Tuesday, December 30, 2008

falling off the horse

The drive north and the delay caused by snow abetted my fall from my horse: I stopped writing and have neglected my chapter for an entire week. The fall had been surprisingly easy and I've only half-heartedly tried to climb back up. I'm still a bit soar as a result of my fall - in the shoulders - but this is more a result of rediscovering my skills with a snow shovel. All in all, we've had a great time here with siblings, parents, and dogs. (S, in particular, loves the dogs as well as the snow.) We were all awakened at 6:20 on Christmas morn by the youngest family member. We've since been enjoying hot drinks, holiday treats, and new books by the fire. And I have to admit that snow is good for creating a reason to cuddle down by the fire. I hope you all have enjoyed - and continue to enjoy - a great holiday!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

into the cold of winter

We're all packed up and ready to head to the wintry North. Recent weather conditions have not been in our favor, but the I-15 has reopened and made our journey possible. We head from the flooded desert to the high and frigid desert to the snow-dusted foothills, around the icy lake and into the dense and snowy mountains. We've got snacks, blankets, and chains. Now all we need is your best wishes for a quick and uneventful trip!

Trip reporter: Orange County; elevation: 50 feet; daytime high: 60; miles traveled: 0.

UPDATE (12/20): Cedar City (land of the Utes); elevation: 5000 feet; daytime high: 35; miles traveled: 424.

UPDATE (12/21): Pocatello; elevation: 4500 feet; daytime high: 22; miles traveled: 836.

UPDATE (12/22): Butte, U.S.A.; elevation: 5549; daytime high: 9; miles traveled: 1090. Snowing steadily and with gusto. (This was supposed to be the day we finished driving.)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

sources and technology

I made it through my paragraph crawl, but the road ahead doesn't look to be an easy one. The positive part of this struggle is that I have a lot to say; my problem has been figuring out how to put it in order. When I get stumped by this chapter, I daydream about how great it will be to move on to the next one (I had similar fantasies about how much easier the current chapter would be when I was writing the last one.) So, when I dream, I head on over the Congressional Record - on-line.

I think I've mentioned before how I love the hein database and I love it even more since I discovered that it contains an expanded version of the Congressional Record - the complete set! And I've been weighing the relative merits of the CR in its pdf, microfilm, and paper versions. The microfilm version is my least favorite. In fact, I hate it. A minimum of three reels per session. So, I have to scroll, scroll, scroll through one reel to find my pages; then, rewind, switch reels and scroll to each non sequential page where I try to decipher the poor copy on an ancient machine that no longer can zoom in and focus. Have I mentioned that microfilm makes me seasick? The on-line version wins for convenience, something that works well with my whimsy. But the paper version wins for ease of use. Flip to index, find term, select new volume and voilĂ  - page, page, and page. And it is always easy to read and it takes me away from my computer which is good (we've become too close over the past year or so). I am overjoyed with the technological advances that have brought me the CR on-line, yet this version can't top the paper version. But since the paper version is hard to come by, my desktop window-to-the-world will continue to hook me up on-line!

In other recent developments - our desert here is flooding.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

paragraph crawl

I've spent the last three days revising - and re-revising - the first section of my chapter. This section makes important and rather sweeping claims (about racialization and citizenship in work) that are essential to what develops in the last half of the chapter. These points all make sense in my head but are coming out kind of clunky. So, I re-read and cut and move and rework the narrative, again and again. This process feels like what I imagine a pub crawl feels like. I started out enthusiastic and I enjoyed myself. Then, I continued because I was only going to do one more. I've come under a haze. And now, just when I think I can't possibly rework that paragraph again, I dive back in for another go. It's my paragraph crawl.

And it's gotten to the point of being ridiculous. I'm giving myself to the end of the day to work it out. Then, I'm going to sleep it off and move on.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

what's more infamous - remembering or forgetting?

Did anyone else hear several references today to "the day that will live in infamy"? I guess if you want everyone to remember some event, uttering a phrase like this will make it stick. (It's a kind of self-fulfilling prophesy.) I wouldn't have remembered the historic significance of today if not for those reminders from my radio. But my concept of these events has changed considerably over the years, so I waited hoping that the commentators had made similar discoveries and would expand their reminiscences beyond Pearl Harbor. It never came. So, I've decided to take up that burden.

The impression I have from the media (who suggest that they're channeling FDR) is that Pearl Harbor should be remembered as an unprovoked attack on the United States. I will, for now, leave aside the antagonistic relationship that developed between the U.S. and Japan throughout the 1930s. The attack itself was specifically against the U.S. military in Hawai'i - a place that was not a state but a territory (with distinct colonial attributes). So, this was less a personal attack (against civilians residing in the United States) than a strategic one (against soldiers in a place that the U.S. claimed and backed up that claim with military might). But the aspect of this story that I find most interesting - and the one that prompted my post - is that this was not an isolated event. It was multi-pronged. It included attacks on Wake Island and Guam and, one day later, the Philippines. Indeed, by December 10th, Japanese troops were landing in the northern Philippine Islands. So, the land invasion that Pacific Coast residents were preparing for happened in America-the-colony. U.S. imperialism was a startlingly significant aspect of the "infamous" American entry into the Second World War.

FDR's catchy quote - and the subsequent rituals of remembrance - have helped to cover over the key role that U.S. imperial expansion played in bringing Americans into this war. Just as significant, such memories also neglect the role that imperialism played in the pursuit of that war. Here, I refer to the mobilization (and drafting) of colonial subjects - like Filipinos, Guamanians, and Samoans - in defense of the imperial power. Though Americans in the mainstream have apparently forgotten this aspect of their past, Filipino war veterans haven't. Their experiences being denied veterans' status demand the question: what is more infamous?