It’s easy to throw words like “fascism” around without really thinking about their definitions . . . so I looked the word up, to reexamine it. In my opinion, the “shoe fits,” as the saying goes, whether you call it “American fascism,” or simply “Trumpism.” Just look at the details of the Google-provided definition above:
What’s more, all of this is apparent after Donald Trump has been in office for only a week.
The cartoonists Charles Schultz knew, and Bill Watterson knows, an immense amount about the uniquely American way to celebrate Christmas.
Their work speaks for itself.
I hope you enjoy these cartoons, and have both a Happy Christmas and Merry New Year.
Please buy the books with these comic strips. They’re easy to find on Amazon, and many other places.
Books make excellent gifts, not just for holidays, but at any time. Christmas is also a time associated with eating good food, too, of course. Calvin’s table manners are atrocious, of course, but his parents do try.
Christmas Break, Winter vacation, or whatever you choose to call it gives us all time to be with our families and friends.
Santa Claus is also a big part of Christmas in America. Whether we like it or not, the same is true of capitalism.
Reality often clashes with our ideals. That’s part of being human, in any season.
An emotionally-charged phrase, “true meaning of Christmas,” is repeatedly explained, forgotten, rediscovered, celebrated, etc. — and, of course, we argue about it. We’re Americans, after all.
Sometimes, we also listen to each other. Other times, we don’t, even when we need to, and the opportunity presents itself.
The holiday season is often rough on those of us who struggle with depression. These cartoonists tackled such issues head-on. However, they never claimed to have all the answers.
Happy Christmas, and Merry New Year, to you and yours.
Peace be with you.
One thing both comic strips have in common is a focus on children and childhood. Reading them can help one keep from losing the essence of youth, no matter what age one reaches.
Bill Watterson, Charles Schultz: thank you for sharing your ideas about Christmas, and life itself, with us, over the decades. I’ll let Schultz have the last word.
The yellow years are ones in which the USA was getting into or out of major wars — or both, in the case of the brief Spanish-American War. The red years are war years, and the blue years are years of (relative) peace.
The sectors are each bounded by two radii, and a 1.5° arc. The current year is omitted intentionally because 2016 isn’t over yet, and we don’t know what will happen during the rest of it.
When I am asked for my height, anywhere — especially at school — I answer the question honestly. I am 1.80 meters tall.
I also live in the USA, one of only three remaining countries (the other two holdouts are Liberia and Myanmar) which have stubbornly refused to adopt the metric system. However, I am every bit as stubborn as other Americans, but, on this issue, I choose to be stubborn in the opposite direction.
It should surprise no one who knows me well that my classroom, whether I am teaching science or mathematics, is, by design, an all-metric zone. After all, like >99% of people, I have ten fingers (assuming thumbs are counted as fingers), ten toes, and almost always use the familiar base-ten number system when counting, measuring, doing arithmetic, or doing actual mathematics. (Doing arithmetic is not the same thing as doing real mathematics, any more than spelling is equivalent to writing.) Using the metric system is consistent with these facts, and using other units is not.
Admittedly, I do sometimes carry this to an extreme, but I do so to make a point. Metric units are simply better than non-metric units. Why should anyone need to memorize the fact that there are 5,280 feet in one mile? It actually embarrasses me that I have that particular conversion-factor memorized. By “extreme,” I mean that I have been known to paint the non-metric side of meter sticks black, simply to make it impossible for students in my classes to confuse inches and centimeters, and prevent them from measuring anything with the incorrect units.
To those who object that American students need to understand non-metric units, I simply point out that there are plenty of other teachers who take care of that. This is, after all, the truth.
Often, after giving my height as 1.80 meters, I am asked to give it in other units. Unless the person asking is a police officer (in, say, a traffic-stop situation), however, I simply refuse to answer with non-metric units. What do I say, instead? “I’m also 180 centimeters tall. Would you like to know my height in kilometers?”
