12
   

Not Every Country Is Ready For Democracy

 
 
Olivier5
 
  1  
Reply Sat 7 Feb, 2015 10:15 am
@ossobuco,
Quote:
Anyway, I see the u.s. getting more strictly stratified, besides the 1% business.

I guess you point to libraries being an important tool for mass education. They need to be well-funded, etc. come to think of it, I have spent hundreds if not thousands of hours in libraries as a child.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 7 Feb, 2015 10:21 am
@Olivier5,
I spent a lot of time in them too, though not as much as you, and remember them fondly.
Olivier5
 
  1  
Reply Sat 7 Feb, 2015 11:04 am
@ossobuco,
I always went to the nearby library after school, for one or two hours each day. Maybe 'thousand' was an exaggeration but much time. Loved them all. Discovered sci-fi, comics, jazz and rock n roll in them...

ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 7 Feb, 2015 11:10 am
@Olivier5,
I also loved the buildings they were in, a first clue that I would later pay a lot of attention to buildings. We lived in New York one year, when I was eight, and I remember getting to go to the major public library... the one with the lions out front and with all the green lamps and heavy tables, ooooh.

A bit of a skip from "ready for democracy", but not really a big skip. Information is important to it.
Olivier5
 
  2  
Reply Sun 8 Feb, 2015 09:07 am
@ossobuco,
The main NYPL is one of the most beautiful libraries I ever visited. The building is gorgious. A decade ago they were still using pneumatics (eng? A system of pipes in which compressed air pushes little cylinders containing messages) for sending book requests to their underground depot. I would order a book just to see the woman put the form in the cylinder and into the pipe.

The absolute most gorgious library i spent time in was in Blois, a city on the Loire river where a slew of rennaissance kings have built a hotch-potch of a castle. In the Henri III wing was a huge, old library filked to the top of its massive and high walls with ancient books. There was a kid section and an adult section, but the historical section was also open to the public and a great place to research school topics because of all the encyclopedias they had. I came back to the city couple of years ago to discover that this antique library had been converted in an art exposition space. The place was almost empty, quite sordid. They probably put the old books under lock somewhere, with only accredited researchers allowed...

I never visited the Vatican one but have a friend working there. Next time I go, I'll make sure to visit him there. He works on the non-indexed documents, the ones they don't know what they are about, more than half of the total.
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Feb, 2015 09:20 am
@Olivier5,
Okay, I'm man enough to acknowledge when I am jealous...and right now I am green from head to toe with envy.

The Vatican Library!!!

Probably not the most appropriate comment to make just now, but I'd sell my soul for the opportunity to simply see inside any part of it.

This is one you simply cannot pass on, Olivier, because no "I guess I shoulda" will ever heal missing that.

ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Feb, 2015 09:48 am
@Frank Apisa,
I haven't read this in a while so I don't remember details, much less have a point of view on it:

http://www.slate.com/articles/life/welltraveled/features/2011/vatican_inside_the_secret_city/vatican_guide_inside_the_world_s_most_secret_city.html

I've not been in the library, only walked through the museum to see the Sistine Chapel and in the church for a bit, and, natch, the piazza, which is brilliant.

Have been in the Laurentian Library (Michelangelo) but got no pitterpatter of my heart happening.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laurentian_Library
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Feb, 2015 09:57 am
@ossobuco,
ossobuco wrote:

I haven't read this in a while so I don't remember details, much less have a point of view on it:

http://www.slate.com/articles/life/welltraveled/features/2011/vatican_inside_the_secret_city/vatican_guide_inside_the_world_s_most_secret_city.html

I've not been in the library, only walked through the museum to see the Sistine Chapel and in the church for a bit, and, natch, the piazza.


Funny piece, Ossobuco. I enjoyed it.
0 Replies
 
Olivier5
 
  2  
Reply Sun 8 Feb, 2015 10:11 am
@Frank Apisa,
Okay, i should have. I lived 8 years in Rome and visited other parts of the Vatican several times. I met this guy late in my stay there; he was not really a friend, though he could have become one. He is the husband of a colleague of my wife. Nice man, well-read, Catholic of course but without zeal, angel face with a eye going astray, a bit shy... I met him only twice and he told me about his job only the second time. I left the city a few months after that. That's my sorry excuse for not visiting him at work...

That and the fact that when you live in a city you always think you can visit the london tower or the eiffel tower or whatever local monument later on... So you tend to postpone these things.

He was modest about his job: "There are thousands of documents they know nothing about. So my job is open a book, look at it to determine the conservation status, the language and approximate period of origin, and pass it own to a specialist of that origin... And then I open another one. I never read any of them, nor could I..."

Said at the rythm they are going, this should keep them busy for a few centuries...
Frank Apisa
 
  2  
Reply Sun 8 Feb, 2015 11:45 am
@Olivier5,
Apropos...

...I have LOVED Roman history for my entire life...as a kid often imagining myself as of Roman ancestry because of my Italian heritage.

