Maus is a graphic novel completed in 1991 by American cartoonist Art Spiegelman. It depicts Spiegelman interviewing his father about his experiences as a Polish Jew and Holocaust survivor. The book uses postmodern techniques—most strikingly in its depiction of races of humans as different kinds of animals, with Jews as mice, Germans as cats and non-Jewish Poles as pigs. Maus has been described as memoir, biography, history, fiction, autobiography, or a mix of genres. In 1992 it became the first graphic novel to win a Pulitzer Prize.
It’s a good text to explore via a timeline because of the the non-linear storyline and the advantages of setting additional historical context.
As a result of this, I’ve spent some time trolling the National Archives. Normally I wander around the Library of Congress but I was doing a parallel reading of The Liberator1 by Alex Kershaw which had some great images from the National Archives so I was inspired to go check it out.
There is a lot of great content available digitally, including some stuff I hadn’t seen before. Search and features leave something to be desired and you have to be really specific with your search terms. One other thing to be aware of is that deep links to the pages found in your search expire.
A few of the WWII pieces I liked but didn’t put in the Maus timeline are below. I also found a pretty decent, although silent, video of soldiers spraying people with what is probably DDT in an effort to kill louses and prevent typhus (aka war fever) from spreading.
1 Another WWII text but of more traditional style. Nothing great but did have an interesting portion on the murder of SS guards at Auschwitz by U.S. soldiers.
Here are examples of hats made of felted beaver fur, because if you ask your students to draw a picture of a beaver hat, you’re likely to get some sort of coonskin monstrosity. (Seriously, you should try that.)
Pukestocking, Puke-stocking, Puke Stocking
tl;dr – Being called puke-stocking likely has everything to do with fashion instead of seasickness.
Despite many sites claiming that Pilgrims were called puke stockings, I can’t find anything substantial to back that up (and now think it means something entirely different anyway). I did find a reference to puke stockings in Shakespeare’s King Henry IV -
Wilt thou rob this leathern jerkin, crystal-button,
not-pated, agate-ring, puke-stocking, caddis-garter,
In 1598, when Shakespeare wrote his play, “puke” was a very fine grade of woolen cloth, often used to make stockings as well as other garments. This kind of “puke” first appeared in English in the mid-15th century, derived from the Middle Dutch word “puuc,” meaning “the best grade of cloth.” Interestingly, “puke” cloth was, in Shakespeare’s day, usually dyed deep bluish-black or dark brown, leading to the term “puke color.” This “puke,” however, is unrelated to the brownish-purple color we know today as “puce,” which takes its name from the French word for “flea.” Apparently if one looks very, very closely at fleas (I’ll pass, thanks), they are purple-brown in color.
Thus haue you heard the particulars of this massacre, which in those respects some say will be good for the Plantation, because now we haue iust cause to destroy them by all meanes possible: but I thinke it had beene much better it had neuer happened, for they haue giuen vs an hundred times as iust occasions long agoe to subiect them, (and I wonder I can here of none but Master Stockam and Master Whitaker of my opinion.) Moreouer, where before we were troubled in cleering the ground of great Timber, which was to them of small vse: now we may take their owne plaine fields and Habitations, which are the pleasantest places in the Countrey. Besides, the Deere, Turkies, and other Beasts and Fowles will exceedingly increase if we beat the Saluages out of the Countrey, for at all times of the yeare they neuer spare Male nor Female, old nor young, egges nor birds, fat nor leane, in season or out of season with them, all is one. The like they did in our Swine and Goats, for they haue vsed to kill eight in tenne more then we, or else the wood would most plentifully abound with victuall; besides it is more easie to ciuilize them by conquest then faire meanes; for the one may be made at once, but their ciuilizing will require a long time and much industry. The manner how to suppresse them is so often related and approued, I omit it here: And you haue twenty examples of the Spaniards how they got the West-Indies, and forced the treacherous and rebellious Infidels to doe all manner of drudgery worke and slauery for them, themselues liuing like Souldiers vpon the fruits of their labours. This will make vs more circumspect, and be an example to posteritie: (But I say, this might as well haue beene put in practise sixteene yeares agoe as now.)
ames Akin’s earliest-known signed cartoon, “The Prairie Dog” is an anti-Jefferson satire, relating to Jefferson’s covert negotiations for the purchase of West Florida from Spain in 1804. Jefferson, as a scrawny dog, is stung by a hornet with Napoleon’s head into coughing up “Two Millions” in gold coins, (the secret appropriation Jefferson sought from Congress for the purchase). On the right dances a man (possibly a French diplomat) with orders from French minister Talleyrand in his pocket and maps of East Florida and West Florida in his hand. He says, “A gull for the People.”
