|Posted by bebowreinhard on August 22, 2017 at 3:40 PM||comments (1)|
I'm planning to present on the myth and history of a Vrykolakas and wonder if you'd be interested in hearing about why I wrote my book using this research:
A little background. Arabus Drake came to me in a dream. I knew he was Greek. I knew he was a vampire. I knew he was sexy. So far, pretty generic, right? But I also knew he demanded that I bring him back to life. So I thought first I would see what kinds of myths there were on Greek vampires in history. Now to put this in context, this was in 1983, and I had not yet even considered going to school for a history degree. But I could dig into some books on Greek legend easy enough, right?
You all know how to find stuff you’re curious about without a degree?
Okay, so here’s the first thing I found (Wikipedia):
he word vrykolakas is derived from the Slavic word vǎrkolak. The term is attested in other South Slavic languages such as Serbian vukodlak, ultimately derived from Proto-Slavic vьlkolakъ, see Polish wilkołak, and cognates can be found in other languages such as Lithuanian vilkolakis and Romanian vârcolac. The term is a compound word derived from вълк (vâlk)/вук (vuk), meaning "wolf" and dlaka, meaning "(strand of) hair" (i.e. having the hair, or fur, of a wolf), and originally meant "werewolf" (it still has that meaning in the modern Slavic languages, and a similar one in Romanian: see vârcolac). It is also noteworthy that in the eighteenth century story Vrykolokas by Pitton de Tournefort, he refers to the revenant as a "werewolf" (loups-garous) which may have also been translated as bug-bears, a strange word that has nothing to do with bugs nor bears, but is related to the word bogey, which means spook, spirit, hobgoblin, etc. However, the same word (in the form vukodlak) has come to be used in the sense of "vampire" in the folklore of Western Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro (while the term "vampir" is more common in Eastern Serbia, and in Bulgaria). Apparently, the two concepts have become mixed. Even in Bulgaria, original folklore generally describes the vârkolak as a sub-species of the vampire without any wolf-like features.
Because of this vague relationship to a wolf, I gave Arabus some extra horrific features, such as tearing the neck apart by chewing, and not just suck. And this, by the way, enables him to break the victim’s head off.
Why would I do that? Any guesses?
So that the victim doesn’t come back as a vampire. Right. And here, perhaps, is the biggest difference between my vampire and any other one you may have heard about. Arabus doesn’t create other vampires, or if he does, he takes care of them. There are occasions in my readings where you’ll see that he does create another vampire, and mostly out of curiosity to see what they do, but he always retains the upper hand to destroy them when (not if) necessary.
What else did I use from this research?
he Greeks traditionally believed that a person could become a vrykolakas after death due to a sacrilegious way of life, an excommunication, a burial in unconsecrated ground, or eating the meat of a sheep which had been wounded by a wolf or a werewolf. Some believed that a werewolf itself could become a powerful vampire after being killed, and would retain the wolf-like fangs, hairy palms, and glowing eyes it formerly possessed.
The bodies of vrykolakas have the same distinctive characteristics as the bodies of vampires in Balkan folklore. They do not decay; instead, they swell and may even attain a "drum-like" form, being very large, they have a ruddy complexion, and are, according to one account, "fresh and gorged with new blood". People with red hair and gray eyes at this time in history were thought to be vampires according to accounts near the region of modern Serbia. The activities of the vrykolakas are nearly always harmful, verging from merely leaving their grave and "roaming about", through engaging in poltergeist-like activity, and up to causing epidemics in the community. Among other things, the creature is believed to knock on the doors of houses and call out the name of the residents. If it gets no reply the first time, it will pass without causing any harm. If someone does answer the door, he or she will die a few days later and become another vrykolakas. For this reason, there is a superstition present in certain Greek villages that one should not answer a door until the second knock. Legends also say that the vrykolakas crushes or suffocates the sleeping by sitting on them, much like a mara or incubus (cf. sleep paralysis) — as does a vampire in Bulgarian folklore.
Since the vrykolakas becomes more and more powerful if left alone, legends state that one should destroy its body. According to some accounts, this can only be done on Saturday, which is the only day when the vrykolakas rests in its grave (the same as with Bulgarian vampire legend) This may be done in various ways, the most common being exorcising, impaling, beheading, cutting into pieces, and especially cremating the suspected corpse, so that it may be freed from living death and its victims may be safe.
SEE MY BINDER OF MATERIAL
I’ve been working on SEO Optimization to get Adventures in Death & Romance: Vrykolakas Tales to show up quicker on a search on Vrykolakas.
Today, to talk about vrykolakas in historical context, I thought I’d use some of those links that came up ahead of mine.
|Posted by bebowreinhard on August 15, 2017 at 3:45 PM||comments (0)|
The 2nd edition of Mystic Fire is now available. I will admit to some bad feelings while going through first edition to fix errors. I didn’t expect to find so many! In my defense, this was the fastest I ever pulled a novel together. I graduated college in 2006, but actually started work on this novel before I started college. But in 2003, shortly after I’d done some work on it, my laptop was stolen. I didn’t have a backup of the new material and only had a print copy of the previous work. Then I started my master’s in history, and I’m really glad that the novel didn’t emerge until after that. I learned so much about Lincoln that I just knew I had to share it.
