Thursday, November 27, 2008

Palimpsest North America

Why is it so often forgotten that North America is a continent of immigrants, even including the "old ones" / "Amerindians," who came from Asia long ago? Why is it so often ignored that the largest city in North America is Ciudad de México / Mexico City, not New York City?

The Thanksgiving Myth in the USA is interesting. Indians and Anglos living in harmony over turkey and mashed potatoes.

North American culture is in fact a mishmashed blend of all sorts of outlandish cultural attributes, right down to place names, language and cuisine. And it's a lot more interesting behind and underneath simple holiday myths.

Some groups remember war and occupation better than others -- usually the defeated and the occupied.

Which reminds me to plug a new book that delves into such matters with flair, focusing on the geographical area now called the USA between the 1500s and 1789: Kenneth C. Davis, America’s Hidden History: Untold Tales of the First Pilgrims, Fighting Women and Forgotten Founders Who Shaped a Nation (HarperCollins, 2008).

Today's Rune: Fertility.


the walking man said...

I have to respect the this day most of them refuse to use twenty dollar bills because they have Jackson's likeness on them. You know the guy who started them on the Trail of Tears.

American it the apex of world history, not that it is a pinnacle but rather because so many cultures came here to change and find a new beginning by blending (or not) to form a whole?

Bubs said...

You reference the Mexican War there. Interestingly, Abraham Lincoln spoke out against it as a congressman.

It's interesting, what you say about the pilgrim/indian myth, when across such vast parts of America the myth should include Spaniards, Indians, French and more. What would the Thanksgiving myth of St. Augustine or New Orleans be?

Charles Gramlich said...

Mexico city is bigger than New York city in population? I don't believe I realized that.

Distributorcap said...

sadly erik -- there are still a lot of racists in this country and plenty of them are in our govt

immigrants are what made this country what it is..... people like tancredo and lou dobbs

well dont get me started

happy holiday

Lana Gramlich said...

In my own research about the Celts I realized that history is just the record of who beat down who through the ages. Annoyed at the Roman invasion of Britain, I had to grudgingly accept that the Celts did much the same, centuries earlier.
How odd, the human sense that parts of land "belong" to different people, anyway!

Ali said...

Hi, I came across your Blog thru Cruel Virgin. Nice posts, Ill be checking them and posting my views soon.

Sidney said...

I was outraged beyond words with the brain-dead general manager of our local TV station did an editorial chastising a grade school class for saying the pledge of allegiance in Spanish. "If there's anything, it seems to me that ought to be in English," he drawled in his folksy on-air persona, "it's the pledge of allegiance."

I e-mailed him to remind him we are a nation of immigrants, a melting pot. Remembering that should be a part of all true patriotism.

Johnny Yen said...

One of the things I enjoyed when I taught seventh grade, many years ago, my first year as a teacher, was a unit on Native Americans. I thought myself fairly knowledgeble, but had no idea of the incredible cultural and economic diversity of the indigenous peoples of North America.

I like the quote "History is lied agreed upon."