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Dr Jacques COULARDEAU "A soul doctor, so to say" (OLLIERGUES France)

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Juliana (VOL1 (1941-1944)) (English Edition)
Juliana (VOL1 (1941-1944)) (English Edition)
Prix : EUR 0,00

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Peu importe l'histoire: on nous parle de demain, 20 mai 2016
Achat vérifié(De quoi s'agit-il ?)
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Juliana (VOL1 (1941-1944)) (English Edition) (Format Kindle)
This book is a complicated story that is fictional and yet wants to depict the New York City scene between 1941 (starting before the US entered the war) and 1944 (ending just before D-Day). What’s more it deals with the show business scene and it mixes real historical characters, hence real names, and some that I consider as fictional, like the Juliana of the title who I assume is white though I base this remark on the cover of the book.

The first element in the book is the impact of the war on the American society. First the at time ferocious patriotism of American men – and women. Men volunteer and enlist in the armed forces if they can or on their side if they can’t do more (age, handicaps, sexual orientation). This patriotism is both complete and never questioned. There is not one character who speaks against it and those who are excluded are vocally protesting against this ban or exclusion they consider unjust. The war also has an important impact on daily life with women having to work in the place of men: with restrictions and food stamps; with the opening of special entertaining centers for GIs with artists, music, dancing and of course drinks and food. Note artists are recruited with rather heavy arguments: patriotism again since they too have to contribute to the effort and to the morale of the troops. There is even a “mission” of artists going to Europe to entertain the troops in England, in Italy where the offensive is already going on and in Northern Africa.

The book is centered on six characters, three women and three men, a star of David or a number of Solomon of sorts. The first couple is Aggie and Dickie. It goes along with a second couple Alice and Danny. They come from some distant suburban or rural area to New York to have a career in showbiz. They are promised to marry one day, the As with the Ds, Anno Domini. They are old friends from high school at least maybe farther back. These four meets a lot of other people in New York City but two will emerge and they are not a couple though they apparently work together now and then. It is Max and Juliana.

Aggie and Dickie manage to have small parts and jobs in plays and musicals before the beginning of the war for the US and then they go on for a while after the US entered the war. Dickie though is sent to the front in Europe: Italy is the target. He will come back with an abdomen wound and will end up with an artificial colon exhaust bag. He was a dancer and singer. He will not dance any more. Aggie at the end takes care of him but she had had some dark episode while he was away. She might even be willing to get a divorce and be freed.

Alice and Danny are supposed to get married soon but Alice discovers Danny one morning coming out of Max’s bedroom in the nude. The meaning is simple. Alice rejects Danny immediately and in a very sectarian way. Danny oscillating between depression and other temptations decides to join the armed forces and as such manages to age and to become maybe more mature about his desire, which means maybe accept it, especially since he has fallen in love on the front. Alice and Danny are good friends again at the end. But Alice is one real stake – as a stubborn black sheep who pretends she is as white as snow, well not exactly but with only one small stain of grey far away from sight – in this book. She has fallen in love with Juliana but she refuses to accept the idea that she is a lesbian.

Max is a character on the NYC stage, stylish, gay with great ideas and projects but his gayness is purely sexual, and I should say even hormonal. Yet he joins the armed forces too out od sheer patriotism and there falls in love with another soldier who is moved back to the US. Censorship discovers in one letter from this other man to Max a phrase that makes the censors think they are dealing with a homosexual couple. So they give the blue sheet to Max: internment for a while in Europe. Repatriation and internment again in the US, finally he is discharged with the blue document that tells he is not desirable. That excludes him from all benefits veterans will get after the war. That prevents him from even saying he is a veteran since it would bring a discharge that is not honorable. In other words he has become an outcast in his own country out of patriotism, and yet with the help of Alice he tries to rebuild his dream with no money and no connections. Or nearly no connections.

That’s were Juliana is important. She is a female Max, in other words a lesbian who is more hormonal than in love with any one. Yet she falls for Alice, though she does not want to say it publicly or out loud. In the same movement, and at the same time Alice has fallen for Juliana though she wants to reduce it to only her which should prove in her mind that she is not a lesbian. Of course that is casuistry, play on words, if not hypocrisy. The very end brings some kind of restructuring of the six people. Alice tells Aggie about her affection for Juliana. Aggie is shocked and run away. Dickie seems to be on the same line in his handicapped dependency. Danny will remain on the side after his return.

So the six original characters shrink to a group of three, a trinity of sort of unholy people. Gay max, lesbian Juliana and lesbian to become Alice with one project: to build and open a club in New York City, a club for music, performing, and that would be open to all diversity and particularly segregated against minorities like blacks and homosexuals.

That brings the main question in this book. It is openly gay and lesbian oriented. It reveals the bigotry of most Americans in society and in the armed forces in spite of some tolerance for a while in the armed forces, tolerance that is dubious and maybe unbelievable, of the sort Don’t Tell Don’t Ask. That did not last long. The bigotry is depicted in the most crude and brutal terms. Things have not changed a lot since then when we deal with these bigots. Things may have changed legally in this post-propositioon-8 America, but gay-bashing remains a sport for some people. In the 1940s it was both a national and a family sport: bash them all and God will finish the job and send them to hell.

Yet there is here and there a tone that is not the tone of the 1940s. Here and there the book seems to assume the present situation in the 2010s. At the same time the explicit sexual scenes and descriptions on the lesbian side make the book at least erotic and we could consider some chapter are openly pornographic. It is done with some restraint and modesty but the modesty of Greek statues, though on the male side modesty means purely and simply no-mention of graphic detail. At times the bigotry is too blunt to be effective and the regret Aggie expresses at the last minute of her connection to Alice when she recuperates her teddy bear seems to mean that she regrets the fact that Alice told her about her affair with Juliana: it would have been so much simpler if it had not been expressed in words. Hypocrisy is the loincloth of bigotry.

The last element is the families of the characters. They are so obnoxious at times and so rejected all the time that is worthless to speak of it. The families are some caricature of an explanation of the orientation of the children. Too easy, too simple and as usual the mother is the real culprit as if it were necessary. One can be gay without such a psychedelic short-cut. But the book is interesting if you want to understand that modern trend in the whole world: LGBTQ rights and Rainbow Pride.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU


The Power of Neurodiversity: Unleashing the Advantages of Your Differently Wired Brain (published in hardcover as Neurodiversity)
The Power of Neurodiversity: Unleashing the Advantages of Your Differently Wired Brain (published in hardcover as Neurodiversity)
par Ph.D. Thomas Armstrong PhD
Edition : Broché
Prix : EUR 12,81

4.0 étoiles sur 5 Le linguistique et le communicationnel sont negligés, 14 mai 2016
Achat vérifié(De quoi s'agit-il ?)
The author attacks seven conditions of mental disorder: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), autism, dyslexia, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, intellectual disabilities and schizophrenia. Why these seven and only these seven? What about the Down syndrome or other syndromes of the same type, basically genetic? But we have to follow the author to understand his approach that has to be limited to the cases he studies, and we are going to discover that some chapters are in fact kind of catch-all vessels and many cases are thus covered as side cases of a wider case.

He states eight basic principles and it is important to just list them here.

1. Principle 1: The human brain works more like an ecosystem than a machine.
2. Principle 2: Human beings and human brains exist along continuums of competence.
3. Principle 3: Human competence is defined by the values of the culture to which you belong.
4. Principle 4: Whether you are regarded as disabled or gifted depends largely on when and where you were born.
5. Principle 5: Success in life is based on adapting one’s brain to the needs of the surrounding environment.
6. Principle 6: Success in life also depends on modifying your surrounding environment to fit the needs of your unique brain (niche construction).
7. Principle 7: Niche construction includes career and lifestyle choices, assistive technologies, human resources, and other life-enhancing strategies tailored to the specific needs of a neurodiverse individual.
8. Principle 8: Positive niche construction directly modifies the brain, which in turns enhances its ability to adapt to the environment.

Before entering the chapters on the seven disorders considered here I think it is very important to state one thing missing in this approach and I would consider it is the basic principle, Principle number 0:

0. Principle 0: Human beings are basically beings that cannot survive without communication and this communication should – or that is at least an objective that has to be adapted to the possibilities of each individual – go through human articulated language, a human invention in constant development: communication has to be developed along various practical channels that depend on the individuals concerned from oral communication to symbolical or even artistic communication, always with an important empathetic and emotional content.

The people concerned in this book are going to be characterized by their difficulty at communicating most of the time either orally or with one or several material media: writing or representing in a way or another. I insist on this principle because communication is the way the brain develops the mind along with this communication that has to be linguistic in a way or another, even if it is neither oral (uttered) nor written (with pen and paper). Without this dimension the brain cannot develop its conceptualizing power that is the door to the development of the mind. Concepts can be images if you want or absolutely abstract elements, but conceptualizing has to be, has to develop if the mind is to become anything.

I would like to insist here on the six stages of this conceptualizing path. The first three are shared with many animals, if not all, but the next three are purely human.

1. To sense with the five physical senses (and in a more advanced stage with the mind as a sixth sense, a meta-sense): sensations.
2. To perceive with the brain that transforms these sensations (purely nervous influx) into patterns, small or big, simple or complex: perceptions.
3. To identify or to recognize which leads to “naming” even if it is only with a mental image: it is important to see that one item cannot be mixed up with another: identification based on the originality of the item hence based on its differences with other items.
4. To experiment is the first stage of properly human mental work and it is first of all practical: it is a practical experimentation with what you have identified. That’s the very first stage of conceptualization according to Vygotsky. It can be manual like planting identified seeds to see what happens on the basis of some observation or just inspiration: planting glasses to grow glass trees, or playing “Mutter da, Mutter fort;” in Freud’s terms.
5. To speculate comes next since on the basis of this experimentation you come to some conclusion like “a glass” cannot grow into “a glass tree.” This speculation is fundamental again since it is personal, hence deeply rooted in us, in our consciousness, and once again this does not require oral language. This speculation can be exclusively existential and non-linguistic.
6. To conceptualize finally will bring the mind into an abstract concept corresponding to the concerned item and containing all the properties we have attached to it experimentally and existentially: abstract conceptualization and there some form of language is necessary since the very finality of this conceptualization is communication.