It was probably 2008 before I returned to the novel. Because I planned to go to the 2009 Bonanza convention, I wanted to have this novel ready in time, so it only went through four edits before my publisher got it. The amount of editing she did was minimal. She kept telling me not to make it too long, so I went through this 2nd edition with every intention to making it as long as it needed to be. What I ended up doing was a lot of clean-up, clarification and error-fixing -- but it didn’t need to be any longer.
When I initially ran my ideas past David Dortort on this novel in 2005, in order to get the book contracted, he was delighted to learn I knew so much about the Civil War. He was considered a foremost authority on the Civil War in Hollywood during his Bonanza days, and completely agreed with the storyline and my analysis of Lincoln in 1862. He was only sad that my master’s interfered with my completion of the book for so long. But in hindsight, this book would not have emerged with these insights without that degree.
Rather than attempt to make Lincoln look bad, the novel shows what he was like. I never really understood why he would issue an Emancipation Proclamation that didn’t free any slaves except those in the rebellion states, and learned that while he didn’t free the slaves, they began to free themselves. Lincoln instigated their new desires at freedom with his proclamation.
In this 2nd edit, I attempted to fix some readers’ concerns as well as editing errors. For the most part, if some readers didn’t finish, it was because of Margaret’s pregnancy storyline. I tried to soften that a bit, but to be honest, I couldn’t delete it because Adam needed a huge reason to go wandering off in the night, where he’s later kidnapped. I also read it with close eye for why readers had a hard to following the events that happened. Except for the Civil War/slavery storyline, everything else is pretty straightforward, and shouldn’t be difficult, but I did make some basic changes that might help.
As for how confusing Tobias and Sadie are, that’s deliberate. You never really know what their game is, as Adam and Ben are twisted and turned in every way imaginable. It’s deliberate because there was never a more confusing period in our history than the Civil War period. It was impossible to tell who was on whose side, a lot of the time. And here, having slaves be against Lincoln served two purposes: without giving away the plot, Sadie and Tobias are against each other in wondering how to stop Lincoln from sending blacks to other countries, and two, the slavers are alternately from the north, or the south, because of the hidden scheme that Tobias doesn’t completely, in his heart, support.
You see, in 1862 Lincoln didn’t know what to do with the slaves that he wanted to free. Sure, the Emancipation Proclamation only freed them in rebellion states, but Lincoln began to see them freeing themselves and running away, more and more. And Lincoln anticipated a problem with so many freed slaves that he bought into a plan to send them to plantations in Hayti (Haiti) or even back home to Africa, to a place created just for them—Liberia.
So Lincoln is a character in this book, and while the dialog I give him is fiction, the events that are being shown are real. (Get a print copy if you want to see the footnotes.) I also added the historical figures of Mark Twain and General George McClellan. They are voices of the period that would be hard to demonstrate otherwise.
While in Felling of the Sons, all four Cartwrights worked together against a single adversary (when they weren’t recovery from their injuries), I wanted to do something different in Mystic Fire. I wanted the book to reflect the series after Season 2, when more and more the episodes focused on a single Cartwright. Here, each Cartwright has a separate and unique storyline, and it necessitates following each of them at various times throughout the book. Hoss and Hop Sing work together when a mysterious ghostly woman shows up seeking help to keep her husband from murdering her. Joe loses Ben in a prairie fire – Sadie and her children save him by pulling him into the mine shaft where they’re hiding. And Adam gets abducted by the slavers with Tobias; because they plan to make him “walk out of here” once they get him far enough away, and because Tobias tells him things about Lincoln Adam doesn’t believe, Adam pretends to be a muley slave to stay with Tobias. He tells a story to Tobias about why he thought he could pull this off. This is the second criticism readers have had of the book, but I think all Cartwright fans can agree that Adam is darker skinned than the rest of his family. Ben, too, goes back with Sadie to meet with Lincoln and represent big silver interests, but unlike Adam, not as a slave. He at times, though, has to pretend he’s as slave owner, especially as they get closer to New Orleans.
Another element is the return of Marie’s cousin Darcy, the instigator of the plan that needs Ben, or any Cartwright, to come to New Orleans. He figured that Nevada Territory, with its Comstock Lode, would interest Lincoln enough to meet with a Cartwright in New Orleans, and that was their goal—getting Lincoln to New Orleans. Eventually in real life, Lincoln does push Nevada through statehood early, in late 1864, because he wants the silver taxed for the war effort.
As you can see, then, this is a very complicated book, but it’s so filled with action and fun and fact that you shouldn’t mind at all. It simply asks that you accept the research I put into it as valid (because it is), and the Cartwrights’ reactions as real as they are thrust into probably the most unusual situations a Cartwright has ever faced.
BUY NOW at a discount price (until regular cover is available) at http://tinyurl.com/ybcbnon7 ;
|Posted by bebowreinhard on May 28, 2017 at 10:25 AM||comments (1)|
|Posted by bebowreinhard on November 26, 2016 at 9:45 PM||comments (0)|
I wrote the following as an introduction in one of the Grimms American Macabre edits, when it was known as Modern Grimms Fairy Tales. See what you think about what you'll find in these pages.
