Roll your own Remembering 11/11/11:11
For the fallen, the resisters, the hurt and even the vanquished.
*** Study Notes from Rabbit Holes including Norsemen, Dark Ages, Great War, and War in Pacific etc ***
Over the past while, whilst dealing with this illness, I’ve gone down deep into “rabbit holes” about various segments of history.
Went deep into Norse history from early viking expeditions to Orkneys and Hebredies in search of (literally) greener pastures, to invasions of Northumbria, East Anglia, Mercia, Francia and expeditions to Russia including trading with Middle East – Also their steel forging skills – All through to the Norman invasion with William the Conquero. Then Viking voyages to North Atlantic away from Europe and to North America. Also learned about new satellite archaeology techniques used for finding settlement sites in eastern Canada. There will be remarkable discoveries in the next decade which will rewrite books.
Then went deep into “dark” ages to the founding of what is now modern western Europe – roughly from post-Roman to Charlemange. I was specifically interested in how a culture grows up around the ruins of a much greater culture. Like you’re a dirt farmer in what is now England and you look around at lovely aqueduct and empty baths while you try to figure out how to get clean water. Makes me wonder if we’re living in a “dark ages” or we’re the Romans.
Then deep into the “Great war” and the unrest and revolutions which happened in the aftermath which broke down monarchies and gave rise to nationstates… But also produced situations which led to what we now call World War II through rise of fascism, totalitarianism, communism and showed the falls of capitalism through the depression. Each of these flavors contributed in away to the events that transpired. (Also Hitler’s home movies and i’ve already absorbed everything about art theft during this era).
Then deep into the relationship between Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Winston Churchhill and Josef Stalin and how they had to jockey amongst themselves to convince the others of the importance of their different priorities… Also deep into the north African campaigns through the desert – especially the desert expeditionary unit (mostly New Zealanders) who lived for months at a time in uncharted areas in difficult conditions to gather intelligence. They did receive a rum ration though.
And also I am continually unpacking my knowledge of the war in the Pacific… Most recently started with “Fall of Japan” a massive tome which chronicles – in great nuanced detail – the events in Japan from the day after Nagasaki bombing to the signing on Missouri (Aug. 6-30 1945).
As you might expect, lots of efforts to raid the palace, people convinced the emperor was a body double or coerced, dozens of ritual suicide by high-ranking officials, people going into hiding, renegade bands of soldiers holding tough, and back channel diplomacy actions trying to smooth things over for an inevitable fate. Including all the secret communication machinations used to finally get messages back-and-forth between the right people to effectuate the surrender and peace and landing etc.
Then watched film called Emperor – this began as MacArthur and his crew were landing at Atsugi after the signing and follows the story of a General Bonner Fellows who was tasked with determining whether Emperor Hirohito would be held to trial or not. Of course he had to wrangle between Tojo (who just had tried to kill himself but was “saved” in time to be tried and executed, and Kanabe (?), the previous prime minister, and all the militarists and hard core zealots who insisted on vague answers and didn’t understand that really they didn’t *really* want to try Hito but they needed an legitimate excuse not to do so.
Also Tommy Lee Jones as MacArthur wasn’t too bad actually, and they dramatized the famous meeting between the Emperor and The Supreme Commander with only one dedicated translator between them. And they re-created the famous photograph.
Then, I’m onto a book called “Supreme Commander: MacArthur’s Triumph in Japan” which doubles back over the previous bit and starts with the planning of the signature ceremony on the USS Missouri and into his landing at Atsugi and motorcade (with thousands of Japanese soldiers turning their backs in respect) and starting to issue his edicts to manage the situation and deal with a starving population.
Still working on this one.
A few notes include (from a civilian peacenik perspective):
The rivalry between Army and Navy is far more vast than I realized. We civilians think of the Armed Forces as fairly unified and not completely discrete, or/and even rival, units. Of course this is most evident in the rivalry between MacArthur and Nimitz but also amongst the rank and file – especially jr officers seeking to climb the ladder.
The Tokyo firebombings must’ve been even more miserable way to go then the Atomic bombs further south. Both suck. Also glad Eleanor Roosevelt pushed so hard to spare Kyoto from the bombs.
