President Biden Declares November National Native American Heritage Month | Currents

President Joe Biden has issued a proclamation naming November 2021 as National Native American Heritage Month, a time to “celebrate the countless contributions of Native peoples past and present, honor the influence they have had on the advancement of our Nation, and recommit ourselves to upholding trust and treaty responsibilities, strengthening tribal sovereignty, and advancing Tribal self-determination.” He also touted the American Rescue Plan as the most significant funding legislation in U.S.history, and named Friday, November 26, 2021–popularly known as the consumer-driven Black Friday–as Native American Heritage Day.

Source: President Biden Declares November National Native American Heritage Month | Currents

‘Star Trek’ legend William Shatner set for launch into real space – UPI.com

Blue Origin plans to launch legendary “Star Trek” actor William Shatner into space with three other crew members from Texas on Wednesday.

Source: ‘Star Trek’ legend William Shatner set for launch into real space – UPI.com

William Shatner will fly to space aboard Blue Origin rocket | The Seattle Times

Blue Origin announced Monday that William Shatner will blast off from West Texas on Oct. 12 in the second crewed Blue Origin capsule to rocket into space. “What a miracle,” the 90-year-old “Star Trek” star said in a statement.

Source: William Shatner will fly to space aboard Blue Origin rocket | The Seattle Times

 

Stop the presses! Capt. James T. Kirk is going into space.

Remembering 9/11: 20 Years Later

There are so many dimensions to the memories of the terrorist attacks in the U.S. on September 11, 2001. But I didn’t realize exactly how many dimensions until I began curating these links. I’ve tried to include links that cover the breadth of the dimensions of that day as we all sit with our own thoughts and remembrances.

Best 9/11 Books

Five Books is a website that features lists of recommended books by experts in many different fields. This page includes lists that cover many dimensions of 9/11 with topics such as literature, terrorism, and Osama bin Laden.

‘Get out now’ – inside the White House on 9/11, according to the staffers who were there

Anita McBride, Fellow in Residence at the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, Department of Government, at American University, was in the White House that day. She describes her experiences here.

At the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, ancient Greece and Rome can tell us a lot about the links between collective trauma and going to war

Joel Christensen, now professor of Classical Studies at Brandeis University, was “in Washington Square Park at 8:45 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001 – less than a mile from the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers.” 

Today, as a scholar of Greek literature who studies narrative and memory, I see how this collective trauma shaped U.S. actions and has affected Americans’ vision of their identities and shared history – a feedback loop that is reflected in the myths and histories of ancient Greece.

Pascal Campion’s “9/11: Then and Now”

“The New Yorker’s art editor remembers twenty years of September 11th covers.”

 Dread, War and Ambivalence: Literature Since the Towers Fell

The events of 9/11 irrevocably changed the course of global affairs. They also changed culture. It will likely be easier to say how a century from now. But with 20 years’ hindsight, The Times’s book critics reflect below on some of the influence of that day on the writing that has followed.

“Sept. 11 accelerated a trend, already long in motion, toward opening American fiction to formerly marginalized voices,” writes Dwight Garner.

Jennifer Szalai says 9/11 produced “fictional treatments of identity that had to do with uncertainty, instability, precariousness — depicting ambivalence as an irreducible part of the human condition.”

How 9/11 altered the fiction landscape in 13 novels

Ron Charles writes in the Washington Post, “within a few years, it was clear that 9/11 would leave an impact on contemporary fiction as deep as its impact on every other aspect of our culture.” He discusses 13 novels that present “a sense of the wide variety of approaches writers have taken over the past two decades” to address the significance of the terrorist attacks.

20 ways 9/11 changed life, the U.S. and the world in the past 20 years

UPI looks at 20 aspects of ways in which the events of 20 years ago have affected our lives, including airport security, creation of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the shift in war powers toward the executive branch of government.

Tuesday, and After

New Yorker writers respond to 9/11.”

From the September 24, 2001, issue of The New Yorker. Entries by the following authors: John Updike, Jonathan Franzen, Denis Johnson, Roger Angell, Aharon Appelfeld, Rebecca Mead, Susan Sontag, Amitav Ghosh, and Donald Antrim.

I Talked to My Twin Brother Every Morning for 27 Years. Right Up Until 9/11.