The original Grimms Fairy Tales, according to W. H. Auden in 1944, should be ranked next to the Bible in importance. Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm compiled these fairy tales as early as 1823, and Jacob, in searching for a publisher, declared that the intent was to preserve sacred narrative traditions. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, PhD, claimed that the original Grimms wrote down the voices of their era, but shaped in a certain fashion, leaving out the criticisms of the prelates, the mayors, landlords and the Church. They were even further cleaned up by the Grimms themselves as they realized their market was less for adults and more for children. The purity of the tales was more important than the message, and even today reflect the purity with which we attempted to raise our children, sanitize them from the reality and protect them from knowledge of potential harm in the world.
Most of the familiarity with the Grimms Tales is of these cleaned up versions, what one might call Disney-ized. And in today's world, we know how anti-political that is. So you can find today two different versions of original Grimm's tales, but the cleaned-up versions for children lose both impact and interest. And with their villain-ized animals, they lack a certain relevance in today's pro-environmental climate.
So in presenting Grimm's Modern Fairy tales, the hope is the offer children a more modern look at what a fairy tale can do for them in real life, and that is to demonstrate manners of living and attitude that might help them to cope in ways that even radical TV and cinema still miss. These tales will talk to children of all ages in issues that will mean something to them as they struggle to understand the world around them today.
Regardless of which political party is in current charge of our lives, there is a continuing need to recognize, in all of us, the potential to live better and more fully with nature, rather than usurping it for greed.
You won't see this collection cleaned up, for what most young adults and pubescents need, even in these modern times, are stories that educate them on what they are most curious about, the consequence of sexual explorations. You'll find several of those included here, not graphic, but with a certain sensibility that is not shameful. You'll find both light-hearted drama and blood-curdling darkness; in other words, all levels of experience lie between these pages. The beauty is that not all stories are meant to be understood at all ages, but one can return to them again and again and take out a different perspective each time.
Grimm's Modern Fairy Tales is a collection of short stories meant for the teen and young adult market but created to be a stimulating, mythological, symbolic read for all ages. This collection is meant to pick up where parents left off. Many children have to learn about their growing awareness of sexuality from their peers; from everyone and everywhere, it seems, than from their parents. As a parent of three grown children, I am fully aware of the importance of these conversations, I lacked the authority to know how to get my children to listen.
Children, it seems, do not want to learn certain things from their parents because it means they have to see parents "that way." To present them with a book like this means that we freely acknowledge that parents cannot do it all for their kids. No message is more important today. No job is more important than parenting, and no job is given us with less training. So there are all kinds of parents vs children stories, only a few of which deal with sex.
The entertainment value of the human and nature lessons here is of utmost importance, because no one wants to read for entertainment and feel the preacher's breath. There are talking animals, ghosts, and families in disarray, dreams that aren't dreams, and tales of revenge. There are happy endings that don't always seem happy, sad endings that are satisfying, and twisted endings that will leave them with shivers and images for some time to come. Whether the tale is about girls, or boys, or both, they will be enjoyed equally by all because of the insights into the complexity of human nature that are depicted.
Nor does this collection skirt political issues. Estes claimed that three tales Bluebeard, Thumbelina and the Princess and the Pea, had been so powerful as to have been used to keep up the skirmishes of war. Here in the modern tales we instead look for paths of keeping up the peace and honoring the environment, and find blatant ways to ridicule those who find war a first resort rather than last.
We also don't abuse animals or nature, the way the original Grimm's tales did. Quite often the animals provided the sad part of their happy endings. Humans could also communicate with animals in a number of their stories, but that communication wasn't necessarily beneficial. Here, if there's a conflict between humans and animals, the animals will win, sometimes allowing humans access to their special knowledge, as symbolic of what happens when humankind believes it can conquer nature.
Disney adapted a few of the original Grimm's Tales, making fairy tales like Sleeping Beauty and Snow White American icons, even though these were based on German stories written for the peasants. But often in the adaptation the original message is lost. The golden haired beauty, for instance, is not beautiful in face but in soul. The beauty who is far better than the rest means that her nature and not her face is beautiful, but in the visual telling of the tale, we recognize only the physical beauty. Even Shrek distorted the message by going to the other extreme; by preferring their ogre appearance, they don't understand that it is not the appearance but how you feel inside that counts.
A number of these modern stories could be adapted without the internal and symbolic message lost; for animation, such as Heart of Ahmalia, Golfer and the Tree, The Three Sisters, Wisdom of the Three, and The Cave Bird. Classy horror films could be made from Traveling Salvation Show, Unleashing the Wolves, Path of the Moon, Someone Else's Shoes or Blessed Are the Bloody. Others could be told as oral stories to young kids for bedtime, such as the Lousy Flea and King Fluffy the Great. Several, though with a sexual theme, should not make any parent hesitate allowing even their pre-teen to have access, especially in today's world. At first, some stories, like Babe In the Woods, may seem controversial but the message that is embedded is of utmost importance for our children, and the health of the world in general.
The original Grimm's were written for the peasants of the old world to help them escape and dream of riches and empowerment. These modern tales are created for escape back into the world of nature; a reversal, you might say, but also to empower them to make their own choices in life, learning ways to take control of their lives. Filled with bawdy humor, blood-curdling drama and table-turning pranks, this series will help anyone living in today's modern world to relate to their environment just a little bit more. Some of the stories are not modern, it's true, but even in relating tales of moments past we can see bits of our future, and that's what these tales are all about.
