Rather than my own time travel, I've often wondered what it might be like to stay here and use said time machine to bring forth interesting figures from history to see if he/she could fathom the fascinations of the present day.
I would like an opportunity to do high school and college again, knowing what I know now. Not to mention about four key relationships over the years.
If that doesn't count, I'd like to hang out with Henry Miller and Anais Nin, in Paris and later in Big Sur. And then fast-forward a couple of decades to hang with Warhol's crowd.
I wouldn't mind spending time in Laurel Canyon with Graham, Joni, Stills, Crosby (at a safe distance in his case), James, Jackson, Judy and so forth.
And I'd like to be there the night they drove old Dixie down. Like EJ, not because it would be fun, but because it would be momentous.
But if I have to pick five:
Hang out with Jesus of Nazareth during his "lost years."
Land on the moon with Neil Armstrong.
Climb Everest with Edmund Hillary
Watch Shakespeare write Hamlet -- and see L. Olivier perform it on stage.
Jam with Duke Ellington & Count Basie.
...and oh, yeah -- watch Mozart compose just about anything.
BTY -- GREAT Thread
Ah, yes.... would be interested to see. Shakespeare, Marlowe, Edward, etc. That's what I'd like to discover.
I lived in Pearl Harbor for three years (79-82) aboard a ship and I've visited Nagasaki twice and Hiroshima once. I've also visited war museums and memorials in Okinawa, Guam, Singapore, etc...the big one I've missed out on is Corregidor Island in the Philippines (too busy drinking beer). The starting point of the Bataan (don't even get my wife started on how Americans cannot pronounce this word) Death March. It would be interesting to see these historic events live.
As far as morbid events, on the night of March 22/23, 1945, 333 B-29 bombers fire bombed Tokyo and killed in the vicinity of 100,000 people. Ten square miles of the city was burnt to the ground and witnesses stated that the water in the Tokyo river boiled.
p.s. It is pronounced with three syllables Ba-ta-an, not two Ba-tan.
Last edited by Bob Green; 07-18-2007 at 07:53 AM.
9/11 hasn't yet faded into 'history' it is still too recent -someday in the future historians will wish they could actually witness the events as the unfolded. Really.
How many civil war buffs would love to actually witness some of the great (and bloody) battles of that conflict (no cheering no pom poms)? Ditto the american revolution and on through history ... Trafalgar ... Agincort ... Hastings...and so on. WWII isn't any different, just more recent.
I thought the 9/11 of the 20th century happened on 22 November 1963. That would be certainly worth going back to.
As suburban children we floated at night in swimming pools the temperature of blood. -- Douglas Coupland
I'd want to be behind the fence on the grassy knoll to see what, if anything, really happened there.
Roswell would be interesting too - or any other place where I could know the truth behind a conspiracy theory.
I was close enough. I have friends who were even closer. I've never heard anyone say they were glad to be there to witness it. Even in 50 years, it will be a day that I will wish had never happened, and that I had not been a part of.
I can understand people wanting to see movies about the day. I've even seen a movie about that day (Stone's... and it probably will be the last one I see). But being there? No thanks. I'd happily give witnessing that historic event away to you if I could. One of my friends literally dodged falling bodies. I'm sure he'd happily give away that day too. You can have both.
But I do hope you understand by now that my fascination or interest has NOTHING to do with wanting to see people die. It's just to witness benchmark historical events. Tragic? Yes. Absolutely. I don't need to be sold on that. And I'm not a "fan" of tragedy and I don't celebrate people falling to their deaths or being burned alive. It may seem honorable and noble to deny any interest in events where there was mass loss of life, suffering, etc. and it's done with good intention, but the truth is, such events do intrigue us humans. I think it's innate. For any of these events, if I went back in time and could prevent them from happening, I would.
P.S. So what event WOULD you like to go back and witness?
Well, put it this way ... there may be a 1 percent chance that somebody other than the actor from Stratford wrote the plays of Shakespeare, but even if that's the case, it's zero chance that the real author was that scumbag de Vere (whose case is based on gross ignorance about Elizabethan era and more than a little dishonesty when it comes to presenting the facts).
That said, I would love to visit Elizabethean England, catch a few premier performances of the Bard's plays, then track him down in a nearby alehouse and buy him a drink.
I love Windsor's suggestion about the being there for the premiere of Beethoven's 9th ... not just because its a immortal piece of music, but because of the moment afterwards, when the crowd is cheering the composer, then gets angry because he's ignoring them ... then realizes that he's standing there with his back to them because he's deaf and can't hear the cheers ... which touches off an even greater demonstration as the audience realizes that what they've just heard was composed by a man who had lost his hearing.
You're also right that there are a ton of premieres that would be worth attending -- I'd choose those that evoke strong audience responses. I'd want to be at Carmen's Paris premiere to try and understand why most of the audience walked out at intermission ... I'd want to be in Dublin for the 1907 premiere of Synge's Playboy of the Western World to try and understand what provoked the audience to riot (and the riot to spill out and engulf much of the city). I'd like to see Rodin present his Balzac in 1898 to the members of the French academy and watch those well-educated clowns reject it. Did they really spit on it and throw garbage (where would they have gotten the garbage)?
If there's a heaven, my idea of my personal paradise would be the ability to travel any where, any place and observe history. I wouldn't want to change it ... I don't trust myself to make the right choices (even something as obvious as killing a young Hitler could actually lead to an even worse future) ... no, just to stand in the background and observe. I understand the fascination with military events, but my first choices would be pursue the great artists and their creations.
PS I just thought of another one ... I'd love to visit the Sistine Chapel soon after Michaelangelo completed his ceiling so I could settle the debate that arose over the last decade over the original coloration of the paintings. When the Chapel was cleaned a decade ago, the artist supervising the work convinced the Vatican that Michaelangelo had used the bright, cartoon-like colors of his contemporaries and that the unusual darkening of the Sistine paintings was due to the accumulation of smoke from thousands (millions?) of candles used in the Chapel over the centuries.
It's a good theory but I think it's wrong. My only evidence is Raphael's painting (done while Michaelangeo was doing the Sistine) "The School of Athens" ... All of the characters -- Plato, Socrates, Aristotle and the rest -- are done in the bright, cartoon-like colors of the period. But there's one exception ... down in front, seated in a pose not unlike like Rodin's The Thinker, is a curiously drawn figure -- in darkened and muted shades. That was Raphael's depiction of Michaelangelo. My belief is that he saw the Sistine work in progress and painted its artist in his own revolutionary style. I believe it was a mistake to restore the ceiling in bright, vibrant colors.
Anyway, if I could visit Rome in 1512 or 1513 and see the new work as Michaelangelo intended it, I could settle the debate.
Last edited by Olympic Fan; 07-18-2007 at 11:49 AM. Reason: fix typo
Very, very cool thread.
>I love Windsor's suggestion about the being there for the premiere of Beethoven's 9th ... not just because its a immortal piece of music, but because of the moment afterwards, when the crowd is cheering the composer, then gets angry because he's ignoring them ... then realizes that he's standing there with his back to them because he's deaf and can't hear the cheers ... which touches off an even greater demonstration as the audience realizes that what they've just heard was composed by a man who had lost his hearing.