There is only one dimension to add to this, our principle 0: communication is going to facilitate and make effective this development. Communication does not need to be linguistic though the adults we are should always know they have to meaningfully speak to the person, new-born, child, teenager or adult, neurotypical or neurodiverse, when they are in contact with him or her. He/she may not react to that language but except if he/she is deaf he/she will hear it and if he/she is deaf he/she will feel it, sense it, at times with no reaction whatsoever. Beyond this oral production of the caregiver all other levels of contact and communication have to be developed: physical contact, eye contact, contact through objects, food, toys, and even contact with lips and hands movement, body language. A smile and a soft word are worth millions of empathetic moments even if the child does not respond the same way. We have to find the proper media where that communication can get some response, but we must always maintain the media that do not get a direct or immediate response. By just hearing a language spoken to them, all children are learning that language even if they do not use it to respond.

That’s for me essential as a starting point and you can experience that communication with a deaf and mute child: he/she sees your language even if he/she cannot integrate it or use it. He/she sees the care, the empathy, the love even, and yet he/she might get angry and restless because he/she cannot do the same though he/she cannot hear it. Communication is basic, which does not mean it is easy, spontaneous and simple.

I will not follow the book in the details of the seven conditions the author considers chapter after chapter: ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), autism (and within autism, Asperger’s syndrome), dyslexia, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, intellectual disabilities and schizophrenia. There could be other cases. But the general approach is basically the same for all cases: consider each “disorder” as a specific mental or physical case that can be seen from a positive point of view or from a negative point of view. The author insists on looking for the positive aspects, the positive competences, the positive qualities each case has. We have to be careful with such a voluntarily biased approach. It can be as dangerous as the reverse and standard negative approach that only sees the lacks, the wants, the missing pawns in the mental-physical outlay of these people. The negative standard approach does not see or does not want to see the positive aspects. But the positive approach may also refuse to see the negative aspects. If you only consider half the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle you will never rebuild the whole picture. The personality of an individual is just such a jigsaw puzzle with thousands of elements or pieces that are supposed to fit together though most of them are growing with time, starting in the fetus and going on all along one’s life. The fact that these pieces are growing enables the articulation of every single one to the others because they are flexible in their growth. That’s what we say about “normal” people and that is not entirely true. In all individuals the flexibility of the neurons, brain cells and even all other cells in the body is limited in scope and in time. The flexibility diminishes with time except for the cells that are heavily worked upon. A musician, trained as such, may and/or will remain flexible in that field for a very long time, whereas he may get very frozen in some other fields. And that’s just the point.

All human beings can learn something and develop some capabilities or knowledge provided we understand they can do this only by using the capabilities that are at their disposal to start with. Some people, in fact most people use routines, routine procedures and habitual methods because it is easier. The people we are talking about here, the people who have some mental or physical characteristic(s) that makes them different (differently-abled, differently-wired, neurodiverse or physical-diverse), may seem to be blocked in one stance, one attitude, one approach, one field of interest. It is by using this field of interest, approach, attitude, stance that we can help these individuals to develop their own knowledge, their own minds, their own mental strength. But, and the author only insists on this point at the end of the book, what is good for those who have such obstacles on their roads to self-development is a lot more useful to those who do not have these obstacles on their own roads. In other words it is these neurodiverse individuals who can help us build a diverse pedagogy meaning a pedagogy adapted to each one in a group and at the same time shared by all: what’s good for the special individuals in the group can be good for all others and might even speed up those others. But we have to keep in mind that what is good for the most flexible individuals or for the special super-developed competences some of the less flexible individuals might not be possible for the others, other individuals or other competences. An Asperger patient can learn a whole book in no time because of a very special instant scanning visual memory (instant memory of what is seen and at the same time the scanning of what is seen into text enabling the subject to remember it as text, hence to recite it as text and not as image). But this very Asperger patient may not have the same capability with sounds, music for example, or oral languages, and that particular capability is mostly not available to most other people who do not have the Asperger’s syndrome.

In the same way some people have a tremendous flexibility in their fingers and with training, as early as possible, can develop a mental flexibility coordinated to that finger flexibility which will enable them to become great pianist for example if they have good hearing if not perfect or absolute pitch. It is quite obvious that everyone is not going to have this finger flexibility, to get the early training necessary to develop it, may not have the mental or cerebral flexibility to coordinate the fingers and may not have perfect pitch. The first one might develop into a great piano soloist. The other one will remain a piano player who will entertain himself or at times his family and friends, but no more. Some might even never be able to play the piano. But it is true that training children early on a keyboard of any type might enable some to become musicians in a way or another though if they had not been trained early they might never have become musicians at all. What is good for any particular group of people with one recognized characteristic is necessarily good for many others and may even reveal in some of these others the characteristic that was not seen at first. It is obvious we cannot speak in positive or negative terms. What is good for an ADHD individual who is essentially active in physical terms and needs to walk, run, and work physically in any environment of his choice, particularly nature cannot be bad for other individuals since it would give them a better physical health and that might even speed up their learning capabilities. It will not make it easier. To believe that you can learn without an effort is an absurdity. It might give to this effort more fun and excitement. Even a library rat likes fun and excitement at times, be it only a cat suddenly running after that library rat to enhance its supper.

I will then jump to the eight principle the author proposes to develop a neurodiverse classroom in his chapter nine.

1- The neurodiverse classroom contains students with many types of diversities. . . culture, race, gender and sexual orientation. . . language and communication delays, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, spina bifida, cystic fibrosis, blindness, deafness, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, stroke, and multiple disabilities. . . gifted and talented. [Note the learning and physical disabilities are not the same as those that were considered in the previous chapters: some had not even been mentioned.]
2- The neurodiverse classroom uses multiple intelligences instructional strategies and other universal design for learning methods. [Note this can be both material means and mental or intellectual means: tools as well as conceptualized methods used by a teacher.]
3- The neurodiverse classroom contains people who have been given various labels encompassing cognitive, educational, emotional, and behavioral issues, [Physical is missing] and also people who have not been given those labels.
4- The neurodiverse classroom celebrates and teaches about diversities of all kinds. [I am critical about the use of words like “celebrate” or “teach”: my approach of diversity is essentially to enable these diversities to be expressed and to be discussed in the neurodiverse or simply diverse classroom: any difference is at stake here, like religion, race, culture, gender (that should be taken as covering sexual orientation, hence in its more than twelve identities), national origin and many others including of course all personal or social characteristics.]
5- The neurodiverse classroom possesses a rich collection of assistive technologies to enable individuals with diverse special needs to access information, engage in learning, and express themselves cognitively, emotionally, artistically, creatively, and spiritually. [Physically is missing here again.]
6- The neurodiverse classroom pays attention to the environment, the use of space, and other ecological consideration. [Physical considerations are missing: space is the very basis, along with time, of lateralization, which is an essential dimension of a child’s growth, long before his or her birth, and definitely as soon as he or she is born and can be trained into that space lateralization at first and space-and-time lateralization afterwards]
7- The neurodiverse classroom contains a rich network of human relationships that support each individual’s journey of learning and development. [That’s the main point: more about it further on.]
8- The neurodiverse classroom believes in the natural, organic development of each individual. [I am very critical of terms like “natural” or even “organic.” Human development is natural of course but mediated by so much non-natural means and procedures that is has to be seen as human and social, cultural and ideological, mental and spiritual a lot more than natural and organic.]

When reading the book and these final considerations we are impressed by the fact the author follows the trend in one element: he describes the various cases he envisages from a “clinical” point of view: he only describes the symptoms but never wonders about the causes, apart from the genetic causes which are more symptoms than real causes. We are dealing here with development and that development is basically dependent on communication and an active empathetic relationship with the caregiver, nurturer or teacher (they can and must also be the parents). The author does not consider the problem of language which is neither hereditary, not spontaneous, even in the most gifted children. Language is built in the mind by a brain that conceptualizes what it discriminates using the resources of the body (very deep larynx, highly developed articulatory capabilities and vastly available and developable coordinating power of Broca’s area in the brain that develops along with the work it performs. The problem here is how can you unblock these resources the child has when they are blocked by some “heritage” that can be genetic, traumatic, or whatever. Find the cause and then look for the proper procedure to unblock what is blocked and alleviating the cause. Aspirin cannot cure pneumonia (bacterial infection) though it is practically the only thing you can use against a plain cold (viral infection). I am thinking of a doctor who gave an antibiotic to cure a fungus infection in the ear of a patient.

