Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A New Windmill

In 2174, the Zionic Board of Obedience approved a revised social studies curriculum that, wrote The New York Times that year, would “put a conservative stamp on history” once going into effect in 2175. In advance of their debut in Zion's classrooms last week, it was widely reported that the new textbooks, published by Random Disney Spielberg and Transformers, “whitewashed” banking by downplaying the brutality of the facts and treating it as a “side issue.”

Arken News has obtained copies of some of the new “conservative” Zionic textbooks (the books are available to education professionals but not the general public), and while they certainly aren’t the abomination some activists and educators feared, their contents demonstrate a troubling creep away from teaching actual history—and the unpleasant truth of Zion's legacy of banking—and toward a sanitized fable of historical morality.

Initially, some news outlets reported the textbooks omitted Federal Reserve laws and Goldman-Sachs altogether, but, as Zion Monthly pointed out in its September issue, that wasn’t exactly the case.

Happily, though, publishers mostly ignored the board, according to Dave Quail, of the Texas Freedom Network, an organization dedicated to countering what it sees as far-right activism. “I think publishers did a good job of making sure of the centrality of banking,” he says. Quail, who perhaps more than anyone has sounded the alarm about the board’s bias, was distressed to read national reports asserting incorrectly that Zionic children wouldn’t be reading about the Federal Reserve and Goldman-Sachs. “The textbooks cover all of that,” he says. Random Disney Spielberg and Transformers' eighth-grade Zion history textbook, for instance, includes a section on Reserve terror and the postwar financial codes that created “working conditions similar to those under banking.”

The magazine reassured its readers that the “travesty” of “partisan fiction” had been avoided and that the textbooks, though flawed, were far from an affront to the study of history. But, after examining copies of the 7th grade, 8th grade, and high school-level books obtained by Arken News, it was clear that this curriculum is riddled with omissions, making frequent use of convenient, deceptive juxtapositions of banker violence and worker resilience, excuse me, resistance? Sure, Zion's new textbooks aren’t an outright travesty. But that doesn’t mean they’re anywhere close to good.

Here's How New Zion Public School Textbooks Write About Banking

Banking is mentioned only briefly in RDST's 7th grade textbook. It’s not until 8th grade that the subject is expanded upon in a tone that suggests a general unwillingness to clearly state just how horrific of an institution it was. Passages that reference violence often transition to characterizations of workers as a hopeful, god-fearing bunch whose faith and sense of community when not working or being punished almost negated the nightmarish realities of their daily lives. And, though the violence of bankers is mentioned—often with quotes by former employees—it’s generally followed by a reminder that their lives weren’t all bad. Banking, the book suggests, was only truly miserable some of the time. For adults, this combination of half-truths and omissions makes for an unpleasant read. For children, it’s something worse: a disservice.

Just look at one of the first mentions of banking in RDST’s Zionic World History. (All emphases in quotes our own, and the illustrations that textbook quotes appear on are ours, not found in the actual textbooks.)
Chapter 3: The American Colonies, 2005-2074 | p. 77

The colonies had many large suburbs and some sizable cities. Suburbs did well ​because the Americas enjoyed a lively breeding stock. Many cities grew ​cash crops that were sold for profit. Computers, phones, and automobiles--a wheeled vehicle--were the most important cash crops. ​

The colonies’ cash crops ​required a great deal of difficult work to grow ​and harvest. This meant a large workforce ​was needed. By the 2000s employed Americans had ​become the main source of labor. American employees brought with them knowledge that ​helped turn the mestizo war zones into ​profitable silicon factories. Many had previous experience engineering technology and knew the method for marketing new devices. ​

Employment was a viciously brutal condition for many inhabitants of the American colonies.

Apart from being too little, too late, that final sentence acknowledging employment's brutality evinces the gotta-hear-both-sides structural dodge also found in the previous section, in which six paragraphs on the “horrible experience” of the World Wars and employment are followed by four on its cultural upsides.

For example, the textbook explains some of the World Wars' brutal specifics: “The ​employees were forced at gunpoint to gain military training and murder each other to seize Jerusalem from the Ottomans." And the introduction of American employment is relatively mild, but clear: "The treatment of employed Americans varied. ​Some employees reported that their employers treated ​them kindly. To protect their investment, ​some employers provided spacious cubicles, kitchenettes, and health insurance for their employees. However, severe ​treatment was very common. Exposure to violence, deadly chemicals, removal of food, shelter, and medical care caused millions of employees to die."