If pressed on this subject in class — and it comes up, because we do lab exercises where the height of people must be measured — I will go exactly this far: I am willing to tell a curious student that there are 2.54 centimeters in an inch, 12 inches in a foot, and 3.28 feet in a meter. Also, I’m willing to loan calculators to students. Beyond that, if a student of mine really wants to know my height in non-metric units, he or she simply has to solve the problem for themselves — something which has not yet happened. I do not wish to tell anyone my height in feet and inches, for I do not enjoy headaches, and uttering my height, in those units I despise, would certainly give me one. Also, obviously, you won’t find my height, expressed in non-metric units, on my blog, unless someone else leaves it here, in a comment — and I am definitely not asking anyone to do that.
I might, just for fun, at some point, determine my height in cubits. For all I know, a person’s height, measured with their own cubits, might be a near-constant. That would be an interesting thing to investigate, and my students, now that I’ve thought about the question, might find themselves investigating this very issue, next week. The variability of cubits, from one person to another, makes them at least somewhat interesting. It also makes cubits almost completely useless, which explains why they haven’t been used since biblical times, but that’s not the point. One can still learn things while investigating something which is useless, if one is sufficiently clever about it.
Feet and inches, however, are not interesting — at all. They are obsolete, just as cubits are, and they are also . . . offensive. It is not a good thing to insult one’s own brain.
Because it was, in some ways, a precursor to the American Revolutionary War, this timeline begins with the pre-American-independence French and Indian War. American independence was formally declared during the Revolutionary War, in 1776.
Light blue areas are for pre-American involvement in wars which ultimately ended in some form of victory for the USA, with dark blue areas representing American involvement in wars that ended in a victory for the side containing the United States, alone or with allies.
Each new part of this timeline contains the end of the previous one, and all wartimes within a single portion of this timeline are shown to scale. The white areas represent periods of peacetime, and are also shown to scale. Yellow wars are those that ended in stalemates, or conditions that could simply be called a tie.
Beginning in 1945, things get complicated, with an ideological war (the Cold War) occasionally turning “hot,” as it did in Korea and Vietnam. A similar “it’s complicated” situation appears later, during the ongoing War on Terror. Also, the Vietnam War makes two new colors needed: orange, for pre-USA-involvement in wars that ultimately lead to a defeat for the USA, and red, for the period leading up to a loss for the USA which actually involved American personnel.
When the Soviet Union fell in 1991, ending the Cold War, some actually wrote of “the end of history,” as if the world had suddenly became uncomplicated. Subsequent events proved this idea to be premature.
Since the War on Terror, as well as its component in Afghanistan, is unresolved as of now (2014), a new color, green, is used here for ongoing conflicts.
Finally, it should be pointed out that the administration of George W. Bush tried to sell, to the American public and others, the idea that the 2003-2011 Iraq War was part of the War on Terror. Many Americans, however, myself included, do not accept this rationale, for no connection has been established between Iraq, on the one hand, and the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks against multiple targets in the USA, on the other.
When I was a little kid, my sister and I dug a big hole, in our front yard, and simply called it “the digging-hole.” It looked a lot like the hole shown above, except for the fact that, during daylight hours, our digging-hole usually included two small, dirt-covered, determined children, armed with plastic shovels. We tried, for years, to dig that hole as deep as possible. My personal goal, of course, was the Earth’s molten core, not India, and certainly not China.
Why do Americans so often talk about digging a hole straight down to China, anyway? Even if the Earth were solid all the way through its interior, digging straight down, from almost anywhere in the contiguous 48 states of the USA, would not put you in China, nor even India (which is, at least, closer to being correct than is China), but at the bottom of the Southern Indian Ocean. Salty water would suddenly rush into your newly-dug tunnel, killing you instantly, as soon as you got close to enough to the other side for the extreme water-pressure there to finish your digging project for you. The only exceptions to this watery doom would be coming out of the tunnel on one of the islands in that ocean, which would require great precision to hit deliberately.
Also, the fact that China and the USA are both Northern-hemisphere nations easily rules China out as the hypothetical “solid-earth” destination for Americans who dig straight down, and all the way through. If you could go through the center of the earth from North of the equator, you’d have to end up South of the equator. Isn’t that obvious? Don’t people look at globes?