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get lost....

Apr 26, 2016 -- 12:46pm

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about history and how our proximity to events colors our perspective of history.   The further we are from an event, the bigger it has to be for it to matter today.   It’s almost a ‘what have you done for me lately’ attitude.

Today, I want to talk about history again, but nothing so abstract this time.    Actual history.     My wife and I went to the Horry County Museum in Conway last weekend for a lecture on a local Georgetown-area rice plantation, Mansfield.   We’ve stayed there (it’s now a bed and breakfast) so we were interested in the lecture.   It wasn’t that well-attended, although I didn’t think it would be.     We like history and when we travel we like to take in the local history through tours and such.   Our favorite cities in the region are Savannah and Charleston.   Both are rich with history and those cities do everything they can to keep that history alive.   It’s a huge money-making industry between walking tours, carriage tours, books and souvenirs.     That’s why I wish me had more history around here.     Sure, Georgetown has a long tradition and plenty to explore, like Conway, but Myrtle Beach is a relative newcomer, clocking in at just more than 75 years old.     That’s why it’s important to preserve any history we have and make sure future generations have something to explore.     The grandest structure on the beach for 40 years was the Ocean Forest Hotel.    Built in 1930, it was an awesome site on the beachfront, but it was imploded only 44 years later to make room for condos.      Why worry about history when there’s money to be made?     How about the Pavilion?     A Myrtle Beach staple for generations, it was also torn down about a decade ago to make room for…..something….we’re still waiting to find out what.     I’m not bemoaning progress, I’m just saying that once something’s gone, it’s gone forever.

I was reading that the city of Myrtle Beach is looking to preserve some of its history called Charlie’s Place.   In the carver street area in the 30s and 40s, some of the biggest names in entertainment used to come through Myrtle Beach, but since they were black, they couldn’t play the white venues.   Charlie’s Place is where they played.   Now it’s in the midst of being torn down along with the motel next door.    It’s apparently one of the last standing places in the historic ‘negro travelers green book’.      It may not be a place you’ve seen, been to or plan on visiting, but if you’re like me and like to see history remain, it sounds like something that needs to be taken care of somehow.     Kind of like the city did with the Myrtle Beach Colored School.   It may not sound politically correct, but it’s nice to see that someone what thinking about history when it was saved and preserved.    

So….step number 1…..preserve history.    If you’re a town, county or even an individual, it’s our duty to save what we can from being scrapped so that future generations can enjoy it.

Step 2, go see something.   Explore.     In our area, go to the museums, walk through the historic parts of Conway.    Go to Georgetown and take a tour through downtown or a tour of some of the 200 year old homes just off Front Street.    Keep your eyes open for the plantation tours.   Go up to Fort Fisher on the mouth of the Cape Fear.     People take great pains to preserve historical buildings and artifacts, but if nobody goes to see them, then what’s their incentive to go through all those great pains?     Take an afternoon or a Saturday and do something different.   Explore.   Travel around without your GPS.    Learn things.

time has come today

Apr 14, 2016 -- 1:20pm

I just wanted to piggy-back on a blog from last month (you can scroll down and read every blog I’ve written since the beginning of time if you ever feel the need…for a headache or sleep).

I was writing about time and history, and how people have a tendency to not care about the former and forget about the latter.     For some reason I’ve been thinking a lot about time recently and the word that keeps coming back to me is ‘perspective’.    I guess what I’m trying to preach to everyone is that what you think is so important to you and society as a whole rightnow, needs to be viewed through the prism of time and history to give you proper perspective.     

I was watching one of those genealogy shows the other day and the TV star who was on was talking to his father about his lineage.      His father talked about his grandfather, but he only knew his last name was ‘Wadworth”.    He was absolutely positive the family name was Wadworth.    They looked up the ancestry and found that the family name was actually “Wardwell”.   Not even close.     It was their own family and they didn’t even know the correct name.  It was proof to me that history blurs all lines and makes facts into semi-fiction.   (In a weird twist, Samuel Wardwell was actually hanged for being a witch in Salem in 1692…and I had referenced the  witch trials in my last blog about history and time…cue twilight zone music).

