Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Mardi Lindbergh blog.

Fat Tuesday. No carnival in metro Chicago that I can see, but considering the temps barely above freezing, that's probably just as well. I've never been to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and I doubt I ever will go. Any fool can do that, and it sounds like a good many do. But attending Mardi Gras in Mobile, Alabama -- now that's a worthwhile ambition.

More on Lindbergh (I'm at the point in the bio at which he and Anne Murrow are married. A. Scott Berg's account of the trans-Atlantic flight and the way the world went mad for Lindbergh was astonishingly good ). My nephew Sam (21) writes: "I haven't yet read the blog [February 19 and 20], so I'm not sure why you ask me this question, but as I recall Charles Lindbergh was the man who flew the Spirit of St. Louis across the Atlantic in the mid to late 20s, landing in France... I've seen the little movies they made of him taking off/landing, and I remember seeing the Spirit hanging in the Smithsonian when I visited in 8th grade, as well as various and sundry replicas around the country.

The name Lindbergh also brings up a number of The Simpsons episodes to mind. One -- doubtless where Dees and Robert are getting the Lindbergh baby reference -- features Grampa attempting to stall the police as they search for Homer's scofflaw mother, getting up and yelling, "All right! I admit it! I'm the Lindbergh baby! Waa Waa! Goo Goo! I want my fly fly dada!"
To which the police respond: "Sir, are you trying to stall us, or are you just senile?"
Grampa answers, "A little from column A, a little from Column B."

I'll never be that well versed in The Simpsons. Geof H. writes: "I didn't ask my children if they know who Lindbergh is. Tim is asleep right now and Erin at college, so I'll have to wait on that. Lindbergh's always had an easy out in history. He's remembered as a great hero for figuring out ways to urinate alone over the Atlantic. (A frightening prospect -- such a trip at that time -- I grant you, but it is equivalent to being the first person to drive 100 miles an hour: an accomplishment and maybe memorable, but something soon to be repeated, something ununique.) Firstness, by itself, isn't much. And he and, to a slight degree, his wife (the reasonably good writer Anne Morrow Lindbergh) are remembered for having a son murdered -- the child's sex almost never discussed, I notice. Americans -- or those who know of him, at least -- recall his bravery and feel sorry for the loss of his baby (20 months old, by the way).

"Amazingly, we almost never remember the Lindberghs now for their views, which defined them as thinkers and citizens of the world. Amazingly pro-Nazi, they would've been thrown in jail (as one of my relatives, alas, was) at the time -- if they hadn't been so famous. They believed -- as, sure, many did at the time -- in the superiority of the white race, in eugenics, in all manner of racist claptrap."


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