Violence is an important part of the tale, today as well as in the past. We often disdain violence without recognizing its benefit -- that we are to sit up and pay attention to the seriousness of the message. No violence should ever be gratuitous, without a message. Only in this manner today do we see real damage done to fragile psyches. Once we learn this, our tale-telling in Hollywood and elsewhere will take on new meaning.
Happy endings? That all depends on what you call happy. The purpose of this book is to get us all to sit up and take notice of the world around us, of nature, of love, of what is really meant by the pursuit of happiness. And if we look at happy endings as being the attainment of something we want, we really won't recognize a happy ending when we see it. Look beyond the ending in these stories for the happy ending because that's where it will lie -- in your imagination, where your mind travels beyond the story's end. No reading is worth any value if it takes you nowhere beyond its pages. This is where people today are losing the delight in reading. The original Grimm's tales, before the clean-up, also had a number of tales without happy endings to instead confront us with harsher realities of life. When the package is not neatly wrapped with a happy bow, we have to do a little more thinking on our own, but the end result is so much more satisfying.
Can children read these stories? For the most part, these are young adult and adult tales. This is the way the book is marketed. However, if a precocious child were to get their hands on this book, they would not be traumatized by it any more than any magic or sorcery book, because the sexual language is well cloaked by symbolism. Only if the child is already familiar with the terms will they understand these certain stories. No lock and key will be needed here.
So dive in, and expect magic. Because that's what the world is all about today, as it was back in the original Grimms day.
My grandmother, Elizabeth Grimm Bebow, lived in the house on the cover of this book, and the photo shows as it stands today. (I don't know how the bra got in the tree, honest, but how appropriate, so I left it in.) Whether she was actually related to Jacob and Wilhelm is still open to speculation. Here are my efforts to trace these roots so far:
The distinguished surname Grimm can be traced back to Brandenburg, a region that eventually expanded to incorporate the Rhineland, Westphalia, Hannover, parts of Saxony, Pomerania, Silesia, and Hessen. The Germanic Semnonen tribe lived here, then the Slavic tribe of the Heveler, who held this territory until the arrival of the Christian Saxons.
The name Grimm became noted for its many branches within the region, each house acquiring a status and influence which was envied by the princes of the region. In their later history the name became a power unto themselves and were elevated to the ranks of nobility as they grew into this most influential family.
The family name grew to the same dimensions as the population explosion in the 16th century. They established branches in Bohemia, Basel, Bavaria, Austria and Solothurn, Switzerland. Their special interests were political, military and religious. Notables were the Count Grimm von Bentheim and the Bohemian Knights of 1859. Jacob (1785-1863) and his brother Wilhelm Grimm(1786-1859), born in Hessen, were the founders of folklore as well as historians of the German language. Their dictionary and collection of fairy tales are world famous. Hermann Grimm (1828-1901), son of Wilhelm, became known as an art and literature historian, whose works were translated into several languages.
Prussia became a haven for political and religious refugees, including Salzburg Protestants and the French Huegonauts.
Andreas Grimm came to Philadelphia in 1736. Heinrich Grimm, with his wife Barbara Mohler, came to either Carolina or Pennsylvania in 1772. August Grimm, 41, came to Winterhill, Massachusetts, in 1778. Joseph Grimm came to Texas in 1846. Hans Grimm (1875-1959) from Lower Saxony, was a nationalist writer in the twenties.
Grandmother was, unfortunately, not too anxious to talk about her family history, and I was not yet writing this book when she died so there was an opportunity missed. I do know that her parents' names were Hans Jacob (H.J.) Grimm and Wiebeva Elsabea Dorothea (Dora) (Kolpein). The town of Grimms (where this house was located) in Wisconsin was not named after our Hans Jacob Grimms but after a different H.J. Grimms, or so the story goes (certain relation claim this but without source of this knowledge). They referred to Grimms as the village.
I welcome anyone's input on the family tree of Grimms. How fun it would be to establish this connection! And if it turns out we are not related, the name is still valid, as are the tales.
And finally thanks to all who read, for remaining young at heart.
|Posted by bebowreinhard on November 26, 2016 at 9:15 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted by bebowreinhard on November 26, 2016 at 9:15 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted by bebowreinhard on November 8, 2016 at 1:35 PM||comments (0)|
I had to give up on my pre-contact copper artifact newsletter because I lost the time. Time just disappeared and I looked for it, but you know how it is with time. If you abuse it, it becomes very shy. So I have to make do without time, and focus more intensely where I can on what I can.
What happens is that I have so much research that I don’t have time to work with. Little by little I’m taking time from others to get things done. Currently, I’m working with an archaeologist to get an article crafted on the CAMD that’s good enough to be read. For a writer like me, that shouldn’t be hard. For a non-professional, however, I’m tearing out my hair.
I took on this copper artifact master database (CAMD) back when time was still my friend, and I actually had it licking my cheek. As an offshoot of my “career” as a museum curator at the Oconto Copper Burial Museum, it felt like a natural project to try and bring more attention to the vast pre-contact copper industry that started in this country, and in the Americas, as much as 10,000 years ago.
Over the course of the next six years, after resigning in 2010 (December), I created my own newsletter as an offspring of the CCHA newsletter (membership newsletter for the museum) and continued to investigate where copper artifacts had been found. I’d always been interested in the idea that all these early tribes were involved in long-distance trade and felt this research was one way to prove it—long distance as throughout the Americas, but no farther.