I had also watched a program about finding Viking settlements on Canadian soil dating back hundreds of years before Columbus.     The voyages were passed down for generations in song and poems, but weren’t actually put down on paper until about 300 years later in the Icelandic Epics.    Historians look at these Epics as being factual, but let me ask you….when was the last time you played a game of ‘telephone’?    A piece of information is passed from one person to the next and by the time it gets to the end of the line, it’s almost always changed, different or completely wrong.   What would you think would happen to information passed down over 300 years before it was written down?   Do you think it would be 100% factual?     Probably not.  

But that’s the problems with both of those examples: it shows that even though time may heal all wounds, it also makes facts fuzzy.    Yet, there are parts of our human history from hundreds, if not thousands of years ago, that we accept as being factual, yet there are others that are waved off as being tall tales or complete fiction.    Which is which?     

What does this have to do with ‘perspective’?     We’ve been hearing the phrase a lot in the past few years about ‘being on the right side of history’.    It’s usually an argument about a social issue where those who are asking for change or acceptance are telling those who are unwilling to change that they will be judged as being on ‘the wrong side of history’.    They’re probably right, but the ones unwilling to change don’t care.    They’re interested in the here and now rather than what the world’s going to be like in 10, 30, 50 years and are more interested in preserving their way or life or way of thinking.    

There are several issues before us at the moment, some regarding racial issues some regarding lifestyle issues.    Many people will argue against progressive thinking by saying ‘what about the children’?     I say….look to the children.    Kids in today’s society are less likely to see color.   They’re less likely to think twice is their friend has 2 moms or 2 dads.   They’ve grown up with it, those situations are second nature to them.   They don’t care….it’s their parents who think they’re protecting their kids from something they don’t need protection from.     

Through the eyes of a child.   Now that’s perspective.

I'll be there for you

Apr 05, 2016 -- 12:38pm

I read an article the other day by a guy named David Hopkins on how the show Friends triggered the downfall of our civilization.   Now before you go blaming Chandler or Joey or Monica, he blames Ross…or more specifically the treatment of Ross as the downfall.    Hopkins says that as the show started in 1994, Ross was an intellectual, a professor, who, as the show progressed, was dragged down into the muck by his simpleton friends.    According to the author, Ross’ fall mirrored society’s fall at about the same time…from relying on smarts and wittiness to relying on being crass, loud and rude.      It’s no wonder, when the show left the airwaves in 2004, it was about the same time that reality TV started to take hold of the ratings, relying on the same non-values.

When I first read the article, I assumed it would eventually touch on the current presidential race (pretty much every article finds its way there somehow).    But it didn’t.   It stayed true to its form and ended by giving tips on how society needs to pull itself out of the mire and read a book.    Since Hopkins didn’t go there…allow me.    

One thing reality TV has taught us is that if you want to be the breakout star of an ensemble show, you have to stand above the rest by being the loudest, the drunkest, the most outrageous member of the cast.     You don’t remember Snookie, J-Woww and The Situation because they liked to spend nights at home.     You don’t remember Teresa from Real Housewives of NJ because she’s a good mom to her 4 kids.   You don’t remember Janelle Evans from Teen Mom 2 because she stays to herself a lot.    You remember these people because they say and do the most over-the-top stuff on the show.    And that’s where we tie it all into the current political arena.     As a former reality TV star, Donald Trump knows what it takes to stand out.    He knows the most outrageous comments will get the most attention, and will raise his profile much more quickly than slogging from house to house, shaking hands with potential voters.    He knows that people will just remember the bluster of what he says, and not the actual details, which is good for him, since most of his details aren’t close to what resembles facts.

Yesterday, for example, he told a crowd that the US is on the verge of a recession and US taxpayers are the most-taxed in the world.      Well…#1, no economist anywhere says we’re even close to another recession…and #2 according to all experts, the US isn’t even in the top 15 as most-taxed in the world, no matter how you measure it.   But, if you polled those in attendance at the rally, they’d tell you we were over-taxed and heading into a recession.    

But he tells it with such gusto.   That’s apparently all that counts.     I’ve just about run out of room on my desk of all the Trump miscues that would have sunk a normal campaign.    When I point any of those out, supporters are quick to dismiss those miscues as unimportant, because the most important thing is that this country needs a strong leader to get us to the next level.    I always thought a strong leader had the qualities of strength, wisdom and the ability to have facts come out of their mouths.    I didn’t know I had to pick and choose from those qualities.  

So, much like Ross from Friends, the expectations of this country’s electorate have been dumbed-down.   Reality mentality has taken over.   Now only if the debates featured beer pong and table-throwing……

contact dave at dave.priest@alphamediausa.com

don't know much about history....

