ARA: Influences and historical conversations

Dear Lisa says Okay, I’ll play:
Who (living or dead) has had the most influence on your life?

I’d have to say my father. He turned me on to music, which was always in the house. He had a thing for social justice. His moodiness was something I tried to avoid in myself, not always successfully. He could be an unfocused dreamer, something I can be guilty of as well.

If you could go back in time and have a conversation with someone, who would it be?
My apologies if you’ve already answered these questions before!

Well, I have, so I’ve decided to change it. I want a conversation with FOUR people, together, in the summer of 1910. We’ll have Adolf Hitler (1889-1945), who would be 21, and Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1947), who would turn 41 in the fall, and Thomas Edison (1847-1931), who would be 63, and Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919), who would turn 75 in the fall.

I’d be interested to see what the other three would have to say to young Adolf: Gandhi about non-violence, Edison about creativity, Carnegie about going from being a robber baron to a philanthropist who built libraries.
Tom the Mayor asked:

Have you ever lost your temper with your wife? Or your daughter?

My wife and I almost never fight. We disagree, but not all that often. The last time I remember getting REALLY angry with her, and it was several years ago, was when she was in a conversation in our house with someone else. I piped in with a point, and she said, to the other person, that I had gotten said point from some specific Sunday morning talk show. After the guest left, about a half hour later, I exploded that I don’t parrot what I see on a given talk show but take in from a variety of sources and develop my viewpoints. THAT ticked me off.

The Daughter is very sensitive; just ask her. When she was younger, just being disappointed with something she did was enough to launch her into tears. Later, when I had to prod her into doing something – doing her homework, cleaning her room – I would use my calmest firm voice, yet she’s start crying, adding “You KNOW I’m sensitive!” which actually made me laugh inside.

So, I’d say I would get agitated with her sometimes, at which point, I will take a timeout from her. To be fair to me, my wife has experienced similar things; sometimes, SHE’S the “bad” parent. Now when The Daughter writes about it, she may have a different take, but that will be HER blog.
A question in my spam folder:

What do you consider the best security defend agency in the country? thanks!

A well-informed populace.

10 thoughts on “ARA: Influences and historical conversations”

  1. I would wonder if Hitler was already, um, nuts.

    Serial killers usually “go off” in their late 20’s to mid-30’s. However, political zealots are usually indoctrinated pretty young. So… did he already have this vision of mass destruction in mind at 21?


      1. The Wikipedia: “Hitler ran out of money. In 1909 he lived in a homeless shelter, and by 1910, he had settled into a house for poor working men on Meldemannstraße. At the time Hitler lived there, Vienna was a hotbed of religious prejudice and racism. Fears of being overrun by immigrants from the East were widespread, and the populist mayor, Karl Lueger, exploited the rhetoric of virulent antisemitism for political effect. Georg Schönerer’s pan-Germanic antisemitism had a strong following in the Mariahilf district, where Hitler lived. Hitler read local newspapers, such as the Deutsches Volksblatt, that fanned prejudice and played on Christian fears of being swamped by an influx of eastern Jews. Hostile to what he saw as Catholic ‘Germanophobia’, he developed an admiration for Martin Luther…. Historian Richard J. Evans states that ‘historians now generally agree that his notorious, murderous anti-Semitism emerged well after Germany’s defeat [in World War I], as a product of the paranoid ‘stab-in-the-back’ explanation for the catastrophe.'”
        So I think Hitler was still changeable in 1910.


  2. A conversation with Hitler would reveal that he sincerely believed that he was doing the right things in the best possible way. Most of the German nation agreed with him. From that point of view, it’s hard to maintain that he was evil for the sake of being evil. I think the big lesson of Hitler and the Third Reich is how easily the best of intentions can become horribly wrong. Are our current leaders in the US government any better?


  3. Interesting post! You chose four totally different persons. I can understand that you want to have an interview with Gandhi. He is my favourite person of the four.


  4. Amy from wrote this when my blog was down: You must be pretty popular, Rog, because it cycled forever and never did take my comment on your post about Gandhi, your dad, and Hitler. (Sounds like a joke, “Roger’s dad, Gandhi, and Hitler walk into a bar…”

    Then her specific comments to this post:
    Here’s the religious view from Pastor’s Wife: People are always pointing to Hitler as an example of who goes to hell. Now, I don’t believe in hell, except on earth… but say, for argument’s sake, there is a hell. I think it’s unpopulated. If Satan truly lives there (then how can he be among us? “How Can You Be Two Places At Once When You’re Really Not Anywhere At All” Firesign Theatre flashback), he’s all alone, so that’s a good hell for him, I guess.

    I believe in an all-forgiving, all loving God. No person is completely evil, just as no person is completely saintly. I’m sure even Mother Teresa bitched once in a while about lack of support for her ministry. And Hitler? Well, maybe he had smidgeons of good in him, like his love of kids and dogs… his devotion to statues of nude Aryan men posed on white horses (ya think? Paging Freud…)

    Anyway, we all get born with equal parts. It’s up to us which angel we follow – the little stinker angel who shouts about how you NEED a new IPad and a HumVee and, in Hitler’s case, to get rid of the “others” who made things so bad (you need a scapegoat: for our economy, it’s undocumented immigrants, half of whom are cutting senator’s lawns as we speak). The good angel speaks in a whisper, and so you must seek peace to hear that voice, the still, small voice.

    That’s my two cents for this one. Oh, and hell on earth? One good example would be Auschwitz… Amy


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