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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Don't Know Much About History

I guess I've always had an interest in history. I remember watching a repeat showing of Ken Burns' The Civil War back in 1991 at the same time the U.S. was bombing Bagdad at the beginning of Gulf War I. It provided a very unique view of the war we were just beginning, juxtaposed with a war from 130 years earlier.

During the just concluded quarter in my Writing and Intellectual Property in the Digital Age class, Shaun Slattery kept referring to a biography of Benjamin Franklin he was reading. He brought up the history of copyright, and the change in technology since Franklin's time.

Tonight, HBO is beginning a seven-part adaptation of David McCullough's John Adams. I watched a "Making of..." special they ran which discussed the authenticity the producers tried to bring to the production. They wanted people to know what it was really like in 1775, how difficult a choice rebellion was for the colonists.

I am currently reading Benedict Arnold's Navy by James L. Nelson and I just bought McCullough's book today. I need to read more history, learn more about our country's history, and world history, and understand how we got to where we are. I don't want to be one of those people who know more about popular culture than about what's going on in the world. I'm always horrified at the "man in the street" segments Jay Leno does, with the stupidity of people almost a badge of honor.

Can we afford not to be informed, whether it is current events or historical events? Is it true that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. The historical perspective presents a vastly different view of an event, a period. Discovering our own history will give us a perspective on today's world and may help us better understand the world and times we live in.

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