Mar 22, 2016 -- 1:40pm

Whether you were the first humanoid to roam the wilderness hundreds of thousands of years ago, walking through the sands in Biblical times, a crewman on the Titanic or a current student at CCU…you thought your civilization was the most enlightened and most advanced to ever inhabit planet Earth.   And you’d be right.     Every generation is more advanced and more knowledgeable than the one that came before it (although not always filled with more common sense).     When you multiply that times several generations and look back 100 years, do you ever wonder ‘what on earth were those people thinking’?      But do you ever stop to think, that in 20, 40, 80 years that people will be looking back at 2016…thinking the same thing about us?   

At this moment, legislators in SC are going through the old law books to purge antiquated laws that are no longer enforced…like making it illegal to work on Sundays…or to co-habitate if you’re unmarried…or that it’s illegal to play a game involving cards or dice.     Yep, those laws are still on the books.    But at the time, lawmakers felt it was right and prudent to pass those laws because that’s what society called for.    You’re right, they’re laughable.   That’s why I take an extra long look at new proposed laws…especially if they’re socially-motivated…to see how history will view them.    Are they being passed with long-range change in mind, or are they simply a knee-jerk reaction to a current social issue?

True, most politicians will pledge that they’re thinking of our children and grandchildren when passing laws and making campaign promises, but mainly they’re worried only about the next election and making sure their constituents are happy.   That’s why most of these arcane laws get passed.     Politicians hear an uproar from a very vocal minority and decide they need to take action because unfortunately, even though they are a minority, there are the most active politically.    

But it’s not just politicians who can’t think forward or look backward…it’s pretty much everybody.    I saw an article from a WW2 vet lamenting something to the effect that kids today don’t learn enough history and things that he lived through would soon be forgotten.   He’s 100% right!    Unfortunately though, that’s a function of time.     Right after the Civil War, I bet school kids knew every battle, every General, everything about the war.   It was fresh, new, living history.   With the passing of time, teachers learned to just hit the highlights.   Now we just learn the dates, why it was fought and who won.     Is it any less important?    Does anyone under 60 know anything about the Korean War that they didn’t learn on MASH reruns?    Again, it’s a function of time.   The more time passes, the more history there is and the less time we have to learn…so we have to hit the most important stuff.

Everyone knows the Pilgrims landed in 1620 and the nation declared its independence in 1776.    Can you name 5 events of US historical importance that happened during those 150+ years?    Salem witch trials….and I’m drawing a blank.     During those 150 years, the residents of the US thought they were living in the most important, most enlightened times, yet here we are today, struggling to remember anything about it.      That’s 150 years.     You know that by the end of this century, scientist say the ocean level could rise by 1 to 3 feet.   That’s 84 years.   If that happens, a lot of the property we’re sitting on right now in SC could be underwater.   But that’s the future…why worry about that?   We need to worry about the here and now.    

Do you realize that from the time that man only dreamt of flying until we set foot on the moon was only 66 years?      Your parents or grandparents probably lived in that time from 1903 to 1969.     They saw a lot of change…and so have we.    We need to think of how history will view us in what we do today.   We don’t want to be laughed at like doctors who thought blood-letting was the best cure for everything.   We are the most advanced civilization….ever.    We need to act like it.

to contact Dave, email dave.priest@digity.me

 

Don't look back in anger....

Mar 14, 2016 -- 1:26pm

Don’t go to bed angry.   Don’t say anything you’re going to regret.   And, as Bill Murray’s character said to the groundhog after kidnapping him, “don’t drive angry”.     Our whole life is filled with advice from wise people telling us we shouldn’t act while we’re upset because whatever you choose to do will probably not be a good choice.    Tell me, what’s the last good decision you made while you were spittin’mad?     I thought so.   That’s why I’m scared to death that we have an entire political movement in the US based on anger.

I don’t get mad very often, but when I do, I have a tendency to lash out and be totally irrational.   I’ll say outrageous things just to retaliate against whoever’s making me mad so I can match their level of anger or even surpass it.     Logical thought goes out the window and I’ll say almost anything to make my point, even if I know it’s not a solid argument.    Raising your voice is a must, because loud-equals-right in an anger-based argument.

