BOB'S BITS

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Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 12 Jun 2018, 13:20

When Adam delved and Eve span, who was then the gentleman? John Ball, at Blackheath, June 12, 1381.

St. Louis’s Brentwood neighborhood oddly and I suspect unconsciously memorializes the town (in Essex, England) where in late May 1381 the Peasants’ Revolt began, when very ordinary folk gathered to protest a debt proceeding and instead killed the jurymen and three court officials, and sent the judge scurrying back to London. It seemed such a good idea to the suffering poor that the revolt spread like wildfire into many parts of England, emptying the prisons, suspending “justice,” and climaxing in June with a march on London which included a successful invasion of the Tower, the killing of the Lord Chancellor and several other high officials, and an apparently successful negotiation with the king himself, the young Richard II. The “poor” in the revolt were indeed many-headed, but the mob did throw up leaders, including Wat Tyler and Jack Straw. The king’s forces soon regrouped, suppressed the revolt (in London and elsewhere), recanted all the agreements made with the rebels (by the king and others) and visited a bloody revenge on the leaders (and many followers). It was, nevertheless, a memorable event, and one reason for the memory was an open-air sermon preached on June 12, 1381, at Blackheath, by John Ball, a former priest already excommunicated for his inflammatory sermons. He’d kept on preaching a Christian equality, however, had been cast in jail, and indeed was one of those released from prison by the mob. No one recorded his Blackheath sermon, of course, but many heard it, and it has entered cultural memory as an eloquent attack on the senseless cruelties and indefensible inequalities that society inflicts on those it chooses to call “the poor,” and on their children. For his words, and his actions, John Ball was hanged, drawn, and quartered, and parts of his body were put on display to help reimpose the King’s peace and the King’s majesty in several parts of the realm. ©
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Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 13 Jun 2018, 12:11

As women . . . it is our duty to make articulate our convictions. Chrystal Macmillan et al, the Manifesto of the International Congress of Women, The Hague, 1915.

English is more gender-free than many languages. In French, even the simple “some” is gender-afflicted (“de la” versus “du”). This may be a sublingual reason for France’s delay in achieving female suffrage (women couldn’t vote in La République until 1945), but in English we still look for a gender-free singular pronoun (“their” meanwhile doing yeowoman service). But what of the word “persons”? This became an issue in the Scottish suffrage debate as soon as the universities began (very late 19th century) to graduate women, for under an 1868 law each Scottish university had special representation, the constituency being the “persons” who had degrees from Edinburgh, Glasgow, or St. Andrews. Surely, it was argued (in 1908), “persons” included women. But in a masculine bray, the Scottish high court opined that “persons” meant men only and thus it would always be. The woman who argued that case in court was not yet a lawyer (she couldn’t be), although as soon as law allowed she became one. She was the formidable Chrystal Macmillan, born on June 13, 1872 into a wealthy Edinburgh family. An only daughter, she was educated at home and in school, then (brilliantly) at the universities of Edinburgh and Berlin. Along the way (probably having eight brothers helped) Macmillan acquired a passion for female equality, not just the vote but in every aspect of life, including equal civil rights for prostitutes. She was a leader in the British suffrage campaign, but equality’s wider remit drove her efforts to open employment opportunities for women and to remove those legal ‘protections’ that kept them in second-class safety and in second-class status. A committed internationalist, Jessie Macmillan also—courageously—took the pacifist cause abroad to war-torn Europe in WWI, and then to the USA. Her name lives on in the Chrystal Macmillan prize, given annually by the (English) Middle Temple to the woman scoring the highest in the bar examinations, and in the Chrystal Macmillan Building at the University of Edinburgh. ©
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Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 14 Jun 2018, 14:02

A healthy optimism that cheerfully searches for new ways to understand . . . Alois Alzheimer's prescription for those who would be scientists.