Reducing a player’s worth to a single number can be contemptible, says John Thorn, a seminal sabermetric writer and the author of the 1984 book The Hidden Game of Baseball. That book introduced the Linear Weights System, which attaches a value in runs to every offensive event. (For instance, a single when the book was released was worth 0.47 of a run.) Linear Weights System provides the mathematical basis for WAR’s offensive components. Thorn, while supportive of WAR, criticizes the way it is often deployed to end an argument.
“The current lowest common denominator of statistical writing is the fixation on comparing Player A with Player B, which seems to me not only worthless but serves to obscure the larger story of baseball,” Thorn says. “Enjoyment of baseball is like enjoyment of art. If you decide it has to have a utilitarian function & you make it seem like work. It’s supposed to be play.”
Given there aren’t many baseball players, they are already filmed and analyzed from virtually every angle1 in a game that’s relatively simple compared to something like, say, teaching, I don’t have a lot of hope for the assessment of teacher quality working out well. Roger Shank doesn’t make me feel any better.
We’re trivializing the idea of evaluating teachers in part because culturally we don’t value the position or the skills. There’s likely some way to look at teaching with at least a degree of circumspection but all portents seem to indicate we are going to do the opposite.
While education isn’t supposed to be “play” (or fun for that matter), teaching is part of larger story that requires a wider lens. Culturally, we love to over-simplify down to a single metric for success be it a number or letter2. I doubt that’ll change and as a result we do ourselves harm.
I used a blank Chrome account with no cookies etc. just to see what Google auto-completed with the prompt “I hate ___” and then when through the alphabet. Simply because I wanted to know. Even if it means nothing, it’d make for an interesting justification writing assignment.
I was looking for a site I went to that describe the texture of a particular mega-herb as like “hairy celery.” I’m hoping the autocompletes are the result of some wayward SEO attempt. I opted not to follow them to their Internet conclusion just in case my imagination was correct.
Merriam-Webster’s dictionary site lets you indicate why you looked up a specific word via Facebook. Absent all the tracking etc. (which is a big absence) that’s a pretty cool feature and could lead to some interesting discussions. Seems like the context and multiple angles through which people are approaching words adds context and realism.
1 Take a look at the coaches per individual skill and compare to how we try to
More proof Pilgrams were more interesting than your history book would admit with a hat tip to my own dad for sending the link.
No torture . . . unless you’re convicted and we feel like you’re holding something back but we promise not to be “Barbarous” or “inhumane.”
45. No man shall be forced by Torture to confesse any Crime against himselfe nor any other unlesse it be in some Capitall case, where he is first fullie convicted by cleare and suffitient evidence to be guilty, After which if the cause be of that nature, That it is very apparent there be other conspiratours, or confederates with him, Then he may be tortured, yet not with such Tortures as be Barbarous and inhumane.
(Lev. 24. 15,16.)
If any person shall Blaspheme the name of god, the father, Sonne or Holie Ghost, with direct, expresse, presumptuous or high handed blasphemie, or shall curse god in the like manner, he shall be put to death.
Notice the Biblical references that back up the laws. What’s also really cool is that I can link to these passages in the Geneva Bible that the colonists were likely using. The Internet is truly amazing and these bible people have put in some serious work.
Strangely, I have to give a NSFW warning as there’s also stuff about homosexuality and not eating the animals that are victims of beastiality that you might have to worry about depending on your community. It gives quite a bit of insight into the community’s concerns but may not be worth any additional drama.
Anyway, it’s fairly interesting so far and I came across the Declaration of the Rights of Man article screenshot-ed above. Since I was already in a colonial frame of mine, this seemed to line up pretty well.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
2. The aim of all political association is the preservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of man. These rights are liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression.
Given that Thomas Jefferson played a major role in the writing of both documents, they provide some interesting opportunities for comparison both in terms of these particular lines/words and the documents as a whole. Did Jefferson do a better job in round two? What impact might the subtle difference have?
This was made with Timeline JS and is predominantly dates from the Virginia Standards of Learning USI5 and USI6 but I’m sure this is pretty standard fare for any US history course. I’ve got a fair amount more work to do but things are at least sketched out based on the “required knowledge.” My goal is to have a decent mix of primary source material, video, and links to places with fairly deep content.
The difficult thing about making content like this for anyone other than yourself is that the ideas I have about how to use particular items aren’t easily seen by others. Adding a layer of “teacher directions” is fairly odious for me and unless done very, very well it will likely be ignored anyway. For example, I opted to use an image of the Geneva Bible to represent Massachusetts Bay. There’s the obvious ideas around how the colonists tried to use biblical elements to guide all aspects of their life. I was struck by this statement on the cover “With moste profitable annotations upon all the hard places, and other things of great importance as may appeare in the Epistle to the Reader.” The Geneva Bible was seen as the first “study bible” and had extensive margin notes, numbered verses, was likely used by Shakespeare as reference etc.1 I’d also be tempted to work with an English or world language teacher around the difficulty of translating complex texts accurately.
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