Friday, May 20, 2005

Pamphlets, Now why didn’t I think of that?

About a week ago I read in Eric Cowperthwaite’s blog about a book, The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution. (link via title bar) He convinced me that I should go buy a copy; it came in the evening mail. I was bushed, pardon the political humor, and my eyes were not ready to take on the assignment after having gone through my regular blog reading, commenting and emails.

I picked it up anyway and pushed through the preface, the forward and even made it into the first few pages of the first chapter. I am a minor history buff, that means that I fall asleep easily while reading the standard history text associated with undergraduate studies. I always wanted to have one of those mentors, a fabulous professor who could make the simplest historical data jump to life and carry me through a semester. It never happened. I got stuck with a physical education major who had to teach a semester of something, anything in order to accomplish a requirement for his teaching certificate.

I think I had his cousin for Psychology 101; maybe you had him too, monotone, read directly from the book the entire time until the bell rang and never looked up to see if it mattered. Yes, I thought you would remember. Both of them started off the semester by explaining that they would hand out grades on the “bell”; 2 A’s, 4 B’s, 32 C’s, 4 D’s and dragging up the rear, 2 F’s. I had taken a moment to locate the 4 D’s and the 2 F’s and then quietly gone into a Zen mindset knowing that I was guaranteed one of the 32 C’s since I had no intention of listening to an instructor who knew less about psychology than my roommate. I attended his class only one other time after he had explained the laws of probability and his grade system, that was to take the final exam and I got my C.

I got most of my history, at least as it relates to the United States of America, on my own through reading great books, listening to older and wiser folks who had the magical ability to make history come alive and through various pamphlets. I still have my pamphlet that outlines the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I keep it on my desk next to my scriptures. ( I wonder how weird that must sound to so many of you.)

I mentioned that I started reading in my most recent acquisition and when I got to page 2 I found something worth mentioning; in the footnote section for a quote made by George Orwell regarding the colonists use of pamphlets.

Orwell’s spirited introductory essay was sparked by his belief that in twentieth-century society the press does not adequately represent all shades of opinion

I had gotten a whole 2 pages into the book and here was the best description I had ever heard to cover why modern day colonialists blog. All you have to do is change the word pamphlet with blog and it has not changed in better than 200 years. It should make you proud to continue a tradition of the revolutionary spirit, a spirit that questions authority at it’s every attempt to box you in and your resentment for their having tried. Well done my fellow bloggers. I will endeavor to produce thought provoking “pamphlets” and post them as they spring from my rebellious and unbridled mind.

Links added May 29 to related Pamphlete blogs:
Eric's new article:
Brad's new article:

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