The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“But suppose god is black. What if we go to heaven and we, all our lives, have treated the Negro as an inferior, and god is there, and we look up and he is not white? What then is our response?” — Robert F. Kennedy

SUPPOSE THEY GAVE A WAR AND NOBODY WON

When all is said and done, the US hasn’t suffered a devastating loss of human life in the Afghan debacle.

Yes, 2000 of our soldiers have been killed. The loss of one life in war is a tragedy. But, jeez, we’ve been in that hell-hole for 11 years now, trying to convince the populace at gunpoint that the Culture of McDonald’s is preferable to that of We’ll-Stone-You-If-You’re-A-Woman-And-Even-Think-About-Sex.

That’s about 182 deaths per year. 182 too many. But we’re not talking about a generation being decimated.

In case this little detail escaped your attention, I might point out that some 20,000 Afghan civilians have been blown to bits or otherwise killed in the war.

This Means War

Details, details. Here’s another one: The bad guys we went into Afghanistan to pound the crap out of in November, 2001, are still hanging in there. Yup, you remember the Taliban, don’t you? Those fellows who frown on music and dancing and cheering at soccer matches and women in general? Oh, and the guys who let Osama bin Laden camp out in their backyard while he and his boys planned their terror attacks?

Yeah, that Taliban. They’re in negotiations as we speak to be allowed back into everyday political life in Afghanistan.

Some war.

LESSON NUMBER ONE: TELL THE TRUTH

Writer Kristin Rawls at the progressive advocacy site AlterNet debunks the five main misconceptions or outright lies that the benighted portion of the populace of this holy land believe about teachers and public education.

I’ll let Rawls do the arguing. Here, though, are the five lies:

  1. Unions are undermining the quality of education in America
  2. Your student’s teacher has an easy and over-compensated job
  3. If your child doesn’t get picked in a charter school lottery, he or she is doomed
  4. Your child will automatically be better off if your school district adopts a “school choice” assignment plan
  5. Your student’s teacher sees your constructive involvement in your child’s education as an annoyance

Eek!

I never cared much for school but the tens of thousands of dollars I’ve spent on hundreds of hours of shrinks have narrowed the possible reasons for my distaste for the childhood classroom down to a manageable few dozen.

Still, I’ve always believed public education is perhaps the single most admirable contribution to human society that this nation has ever made.

THESE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Think back to 50 years ago today.

A young man named James Meredith had decided he wanted to enroll at the University of Mississippi. He’d already attended another university and had compiled a good academic record.

Meredith Then

Many people, though, were aligned against his acceptance to the institution. The forces lined up against him included Gov. Ross Barnett. The governor ruled that Meredith would not be accepted to Ole Miss.

Meredith, of course, was black. Mississippi, of course, was Mississippi.

Barnett was pressured by the federal government to allow Meredith to enroll. The governor didn’t have a leg to stand on; the Supreme Court had ruled that segregation at public supported schools was unconstitutional seven years earlier.

So, Barnett grudgingly allowed Meredith to go to school in the state’s university. The immediate result? A bloody campus riot by white students and Ku Klux Klan ringers.

Here’s a list of forces called out to quell the rioting and ensure Meredith’s safety as he attended classes:

  • 500 US Marshals
  • The 70th Army Engineer Combat battalion
  • Units from the 503rd Military Police Battalion
  • The federalized Mississippi Army National Guard
  • Officers from the US Border Patrol

This fighting force was in place even before Meredith attended his first day of classes at the University of Mississippi. Still, Meredith was harassed and shunned.

By college students, I might remind you.

US Marshals Escort Meredith To Class

The experience was so traumatic that Meredith felt compelled to leave Ole Miss. He eventually received his undergraduate degree from the University of Ibadan.

Which is in Nigeria. Which, in case you haven’t made the connection, is not the United States of America.

As time went by, Meredith earned a law degree from Columbia University in New York City.

He remained active in the civil rights fight after attending college. In fact, he led a voter registration march back in Mississippi in 1966. A white man shotgunned him in the back for his efforts. Meredith, fortunately, survived the murder attempt.

Meredith, Moments After Being Shotgunned

James Meredith attended his first class at the University of Mississippi 50 years ago today.

Sometimes it’s good to look at the glass as half full. October 1st, 1962 was a long, long time ago.

There’s even a statue of Meredith on the Ole Miss campus.

He’s pushing 80 now and lives with his wife in Jackson, Mississippi. He’s got a new book coming out, “A Mission from God: A Memoir and Challenge for America.”

Meredith Now

The only events listings you need in Bloomington.

Monday, October 1st, 2012

Brought to you by The Electron Pencil: Bloomington Arts, Culture, Politics, and Hot Air. Daily.