Life expectancy is one measure of social health, and our president might reflect that our northern neighbor (whose young premier he calls weak and vacillating) long since surpassed us in this statistic. Canada is in this category in the world’s first rank (along with, e.g. Japan and the whole of western Europe. In this vital statistic, the USA has fallen into the second rank, along with Iran, Viet Nam, Cuba, and Algeria. In 19th-century Germany, when Alois Alzheimer was born (on June 14, 1864) life expectancy for men was about 45 years, and so he didn’t do too badly, succumbing in 1915 to complications of a streptococcal infection. His wife Cecilia had predeceased him by 14 years. So when as a physician Alzheimer began to study senile dementia (in 1895, at Heidelberg, with his senior colleague Emil Kraepelin) he was wont to call it “premature,” and indeed the woman patient whose illness and death helped Alzheimer to his first full diagnosis—Auguste Deter—was “only” (as we would say today) 51 when he first encountered her, in 1901, and not at all senile though already beginning to act like she was. It was a measure of medical economics and politics that Auguste’s family wanted her to move to cheaper care facility, palliative rather than diagnostic, but so classical did her symptoms seem that Alzheimer maneuvered successfully to keep her in his bailiwick. When Auguste died (1906) Alzheimer did a post-mortem—on her brain, where he knew the problem lay—and noted shrinkage (notably in the cortex) and a veritable jungle of neural tangles and plaques. Promoted to a professorship at Breslau (today, Wroclaw), Alzheimer continue to work on the problem, but it was his colleague Kraepelin who insisted that Auguste Deter’s malady should be called Alzheimer’s Disease. Alzheimer’s death, soon after, left that as a grim memorial to a man generally remembered as kindly, eccentric, modest, and charmingly myopic. ©
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Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 15 Jun 2018, 13:38

And there they launched in solid time // The first attack on Right Divine-- Rudyard Kipling, The Reeds of Runnymede, 1922.

Back in the days of romance and racism, there was a contest over where one might find liberty’s roots, roots from which grew the mighty oak of Anglo-American freedom, law, and constitutionalism. Some thought to find the source in the folkmeets of the Teutonic forests. During the diplomatic rapprochement between the UK and the USA, circa 1885-1917, attention shifted to turning points in English (not Scots or Welsh) history, and a favored runner was the Magna Carta, wherein Bad King John was brought to his senses by a band of liberty-loving brothers. His “Great Charter” marked the beginning of a steady progress, an ascent really, towards the heavenly uplands of our present happy situation. It was memorably celebrated (in 1922) in Rudyard Kipling’s “Reeds of Runnymede,” those

Lissom reeds that give and take,

That bend so far, but never break

And indeed those river reeds witnessed, on June 15, 1215, the signing of the Magna Carta Libertatum (“the Great Charter of the Liberties”), at Runnymede, a Thameside meadow downstream from Windsor Castle that was once a meeting place for the Saxons. The document, drafted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, only delayed war between the King and his Barons (not very many of whom spoke English), for soon both sides trashed Magna Carta, each hoping for better things (that is, supremacy), and the great charter is now felt by scholars to be more of a fizzle than a foundation. Nevertheless, English and American lawyers love the place, and erected (in 1929 and 1957, respectively) its largest memorials. The memorials tell us that liberty started here, and doubtless they mean it sincerely, but we should remember that most lawyers’ fees derive from disputes over broken contracts. ©
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Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Tripps » 15 Jun 2018, 18:49

Looks like Tony Hancock might have had a point. :smile: Magna Carta
Born to be mild. . .

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Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 16 Jun 2018, 02:42

Indeed.....
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Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 16 Jun 2018, 14:04

Baltimore, in Maryland. Printed by Mary Katherine Goddard. Publisher's note on the 'Goddard Broadside' of the Declaration of Independence, January 18, 1777.

