Wait… Where was I?… Oh, yeah… Everything’s Derivative. As I was saying…
Just as Kanye’s song “Champion” didn’t pop out of nowhere, neither did our national culture. We had our own “Rapper’s Delight”… our own “Say It Loud”… our own, well, you get the idea.
Twenty+- years ago, one of my history classes came up with a mnemonic device to help us remember some of the historical highlights that proved ultimately to dramatically inform the American culture as we know it today:
“Joey Gauld Rode Malcolm’s Rail Road to Everywhere.” (Catchy…huh…)
Here’s a run-down of a few factors pertaining to each letter:
J = Judeo-Christian Heritage — Our very keeping of time (i.e., 2014)… A sense of forgiveness and belief in redemption in our criminal justice… Our major holidays… Our President taking the oath of office with one hand on the Bible… The preponderance of biblical names — Matthew, Paul, Ruth, Joshua, — in our population… Common expressions like “My cross to bear.”… Today’s observance of Hanukkah.
G = Greece — The notion of humanism (“Humans are Good”)… The contributions of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle… The idea that we humans are capable of understanding, adapting to, and improving the world.
R = Rome — The beginnings of equality… The idea that all people are equal in that they are bound my law… art and architectural styles… Months named for Roman Leaders (e.g., July and August)… T.H.E. Colosseum.
M = Middle Ages — Magna Carta (1215)… “The king is not above the law.”… The fact that American presidents can be impeached.
R = Renaissance — Rebirth of the ancient Greek and Roman art, values, and culture… The timeless, high compliment of being called “A Renaissance Man.”
R = Reformation — Martin Luther and the 95 Theses… The Protestant Reformation.
E = Exploration — Colonial settlement by the British… New England… From mercantilism to capitalism.
The Fun Continues.
Onward, Malcolm Gauld