I’d really like to go to Italy some time. Ancient Rome is possibly one of my favorite subjects in history, and the terrain is exactly what I go for – hilly, lush, diverse. It’s really the only European country (with the Scandanavians – Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Norway – as the exceptions) that interests me. Not that I would want to live there, but some day, when I’m rich and famous, I could go for it.
I’m really enjoying The Catcher in the Rye. I didn’t like it at first, because it was just the monologue of an angsty teenager. As I’ve read on, however, I realize there’s a lot in Holden that’s extremely easy to relate to, but there’s a complexity to the character that makes it hard to interpret. I had this really interesting discussion with a girl in my English class (as the rest of the class sort of sat there and said nothing) about whether or not Holden is, at heart, untrue to himself and just a coward, or whether he’s really emotional/opinionated but unable to express himself in a way that others understand, and is thus forced to comply with the social norms to function. I argued for the latter.
The real point is, this is really the first book I’ve come across in the high school curriculum that approaches any level of intellectual complexity. Maybe I was just encouraged more by the fact that another person exists that even has the desire to discuss this kind of stuff in detail. I don’t mean to say that we actually bothered to continue talking about it after our 45 minutes of class ended; Lord knows that will never happen. Only politics and religion could pull enough interest out of any given acquaintence to permit prolonged discussion.
Things have been very surreal. I’ve been watching people around me grow up – I’ve been carefully marking the point at which the line between us and Joe “sixpack” Smith on TV is blurred. I don’t doubt my own maturity, but it is strange to watch everything around me continue to grow, but in a very, very demoralizing sense, not change. To illustrate what I mean, look at American histroy. We’re discussing the “growth” of industry in the late 19th century in US History, the same “ideas” of the time are inescapably true today. We are owned by “the man”, the corporations, “the system”, as it were (this is so cliche). I understand why this is, and why this will never change, despite what illusions we may create. The knowledge that humanity is no different than it was at any point in time is very demoralizing, especially in the sense that I will not live to see “better days”. Days with less blatant acts of sexism, racism, homophobia, or whatever discrimination of your choice, I will probably see. It will simply be traded off for another culturally acceptable evil that, in time, will morph from the norm to teh ev0l.
Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it. Those who do, are doomed to watch as it is repeated by those who do not know it.
I could end the post here for dramatic effect, but I feel like noting the fact that nobody will comment on this post – whenever I make these type of posts, the numbers are very low, possibly because nobody can find anything funny to say to break the mood of the post, or because nobody feels like debating whatever I’ve said. Please, though, I do enjoy discussion. Write thoughts, if nothing else.