My sleep schedule's gone a little random, and my head's gone a little random from trying to fight it; basically, my circadian has backed itself into a corner where I can only sleep during the hours that I most need to be getting other things done, and fighting with my body over this to try to reset my internal clock is making me groggy. Besides, there is an essay I want to write, on a topic that really interests me, but I know for a fact that (a) some of the arguments I wanted to make looked really stupid when I sat down to write them out, and need to be rethought, and (b) it's a trivial topic that's not worth the probably 20 or 30 paragraphs it would clock in at now. No, really, I'm sure. So let me edit this one for brevity, and in the meantime, send you to somebody else's column, with only a thought of my own to supplement it: TheDeadGuy over at Everything2.com, "Get Drunk on History." (Thanks, xydexx, for showing me this.) Great, great stuff.
It resonates with me because it ties in to something I'd been thinking of saying, by way of refutation of one of the criticisms of Barack Obama's now-famous speech about racism. I can't find the link right now, but it was in a vid-cam dialog between two black commentators, and one of them said that the problem with the Obama speech is that it was basically a history lecture, and Americans don't care about history. What I'd been looking for an opportunity to say is, uh, no. Your average extended-cable package has more historical documentary channels, now, than it has cartoon channels or movie channels, only barely fewer than it has news analysis channels. If you look over the New York Times best seller list any given Sunday, there are only barely fewer books of history in that list than there are celebrity biographies, and arguably celebrity biographies are history books, too. Historical fiction, historical romance, historical war movies are all doing great at the box office. The American people love history. It's one of our favorite subjects, one of the top things we spend our own money on to be entertained by.
What we hate, for entirely justifiable reasons, are our history textbooks and history classes.