by Ahistoricality | 4/05/2009 07:04:00 PM
President Obama, 4 April 2009, Strasbourg [via]:
"I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism. I'm enormously proud of my country and its role and history in the world. If you think about the site of this summit and what it means, I don't think America should be embarrassed to see evidence of the sacrifices of our troops, the enormous amount of resources that were put into Europe postwar, and our leadership in crafting an Alliance that ultimately led to the unification of Europe. We should take great pride in that.

"And if you think of our current situation, the United States remains the largest economy in the world. We have unmatched military capability. And I think that we have a core set of values that are enshrined in our Constitution, in our body of law, in our democratic practices, in our belief in free speech and equality, that, though imperfect, are exceptional.

"Now, the fact that I am very proud of my country and I think that we've got a whole lot to offer the world does not lessen my interest in recognizing the value and wonderful qualities of other countries, or recognizing that we're not always going to be right, or that other people may have good ideas, or that in order for us to work collectively, all parties have to compromise and that includes us.

"And so I see no contradiction between believing that America has a continued extraordinary role in leading the world towards peace and prosperity and recognizing that that leadership is incumbent, depends on, our ability to create partnerships because we create partnerships because we can't solve these problems alone."

Passover is my nostalgic holiday. That and Thanksgiving, I guess: these are the holidays where the family comes together, or the community, or friends (or, since you can have multiple seders over Passover, all of the above!), where the food is distinctive and deeply rooted. Also, the preparation is fairly intense, so there's a period of anticipation and planning that hightens the experience.

So if you're wondering what I've been doing this last week, it's the usual, plus a bunch of extra shopping and planning. And next week will be a cavalcade of ritual: recipe following, haggadah-reading, actual seders, informal get-togethers, and more recipe following (I'm a very improvisational cook, usually, but not with Passover recipes; if you don't get them right, the results can be really unpleasant).

What are you up to these days?

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Blogger Ahistoricality on 4/08/2009 10:49 PM:

Twice in the last two weeks, at two different blogs, I've seen a post on which I'd left a comment deleted. In one case the author decided that it was a draft, not ready for prime time; in the other, the post remained crossposted elsewhere, where it got much friendlier comments.

One of the reasons I started my comments elsewhere tag was the sometimes fragile nature of the internet, but I need, apparently, to move more quickly on these things.


Blogger elle on 4/09/2009 4:51 PM:

Actually, mine is not deleted. It's in draft stage. I wanted to share that article, and still do, and actually responded to your comment with why I phrased the "set-up" like I did, including my desire to invoke the language of the Double V campaign.

The more I thought of it, though, I got a very definite "teaching history: ur doing it wrong" feel from your comment and that bothered me (I mean, didn't you actually tell me don't get the history wrong?), was something I didn't want to engage with so I decided to delete the first paragraph, hence moving it to draft stage.


Blogger Ahistoricality on 4/09/2009 5:06 PM:

Yes, it was a critical comment. The usual way of handling comments with which we do not wish to engage (but which violate no local or internet-wide standards of conduct) is to ignore them.

I'm afraid I don't remember exactly what I said: while your post may exist in draft form - though unchanged at any of your other posting sites - my comment does not appear to be accessible. It's possible that it will reappear if you repost your article, but I do not know enough about blogger's handling of such things to say with any confidence one way or the other.


Blogger elle on 4/09/2009 5:24 PM:


Not only have you told me I'm getting the history wrong (which, I think, is a bit more than "critical," especially from one historian to another), but now you tell me how I should've have responded?


Blogger Ahistoricality on 4/09/2009 7:18 PM:


With the usual caveat: I'm just one blogger, one historian, with no authority.

Feel free to ignore me if you think I'm wrong, though active discussion usually leads to greater understanding.

(As near as I can tell, your reply to my original comment wasn't up very long: it's less than an hour between your comment's time stamp and my comment at the top of this thread noting its disappearance. [9:53 pm and 10:49 pm, respectively] Not a lot of time for me to absorb whatever lesson it was you wanted to impart.)


Blogger Ahistoricality on 4/09/2009 7:23 PM:

In the interests of using this as an open thread, I'll add a link to a cute commentary: What Passover Teaches Us About International Relations.


Blogger Jeremy Young on 4/10/2009 2:50 PM:

I really hate taking sides between friends. And I haven't had time to even read this site over a month, much less write on it. And like Ahist, I have no authority here, by choice.

But that said: I can understand Elle's not wanting to be lectured to. But I don't see why a critique of one's reading of the history, via a blog comment, is inappropriate, even given the implicit power differential. And in my experience in the blogosphere, deleting or hiding one's own previously posted work without both posting notice and leaving up the comments is considered an act of vandalism.

That's all I'm going to say on the matter, because I really appreciate both you guys, and I really don't want either of you angry with me.


Blogger AndrewMc on 4/15/2009 10:00 AM:

I also haven't said anything yet, but possibly for different reasons from Jeremy.

I'm trying not to be heavy-handed in terms of posts and comments. As long as the comments are on-topic and not inflammatory, I'm happy to let things ride.

At the same time we should remember that we are all colleagues--editors, contributors, commentors, and lurkers. To me [and perhaps only to me] that means taking care with how I respond to someone, as well as knowing that someone's response isn't personal. Now, ymmv on that one, of course. But I think it works.