FAIR ◗ Monroe County Fairgrounds, Commercial Building West29th Annual American Red Cross Book Fair, +100,000 used books, CDs, DVDs, games, maps, sheet music, etc.; 9am-7pm, through October 2nd

ART ◗ Ivy Tech Waldron Center, outside WFHB StudiosPublic participation in creating a ten-foot sculpture called “The Messenger,” Rain or shine; 9am-5pm

STUDIO TOUR ◗ Brown County, various locationsThe Backroads of Brown County Studio Tour, free, self-guided tour of 16 local artists’ & craftspersons’ studios; 10am-5pm, through October

BENEFIT ◗ Bloomington Convention CenterDinner & award ceremony for Stone Belt; 6-8:30pm

MUSIC ◗ Muddy Boots Cafe, NashvilleDawn Hiatt; 6-8:30pm

VARIETY ◗ Cafe DjangoBloomington Short List, ten-minute acts, hosted by Marta Jasicki; 7pm

MUSIC & POETRY ◗ Boxcar BooksMeg Waldron; 7pm

CLASS ◗ Monroe County Public Library — “On the Brink of Destruction: The Cuban Missile Crisis 50 Years Out,” presented by IU Lifelong Learning; 7-8:30pm

MUSIC ◗ Max’s PlaceSocial Justice; 7:30pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Musical Arts CenterLatin Jazz Ensemble, the Aaron Bannerman Group, Tom Walsh & Michael Spiro, directors; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ The Player’s PubSongwriter Showcase: Ryan Brewer, Chad Mills, Chris Wolf; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ The BluebirdKrewella; 9pm

ONGOING:

ART ◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • “New Acquisitions,” David Hockney; through October 21st
  • “Paragons of Filial Piety,” by Utagawa Kuniyoshi; through December 31st
  • “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers,” by Julia Margaret, Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan; through December 31st
  • French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century;” through December 31st
  • Celebration of Cuban Art & Film: Pop-art by Joe Tilson; through December 31st
  • Workers of the World, Unite!” through December 31st

ART ◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • What It Means to Be Human,” by Michele Heather Pollock; through September 29th
  • Land and Water,” by Ruth Kelly; through September 29th

ART ◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibit:

  • “Samenwerken,” Interdisciplinary collaborative multi-media works; through October 11th

ART ◗ IU Kinsey Institute GalleryExhibits opening September 28th:

  • A Place Aside: Artists and Their Partners;” through December 20th
  • Gender Expressions;” through December 20th

PHOTOGRAPHY ◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesExhibit:

  • “CUBAmistad” photos

ART ◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesExhibits:

  • “¡Cuba Si! Posters from the Revolution: 1960s and 1970s”
  • “From the Big Bang to the World Wide Web: The Origins of Everything”
  • “Thoughts, Things, and Theories… What Is Culture?”
  • “Picturing Archaeology”
  • “Personal Accents: Accessories from Around the World”
  • “Blended Harmonies: Music and Religion in Nepal”
  • “The Day in Its Color: A Hoosier Photographer’s Journey through Mid-century America”
  • “TOYing with Ideas”
  • “Living Heritage: Performing Arts of Southeast Asia”
  • “On a Wing and a Prayer”

BOOKS ◗ IU Lilly LibraryExhibit:

  • Outsiders and Others:Arkham House, Weird Fiction, and the Legacy of HP Lovecraft;” through November 1st
  • A World of Puzzles,” selections form the Slocum Puzzle Collection

PHOTOGRAPHY ◗ Soup’s OnExhibit:

  • Celebration of Cuban Art & Culture: “CUBAmistad photos; through October

ART ◗ Boxcar BooksExhibit:

  • Celebration of Cuban Art & Film: Papercuts by Ned Powell; through September

PHOTOGRAPHY ◗ Monroe County History CenterExhibit:

  • Bloomington: Then and Now,” presented by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

ARTIFACTS ◗ Monroe County History CenterExhibit:

  • “Doctors and Dentists: A Look into the Monroe County Medical professions

The Electron Pencil. Go there. Read. Like. Share.

2 thoughts on “The Pencil Today:

  1. david paglis - the lake county republican says:

    one other thing, bobby kennedy could ask some pretty good questions. remember when he asked the all white college audience he was speaking to if anyone wanted to trade places with any black person? wonder what things would be like if only …

  2. david paglis - the lake county republican says:

    this was my first comment, i must have hit a wrong button: james meredith is one tough guy. it makes me cringe to remember how we were 50 years ago. the image i most remember from those days is the photo of police dogs being sicced on people who only wanted to vote-disgraceful. then i think has there ever been a country that has come as far as we have in righting that wrong? it’s true we have a way to go yet but it is also true we are the coolest thing ever to have happened on this planet.

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