I totally understand the feeling of the American people right now, because it’s happening on both sides of the aisle.    Bernie Sanders is getting the same kind of support Donald Trump is, because supporters of both are upset with the status quo and feel as though their voices aren’t being heard and the current crop of politicians aren’t listening to them.     Congressional approval is hovering around 13%.     Lots of Bernie supporters are enamored by the promises he’s making even though many of them aren’t realistic.    But that’s okay, they sound good.      Trump supporters hear a candidate who’s repeating the same things they say around the deer stand and immediately follow him, regardless of the number of gaffes he makes.   But that’s okay, he’s the voice of the people.    

A week or 2 ago, Donald Trump called on the GOP to rally around him, calling himself the ‘unifier’.    Really?     In my opinion, Trump has done more in 9 months to drive a wedge between the people of the US than Obama has done in 7 years.     And just to let you know, I was planning on writing that even before the violence broke out at his recent rallies, so those events didn’t change my opinion at all.     I know that will make the Right mad, because the narrative they’re advancing has always talked about race relations degrading under Obama.    It’s possible they have, but I think the last 9 months have ratcheted up tensions to a point we haven’t seen in decades.

Vote your conscience.   Support who you like.    Campaign for your favorite candidate.    But don’t make decisions based on anger.     

this does not compute

Feb 23, 2016 -- 12:46pm

Maybe it’s all those years of watching Star Trek, but I like logic.   I like things to make sense.    I like arguments that follow a line of thinking that’s not reliant on emotions, but rather facts.   That’s why this presidential cycle has my mind spinning.   

Much like the scene in Star Trek where Kirk made a robot’s head explode by feeding it illogical data, my head has almost exploded several times trying to figure out how and why Donald Trump is where he’s at…on top of the GOP ranks.

It’s marketing genius, but it’s completely counter-intuitive.   Everything Republicans have said they want to have in a nominee….is the exact opposite of what Trump is.

After McCain in 2008 and Romney in 2012, the war cry was that the GOP needed a true conservative as a nominee rather than a moderate to appeal to the masses.   I don’t know anyone who would confuse Trump with anything that even closely resembles a conservative.     Look at his recent record on abortion, healthcare and supporting the Democrats.

If a snot-nosed college grad went on stage for a graduation speech and dropped a few f-bombs, the s-words a few times and called the Dean the p-word, conservatives across the country would be saying that kid should be suspended, diploma taken away and that shows that the moral decay of our country has taken hold of our children.   But….Trump says those same words…..and everyone cheers and his numbers go up.

As far as the campaign trail goes, speeches are full of promises without anything to back them up, platitudes, rhetoric and bumper sticker slogans.   But it’s working.   Trump supporters apparently don’t want to know any details about how he expects to get anything done, they just like to cheer.

I think I realize who Trump reminds me of:  Kanye West.     Kanye is happy to tell the world that he’s the greatest performer to ever live.   And he’ll keep telling us and telling us.   Some people actually believe that he is but the rest of the world knows he’s just blowing hot air and when he opens his mouth to compare himself to Picasso or the Apostle Paul (true) we just laugh at his arrogance and misguided sense of self-worth.     Trump keeps telling the world that he’s the greatest negotiator, will be the greatest jobs president, will get 100% of the black vote.   Things that there’s no way to prove and no way to accomplish…just hollow bragging.   And like with Kanye, some people believe him and think he’s all that, but some people laugh

In campaigns past, candidates have been brushed aside for making one small misstep.   Howard Dean and ‘the scream’.    Rick Perry and the ‘oops’ debate moment.    Michael Dukakis and the tank picture.     That’s like 1 day in the Trump camp, yet his followers don’t budge and will defend his every misstep, eventually making it seem like his mistakes are actually made up by the media who are trying to torpedo his candidacy.

Now, I will admit, it seems like there ARE lots of people trying to bring him down…the GOP included.    Why?   For me, it’s fear.   I’m afraid of what he would do to the country if he was given the keys, but I think I’m more afraid of his followers.    People who are so quick to completely gloss over and forgive his tactics scare the crap out of me.    Blind devotion to a cult of personality has ended badly in so many instances in recent history.

A new poll asked Americans what are they afraid of happening this year.    Number 2 on the list was Donald Trump becoming president….45% said that.     In fairness, 39% were afraid of a Hillary presidency.     Funny….fear made him #2 on this list, but it made him number 1 in the GOP primary.

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