Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Break From Wingnut Bullshit

I stumbled across a terrific site the other day. It’s called “Axis of Evel Knievel,” and I promptly added it to the most honored of my blogrolls, “Fighting teh Good Fight.”

Axis’ subhead is “another day, another pointless atrocity,” and each day it commemorates the births and deaths of notable, despicable, and otherwise historically (in)significant figures, from Heinrich Himmler to William Renquist; Augusto Pinochet to Ted Nugent.

I haven’t found much information available about the site’s author, someone known only as ‘D’ who appears to be a teacher, though in a moving tribute to his father last October he noted:
If you had asked him, my father would have insisted that history was never his best subject. Nevertheless, I find it impossible to think about the second half of the 20th century without the stories and commentary I've borrowed from him. He grew up in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where he lived down the street from Norman Rockwell. Of all things, he actually worked as a model for some of Rockwell’s Boy Scout tributes; he’s the kid in the middle of the “Ever Onward” painting, commissioned for the Scouts’ 50th anniversary in 1960. Though he shared Rockwell’s liberal values -- particularly his vision of racial equality -- I don’t think he shared Rockwell’s confidence that small-town virtues still defined the United States during the cold war. If nothing else, Dad’s experience during the Vietnam War ruined that illusion.”
D’s daily chronicles also include many well-, and perhaps even more lesser-, known historical events, often made more memorable by their quaint juxtaposition:
According to Joseph Smith, Jr. -- founder of the Latter Day Saint Movement -- the angel Moroni appeared to him on the night of 21 September, 1823, bearing important information about the location of numerous golden plates, on which the history of the extinct Nephite people had been inscribed… One hundred and fourteen years after Joseph Smith’s first encounter with Moroni, J.R.R. Tolkien published The Hobbit, an equally plausible tale involving dwarves, gnomes, wizards, and dragons, all of whom dwell in a fantastic place known as Middle Earth.
photo from Axis of Evel Knievel

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