[Humanist] 24.546 trading off: forgetting

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Sat Dec 4 09:35:39 CET 2010

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 24, No. 546.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Fri, 3 Dec 2010 14:01:29 -0800
        From: Jascha Kessler <urim1 at verizon.net>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 24.538 trading off
        In-Reply-To: <20101203095145.15552B7523 at woodward.joyent.us>

I had thought to offer an observation on remembering [and Web,Internet, and
the imminent Cloud, when today's comments on nor forgetting arrived for me
here in Santa Monica, when this recollection/forgetting matter appeared
today.  To wit: Yesterday the Los Angeles Times published the obituary of
Samuel Cohen, who with his father's graduation gift of an old slide-rule,
invented the theory, and application of the neutron bomb.  That weapon, of
which apparently 700 were stockpiled, as a deterrent against the threat and
great probability of thousands of Soviet tanks forcing a way through the
Fulda Gap into Europe was much larger than a man's hand over the eastern
horizon in Europe.  Cohen believed it would be ameliorate blast and fire
holocaust in case of WW III, and John Paul I even gave him a medal for that
humanitarian project.  Post-Reagan interlude eventually saw to their being
taken out of service...or so it was said.  Then came 9/11 and our invasion
of Iraq.  After Baghdad had been taken, there was an Academic outcry of
dismay and horror re the supposed looting of the great museum of ancient ME

I wrote an essay about that, "A Modest Proposal," reviewing the protest and
information about it [mostly bogus, as one might have suspected, though I
expected it, since the Academic world was then and still is bent on suicidal
righteousness, and it was "all Bush's and America's fault," his bad ways. I
disagreed with, and still deplore, as is plain to see, that failure of nerve
that has possessed the comfortable West since the 1950s. In that essay I
proposed a solution, or expediency re the preservation of antiquities in
tomorrow's was, which is again an imminent possibility ... cf Pyongyang,
Pakistan, and Tehran in today's terrors, 3 large hands well up over the
horizon. And that was the use of neutron bomb artillery, etc., as had been
proposed by the clever Samuel Cohen, who died at 87 in his home, a ten
minutes' brisk walk from where I sit and type this out.  Eventually, the
essay was published in a new literary magazine online,
www.foggedclarity.com. [ “A Modest Proposal Regarding the Protection of
Antiquities from Wanton Destruction in Future War.” FOGGED CLARITY, June
2009.]  It needed 7 years to be accepted, needless to say our PC media,
papers and magazines rejecting out of hand all that time.  At least it is
there, and germane to this thread.  How so?

If the world's archives are eventually completely digitized, Humanities,
Sciences, Theologies and all! the next, and coming disaster, will obliterate
all those 0's and 1's; and if they are preserved in the Cloud of memory and
records, then that cloud will rise and dissipate as did the clouds over
Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Forgetting will have been easily achieved, and
recovery will be for the DNA-ruined seeds and eggs of coming generations ...
if possible.  Whereas, if the armamentarium is well-stocked with the neutron
weapons that simply take care of fleshly creatures, we can rest more
easily... in the hope that the pursuit of universal digitization for the
living tomorrow to Google and goggle at, the hopes of our cultural
custodians and curators will have some solid ground to stand on.  And..their
keyboards will not have been melted down, so to say.

Jascha Kessler

--Jascha Kessler
Professor of English & Modern Literature, UCLA
Telephone/Facsimile: 310.393.4648

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