Pamela Bittner describes the loss of her twin brother on 9/11. She was talking with her father on the phone when “we watched together in horror as Flight 175 crashed into my brother’s office building between floors 75 and 85. He worked on the 89th floor.”

Thousands suffer health effects of Ground Zero’s toxic dust 20 years after 9/11 attacks

A new World Trade Center stands in lower Manhattan 20 years after Sept. 11, 2001, but thousands of people who were there that day — from first responders hoping to save lives to people who were just on their daily commute — continue to feel health effects linked to the terrorist attack.

A Port of Seattle firefighter created a 9/11 memorial at Seattle-Tacoma airport to honor fallen first responders

I include this article from a local (to me) newspaper to emphasize the national character of the terrorist attacks of 9/11. And the included story of the “set up a welcome center to connect Afghan refugees fleeing the Taliban takeover of Kabul with resettlement resources and nonprofits when they arrive at Sea-Tac” Airport emphasizes the continuing need for global understanding and compassion.

© 2021 by Mary Daniels Brown

30 Years of the Public World Wide Web

Flipboard has curated a collection of articles to celebrate the arrival of the internet 30 years ago.

Do you remember your first experiences with the internet? I remember joining CompuServe. As I remember it, the service was a huge conglomeration of text links. With our membership information packet, we got a huge fold-out paper menu that we taped to the wall—and it took up the whole wall—near the computer. It listed the nested hierarchy of how to navigate to whatever information you were interested in. It sounds unwieldy now, but back then it seemed like heaven to someone who loved research more than just about anything else. 

One of the most interesting sites to me among those linked on the Flipboard introductory page is Websites at 30 – how much has the internet changed?

I started my own web site, featuring book reviews, some time in the late 1990s. It started out on GeoCities, where anyone could register and put up a free site. GeoCities was eventually taken over by Yahoo!, who tried to take over copyright ownership of everything everybody published on their sites. That move drove most members, including me, to move to paid hosting services. The need to pay to put up and maintain a web site in order to keep copyright ownership of the content significantly changed the internet, as most people who produced hobby-centered content chose not to pay to keep their sites. 

Here’s another article about the evolution of the world wide web:

He predicted the dark side of the Internet 30 years ago. Why did no one listen?

How About You?

I’d love to hear about your memories of your first experiences with the internet.

© 2021 by Mary Daniels Brown

The Sad Story of Nichelle Nichols

photo: Nichelle Nichols
Nichelle Nichols in 2013 (photo from Wikipedia)

For the past several weeks, my husband and I have been watching the original Star Trek series (1966-1969) on Netflix a few episodes at a time. We had watched it back in the early 1970s and loved it. I still occasionally recite this motto: “Everything I need to know about life I learned from the original Star Trek.”

The show was ground-breaking in so many ways, not the least of which was the character Lt. Uhura, portrayed by Nichelle Nichols.

I recently came across this article, and it broke my heart:

Inside the heartbreaking conservatorship battle of a ‘Star Trek’ legend

Northern lights: Alaska teen shocks with Olympic swim gold | The Seattle Times

Source: Northern lights: Alaska teen shocks with Olympic swim gold | The Seattle Times

I had been having mixed feelings about the Tokyo Olympics, but this story has changed my mind and reminded me why I watch sports. There’s a heart-warming follow-up story here.

Last Week’s Links

A Guide To Gender Identity Terms

June is the annual celebration of Pride Month. Over the years I’ve sometimes been confused about how to use correctly the applicable terminology. I’m grateful to NPR for putting together this glossary of terms relating to gender identity.

Proper use of gender identity terms, including pronouns, is a crucial way to signal courtesy and acceptance. Alex Schmider, associate director of transgender representation at GLAAD, compares using someone’s correct pronouns to pronouncing their name correctly – “a way of respecting them and referring to them in a way that’s consistent and true to who they are.”

Where Gender-Neutral Pronouns Come From

“People tend to think of they, Mx., and hir as relatively recent inventions. But English speakers have been looking for better ways to talk about gender for a very long time.”

Michael Waters offers a history of the long search for language that steps outside the traditional, normative binary of man/woman, his/her.

Do you ever feel like an impostor — and did the pandemic make it worse?