The Russians joining the war against Japan the day after Nagasaki and still expecting a seat at the negotiation table so to speak. Funny Russians.
The Chinese Reds filling the power vacuum left by Chinese army instantly after the bombs – even while the news was still travelling to POW camps around Asia. The commandants of the camps did not know quite what to think when Allied forces started parachuting in to demand release.
The two-men chosen by Japan to sign the surrender document: the diplomat with the wooden leg who had to get from the US Destroyer to a launch via a bosun’s chair, and then try to maintain dignity wall climbing up a ladder on the side of the Missouri while wearing a cutaway coat and a top hat.
MacArthur’s choice of guests to be on board at the signing was very specific and included the Canadian doctor (who signed on Canada’s behalf) who had done the surgery on the affirmation Japanese diplomat’s leg.
He also made sure to invite a bunch of generals who got their ass kicked in the war including the poor bastard who was left on the Philippines (Wainwright whom MacArthur greeted with a “Hey Skinny!”) when MacArther split to Australia, plus the British general who had to surrender Singapore when they were caught unaware.
As per above: Didn’t realize MacArthur had fcked up and ignored orders after Pearl Harbor. Stationed in the Philippines, he didntorder a full alert and, as a result, the Philippines was destroyed quickly by the Japanese who were well ready for the invasion.
MacArthur’s move of exiting the plane with no weapons was a powerful move. Oh also, MacArthur had Admiral Perry’s US flag expedited from the Smithsonian to have on display on the Missouri. Nice nuanced touch which was noted by the Japanese who, after the ceremony, discussed amongst themselves they would have treated their vanquished enemy so kindly and respectfully. They concurred that they would not have and that convinced them to cooperate with the victorious allies.
I’m interested to continue on with this work and to see how MacArthurs “Republican” views were instrumental in outline things like brewing and hemp production in Japan.
|This booklist includes Ulysses, Heart of Darkness, Moby Dick and other classics.
By William Shakespeare
The Oxford Shakespeare is the ultimate anthology of the Bard’s work: the most authoritative edition of the plays and poems ever published.
By Joseph Conrad
Heart of Darkness, a novella written by Joseph Conrad, tells the story of Charles Marlow, an Englishman who took a foreign assignment from a Belgian trading company as a ferry-boat captain in Africa.
By Varlam Shalamov; John Glad (Translator)
It is estimated that some 3 million people died in the Soviet forced-labor camps of Kolyma, in the northeastern area of Siberia. Shalamov himself spent 17 years there, and in these stories he vividly captures the lives of ordinary people caught up in terrible circumstances, their hopes and plans extending no further than a few hours.
By Herman Melville
No American masterpiece casts quite as awesome a shadow as Melville’s monumental Moby Dick. Mad Captain Ahab’s quest for the White Whale is a timeless epic—a stirring tragedy of vengeance and obsession, a searing parable about humanity lost in a universe of moral ambiguity. It is the greatest sea story ever told. Far ahead of its own time, Moby Dick was largely misunderstood and unappreciated by Melville’s contemporaries. Today, however, it is indisputably a classic. As D.H. Lawrence wrote, Moby Dick “commands a stillness in the soul, an awe . . . [It is] one of the strangest and most wonderful books in the world.”
By Fyodor M. Dostoevsky; Constance Garnett (Translator)
The Brothers Karamazov is the final novel by the Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky, and is generally considered the culmination of his life’s work. Dostoevsky spent nearly two years writing The Brothers Karamazov, which was published as a serial in The Russian Messenger and completed in November 1880. Dostoevsky intended it to be the first part in an epic story titled The Life of a Great Sinner, but he died less than four months after its publication. The book portrays a patricide in which each of the murdered man’s sons share a varying degree of complicity. On a deeper level, it is a spiritual drama of moral struggles concerning faith, doubt, reason, free will and modern Russia.
