Who’s the censor now?

Fox Blocker is a device that you screw into your TV after getting cable. What does it do? It blocks your television from showing the Fox news channel.

Seriously. And people are buying it.

There’s a home I’d like to be in: a home where conflicting opinions are simply not allowed TV time. How can you discuss the world outside or appreciate differences if you only watch programs that jive with your view of the world?

Here at the Common Room we could certainly be considered Quite Conservative, but this doesn’t stop us from watching Dan Rather on occasion. I wish our opponents would grant us the same favor.

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Holding History in Her Hands

I volunteer at our little library in our little town, which was the home of a certain minor officer in the Union Army during the Civil War. His family kindly donated his papers to the library, and the library is attempting to get them online. I am transcribing the letters onto a word document. Two weeks ago I transcribed a letter from General Sherman. HeadGirl picked me up from the library that day, and I told her all about the letter, but when we got home, I forgot to tell the Headmistress. Last week, I mentioned the letter in passing, and the DHM said something like this:

DHM: *gasping* THE General Sherman?
Pipsqueak: I think so. His initials were W.T.
DHM: William Tecumseh Sherman! THAT General Sherman? Did you have the original document in your own hands?
Pipsqueak: Umm… yeah… I did.
DHM: *hyperventilating*

Anywho, today I asked the librarian if I could have a copy of the letter. After searching for several minutes we found the letter, and she kindly printed it out for me. So I copied most of it below. The background seems to be that the officer from our little town (Whom we shall call X) wrote a letter to an unknown recipient asking for advice about newspapers that printed lies and the soldiers who were giving the lies to the press. That person ‘respectfully forwarded’ it to General Sherman. Here is an most of General Sherman’s reply:

…General [X’s] letter… with your endorsement is now before me. He asks to suppress the sale and circulation in his Dist. of certain mischievous and treasonable newspapers…

I have no objections whatever, but in human nature there is so much of the mule left that prohibition of a newspaper increases its circulation,[sic- should be a period] so long as freedom of the press is one of the foundations…[illegible] of our government, I think we must allow it to work out its solution, the Reduction ad absurdum of the mathematicians. It has been the fief [chief?] cause of this horrid war. It has undermined all that was good, and generous, and magnanininous [sic?] in the character of the American People. It has made false issues, it has kindled the wildest passions and kept them alive till reason no longer even pretended to enter into our national affairs. It has cost us two thousand million dollars, has destroyed half a million of the finest young men of our country, and filled the land from Maine to Louisiana with Widows and cripples, yet it is insatiate. It claims to be a power above government, feeds upon slander and falsehood, and perfectly revels in murder and bloodshed, yet you and I with ill appointed America can neither check or control it.

The suppression of the press mentioned by Gen. [X] would be like damming a few of the tributaries of the Kan___* to stop the flood of the Mississippi.

His handwriting is not very good, so we are unsure what river or other body of water he meant to say. We also cannot always distinguish between inkblots and punctuation marks. General Sherman continues:

If Gen. [X] finds anybody selling mischievous matters within the sphere of his authority, he might give him a good thrashing or put him in the stocks, but he cannot reach the editors who make money in New York, or Chicago, or Louisville by pandering to the taste of certain cliques.

My own opinion is that the Freedom of the Press to publish certain mischievous political matter, personal slander and libel and garbled statements of facts like freedom of speech can only be regulated by wise statute laws, or by the Laws of Nations, as the press has now more power than the congress that makes our laws. We are going through the expensive natural process which will result [in?] no law at all, but every man will defend his own property and reputation by the knife and pistol, and it is [sic] probably it will produce the result which history demonstrates in other similar cases, that the people will discover that it is better to control the liberty of the press, as well as the liberty of speech, and devise some proper punishment for falsehood and slander in newspapers as is partially the case of individuals,

each military Commander subject to me may suppress all disorders and immoralities in the sphere of his command as he best may, but my belief is that the proper remedy is to punish the men who publish malicious and false articles if residing in his jurisdiction or in punishing ignominiously the circulations of the broke [unclear] and papers containing nuisance, a mere order of suppressing simply excites the curiousity of the thoughtless who through the mails can easily defeat any effort at suppression. Thus let the Comdg. Officer at Nashville put in public stocks, and [any?] venders of obscene or libellous sheets, and give a good horse whipping to any editor who would dare advise our soldiers to avoid their honorable contract of enlistment, confiscate his press and use his type for printing QuarterMasters Blanks.

This is all the notice I would take of such things at this epoch of the storm the unlicensed press has brought upon our country…

I (Pipsqueak) don’t agree with all of it, but it is funny. The DHM wonders what General Sherman would have thought about blogs.

Update from the DHM: A post by Matt Rosenberg at Sound Politics links to an alleged post from an alleged source from an alleged side of the political spectrum (get the feeling that while interesting, this is not exactly strong newsmeat? Good) who seem to feel the same way Gen. Sherman did about the press. They allegedly plan to gum up newspaper vending machines by putting toothpicks and superglue in the coin slots. Amusing.
Be warned, if you are going to click on the link, that there is a scatalogical reference which may shock some, and some spelling and grammatical errors that may bring strong school marms to their knees. Oh, the pain, the pain.

Update, June 1: Welcome Carnival of HIstory bloggers. Young Pipsqueak has a few other history posts scattered about our blog, including at least one other 19th century post here, this time on the 54th Mass. Regiment of Glory Fame.

