Thursday, February 17, 2005

Whatever it Was, I Was Against It

McNeil-Lehrer had a discussion of Negroponte in which his record in Honduras wasn’t even mentioned. This country’s media and politicians have no memory at all. That’s how Jeff Sessions can go on tv to talk about judicial nominees being rejected without anyone mentioning his own past as a failed nominee. This is also how everyone can have fun with the story of Mary Kay Le Tourneau, the teacher convicted of stat rape, now marrying her victim, without mention of her father, Rep. John Schmitz, an Orange County congresscritter so far to the right he thought Reagan was a communist (literally), and who when Mary Kay was a child publicly pulled her out of several schools when they began sex ed courses.

Which brings me to my new project. One of the goals of this blog is to pay attention to the historical context of current events. One means to this end is that my archives go further back than those of most blogs. In 1996 I began sending out comments on the news to the few friends I knew who had email. The number of people on the list grew and so did the volume of my writing. I developed a bloggy style long before the word blog was coined. When I finally began an actual blog last July, I also posted all the old emails, shorn of the copyrighted newspaper articles, Dave Barry pieces and whatnot, all available in the archives linked in the right-hand column (Blogger didn’t foresee my need to retroactively give posts dates earlier than 1999, so the January 1999 link actually contains material from January 1996 through January 1999). So you can read what I had to say about the Clinton impeachment or the 2000 elections or anything else, although I’m not sure why you would, and it’s all searchable through the Google box at the top of the page. Here’s what I said the first time I ever mentioned Osama bin Laden, after the embassy bombings in August 1998:
I suspect this bin Laden character has been promoted, and probably promoted way out of his league, to Darth-Vader-of-the-year to put a human face on the Enemy.

But before that, in 1986, I began taking notes on the news into a series of notebooks, to assist my memory, to preserve stupid remarks by Ronald Reagan that I wanted to be able to quote precisely, and because if you’re paying serious attention to a subject, including current events, you take notes. It was also a place to tape cut-out articles and political cartoons, right down quotes, etc.

I’ve recently begun to type those notes into my computer, a little at a time, something I’ve always wanted to do so that I don’t have to read my own handwriting and pore through dozens of pages every time I want to look something up. The job has turned out to be quite interesting, a chance to relive Iran-Contra, the fall of the Soviet Union and the Dan Quayle years. Remember the 1980s? The movies: 8½, Grand Illusion, The Seventh Seal, Holiday. And the music: Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Dvořák--whatever happened to those guys?

Now these are notes written to myself, they are not a blog, but they may be useful to someone and it takes almost no extra work at all to put them online, so allow me to introduce: “Whatever It Was, I Was Against It.”
1986-89, so far, but I’ll add more as I type it. The permanent link is in the column on the right, at the top of the archives list.

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