Why I Like History

It takes a moment for me to explain why I like history, because it’s something that I’ve liked for so long I don’t even pause to think about it. It’s like trying to explain why I like dessert or being outside or Chopin. I just like it.

But when I look at it, I think my love of history is very much tied to my love of language. I love reading, and I love how substantive history writing can be. I love the the big picture, the little people, the controversy, the details, the irony, the mundane. I love those writers who can capture the the details and the broad strokes to bring me to another time and place.

I love the big, and history is big. It’s all-encompassing. It examines every motive, perspective, and bias, and it also rationalizes what look like irrational motives, perspectives, and biases. When we put what seems shocking into historical context, it suddenly becomes very — not shocking. Covid 19, the political climate, the capital insurrection, and some current events, are perhaps to some, ‘unprecedented’, but in a historical context, these things are all extremely precedented. History repeats and perspectives conflict and clash. So many beliefs and ‘normal’ behaviors in history are inane by today’s standards; that is also somewhat relieving to me. History continues to confirm my personal long-held belief that being normal is stupid, and a waste of time.

History is complex, substantive, rich, but it’s also, in my opinion, amoral. Although in learning history, a student can always ask, was this right? Was this good?, history is not really about right and wrong, good or bad. It’s simply about what happened, actions, motives, bias, corroboration, conflicting accounts, what was said, what wasn’t said, who had the power to write, and who didn’t have the power to write. Right and wrong, in my opinion, don’t play a part. I personally can be a bit sanctimonious and holy sometimes (understatement), and history is a place where I consciously leave moral judgment at the door to objectively learn about events, stories, and patterns. The history student always continues searching, rather than arriving at any permanent judgment.

History leaves me thinking — Who was telling the truth? Why did this person’s narrative win? What narratives are missing?

My favorite part of history is definitely reading it. The hardest part, in my opinion, is finding the right words to explain it truthfully, but a great historian does just that. As soon as I have a little more time on my hands I can’t wait to read How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill. He is an exceptional writer, a genius, and an enchantress, much more talented than any film director. He always finds the right words. Reading it, I am transported. I’m sitting in a glorious movie that is infinitely better than any movie.

Those are the reasons why I like history. What about you? Do you like it? Is there a certain part you like?

Hope you’re having a great weekend and enjoying this splendid weather.

Lincoln

Lincoln’s second inaugural address in the 2012 Lincoln movie.

As soon as I heard of the concept of a “historical crush”, Abraham Lincoln became my very first boyfriend. I think he was a unique kind of genius, shrewd and humble, and I’ve loved everything I’ve ever learned about him. I appreciate that he could sometimes be forgetful and I find it heartening to know that he waited until the last minute to write The Gettysburg Address. 😊 I love what a big thinker he was, the stories he told, and the big questions he asked. Of course I admire his convictions. I love that he was gutsy enough to invite his enemies to be in his cabinet and I love that he was honest.

We are headed into learning about the Civil War and so I recently watched the 2012 Lincoln movie. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Every scene was beautiful (thank you Steven Spielberg) and I felt like I got to know Lincoln a lot better. I’m not sure if anyone else could have maneuvered the end of the war the way Lincoln did. If you have the chance to watch the movie, take it!

Hope you are having a great start to your week!

Dreaming of Summer

Miami

It was really rainy this past week in Palo Alto, but the sun came out yesterday and it was gorgeous. It also snowed six feet (!!!) up in Tahoe. As much as I love snow and would like to go to Tahoe, I have found myself dreaming of summer these past few weeks. I’m so hungry for life to go back to normal again. Hope you are planning your vacations or some sort of dream to keep you happy these days.

How to Be Attractive: 9 Easy Steps

My landlord cooks for me.

I found these nine tips on Pinterest and I thought they were worth sharing. The thing that is conspicuously missing from this list is to bring someone food. That’s obviously the best way to be attractive.

Here are the secret magical steps.

  1. Smile.
  2. Smell nice or don’t smell at all.
  3. Dress for style and respect, not attention. (I disagree, and I think it’s fun to dress for attention)
  4. Know what’s going on in the world and have an opinion about it.
  5. Speak kindly of yourself and those around you.
  6. Have three hobbies that do not involve a screen.
  7. Get an education or save up for one.
  8. Make time for children, the elderly, and those who need a friend.
  9. Always say thank you and return favors.

What do you think? Do you agree? What’s missing, apart from food πŸ™ƒ?

Hope you’re having a great week.

As of Late

Some pictures of my life as of late. Above is Santa Barbara where I went for Thanksgiving. Love that little spot.

Socially distanced Thanksgiving on the beach.