This is even more important with the active empathetic relationship the caregiver, nurturer and teacher (and these can and must be the parents) have to entertain with the children. First there is no rule apart from this general consideration. In fact this relationship can only be special and particular with every single caregiver-nurturer-teacher and every single child or individual when they become teenagers and adults. They need empathetic contact like ALL CHILDREN. But each one will develop that contact on his own and in his own way. Some will look for eye contact: don’t refuse it. Some will try to attract the auditory attention of the caregiver-nurturer-teacher: respond to it. Some will need physical contact of some type and the adult knows that physical contact has to respect some limits that some kids will not respect or at least will not be conscious they exist: never refuse or reject that physical contact, but keep ot within the limits we are speaking of here. We also have to teach these limits in full clear consciousness. I am of course speaking of what is considered as child abuse or child molesting. The problem is that if a child needs to be hugged, we have to hug him or her, but that hug must be a welcoming hug when arriving and a farewell hug when leaving. It can also be a reassuring solace in some stressful situations, and that is true for all children all people (American series at times overdo it with cops hugging traumatized people in some public events). But the problem is that what you do with one child in a class will be seen by the others who will either be jealous because they want it but dare not ask for it, or aggressive because they will identify this as something they hate: that hate has to be expressed and even dealt with in the class itself, and probably not by the teacher but by the students themselves. Some children, and I am speaking here about all children, find it natural to kiss the caregiver-nurturer-teacher, at least at a young age (kindergarten or primary school). That too has to be controlled: kept within some meaningful limits, limits that give some clear meaning to the contact itself. But the main problem is that these physical elements have to be seen by all in the class as natural, reciprocal, meaningful, and that will mean these elements will have to be kept within quantitative moderation. That is the most difficult part of a neurodiverse or simply pedagogically open classroom. What is needed and natural for one student is not the same as what is needed and natural for another student. The teachers have to be trained to respond to the needs of the students and not to impose their agenda. And on this point the author is mistaken when he says:

“In fact, the greatest change that can be made is one that costs little or nothing: changing the attitude of educators toward kids with labels.” (p. 201)

First what I have just explained shows that it is not only towards the kids with labels but towards all kids, kids in general. The teacher has to become pedagogically diverse and empathetically diverse. The first one is mostly a question of technical training and available means. The second one is the most difficult enterprise you can imagine: it goes against the grain of the educational system in most countries, against justified campaigns against child abuse and child molesting (when it is not child slavery), against the desire of any educator to remain the master of his or her emotions and private feelings. The quotation of Jean Jacques Rousseau does not reflect Rousseau’s real pedagogy which is very progressive but also extremely individualized (private coaching and teaching) and extremely authoritative (if you want to teach the value of a window pane to a child, let him sleep in a room whose window panes were broken by his carelessness or even intentionally, especially if it is the winter: that is plain torturing.). His quotation of Friedrich Froebel is for me totally mis-inspired. Children are not plants or animals. Even a metaphor of that type is for me a crime against the humanity of children. And the quotation of Maria Montessori is not better that compares education with sowing seeds in the field of intelligence. Education has to be defined as human and thus has to be based on communication, hence all means that enable a teacher to communicate with children taken as all different individuals with their needs and their limits. Some limits have to be kept and some have to be negotiated. That requires a completely different training system for teachers and educators. That will take many years. That will cost a lot of investment. That will put into shambles a lot of supposedly universal principles like a teacher must not get emotionally involved with his or her students. If we mean an involvement that would lead to child abuse or child molestation I would agree. But this should mean empathetic involvement. Empathy can go as far as love but that love cannot in anyway become physical. It is an emotion children need for their maturation but the physical activity too many people unduly attach to it or reduce it to is of course out of scope here.

Children love many people. We love many people. Starting with family and friends. And we would not develop this love or these loves into anything of the physical intimate nature some reductive minds may be obsessed with.

The last chapter about mutants and mutations is certainly interesting but I will oppose any cultivation of mutations, be it selective or scientifically assisted, just as much as I will oppose any eugenics of any sort: eugenics are still in the air. H.G. Wells was a strong defender of such vast eugenics and his views are mostly reproduced, and that is only one example, in the “philosophy” of a man like Ron Hubbard, both in Dianetics and in Scientology with the ambition to make everyone “clear” and eliminate all those who cannot be made “clear” or are not worth being made “clear.” The concept of “clarity” for all is absurd. Development and value producing and value adding for all is the only human approach I would and will support. Every person must have since long before their birth the chance to fully develop their potential, and to become full citizens that can add value to the world by adding value to what they do or produce with their work. That value-adding procedure should become universal for everyone in proportion and correlation with their capabilities, their development, their potential that must be fully enhanced and encouraged to flourish by the means proposed and by the efforts mobilized by each individual.

I am absolutely convinced all differences are an asset for humanity and that all differences have to be brought to full maturity knowing any point reached in that perspective will always be lower than another potential point in the future of this perspective. We can always go farther and further, always expand wider and deeper. There is no one more boring than a person who has reached a certain point of development and requires to be given a protected and privileged position till his death without ever trying to improve his or her capabilities or competence. I was, the other day, listening to people from the Justice Department before their taking a selective and promotional test to go up in their administration: one of them was expressing the idea that he was doing that only to get to a safer and easier position and that he never did and never would do anything more than the 35 hours he owed the Justice department. The Peter Principle is here transformed into the step ladder to some kind of farniente or aristocratic nonchalance, not competence and as for competent work, maybe, as long as it is a very well timed routine.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU


Man and Boy
Man and Boy
Prix : EUR 3,94

4.0 étoiles sur 5 Pourquoi donc les journalistes veulent-ils se faire romanciers?, 13 mai 2016
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Man and Boy (Format Kindle)
A love story of a completely different type, maybe unexpected, and it has not aged more than one single iota in the nearly twenty years that have elapsed since publication. It was adapted to television by and for the BBC. This iota has to do with the father’s attitude toward not getting primary residence for his son. Today courts are a lot more open on the question and some real sharing can be envisaged.

But what makes this book special to the point of being translated into thirty languages? A lot of elements could be listed. I will just give a few.

First the center piece of the novel is a young couple with a four year old child. The wife has sacrificed a career that she had never started to her family, a family that is so nuclear that she becomes a zombie from such nuclear fallout. Note even after six months of trying having such a career she will come back to the mould, request primary residence for her son and that will be it with maybe a second child later on with the new husband. As for the mother the book has tremendously aged. But back to the story line. She picks the first pretext she can find to run away. An easy task since boys will be boys and men will be men: they cannot escape the curse of the knob, as the husband Harry calls it, that makes them masculine. They have to rub it and to dip it into the first sheath available.

Then the story centers on this man and his son. Harry learns how to take care of his son Pat. He becomes a single parent father. And he is successful at it. And yet the boy misses something. Guess what. The mother is in Japan having her own life with some Richard American expat, or something like that since it is not important who he is, his name, his position. He is just the man this frustrated woman picks to step back down into nuclear frustration. Poor Pat, and he is not the postman.

Third, the author doubles this picture with a second mirror image, hence inverted which makes thing “normal” meaning straight. A woman, Cyd, an expat from Texas who has kicked her British BMW motorbike monster of a husband out of her immediate life and lives with her/their four year old daughter Peggy. Poor Peggy who is also missing something, a father probably. This makes the film utterly moralistic as for the definition of the parents of a child. There is no same sex marriage and no children with two fathers or two mothers, and children with single parents are seen as victims. A child has to have two parents and these have to be a man and a woman. Full stop! No question asked, hence no question answered. At the very end, in a club, there is a vague mention of gay men, but it sounds like some frustration on the part of the main character.

Fourth. With that stuff the author makes a novel that is definitely new with some novel (new and not resembling something formerly known or used) ideas. It is true a lot less novel today. He now centers the novel on the father first and his efforts at becoming a true loving father and at providing his son with a new mother and a sister, Cyd and Peggy. But Cyd and Peggy are running away from such a choice, at least Cyd is, and Peggy follows. Pat just makes a new friend, but this time a boy whose identity is meaningless, except that we go back into a cliché: a boy with a boy, girls are for later.

Yet the author avoids the soap opera with tears and whining mice and rats inter-devouring one another. Just one episode is important for the story: the relation of Pat with the parents of his father. The grandfather plays a role and particularly when he dies of cancer. The boy Pat at the age of five discovers death in a man he likes. Yet that loss is not exploited beyond the plain anecdote. For a child this age such an event is a trauma, and cannot be anything but a trauma. She child may be deeply disturbed, especially if he does not seem to be really shocked because he should. But of course it would have been another novel. So why introduce this death if it is not exploited? There is absolutely no reason why this grandfather has to die in this novel. It does not change the course of events at all, at least for the child. The novel at least avoids that possibility. So why mention the anecdote.

Sixth. This death provides the “end” of the novel, but not in the child Pat, rather in the child Harry, because at this moment the father regresses to what he used to be as a child and he is deeply hurt, shocked and transformed by this death. Not on his own but thanks to the mother who has a tremendous power of adaptation. Harry’s mother goes through the funeral, survives her solitude and confides her secret to her surprised son. “Love means knowing when to let go.” Love then becomes a deep emotion that never leaves the one who lets go and it becomes the deepest inspiration for the one who goes, who is let to go, in this case Pat who is let to go by his father Harry. The book though does not seem to see the difference between letting go a dead man into death and letting go a child into a recomposed family. But I guess such contradictions are part of the genre. And the father drops all desire to get primary residence for his son and he lets the son’s mother and her recomposed family have it. Note the child becomes then a pure possession.

This is heavily emphasized by the reference to the film “Cinema Paradiso” (Nuovo Cinema Paradiso, 1988) by Giuseppe Tornatore. Harry sees the film in a cinema with Cyd and the author summarizes it slightly skimpily:

“. . . an Italian film . . . about a young boy’s friendship with the old projectionist at the local movie house. . . at the end when the gruff old projectionist, now blinded by a fire in the cinema, tells the Bambi-eyed young boy, now a teenager, to leave their village and never come back. The boy, Toto, goes away and becomes a famous film director and doesn’t come back to his little village for thirty years, on the day that they are burying Alfredo, the old projectionist who taught him to love the cinema and then sent him away. . . Because Alfredo knew that Toto would never find the things he needed in that little town. . . He had to break free so that he could learn what Alfredo already knew Life is not what you see in films – life is much harder. [dixit Cyd]” (p. 257-258)

I regret the skimpiness of this summary because it misses absolutely everything important about the son Pat, because it cuts out Toto’s dead father, Toto’s sister nearly killed by a fire in the cinema, Toto’s mother, the two fire incidents in the cinema, the rebuilding of this cinema, Toto’s love affair with Elena, a rich man’s daughter, etc. In fact the film should have led the novel into another direction, but life is not what it looks like in films. Surely it is not, but the cinema teaches us great ideas and truths that life at times forgets to teach us and here the main idea is that Salvatore (Toto) has no father, needs a father substitute and finds one in Alfredo the projectionist. Toto is fascinated by the cinema (as an art and communicational medium) but his sister nearly dies in a fire in that local cinema (as a plain building that is inflammable). And Toto needs this father substitute to tell him: “OK, boy, it is time for you to go and realize your dream, live your life!” But Alfredo cheated in a way, and yet Salvatore would never have realized his dream of becoming a film director if Alfredo had not cheated and had not decided to lose a friend in order for that friend to become what his potential made him capable of becoming, and that future man will be able to hyg Alfredo on his deathbed if not in his coffin. To expand this theme let me quote the full synopsis of the film as given by the users of IMDb.

