Language Matters

About a week ago, Tim Kaine tweeted about racism and discrimination and how our, “founders and our government carefully created it”.  (You can view the entire tweet here.)  In the thread there is also a video in which Kaine talks about how “we” didn’t inherit slavery, “we” created it.  Reactions ran the gamut from “you are correct” to “you are crazy” pretty much along political lines as you would expect.  All the so called experts chimed in and before long, in addition to the Democrat bashing, lots of folks had lots to say on the subject of slavery.

As I read through the various mocking comments, something that a friend of mine reminds me of from time to time popped into my head: language matters.  Many posters pointed out that slaves built the pyramids, the Romans had slaves, and even the ever popular “slavery is mentioned in the Bible” were repeated over and over (Moses might argue its more than mentioned, but that is just a guess).

Language Matters.  The funny thing about all this (and I don’t mean HAHA funny), is that both sides are right, and both sides are wrong (or really both sides are wrong, because Language Matters) – the reason is that both sides are using the same word to describe widely different practices.

Tim Kaine is talking about a specific type of practice that developed in a specific place at a specific time: CHATTEL SLAVERY.  This is something that those of us who study, teach, and interpret the subject know quite well – and understand when we see his speech in  the video.  In addition, a quick internet search shows that websites like The Abolition Project, Freedom Center, and even Wikipedia (insert collective surprise here) all draw the distinction between Chattel and other forms of slavery, so the information is out there if anyone wants to seek clarification.  Those commenters who choose to ignore the distinction are either grossly misinformed or acting intentionally.

So what?  Language Matters.  Anyone who who has conversations about this topic in a public forum needs to be quite intentional in making sure our terminology is correct when discussing, teaching, or interpreting the practice.  This is especially true in this political climate.  Historians are “revisionist”, college professors are the “liberal elite”, words are contorted, and “alternative facts” all serve to twist reality.  With that in mind we have to be intentional with what we say so that there is no misunderstanding.

Language Matters.  The bottom line is that the British Colonies that eventually became the United States, and the new nation itself, developed and refined a system of labor called Chattel Slavery to suit its needs.  That is what Tim Kaine was taking about and we all need to be intentional in drawing that distinction.


Rusty – June 2020


<Insert the usual refrain of “I can believe that I haven’t written in so long HERE>

It has been almost a year since Rusty had his treatment for hyperthyroidism.  When he came home from his radioactive treatment in Richmond, we were instructed to have him tested at the 3, 6, 9 month and 1 year mark.  To date he has passed his tests, and we are quite happy.  None of my other posts mentioned it, but Rusty lives with 3 other cats in our 4 cat household.  In no particular order we have:

JC 0001





and our newest member (nearly a year) RJ.

Rusty Update Part 2!

Rusty came home from the kitty hospital last week – he had his treatment on Monday and came home on Wednesday.  Many thanks to Dr. Howard and the staff at Virginia Veterinary Centers for taking good care of him.  We have had to take some precautions because he is still slightly radioactive but it is good to have him home.  Rusty and the house have returned to what passes for normal around here.  His thyroid needs to be checked periodically over the next year, but he already seems much better than when we took him in.

We went to see Pompeii: The Immortal City at the Virginia Science Museum today.  It was excellent and if it comes to a museum near you I highly recommend going.  You can learn more abut it here.

Not exactly the most exciting week…heck who am I kidding, having Rusty come home was exciting.

Rusty Update!!

The doctor called today to say that the treatment was administered and Rusty was doing well.  Now it is a matter of waiting until he reaches the level of radiation that the government has deemed safe for him to be released.  Right now the thought is probably Wednesday.

In other news, tonight’s post was going to be a step-by-step rundown of my installation of a Daystar Bull Bar on my 2018 Jeep Renegade, but life had other plans.  We bought a new blade for my folks’ lawn mower and when I was turning on the light in the garage, my hand brushed against the corner opening up a little gash.  Of course, it is my right hand, so that ended my thoughts of installing the Bull Bar today.  Guess I’m gonna be a lefty for a while!

More later on this week as we bring Rusty home and work continues on the Renegade.

Radioactive Rusty

We dropped Rusty off at the pet hospital in Richmond today.  Rusty has feline hyperthyroidism where errant thyroid cells produce too much thyroid hormones creating all sorts of problems.  Weight loss with an increased appetite were the two symptoms that we discovered.  The treatment option we chose is radioactive iodine therapy.  The thyroid requires iodine to produce the T3 & T4 hormones.  In the case of hyperthyroidism, the errant cells are doing all the producing and the healthy cells are currently “off”.  So with the radioactive iodine therapy, radioactive iodine is injected and absorbed by the bloodstream.  The errant cells absorb the radioactive iodine which eventually kills them.  When all the errant cells are killed (or enough), the healthy cells are restarted and the thyroid operates as normal.  There is roughly a 95% cure rate.  Rusty will have to spend a few days in the kitty hospital until his radiation levels are at the acceptable level where he can be discharged, and we have to treat his waste in a special way for a few months, but otherwise this seems to be a simple procedure.  This is the same treatment that is available to humans with a hyperactive thyroid – its just the humans get a radioactive iodine pill.  I will update as the treatment progresses.

Hopefully my layman’s explanations make sense.  If you want more information, I suggest a quick search for Feline Hyperthyroidism and perusing legit websites like Cornell University, Washington State University, or WebMD Pets.  Also, there are more pictures from Rusty’s visit on my Instagram: thejollyhistorian.

A Blog Reborn

I’ve been contemplating for a couple of weeks now as to whether or not to continue this blog, shut it down, or just let it lie static.  I haven’t written in a couple of years and it is quite possible that any followers I had may have just drifted away.  I have kept a social media presence on Instagram (@thejollyhistorian) which is where I do most of my posting these days.  On the other hand, I am paying for and I should do something with it.

Why blog?  It isn’t necessary for my job (BTW, see the About Me page & my Disclaimer that my opinions are all my own).  I am not a business or an aspiring actor where I need to keep people interested in me to get a leg upon the competition.  I’m just an ordinary guy who occasionally gets the bug to write.  My original blog was started because I wasn’t doing much thinking / writing about history and I needed an outlet.  While I enjoyed writing it, eventually I felt one-dimensional.  History is a BIG part of my life, but there is a whole lot more that I am interested in and I might want to write about.

So all this is a long winded way of saying, “here I go again”.  I’m going to restart this blog and write.  About what?  Why a whole bunch of things: History for sure.  Travel? Certainly.  I also love LEGO and have a kick butt collection, so I’ll probably post sometimes about that.  I also own a Jeep Renegade so there may be posts about the upgrades or even some off-roading trips.  Cats? Sure, I have a bunch (four).  Heck, I’ll probably post about yard work, home ownership, and who knows what else.  I’ve reformatted the blog and hey, the first post is about blogging.  It’s a start.