Worthy of History: Only Expensive Things Survive

The perversion of the historical accuracy of how our ancestors lived, and how we currently live, is created by preserving only expensive possessions — tokens, icons, valuables – and in the purposeful construction of indestructible architectural monuments used by the privileged few.

History is skewed by this preservation technique because it only pretends to tell future generations how people actually lived. When we visit museums we are only seeing what the powerful majority of the culture of that time deemed important enough to save and pass down.

We only get to know what they thought was worth saving and inevitably those things are the expensive, the pretty, the unique and the tokens of the wealthy. Even pioneer and Native American museum dioramas are idealized with hardy items and the most beautiful things. The ordinary is forsaken for the power of the inherent value in the preservation of the perceived best.

Only the rich could afford to be photographed. Poor and middle class cultures were not worth preserving because they lived temporary lives where none of the iconic resonances of the environment and the neighborhood were able to live on because Ghettos were gutted; middle class valuables wore out under reasonable, everyday, use and were thrown away. A disposable culture creates forgotten people.

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Curiosity Killed the Inbox

Have you noticed a creeping rise in Image Spam flooding your Inbox?
Image Spam is the newest wave of Spam where the Spammers send you a text image selling sex pills and penis extenders and such that looks like text but the Spam is really an image file pretending to be typed text. Sometimes some innocuous real text is included with the image to trick Spam filters that may be looking for small image-only emails. 

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Wire Coat Hanger Generation

In February, my graduate students in Public Health at a major research university and teaching medical school on the East Coast were discussing a new political cartoon by Pulitzer Prize winner Ann Telnaes I brought to class showing President Bush, as a tailor, holding an empty Supreme Court Justice robe in one hand and an “unraveled” wire coat hanger in the other.

The point of that Public Health class was to research crises in Public Health that are embedded in mainstream culture via history, art, literature and mass media entertainment portals. Telnaes has a similar cartoon this morning where President Bush is handing a judge’s robe to his Supreme Court nominee, John Roberts, and Bush is handing over an “unraveled” wire coat hanger to a woman on the street.

Bush says to her, “Here — hold this.” My students, who were all female, incredibly bright and intelligent, and fell into an age range between 20 and 23, did not understand that February cartoon. “I see the robe. I don’t understand the wire coat hanger,” one student said.

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