“Beginning at the end, the movie opens with Salvatore's mother trying to inform him of the death of Alfredo. Salvatore, a filmmaker who has not been home since his youth, leaves Rome immediately to attend the funeral. Through flashbacks we watch Salvatore in his youth, in a post WWII town in Southern Italy. As a young boy he is called Toto and he has a strong affinity for the cinema. Toto often sneaks into the movie theater when he shouldn't and harasses the projectionist, Alfredo, in attempts to get splices of film that are cut out by the church because they contain scenes of kissing. Toto has a younger sister and war widowed mother who often struggle due to the loss of Toto's father.

Toto is banned from the movie theater by his mother when his film bits accidentally catch fire and nearly kill his sister along with burning up the only picture Toto has of his father along with other family photographs.

Eventually he sneaks his way back and forms a father-son bond with Alfredo, despite Alfredo's reluctancy, Toto even learns how to run the projector. Meanwhile one of the townspeople wins the lotto and becomes a rich man. One day in the cinema, after Toto leaves to watch the movie with his friends below, the film catches fire in the projector and knocks Alfredo out. Young Toto rescues Alfredo from death in the fire, unfortunately the cinema burns down and Alfredo loses his sight.

Lucky the lotto-lucky-townsman pays to have a new cinema put up. Since Toto already knows how to run the projector he works with Alfredo in the projection room.

Some years pass and Salvatore is now a young man. A rich girl, Elena, comes to town and Salvatore and his friends vie for her attention. Salvatore films her and begins to fall in love. Alfredo advises him to steer clear of love because it only causes pain. Despite his warning, Salvatore confesses his love to Elena, whose reply is that she does not, but she could. So he waits, every night outside her house for her reply. One day he gives up and trudges home depressed and upset only to soon discover that Elena does love him in return.

They begin a passionate romance, like that of two newlyweds. Unfortunately, Elena's father doesn't approve and so he takes Elena away. All summer they try to meet, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. On one particular day he tries to reach her and she him but their paths don't cross. As we discover later, Alfredo catches Elena and convinces her to leave Salvatore alone out of love. Salvatore then wanders without purpose and eventually joins the military due to the requirement by Italian law that all male youths serve for a period of time in the army.

When he returns to his home town, all has changed and he cannot adjust. Alfredo urges him to leave and tells him that if he were to ever return, he would not see him. Obviously Salvatore goes on to become a successful filmmaker. As he wanders the remains of his town after the funeral he sees a vision of Elena just as she was when they were young; he realizes it is Elena's daughter and follows her to Elena's home where he sees that she married one of Salvatore's childhood friends, a dunce when Salvatore knew him. He confronts Elena and they meet.

They talk and she reveals to him that she didn't miss out on their fateful reunion but rather that Alfredo convinced her to leave. Salvatore realizes what a role Alfredo had in shaping his life and that Alfredo knew that if he stayed with Elena he would have no chance to pursue his love of film and so by going to Rome to become a filmmaker he sacrificed his love for Elena.

Salvatore and Elena say farewell and go their separate ways. Salvatore returns to Rome with a can of film left to him by Alfredo. It contains all the splices of the kissing scenes from Salvatore's youth.” ([...], accessed May 13, 2016 )

You can now realize how much the author missed, how many opportunities he missed on the side of Harry as well as on Toto’s side. The fact that Harry had been invited by Cyd to see that film with her in Soho is also extremely meaningful and the summary Cyd gives is so far from what is relevant: desire is one thing but it has no future in itself whereas love is not desire and it is able to see beyond the emotion the interest of the loved one who has to move away on his or her own road to eventually fulfill his or her promise, potential, future. We have our future in our own mind and brain but our body’s desires may tie us up so strongly at crucial moments in our lives that we miss the train and we reach the station too late. If we are lucky we can see the red lights of the train moving away and maybe learn a lesson for next time we try to catch a train: don’t linger satisfying your bodily functions and rush after your spiritual potential. Life is cruel if you do not do the latter. Life is beautiful if you do. I thus dedicate this review to a young man who has been my assistant for seven years and has to go on his own road. Don’t miss your train in the name of what is good now. Your train will not wait for you.

Finally this novel has a happy ending for “everyone” though we could doubt the happiness of this ending but I won’t reveal it. It is good at times to run amok in a love story in modern garb, but please do not throw cobblestones on the pianist. He is only an entertainer.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU


Obama's Odyssey: The 2008 Race for the White House: The 2008 Race for the White House (Vol. I, Caucus to Convention) (English Edition)
Obama's Odyssey: The 2008 Race for the White House: The 2008 Race for the White House (Vol. I, Caucus to Convention) (English Edition)
Prix : EUR 4,41

5.0 étoiles sur 5 La lumière qui précèda la nuit du Donald!, 4 mai 2016
The author offers us her 2008 Yahoo blog when she followed Barack Obama’s campaign in the primaries for the presidential nomination by the Democratic Party. Before entering the basic debate contained in this published blog I must eliminate the negative elements that are going to irritate you and might lead you to dropping out. That would be a shame because there are a lot of interesting things in this approach of the campaign.

THE NEGATIVE SIDE OF THINGS
All along the blog you have remarks in brackets and italics. They are short but at times they are difficult to know if they are from the original blog and thus were ironical, critical, sarcastic or whatever asides in the blog itself or if they have been added in 2016. Some are clearly anachronistic, but many are not clearly determined. That is a serious shortcoming since we do not know if the author is always conscious that the 2008 blog will necessarily be interpreted in 2016 as meaning something now and these anachronistic notes are pushing the reader to do so. Apart from the fact these elements should have been specified, developed and clearly set apart the question is: what game is the author playing in 2016 in the very middle of the primaries for the Democratic Party’s nomination for the 2016 presidential election when Obama is the President and Hillary Clinton the front running candidate or applicant (for the job)?

Two very irritating anti-chronological moments can be found and that is not acceptable in a blog that can only be chronological. The first instance is the wrong order of one entry of January 2 before the next entry of January 1. But the main discrepancy in that direction is the coverage of the Pennsylvania primary. Let me give you the detail of this systematic anti-chronological section: April 21 – April 23, 1.30 pm – April 22, 11.30 pm; 10.30 pm, 9.30 pm; 7.30 pm; 7.00 pm; 5.03 pm – April 21, 11.57 pm. There is no reason, no explanation, and it makes no sense. In fact we are obliged to read this section backward to really get the meaning.

Then you will find an unverified quotation and unspecified quotation of Shakespeare, freely glozed. The quotation is of course wrong in its real words but we are not even told it is from Julius Caesar, act 4 scene 3 and it is not a real true quotation though the author was working on the Internet for Yahoo and she did not have the idea that it would have taken her about three minutes to get it on the screen. Let me giove the full quotation for those who are curious. Brutus is speaking, the future assassin of Julius Caesar:

BRUTUS
“Under your pardon. You must note beside,
That we have tried the utmost of our friends,
Our legions are brim-full, our cause is ripe.
The enemy increaseth every day.
We, at the height, are ready to decline.
There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves
Or lose our ventures.” (Julius Caesar, Act 4, Scene 3)

You will find that surprising since she was working for the Internet. Surprising and irritating. On the other hand when she speaks of Crist, the Governor of Florida at the time, she only quotes a long entry of Wikipedia to not summarize but fully cover his political choices, his policies. So after all she knows somewhere the Internet is a tool for authors. Such a “sloppy job” would be harshly criticized in the work of any student in any college or university.

It is a blog but the long repeats page 42-44 of my Word copy (January 6) and then page 46-47 of the same Word copy (January 10) is or are not at all justified. Repeats, and there are many short or punctual ones, are bad journalistic writing. At the same time she refers three times to Maytag without ever specifying what it was about. Most people today either do not know about it, or do not remember the detail. Maytag is an exemplary case in harsh competition among some companies like General Electric, Whirlpool and some others. The author should have given some elements about what it was all about. Repeating is in no way enough.

THIS IS A BLOG, NOT A JOURNALISTIC ARTICLE
But she gives at the beginning a general idea about her perspective which is not journalistic. It is a blog, don’t forget. In a campaign a journalist is not supposed to commit himself or herself about what kind of a president the candidates would make, which is at times very tricky and difficult to do. They are supposed to be assessed as campaigners and that is just the point. George W. Bush was an excellent campaigner and he became a very bad president. The author mixes the two. She thus has the defect of many journalists who give all small details accumulated in long articles and she at the same time very obviously commits herself to one side against all others, to Obama against Biden, Edwards, Clinton and all the Republicans. And she does not try to really assess the value of the candidates as campaigners: she tries to see the president they might be when or if elected. A journalist is supposed to remain objective whereas a commitment is never objective. It may be true but not objective. True for the committing person who is not supposed to be “interested” in the candidate’s success with any kind of benefit or prospect. True too as for the situation in which this commitment is performed: in phase then with the outcome, which can only be known afterwards. This commitment in this case eight years later becomes unacceptable because it should have been made relative and critical after all that time with anachronistic but critical notes.

