Posts Tagged With: Stella Benson

Being Unproductive And A Few Thoughts On The Looting Of Antiquities…

By Kiki Keane

As I have stated many, many times before, I am currently unemployed. You would think that I would use all this extra time in a productive way. Read more, perhaps. Study Arabic. Learn a little French. Maybe write a novel (why not, right?) or a short story or an essay. Sadly, I have not left my bed today except to make popcorn and get a cup of coffee. I watched CSI and then Bones and then Frasier and now Golden Girls. That is my life. One long parade of crime dramas and sitcoms.

Okay. Maybe that’s an exaggeration. I did do a little reading today. A few days ago I got a bee in my bonnet. The bee is stolen artifacts and archeological looting. I went to library and got a couple of books on the subject (Stealing History and Loot) as well as the memoir of Egyptologist, Donald P Ryan, Ph.D, called Beneath the Sands of Egypt.

I’ve only read about 30 pages of Stealing History, but I’ve already learned a lot, though most of it is depressing. As someone who values history and believes that the only way to understand who we are is to understand where we came from, I’m disgusted by the looting and damage done to historical sites, by those who buy and sell looted pieces and the governments and agencies who do little to stop it. However, I can kind of, sort of see why the looters do what they do. I mean, if I lived in a country in which the average person lives on less than a dollar a day and I saw how willing the wealthy are to pay thousands of dollars for a tiny statue I could dig out of the ground, I might risk being a grave robber too. Also, I find myself strangely drawn to the argument one seller made about how antiquities move those who collect them and are therefore better able to take care of them than the elitist archeologist who hoard them away where they collect dust. Don’t get me wrong. I will always be on the side of the archeologist, elitist hoarders or not. I’m just saying I understand the various reasons people have for looting antiquities. I can understand the need to feed one’s family and the pull of “easy” money ($50 for a days work in a place like Mali is an awful lot of money). I understand how a piece of history–of art–can move a person. When I was a History grad, my professor gave us photocopies of letters written by British writer Stella Benson. My knees went weak when I saw her actual hand writing. And that was over photocopies! I can only imagine what it would be like to actually possess a piece of the past, particularly the ancient past. But I’d rather have my history lesson. History belongs to everyone.

Okay, I’ll get off my soap box now.

I also started The Foreign Correspondent, which is a historical suspense novel by Alan Furst. The first few pages feature an affair and an assassination. Pretty exciting stuff.

Categories: Adventure, Books, Journalism, Media, Nerd, Uncategorized, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Proust Questionnaire Because I’m to Lazy to Think of Something Original to Write…

By Kiki Keane

What is your idea of perfect happiness? Fulfilling my dream/purpose and becoming a foreign correspondent. What is your greatest fear? Clowns, drowning, impalement, never being alone again, always being alone Which historical figure do you most identify with? Stella Benson (mostly forgotten writer) and Jeanne Baret (Botanist who dressed as a man and became the first woman to go around the world) Which living person do you most admire? Richard Engel and anyone who has had the courage to follow their dream What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Snarkiness, fear and laziness What is the trait you most deplore in others? Fear and laziness What is your greatest extravagance? Spending a semester in Hawaii to get a degree I didn’t want What is your favorite journey? The one I haven’t taken What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Caution On what occasion do you lie? To get out of a date or social engagement What do you dislike most about your appearance? My bad posture Which living person do you most despise? It depends on my mood Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “Ya know?” “Does that make sense?” “I don’t know what that means…” “hon'” Which talent would you most like to have? Musical — I want to play the violin and sing Opera What is your current state of mind? kind of panicky and a bit tired If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I wish I could learn to forgive my mistakes If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be? To be closer What do you consider your greatest achievement? Being honest with myself and having the courage to fulfill my dream If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be? My cat–she’s got it made What is your most treasured possession? Whatever writing utensil I can get my hands on and my books Where would you like to live? Anywhere, so long as it isn’t for more than a few months What is your favorite occupation? Journalism What is the quality you most like in a man? Loyalty and kindness What is the quality you most like in a woman? Courage What do you most value in your friends? Their honesty, loyalty and courage Who are your favorite authors? Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, C. Bronte, Isaac Asimov, Robert D. Kaplan, Neil Gaiman, George R. R. Martin, Homer Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Elijah Baley, Edward Rochester, Tyrion Lannister and Data Who are your heroes in real life? Journalists and others who run toward danger, not away from it What is it that you most dislike? Meanness How would you like to die? Alone, listening to Bartok’s String Quartet No. 1

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