By Vasily Grossman; Robert Chandler (Introduction by)
By Olivia Manning; Rachel Cusk (Introduction by)
At the heart of the trilogy are newlyweds Guy and Harriet Pringle, who arrive in Bucharest—the so-called Paris of the East—in the fall of 1939, just weeks after the German invasion of Poland. Guy, an Englishman teaching at the university, is as wantonly gregarious as his wife is introverted, and Harriet is shocked to discover that she must share her adored husband with a wide circle of friends and acquaintances. Other surprises follow: Romania joins the Axis, and before long German soldiers overrun the capital. The Pringles flee south to Greece, part of a group of refugees made up of White Russians, journalists, con artists, and dignitaries. In Athens, however, the couple will face a new…
By George Orwell
By Karl Popper
By Hannah Arendt
By Reinhold Niebuhr
By Reinhold Niebuhr; Robin W. Lovin (Introduction by)
“The Nature and Destiny of Man” issues a vigorous challenge to Western civilization to understand its roots in the faith of the Bible, particularly the Hebraic tradition. The growth, corruption, and purification of the important Western emphases on individuality are insightfully chronicled here. This book is arguably Reinhold Niebuhr’s most important work. It offers a sustained articulation of Niebuhr’s theological ethics and is considered a landmark in twentieth-century thought.
By Sheldon S. Wolin
By Raul Hilberg
By W. Jackson Bate
By James Baldwin
At once a powerful evocation of his childhood in Harlem and a disturbing examination of the consequences of racial injustice, The Fire Next Time, which galvanized the nation in the early days of the Civil Rights movement, stands as one of the essential works of our literature.
By Marcel Proust
For this authoritative English-language edition, D. J. Enright has revised the late Terence Kilmartin’s acclaimed reworking of C. K. Scott Moncrieff’s translation to take into account the new definitive French editions of À la recherche du temps perdu (the final volume of these new editions was published by the Bibliothèque de la Pléiade in 1989).
By James Joyce
Loosely based on the Odyssey, this landmark of modern literature follows ordinary Dubliners through an entire day in 1904. Captivating experimental techniques range from interior monologues to exuberant wordplay and earthy humor.
Rolling out podcasts at usual epic pace including a few new series and guest appearances of sorts:
In case you missed it:
The Crazy Canucks
Primer on the Super Series – a bit stale now but John added some beats while make my historical spiel worth a listen
Postcards from Gravelly Beach
Part second to last of the White Poppies for Remembrance series with an essay about why not to wear a poppy (respect by avoiding war) and some more hand-selected tunes paired like a pinot noir and gorgonzola
Canadian Podcast Buffet
Cross border podcast evangelist and diplomat Mark Blevis came to visit Vancouver and recorded some snippets of me, the charming Bollwits and the hilarious dudes form Foreskin Radio and Suburban Transpondency begging the question “why do al the fine podcasters come from Surrey?”
i’ve resurrected an old series started by Mark, Robert, Megan and others and busted out a healthy batch about web community building in Vancouver and elsewhere with guests including Jordan Behan, Marc Laporte, Boris Mann, Robert, Francis, Erik, Mark, etc.
Absinthe on Thanksgiving Night Market, Hemp for Victory, Riveside chat
Shifting into gear, Sorta …
Out N’ About with Uncle Weed
This travelin’ man chronicles is growing quick as i make new personal docu-diaries and find other clips needing a home
Dopecast with the Dopefiend
My UK counterpart came to visit and we talked and toked and recorded it all for your listening pleasure. I offer half-asses analysis about the urban mileiu of Vancouver, forests, transportation, planning, politics, weed …
see also: a full extensive interview
discussion about the open soft/hard OpenMoko and other phones seeking to shake up the mobile industry (iPhone, rumoured Google phone) with Bryght’s Mr. Furley and PhP guru Audrey F.
Postcards from Gravelly Beach
Final chapter of the White Poppies for Remembrance series – out in time for Remembrance day – this “back cover” of the series features me spieling on about the remnants and artifacts of war and the folks pointing the troops to conflict and their motivations while wandering around London
Postcards from Radio Zoom
Radio Zoom John and I are planning a plan to bring the music i used in the WPfR series to his music-focused show.
