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Monthly Archives: January 2006

Experimental history won’t change the Battle of Hastings – Opinion – smh.com.au

This is pretty much what I was trying to say yesterday about history, except that Stephen Muecke, being smarter than I am, says it better.

THE smouldering embers of the culture wars have been stirred again, this time by the Prime Minister, John Howard, talking about the teaching of history in schools. He called for the learning of significant dates, like that of the Battle of Hastings, and decried the influence of postmodern relativism…

What of relativism? The way Howard is using the term is to imply there are people who think there is a different truth for everyone and anything. He means to assert that the date of the Battle of Hastings is 1066; that is reality and don’t mess with it.

While Albert Einstein, the physicist who messed with reality with the theory of relativity, cannot be held accountable for the rise of relativistic thought in philosophy and the arts, both relativity and relativism grew in the same atmosphere of 20th-century modernism. This was a great era of experimental thought.

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Posted by on January 31, 2006 in Australia and Australian, culture wars, education, History, Indigenous Australians, John Howard, Multicultural, Political, Pomo, right wing politics

 

History debate rages over loss of narrative – Top stories – Breaking News 24/7 – NEWS.com.au

Source.

Yes, I do agree narrative is the lifeblood of good history teaching, and has been ever since Herodotus and those Bible writers who may or may not have been earlier than Herodotus. But anyone who does not go beyond that to examine historiography, the actual nature and method of history and how the past is intellectually constructed, has not yet been educated. Why, they could even end up believing ripping yarns like The Da Vinci Code!

Any fool can find factoids, especially today with Google and so on.

And guess what! Kevin (do visit this) agrees with John Howard! Hardly surprising that, is it? Kevin is the author of what I described on reading it as the worst and silliest book I read on education in forty years of teaching. John loves him. My view of the book has not changed. Is Kevin the Paris Hilton of the educational world? Or am I just being grumpy?
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Posted by on January 30, 2006 in Australia and Australian, Bible, culture wars, education, friends, History, John Howard, local, Political, right wing politics, Surry Hills

 

HNN – HuntingtonNews.Net: The Crazyladies of Pearl Street

This is a very well-written memoir, only marginally a novel, by the hitherto mysterious Trevanian, author of thrillers such as The Eiger Sanction.
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Posted by on January 29, 2006 in America, book reviews, British, Canada, culture wars, Fiction, generational change, History, Top read, writers

 

Marigold Citymark, Sydney, Sydney Restaurant Review – Eatability

We were disappointed, but not as much as this patron:

Food 2 Ambience 2 Service 2 Value 3

I went to the Marigold with some work colleagues for yum char. They had lost our reservation so they put us on a table next to the toilet. They place smelt awful, I think they must have just painted it or have a large smelly dog. The food itself I think was probably that frozen stuff that you get from the freezer and put straight into the fryer or steamer – yuck! The waiters were rude too. Never ever going there again!!

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Posted by on January 29, 2006 in Chinese and China, friends, local, Lord Malcolm, M, personal, Sirdan, Sunday lunch

 

Lines from a Floating Life: wishes of a misguided void: from dust to man, and to dust we return

You may recall this sad news a couple of weeks ago. I called in at The Mine yesterday even though school does not go back until Monday. There were a few people there. I found that Mitchell Seow, the 18-year-old ex-student, had been in the city with friends the Saturday before last and simply collapsed and died. There has been no funeral yet because there has had to be an inquest, as with all sudden and unexplained deaths.

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Posted by on January 28, 2006 in ex-students and coachees, personal, Salt Mine, South Sydney Uniting Church

 

Trevanian – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Crazyladies of Pearl Street (2005) is the next Surry Hills Library book on my agenda, clearly a more literary work than Island of Tears. I note the author recently died. There are some moving tributes on his website, a unique feature of which is an optional set of cybernotes on the book I am about to read.

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Posted by on January 27, 2006 in America, book reviews, British, Canada, Fiction, Top read, writers

 

Jim Wallis, God’s Politics (Harper San Francisco 2005)

Thanks to Surry Hills Library, I have this as my current reading. Jim Wallis is more of a fundamentalist than I could ever be, but that aside we are in agreement on so many things. Here is a person who rings true. Here is what Americans, and all people of faith, or even of little faith or none, need to hear in 2006.

The link above takes you to Jim Wallis’s open letter to wrestler/politician Jesse Ventura, which gives you a good idea of what to expect. It is in fact reproduced in God’s Politics.
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