Thursday, February 24, 2005


I just finished a German-language history of Germany from the pre-Roman times to just before the 1848 rebellions. It is an old book, written by a man forced to flee the Nazis. Therefore, it is not infected with either a Nazi-friendly slant, or post-war European relativism. The book makes a number of interesting points. However, the most interesting, I thought, was that with the exception of Germany, every country that was directly impacted by the Reformation was strengthened by it. The Dutch and Swedes gained their senses of national unity in the Calvinist and Lutheran movements, respectively, the Brits found a common Catholic enemy to rally round, the Austrians and French both strengthened the central government in the name of solidifying the Catholicism of the respective countries, etc. etc. Only Germany, which suffered through the Thirty Years War and came out with a million small states and a divided Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation came out weaker.

I guess the lesson there is, if you're going to have a Reformation, go whole hog, or don't go at all...

I am home sick today. That means I am watching Tom and Jerry on Cartoon Network. It also means I could NEVER work from home, since I would never get anything done.

Anyway, I am suddenly struck by Tom and Jerry and their insightful social commentary. The episode is the one where Tom paints Jerry white and sells him to a pet shop, which offers “top dollar” for white mice. The woman of the house promptly finds Tom’s ill-gotten loot and buys Jerry as a pet. When Tom attacks Jerry he is thrown out of the house. To get back into the house he tries to expose Jerry as a fraud. Thus, Tom cleans the white off of Jerry several times. Jerry, knowing that a “white” mouse is an acceptable pet, while a “brown” mouse is not, quickly covers himself in white again.

Thus, Jerry “passes” for white, and the lady of the house is content with a “white” mouse after years of trying exterminate the “brown” mouse. It is reminiscent of the traveling baseball teams that used to list black ball players as Cubans in the South so that they could play with white players.

The other possibility is that I have taken too much cold medicine…