Is the VA ran by relatives of those that ran the Workhouses in Victorian England?

As I read about the Workhouses, Casual Labor and Sweatshops that operated during the Victorian era, I noticed a few disheartening similarities between them and the Veterans Administration. If you’re unaware of the numerous scandals that have taken place within an organization designed to care for our veterans then you’ve either been living under a rock or need to dislodge yourself from reality TV and Facebook to find out what’s happening in your country. In the Workhouses, children were supposed to receive some education, but this rule was often ignored by those that ran them. In the same way those children were willfully neglected by those that chose to ignore the rules of the government program designed to help them; our veterans are often an after thought to good performance reviews, false reports to make the VA look better. Bureaucracy, it seems, has withstood the test of time.

The other strong correlation was drawn from the casual labor example cited. Just as men struggled to get work to feed themselves and their families, veterans scramble for much needed healthcare brought on by war and years of living in the most adverse conditions imaginable. Just as those laborers were sometimes turned away due to nothing being available, veterans encounter the same as a lack of healthcare professionals available equate to incredibly long wait times to get an appointment (think months, not days) and suffer greatly from it. As the casual labor force was turned away they had little to no options other than the workhouse or some sort of nefarious activity. Unfortunately, when our veterans our turned away they find drug and alcohol addiction with some not living to try again the next day.



The Lady of Shallot: Tennyson’s warning


In Tennyson’s The Lady of Shallot, he gave a warning to artists to not become so entrenched in trying to replicate the life they observe that they forget to live it. This particular painting, to me, captures the essence of recognizing the fact that the Lady spent her years longing for love, a life of her own away from the the tower and the mirror from which she draws her images to weave. The lighting on her face as she stares into the twilight (the end of her own life) is one that seems to scream “what if?”.

The boat is in slightly choppy water, yet her hand dangles in it. To me, that’s barely touching life, but not being fully immersed in it which is what the Lady of Shallot did. One can look at this painting and recognize that THEY do not want to be drifting toward Camelot, alone in a boat with only a tapestry woven of observation instead of experience.


The Old Closes and Streets of Glasgow: Why it stirs emotions and pisses me off.

This particular photo demonstrates the squalor and filth that the poor endured during the Victorian era. From the gray, ominous sky to the wet, mucked cobble stone that this woman and her children stand; there is nothing but despair. Their obscured faces represent, to me, the anonymity of the poor. It equates to them being worthless and not really belonging to the human race, but rather, simply part of the hardened, decrepit landscape. When I see representations of people discarded with such ease, it makes me question how really civilized that society is despite their claims of advancement.

Even today, we Americans think ourselves so benevolent as we boast of our monetary donations to countries that burn our flag while thousands of our veterans live on the street. We claim to be so advanced, yet some folks in Appalachia live without indoor plumbing today. It’s photographs like this that stir emotion and make one question how far we’ve really come.

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Jack the Ripper

Who? Jack the Ripper, true identity unknown, was a serial killer during the Victorian age who committed a series of murders that left London trembling with both terror and intrigue. There are a number of theories as to who he was, but never truly solved. I’ll get more into this into my cultural presentation, but there have been several suspects during both the active investigation and independent investigations since. One thing is for certain and that’s that Jack was one sick puppy.

What? Jack the ripper is known to have committed five murders (known as the “Canonical Five”), but may have been responsible for up to eleven of them. He was especially heinous, often mutilating his victims to the a degree that had never been witnessed by the police or Scotland Yard before. The stories of the Ripper drove newspaper sales and the Victorians gobbled up the stories with a morbid curiosity.

Where? East End London, England. White chapel was overcrowded, poverty stricken and life was a game of daily survival by wits and any means necessary. It wasn’t a place you wanted to live, yet many did. It was filled with pubs, drunks, sailors, pickpockets, and prostitutes. Needless to say, it was rife with both targets and opportunity for Jack to pursue his heinous desires. In fact, rich people were given guided tours of Whitechapel (and provided with protection) during and after the Ripper murders.

When? April 3rd (though some sources cite August), 1888 is the beginning of the Ripper’s rampage. His ghastly attacks would continue until November where he’d been credited with raping and disemboweling women in the East End.

Why? Who knows? Theories abound and no definitive answer has been made. I’ll cover some of these theories in my cultural presentation. Regardless of the reason, these killings brought about an atmosphere of fear that permeated throughout London and still capture our imagination and interest today.

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“K” doesn’t save time, it makes you look like an idiot.

There are two rules of online etiquette from the reading that I agree with; editing one’s work and using the full word instead of a shortcut that makes the writing look like it came from my teenage daughter’s cell phone (sans “poop emoji”).  When a person uses “K” instead of “OK”, I immediately question what they did with that extra nanosecond they saved by omitting 50 percent of a two letter word. Did they make dinner, do laundry or discover the cure for cancer? No.

They made themselves look ridiculous.

The same can be said for any comment one leaves online when they fail to proofread their input. One’s argument can easily become void by making an obvious and, often correctable, grammatical error. In order to maintain credibility, one must at least attempt to formulate a coherent thought and present it in such a manner that their elementary school teacher won’t hang their head in shame. Do yourself and everyone else a favor by editing your work and using proper English. bn1rwzscuaa5lpm


The Victorian Age: Birthplace of the original date rape drug and liberalism.


In the overview of the Victorians, I was surprised to learn that Chloroform was not only discovered during this time period, but actually used by Queen Victoria during the birth of her son in 1853. Moreover, I was shocked to read that movements such as socialism and liberalism began to take foothold. Previously, I had imagined the Victorians as stuffy, proper, close minded and still hacking off limbs with an ax in the name of civilized medicine. According to the overview provided by Ms. Vance, this isn’t the case. To learn they spawned social movements and medical breakthroughs already make it easier to draw a correlation between the time of powdered wigs and our current societal state. In this day and age, we see a wide variety of movements for social justice on our minority population’s behalf and marvel at the next generation of smart phones. Who’d have thought it was taking place in the 1800’s?