In her recent prizewinner, Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality, Danielle Allen stresses the document’s ‘coda,’ wherein the signers pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor. It’s right that Allen should do so. Declaring independence made the founders (as George III declared) international outlaws (“terrorists” was not yet in use). Yet it’s worth noting that the first printed copies of the Declaration—spreading rapidly up and down the seaboard—did not have the signatures. Those came in the “Goddard Broadside,” January, 1777, so-called because it was issued by (and the type almost certainly set by) Mary Katherine Goddard, at that time editor, publisher, typesetter, and general factotum of Baltimore’s first newspaper, The Maryland Journal. Born in Connecticut on June 16, 1738, the formidable Miss Goddard was raised in a family stained with printer’s ink. Her brother William had founded the Providence (RI) Gazette, and Mary, her sister Sarah, and her widowed mother (also Sarah) learned the trade (which included stationery, ink, and bookbinding) from the bottom up. So the Stamp Act affected them directly, and along with many colonists they added “unjustly” to that, becoming ardent “whigs,” in the language of the time. By the time of the independence crisis they’d established themselves in Baltimore and Philadelphia, and Mary Katherine (besides publishing the Baltimore paper and running its commercial shop) was in 1775 appointed postmaster there, by old Ben Franklin and (behind him) that upstart and usurping Continental Congress. The new government of 1789 dismissed Mary Katherine Goddard because she was a woman (and therefore couldn’t travel), but why was she appointed in the first place? Perhaps it was because, as Danielle Allen argues so convincingly, that self-evident truth about equality proclaimed in “our declaration” really did embrace more than just “men.” ©
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Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 17 Jun 2018, 03:40

I got this from Bob this morning.....

You will be receiving this because you are on my “anniversary note” mailing list. I have been doing these notes for 18 years, daily since September 2012, and—despite a disastrous computer crash in 2007) have something like 5,500 of them. That total probably includes about 100 duplicates, but because I like new factoids I don’t like to repeat unless I have something new to say about the person or event whose anniversary it might be.



Several faithful readers have, over the years, suggested subjects, and I write to invite others to do the same. I can’t promise to honor your suggestion(s), but I will consider each one. There are no requirements, but please do remember that these go out (also) as birthday notes to Honors College students whose personal anniversary it might be. So I don’t do villains or disasters. In my choice of subjects, I also try to honor the student body’s diversities, not only of ethnicity, but also of gender, national origin, and intellectual interest. The honors college is a living, breathing rainbow coalition, and these notes need over each year to reflect that.



Thanks in advance for whatever suggestion(s) you might have. Don’t worry about ‘duplicates’! My filing system—such as it is—will weed those out.



Cheers, and happy anniversary!! (it must be somebody’s).



Bob Bliss

His email is rmbliss@umsl.edu
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Re: BOB'S BITS

Post by Stanley » 17 Jun 2018, 13:33

Do not try to put us down, but help us to climb higher. Give us a chance. Susan La Flesche, 1885, Valedictory Address, Hampton Institute

Evidence of the race tolerance of the Omaha nation was that their chief from 1853, Iron Eye, was not Omaha at all, but of Ponca and French Canadian ancestry. His wife, One Woman, was the daughter of a US Army surgeon and his Iowa-Otoe-Omaha “post wife.” One Woman, aka Mary Gale, became militantly Omaha, but Iron Eye, aka Joseph La Flesche, raised their five children on an assimilationist model, encouraged by President Grant’s “Peace Policy” and its (mainly) Presbyterian supporters. His daughter Susan La Flesche, born on the Nebraska reservation on June 17, 1865, was particularly successful. Top of her class at the reservation’s mission school, she then was top of her class at the Hampton Institute in Virginia, and in 1889 she graduated valedictorian from the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania. Strongly identifying as Omaha, Susan thus became the first native American woman to be licensed as a physician. She was also, incidentally, the first student of any ‘race’ to receive her graduate education by federal government grant. Susan La Flesche returned to the reservation in northeast Nebraska where she became the mission school’s health officer, its hygiene and health instructor, and the reservation’s sole doctor. She also married (1894) a Sioux, Henry Picotte, and birthed and raised two children (and after Picotte’s death secured their inheritance in battles with Sioux reservation officials). Imbued with the ethos of her early education, Susan LaFlesche Picotte not only provided professional medical care (and later oversaw the construction of a small hospital) but urged on her pupils and her patients a fully assimilationist way of life, not only Presbyterian but also Prohibitionist. Typically of her own inheritance, she cared also for non-Indian patients in an area where trained doctors of any gender or ethnicity were thin on the ground. Dr. Picotte died young, aged only 50, some said of overwork. ©
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"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
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