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Letters to the Editor
 

Relevant history


John D. Carlson June 24th, 2010

In addition to being a part-time, pro-bono, semi-curmudgeonly, commentator/"opinionizer" (regarding what we might call "The Cultural Decline of Western Civilization As We Know It") " plus an amateur h...

In addition to being a part-time, pro-bono, semi-curmudgeonly, commentator/"opinionizer" (regarding what we might call "The Cultural Decline of Western Civilization As We Know It") " plus an amateur hobby chef/food critic " I am also a casual history buff. In my personal experience, there is no greater repository of "contemporary, still-living, history" than Oklahoma.

Imagine my very pleasant surprise at recently encountering the wonderful cover story by Rob Collins on the (in)famous state seal relocation project ("The state steal," June 2, 2010, Gazette). Now, imagine how much I enjoyed the brief, yet informative, article, by Adam Kemp, regarding Herman Kirkwood and the "recognition" program that followed ("Oklahoma outlaws," June 9, 2010, Gazette).

I simply want to take a moment to thank the editors of (and writers for) the Oklahoma Gazette for these interesting pieces of journalism and to suggest that more of the same, in the future, would be appreciated by many loyal Gazette readers.

The subject matter is nearly unlimited. For example, future "edutainment" (that's "educational entertainment" for non-English majors not specializing in grammar and punctuation) might include: "The William 'Bill' Tilghman (Behind The Badge)" or "Moman Pruiett (Un-Shy Frontier Shyster)." Since Ada's contribution to the definition of "Lynching as Frontier 'Justice'" has been fairly well-covered by a recent, fascinating, OETA broadcast, perhaps "The Hanging Contest Between Guthrie and Oklahoma City" might be worth sharing.

I recently had a chance encounter with a gentleman " in a context not directly related to the subject of this note " whom I would describe as the wisest person I have met in three decades. He summed up one root cause behind our many current, problematic situation(s) with this: "There are a lot of thoughts "¦ but very little knowledge." Wouldn't prioritizing and promoting relevant history help improve this knowledge deficit?

I think it was either Dave Barry, JFK, Winston Churchill, George Orwell, Jonathan Swift, Will Rogers, Robin Meyers or the whistle-blower at BP who said: "Those who fail to learn from the mistakes of history are doomed to repeat them."

 "John D. Carlson
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