World of Hurt – Drive by Truckers
White Daisy Passing – Rocky Votolato
Providence – Chris Jacobsen
Brokedown Palace – Grateful Dead
First Vietnam War/Snipers at the Gates of Heave – The Black Angels
Gone Beyond – Akron/Family
Be Joyful! –
more with Wm Lenker at the Woodshed this time a sort of John Sinclair inspired reading – seeking the right JS tracks to combo it with.
My podcast queue cleaning bonanza is nearing an end:
Numbskulz grow up
London last wander, maybe a bonus show about getting to London from vancouver with thoughts on NYC and elsewhere – might go under the Feasthouse label if not Choogley enough
Herby’s tales of ganja growing and swinging at Wreck beach
So this winter:
Work through Clayoquot recordings, water shortage, first nations reservation, skateboard comp, sitting in the woods with eagles perched overhead, wandering along trails, reading poetry and essays on clearcuts …
War resistance -seeking refuge in Canada
Marc Emery – extradition
Immigrating to Canada
Growing in a small space
HempC taste test
the big psychedelic mop-up tray of all that’s left including a drunken (well me anyhow) discussion on the role of union in modern economy, some clips of the Dalai Lama’s Canadian citizenship ceremony, hanging out watching Seattle planes land with Cosmo
Scales international exploits to China and more
Michael Fergusson about web communities for families
Boris and Francis about best practices for Drupal development
a couple interviews which still need edited, release and all that with Duff Gibosn and Cripsin Lipscomb
Also Noteworthy – my personal podfather, Cosmo Goodbud Spacely started a new series Cosmo’s Spockets being a short literary snippet, a song or two and his innermost thoughts (well close anyhow)
I remember vividly as a 4th grader in the library at Prince Charles Elementary school when i heard the news.
Cather in the Rye is still a prized treasure to me and i am pissed about fcking Chpmn tainting its legacy as well as taking away a great peacemaker.
I am in Jamaica in the shadows of Bob Marley’s cabin and can’t help but to think how the world would be different with just the presence of these two world-changers. It’s up to us now.
War(s) are/is Over if you Want it.
On Remembrance Day in sunny, brisk Vancouver, Ian Bell (fresh from a CBC appearance “On The Coast“) joins Dave to read from Grandpa Mark’s diaries written in the trenches in WW1 as a young Canadian. From the library steps with a flask of scotch, they reflect on the costs and motivations of war, importance of friendship and the ethereal experience of going “over the top” and facing the terror on the other side, plus anecdotes about capturing Germans soldiers and discourse on the importance of personal documentation to pass forward to generations.
Sit awhile for: Vimy Ridge Diaries on Remembrance Day – Postcard #61 (38:00, 32MB, 128k mp3) Continue reading Vimy Ridge Diaries on Remembrance Day – Postcard #61
RT @ianb: I’ll be on CBC Radio Vancouver (88.1 FM if you’re here) @ 3:40PM talking about my Great Grandfather:
RT @ianb: I will be appearing on CBC Radio One’s “On The Coast” with Stephen Quinn tomorrow at 3PM PDT (thanks to DaveO):
Me: Just heard @ianb read WW1 diaries on #CBC – very poignant and great discourse on morality vs political reasons for war – now beer
At ubc for #Remembranceday ceremony indoors at the war memorial gym – note: saw mudhoney, posies, fastbacks here years ago
Seems they don’t count Afghanistan as a war – nor the cold war (yet) – they are just adding a Korean war memorial – now a Korean vet speaks
i know its not all simple but revolutions start at home whether Afghanis, Pakistanis or others @jnarvey perhaps welcome holy war refugees?
I think for starters, we should sit with the ‘enemies’ have a meal and ask them nicely to chill the fck out @jnarvey – has anyone asked?
RT @rainzine: we have soldiers (and civilians) fighting around the world, I am not into “Remembering” while it’s still happening! STOP WAR!
Just previewed remarkable stories from veteran of WW1&2 – Great piece for #CBC or other radio on Remembrance Day – Contact me for deets
The WW1&2 stories were transcribed from diaries by the grandson of this war veteran as a tribute and artistic discovery #CBC #remembranceday