hist-brewing: Re: Recipe and Soul

Joel Plutchak plutchak at ncsa.uiuc.edu
Tue Apr 3 06:53:33 PDT 2001


Dan McFeeley writes:
>The U.S. is a relatively young country, only about 200 years or so
>compared to other countries whose history stretches into milenia.  In
>my home state of New Jersey it was an everyday event to drive pass old
>stone walls from the Revolutionary War period, but it still remains that
>any sense of historical connection is little more than two centuries.
>In contrast, look at the stories about old time farmers in Ireland who
>are wont to cross themselves should they discover they had just walked
>across a "fairy rath,"  i.e., one of the ancient remnants of Irish
>neolithic settlements.  To historically youthful U.S. ears, the story is
>quaint and smacks of simple superstition but to folk in Ireland the
>melding of Celtic past with Christian habit makes perfect sense.  

   I have just a few nits to pick in an otherwise interesting
missive.
   True, the United States as a country is only ~225 years old.
However, is the age of the current form of government really
that significant?  If so, the US is one of the oldest countries
in the world, technically speaking.  China and Russia underwent
revolutions, borders and ruling bodies in Europe have changed
drastically even in the past 100 years, etc.  And it's not as if
people haven't been in what is now North America for only two
hundred years-- Columbus "discovered" the Americas over 500 years
ago, bringing Europeans to the continents, and even then there
were longstanding "native" populations here.
   The "fairy rath" of Ireland could well have a parallel in
the Indian mounds scattered throughout the plains states, or
the abandoned cave dwellings in the southwestern US, and indeed,
some of give due respect to such remnants from the past.

   I think the most you can say about current US citizens is
we lack a distinct connection to the lands and customs of our
ancestors.  (And I'm not sure that isn't often the case elsewhere--
societies just about everywhere have changed drastically in the
past 100 or so years.  Or at least everywhere this electronic
message will instantly flit to. ;-) 


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