I will pass the self-centered teenage poem of January 14 in which she denounces politicians who use too many words, but she does so with words which might be ironical though the text, context, or cotext do not make it such, that is to say sarcastic. I will also pass the parallel with McNamara who was acting under a Democratic President and in the Vietnam War, nothing to do with the Republican George W. Bush and the War in Iraq. Petraeus was no McNamara and Bush Jr. was no Lyndon Johnson.

THE PORTRAYING OF CLINTON IN 2016
Then the next question comes up. What game is the author playing with Clinton in 2016?

She attacks the woman at such a low level that we wonder if she realizes it may be damaging to Hillary Clinton in her present attempt to be elected. I don’t want to insist on that sorry level of the attack but to assert that “even my female friends don’t want her to win,” or that Bill Clinton is making friends with George W. Bush, or that she is “unable to connect emotionally with voters,” or that Hillary Clinton is for a mandatory health insurance for everyone, or that she cheats with the decision to refuse the primaries of Florida and Michigan and their delegates and asks for these delegates to be seated because she may need them (hence she changes the rules in the course of her descent into defeat and thus is dishonest, repeated many times), or even, that Hillary Clinton is a vampire that needs some fresh blood every night, is probably excessive and unfair and the final remark about the vampiric nature of Hillary Clinton is kind of absurd if not slandering. Or was – and still is – the author aware of the power of the Internet that makes slandering people untouchable?

When all that is said we can turn to the assessing of the blog as a whole.

THE AMYGDALOID FEAR THEORY
The fear theory she develops as the only argument used by the Republicans is interesting but reductive. The connection of this fear theory with the amygdala is interesting but limited. Fear in front of any danger, fear in front of ethnic elements, fear in front of feminist demands, and she could add fear in front of LGBT demands and a few others like global warming and climate change, the Russians and the Chinese, the Arabs and the Muslims, Islam and terrorism, divorce and marriage, Catholicism and Protestantism, snakes and spiders, etc., is maybe referring to the amygdala but it is only one side of the coin. Fear will lead people to rejection, repulsion: they will reject and push away anything they are afraid of, at times without any kind of thinking and reflection. It is vastly connected to experience as a new-born and then an infant, and then a child. It is also vastly coordinated with language. Black is for instance systematically connected with dangerous and disgusting elements in the West, with the devil, Hell, scatological rejects and wastes, the night, dark holes, underground dangerous caves, claustrophobia and so many other things that are disgusting, dirty, soiled, frightening as opposed to white, purity and reassuring welcome. Note white is the color of mourning and burying in the East. This cultural heritage in the West has little to do with the amygdala that might be the recording battery of such frights, the seat of the defensive stance.

That prevents the author from understanding that we can get the same level of commitment from people, and this time normally not violent, for positive elements. Of course it is not a question of age or a generational battle of some sort; but it is what Obama called hope, the hope for a change for the better, hope for a new reading of the constitution that could improve our lives. People are ready to commit themselves to positive values. The attraction to these positive values can be just as strong as the repulsion caused by negative elements. At the same time this commitment to positive values can lead to absolutely horrible things. Patriotism is supposed to be positive but it may lead to horrible wars of liberation, civil wars of any type with torture, rape and so many other crimes against humanity. The burning up of Dresden with napalm or whatever was a crime against humanity just as much as the dropping of Atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In twice five minutes the number of “innocent” civilians killed in Japan was as high as the number of innocent people (and not only Jews) killed in Auschwitz in five years or so. The method used to commit the crime is not at stake but the essence of the crime is.

IRAQ AND THE NECESSARY AGGIORNAMENTO
That’s where the reference to McNamara could be interesting but it is not used in that theoretical and generalizing way. It is only trying to support the call to get out of Iraq without understanding that the damage done in Iraq is at least one thousand times worse than the damage done in Vietnam because Iraq is not a unified nation, it is a heritage from older colonialism that cut up this Middle East in anyway the English, the French and the Russians wanted. And there the blog is deficient when the author covers the suggestion from Biden to have a federal state in Iraq. That might be a solution for Palestine, but not for Iraq because of the crisscrossing of differences. The Shia Muslims in the south of Iraq are speaking an Indo-European language like the Sunni Kurds in the north whereas the Sunni Arabs in the middle are speaking a Semitic language, Arabic precisely or some Arabic dialect(s). Which line can be followed for a federal state? The religious line or the cultural and linguistic line? Then let’s cut up Iraq in three? And the Kurdish section will attract a lot of trouble from the Kurds in Turkey, in Syria and in Iran. Whereas the southern Shia section would call for trouble in any state where they are a minority, or even a majority dominated and controlled by Sunnis. And of course the Sunni Arabs will have connections with Egypt, Saudi Arabia and many other Arab countries and Muslim countries. No escape there. Instead of just rebuffing Biden and his suggestion along with him, the suggestion should have been discussed as unrealistic. But that’s a common idea often blurred up in series like CSI, NCSI and some others that more or less imply when they speak of this Middle East that there is only one language and everyone assumes it is Arabic.

She does see the Republican call for keeping the status quo with security and comfort because the present is secure with the army and comfortable from a self-satisfied (upper) middle class point of view. The response to this vision based on hostility to immigration, advocacy of force, army and guns, and the comfort of a higher supportive level seen as faith and God is scattered in the blog here and there. Yet it should have led to a real perspective that had and still has to be political (the concrete stakes and proposals), theoretical (the macro-economics of the USA moving towards second position in the world, and geopolitical with a world that cannot be US-centered and has to be collaborative and multi-centered), and finally inspirational (what moves people most negatively and positively). Even when speaking of Obama she does not get to the full vision and reduces it to a hypothetical generational battle. His election depended on Afro-Americans and young people or rather newly-registered voters but also on Latinos (who by the way carried the second election to victory in 2012), and in fact on many other categories of people, like Native Americans, Chicanos, LGBT people, the victims of foreclosures and the subprime mortgage crisis.

WHAT ABOUT THE ECONOMY?
The most important field of the economy is not always seen as a whole. The stake between the mandatory health insurance of Hillary Clinton and the more subtle and progressive approach of Barack Obama is stated but not really discussed economically and that’s about the only point that is really identified. She manages to get to the most important question of the cost of the Iraqi war and the wasted money in that absurd enterprise by referring us to an article in Vanity Fair and then to another in Newsweek, but neither are looking at the global picture of the US economy in the world. She never speaks in 2008 and never updates in 2016 the real stake which is the shifting from a US dominated economy to a multi-polar economy mostly centered on the Indian Ocean, China, India and Africa. She misses the point that the 2008 financial crisis instead of bringing China down gave the Chinese a boost towards the basic reforms they have to perform and they are engaging in right now and started in 2008-2009.

CAN WE REDUCE POLITICS TO PASSING A TORCH TO YOUNGER PEOPLE?
In that perspective the “passing of the torch” from old people to a new generation is politically absurd, especially in 2016 when Hillary Clinton is moving towards nomination and election, challenged by a contender who is just as old as she is, in fact even six years older. There is in the author’s generation like an age complex that makes them, and I should say us, fall in the trap that we are too old and we have to pass the torch, which is by the way a marvelous phallic symbol. Let’s commit suicide and even, self-sacrifice and pass the platter with our heads on it. Politics have little to do with age especially in a time when life expectancy is expanding so much that we can be fully efficient and operational up to the age of 85 or even 90. And that should go on improving with time.

Yet she has a point on the role of young people though she does not get why Obama is attractive to them, what Obama has understood in them, what Obama is mobile enough to know about them because he has been in contact with them in Chicago for twenty or so years in 2008. And that is the main shortcoming of this publication.

MOMENTUM AND INTERNET
Her belief and repeating that the momentum of Obama’s candidacy started with his victory in IOWA’s caucuses is mistaken because that was not the starting point of it but it was the first time it became obvious to people who had not seen the long campaign on campuses and in various areas, ethnic or not and directed at young people, less young people and unregistered voters. IOWA was revealing a momentum that had been built slowly and patiently for months if not more, at least two years. Maybe Obama’s 1995 book was not the starting point but his 2006 book, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, was that starting point. And the method used was simple activism, militancy with thousands of volunteers, young or not, men and women, on the ground. But the connection, the constant, permanent relation between Obama himself and these people was the Internet? Obama was the first candidate to use the Internet extensively and intensively. He was the first President to be elected with and by the Internet. FD Roosevelt was elected with and by the radio. JF Kennedy was elected with and by television. Obama was elected with and by the Internet.

He developed a whole style in his Internet communication that had; at the time; no equals, and I am afraid still has no equal, because he could speak to people in a very direct, personal and even intimate way because he was different from anyone else, he was black and black people can address the people they are speaking to as if they were their brothers and sisters. Hillary Clinton will never be able to do that because she is not black. This is a heritage from four centuries of slavery, segregation and discrimination. Obama just widened this heritage to everyone, white or black, European or Latino, Asian or LGBT. He was the man who made one characteristic of Slavery PTSS a standard way of speaking and addressing everyone: empathy first of all and above all. Empathy is a black quality. The whites can only feel sympathy, compassion and even condescendence. Can you really feel any empathy for Bush Jr. or McCain, why not Palin? After Obama politicians have to learn how to be empathetical. Don’t worry: they will open coaching classes and centers to develop your empathy without any effort and in a playful way.

MORE ABOUT IT
What is strange is that she could have found that on the Internet since my own contributions on the subject are there available in open access. [...]_. But that precisely is the shortcoming: she used the Internet to make some money via Yahoo but she did not use it as a tool to get information and she could not understand the power of this tool in the modern world, of course for young people, but also for everyone. Research today could not exist without the Internet. Any organization that wants to be public and known could not reach these objectives without the Internet. She mentions the organizational know-how of Obama but she does not see the tool he uses to organize tens of thousands of people from no matter where he could be. That was his famous blackberry smart phone, the nightmare of his presidential security team.

