Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Calamitous 19th Century

First, I cannot tell you how many half-written posts are cluttering my blogger account. To try to safeguard against throwing in the towel on this one I've set up a fun play list consisting of the Best of BooTie 2008. I assure you, these are not "bootie-shaking" songs. They're AWESOME mashups. You can download it for free at

Bottom line is, if I don't finish this post by the end of the music there's a good chance it will join the rest of the exiled partial posts.

So what does "The Calamitous 19th Century" mean anyway? Well, it relates to a book that I'm reading right now called "The Calamitous 14th Century". It's a nerdy little non-fiction piece that follows a French knight named Engeruand de Coucy and details what life was like at that time. It discusses serf uprisings, royal procedures, cultural and societal discontent with the church, and a whole lot of things that nobody but me and my dad care to read about.

How does this book relate to this blog post? As I've been reading this book it's become SHOCKING just how truly history repeats itself. On Sunday mornings The Husband and I bundle into blankets, eat breakfast, and watch CBS Sunday Morning, Face the Nation and Meet the Press. These shows always push me to follow our political situations abroad, financial difficulties in our own country, and who makes sacrifices in times of trouble such as massive bailouts.

In the 14th century, if there was some sort of emergency or war that troubled a king, pope, lord, etc., the answer was always to raise the taxes of peasants or other common people. Usually knights, royalty, and politicians were exempt because they were "serving the people" just by their own positions. Who's paying for this massive bailout of auto makers, banks, and anyone else who convinces our government they're worthy of help? Tax payers. And which tax payers? The middle class...peasants. The first massive bailout was a colossal failure; nobody even tracked where the money went. WHAT?!?! What happened to transparency and oversight? How are we certain that my taxes didn't give some CEO a 10 million dollar bonus? Ok, I'm getting off topic...

Moving on to this Israel/Gaza thing. I know it didn't just start, it's been fairly ongoing, but there certainly seems to be a significant flair-up. I don't mean to imply that the whole situation is about religion or cultural differences, but there does seem to be concern about living next door to people who aren't the same as them...on both sides. What were the Crusades? They were trampling into other people's countries to convert them to righteousness. And FYI - only one Crusade on record was actually deemed anywhere near a partial success. I'd bring up the Iraq war and our quest to bless the people of that country with Christianity and Democracy, but that's honestly not going to help me finish this.

And that brings us to my last musing...pillaging and plundering. If I had finished my last post you would have gotten details and maniacal ramblings about our burglary on December 8th (just as a shout out to the burglars...we haven't replaced anything...nothing to steal...please don't come back). My heart felt absolutely broken after someone(s) came into our home and rummaged through our drawers and belongings. But it is true, and always has been since the beginning of time, that when there are economic problems it's in our nature to take from our neighbors. It doesn't make it right, it just is.

Humans are humans, and it's unfortunate that our natures have established these behaviors since our beginnings. There are several things I feel certain of:
  • The rich and powerful will exploit the less rich and powerful
  • People will take other people's things
  • People will brutalize others for power, to assimilate them, or just because they feel like it
Lest you feel concerned that I may have become cynical, paranoid, and bitter - I have not. I am merely writing about comparisons that have become apparent to me while reading a long and immersing book.

, maybe a little bitter.


Blogger Theresa said...

Very entertaining and well written. Great food for thought. Welcome back, Carolyn!

9:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad to see you posting again. Hope you and husband are healing from the burglary.

7:56 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home