No, its not the new toy that parents will be attacking each-other this Holiday season to get for their noisy little spawn. Its a novel “Web 2.0″ social networking site that has the potential to challenge conventional wisdom with the power of knowledge. I say , “novel”, because this site connects not you per se, but your location to nearby places, historical events and the people involved.
Nearbie™. History connects you™. , could possibly change what most people take to be as common knowledge of local history into the naked truth of history.
Here’s how it works in three little steps:
- Tell Nearbie where you are
- Explore what happened nearby, and what’s going on right now
- Contribute to the history of everyone and everything!
There’s probably a few of you out there asking if Nearby has opted to sponsor TMBBITW, but fear not, I am quite sure that anyone over at Nearby even has a clue that this blog exits, much less be willing to bribe us for advertising. I just think that the idea of this site could bring out not just the niceties of history, but the ugly hidden side of history like the draft riots that occured in the north during the US civil war.
We’ve probably all heard the old addage that, if one does not know their history, then they are doomed to repeat it. Well what if we have been duped by the writters of history, the winners, who usually “won” with a little help from what might be percieved as despicable acts. Take for instance, J. P. Morgan, he was and is historically and monitarily a winner. How, he win though? Mr. Morgan got his first big financial dividends from buying faulty rifles from one part of the Union army and selling them to other sections of that army. These faulty rifles weren’t factory rejects because a button was missing, they were rejected by army officials who saw their capacity to either not work at all or expload upon fireing. You can imagine that either of those rejection worthy faults could not only put a soldier at risk for lack of a weapon, but could kill them outright by exploading!! What does our banking hero do, but see a chance to profit from pain. He was a war profiteer, much like one would consider Haliburton to be today. A peron who was willing to profit from the horrible tragedy of war, no matter what evils they perpitrate. Historically, war, is a money making machine as well as a killing bonanza. How about W. R. Hearst, the early media mogul who made his big bucks by selling newspapers. Of course it came about that there was a compettitor for Hearst’s revenue, so what does Hearst do? Does he rely on quality reporting and intriguing articles? No, he created the impetous for the Spanish American war. Oddly enougg, I first learned of this when reading “Jon Stewart’s, America. A Citizens Guide to Democracy.” I most certainly didn’t hear it in grade school.
Hearst was competing with Pulitzer take over the American newspaper market. So when there was a small rebellion in Cuba, both papers sent journalists and photographers down there to digg up the best dirt on the spectacle of the event. The USS Maine, was a ship in the harbor of Havana and it capitain was just writing a letter to his wife, telling her that the Spanish seemed to have everything under control and that their officers were perfect gentleman to the Americans there. Then a big boom, the ship starts to sink and who comes to the rescue but the Spanish who did everything they could to help the sailors of the USS Maine. However, Hearst had other ideas. A story about the Spanish coming to the aid of the sailors on the USS Maine wasn’t juicy enough to sell alot of newspapers, but a story about the Spanish placing bombs on the hull of the Maine would sell millions of copies. Small Planet Communications, an educational site where I got the specifics on this Machiavellian atrocity, has this great excerpt that best exemplifies Hearst’s thirst for blood money:
The correspondents [sent to cover the rebellion], including such notables as author Stephen Crane and artist Frederick Remington, found little to report on when they arrived.
“There is no war,” Remington wrote to his boss. “Request to be recalled.”
Remington’s boss, William Randolph Hearst, sent a cable in reply: “Please remain. You furnish the pictures, I’ll furnish the war.”
You guessed it, Hearst decided to create a war just to make an extra buck, cause apparently the money he all-ready had wasn’t enough or maybe he just wanted his paper to win in the race to corner the US market. Either way, Hearst created a war that did not exist. The ensuing battle to make Spain out to be this horrible cowardly enemy of America in order to sell more “news”-papers. Because they had read all these stories in the papers of the day, Americans wanted revenge. Eventually this baseless battle cry rose up: “Remember the Maine! To hell with Spain.” The Spanish American war was soon to follow.
I am hoping upon hope, that Nearby can help to expose more historical truths that are even less common knowledge than the examples I have given in this post.
At the very least it ought to kill an hour or so of boredom ;)
Keep knowledge free.