But while in Rome (although I did serve Mass in St. Peter's)...I never visited the Colosseum or the Forum. We were only in Rome for two days...but the majority of the retreat was spent in Naples.

I cannot adequately express the anger I have for myself for not doing both those things. Luckily, I did spend lots of time in Pompeii.

Hope you get back to Rome for the Library.

BTW...I was at the NYC Public Library a while back. (Actually, I've been there many times.) But this visit, Nancy and I paid respects to Winnie the Pooh and his friends, who are all housed there.
Olivier5
 
  2  
Reply Sun 8 Feb, 2015 12:02 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Not to turn the knife in the wound but the forum is free and worth an hour's walk at most. Always crowded unless at 6:00 am. The palatine hill nearby is for a fat fee but less crowded by far, and superb antique ruin cum parasol pine territory... Worth easily another hour. Good for picnic too.

I like the Italian style of preservation: there are grass and trees overuning the ruins everywhere. Very romantic. The French would have cut all the trees and vaccum cleaned the place to leave only the sodding stones and bricks...
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Sun 8 Feb, 2015 12:29 pm
A schoolfriend is a cardinal (chairman of the German Bishops' Conference) and often in the Vatican as member of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, and a 'Pastor Bonus' of the Pope. I really should use this connection ... (I've been in the Vatican, but missed a lot, too).

Since a friend is the librarian of the Princely Court Library Waldeck I've been there quite often - I like to look at the old prints and maps, something not all visitors can do
http://i58.tinypic.com/2cy2jns.jpg

In 2012, a geoscientist (higher civil servant in the state of Hessian's Ministry of Culture) was caught after he stole 58 rare books there. Over several years he had stolen books worth about $250,000 from this library - still no trial, because he is so ill that he can't follow it.
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  2  
Reply Sun 8 Feb, 2015 12:39 pm
When I was in Naples, a couple of friends and I bribed a guard at the Naples Museum to allow us to visit the infamous second floor (now open to the general public) where the considerable pornography of Pompeii was stored.

At least, I got that in.


ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Feb, 2015 12:46 pm
@Olivier5,
The only time I've walked the forum, early morning in early March, we only saw two other people there, two japanese guys, with cameras of course, but so did we have. That might have been before 7 a.m. I've seen it from the Campidoglio more often though, from the walk at the right side of the old senate palazzo.

We were almost alone at Ostia Antica too. (I see I'm digressing)

Back to libraries, one I spent a lot of hours in was the ucla research library. You have to apply for a card with your reasons if not a student, so it's not a crowded free for all, but was endlessly fascinating to me. Modern, sort of ugly. If, indeed, it's still there. (I think they've closed the art library... sigh). More libraries, not less, please.
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Sun 8 Feb, 2015 01:00 pm
@Frank Apisa,
I've done some researches over a couple of days in the archives de la préfecture de police de Paris (in the old one, when it was still at the Commissariat de Police du 5è arrondissement ). Besides becoming involuntarily part of both sides of some student demonstrations, the sous-préfect showed me some of the "treasures": pornography of Pompeii would be in the chidren department compared with that Very Happy
Frank Apisa
 
  2  
Reply Sun 8 Feb, 2015 01:18 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
I gotta get over there and see that, Walter.

But I must say that some of the "pornography" of Pompeii...are sculptures that with any other subject matter would be considered masterpieces. Incredible sculptures and art.

Go into Google and google Pompeii pornography...and click images. It is incredible.
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Sun 8 Feb, 2015 01:52 pm
@Frank Apisa,
The antique collection of a university, where I'd studied, had some "painted sculptures" from Pompeii: "The colour in Greek and Pompeii art" was a popular theme when I studied history there in the 1970's ...
0 Replies
 
Olivier5
 
  2  
Reply Wed 11 Feb, 2015 06:58 am
@ossobuco,
Quote:
More libraries, not less, please.


Exactly. A functioning democracy requires an educated, well informed electorate, and thus a public education system, a free press, AND public libraries. Defunding libraries undermines democracy.

http://www.ala.org/news/mediapresscenter/americaslibraries/libraryfunding
0 Replies
 
argome321
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Feb, 2015 03:37 pm
@Olivier5,
Quote:
[I see the problem not in terms of readiness. The US was once a great democracy, but like other democratic systems in this world, it is under attack by lobbies and other forces. Who attack precisely the pre-conditions you listed: a fee press and a good public education system in particular../quote]

When was America ever a great Democracy? If you were a white old guy perhaps.
If you were a woman, native American or a slave... I think they would disagree with you.

In America it is the electoral college that actually counts. You can win the popular vote and still lose the Presidency.

Is our democracy better than others? Probably.
Olivier5
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Feb, 2015 04:14 pm
@argome321,
I had the 60's in mind, not the 19th century. But point well taken.
0 Replies
 
 

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