Happened to turn on the TV the other day and Good Will Hunting was on. What a great movie. It’s a superhero movie.
We were right in the scene where Will backs up Ben Affleck and destroys a jerk who’s showing off his education.
One moment in this scene I’ve thought about more than necessary is when Will identifies the jerk (he’s listed as “Clark” on IMDb, played with precision by Scott William Winters) as “a first year grad student.” Given how much Clark knows about history, and his reading list, should we infer that Scott William Winters is a first year grad student in history?
WILL: See the sad thing about a guy like you is in about 50 years you’re gonna start doing some thinking on your own and you’re gonna come up with the fact that there are two certainties in life. One, don’t do that. And two, you dropped a hundred and fifty grand on a fuckin’ education you coulda got for a dollar fifty in late charges at the Public Library.
CLARK: Yeah, but I will have a degree, and you’ll be serving my kids fries at a drive-thru on our way to a skiing trip.
WILL: [smiles] Yeah, maybe. But at least I won’t be unoriginal.
It’s interesting that Clark’s brag is that Will will be “serving my kids fries on their way to a ski trip.” There are no doubt history professors living this way, but I do feel if that were your goal, becoming a grad student in academic history would be a harder way to go than like, business school or something?
Maybe that is part of the point Will is making about what a dope this guy is.
In their exchange, Will cites “Vickers, Work In Essex County.”
Had to look this one up, and boy, did I profit. I learned about Daniel Vickers, who sounds like an amazing man. From a Globe & Mail “I Remember” by Don Lepan:
Dr. Vickers went to Princeton for his PhD. It was there that he began what became his life’s work academically, but he found Princeton itself stiflingly elitist, and escaped as often as he could to Toronto or to New England towns such as Salem or Nantucket, Mass., where he would spend long hours poring over local records.
God that’s beautiful. Can you imagine sitting in Nantucket, poring over the records? (Yes).
This was followed in 2005 by Young Men and the Sea: Yankee Seafarers in the Age of Sail, in which Dr. Vickers challenged the long tradition of treating a young man’s decision to go to sea as an inherently momentous one, and the life of a seafarer as inherently exceptional; again through painstaking archival research, he demonstrated that that most young men who went to sea did so with a sense of inevitability – and that not until the late 19th century did seafaring life begin to seem exceptional. Maritime history was somewhat out of fashion with the general public when the book appeared and it sold less well than its publishers had hoped, but reviews of Dr. Vickers’s work by historians were again extraordinarily enthusiastic; the book was praised as “a masterly work” and “the most original American maritime history ever published.”
As with his first book, Dr. Vickers was aided greatly in his research by his wife, Christine.
Vickers taught at UCSD for awhile, but
the family found the suburban lifestyle and sunny consumerism of San Diego less congenial than the rocky insularity and dour humour of Newfoundland.
If you prefer Newfoundland to San Diego, come sit near me.
Wanted to share that with the Helytimes family. Have a good weekend everyone! I bet the picture of Daniel Vickers here will give you some cheer.
This one came up on Succession, a fave show. (Had to look it up because I wondered if they were doing a double joke where the guy was attributing Emerson to Thoreau)
Usually I’ll approach with tentative openness the pastoralist, simpler times, “trad” adjacent arguments of weirdbeards but Thoreau here WAY off. Maine and Texas had TONS to communicate! Who isn’t happy Maine and Texas can check in? (Saying this as a Maine fan whose wife is from Texas, fond of both states and happy for their commerce and exchange). Plus, if Princess Adelaide has the whooping cough, I WANT to hear that, that’s interesting goss!
The “broad flapping American ear” there — a snooty New England/aristocrat attitude we haven’t heard the last of. These guys are the original elites. There’s really two classes in America: Americans, and The People Who Think They’re Better Than Americans. Though they’re a tiny minority the second group wields outside power and influence over the first group. I’m a proud member of the first group though I admit I have second group tendencies due to my youthful indoctrination in the headquarters of these Concord Extremist Radicals, in fact at their head madrassa.
When you hear America assessed by Better Thans / eggheads, wait for the feint toward fatshaming. It’s always in there somewhere. American Better Thans adopted this from Europeans, whom they slavishly ape. It’s a twisted attitude, designed to take blame away from the Better Thans and their friends in the ownership.
As if it’s Americans fault that they’ve been raised associating corn-based treats with love and goodness! Or that corn-fatted meat is the easiest accessed protein on offer! You think that’s more the Americans fault, or the fault of the Better Thans, who manipulate our food system with their only goal creating shareholder value?