This is Kite Hill in Palo Alto, a little hidden gem. It’s usually empty and has a secret view of the town.

Above is from our Early Man and Evolution unit at the beginning of the year.

Pomegranate. Prettiest fruit, except for maybe figs.

Carpinteria.

College Terrace in Palo Alto. I think these houses are so fascinating.

Walking Pinky.

It’s always cactus season in Palo Alto.

There’s a Salt and Straw in Palo Alto! I am not joking when I tell you to get the Olive Oil flavor. It is AMAZING.

Hope you survived the panic attack that was January 6th. We’re going to make it. We’re going to have a peaceful transition of power and we’re going to keep moving forward. In the meantime, I may bury my head in the sand and not read the news for a little while! Because my new mantra is to rebel by being joyous in spite of everything.

Have a great week.

My Movie Commentary

I have had lots of time to rewatch and watch several movies and shows over break. Here are my reviews.

Elf

Of course I started with Elf, the classic. This time I decided to memorize the song he sings to his dad when he comes to meet him. “I’m here…. With my Dad And we’ve never met ….and he wants me to sing a song… And um I was adopted… But you didn’t know I was born … And I’m here, now! I found you Daddy! And guess what? I love you! I love you! I love you! πŸ˜‚

The Santa Clause

This movie is an enormous win for faithful children everywhere. I hadn’t seen it in many years and it was also a victorious moment when I realized that I still had the entire movie memorized. Great movie. Watch it with the faithful and the hopeful.

The Midnight Sky

This movie was stellar. Netflix describes it as dystopian, sci-fi drama, and ominous, but it was also very beautiful.

I think George Clooney is such a great actor, such a happy guy in real life. I love listening to him talk about how brilliant his wife is and how much he loves her.

On the topic of the environment, my question is: If we implement the Paris agreement, could the Earth still win?

BIG SPOILER about the movie: It is a bittersweet moment when Augustine doesn’t tell his daughter who he is or that he loves her. I wanted him to tell her, but I think that would have ruined the feeling of the movie. That’s the most obvious missed opportunity, but the bigger one was in real life. It’s like he just forgot to love her.

Soul

I wish I could tell you that I was the inspiration for this movie. I’m the barbershop scene. I’m the whole movie.

It’s very wholesome, and sometimes I don’t know if my readers like wholesome, innocent things, about insecurities. Do you? Or do you just want sex and easy pleasure and not having to grapple with life or sincerity or difficulty or anyone else’s weaknesses. Do you like people? Or do you just like consuming them? Anyway, this movie is real. Philosophical, it gives you the thinking itch; but it’s also light-hearted and simple and innocent. So if that appeals to you, maybe watch it.

It’s also really funny. πŸ˜‚ And includes great visual design and contrast between real life and the Great Before.

A few quotes:

“I’ve had thousands of mentors who’ve failed and now hate me.” – 22. πŸ˜‚

“I have compassion for every soul. Except you. I don’t like you.” – Mother Teresa πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

“Life is full of possibilities. You just have to know where to look.” – Joe

Bridgerton

This is risquΓ©. If you’re more shallow pleasure and less people, this one’s for you. The Bridgerton brothers remind me of my own brothers and their relationship with me. They are brilliant and honest and handsome and treat me like a queen, soo how could I ever find someone that good? I am Daphne. The show has a similar premise to Gossip Girl and is a little over-the-top with money, status, empty pleasure.

Anyway, the cast is very good-looking but the writing feels cheap. It left me feeling like I had eaten too many starburst.

Lost Treasures of Egypt

We are learning about Ancient Egypt in school and this is homework for my students. The cinematography is exceptional. Egypt is a beautiful world and I’d love to see a new historical fiction movie that takes place in it. This is a docuseries on Disney Plus.

The Office

The modern-day miracle of The Office. In keeping with my current obsession with MBTI’s, I am here to tell you that Michael Scott is an ENFP. Please watch and feel uplifted by this show that is actually a gift from heaven.

Other entertainment I might watch include:

Death to 2020

The 2015 version of Steve Jobs

The John Brown series, The Good Lord Bird

Schitt’s Creek because I love Dan Levy so much. He is such a spark of joy.

The Trial of the Chicago 7

I want to watch this mostly because my ex-boyfriend Sacha Baron Cohen is in it. I hope it leaves some space for the viewer to draw their own conclusions about what happened, what should have happened, who the villain and protaganist are. Sometimes I feel like that ambiguity is missing in the “Based on a True Story” historical drama genre.

Anyway, hope you are lovin on whatever spare time you have, spending time with friends, and staying healthy! I hope you are well.