I picked up a lot of odd jobs along the way, but usually temporary or part-time, so I could keep working. I also am a fiction novelist—which some will tell you suits this copper work as well! “You probably shouldn’t try to analyze the material,” I’ve been told.
Okay, so maybe I am out in left field. But honestly, sometimes it takes imagination to understand how people focused themselves back then.
Anyway—speaking of focus—recently I’ve found a number of errors in the database, thanks to the assistance of Archeologist Constance Arzigian at UW-La Crosse. She’s been great, working so hard to get me to understand what I’m doing that I’m starting to think it’s a waste of her time. But we’ll see what comes out of the effort. And the errors affected something I’d posted here, so I thought I’d better explain about the personality of copper artifacts.
It really all has to do with interpretation. In compiling the CAMD, I’ve found so many different interpretations of what things are that are coded in the many databases I’ve been accessing. So one of the main things I’m trying to do (maybe poorly), is updating Wittry’s 1953 typology by using the artifacts in the CAMD; I’ve learned that it would be helpful if I knew what I was seeing, first.
For instance, I’ve just had to redo the bead section of the updated Wittry because I thought rolled and tubular were different, and rolled meant round. But it doesn’t. I got confused trying to assign codes to them with this thinking. Fortunately this new article helped me to straighten that out, and I know now that round means wider than it is long.
So not only do I deal with museum and private collector databases that don’t always make sense, but I deal with reference sources that don’t always agree. Did I bite off more than I could chew? Yeah, I’d say so.
I know that I have to try harder to find duplicates. Right now the collection stands at over 60,000, including those with no locations (hey, those count). And trying to figure out what’s really what type is impossible without descriptions and photos. I can only do what I can do with the little time I drag out screaming from under the bed.
For those who wonder how to use the CAMD, all you have to do is request a location where you want to know where was found. All the data from that location found in the 300+ sources will be delivered to you. If the data is incomplete, all you then have to do is go to that source and ask for more information. AND all future material found at that location will be delivered to you at no extra cost! Pretty cool, eh?
Cost for data is 10 cents a line. Data includes where found, what found, description, photo and where accessioned, along with how many and what cultural group is associated, if there is one. I do NOT share donors or site names unless you work for an accredited museum.
What a deal! Ask for a sample line in your favorite location today!
I had to get a job because doing all this collecting was costing money. And I work on these articles where no pay is involved because it’s helping me to catch things I should have caught earlier. When you order yours, I will giving it another combing to make sure all the kinks are out.
If for some reason this article doesn’t end up getting published, I will share it here.
|Posted by bebowreinhard on July 19, 2016 at 12:15 AM||comments (0)|
(The first part of this is what I actually wrote in 2007 and is directed at those who believe Obama created our current climate.)
I’m afraid for our children.
Crandon, 2007, six people are gunned down by a 20-year-old off-duty cop, after his girlfriend rejected him. He then shot himself.
Fear has been advocated within our society nearly since the beginning of George W. Bush’s reign as president. We are all today taught to be afraid, to fear airplanes, high school and the man next door. All are suspect.
The world is ending, we’re told, because the ice caps are melting - - but don’t give up that SUV because you might need it to escape the raging floods.
How are our young people holding up under all this fear? Did the young Crandon cop react so violently because of fear? And who said a 20-year-old is mature enough to be a cop and handle all those guns?
What about the fellow last year who shot so many at Virginia Tech? His mental duress slipped under the radar even at the gun shop.
Fear - - orange, red, green, just giving it a color is a symptom of a sick society.
Carl Jung said once that we make enemies of others by seeing their evil, yet we never see it in ourselves. Fear is one of those evils because it is a symptom of the evil within our society that we choose not to reveal.
Global warming is supposedly a result of all the gas guzzling over-consumptiveness of our society. But no one will call it an evil.
Our terrorist alert fear of neighbors and other strangers is due to the wrongs committed by our society that we refuse to see as evil.
And now we are raising our children in a climate that has become even more unstable because children are now finding access to weapons. They’re afraid. They learn well from us. Until this country is able to admit where it has come derailed, fear will continue.
Think about it. We have kids becoming cops at age 20; before they can legally buy alcohol they can get a gun and kill people. Fear exists in this distorted society. It’s a real wake-up call, and we need to listen.
Fear and guns. A lethal combination.
* * *
Flash forward – Fear 2016
No, fear has not been addressed, although Obama has been trying hard. It continues in the form of white fear quaking in the wake of minorities beginning to take over their world. We have a black president and in their quaking minds that makes it worse, and now a woman running against a white bigot Trump, someone no one would ever have thought could get that far. But he plays on our fears, and they listen. Yes, the fears listen. He will build walls. He will deport or at least dehumanize the Islam society. He will – oh who are we kidding? He’s lying to everyone. But he IS playing on their fears.
Those with guns. Gun nuts. So afraid of a little regulation to help prevent incidents like the mass shooting at a gay night club in Orlando. So sure that we all need guns to protect ourselves, but cops can be shot down in the street, and they have guns. There goes that argument.
I’m not afraid of people with guns. I’m afraid people with guns are running and ruining our society by not being able to let go of their fear.
That story in Crandon? I wondered if I had all the details so I went to look it up.