CONCLUSIONS
So, to conclude I would say that you probably could get some information from this publication but do not expect more than it can provide. It is an amateur blog and not a professional journalistic article or research study. If you have enough time and energy to widen the scope, to recuperate the Vanity Fair article and the Newsweek issue that are quoted here and many other documents that could enrich the passing remarks here and there you may be able to build your own approach but remember this 2008 campaign will remain exceptional because of the Internet, and the 2012 campaign will remain exceptional because of the racism of the media (and I heard Angela Davis in Paris saying she was convinced in 2012 that he would not be elected) who considered Latinos as mostly white and thus as part of the white section of American society, hence hostile to Obama, which they were not, and that got him elected.

His Internet style was exceptional and considering Obama’s emails from Wednesday, November 05, 2008, 10:21 AM to Monday, February 02, 2009, 7:21 PM only, I came to the following conclusion in 2009 about this style and the theoretical issues behind it:

1- The Internet is only effective when the participation of people is totally liberated. The Internet is used by Barack Obama as a tool to put forward his own arguments and needs, but also to receive the ideas and personal reactions of the people he is communicating with, and he even expects them to take the battle in their own hands and to organize the campaign directly in their homes with their families, friends and neighbors. This concrete and direct participation of the people is what you can never get with the other media, press, radio and television. The cinema is not even comparable since it is not a media of communication but of artistic creation like drama, opera or music.

2- The Internet, like the Personal Computer, is based on a GUI (Graphical User Interface) and it requires, in order to be effective, that all the senses be included in the approach: hearing and sight of course but also, via the mouse or any other connection between the body and the screen, the muscles, the body as a muscular machine. In other words the kinesthetic dimension of the GUI has to be used fully with the Internet if you want the Internet to reveal its force and power. That makes the Internet all-inclusive, a total experience. That’s why each message contained links and visuals that were also linked to other pages or included navigating buttons? That’s the kinesthetic dimension of that communication. Note the only message that does not contain a kinesthetic visual is the one signed President Barack Obama, though it contains three links. That reveals the dignity of the President’s position and office. You don’t play with the President and these visual and kinesthetic buttons are some kind of game. The Internet is fundamentally a game console.

3- The last element that is pure McLuhan-ese is the all-sensorial dimension of the Internet. This is very special and difficult to grasp as different from the previous point. Here it is no longer the material connection with the machine or the tool that is at stake but the connection with the message, a virtual connection of course but it has to move the emotions and the intellect of every single sendee. If it is too emotional, it does not work and the message is rejected as mish mash. If it is too intellectual it does not work and the message is rejected as effete and snobbish. And if it is too virtual and not open onto real life it does not work and is rejected as condescending. It has to speak to our emotions, all our emotions (the limits are the image you want to project of yourself on the Internet and in society, a particularly important element in politics), to our intellect and even intelligence, and to our need to act, to get involved in some action, in the action to support a cause. That’s the empathy I was insisting on before as a Slavery PTSS heritage that Afro-Americans shares and Obama has spread out to all, like the sacred chrism of Moses that Jesus spread out to all.

Barack Obama succeeded in creating such a balanced mixture and as such he has brought the Internet and politics to a new height, to a new plateau of achievement. We have to wait and see what it becomes in the coming years. So far he defeated his opponents on that battle field and has done so from 2008 to 2016. Could we even have dreamed of a LGBT victory won in the Supreme Court without such vast Internet campaigns. And the fundamentalists of DOMA are punishing the Supreme Court by refusing to appoint the ninth justice without which it cannot sit, work and rule. At least the Supreme Court will not be able to sort out a Floridian mess again in November 2016, if there is any mess of the sort again.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU


Dead Man's Grip
Dead Man's Grip
Prix : EUR 5,99

5.0 étoiles sur 5 La coupable première s'arrange à survivre à l'hécatombe, 29 avril 2016
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Dead Man's Grip (Format Kindle)
Do not believe the subtitle of the cover: “One mistake, Two murders, No remorse.” This is a promotional caption that has little to do with the real novel. I was actually expecting “Three culprits.” But the author avoided this easy Christian simple trinity. Though he could have gone a lot further since there are at the very least four dead bodies, a real crucifixion, in fact even five, a diabolical pentacle, and one skeleton in the cupboard, closet or whatever old tunnel or WC.

But the book is absolutely excellent because it is true to the very last detail. The language, the procedure, the institutional working, even the human reactions of the cops mostly are absolutely perfect. They are not believable, they are just what they have to be to be true to the core of any criminal investigation. That’s the pleasure of this book. That makes it just thrilling, not because of the gross elements that are mentioned but never described, but because of the accurate events, their description, and their processing. And this pile of small elements geared into some kind of malicious network if not plainly fishing net that catches us and will never let us go, is the very charm, hypnotic fascination the book evokes in us, brings up to life, casts upon us without any possible escape.

The chapters are so small that they are not chapters any more but successive short sequences ready for the TV or cinema adaptation we all expect soon, especially those among us who have visited at a moment in our life or in a previous life this phenomenal city-harbor-beach of Brighton, halfway between Folkestone-Dover and Portsmouth-Southampton. And what’s more with a US extension through the very first victim of a dumb road accident that definitely would not have occurred if a dumb driver – who is accidentally a woman but could be a man – who was too impregnated with alcohol to drive since she had a diabolical and satanic hangover, had not recklessly cut in front of a lorry, after her passing it at probably excessive speed, causing the lorry that was ahead of her to then run after her with a very close and dangerous tail-chase engagement, eventually jumping a traffic light, hitting the first victim that caused the drama and running away like a guilty fox, his tail well squeezed between his thighs.

And that dangerous cutting in front of a vehicle to turn left or right, who cares, was the second in a row. She is entirely responsible for the accident, even if she did not touch the victim on his bike. And she is, what’s more, outrageously remorseless, unconcerned, free of any guilt and even provocative towards the parents of the victim. The fact that it brought the New York mafia into a simple traffic accident is only the magnification of her obvious and criminal responsibility.

The book is concentrating on stopping the hit man in his attempt richly paid by the New York Mafia to kill in atrocious suffering all those who were involved in the crash, no matter whether they were responsible or not, responsible by negligence and selfishness or responsible by real circumstantial but deadly developments. The author is malicious about this vengeful spree of murders, though the author does not describe the particularly gross elements of the various assassinations. I must admit the details are very creative. We are dealing with a criminal artist or an artistic criminal.

The only victim that is worth saving is a young teenager who is in no way involved in the road accident. He is only a circumstantial element in the project to kill the hungover careless and selfish woman who is his mother because that would make her suffer. The novel saves him and unluckily saves his mother too though she is the real culprit who will not be prosecuted for the death of the first victim, the road accident’s victim. In other words the book is quite ethical as for the police when they save the life of an innocent young teenager. But it is totally immoral since the main culprit in the initial road accident goes through the whole episode with hardly a slap on the hand for driving in a drunken state, under the influence as they say to hide the reality of the crime. And all the other actors on the English side as well as on the American side, two against two, two on both sides, are brutally killed or die brutally as a consequence of that woman’s carelessness and umbilical egotism.

But after all, who cares since the victims are first the son of a Mafia family; second a criminal who had not gone back to his prison as he should have after his day of work (AWOL if I can say so); third a Scottish truck-driver; fourth the daughter of the Godfather of the New York Mafia; and fifth the son of the same. The only two English people involved in that killing spree are English, one guilty up to the gills with drunkenness and driving under the influence and the other totally innocent, but they are English, aren’t they.

But yet a good thriller that is not fantasizing about police work. The author actually explains that he used the advice and counseling of several cops or ex-cops on both the English and the American sides.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU


Vikings: A Concise History of the Vikings (English Edition)
Vikings: A Concise History of the Vikings (English Edition)
Prix : EUR 2,99

4.0 étoiles sur 5 On leur doit tant à ces Vikings, 28 avril 2016
Achat vérifié(De quoi s'agit-il ?)
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Vikings: A Concise History of the Vikings (English Edition) (Format Kindle)
I still wonder if Harald Hadrada is Hadrada or Harada but that’s just a little pebble in my shoe.

The history of the Vikings is Fascinating in many ways. Fascinating because they are, which is not said, Germanic and as such part of the vast Germanic migration into Europe and it has to be clearly positioned between the Slavic migration and the Celtic migration respectively east and west. It would be good to remember that all these are part of the same Indo-European migration from the Middle East through the Caucasus and then into the vast steppes and plains of central Europe.. It would also be good to remind us of the fact that another branch of this Indo-European migration came through Anatolia to Greece and then to Italy and will give after the Roman Empire the various romance languages. It would also have been a good thing to remind us of the survival of pre-Ice-Age Turkic languages of Europe in the shape of Basque, Sami, the language of Lapplanders, and Finnish. Finland is essential in the history of the Baltic Sea.

If we assume we all know this heritage or history and that the basic Scandinavian mythology, Odin, Thor and Ragnarok, is in fact a Germanic Mythology vastly shared with the other German people and was Richard Wagner’s basic inspiration, we can neglect recalling it to mind, though recollecting such facts should be basic. In the same way the sagas are often common and the German Siegfried has a Scandinavian version with Sigurd. This Germanic nature of the Scandinavian people or even peoples is central in the whole history of Europe and it probably explains why the Scandinavians never tried to raid or conquer German territory. They looked east into Slavic territory and they look west into Celtic and Frankish territory which must have appeared at the time as some continuation of the Roman Empire in western Europe and the Gaulish Celtic previous phase.

The presentation dividing the whole history in three phases: raiding, conquering and settling down is interesting. In Western Europe we hardly mention them apart from their famous raids accompanied by looting, burning and killing all that could have any value or any life. With maybe one element that could be added clearly: they actually got some prisoners that they enslaved in their own communities. These slaves were the substitute workers necessary to replace the warriors who went on missions. These slaves are just servants that have no civil rights and it would have been interesting to insist on the direct government they had, each community convening their male members into some kind of general assembly that decided of all common issues. They invented direct democracy (though some might see it as a pre-Roman-Empire survival that also existed among Celtic people and was killed along with the egg the Roman legions crushed) and what will become parliament in England a few centuries later.

