Saturday, November 12, 2011

November 9

I've come to the conclusion that it's impossible not to like history. People say they don't like history because it's boring or unimportant or whatever stupid reason they come up with, but it's impossible to genuinely hate everything about history. Here's why.

Everything is history. Everything has history and everything is slowly fading into history as we say it or write it or do it. This blog in some contexts can be considered a historical document. It's a primary source depicting how a very odd sixteen year old female felt about things in the year 2011. Is it reliable? Well, you found it on the internet, so it must be trustworthy.

Anyway, I was thinking about how through studying history you study everything else too. Not necessarily to your fullest ability, but to understand any given time period we don't just try to understand their politicians and their wars, but we need to understand their literature and art, their discoveries and scientific advancements... we basically need to understand as much as we can. There is no facet of any given culture that isn't touched by current events and doesn't have an effect on it's world, everything is important. Because I have this knowledge it really bothers me how little I know. Even though I act like I do, I don't know everything. I learn knew things every day. Today I learned about comedia del arte at Elizabeth's show. Yesterday I learned that at the end of "I Got Life" from Hair, they're saying, "Amen," and not "Gay men."

Anyway, as a student and lover of history I noticed something interesting about Wednesday's date: November 9. I'm not one to deliberately memorize dates, but sometimes they tend to stick out in my mind (i.e. July 14 is Bastille Day, November 11 is Armistice Day, August 24 is John Green's birthday, etc.). Two dates corresponded to November 9: Kristallnacht and the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Kristallnacht took place on November 9-10, 1938 and was the deliberate alienation of Jews in Germany, Austria, and the Sudetenland. The Nazi's used the evening as an opportunity to place more targets on the backs of the innocent and to wrangle support from fearful and desperate followers. Hitler used it just as he used all his other political moves, as a means to get one step closer to total imperialism.

51 years later, on November 9-10, 1989, the Berlin Wall that was put in place post World War II to keep the political ideas of the East and the West from mixing , inspiring new thought, and allowing freedom. The wall's fall in 1989 symbolized the end of the Cold War, with freedom winning.

That's one of the many things I love about history. Odd coincidences. I love 'em. I love them and I love random facts and the great people and the unexplained occurrences. I love when people do things that no one saw coming. I love when a few small things effected the entire world. Because nothing's small.

I think maybe another reason people don't like history is because it's scary. There's really nothing scarier then what man can do. A possible exception being the bubonic plague. That shit's horrifying. But anyway, when we look back and see how much destruction and pain man has caused, it's actually terrifying. People do horrible things for horrible reasons. But that fear is the problem. We can't view the past as a series of mistakes that cause trepidation towards the future and prevent us from moving on. We should look at the past because within it are our answers. We can see all the mistakes that we should never make again and all of the tried and true solutions that can be applied to modern situations. They say that history repeats itself, but the phrase always has such a negative connotation when, if only we could repeat the positive things, it could mean great things.

And this is the part of the blog that's going to sound absurdly naive and hopeful and optimistic, but I feel like at least the good guys always win. And I know that the winners get to write history, but I find that it would be pretty hard to spin the story so that the Axis winning World War II would be good or that the Confederacy winning the Civil War would be good or that it would be great if everyone was still colonies of a few countries thousands of miles away. You know?

So, that's my corny view on history. I love it. It's beautiful. It's really important to me that I remember the past. After all, we are only a product of our memories.

Happy birthday to Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Karl Marx, Grace Kelly, Megan Mullally, Neal Shusterman, Tonya Harding, Ryan Gosling, Anne Hathaway, and one of my best friends in the entire world, Sophie.

This blog. What am I gonna do?

I'm gonna go watch HP7p2 and cry.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

It's Been a Long Couple of Weeks

I miss this blog. I don't see you enough.

As the title implies, my weeks have been long recently. Stressful and scary and sad and altogether not good. This is going to be mostly a bit of reflection on my part, and definitely more depressing then what I usually choose to write about, but here it goes.

On Monday after fourth period, already thoroughly depressed by a movie I watched about the slave trade, I walked out of class to find out that my friend's boyfriend took his own life.

The shock I felt upon hearing the news was indescribable, and I can't even imagine how his parents and close friends felt. I hadn't known him personally, we went to Hebrew School together when we were little. I know him best as that guy I had to pretend to be married too for a Hebrew School play. It was very embarrassing for my approximately 10 year old self.
However, I still felt the pang of a loss. It was a loss to the community and a loss to my friend. The feeling is completely indescribable.

The following evening a candlelight memorial was held in the main quad at my school. The same event was used to honor two other students, one died of an accidental alcohol-related incident and another committed suicide a few weeks earlier. The memorial was one of the most painful events I've ever attended. Hearing the cries of a mother whose son is no longer with us is something that no one should ever have to experience. I felt guilty for sobbing over bad grades and fights with my parents. Those weren't real tears. The tears of the boys' mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, girlfriends, friends, classmates, and teachers were.

It's hard to think about the things people said. The speeches given by loved ones were emotionally stirring and hard to listen too. Wax from the candle I was holding melted all over my shoes, and I can't bring myself to clean them. It's a reminder of the things I heard.

If one positive thing can come from these horrible tragedies, it is that we can learn that every action we choose to take affects someone else. The harsh words we say, sometimes jokingly, mean something, but so do the kind ones. Words of kindness and friendship are the best things we can offer to anyone. Sometimes people put on a brave face and act like they're okay, but oftentimes the bravest ones are those who are the most sad. Be there for them. Let them know that they aren't alone. And if you have any suspicion that they might hurt themselves, or even take their own life, tell an adult.

That's pretty much all I have to say right now. I have to go make people laugh, which is probably one of the best things I can do right now. Just.... love everybody. That's what I'm trying to do.