UPDATED Sunday, May 23, 2010 --- 7:05 a.m.
CRANDON, Wis. (AP) — A judge's ruling has gone against the survivor of a mass shooting in Crandon and families of the four victims.
The parties had sued the city of Crandon and Forest County following the October 2007 shooting by Tyler Peterson. He was a part-time Crandon police officer and full-time Forest County sheriff's deputy.
The families claimed Peterson's mental instability led to the shootings and should have been recognized under Wisconsin's Law Enforcement Standards.
A judge dismissed that lawsuit last month, saying the city and county weren't responsible.
Now the judge has ordered the plaintiffs to pay almost $21,000 of the city and county's legal costs.
Plaintiffs' attorney Jim Olson tells WLUK they will appeal that decision.
|Posted by bebowreinhard on June 29, 2016 at 1:05 PM||comments (0)|
Jack Newfield’s memoir of Bobby Kennedy is an intensely personal look inside the man before he decided to run for president; Newfield started following Bobby as a journalist in the autumn of 1966, and then covered that campaign through June 5, 1968. Apparently Newfield started out disliking him, noting that he’d picketed the Kennedy administration in 1963 at the Justice Department over the treatment of blacks to date. At that time Newfield was protesting black oppression, and saw Bobby come out. When someone yelled, “we haven’t seen too many Negroes coming out of there,” Bobby’s only response was that they did not hire by the color of the skin, only by their ability. Bobby was booed for this. Two years later, Newfield found himself following Bobby as a journalist reporter.
So Newfield fills this book with intimate moments showing what Bobby was really like. He was a human being, and certainly flawed. He was not only complex, but contradictory. Newfield claimed he was a man at war with himself, especially in these early years after his brother was killed. This book made me understand Bobby more, and identify with him as a human being.
This is also a book that, in reading it today, shows how little politics has changed since then. I’ll share some of those comparisons here in this summary of a book I highly recommend; it sells pretty cheaply used at Amazon.
Bobby is portrayed as a passionate, sensitive introvert, not naturally inclined to the political process but drawn to the nobleness of it. He could be moody, and he daydreamed. According to Newfield (54), he was “a nature sensualist. Clouds and rain depressed him. Sun, wind and the sea elated him. Mountains, rapids and animals exhilarated him.”
His belief about the nobleness of the political process can be summed up in his own words (55): “…but we can lessen the number of suffering children, and if you do not do this, then who will do this? I’d like to feel that I’d done something to lessen that suffering.”
In today’s world so many people think all politicians are only crooked, no longer working to lessen anyone’s suffering. But we have to believe that desire is still there in the people who want to run our country, or all hope is gone. Are we nothing more than dollar signs walking around?
Newfield (56) called this time between 1965 and 1968 “the most concentrated and violent change in American life since the 1930s.” This book demonstrates that change as a reflection of the Vietnam War, just as our politics evolving today continue to reflect Bush’s invasion of Iraq and growing terrorism that has resulted.
What’s interesting about the 1968 political campaign year is that Lyndon Johnson (LBJ) became one of the first to decide not to seek re-election, which happened previously in 1884 with Cleveland. In Johnson’s time, television was to the people what the internet is today, certainly a mover and driver of more information than people ever had access to before. They were showing Vietnam battles on nightly news, and that was unprecedented. I think there were some World War II scenes shown in movie houses, but nothing like this before. It’s really not surprising that there would be an outgrowth of war protests with those kinds of visions. “Television, and the media in general, are now more powerful in determining politics than heredity is,” noted the author (57).
People get upset over the idea of a “Clinton” dynasty, as some were over a “Bush” dynasty, but that’s nothing new in American politics—the Adams, the Roosevelts, and here potentially the Kennedys. If one is suited to the task, with experience and education, the last name shouldn’t be factor.
One of the criticisms of Hillary Clinton has been that she changes her mind. But a trait of a good leader is the ability to reassess. Bobby Kennedy did so on Vietnam and in his Vietnam speeches between 1965 and 1968 he would often apologize for the role he and his brother played on getting them involved. George McGovern’s break with Johnson in 1965 had a big impact on him (130). He later said that if McGovern had run in ’68, he would not have. The author also quoted a columnist here who believed Bobby stayed quiet all through 1965 to avoid a fight with President Johnson. Later the author said he made his first aniti-war statement in 1965, but became more vocal in '66, when the Senate too had begun to turn against the war (134).
Immediately Bobby faced a backlash of criticism from many, including those who had been friends with John Kennedy. “The general impression was that Kennedy got the worst of the political exchange because of the subtleties of his own position, and the potency of the simplistic anti-Communist rhetoric of his opponents” (135). Sometimes the development of the strength of convictions takes time, and in-depth analysis of the mood and pitch of the country’s people; a true leader can change with the times and the will of the people.
But the backlash meant that Bobby stopped talking about the war for the remainder of 1966 (136), even as his opinions grew. Newfield gives readers the impression that Bobby was not the natural politician that his brother had been. But he wanted to be president because there were so many people to help, and he didn’t know how else to help. His passion made people begin to rally around him. He felt real.
He was back at it in 1967, and this time, he did not give up. Here’s from his last speech in 1968: “Do we have that authority (to kill) tens and tens of thousands of people because we say we have a commitment to the South Vietnamese people? But have they been consulted—in Hue, in Ben Tre, in other towns that have been destroyed? Do we have that authority? ... What we have been doing is not the answer, it is not suitable, and it is immoral, and intolerable to continue it.”