Is it the fault of the American that a cold soda is the best cheap pleasure in the hot and dusty interior where they don’t all have Walden Pond as a personal spa?
Thoreau. Guy makes me sick.
In researching this article I learn about Maine-ly Sandwiches, of Houston.
sent by Rhode Island desk
What is the deal here when Trump calls Elizabeth Warren Pocahontas?
At Helytimes, we like to go back to the source.
Sometime between 1987 and 1992 Elizabeth Warren put down on a faculty directory that she was Native American. Says Snopes:
it is true that while Warren was at U. Penn. Law School she put herself on the “Minority Law Teacher” list as Native American) in the faculty directory of the Association of American Law Schools
This became a story in 2012, when Elizabeth Warren was running for Senate against Scott Brown. In late April of that year, The Boston Herald, a NY Post style tabloid, dug up a 1996 article in the Harvard Crimson by Theresa J. Chung that says this:
Of 71 current Law School professors and assistant professors, 11 are women, five are black, one is Native American and one is Hispanic, said Mike Chmura, spokesperson for the Law School.
Although the conventional wisdom among students and faculty is that the Law School faculty includes no minority women, Chmura said Professor of Law Elizabeth Warren is Native American.
Asked about it, here’s what Elizabeth Warren said:
From there the story kinda spun out of control. It came up in the Senate debate, and there were ads about it on both sides.
A genealogist looked into it, and determined that Warren was 1/32nd Cherokee, or about as Cherokee as Helytimes is West African. But then even that was disputed.
Her inability to name any specific Native American ancestor has kept the story alive, though, as pundits left and right have argued the case. Supporters touted her as part Cherokee after genealogist Christopher Child of the New England Historic Genealogical Society said he’d found a marriage certificate that described her great-great-great-grandmother, who was born in the late 18th century, as a Cherokee. But that story fell apart once people looked at it more closely. The Society, it turned out, was referencing a quote by an amateur genealogist in the March 2006 Buracker & Boraker Family History Research Newsletters about an application for a marriage certificate.
Well, Elizabeth Warren won. Now Scott Brown is Donald Trump’s Ambassador to New Zealand, where he’s doing an amazing job.
The part of the story that lit me up was this:
The best argument she’s got in her defense is that, based on the public evidence so far, she doesn’t appear to have used her claim of Native American ancestry to gain access to anything much more significant than a cookbook; in 1984 she contributed five recipes to the Pow Wow Chow cookbook published by the Five Civilized Tribes Museum in Muskogee, signing the items, “Elizabeth Warren — Cherokee.”
What is the best way to handle it, the best strategy, when the President is treating you like a third grade bully, repeatedly and publicly calling you a mean name?
Best advice to someone getting bullied? I googled:
We would amend “don’t show your feelings” to stay calm. We would urge any kid to put “tell an adult” as a last resort.
- if the problem persists, hit back as hard as possible, calmly but forcefully, at the bully’s weakest, tenderest points.
Such a Lisa Simpson / Nelson vibe to Warren / Trump. Are all our elections gonna be Lisa vs. Nelson for awhile?
from this 2003 episode:
Lisa easily wins the election. Worried by her determination and popularity, the faculty discusses how to control her.
In 1693 Cotton Mather wrote a book called Wonders Of The Invisible World, defending the Salem Witch Trials.
A few years later a guy named Robert Calef wrote More Wonders Of The Invisible World, which was kind of a sarcastic slam on Cotton Mather.
Calef objected to proceedings that lead to “a Biggotted Zeal, stirring up a Blind and most Bloody rage, not against Enemies, or Irreligious Proffligate Persons, But (in Judgment of Charity, and to view) against as Vertuous and Religious as any they have left behind them in this Country, which have suffered as Evil doers with the utmost extent of rigour.”
Can’t say I got a ton out of the book, but I did get some good stuff from the introduction, by Chadwick Hansen.
If a witch is attacking you boil a pin in urine:
Even Chadwick Hansen appears ultimately baffled by what Robert Calef was up to, since much of his book is lies about how Cotton Mather fondled up a girl named Margaret Rule while curing her of bewitchment.
Hansen attempts to provide the context to a baffling historical period.
Later Mather would write a book called The Right Way To Shake Off A Viper:
Wild times in old Massachusetts. Few people who were taken to the Salem Witch Museum in childhood ever forgot it.