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The relentless unforeseen

The relentless unforeseen

Philip Roth’s altered image of America’s past in The Plot Against America is a stroke of genius, says Blake Morrison
The Plot Against America by Philip roth

 

When the hubristic, newly elected US president boasts of America’s invulnerability to foreign attack, the sense of imminent calamity is overwhelming. The title invokes 9/11, but the novel is set 60 years ago. The plot against America isn’t Islamic but homegrown (with a little assistance from Germany). And instead of reconstructing real historical events, as David Hare does in Stuff Happens, Philip Roth offers something bolder: a reconstruction of imagined events, a “what if…?” that reads like a “what really happened”.

Just suppose…that the air hero Charles Lindbergh, the man who made the first solo transatlantic flight in 1927, who earned huge sympathy when his baby son was kidnapped and murdered five years later, who called Hitler “a great man” and was decorated by order of the Führer for his services to the Reich, just suppose that he’d taken up Republican invitations to run for president in November 1940, and milked the isolationist sentiment that undoubtedly existed then (No more war! Never again will young Americans die on foreign soil!), and that instead of Roosevelt being elected for an unprecedented third term and taking America into Europe to fight the Nazis, Lindbergh won a landslide victory. And then he signed non-aggression treaties with Germany and Japan, and set about realising his vision of America as a land of the brave and blond, and introduced a set of anti-semitic measures which, if not on the scale of Hitler’s pogroms, were a betrayal of the rights and liberties enshrined in the constitution and yet, such was the young president’s charisma, they were accepted by the mass of ordinary citizens and even by some prominent Jews.

Just suppose…that the princes in the Tower hadn’t been murdered, that Britain had remained a republic after Cromwell, that America had turned fascist in 1940. In most hands, “just suppose” is a parlour game, a high-table diversion, whimsical and ultimately trivial. Not with Roth. His stroke of genius – and, given the extraordinary late blooming of an already illustrious career with American Pastoral, I Married a Communist and The Human Stain, the word genius doesn’t seem excessive – is to bed his little fantasy in the rich soil of his own childhood in Newark, New Jersey, and watch it grow. The narrator is Philip Roth, aged seven, and the family at the book’s centre are his family – father Herman, mother Bess and brother Sandy. The Roths understand the threat posed by Lindbergh, as do their Jewish neighbours, but each member of the family responds differently. Early on, there’s a trip to see the sights of Washington, where the Roths find their pre-booked hotel room has become mysteriously unavailable. A blatant case of anti-semitism, Herman shouts, and a violation of the Gettysburg principle that “All men are created equal”. But his loudmouth protests embarrass Bess and silence their voluble tour-guide. Already there’s a pressure to pretend not to see what’s going on. Further frictions arise when, under the auspices of a scheme called “Just Folks”, Sandy disappears for the summer for an “apprenticeship” with a Kentucky tobacco farmer. A talented young artist, he returns with a portfolio of animal sketches – and a sudden enthusiasm for Waspish, heartland values. Worse, he’s co-opted by the OAA (the Office of American Absorption) to encourage other Jewish city boys to follow his example – and does it so well that through his aunt, Bess’s sister Evelyn (whose boyfriend, Rabbi Bengelsdorf, is a passionate supporter of Lindbergh), he’s invited to a reception at the White House. A fierce row ensues, with Herman refusing Sandy permission to attend and Evelyn and the rabbi defending Lindbergh as a freely elected democrat “who has exhibited not a single inclination towards authoritarian rule”.

In noisily denouncing Lindbergh, Herman is made to feel like a “frightened, paranoid ghetto Jew”. Paranoia is a common issue with Roth’s narrators, who’re frequently told they’re imagining or exaggerating things – there’s a memorable scene in The Counterlife, when a woman in a London restaurant complains to the waiter of the terrible smell in the place and the hero, Nathan Zuckerman, tells his disbelieving gentile wife “I am that stink”.

The thesis of The Plot Against America is paranoid, too – a fascistic US government suspending civil liberties and persecuting minorities deemed a threat to security. Paranoid and yet (even without any allusion to America post-9/11) utterly plausible. To make alternative history credible, you have to register the incredulity of those it’s happening to. “We knew things were bad,” Herman tells friends after his hotel experience in Washington, “but not like this. You had to be there to see what it looked like.” Later, after Von Ribbentrop is warmly greeted at the White House, Herman says: “If I didn’t see it with my own eyes, I’d think I was having a hallucination.” Or later still:”It can’t happen here? My friends, it is happening here.”

