kottke.org posts about Declaration of Independence
For the New York Review of Books, Gordon Wood reviews Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality by Danielle Allen, a professor at the Institute for Advanced Study. Any review that starts "This is a strange and remarkable book" is worth paying attention to.
This is a strange and remarkable book. There must be dozens of books on the Declaration of Independence written from every conceivable point of view -- historical, political, theoretical, philosophical, and textual -- but no one has ever written a book on the Declaration quite like this one. If we read the Declaration of Independence slowly and carefully, Danielle Allen believes, then the document can become a basic primer for our democracy. It can be something that all of us -- not just scholars and educated elites but common ordinary people -- can participate in, and should participate in if we want to be good democratic citizens.
An interesting look at how news of the Declaration of Independence spread through the American colonies and around the world. Because trans-Atlantic journeys took awhile back when, the first European news of the Declaration was almost a month and a half after July 4.
News of American independence reached London the second week of August via the Mercury packet ship, which sailed with important correspondence from General William Howe to Lord George Germain, dated July 7 and 8, at Staten Island. The London Gazette, the official Crown organ, first broke the news in its Saturday, August 10 edition. A 16-word, 106-character, Twitter-esque extract from a Howe letter read: "I am informed that the Continental Congress have declared the United Colonies free and independent States."
Later that day, the London Evening-Post included its own version of the breaking news: "Advice is received that the Congress resolved upon independence the 4th of July; and have declared war against Great Britain in form." The same blurb appeared in the Tuesday, August 13 issue of the London Chronicle. On Wednesday, the Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser printed "Copies of the Declarations of War by the Provincials are now in Town and are said to be couched in the strongest terms."
Another fine post by Todd Andrlik, who recently wrote about the ages of prominent Revolutionary War participants. I'm currently reading Tom Standage's book about the history of social media and this story would fit right in.
When the last century turned, the general populace went with 1899 --> 1900 as their official transition and the intellectual establishment went with 1900 --> 1901 as theirs. The establishment won. Almost every turn of the century party was held on december 31, 1900.
As the next century transition looms, the general populace is again backing the 99 --> 00 transition while the establishment is holding fast to the 00 --> 01 switch. Who's going to win this time? The establishment doesn't stand a chance. Why not?
a. Important cultural events are no longer determined by the establishment. Pop culture reigns supreme.
b. 2000 is such a nice, round, even number that people can't resist it.
c. The whole Y2K computer issue lends more weight to 2000 being an important and noteworthy milestone.
d. No one really listens to scientists.
As for me, I won't really be celebrating anything. After all, the year 2000 is based upon some date that a monk chose way back when for the birth of some guy in some podunk town in the middle east. It's no big deal....except for the whole Y2K computer thing. Ask yourself where Jesus is when the world goes dark and the bank says you don't have any money.
This is not a diary. A diary is a personal, private thing that I don't feel comfortable sharing with you. Alas, I've occasionally let this thing turn into a diary. I've also shared information about other people that wasn't appropriate. I've used notes to send messages to people "in the know".
To that end, I've removed some material from here. Personal material that was (maybe) appropriate at the time, but as I look back on it, was not such a good idea. Some of you might protest, saying that I'm tampering with the past. It's not fair of me to go back and change my journal entries like that, right? It's not "fair" and "sporting". Well, fair or not, it's done.
You like to help, right? Sure you do. Here's how you can help Jason out in three easy steps:
1. First, determine whether or not your Twin Cities-based company needs a full-time professional Web designer with lots of experience and talent. If yes, continue on to step 2. If no, ask your friends, neighbors, relatives, etc. You gotta know someone.
2. Go check out my online resume/portfolio located at:
3. Give me a call or drop me an email. It's that simple.
Remember folks: helping is fun for the whole family!
The most perfect thing happened to me this morning. I'm walking down the stairs towards my front door. I stop to look out the little window in the door to see how bad it is raining out. Just then, this girl comes into my frame of vision from the left. Suddenly, she stops short and goes back to take another look at the back of my car...specifically the "kids love satan" bumper sticker. She looks and then continues on, laughing. I thought it was pretty fortunate of me to catch that little moment of time.