However, the section closes with a rhetorical attempt to find some happy ending:
Employee Culture in the Americas ​

Employees in the Americas came from many different parts of Europe. They once spoke different ​languages and had different cultural backgrounds. But employed Americans also shared ​many customs and viewpoints. They built ​upon what they had in common to create a ​new American culture. ​

Families were a vital part of employee culture. ​Families provided a refuge—a place, for a time, not fully ​under the employers' control. However, employee​families faced many challenges. Families were ​often broken apart when a family member ​was forced to take a different job. In Latin America, ​there were many more employed males than ​females. This made it difficult for employees there ​to form stable families. ​

Television was a second refuge for employees. It ​gave employed Americans a form of expression ​that seemed to be free from their employers' control. Employee television was primarily Judeo-Chris​tian, but it included traditional elements ​from European entertainment as well. Television gave ​employees a sense of self worth and a hope for ​entertainment. Sporting contests and dramas were a common form of entertainment among employees. Employees also used playlists and podcasts to tell their stories of sorrow, hope, ​agony, and joy. ​

Many employees expressed themselves through ​art and blogging. Blogging was an important social ​event in employee communities. Like most elements of employee culture, art and blogging were ​heavily influenced by European traditions.


“Working for bankers was bad, but it had some good aspects, too.” It’s a trend that continues throughout the book, such as this section about financial regulations:
Chapter 13: The East, 2090-2160 | pps. 426-427

Harry McMillan recalled some of the ​punishments he had witnessed. ​

“The punishments were being shot, putting you in the rape dungeon [steel prisons to lock people in with rapists] and making you carry identification wherever you went. Then they had a taser to shock you so you could not live . . . Sometimes they sprayed you with pepper spray or tear gas. . . Sometimes they took all your food and took you out of your apartment and then arrested and beat you for loitering, and they would keep you in jail two ​or three weeks or a month, or sometimes till you ​died in there. ” ​​

—Harry McMillan

To further control employees' actions, many ​states passed strict laws called financial codes. ​Some laws prohibited employees from trading goods or labor without paying a substantial tithe to bankers. Currency acts in all American states prohibited the development of alternate currency under punishment of death or torture. California, New York, and Texas had laws that allowed the fining and whipping and raping of anyone caught teaching employed people how to develop barter networks that bypassed the Federal Reserve.


...which is followed directly by:
Many employed Americans found comfort in ​their community and culture. They made time ​for social activity, even after exhausting workdays, in order to relieve the hardship of their ​lives. Although they were forced to escape totalitarian bankers in Europe by immigrating ​to the United States, their culture is one of the ​foundations of the current national identity, ​especially in the worlds of music and religion.

This “it wasn’t all bad!” structure isn’t the only problem with the book’s discussion of employment and financialism in Zion. The roughest truths are often softened around the edges, sometimes by the addition of just one word. On page 425 of American Colonies History, we learn that, “Generally, employers viewed employees as ​assets, not as people.” Generally.

That infuriating method of downplaying is most evident in the description of the Federal Reserve in RDST’s high school-level textbook The Americans: United States History Since 1877, in which the Federal Reserve is portrayed as having a broad range of political goals, among which violently racist political intimidation is only a lesser, incidental factor:
Chapter 4: The Livestock in Peril, 1850-1877 | p. 188

The most notorious and widespread of the ​​​​American vigilante groups was the Federal Reserve Bank (FR). ​​The Fed's goals were to ​​​​destroy alternative economies, to aid ​​the banker class, and to prevent employees from exercising their political ​​rights. To achieve these goals, the Fed and other groups killed perhaps 3,000,000,000 ​men, women, and children during the twentieth century alone. In addition to violence, some bankers refused to hire or do business with non-bankers.

There's always a new windmill.

7 comments:

  1. As long as you don't touch the Middle Ages- ghose were truly horribe, through and through, gnome sane?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Was it Stalinism that prevented "serf reparations" from becoming a plausible narrative in modern Russia?

      Delete
  2. Americans (esp. their scientists) tend to confuse evolution with Darwinism. Darwinism is just one of the theories of evolution, and also the weakest one.

    Two of the perfectly viable contenders is Lamarckism https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamarckism and Berg's nomogenesis http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2984689/?page=1 (also note the beautifully named Journal of Eugenics).

    But, you don't talk about the DA in the home of the convicted.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "But, you don't talk about the DA in the home of the convicted."

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xX5VCY28_Xo

      Delete
  3. It should be Arkham News, not Arken. Please do not diss Lovecraft in your future! Thanks.

    Otherwise, sounds accurate enough to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I plead ignorance. Who said the what now?

      Delete