Ive been indulging in a lot of screen time recently. I know Im not alone in this. But it somehow seems odd to spend so much of my time passively watching as history is happening right before our eyes. For a multitude of reasons, this year may turn out to be the most consequential year in modern world history, certainly in American history; and that thought is stressing me out. So, in search of answers, I have begun watching and reading about how other people have responded to crises throughout history.
There is currently a 24-part lecture series on Prime TV entitled The Black Death, and yes, it is about the plague that originated in China, and beginning in 1347, it devastated not only half of the entire population of Europe, but also its ruling institutions, including feudalism and the Catholic Church. But what fascinated me were the first-hand accounts, in both writing and art, as told by those who were living in the midst of it. Those who cared for the sick and then succumbed themselves; those who turned to prayer and self-flagellation, those who turned to hedonism or violence, those who were scapegoated for being Jewish, and those who tried to restore order and government.
During the next ten years, 75 million people perished. That is a staggering number. But it doesnt tell us about the human story of that pandemic. We can only begin to understand the meaning of such events by opening ourselves to the accounts of those who lived and died or survived in such times.
Such traumatic experiences are not the only stories of interest to historians. Other stories, of a gentler sort, fascinate as well. Perhaps because they stand out in relief against the larger backdrop of social upheaval.
I recently watched Anne Frank: Parallel Stories, in which Helen Mirren reads from Annes diary, which is filled with what we might call the normal preoccupations of an adolescent girl in the 1940s. She writes freely and imaginatively of friendship, isolation, love, romance, having her first period and her desire to improve the world. Her death in a Nazi concentration camp at the sweet age of 15 is what makes her story so poignant and so tragic.
When such stories are intertwined with those of other victims and survivors, we feel the true significance of the Holocaust. The weight of those stories has helped to stiffen my own resolve to resist any movement toward a world in which such evil could ever exist again. Engaging with history and realizing that our own stories are part of the entire human experience can really help put things in perspective.
Today, we are living through our own historical moment facing a worldwide pandemic; political upheaval; social unrest; continued racial injustice toward our own species and man-made environmental catastrophes that threaten to extinguish life itself.
So, how are we dealing with all this?
We all have stories about the disease that is crippling our society, keeping us in isolation, with little or no employment, unable to attend school, unable to make new friends or to date. Are your relationships stressed? Has the Black Lives Matter movement made a difference to you? Did you participate in the protests? How has your world changed? Are you worried about your health or that of your loved ones? Do you watch a lot of news coverage like I do, or post more on social media? Do you feel that youre actively engaged and are trying to make a difference?
The most important question for me is, What will I tell my granddaughter when she grows up?
There are so many stories that when taken together will inform future generations, as well as scholars, about how we survived here on Vashon-Maury Island, while so many in other places did not.
Now is a good time to think about sharing your own experiences. The Vashon Heritage Museum, our island equivalent of the Smithsonian, has begun what it calls the Vashon COVID-19 Archive Project. A team led by historian Bruce Haulman has begun collecting such stories for a future exhibit. Working in collaboration with Voice of Vashon, they will be conducting video and audio interviews at several locations around Vashon-Maury throughout the month of July. Participants only need to be willing to share their stories, but artifacts such as masks and photos, even screenshots of social media posts may also be of interest.
For more information visit vashonheritagemuseum.org/covidarchive. Also, check Vashon Heritage Museums Facebook page for updates on the location for the interviews.
Be part of history.
Art Chippendale has lived on Vashon for 24 years with his wife Tania Kinnear. He has been active in community organizations and co-founded the group Unifying for Democracy.