The conquering phase presented as an exploring venture is very interesting and it reveals the change in Scandinavian societies and ideologies and it should have been twinned with the religious evolution. They replaced raiding with trading. It is commerce that saves them from being eventually destroyed, the way they were in England in the 11th century, a destruction that led to the full dissolving of Anglo-Saxon culture under the domination of Norman culture. And yet this Scandinavian influence remained in England and it will lead to Runnymede and the Magna Carta and with Parliament being re-invented later on. This Anglo-Saxon influence and behind it the direct influence of Danish and Scandinavian cultures and languages is the substratum of English today and makes English a Germanic language. This linguistic descent should have been emphasized and the famous Tristan and Yseult will be translated into German but also into Norse and Icelandic in the 12th century. The connection worked both ways from Celtic Welsh oral tradition to other Celtic areas (Cornwall, Ireland, Brittany) into English, or rather Middle English at the time, and further on into German and Scandinavian traditions.

The book justly insists on the conquest of Iceland, Greenland and the discovery of Newfoundland and Canada, or Northern America. It mentions the fact they will have to eventually leave Greenland under the pressure of local Inuit or Eskimo people and the fact that they did not settle in America because of the strong hostility from the local Native Americans. This is based on sagas and old tales but such documents are essential in a mostly oral society since it was the only way for people to know their history and destiny: to listen to the sagas told by the saga-tellers/poets/minstrels who had learned them by heart from having heard them themselves. No books in those days, only memory. And these sagas were told very often to some accompanying music that could be some string instrument like the lute, or some pipes, or later on the organistrum evolving into the hurdy-gurdy (and later on in Sweden the nyckelharpa), and we probably should speak of the bagpipe too (Scandinavia or Swedish Sackpipa and Finnish Sakkipilli). Beowulf, the Anglo-Saxon poem or shouldn’t we say saga, is a perfect example since it states the use of music to tell the story.

The book is very interesting on the Scandinavian or Viking penetration of Ukraine (more than Russia) even if the Rus Brothers brought the root of Russian into that territory. Kiev was the cultural epicenter in Slavic lands just as much as it became the religious center of Slavic Orthodox Christianity. It is this religious link that should be seen as first finding some echo in the Christianized Vikings and at the same time lead them to the ambition of going further and reaching out to Byzantium. Interestingly the military move was defeated and they immediately replaced it with a commercial link. Note this was easy since the commercial link between Scandinavia and Byzantium already existed through the commercial network developed by the Hanseatic League. Actually it would be interesting to connect the commercial dimension that developed at the end of the first millennium and the beginning of the second to the progressive Christianization of the Vikings themselves. We could and probably should also connect this Christianization with the important Peace of God movement that developed in Feudal Europe starting in the 10th century and enabling the development of trade fairs and markets with special protection to merchants all over feudal Europe: merchants could move freely in Europe with their merchandise and be protected along the way and at the various fairs provided they paid special fees. Bartholomew Fair in London for instance developed a special court for the duration of the fair.

I will not conclude like the book does with Christianization. It is this necessary evolution that explains the slow shifting from a warlike stance to a commercial stance and that commercial stance requires peace. Then the Nobel Peace Prize is the direct continuation of this evolution. But this heritage can be slightly contradictory. Scandinavia was the first European region to instate eugenic laws just after the first world war (Swedish State Institute for Race Biology in 1922 after the Swedish Society for Eugenics founded in 1909) and also the last one to get rid of them long after the second world war (The various eugenic laws lapsed only in 1976). Norway seen as a haven of peace is not always true. Norway tried to help in Sri Lanka when the Tamil Tigers were dominant in nearly half the country Thanks to their using terrorism and the ceasefire the Norwegians instated there was only the smokescreen used by the Tamil Tigers to build up their military power and to go on with their terrorist activities (assassination of the Minister of Foreign Affairs in July 2005, and/because he was a Tamil, hence a traitor to his “people” according to the narrow nationalistic approach of the LTTE).

The book opens up our horizon on Scandinavia and should enable us to widen our approach and to see the great influence Scandinavia (including Finland though their language and culture is Turkic, hence agglutinative) had in Europe when it accepted to become Christian and to integrate European procedures.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU


Ribbons of Death (English Edition)
Ribbons of Death (English Edition)
Prix : EUR 2,99

4.0 étoiles sur 5 Mythologie naïve manquant de mordant, 27 avril 2016
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Ribbons of Death (English Edition) (Format Kindle)
Forget about romance. It is not romantic at all, at least in my understanding of the word. But it is a good thriller or suspense novel. Yet that is not the main interest from my point of view. The thriller is well structured and constructed but we know the end even before we start reading: it will have a happy ending. We know that because the characters pretend to be human and even humane from the very start. The point of view is not that of the terrorists, since we are dealing with that kind of suspense, not that of the victims but that of the law-enforcers and there can only be one ending that can mean their victory: a good and happy ending. Then you read to discover the details.

In that light the ending is far from being what it could and should have been. The terrorist’s (only one) last target could not be a random target and it should have been a big convention with thousands of people inside a closed arena. Then it could have been interesting to run after the terrorist in order to stop the massacre. The author chose a weaker ending. That’s a shame because terrorists never choose a random target. They plan and they look for causing the highest damage possible measured in human lives.

But the main interest is the mythological content. It is based on a myth that is asserted as universal of the existence of Peacetakers, as opposed to peacemakers. One child now and then in a Blue Moon is born with the power of casting anger and criminal impulses around him (he is a boy, I mean a male and the terrorist side is entirely dominated by men and only men, which is a false cliché) when he is activated by some talisman. In other words he is an anti-Superman. Like Superman he just dons an amulet around his neck and his criminal and lethal power radiates around him making people become just impulsively, compulsively and obsessively criminal and lethal. The myth used in the book is attributed to the Egyptians, meaning it is the Egyptian version that is considered. Note the Peacetaker becomes totally unconscious of what he is doing or causing when he is carrying the talisman.

This young man is here used by a terrorist of international stature in order to bring into the USA some deadly events that will kill thousands of people. But the author tries to escape the anti-Islam attitude that this Middle Eastern original location (actually Cairo) could bring to our minds by making this criminal and terrorist individual be a Lebanese man of a Christian religion, true enough a rather marginal Christian affiliation. At the same time the Peacetaker born in 2007 or so is the son of American missionaries working for the Red Cross in Sudan and these parents die of cholera. The Red Cross then is used as the covering up tool by this terrorist. It is the American passport of the uncle of the child, who was on the mission along with the parents and the child who was born in Sudan that is used by the terrorist to bring the Peacetaker and his controller into the US.

A little of Ancient Egyptian lore and folklore in the shape of mythology, some references to Isis, Osiris and Horus, plus Tet, the evil fourth character in the story horrific story of the dismembering of Osiris, actually not even alluded to, to provide some colorful environment and you have a wrapping that is attractive to an audience of sweet and sour thrillers. But do not think it is like Anne Rice and her use of very old Egyptian mythological folklore or very old Hebraic mostly apocryphal stories and tales. You will not get into the mind of the possessed, of the Peacetaker or his master, nor into the depth of the mythological characters and their terrifying violence and suffering. You remain within a soft terror suspense story with some Egyptian references. What some people reproach Anne Rice with, her extreme erudite knowledge of the supernatural stories she is founding her novels on, so elaborate and learned that the readers may get some headache at times, and not a mild headache mind you, rather a migraine, is in no way present here. The Egyptian references then are nothing but an environmental ambiance coloring.

The final end has to be discovered by the readers and all the twisting moments of the plot have to be explored by the audience, but it is altogether rather simple and conveying good intentions and proper humane feelings and human emotions. Even the criminals, the terrorists or anything you want to call them, are not depicted in any deep black, somber and monstrous colors. You will not be horrified nor terrified nor even grossed out, to use Stephen King’s classification. But you will read the story as what it pretends to be: suspense and you will have to suspend your disbelief quite a few times. But that’s the style of such stories.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU


Snowcake [Special Edition] [Import anglais]
Snowcake [Special Edition] [Import anglais]
DVD ~ Snowcake
Prix : EUR 22,44

5.0 étoiles sur 5 L'autisme doit être totalement intégré dans notre société, 18 avril 2016
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Snowcake [Special Edition] [Import anglais] (DVD)
This is a film that will not age, at least not really. It is the second film on the subject of autism that has the status of a classic. The first one was Dustin Hoffman’s Rain Man. This one centers on the same problem, autism, but for a woman, which is a minority case for this disease. The situation is slightly more complicated because it starts with the daughter of this autistic mother and we will only learn later in the film, close to the end, from her own parents themselves that at the time no one understood what actually happened though her father believes she must have been forced, which is in no way certain though, because the idea of an “experiment” might be just right. The man must then have taken advantage of the curiosity and of the experiment.

The beginning of the film is dramatic because of a road accident in which a truck rams into a car and kills the daughter of Linda, the autistic mother, hitchhiking to visit her mother. Then the driver of the car goes to Linda’s to try to explain her what happened and we discover in a few days spent there till the day after the funeral what kind of a life this autistic person is having in her community. And that’s where we are surprised. She has a job in a supermarket in phase with her handicap: she puts merchandise on the racks, items that have to be set in rows and well aligned. Nothing difficult but something she can do without any problem.

She is a very solitary person, meaning that she often closes herself onto herself and lives in her own world. She does not reject the outside world. She just retires inside her own mental world. In this Wawa town the neighbors know about her and they all take care of her, look after her, without ever invading her “privacy.” She accepts that help though she would never solicit it, though she does for the garbage from the driver of the car in which her daughter was killed and she has invited to stay in her home for a few days. She does not always thank people for that help, though she does in her own way. It is true some people do not understand that and try to invade that personal field and bring her back into some “normal” behavior. But these are very fast put back in their places and told not to meddle.

