My Beautiful Wickedness

There is no happy way to talk about pandemic collapse.
January 14, 2009, 1:05 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Yes, it sucks that colonial American history is such a downer. Yes, it really does suck that so many people die so quickly. It particularly sucks that semester after semester, I have to give my “here’s what smallpox is and here’s how it affects your body and here’s what it does to societies and by the way, this and other diseases will kill anywhere from 30-60 million people in North and South America in a little over 100 years” lecture and watch the sensitive kids in the classroom look like they are going to hurl at the horror and magnitude.

Sometimes I wish I could figure out a way to give this the Busby Berkeley treatment, but it would probably wind up more on the Terry Gilliam side.


5 Comments so far
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Or god’s forbid, Mel Brooks…
“Smallpox,” the Musical…

Comment by imfunny2

At least you don’t have to assign articles about how the demographic collapse caused the standard of living to rise.

Comment by nm

That’s because in North America, the combo of population freefall, intro of invasive plant species, and intro of plow agriculture (abandonment of more sustainable ag) meant that the indigenous standard of living plummeted.

Comment by bridgett

If your kids are like mine, they’ll find the silver linings anyway. After all, it is all “part of what made the world we live in today”.

I had a person a couple years back who wrote that the most significant result of World War II is that it “freed the Nazis”.

I have an online student who just wrote yesterday that the African slave trade was good for Africans because before that they were “lost in time”, most parts weren’t “civilized”, and it “allowed” so many of them to come to America.

I knew the internet had a wide reach. I didn’t know it could reach the 19th century.

Comment by Gerald

Bridgett, I know that’s what happened here. I think it might be easier for students to learn about everything going to hell, though, than to understand what essentially boils down to “if you didn’t mind that half your village might die horribly once every decade or so, after they did you could get all their stuff and have more imported luxuries and more meat in your diet as well.”

Comment by nm

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