Pour One Out For: Howard Zinn 8/24/1922 – 1/27/2010

written by guest author:  “Professor” John Peabody

Very few people outside of the halls of academia have probably ever heard of Howard Zinn. A professor emeritus of history at Boston University, Zinn suffered a heart attack on the 27th of January in 2010. He died. Nothing greatly exciting about that. Death is boring, except the fact that a person shits their pants when they die. Poop jokes are still funny no matter what age a person is.

So.

Historians rightfully hold the reputation of being exceptionally dull. Christ, the good and reputable ones sit and read all day. They then spend their time telling other people about some boring thing that happened a very long time ago. They have mastered the art of communicating minutiae in extravagantly mind-numbing detail.

Essentially, historians are akin to the stoned guy at a party who unabashedly shares his pet “theories” and “interpretations” of God and the Universe based on his warped and limited interactions with his friendly local drug dealer. The only real difference is the fact that most people who call themselves historians tend to hold advanced degrees from accredited institutions of higher learning. Moreover–in contrast to the stoner–the historian’s verbal assaults tend to take form in long books or circuitous lectures held in the comfort of university classrooms.

Mr. Zinn, though, should not be considered boring. His most popular and talked about work, A People’s History of the United States, quite rightfully deserves its wide acclaim and appeal. Quite simply, the book served to deliver a swift and brutal kick square in the nuts to the United States’ most convenient myths and fairy-tale fantasies. Thanks to Mr. Zinn, people began to see good ole Christopher Columbus as nothing more than a vain, greedy, genocidal maniac. And he reminded us that even ordinary, Coors Light swilling idiots like myself are just as much a part of the historical narrative as industrialists and other privileged white guys. His idea was something along the lines of, “The history of the state [governments] is not the only history that exists.” Take that, Henry Kissinger and Klemens von Metternich!

Zinn’s belief in the significance of those who are often seen as insignificant made him an esteemed progressive. Some even labeled him as ‘radical.’ This might be a fair appraisal. Who knows?

In any case, Mr. Zinn was a decent dude. He can be compared to the kindly, yet level-headed, grandfather who kicks his stupid grandchildren in the head for believing in fucking idiotic things like Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. This probably explains why none of his progeny ever held a seat in public office. I imagine he was the type who beat the bullshit notion out of kids who earnestly thought that they would one day “become president of the United States.” And now that he’s dead, you could expect that none of his family will attend his funeral service. But, let’s hope that is not the case.

Good ole Howie told us that “you can’t stand still on a moving train.” Things are still moving, even in his absence. But in what direction should we go? Good question. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for some guidance, take the time to crack open a King Cobra and read some of Zinn’s work. It might make your dick hard or your panty’s wet.

That’s usually never boring.

Farewell, Professor Zinn.

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