- Im planning a summer of post-vaccine hedonism... and the shame of Spotify Wrapped - Evening Standard - December 5th, 2020
- BLACK SABBATH: Breaking The Band To Premiere This Sunday; Trailer Available - bravewords.com - December 5th, 2020
- Film review: the immoderate adventures of Oliver Sacks - The Conversation AU - December 5th, 2020
- Yinka Ilori brings much-needed cheer with the launch of his debut homeware range - Creative Boom - December 5th, 2020
- Is this app going to save clubbing in 2021? - Dazed - December 5th, 2020
- The year that shook the economy - New Statesman - December 5th, 2020
- DRIVE 2020: DRIVE: Buff pickups from hell to get your through it - Dallas Voice - November 7th, 2020
- Earth911 Podcast: Thinking Through Post-Growth Living With Philosopher Kate Soper | Earth 911 - Earth911.com - November 7th, 2020
- 12 Classic Songs That Happened By Accident Kerrang! - Kerrang! - November 7th, 2020
- 10 Warhammer 40,000 Factions That Still Need Proper Armies - TheGamer - November 7th, 2020
- Partying Like Its 1925 as Londons Theaters Go Dark (Again) - The New York Times - November 7th, 2020
- A psychologist explains how Trump's own words reveal the traits that make him unfit for office - AlterNet - November 7th, 2020
- Stream These 15 Titles Before They Leave Netflix in November - The New York Times - November 7th, 2020
- If any institution can inspire the Maltese nation to do good, it's Serkin. In a divided nation, the pastizz unites all - MaltaToday - November 7th, 2020
- Why Trump is so obsessed with 'Y.M.C.A.' - SFGate - November 7th, 2020
- Good use of that Christmas party budget - RollOnFriday - October 19th, 2020
- Exclusive news and research on the wine, spirits and beer business - Shanken News Daily - October 19th, 2020
- October Surprise! US psychiatrists convince the media to reveal the extent of Trump's mental instability - NationofChange - October 19th, 2020
- In search of the real Ma Anand Sheela - Livemint - October 19th, 2020
- Not even seats and social distancing can stop Working Men's Club from bringing the hedonism to London's Oslo - DIY Magazine - October 10th, 2020
- Features | Tome On The Range | Under The Skin: Skunk Anansie At Glastonbury, 1999 - The Quietus - October 10th, 2020
- Bartenders Tell Us The Best-Tasting Whiskies They've Ever Tried Wonderfully Curated News - Register - October 10th, 2020
- Satire | October Horoscopes - University of Pittsburgh The Pitt News - October 10th, 2020
- Track by Track: International Teachers of Pop on the bombastic Pop Gossip | Gigwise - Gigwise - September 4th, 2020
- Class Action Park Review: Thanks for the Injuries - The New York Times - September 4th, 2020
- Junk Explained: Why Recessions Hit Young People The Hardest - Junkee - September 4th, 2020
- I May Destroy You: The HBO series about consent we should all be watching (Trigger Warning-sexual assault, rape) - The Observer - September 4th, 2020
- Remembering the time David Bowie and John Cale got wasted and jammed, 1978 - Far Out Magazine - September 4th, 2020
- Blue sky thinking with the A-list's favourite shrink - MSN UK - September 4th, 2020
- Liverpool are ready for another Jrgen Klopp journey, but this one carries biggest warning yet - Liverpool.com - September 4th, 2020
- Op-Ed: To My Fellow Students, Please, Just Follow the Rules - The Tower - September 4th, 2020
- Welcome to Nashville, Where Were Just Realizing Theres a Pandemic - Rolling Stone - August 10th, 2020
- What the new Sky drama series Little Birds is all about and what inspired it - iNews - August 10th, 2020
- How this year's freshers are feeling about picking the wrong year to start university - iNews - August 10th, 2020
- Opinion: Robert McNeil: All the lonely people: are they taking the bliss? - HeraldScotland - August 10th, 2020
- 9 Perfect Scotches To Sip In The Summertime - The Manual - August 10th, 2020
- Living in Clerkenwell:the Zone 1 neighbourhood with house prices on the up and Crossrail on the horizon - Homes and Property - August 10th, 2020
- The reason why the BBC banned A Day In The Life by The Beatles - Far Out Magazine - August 10th, 2020
