by Bodwyn Wook
In light of some of the less-than-happy examples cited thus far, at least implicitly as evidence of a ‘hex’ on the pioneer river city of Old Mankato, Minnesota, a distinction needs urgently now to be made: as perhaps between, say, the F5 ‘twister’ that took out St Peter, Minnesota, on 29 March 1998; or, the monstrous and, indeed, biblical inundation of the Minnesota Valley, in 1993. One intends that discernment , of course, to stand as in contradistinction to the heart-warming reports, in envious upland prairie farm-wife gossip at any rate, of local restaurant owner Daffy Mejnun ‘getting his fool self’ sued in 1958 for paternity; or, as opposed to the horrific instance of a rural drunkard, George Board, in the full reek of young malehood in that same first decade of rock-and-roll, trying to kill his wife, with floods of burning gasoline. The first category, properly understood as destructive collective events, are germane and indeed not-unreasonably by the perceptive historian may be ascribed, precisely, to the the Indian Curse of 1863 on Old Mankato. However, this other grubby personal stuff, the endless and tiresome tales of vacant rustic crime, is more in the litany of the common American pattern of simmering mayhem to be discerned all over the place. In short, it goes on at least as often in Wells and Matawan and South Minneapolis, Minnesota, as in Dallas-Fort Worth and a host of other places all over the land, where NO Indians for a wonder were hanged; nor even so much as a Negro or a Chinaman: and, nevertheless, with just as much frequency as in Mankato, Minnesota or Kansas. Furthermore, most of these personal indecencies are, in the main, only ‘collective’, or average rather; in the general unconscious sense of the psychologists, eg. This is further attested by the fact that most perpetrators of some highly not-original outrage or other frequently brag later to the police, that ‘I done [it/him/her] way better even than that show on Tee Vee, man!’ Blizzards and black magic are circumstances full of awe and power and dignity even; but random competitive episodes of simian bastardy and domestic violence are singularly devoid of any of the former qualities; nor are they mysterious in any meaningful sense.
These points, minor as may be, are all but a small component of the full panoply, of the necessary discernments needed to be made daily in the work, by the working historian.
[Emmett R Smith all rights reserved 23 July 2008]