You are here


Historical background related to current issues and/or events.

Zombie Apocalypse?

The increasing cultural references to the phrase "zombie apocalypse" have finally caught my attention. As I understand it, the phrase is apparently the independent invention of bloggers, one in the entertainment industry, the other in the video game industry. The zombie character is tailor made for video games, but is related to such movie horrors as vampires (because they're described as "undead"), killers that can't be killed (like Jason), pod people and triffids (because they spread their own kind -- come to think of it, vampires are included here, too). According to David Hambling ("How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse," the zombie idea originated in Voodoo, but the notion of a zombie-like creature can be traced to earlier European literature. See Homunculus, and note that Hollywood's concept of Frankenstein's monster is decidedly more zombie-like than Mary Shelley's original conception!)

"I owe mah soul to the company stoh!"

Wikipedia refers to the company store economic model as the "truck system." The line in the title of this note is, of course, taken from the song "Sixteen Tons," composed by Merle Travis and popularized by Tennessee Ernie Ford. The song title refers to the tonnage of coal mined daily by a coal miner living in a camp owned and operated by the mine owner. The miners are, in effect, indentured servants or slaves because they have no possibility of working their way out of the system. This is because they are paid in scrip, rather than money, which can only be redeemed in the camp.

What matters more, public cohesion or public virtue?

Rush Limbaugh's take on the DNC is that there are no more arrows left in their quiver for fighting to reelect the President in 2012, and the country's progressives are scrambling to protect their turf. I suspect this is particularly true of public and higher education.

Phobic "airs"

The word "phobia" (and its derivatives, such as "phobic") has many uses, from psychological classification to political pejorative. In its proper diagnostic use, it is combined with another Greek term into a compound word, such as arachnophobia (for fear of spiders) or agoraphobia (for fear of crowds - the term "agora" literally means "marketplace"; come to think of it, I suppose most progressives are agoraphobic in this root sense). More recently, the "phobic" part of these terms has been misused, as in the term "homophobic" which refers to someone who disapproves of homosexual behavior, where fear may or may not play a part.

Neither a Hayekian nor a Marxist be...

Ralph E. Ancil (Prof. of Economics at the Franciscan University in Steubenville and President of the Wilhelm Roepke Institute), gave a clear critique of the pure market subjectivism of Friedrich Hayek in "Hayek’s Serfdom: Fifty Years Later." The title of the piece refers, of course, to Hayek's famous (or some would say infamous) The Road to Serfdom which, written while he was in England at the tail end of World War II (1944), is a prophesy of the mess we are in today and will most likely be in tomorrow.


Subscribe to RSS - History