- 12 jan 2002 -

how prettySo the public schools make a big deal out of the California missions, but they don't really get down to the heart of what they were all about.  Most kids will come away with vague ideas (although all ideas in fourth grade are vague) about adobe and architecture, tile roofs, rustic kitchens, farming, saddles, and big bells.  All of this is enrobed in the spookiness of Catholicism, a mysterious, echoey, highly patronizing authoritarian realm filled with paintings of people either in misery or gazing powerfully upward as if they just got bonked on the head.  Throw in a little smoke, a little wine, lots of statues and carvings of bloody crucifixion and you've got yourself one heck of a picture of California in the nineteenth and late eighteenth centuries. 

Not much about the slave part.

Not a whole lot about the land grab.

No, it was all about baking bread and making boots, hoeing vegetables and making candles, lots of candles.

It's a thorny problem.something wicked this way went

It was the graveyard that excited the fourth graders most on the field trip yesterday.  Dozens of headstones and markers with family names etched into marble.  Grand monuments and locked-up crypts all laid out among the native and imported flora.  Oh yeah, there are also 4,000 Native Americans in the dirt there, but who knows who they were.  No markers to give their names.  There was one Indian actually mentioned by name on the tour, the first to do something there - I forget what it was exactly, he made the first saddle or grew the first lettuce or something - and his name was - and I want you kiddies to write this down now, it's important - his name was "Paisano."  Yeah right.  Sure.  That was his name.  

Yep.  The missions.  They were all about teaching the yearning Indians to read and make candles.  I think I'll go light one right now.


  today's music:

"Seguro Que Hell Yes" -- Flaco Jimenez -- FLACO JIMENEZ


today's wisdom:

"Slaves, be obedient to those who are your earthly masters, with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as to Christ."

- Paul (Ephesians 6:5)

e-mail me