2008-11-13 / Sam Bari

Making history makes no sense

You can't beat a system you can't understand
By Sam Bari

Not that it was a prediction worthy of prophetic recognition, but I did say that we would survive the election, and, as always, we did. It has come and gone and will now go down in the annals of American history as a landmark election because the United States of America hired a man of color to its highest executive post.

A century from now, little mention will be made of Barack Obama's scholastic or political accomplishments, which were many. While being the president of the Harvard Law Review is nothing to sneeze at, the color of his skin will receive more notoriety. The fact that he was a professor of law at one of the country's most prestigious universities will not even get honorable mention.

I also seriously doubt that historians will record the two bestselling books that Obama authored into history textbooks because lots of people have written books, but how many multi-racial presidents were there? Chalk up another shining example of the world having its priorities in order.

It is truly sad that Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, and Madonna got more press as individuals than any person of political significance in the history of the country. What is sadder is that the average person under the age of 30 knows more about the aforementioned three ladies than they know about their heads of state.

Not too long ago, a late night television program showed photographs of Nancy Pelosi, Dick Cheney, and Paris Hilton to people on the street. They were all asked the same question.

"Of these three people, who is the Speaker of the House of Representatives?" Five out of five pointed to Dick Cheney. None could name Nancy Pelosi, but all recognized Paris Hilton. To make matters worse, they all admitted that they were guessing. They didn't recognize Cheney either.

It stands to reason that after the elections are over, news goes through a bit of a void. A national election has a tendency to provide ample fodder for the news hounds, keeping them well fed for at least a year. But when it comes to an end, they are scrambling. Whether anyone is aware of it, this news void could seriously affect the way we are perceived as a society in the future.

If some archeologist digs through the rubble of the remains of our existence 2,500 years from now and comes across a newspaper from this week in American history, that person could get a skewed impression of our society.

If you were that person, what would you think of a society that featured the following as a signifi- cant front-page newspaper story?

Headline: "When it comes to toys, you can't beat it"

Text: "The stick was inducted Thursday into the Toy Hall of Fame at the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, N.Y. Curators praised the stick's ability to capture a child's imagination, as well as its all-purpose and no-cost qualities.

"Curators said the stick was a special addition in the spirit of a 2005 inductee, the cardboard box. They praised its all-purpose, nocost, recreational qualities, noting its ability to serve either as raw material or an appendage transformed in myriad ways by a child's creativity."

If I were the archeologist reading this tidbit of significant news, I would probably assume that the writers still had tails and I would be astonished to learn that they walked upright. The fact that they were capable of producing newsprint would be puzzling.

The truth is mankind has been distorting history for as long as history has been recorded. For instance, who is responsible for the ridiculous myth about Christopher Columbus talking Queen Isabella of Spain out of her money so that he could prove that the world was round? What a crock!

I have to assume that Isabella was not stupid or uneducated. Don't you think she said something like, "Chris - the Greeks figured that out a couple of thousand years ago!"

Aristotle (384-322 BC) said that it was common knowledge, at least among the learned, so it's been known for at least 2,500 years. It was most likely ascertained by some Greek scholar observing the Earth's shadow on the Moon during a lunar eclipse. Also, Eratosthenes of Cyrene was the first to accurately estimate the Earth's diameter, around 220 BC.

The point is we have no idea why Queen Isabella gave Columbus so much as a dime. There are rumors, but they were not recorded. He was the most inept explorer of all time.

The fact that we celebrate a holiday honoring this Bozo who claimed to have discovered America when he never set foot on North American soil is an embarrassment. There is evidence that Europeans landed in North America centuries before Columbus took his historic voyage. He just had a better press secretary.

Recorded history is just more proof that we live in a system we can't understand.

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