The supposed pic of the Delaware at 1:25 is a log-holding pond on the Pennsy side, just north of McKonkey's Ferry. The Delaware is a bit *wider* than that, yanno...
I'm impressed that you recognize it by sight. Pretty in the snow, though, as long as you didn't have to see it with your feet wrapped in bloody burlap sacks.
By the way, what I like about this as a political ad is this: it focuses our attention on the American myth, which happens to be a true myth. It's the story that inspired our ancestors, but that many young people today will never have heard. If Newt runs his campaign as little more than a series of such ads, each explaining a scene of American greatness, it'll be inspiring and powerful -- and it will improve the country, whether or not he gets the nomination.
Newt Gingrich for Deputy Secretary of State.Eric Hines
If he'd got the history right, it would. There were over 1500 Hessians and British in Trenton, not 800. Washington's plan was actually a 3 pronged attack, with 600 New Jersey militia and 1500 Pennsylvania militia under BG John Cadwalader attacking the Hessians and British at Black Horse, (to which Washington sent another brigade of 500-600 men from Daniel Hitchcock's New England brigade), another 600 Pa militia under Col. Ewing were supposed to cross at the Trenton Ferry to seize the Assunpink bridge, while Washington with his 2400 men would cross at McKonkey's Ferry and descend on Trenton from the North. All in all, Washington had over 5000 men involved in his operation.As it turned out, the storm of Dec 25th prevented Cadwalader and Ewing from crossing the Delaware, and only Washington's column made it across. The Hessians it is true did not have pickets out as far as where Washington crossed, which is about 8 miles above Trenton. But they did have pickets out around the town. The first picket was about a mile or more from the center of town. All those guys engaged Washington's column, but, being only around company strength, really weren't even going to slow Washington down any. As it was, Rall probably could have simply marched away to Bordentown, but chose to try to fight, and in any case, nearly half of the Hessian brigade did escape to both Princeton and Bordentown. (The Hessians made a scratch battalion out of the survivors and used them on the Philadephia campaign in 1777.)
“It's the story that inspired our ancestors, but that many young people today will never have heard. "Absolutely so, which reminds me to give the Walkin’ Boss a nuzzle on the cheek and a slap on the flanks for her tireless efforts to do just that. IIRC Douglas, you too are a teacher, so I'll extend the same respect and appreciation to you, sans the nuzzle and slap. =;^}"If Newt runs his campaign as little more than a series of such ads, each explaining a scene of American greatness, it'll be inspiring and powerful -- and it will improve the country”Aye. Just imagine if children were steeped in our history… ¡Ay, caramba! If we were not careful, we might wind up with a nation full of people who take pride in their heritage.
History. Not myths.
I'd say it's the myth that we need.Historians sometimes get this wrong, because they sometimes read "myth" as being "bad history." It's really not: a myth is a story that is structured in a particular way. You can get the facts right (in which case it may be good history as well), but it's the structure of the story that matters.What we need is a myth that shows young Americans the meaning of the American project, and why it is a project for which they should be willing to sacrifice. Political legitimacy is really mythic: it has to do with stories like this, stories about your place in the world, and what ought to matter, and what you sacrifice to uphold. There's no reason this kind of myth can't be good history too -- but it's the mythic part that we can't do without.What so many of our young have gotten instead is a myth of the opposite type. America was founded on slavery. America was founded on the oppression of the Indians. America was founded on profiteering abuse of the working man. America was founded on the backs of women.As a point of history, some of those claims are true; but as a myth, they're poison. We need to find a way to tell the truth of history without destroying the myth, because human beings cannot live without myths.
I *should* recognize the place -- I've lived two miles downriver from Washington's Crossing since '88.The local re-enactors are doing their part to keep the history *and* the myth alive -- every Christmas morning, they recreate the crossing, but they cross in replica colonial-era flat-bottomed ferries (which were already in place) rather than the Durham boats everyone assumes the Continentals used.The only times they've missed were when the Delaware was frozen over, or the ice floes from farther upriver were too large for a safe crossing. And when *that* happens, it makes you realize what a near-run thing it was -- the other two prongs of Washington's attack never made it to Trenton...
No Grim, History. Trenton was a single battle in the revolution. And you've lost sight of the goal focusing on the fight, instead of why Washington and his men were fighting in the first place. What made Captain Parker at Lexington pick up his musket? *That* is what it is all about.
What will you tell the historian who says it was tuberculosis that led Captain Parker to fight -- as it led Doc Holliday ever to seek the place of danger while he still had strength to do it? Or you can say that Holliday fought for friendship, and Parker for ideals; and honestly, how would you prove which was right from the perspective of history alone? There is evidence for each position, after all. One, though, is a story that matters only to those with tuberculosis (which I had myself, once, in China); the other is a story with universal reach, and the power to inform our lives. You can avoid telling that kind of story if you wish, but the result isn't that people stop living by such stories. It's that they start living by the myths told by someone else. The mythic structure very naturally informs the human mind. I remember an article I read some years ago by a historian who said that his introductory students in American History 101 always cited George Washington and Betsey Ross as the most important American figures. He couldn't figure out why for years, as Ross wasn't mentioned in the state curriculum past the second grade. Then it hit him: it wasn't her historic but her mythic function that impressed them, which made her the Mother to his Father of our country.The myths we tell are what decide our lives. Our opponents have many myths. This is the field on which our contests are really fought.