What unfolds requires some tweaking of the historical record – the postponement of Pearl Harbor by a year, for instance. But so inevitable is the march of events that this is all it seems, a tweak. It helps that we see things through the eyes of a child. The man the child became can look back at what was lost (“that huge endowment of personal security I had taken for granted as an American child of American parents in an American school in an American city in an America at peace with the world”), but the child, in medias res, is preoccupied by matters other than politics: his stamp collection, for instance; or how his Aunt Evelyn, holed up in the cellar, will get through the night without access to a toilet; or what to make of his repellently fascinating cousin Alvin, who has come home from the war in Europe minus a leg. But even those postage stamps lose their innocence. Philip dreams of their national park icons being covered by swastikas, and when the collection is eventually lost, anti-semitism is directly to blame: under the new Homestead 42 scheme, the Roths have been “selected” for relocation to Kentucky, and it’s while running away in the middle of the night to avoid exile that Philip mislays his most treasured possession.

As it turns out, the Roths avoid the ultimate catastrophe. But Philip’s worst-best friend Seldon is less fortunate. There’s a hauntingly familiar moment when Seldon, at home alone in Kentucky when his mother Selma fails to return from work, is given painstaking instructions by Philip’s mother over the phone from Newark on how to make himself toast for supper. Seldon fears the worst (“Now both my parents are dead”) and he’s right to. By this point, two years into Lindy’s presidency, killings and riots have begun and many Jews are fleeing over the border into Canada. The nadir is the assassination of the Jewish journalist and broadcaster Walter Winchell, a prominent critic of government policy. In truth, as we learn from Roth’s postscript, Winchell lived on for 30 more years. But the alternative history which Roth imagines for him, including a detailed account of his vast funeral in 1942, seems more realistic than the reality of Winchell becoming a McCarthyite in the 50s and dying in obscurity.

The postscript, with its short biographies and list of sources, gives us the facts – the ground on which Roth has built his house of fiction. It’s instructive yet also redundant. What matters isn’t the reality that underpins the novel, but the reality it creates for itself. And The Plot Against America creates its reality magisterially, in long, fluid sentences that carry you beyond scepticism and with a quotidian attentiveness to sights and sounds, tastes and smells, surnames and nicknames and brandnames – an accumulation of des petits faits vrais – that dissolves any residual disbelief.

Young Philip’s greatest epiphany is to recognise the difference between history as taught in school – harmless and inevitable – and history as it’s lived through, “the relentless unforeseen”. His novel is a different kind of history again, an imagined past which, if we learn from it, might save us from a calamitous future. It’s not Roth’s funniest novel (and there’s hardly any sex). But in its sweep and chutzpah, it ranks with his great trilogy of the late-90s. Isn’t it time they gave him the Nobel?

 

What is Pushing Mongo

What is Pushing Mongo? Should skateboarding be used?

Currently skateboarding is becoming a good sport for health and many participants. You want to play the skateboard to learn the necessary skills. Players must comply with the skills to play well. Currently there are many errors when many people suffer from skateboarding. One of them is Pushing Mongo. So what is Pushing Mongo?

Find out about information related to Pushing Mango         

What is Pushing Mongo?

Push Mongo just like Skateboard Mongo. These terms are only ways that players have wrong skateboarding. Meaning you use the front leg to move the board forward. At the same time, you put the following legs in the wrong position between the chessboard. Meanwhile using the push board moves forward properly to use the rear leg.

This way of playing only those who are new to skateboarding, do not have much experience encountered. If you are a newcomer with this subject, pay attention. Otherwise it will form a bad habit and not a professional skateboard.

Pushing Mango is a posture not to do                   

How is Pushing right in skateboarding?

Even if you are a beginner, don’t push Mongo. But refer to the right ways to form good habits. After that only regular practice will become professional.

How to push many people who apply are the front legs to near the wheels of the front and back skis are pushed. Foot-legged legs are like many other ordinary people. As you use the left leg to bring it up to the front, it’s a goofy posture.

Why do professional skateboards don’t like Mongo posture?

In fact, people do not show the prohibition of pushing Mongo. However, it was judged by the submerged community and provided regulations to comply with. Pushing Mongo is wrong, people will condemn and mock themselves.

So why are people so prejudiced? Skateboarding does not have any binding. Every posture can be creative in its own style. Young skateboarding athletes have continuous innovations in how to play. They always want to create new and eye-catching steps. But if you push Mongo, those styles will be pushed back. In fact, pushing Mongo is extremely bad.

In recent times, the skating athletes have condemned Mango. They offered criticism and mockery with that action when skating.

                   

Why push Mongo into a bad posture?

