Sunday, June 29, 2014

62 Years Ago Today

What does not Exist Anymore

62 years ago today, a month after I finished the 11th grade, someone who does not exist anymore drove me to a town that does not exist anymore (Howe, Oklahoma) to a gigantic depot that does not exist anymore on a railroad that does not exist anymore (the Rock Island) for me to take a train to carry me part way (to stay overnight with someone who does not exist anymore) so I could take another train to a station that does not exist anymore to take a job that does not exist anymore, that of railroad telegrapher.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Liberty Point Resolves and the Tryon Resolves and the meaning of "Association"

Patriots in present-day Fayetteville, North Carolina, on June 20, 1775, signed a document they called "The Association." Patriots meeting near present-day Cherryville, North Carolina on August 14, 1775, signed a document they called "An Association." One thing I learned from working so long on Herman Melville is to be alert to words which meant something to people in the 19th century that they do not immediately mean to me. Association?

noun: association; plural noun: associations; noun: assn.
  1. 1.
    (often in names) a group of people organized for a joint purpose.
    "the National Association of Broadcasters"
    • Ecology
      a plant community defined by a characteristic group of dominant plant species.
  2. 2.
    a connection or cooperative link between people or organizations.
    "he developed a close association with the university"
    synonyms:relationship, relation, interrelation, connection, interconnection, link, bond, union, tie, attachment, interdependence, affiliation More
    "the association between language and nationalism"
    • the action or state of becoming a member of an organization with subordinate status.
      "Slovenia signed association agreements with the European Union"
    • Chemistry
      the linking of molecules through hydrogen bonding or other interaction short of full bond formation.
  3. 3.
    a mental connection between ideas or things.
    "the word bureaucracy has unpleasant associations"
    • the action of making a mental connection.
      "the association of alchemy with “hieroglyphics” and “cabala.”"
    • the fact of occurring with something else; co-occurrence.
      "cases of cancer found in association with colitis"

      LUCKILY, I still have, and consult almost daily, an unabridged dictionary more than 100 years old. "Association" meant a written pledge to execute an undertaking. The men who met at Barge's Tavern in Cross Creek (as it was called then) and at Christy Mauney's log house at a crossroads in Tryon County were putting their fortunes and their lives at risque (as the Tryon document says) when they signed their names.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Maunderings on Brodhead, Delbanco, Schultz, Shame, and Mississippi

I have been thinking about shame a lot in this new century.  In 2002 Richard H. Brodhead, Andrew Delbanco, and Elizabeth Schultz all shamelessly lied about me in print, Brodhead in the New York TIMES, saying I had merely surmised the existence of two lost books which Melville finished. One, the 1860 POEMS, had been known to everyone since 1922. They apparently felt no shame in lying about me, but I found myself shamed every time I heard a mention of the New York TIMES, especially. You internalize shame when people defame you with lies, or at least I did, until I began speaking out in 2007. Since then I have continued to think about shame and have decided that somewhere around the mid 20th century parents stopped teaching their children to be ashamed of bad behavior.  Instead, parents and teachers began trying to instill self-esteem in children whatever their behavior. Shame lingered on in some areas of the country especially in some religious groups up until, oh, what—Nixon’s Southern Strategy? If I knew back entrances to a nursing home because my mother had been kept there and I showed a Tea Party photographer just how to get into the building to take pictures of a woman whose mind was gone, then I can imagine killing myself for shame, especially if I grew up in Mississippi. The defeated candidate, however, seems to be of the generation that learned well the lessons of self-esteem.

McDaniel has shot up to an eight-point lead, outside the margin of error, over Sen. Thad Cochran

HATTIESBURG, Mississippi — A new poll from WPA Research shows conservative Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel has shot up to an eight-point lead, outside the margin of error, over Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) a little over a week from the runoff election.---Breitbart, June 15, 2014