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The Good that We Want to Do

G. K. Chesterton wrote to Father Ronald Knox,

“I am in a state now when I feel a monstrous charlatan, as if I wore a mask and were stuffed with cushions, whenever I see anything about the public G.K.C.; it hurts me; for though the views I express are real, the image in horribly unreal compared with the real person who needs help just now. I have as much vanity as anybody about any of these superficial successes while they are going on ; but I never feel from a moment that they affect the reality of whether I am utterly rotten or not; so that any public comments on my religious position seem like a wind on the other side of the world; as if they were about somebody else- as indeed they are. I am not troubled about a great fat man who appears on platforms and in caricatures; even when he enjoys controversies on what I believe to be the right side. I am concerned about what has become of a little boy whose father showed him a toy theatre, and a schoolboy whom nobody ever heard of, with his brooding on doubts and dirt and daydreams, of crude conscientiousness so inconsistent as to be near hypocrisy; and all the morbid life of The lonely mind of a living person with whom I have lived. It is that story, that so often came near to ending badly, that I want to end well.”

From Dudley Barker, G.K. Chesterton: A biography, as quoted in The Chelsea House Library of Literary Criticism, Volume I, Harold Bloom, General Editor

As a first century author put it,

“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but [how] to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”

The DeputyHeadmistress also longs to achieve an ideal far from current reality. She would like to be able to say that she is never irritable, never raises her voice except in beautiful song, never is lazy or too tired to do what she needs to do, never procrastinates, always does her laundry in a timely manner, never is disagreeable, cranky, or impetuous with money. She wishes that she cooked three meals a day in a timely manner, cleaning the kitchen as she goes, hearty, healthy, delicious meals costing less than five dollars per meal. She wishes she made her won soap, played a musical instrument, planted and kept weeded a lovely garden, and spent one hour in private Bible study every single day.
She cannot say any of those things, but she also wants to admit reality without complacent acceptance of shortcomings. There must be a balance between accepting the fact of our own human frailties and pursuing the ideal.

Meanwhile, with that first century author,

“I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”

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Roger Simon’s Blog
this one:

The phony partisan reductionism of calling UN reform a “conservative mantra” is insulting and stupid and the idea of equating it with Tom DeLay et al ludicrous. Much as Mr. DeLay makes my skin crawl and I am willing to believe many of the accusations against him and his cronies in the House on both sides of the aisle, those accusations are nowhere near as important on a global scale as the Oil-for-Food scandal, which has subverted the stated goals of our most important international organization and turned them on their head.

And this one:

…Congressional committees have approached Robert Parton – the recently-resigned UN Oil-for-Food investigator – to elicit testimony,…But is Parton willing to talk? If he is truly for UN reform, he would be, but it isn’t particularly encouraging that he has hired Clinton mega-loyalist Lanny Davis as his attorney. As Benny Avni of the NY Sun points out, Davis may soon go against his colleague Gregory Craig in a UN version of the Year of the Long Knives…

Captain Ed, who has more on Bush’s energy recommendations, including the interesting and innovative idea to put nuclear energy plants on closed military bases.

Dewey’s Treehouse,just keep scrolling.

Honey for a Woman’s Heart

Blog, by Hugh Hewitt

A History of the Twentieth Century, the Concise Edition, by Martin Gilbert – I’m up to the 1960s.

Smelling: Lilacs, lilacs, lilacs

Sipping- organic coffee with definitely nonorganic chemical laden strawberry whipped cream and chocolate syrup

Thinking about: moving craft supplies to the camping trailer this summer to make more room in the house

Depressed about: Five boxes of books in the van that have no home, yet I still have to find space for them in the house. Could they go in the cupboards of the camper?

Listening to:

Pipsqueak mow the lawn
The clatter of dishes and splashing of water as JennyAnyDots does the dishes
Pages turning from teh chair next to me where The Cherub is looking at a book
The clattering of computer keys as Equuschick is on the computer in the next room- also disgusting goo-goo noises as she coos gibberish in sticky sweet tones to the dog, who probably outweighs here
Silence from the First Year Girl and Boy. Hmmm. Signing off.

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More Quotes from Sense and Sensibility

I mentioned this book at some length here.

I hated quoting only a sentence or two from that wonderful passage, but I had to stop somewhere so that I had room for other comments. This is where I can satsify my Sense and Sensibility cravings:

As Elinor tries to comfort her sister, and Marianne tells her that during her illness she spent some time reflecting on her former actions, and

” I saw in my own behaviour, since the beginning of our acquaintance with him last autumn, nothing but a series of imprudence towards myself, and want of kindness to others. I saw… my want of fortitude…. negligence of my own health, as I had felt even at the time to be wrong. Had I died,–it would have been self-destruction. I did not know my danger till the danger was removed; but with such feelings as these reflections gave me, I wonder at my recovery,–wonder that the very eagerness of my desire to live, to have time for atonement to my God, and to you all, did not kill me at once. …I cannot express my own abhorrence of myself. Whenever I looked towards the past, I saw some duty neglected, or some failing indulged. Every body seemed injured by me. … kindness, … I had repaid with ungrateful contempt. …to every common acquaintance even, I had been insolent and unjust; with a heart hardened against their merits, and a temper irritated by their very attention…Your example was before me; but to what avail?–Was I more considerate of you and your comfort? Did I imitate your forbearance, or lessen your restraints, by taking any part in those offices of general complaisance or particular gratitude which you had hitherto been left to discharge alone?–No;– not less when I knew you to be unhappy, than when I had believed you at ease, did I turn away from every exertion of duty or friendship; scarcely allowing sorrow to exist but with me, regretting only THAT heart which had deserted and wronged me, and leaving you, for or I professed an unbounded affection, to be miserable for my sake.”

Elinore again tries to comfort her sister, and Marianne tells her

“You are very good.–The future must be my proof. I have laid down my plan, and if I am capable of adhering to it–my feelings shall be governed and my temper improved. They shall no longer worry others, nor torture myself…

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