Now, 50 years further on, we”ll get images of Pluto. And that’s it for the traditional ennead of planets. (Don”t get me started on the demotion of Pluto.) There”ll be no more major surprises from planetary imaging: unless, as predicted by Koestler“a Hungarian nationalist, at least in matters of cuisine”Jupiter’s Great Red Spot turns out to be a paprika mine.
Taboos of the time. Here on Taki’s Magazine I wondered aloud whether there is a book on the Civil War comparable to Paul Fussell’s The Great War and Modern Memory, which brilliantly traces the effects of WWI on literature and the imagination. A reader recommended James McPherson’s The War That Forged a Nation, so I got a copy and read it.
Not bad, although McPherson’s approach is quite different from Fussell’s. I particularly liked the chapter on Reconstruction, a period almost as fascinating as the war itself, and much less well studied. As with Gene Dattel’s book on cotton, you can”t help but notice how very little interest Northerners had in the fortunes of blacks, whom they mainly wanted to just stay in the South.
Northern patience snapped altogether in 1874″5 as Philip Sheridan ramped up his campaign against the Southern White Leagues.
“People are becoming tired of…abstract questions in which the overwhelming majority of them have no direct interest,” declared the leading Republican newspaper in Washington in 1874. “The Negro question, with all its complications, and the reconstruction of the Southern States, with all its interminable embroilments, have lost much of the power they once wielded.” A Republican politician commented even more bluntly the following year that “the truth is that our people are tired of this worn out cry of “Southern outrages”!!! Hard times and heavy taxes make them wish the “nigger,” “everlasting nigger,” were in _____ or Africa.”
The Republicans, remember, were Lincoln’s party, the party of abolition.
Interesting to note that newspapers in 1875 would print the word “nigger” but not “hell.” Every age has its peculiar taboos.
Veterans? Visiting those Civil War battlefields in June, I noticed how old most visitors are, once you subtract out the school parties.
So here’s my question. When”it must occasionally happen”some geezer falls off his perch while at the Gettysburg Visitor Center, or while clambering among the rocks on Little Round Top, do his loved ones then boast that: “My husband/father/grandpa/buddy died at Gettysburg”?
Daily updates with TM’s latest