Before I turn to Christmas . . .
Does the “arc of history bend towards justice?” Two recent high profile essays have challenged that notion, and did so in such annoyingly dogmatic ways that I did not post them here. Indirectly, this question came up during my own PhD oral comprehensive exams years ago, and the contentious debate it stirred up still perturbs me. A response to the previously mentioned essays has gained some attention over the last day. It too makes some questionable assertions, and I think some of the logic is tortured, but count me on this side of the debate.
Oh man, this may be one of Kevin Levin’s best post ever. Does it really do any good for professional historians to just talk to each other about the current community debates over Rebel iconography? We need to get involved in bringing “together historians, . . . local activists, politicians, and other local leaders who are currently engaged in questions surrounding the place of Confederate iconography in their communities.” Preach it. Otherwise, we will keep seeing stuff like this.
Did you know that Santa was a secessionist and helped supply General Lee’s army during the Civil War? No? Then you MUST check out this blog post from Christian McWhirter about a strange 1867 book, General Lee and Santa Claus. “Two of the most famous white beards in history apparently ran into each other.”
And while we are back on Christmas: if you have a tree up in your house right now, you have British royalty to thank for it, particularly Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Yep.
So what about electric Christmas lights? Not surprisingly, they started with Edison, but they were slow to catch on. Here’s a quick short history.
The first set of Christmas lights for public sale