Thursday, April 27, 2006

Chapter 2 Runaway Society

Over the course of the years I have read hundreds of books. The best like those of Scharansky and Horowitz remain in my memory. I do remember reading Two Years Before the Mast and the Red Badge of Courage in Junior High. However while I do remember the Red Badge of Courage , Two Years Before The Mast has faded from my memory. Stephen Crane does come up in other readings about NYC from the Gangs of NYC Era.

The chapter begins with sailors abandoning ship durring the Gold Rush. There was an obvious reason for this as the Gold Rush tempted people from all over the globe. Yet when we discuss the brutal treatment of earlier eras Slavery does correctly stand out as odious. However, the often brutal treatment of sailors seems largely forgotten. Floggings, people being Shanghaied and even murdered at Sea were very real. Schwartz portrays the case of the ship Sunrise in vivid detail. The first mate was charged with killing three abducted men and running a Hell ship.

Schwartz also describes the Chinese hardships and apparently Mark Twain had a high opinion of the local Chinese. I find this interesting because some districts have removed his works due to the use of the N word which was common in its era and can be heard in 1/3 of rap videos. Twain is censored for using the N word but Eugene ONeil uses it with impunity in the Emperor Jones . In fact the great traitor Paul Robeson portrayed the lead role on film . The moral of the story is one can freely use the N word if one is producing Rap videos or is a Commie finkola like Ducky. I do not remember any Jewish students objecting to Shakespeare despite some anti semitic lines. Moreover I read the Canturburry tales in a Yeshiva as well as Shakespeare . The entire discussion of anti semitism in the works was discussed in less then ten minutes.

Schwartz also presents a range of interesting characters including Mexican Banditos, the crazed adventurer Willie Walker who Ducky will drone on and local Native Americans. Schwartz descriptions of SF from the post Civil War era seem familiar to those who have read about NYC from the same time period.

Schartz does write about Henry George whose ideas still seem to reverbate amongst the incorent Anarchist types in NYC. There is a trendy type of anarchism that believes that people should own only what you create. Nobody created land so it should not be owned. However anyone who pays property tax is well aware that you pay an ungodly fee for the land you own . Most of this is because educational expenditures are linked to property tax. If the formula were changed the impact would create a flight to private schools and cripple housing values. The NYC crowd tends to think this is new and enlightened but the idea is at least 100 years old. Farmer John and other will probably find earlier versions of this inane concept. Ownership of the land also encourages people to invest Capital and make improvements
on the property. The improvements cause property values to go up and increase revenues for the government. This is interesting because Liberals have defended the right of eminent domain to increase tax revenues. I understand the use of eminent domain to build roads and bridges. However, the current use of building Luxury housing, expanding Casinos and shopping malls is abhorent.

Mr Beamish in 08, Ducky to Gitmo and 167 RIP

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MissingLink said...

Funny you mentioned the treatment of sailors in comparisaon with black slavery.
What we often tend to forget that in many parts of Europe (e.g. Poland) de facto slavery existed until 1864.
The only difference between a Polish serf and black slave would be the doubtful privilege of the first to serve in the Russian or Prussian army (if the master decided).

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