- Hedonism II | Top Clothing Optional Resorts In Negril, Jamaica - August 7th, 2020
- Hedonism - Wikipedia - August 7th, 2020
- A Safe Spot for Gay Travelers at Jamaica's Hedonism II ... - August 7th, 2020
- Hedonism II Returning in July With Party Safely ... - August 7th, 2020
- hedonism | Philosophy & Definition | Britannica - August 7th, 2020
- Hedonism III to rebrand as a more conservative resort ... - August 7th, 2020
- Hedonism III: Naked truths about 'resort casual': Travel ... - August 7th, 2020
- Taking Time to Enjoy the Pleasures of Life Brings Happiness - PsychCentral.com - August 7th, 2020
- The Other Columbus: National Beer Float Light Cat Pin Zuke Day - Columbus Alive - August 7th, 2020
- Two Dances: The Women of Fellini and Beardsley - Varsity Online - August 7th, 2020
- The Dandy Warhols Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia: Why It Mattered - Happy - August 7th, 2020
- The South Got Something To Say: A Celebration Of Southern Rap (1995-1999) - NPR - August 7th, 2020
- Hedonism can be a good thing - Cosmos - August 5th, 2020
- Why researchers are encouraging us to embrace hedonism - TimesLIVE - August 5th, 2020
- Ill always feel in my element at this neon-lit rave in the Nevada desert - Telegraph.co.uk - August 5th, 2020
- From Cancun to Jamaica, Adults-Only Resorts That Are Open Right Now - Caribbean Journal - August 5th, 2020
- Finding Home Away From Home In The City of Rovinj, Croatia - vmagazine.com - August 5th, 2020
- Feel the need to be on the go all the time? Here's permission to relax - The Star Online - August 5th, 2020
- Where are the religious Zionists in defense of Netanyahu? - Haaretz.com - August 5th, 2020
- The Bologna Massacre, the 'Strategy of Tension' and Operation Gladio - CounterPunch - August 5th, 2020
- 'The Matrix Has You...' - The Good Men Project - August 5th, 2020
- Sea level rise: three visions of a future summer holiday at the coast - The Conversation UK - August 5th, 2020
- How we met: 'He spoke to me in a French accent, and I went weak at the knees' - The Guardian - August 5th, 2020
- Review: 'Beastie Boys Story' on Apple TV+ examines the growth of the iconic band - The Oakland Press - August 4th, 2020
- Soft white wines that pack a punch - The Guardian - July 31st, 2020
- Giving in to occasional temptation leads to a happier life - Brinkwire - July 31st, 2020
- Experts Have Found The Key To Happiness | WOMX - RADIO.COM - July 31st, 2020
- Closer to success: scientists surprised by unexpected statement Hedonists - The Saxon - July 31st, 2020
- Netflix, Amazon, Stan, Foxtel, Binge and more: Everything new to streaming in August | Australia - NEWS.com.au - July 31st, 2020
- Multifaceted approach necessary to overcome domestic violence in Turkey | Daily Sabah - Daily Sabah - July 31st, 2020
- COMMENTARY || Tough-on-crime anti-drug moralizing does a disservice to Canadians - Folio - University of Alberta - July 31st, 2020
- 1920: The Year Broadway Learned To Syncopate | The Syncopated Times - The Syncopated Times - July 30th, 2020
- Keep the dist-dance - techtoday19 - July 29th, 2020
- 5 extraordinary submerged sites that will make you believe Atlantis is real - BreakingNews.ie - July 28th, 2020
- Kylie Minogue Fans Have Broken The Internet At "Say Something" - Wonderland Magazine - July 28th, 2020
- Purdue prof attracts cult following as expert on 'The Black Death' - Purdue Exponent - July 28th, 2020
- Is The West Repeating India's Mistakes? Interview (Part II) - Eurasia Review - July 28th, 2020
- Revelations Of Heist And Hedonism Of Youngsters - The Nigerian Voice - July 27th, 2020
- An epic year of misbehaviour, hedonism and havoc behind the scenes of 'Ryan's Daughter' - Independent.ie - July 25th, 2020
- Tough-on-crime anti-drug moralizing does a disservice to Canadians - The Globe and Mail - July 25th, 2020
- Turning 40 Gives the Gift of Perspective - PsychCentral.com - July 25th, 2020
- Rebel with a Cause: The Saint and the values that inspire Drew Pavlou - The Catholic Weekly - July 25th, 2020