It’s not natural that people hate this posture. But it has a lot of drawbacks that professional skateboarding athletes do not like. Some specific reasons:

  • Pushing Mongo is not the same as other poses that look strange.
  • If you use a suitable posture, it will take very little time. On the contrary, pushing Mongo takes a lot of time because the foot needs more impact.
  • You will not be rested but must constantly need the following legs. After that the skateboard tail will not be able to move quickly.
  • The skateboarder will be very difficult to go to the cracks with Mongo push posture. Only when placing the right posture, can you lift the nose and jump over the crack.
  • Pushing Mongo also slows down the movement speed. With flip-flip tips, it’s really impossible.

Through sharing information, surely you already know what is pushing mongo? East you also understand more that should not make that posture. However in some cases people can still use it.

But it is best not to use this posture when starting. Because it will make you form bad habits. When they were accustomed to Pushing Mongo, it was difficult to play the right posture. Having become a professional skateboarding athlete is impossible. Please note what is pushing mongo and limit its use.

Canadian Woman Studies

Canadian Woman Studies

An Introductory Reader, 3rd Edition

Edited by Brenda Cranney, Sheila Molloy

Canadian Woman Studies: An Introductory Reader, 3rd Revised and Updated Edition, brings together articles on themes and topics at the forefront of feminist inquiry and research. Compiled of articles previously published in one of Canada’s oldest feminist journals, Canadian Woman Studies/les cahiers de la femme (CWS/cf), it offers a unique and historical perspective of feminism as well as provides an excellent introduction to feminist thought in Canada.

This volume has been revised and updated to consider some of the changes that we have witnessed in Canada and elsewhere in the world since the publication of the best-selling first edition in 1999, and second edition in 2006. Recognizing the growing significance of Canadian feminist scholarship, this revised and updated third edition aims to situate Canada within a broader, transnational context. Contents of the third edition, like the second edition, were determined through extensive consultations with university professors using the second edition in their classes. Articles consider the regional, urban, rural, linguistic, demographic and ethnic differences within the nation, as well as the ways women in Canada are impacted by various global factors. Sections include: Feminist Perspectives; Herstories; Work/Economy; Policy; Violence; Representation; Health; Activism and Resistance.

Contents

Acknowledgements

Preface by Andrea O’Reilly

Introduction by Brenda Cranney and Sheila Molloy

Section I: Feminist Perspectives

1 From Riot Grrrl to Radical: Reflections from a Working-Class Feminist by Gina Whitfield

2 Feminism & Multiculturalism in Quebec: An / Other Perspective by Dolores Chew

3 Gender-Based Analysis and Differing Worldviews by Cynthia D. Stirbys

4 Teaching Sexual Assault: The Education of Canadian Law Students by Rosemary Carins Way and Daphne Gilbert

5 Does Yes Mean Yes? Exploring Sexual Coercion in Normative Heterosexuality by Hedda Hakvåg

6 Alternative Altars: Beyond Patriarchy and Priesthood and Towards Inclusive Spirituality, Governance and Activism Among Catholic Women Religious in Ontario by Christine Gervais

7 Reclaiming Our Spirituality: A Pedagogical Tool for Feminism and Activism by Njoki Nathani Wane

Section II: Herstories

1 It’s Time for Change! The World March of Women 2000 by Pam Kapoor

2 Women’s Words: Power, Identity and Indigenous Sovereignty by Patricia A. Monture

3 Remaking Waves: The Québec Women’s Movement in the 1950s and1960s by Cheryl Gosselin

4 Troubling Herstory: Unsettling White Multiculturalism in Canadian Feminism by Mary-Jo Nadeau

5 “We’re Here, Standing at the Shoreline”: Sylvia Hamilton’s Intervention in the Nova Scotian Discourse of Belonging and Multicultural Citizenship by Sharon Morgan Beckford

“Los Desaparecidos”: The Madres of the Plaza de Mayo and the Reframing of the Victims by H. M. Fraser

7 What Women Need Now from Police and Prosecutors: 35 Years of Working to Improve the Police Response for Women Escaping Male Violence by Louisa Russell

8 Creating Trialogue: Women’s Constitutional Activism in Canada (or ACT) by Marilou McPhedran

9 The Canadian Disabled Women’s Movement: From Where Have We Come (possible to update) by Pat Israel and Fra Odette

Section III: Work/Economy

1 “With the Appropriate Qualifications”: Aboriginal People and Employment Equity by Patti Doyle-Bedwell

2 Organizing on the “Factory of Wheels”: The Bus Riders’ Union and Anti-Racist Feminism for the 21st Century by Fiona Jeffries

