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Impressions and Expressions of Ijon
May 2nd, 2007
04:40 pm


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Hitchens on The Barbary War; Cameo by Cthulhu
Here's Christopher Hitchens on Slavery and the Barbary Wars of the very young United States. It's a charming little exercise in contemporarizing history.

Quite unrelatedly, the word "Barbary" mystified me as a teenager, when during one of my first forays into the Internet (back when I was active in FidoNet), looking for role-playing game resources, I had run across the now-defunct Barbary Cthulhu, a Call of Cthulhu online multi-player interactive environment, based on the MUSH game server technology.

That game's name referred to its spatial and temporal setting, The Barbary Coast, a shady neighborhood in 19th-century San Francisco, not to northern Africa and its enslaving pirates, but I did not know that at the time, and wondered how barbarians or barbarism is related to the game's theme.

Regrettably, I ran out of time while familiarizing myself with the game, and then promptly forgot all about it until today. Now I'm nostalgic and have a hankering for some Cthulhu intrigue. I think I'll lie down till it passes.

P.S. Later in the album I'm listening to, Stevens has a track titled Decatur, after the Illinois town by the same name, itself named for Stephen Decatur, hero of the Barbary Wars.

Current Music: Sufjan Stevens -- Concerning the UFO Sighting Near Highland, IL

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Date:May 2nd, 2007 03:12 pm (UTC)

More confluence:

I went to Stephen Decatur elementary in Chicago. What I know about him came from the Randy Shilts survey of homosexuality in the US military - according to Shilts, Decatur was gay.

While trying to find another source claiming the same fact (I read the book years ago), I came across a web page citing Decatur, GA, also named for that Decatur, as a gay ghetto. I have a friend who lives in Decatur. He's straight.

My favorite couplet in "Decatur" is "Stephen A. Douglas was a great debater / but Abraham Lincoln was the Great Emancipator!"
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