“Experts say anytime you’re facing a new challenge or you’re out of your comfort zone, you’re more susceptible to impostor syndrome. Here’s how to deal.”

Imposter syndrome is a real psychological thing, the fear that you’re not really qualified to do something, that you’re just pretending to have knowledge and ability that you think you really don’t possess. When I was going through a particularly challenging time several years ago, I dreamed that I was trying to pass myself off as a flautist in a symphony orchestra. The trouble was, though, that the flute I was pretending to play was carved out of wood and have no moving parts at all. And, for the record, I have never had a single flute lesson in my life.

This article offers some advice if the pandemic has forced you to take on new roles or situations that you feel unqualified to handle.

Some medical devices don’t mean to be racist, but they are

As we’re beginning to face the necessity of confronting systemic racism, I found this article particular enlightening on just how easily we normalize particular assumptions.

How to Make and Keep New Friends as an Adult

When we retired and moved from St. Louis, MO, to Tacoma, WA, making new friends was one of the things I worried most about. This concern was one of the biggest reasons why we chose to rent in a retirement community instead of buying a house. 

If ‘cave syndrome’ is keeping you from going in public, here’s how to combat it

How are you doing in the “getting back out into the world?” arena?

“After over a year of staying at home and following strict safety guidelines, many people are understandably reluctant to step out their front door and re-enter society.”

If this quotation describes you (as it does, at least a little bit, me), here’s some advice.

© 2021 by Mary Daniels Brown

Last Week’s Links

Talking on Zoom could help older people stave off dementia

CNN reports on recent research results:

Talking on video-conference services like Zoom during the coronavirus pandemic has helped older people stave off the effects of dementia, a new study has suggested.

Researchers found that regular communication helps maintain long-term memory, and elderly people who often use online tools showed less decline in memory than those who don’t.

These Farmers Want You to Drink Your Hops and Eat Them Too

“Trashed in the U.S., hop shoots are treasure in parts of Europe.”

Washington State produces lots of hops, the crop that lends much of the bitter taste to beer. In fact, according to this article, “75 percent of the U.S. hops supply is grown in Yakima Valley,” in eastern Washington.

This article presents some entrepreneurs who are exploring ways to use more of the hop plant than the part used in beer brewing.

Mary Beard Keeps History on the Move

“For Beard, change has always been a part of the classics. We need to expose the field’s flaws to learn how we’ve inherited them.”

Since I did my B.A. and M.A. in Latin, I’ve been following the recently publicized issue of universities dissolving their classics departments. Here Katy Waldman profiles British classicist Mary Beard for The New Yorker

Introducing her subject, Waldman writes about how to describe Beard: “‘Classicist’ doesn’t quite capture it. ‘Celebrity historian’ inches closer.” 

The movement to downplay the study of classics centers on the claim that the field embodies an “imperialist mind-set” and “sustains a mythology of whiteness.” But, Waldman writes, “As the field’s most famous practitioner, and a dedicated anti-racist and feminist, Beard takes a middle position: she believes neither that classics deserves a pedestal nor that it must be destroyed.”

Is America a Racist Nation? I Am Sikh and Tired

Vishavjit Singh writes:

My turban and beard have always made me a target of anxiety, stereotyping, or outright racism. Post-9/11, the hate has been taken to a whole new level. Sikhs have been killed, attacked, and verbally abused in a never-ending American saga.

Singh takes a look at some of our inherent biases: “This is not a Black and White problem only. It is an American ailment. It is a human disease.”

They’re Vaccinated and Keeping Their Masks On, Maybe Forever

“Face coverings have been a political flash point for more than a year. But now, the backlash is directed at people who don’t plan to take them off.”

My husband and I have been fully vaccinated since late February. Yet, despite the most recent CDC guidelines, when we went to the farmers’ market yesterday, I put my mask on. 

I’ve decided to continue to wear a mask when I’m in a crowd for quite a while. After being required to do so for more than a year, it’s something I’ve gotten used to doing. I figure that wearing a mask doesn’t hurt me or anyone else, but it does provide an extra bit of protection against any virus particles that might be floating around. My decision has nothing to do with politics. I’m just being as cautious as possible about my own health. 

This article in the New York Times looks at reasons why some people are continuing to mask up.

How About You?

Do you continue to mask up?

© 2021 by Mary Daniels Brown