Bobby was afraid to run up against Johnson. They never got along and for a while, Johnson’s politics were favorable; also, his brother had chosen him (though Bobby told him not to) (202). No love was lost between them during JFK’s presidency; Bobby was often treated (and acted) like second-in-command. For these reasons he was late to declare himself an anti-war president, and was considered a coward for a while. Eugene McCarthy got in before him and gained a lot of support from the college crowd. Johnson at first—following the JFK assassination—received as high as 80% approval, and 69% of his bills in 1965 were passed, a record number (189).
Politics at this time revolved around poverty, racism, bureaucracy, foreign policies and war. How little things change, sometimes, no matter how hard we try. But in 1967 the revolution began, and it wasn’t started by Bobby or the Beatles. It appears it started with the anti-draft movement (195), probably related to the news reports showing what went on in war. By early 1967 the Democrats were looking to replace LBJ. One movement was to draft Bobby, but he wasn’t ready (19 . In June of that year, he was clearly in turmoil over his inability to challenge Johnson. At that time he used glowing praise for the president that he later regretted (203-204).
He finally began to travel the country in mid-January of 1968, making anti-war speeches, and his closest friends felt that meant he was running. He openly admitted to disliking McCarthy, calling him pompous, petty and venal. He couldn’t endorse him. “Gene just isn’t a nice person” (211-213).
Yet it was the Tet offensive beginning January 31, 1968 (234) that got Bobby into the race and not LBJ’s decision not to run again, as I had thought. With McCarthy already running he was receiving a lot of support from the campuses and the Jewish communities. A number of Bobby’s closest advisers jumped up to encourage him, but his brother Teddy remained uncertain (235).
Finally on March 16th he made his candidacy official : “I do not run for the Presidency merely to oppose any man, but to propose new policies … I made it clear to Senator McCarthy … that my candidacy would not be in opposition to his, but in harmony … my desire is not to divide the strength of those forces seeking a change, but to increase it” (257).
He worked hard to gain the trust of the college crowd, who saw McCarthy as the man with courage. At first Bobby's audience was made of those who hated hippies and happy that Bobby was running against Johnson. He talked up the college revolution scene, saying that we need to attack life with all our youthful vigor (262-263).
By the end of March, “Kennedy Besieged … there was almost a riot at the airport, the crowds were out of control, and there as a brief fistfight between a Kennedy enthusiast and a McCarthy heckler.” There seems to be a distinction here—enthusiast versus heckler? It’s a perspective issue, same as today. Or it really was a McCarthy fan sending jeering words at a Kennedy fan. “I want to find jobs for all our people,” said Bobby into a bullhorn. I want to find jobs for the black people of Watts, and the white people of eastern Kentucky. I want a reconciliation of blacks and whites in the United States” (273-274).
Reconciliation? You see, blacks and whites didn’t always not get along. They don’t all not get along today. See the movie Free State of Jones playing now and you’ll see what I mean. The more we live with each other, the more we can. That’s why desegregation was so important in the 1960s, but still, we see so many places today where a white hasn’t seen a black, except on TV.
Bobby was devastated by the death of Martin Luther King, and was tempted to withdraw. Shades of Dallas had to have run through his head. But he knew he had to speak out. “But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings who abide in our land" (281).
And later: “For there is another kind of violence, slower but just as deadly, destructive as the shot or the bomb in the night. This is the violence of institutions; indifference and inaction and slow decay. This is the violence that afflicts the poor, that poisons relations between men because their skin has different colors. This is a slow destruction of a child by hunger, and schools without books and homes without heat in the winter” (283).
How far have we come, really? Shouldn’t we be ashamed that many of these words can still be said today? Where is the hope of the 60’s?
Kennedy began winning heavily with the black population, to the point of Ethel saying, “don’t you wish everyone was black?” (299) When Kennedy didn’t do as well as expected, Newfield intimated a double standard: “If Kennedy had the relationship that McCarthy has with Shana Alexander and Mary McGrory, it would be a scandal. But Gene can get away with it because no one accuses him of buying off the press. So he gets a free ride.”
If Kennedy was like Sanders early in the race, he became like Hillary later. Bobby appealed to the blacks, as Hillary does, and both are accused of duplicitous methods. Was Bobby using his brother’s name? Newfield believed the opposite was true (303). By invoking their mistakes and how wrong the war was, and ramping up on Civil Rights, Bobby was making a name for himself. Hillary, too, puts herself squarely with the liberals and women’s and black rights, and the need for more gun regulation.
A man heckled Bobby at one of his stops, and the police arrested him. Bobby said to let him go, but they wouldn’t. So Bobby promised to get him out of jail as soon as he was elected. That kind of peaceful rhetoric seems missing now, where this kind of heckling has been encouraged.
Bobby also pursued gun control legislation, and he tested the ground against rifles and hunters in Oregon, known for being very volatile state over the issue. He lost Oregon, but he loved to challenge his audiences, not cater to them (307). This was before the California vote, and if he didn’t get that, he wasn’t sure he could keep going.
His speech in Oregon is worth noting: “Nobody is going to take your guns away. All we’re talking about is that a person who’s insane, or is seven years old, or is mentally defective, or has a criminal record, should be kept from purchasing a gun by money order.”
