks' bells. They willingly traded everything they owned.... They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features.... They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane.... They would make fine servants.... With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.
These Arawaks of the Bahama Islands were much like Indians on the mainland, who were remarkable (European observers were to say again and again) for their hospitality, their belief in sharing. These traits did not stand out in the Europe of the Renaissance, dominated as it was by the religion of popes, the government of kings, the frenzy for money that marked Western civilization and its first messenger to the Americas, Christopher Columbus.

From chapter 1 of Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States (pg. 1)