3 On Being A Feminist Farmer by Jennifer deGroot

4 Strangers in an Estranged World: Two Radical Feminists in the Academy by Geneviéve Pagé and Ève-Marie Lampron

5 Dueling for Dollars: Feminist Activism and Minimum Wage Coalition Politics by Joan Grace

Section IV: Policy

1 Women and the Canadian Legal System: Examining Situations of Hyper-Responsibility by CAEFS / NWAC

2 Welfare Policy: A Critical Site of Struggle for Women’s Safety by Janet Mosher and Pat Evans

3 Why Women Still Ain’t Satisfied: Politics and Activism in Canadian Child Care, 2006 by Martha Friendly

4 Arbitration and Family Laws: Muslim Women Campaign to Eliminate the Use of Religious Laws in Legally-Binding Arbitration by Alia Hogben

5 Consent and Coercion in the Law of Rape in South Africa: A Feminist Transformative Approach by Shereen W. Mills

6 Response to Canada’s Apology to Residential School Survivors by Beverley Jacobs

Section V: Violence

1 Commemoration for the Montreal Massacre Victims by Ursula Franklin

2 Breaking the Silence: Reclaiming Qur’anic Interpretations as a Tool for Empowerment and Liberatory Praxis for Dealing with Domestic Violence in Canadian Muslim Communities by Sabra Desai and Zehra Haffajee

3 Moving Beyond Rape as a “Weapon of War”: An Exploration of Militarized Masculinity and its Consequences by Caitlin Maxwell

4 Stolen Sisters: A Human Rights Response to Discrimination and Violence Against Indigenous Women in Canada by Amnesty International

5 Violence Against the Women of Juárez by María Guadalupe Morfín Otero

6 Homophobic Sexist Violence in Canada: Trends in the Experiences of Lesbian and Bisexual Women in Canada by Ellen Faulkner

Section VI: Representation

1 Erasing Race: The Story of Reena Virk by Yasmin Jiwani

2 Aiming for Better Than “Nobody Flinched”: Notes on Oppression in Cancer Care by Christine Sinding, Lisa Barnoff, Patti McGillicuddy, Pam Grassau, and Fran Odette

3 Simpering Outrage During an “Epidemic” of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome by Caroline L. Tait

4 The Role of Montréal’s Dykes on Mykes Radio Show by Marie-Clair MacPhee and Mél Hogan

5 Nunavut: Whose Homeland, Whose Voices? by Isabel Altamirano-Jiménez

6 N’tacinowin inna nah’: Our Coming In Stories by Alex Wilson

7 No Woman Left Covered: Unveiling and  the Politics of Liberation in Multi/interculturalism by Tanisha Ramachandran

Section VII: Health

1 Feminist Perspectives on Breast Cancer, Environment Health and Primary Prevention: The Case for the Precautionary Principle by Dorothy Goldin Rosenberg

2 “It’s Your Body But…”:  Young Women’s Narratives of Refusing Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccination by Francesca Mancuso and Jessica Polzer

3 Traditional Healing and Spirituality among Grenadian Women: A Source of Resistance and Empowerment by Patsy Sutherland

4 Notokwe Opikiheet—“Old Lady Raised”: Aboriginal Women’s Reflections on Ethics and Methodologies in Health by Kim Anderson

Section VIII: Activism and Resistance

1 Wa(i)ving Solidarity: Feminist Activists Confronting Backlash by Victoria Bromley and Aalya Ahmad

2 Advocacy, Activism and Social Change for Women in Prison by Kim Pate

3 Out of Canada: The Pedagogy of Transnational Feminist Activism by Debbie Lunny

4 The Feminist Pacifist and  Antimilitant Movement in Colombia: The Experience of la Ruta Pacífica de las Mujeres by Diana Maria Montealegre M.

¡Escuche Las Krudas! Raw, Feminist Rap Music from Havana by Talia Wooldridge

6 Local Activism, Global Feminisms & the Struggle Against Globalization by Angela Miles

About the Authors

Brenda Cranney has a Ph.D. in in Sociology from York University and has worked extensively on a variety of women’s issues with numerous NGOs in Canada and India. A scholar, activist, and photographer, she continues to be active in a number of women’s organization and has taught at York University, George Brown and Humber College. She is the author of Local Environment and Lived Experience: The Mountain Women of Himachal Pradesh.

Sheila Molloy has been interested in international feminist issues for many years. She has been involved in women’s centres in her neighbourhood, and has a background in public and intergovernmental organizations in the area of education. She speaks and reads English and

French, having worked in bilingual environments. She is a long-time supporter of women and a feminist and is an active member of Women for a Just and Healthy Planet.