After Johnson announced he wasn’t running, Bobby took on Hubert Humphrey with the same vigor of being pro-war that Johnson was. “If the Vice President is nominated to oppose Richard Nixon (and Nixon was pretty much running in the primary unopposed), there will be no candidate who has opposed the course of escalation of the war in Vietnam” (313).
In Oregon, McCarthy had scored heavily against Bobby, but Bobby didn’t counterattack, fearing to appear ruthless, and not wanting to alienate McCarthy’s college voters. He wanted people to see him as running against Humphrey. McCarthy, on the other hand, went after Bobby’s previous pro-war record with his brother. But Newfield noted that Bobby was on record as being anti-war even before McCarthy (315).
Bobby finally agreed to debate McCarthy before the California primary, and of course they each won it, depending on who you listened to. But when his staff asked why Bobby blew the closing remarks so badly, he said, “You won’t believe it, but I was daydreaming. I thought the program was over and I was trying to decide … where to take Ethel for dinner” (321-322).
The last time the author talked with Bobby, it was about Bob Dylan. Bobby had just heard the song “Blowing in the Wind” and was very struck by it. He decided he wanted to meet Dylan. As they talked and Newfield wondered how Bobby could win the activist students, Bobby turned to brood out the window again (324).
Toward the end of California campaigning, those in Bobby’s camp decided that Bobby and McCarthy were alike on so many issues, and the focus still needed to be against Humphrey. Yet on June 4th McCarthy claimed that Martin Luther King had endorsed him; that Bobby once had his phones tapped (330). Some feared Bobby wouldn’t take New York later. Others feared this country was going to kill another Kennedy, “and then we won’t have a country” (327).
We all know what happened. He was killed, just after winning California. We can hope and pray that never happens in this country again, even as the death toll from guns rises. Newfield ends the book without mentioning the killer's name, and just asking "Why?"
As you think about the campaign in 2016, let Bobby’s last words stay with you:
I ask you to recognize the hard and difficult road ahead to a better America –and I ask you tomorrow to vote for yourselves. The people must decide this election—and this must decide so that no leader in America has any doubt of what they want. For your sake, and for the sake of your children, vote for yourself tomorrow (327).
I don’t want to share the author’s final words because, quite frankly, I don’t want to believe them.
|Posted by bebowreinhard on April 26, 2016 at 4:30 PM||comments (0)|
Grieving is probably the most human and the most difficult thing any of us do. With my mother’s recent death, I now have first-hand experience at a mature age what this process is like. My father died when I was 14 and I was devastated as only a 14-year-old could be. But this watching a parent age, and then desire to give up on life is about as helpless an experience as one could ever have.
Dreams lately have been about death. Last night was not about anyone I knew. It was the death of a young boy named Jamie—a tragic, senseless death that somehow involved a train and Clint Eastwood. There was a rally at the funeral for justice. But I don’t remember much more than that, except I awoke feeling drained.
Why dream about death when it feels like it permeates every waking hour? Well, that could be why, I guess. In order to come to terms with it we might tend to objectify it, pretend it’s happening to someone else.
I had to put out a thank you at work today for a donation they made to my mother’s homeless fund and of course that brought out a few responses. I wasn’t sure how else to say thanks except by email, since I never got a card or notification of the donation. I can only assume it was done. And try to explain to anyone you don’t really talk to much about how a mother’s death makes you feel is just about impossible.
You try to say things like, oh, it’s okay, she’s been failing for a while and then they’ll say, but still, it’s hard. And I’ll go yeah, of course.
And I think though I accept it, it still hasn’t really hit. Yeah, I’ve had a few tears, and I know life will change now, a lot. But I’ve always been pretty pragmatic about death and all and feel I have to apply it to my own life now.
For instance, I wrote an article once that was meant to help others when death causes them to languish, such as I’ve seen happen to a few people left behind. But now I’ll want to revisit that article (I think it’s a former blog here, too) and see if it really helps me or not. The gist of it was that all people die when it’s time. But what about people like my mother, who died because she wanted to? Did she commit a form of mental suicide?
If that’s the case, then I’m right to feel like I didn’t do enough to help her. But how I can help her with the aging process when I don’t know enough about it myself? Was she carrying burdens that were too hard for her? Did she have things she felt guilty about? In that case, did I ever try to ease her guilt? Did I ever once tell her that I was glad she felt me behind in Green Bay when she moved the rest of the family to Phoenix because otherwise I wouldn’t have the three great kids and two great granddaughters I have? Did she know I felt that way? Would that have helped?
I think these kinds of things that run through the heads of mourners are perfectly natural.
There’s also the fear of change. I have already changed my life, so I don’t have that fear. But my husband went through a terrible week’s illness where he couldn’t cope with anything to do with her death. He was close to her, but he wasn’t a sibling. Did he feel like he should be treated like one, and knew he wouldn’t be? He can’t tell me what’s going through his mind, because he doesn’t know. His mental repression comes out as physical illness.
When we cannot get in touch with the reasons we mourn, that can hurt us even more.
For me, right now, I just feel like there’s this coating on my skin, or just under my skin, something that doesn’t belong there, but is a part of me now. In time, they say, my mourning will ease.
Or is it just that we get used to that coating?