December 31, 2005
Detecting the direction of undirected readings
Dennis's last post reminded me of certain extremely stubborn pieces of primary source historical evidence which won't go away, because they're made of metal.
I've discussed ancient Roman coins in several posts, particularly the ones which were struck to commemorate victories over the Jews in a place called "Judea" -- which of course was named on the coin. A bound, captive Jew is proudly displayed on the reverse of one of the better known of these coins:
The coin celebrates the military exploits of emperor Vespasian who, as a Roman general, was sent in to destroy and occupy Judea in 66 A.D. (Vespasian became emperor in 69 A.D., and the coin dates from his reign.)
Likewise, the Romans also built triumphal arches showing the destruction and plundering of the great Jewish Temple of Jerusalem. Like this:
But now, thanks to Dennis, I see that the Roman presence in Judea, their military victory, the destruction of the Temple, is only my "reading" of history. What would my reading be called?
Pro Roman? Or pro Zionist?
According to the professor Dennis quotes, "each of us had a different but equally valid view of history." (As I wisecracked earlier, "Denial of reality is, of course, a 'view.'") That must mean that it is equally valid to declare coins and monuments "modern Jewish forgeries" as it is to see them for what they are.
It might just be my "reading," but I think the lunatics are trying to run the asylum. (Well, they already are running certain asylums -- a fact which reflects poorly on people dumb enough to imagine that they're being "educated" in them.)
I'm left wondering whether they actually believe their nonsense, or whether it's a tactic. Because, if they really can't recognize the plain meaning of primary source material like what's on the face of a coin, how can they be expected to do things like drive a car? Or vote? (The former requires "reading" street signs, while the latter requires "reading" ballots.) And how would you read a compass? If I say it points North, is that just my "reading?"
Is it all as absurdly directionless as it seems? Or is there a hidden direction of which I'm unaware?
Isn't it time to look at the bigger picture? Shouldn't we ask what it is that we call "reading," and whether it has any value at all? Or why, say, should what we judgmentally call "mathematics" be considered culturally superior to drinking blood?
It's going to be a long day, and I might not have time for any more posts. I think I'll take a "reading" from my watch, then go outside and try to "read" the weather. It's supposed to rain, but whether it rains or not depends on our "views."
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!
(But can I really say that? I mean, isn't that just my "reading" of a Western, Judeo-Christian-centric calendar?)
posted by Eric on 12.31.05 at 08:26 AM
Search the Site
Classics To Go
See more archives here
Old (Blogspot) archives
A knee sock jihad might be premature at this time
People Are Not Rational
No Biorobots For Japan
The Thorium Solution
Radiation Detector From A Digital Camera
This war of attrition is driving me bananas!
Attacking Christianity is one thing, but must they butcher geometry?
Are there trashy distinctions in freedom of expression?
Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood