Marc Comtois posted the 62nd History Carnival. Somehow I got top billing, perhaps guaranteeing that a few poorly chosen words will live on forever. And I dragged Jonathan Dresner down with me! Great links on Wilentz.

Since I really need to raise my cool quotient after posting Dave Dee et al‘s “Bend It”, I’m going to link to one of the coolest trad sites on the internet, the plainly named Cajun Music MP3. What is it? Neal Pomea has digitized (what looks like) about 200 old 78s from the golden days of regional music in Louisiana. The quality isn’t always good: some discs pop, others skip, and some do both. My favorites: Le ‘tit Nègre à Tante Dolie, J’ai Passé devant ta Porte, Creole Blues , Madame Sosthene and Quand Je Suis Bleu.

Anthropologist Maurice Bloch has some interesting things to say about the differences between psychological and cultural memory.

I am very interested in the connection between the psychological process of inscribing one’s individual past and public manifestations or verifications of “the past”. That is the interesting question. But if you use the word “remember” for both, it makes it seem that the connection between the two is perfectly straightforward. By denying the public implications of memory, it seems to be that one can ask much better how there can be a connection between the two levels, without assuming that there is one – because I’d say that most of the time there isn’t. That’s the first point.

The second point is that when you say that collectivities remember, you are speaking metaphorically. Given the normal meaning of the word “remember”, that would require the brain and the neural system. Therefore, collectivities literally cannot remember. That doesn’t mean that the metaphor isn’t useful or thought provoking. But, like all metaphors, it becomes harmful when we forget that it’s a metaphor. When we say that we can study how collectivities remember, while knowing that they can’t, is to be contradictory.

Stasi, Mauer? War Da Was?” by Rainer Eppelmann looks at the roots and remedies of Ostalgie.

Woher beziehen also Jugendliche heute ihr Bild von der DDR? Wohl im Wesentlichen aus den Erzählungen im Familienkreis oder den Darstellungen in den Medien und im Film. Die Opfer der zweiten Diktatur in Deutschland finden in diesen Darstellungen nur selten Raum. Sie – die Ausgebürgerten, die Bespitzelten, die Verhafteten, die Ermordeten – kommen nur am Rande vor, ihre Schicksale bleiben zumeist vergessen. Dass es viele Zehntausende waren, davon zeugt heute nur noch, dass sie – endlich – seit Herbst 2007 den Anspruch auf eine Opferpension haben. Worauf wir gemeinsam gehofft und wovon wir geträumt haben und wofür wir – wenn auch nicht alle und nicht alle gleichermaßen – gekämpft und uns eingesetzt haben: Freiheit und Demokratie, gerät in den Hintergrund.

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