Saturday, January 01, 2011

New Year

Here in Gringolandia the glacier seems to be receding.  I may get my car back up the hill and tucked into the garage.  The White Christmas storm kept me up here for lack of a four wheel drive vehicle which could actually get up the ice covered driveway.  My husband graciously took care of the farm animals because he drives a heavy four wheel drive truck.

I got to read The Lacuna, a book I highly recommend.  It concerns many things which I am interested in:  politics, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, class struggle, Mexico, Appalachia, and the dark side of human nature which will manage to destroy reputation by bullying.  Luckily, some of us have a lacuna through which we can escape.  The leisure to read was a great Christmas present.

Now, I'm on toThe Jungle, which purports to be about the evils of the meat packing industry in the early 1900s, but which will, I think, give me more insight into the lives of immigrants who came to the major cities on the Great Lakes from Europe and struggled against exploitation and deprivation.  Class struggle figures in again, as does the dark side of human nature.  Although my grandparents didn't live in Chicago, Buffalo was close enough.  My grandmother told me some stories of what it was like to be a child in those times, but perhaps I was less aware of the desire of the rich to exploit masses of workers for their own selfish gain.  This seems to be the aim of the current would-be "Masters of the Universe." 

The stories of unlimited opportunity in the New World were also sold to the peasants in Europe by agents of the meatpacking and steel industries to lure a nearly unlimited supply of workers so desperate to make a living for their families that they were willing to work for wages so low that many suffered and died while their employers got richer and richer.

Of course, Cortez mercilessly exploited the Azteca for much the same reasons.  Tell, me, will we ever learn enough from history to break the cycle?


CountryDew said...

I have The Lacuna in my "to read" pile; hope to get to it in the coming months. Thanks for the recommendation! said...

Loved the book, gave it as a gift this Christmas.

Hope to see you soon.