In a way, when everything is organized very clearly she can cope with life that becomes a routine and she can even cope with things that come unwanted and unannounced and that she integrates in her routine. That’s the real interest of this film. To explore Linda’s personal mental world, which we will never be able to know for sure since she does not explain and express that inner world, but we can explore it through what she does, her reactions, her actions, her own ways to cope with a situation that is maybe beyond her own comprehension, at least a comprehension of our type. The situation is serious since it is the death and funeral of her own daughter. She has a room entirely dedicated to her and she reacts in such a way that we know she knows it is important but she cannot mourn or grieve the way we do. She will just start dancing on a music her daughter liked and the film maker makes us understand at this moment she dances with her own daughter though she only dances with herself in our own eyes.

Is it truly what happens? We cannot know.

The only important thing is that autistic people must not be institutionalized but must be provided with living conditions that enable them to have an active, and even productive, life adapted to their own means, their own interests, their own capabilities. Of course it is the capabilities they can invest in our social and economic life, but that enables them to have the time and the autonomy necessary to live their mental life in some kind of freedom under the loving and attentive care of people around who are there to help, not to command, govern or control.

One thing is missing in the film. Linda has a full calendar for the month of April with her schedule properly written day after day. We assume she can read but it is not said that she must have a social worker who helps her write down the schedule of the month. The film though assumes she can read and maybe write, but there is no visual indication that she can actually do it: she does not write and she does not read in the film. The film is already old and today we have discovered that computers can help tremendously because autistic people might be limited in oral and written communication, but they can be trained into computer literacy and that enables them to communicate a lot better, even to express their feelings and their experience, though we are not advanced enough to be able to say if it is true for all autistic people, though we can say that the earlier the better and in the US they diagnose the disease as soon as 6 months and start acting on it as soon as they have such a diagnosis.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU


Prince of the Pagodas [Import anglais]
Prince of the Pagodas [Import anglais]
DVD ~ Britten

3.0 étoiles sur 5 Abasourdi par le manque de créativité, 16 avril 2016
Achat vérifié(De quoi s'agit-il ?)
Ce commentaire fait référence à cette édition : Prince of the Pagodas [Import anglais] (DVD)
An maybe interesting ballet but by far too long. Imagine bringing together Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, King Lear, the famous Chinese character the Monkey, the four kings from the four cardinal points and the four winds alluding to the four Chinese dragons. And probably many other allusions. It is a potpourri of cultural allusions.

It is classical dancing and it is entirely based on, as for the choreography, basic numbers, two, four, six, eight, mostly and then here and there three, five and seven. Even twelve is also used and sixteen. The whole palette of Christian and Jewish symbolism. Does the music requite that? I do not think so. It is the vision of the choreographer, or rather the amplification of Benjamin Britten’s own vision by the choreographer. The four kings did not require such a heavy play on multiples of four.

Two sisters, one is a half-something. No mother whatsoever and no mother-in-law of any sort. The father thinks he is King Lear and like an old idiotic tired man of power decides to share his kingdom between the two sisters. Good morning Vietnam. The non-half-sister has a betrothed boyfriend but the half-sister turns him into a salamander. Then the half sister summons four kings from the North, dressed in black, from the East dressed in an effeminate flowery attire, from the West dressed in green and from the South dressed in pink with golden skin. They bring presents for the half sister, but that is purely decorative.

Of course the half sister seizes power and the non-half sister goes beyond the looking glass into another world and there she finds her salamander prince. It will all end up well when with one kiss the non-half sister returns her salamander prince into his human shape. Then she can help her wheel-chaired father to go back on the throne, to get rid of her half sister and her four kings and to end up in a celebration of the legitimacy of the two non-half sister and no-longer-salamander prince.

Sorry but in the time of Prokofiev and a few other ballet composers, this is definitely trite. The music itself is in no way original, spectacular, fascinating. It is a very standard if not banal ballet music and the dancing to it is so “classical” that it becomes frankly boring. It is dancing for people who do not know the world has changed since 1850. Why 1850? Just because it is a nice date.

But, and that is the score, the second half, at least, of the third act is a series of dancing pieces for the various groups of dancers, the various couples and the various solos. That adds nothing to the ballet and we had already noticed these groups, these pairs and these soloists. A pas-de-deux is a pas de deux, though the choreographer seems to have invented two parallel, mirror-like, symmetrical pas-de-un’s which are a pas-de-deux without any contact between the two dancers of the couple. Like a play that was famous in a theater in Charring Cross Road in the early 70s by Alistair Foot and Anthony Marriott: “No sex please, We’re British!”

I am disappointed at such a heavy and hollow ballet with nearly no plot, with no real magic and with no really innovative dancing. Even in 1990 there were quite more creative ballets in the world. In fact it was more a Jacobean masque without any text than a real ballet for even the end of the 20th century.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU


American History in 50 Events: (Battle of Yorktown, Spanish American War, Roaring Twenties, Railroad History, George Washington, Gilded Age) (History by Country Timeline Book 1) (English Edition)
American History in 50 Events: (Battle of Yorktown, Spanish American War, Roaring Twenties, Railroad History, George Washington, Gilded Age) (History by Country Timeline Book 1) (English Edition)
Prix : EUR 0,00

4.0 étoiles sur 5 Chaque page est une fenêtre ouvert: sautez dans l'inconnu., 13 avril 2016
Achat vérifié(De quoi s'agit-il ?)
It’s fascinating to reduce the history of what we understand to be the USA under the word American in such a skimpy sketch. It is giving a very general idea and it should open up some doors for your curiosity to expand the matter and your search for more everywhere you can think of.

It starts with the Beringia migration from Siberia over not a land-bridge to Alaska but an ice-bridge to Alaska and then down at a moment at the end of the Ice Age when such a corridor appeared in the ice cap. That was 15,500 years ago. That’s the migration that is behind the Clovis theory that the Americas were colonized by these people coming from Siberia from the north to the south.

Be cautious about it since the archaeological search in Monte Verde in Chile has already reached 18,500 years ago, and it is far from being finished. That is 3,000 years before the Beringia migration. That brings in a second migration from the South Pacific, in continuation with the migration from South East Asia to Indonesia, the Philippines, Australia New Zealand and then Polynesia. This southern migration then went up as far as Mesoamerica and are the ancestors of the Incas, the Aztecs, the Mayas, and all these building civilizations. This southern migration must have met the northern migration at some point. The question of the origin of the Amazonian Indians in South America is open since these are no builders. Are they descendants of the southern or the northern migrations?

Note it is the descendants of the southern migration who invented the Maya writing system, whereas the northern migration did not have any writing system. These two migrations explain a lot better the great differences between the two zones and yet they have a lot of common myths in their mythologies. The two zones have also some social common points though the differences are important, particularly the sun and blood rituals in the south. I guess DNA should start being worked upon to identify the two migrations and how far each one reached.

But nowadays (and that is rather recent) the two migrations are a feasible and scientifically accepted theory and we can start comparing the various peoples in their myths, their religious rituals, their languages too and eventually their writing or codifying systems, with their DNA as an accurate exploring tool.

To concentrate on the English colonization is a good thing from the US point of view but it is also not exactly entirely objective. Florida, Texas, what is today New Mexico and some other areas there plus of course California were colonized by the Spaniards and we must not forget the vast Louisiana of the French from Quebec to Louisiana covering the whole valleys and plains of the Mississippi and the Missouri. This heritage is essential since the French and Spanish Catholic churches insisted on the rights of the slaves as Christians and as subjects of their kings with for one example the insistence on having them christened and married and for them to have one day of marital life every week even if husband and wife did not belong to the same plantation. It is called Code Noir on the French side and Inquisition on the Spanish side. On the English side the masters could do what they wanted with their slaves, including kill them, feed them to their dogs or their pigs. On the French and Spanish side, the masters could only exploit their work but they had to respect the Catholic rules and the rights the slaves had as Christians and they had to respect the royal rights they had as subjects. This produced a three tiered society on the Catholic side and the one-drop of blood theory on the White Anglo Saxon Protestant side.

This is essential for US history. The constitution did not even consider the case of slaves and when the Declaration of Independence said “all men are born equal” it meant only free men, so no women and no non-free men. This will survive till the Civil War in this divided house the USA were then. When amendments 13 and 14 were passed it just turned within a few years the slaves into poor sharecroppers under the violent command of the Ku Klux Klan, seasoned by the Uncle-Tom-Jim-Crow everyday practice, governed by segregation and discrimination and the US Supreme Court ruling them “equal but separate.”

To remain on this line we could and should explore how desegregation and civil rights were conquered in the 1950s and 1960s.

But you should also explore the place and role of American Indians or Native Americans. There too the heritage of the colonization and their being locked up in reservations is still haunting the USA. And if you explore these questions you may then understand why the election of Barack Obama is such a turning point in American history. It brings African Americans a lot closer to equality and to full liberation including from their Post Traumatic Slavery Stress Syndrome. It brings American Indians to full recognition and integration after the reparations were paid to the reservations. And it revealed in 2012 that Latinos, in spite of most of them being white, were not part of the white population, voted for Obama and reelected him. This Latino heritage is essential to understand the USA today. It is not so much a question of ethnic origin as a question of were you part of the colonizing process of North America or were you part of the colonized peoples with a strong Post Traumatic Colonial Stress Syndrome.

In other words this fast panorama over US history should open your eyes to several questions that need be explored in more detail. It should sharpen your appetite for historical facts and whet your curiosity for more “mysteries,” like the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther Kink Jr., and Robert Kennedy, how the Vietnam war was not ended but lost and a few other facts of the last fifty years. What about Cuba and Iran for example?

So jump into the stream and let yourselves be carried by the current into all kinds of fascinating realities.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU


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