The myths we tell are what decide our lives.But if the myths run counter to the facts, they have all the effect of propaganda--which is to say they motivate in the short run, but when the facts are out, the myth-tellers lose their credibility, and even their truths fail to persuade.The myths we tell must align with historical facts, or at least not contradict them. It seems on a superficial reading that each of you wants one or the other. We need both historical truth and true myths.Eric Hines
You need a better reading, then. What I said was this:Historians sometimes read "myth" as being "bad history." It's really not: a myth is a story that is structured in a particular way. You can get the facts right (in which case it may be good history as well)...It's not a disregard for the facts that I advocate. Facts can be read many ways. The point is that myth is indispensable; we tell our stories in accord with its forms, or we yield to those who do.
I just appreciate an ad that doesn't appeal to envy and the dream of the money tree. Bring on more like this.Gingrich is entirely right to remind us that our ancestors risked and sacrificed for an ideal of liberty, while we whine about how hard it is. The details are beside the point.
One of the things I'm struggling with as I revise a book for publication is the weight of myth vs. anti-myth. The people I'm writing about managed to achieve their goal of making a river less dangerous and more useful for a goodly number of people. That the river decided not to cooperate and dried up, and that some members of a later generation prefer that no one had ever touched the river and the creatures and plants living along it, does not change the fact that two generations of regional leaders worked very hard to do what they felt was needed in order to preserve the culture of the area. So do I put weight on the success aspect or do I decry what no-longer exists? Is this an example of regional exceptionalism (because it is different from what happened to some other rivers) or just one more episode of humans mucking with something better left "untouched?" One reviewer scolded me for being too triumphal because of the weight I put on the success side of the scale. Which myth is more important - the myth of the Fall or the myth of the triumph of progress? I'm still sorting it out.LittleRed1
..."do I put weight on the success aspect or do I decry what no-longer exists?"By gently but firmly pointing out the context of the time and situation, I would expect most reasonable folk to recognize the decisions of those working to make the river less dangerous and more useful for a goodly number of people was the correct decision at the time. Otherwise, "If the man doesn't believe as we do, we say he is a crank, and that settles it. I mean, it does nowadays, because now we can't burn him." - Mark Twain
One reviewer scolded me for being too triumphal because of the weight I put on the success side of the scale. Which myth is more important - the myth of the Fall or the myth of the triumph of progress?I don't think the triumph of progress is a mythic form as such; it really does depend on the facts, rather than the structure of the story.If it was a success, then, it was a success. A lot of these river-related projects, though, lead to soil salinity increasing to the point that the sought-after fertility is destroyed. You can't support a larger population if you salt the earth.It might be worth making sure that it really was a triumph of progress. If it wasn't, you could tell a myth about hubris -- that is a powerful mythic form. You could also just tell the history of the failure.
No worries about the salinization - the river was/is used for drinking, not irrigation :)LittleRed1
Ah, well. Nothing like salt-water for drinking! :)Water, water, everywhere, and all the boards did shrink; Water, water, everywhere, and not a drop to drink.
"IIRC Douglas, you too are a teacher, so I'll extend the same respect and appreciation to you, sans the nuzzle and slap. =;^}Well, thank you Sir, though I believe in my case it's undeserved. Teaching college architecture part-time gives little opportunity to touch on history, but where possible, I try to give alternatives to what they usually hear in such p.c. contexts constantly when dealing with environmental issues, social contexts for public spaces, understanding of religious uses of spaces, etc.The slap is fine if placed appropriately, but I appreciate your passing on the nuzzle...
..."though I believe in my case it's undeserved. Teaching college architecture part-time gives little opportunity to touch on history"...History? Maybe not, but what is the study of architecture if not learning to methodically solve problems based on not only the latest understanding of the local environment and geography of the building site, but the materials, math, and physics involved in creating a structure? All of which the architect renders as a safe, functional, and as often as not, aesthetically pleasing finished product. =:^}A noble endeavor which is indeed deserving in my book.Which reminds me, if I ever get around to building another hovel, would I be able to get a discount on the plans for a to spec hovel from you? =;^}Cheers.
Discount? I thought I was already working at discount rates! In this day and age, so much of the work involves code compliance that you'd really need a local to help you- we have a hard enough time just keeping up with the various local municipalities around here!
"Discount? I thought I was already working at discount rates!"Heh... Judging from your response, I guess it does hurt to ask. =;^}
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