BREAKING THE PINATA * NASW BILLBOARDS REDUX * Bill's Coffeeshop Newsletter * Vol. 7 No. 6 * February 10, 2006 PINATA-BUSTERS SUGGEST ANOTHER VIEW OF HISTORY Shannon never took history for granted. She's the daughter who always was asking questions about missing people and parts in the stories she heard. What if one of the wise men was actually a woman? Couldn't Minnehaha have carried Hiawatha across the creek instead of the other way around? Those are just a few of the questions I remember her asking as she was growing up. I was thinking of Shannon's questions the other day during a discussion about teaching history. One model is based is based on the idea that history is the story of wars. According to this view, history is a series of great big guys who win battles and topple civilizations. That's certainly one view. But it's not the only one. The author of the Chalice and the Blade suggests an alternative view. She suggests building a history based on peace. Rianne Eisler says that if one really looks carefully at past history, there are plenty of examples of societies living peacefully. Further, she says the war-dominated model excludes many people and groups. A peace-based model of history is more egalitarian and includes many of the stories left out of the other model. I have a friend who would say that Eisler is a great example of what he called "pinata-busters." Jose Burciaga came up with this phrase to describe people who break down the walls of old ideas. They take the risks so all of us can see better. Perhaps that's one of the things we're supposed to be learning in social work -- how to ourselves be pinata-busters. Perhaps we are here to practice breaking down those walls which can divide us. History is a good place to start. The way we describe our past plays a big role in the way we imagine our future. If we take a bigger, wider view of our past, Eisler says we will see that it was more peaceful and more inclusive than we have been taught in the recent past. That's not only good news for now, but also a great source of hope for a better future. With a broader view of history, questions like those Shannon asked would be answered differently. We would be able to say: Why, yes, of course, there were wise women. Let me tell you some of their stories. -- Tom Gilsenan MORE LYRICS FOR VALENTINE'S DAY Contributed by Robert Hansen: I loved you when you opened Like a lily in the heat I'm just another snowman Standing in the rain and sleet Who loved you with his frozen love This second hand-physique With all he is and all he was A thousand kisses deep -- Leonard Cohen Contributed by Kerry Ashmore: L is for the way you look at me O is for the only one I see V is very, very extraordinary E is even more than anyone that you adore Love is all that I can give to you -- Nat King Cole On a day like today We passed the time away Writing love letters in the sand -- Pat Boone HOW ABOUT COMMUNITY RADIO INSTEAD OF BILLBOARDS? I couldn't agree with you more about the NASW billboards (Newsletter, Jan. 13). Radio ads on non- commercial radio, community radio or even the new Air America stations would go a lot further - and not support billboard blight. - Julie Spears Editor's reply: That would be a wonderful way to support building community instead of blight. Thanks for the idea. It could be extended to community newspapers, too, like the Iowa Bystander in Des Moines, Insight in Mineapolis and the Lakota Journal in Rapid City. I think the message needs to be altered as well. The current NASW campaign is a rather shallow form of self-promotion, based on the idea that social work is "misunderstood and misrepresented." Instead of a public relations campaign based on improving "image," how about a campaign based on building peace, or justice, or tolerance in our communities? Another idea: How about spending this money and energy on an effort to educate communities about poverty? In Iowa, this campaign could begin with these startling facts: 1) 50,000 more Iowans are receiving food stamps this year than last and 2)There has been a 50 percent increased in Medicaid recipients in Iowa over the last three years. (Thanks to Iowa state senator Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City, for highlighting those numbers in a recent issue of his newsletter to constituents.) What do you think? Your comments are welcome. Write to the Newsletter via e-mail at thomas-gilsenan.uiowa.edu. -- Tom Gilsenan DON'T FORGET OUR WEBLOG Continue the conversations in this Newsletter at our Coffee and Community weblog: http://coffeeandcommunity.blogspot.com. MORE OF THOSE BUMPER QUOTES A day without sunshine is like, night Anger Management Graduate. What are you looking at? I brake for coffee Cover me. I'm changing lanes Our drinking team has a bowling problem Save the earth. It's the only planet with chocolate I used to be indecisive, but now I'm not so sure Save the whales. Collect the whole set. FIVE YEARS AGO IN BILL'S NEWSLETTER Dorothy Day was also a founder of social work (Feb. 2001). ______________________ Wild Bill's Coffeeshop is a project of the School of Social Work at the University of Iowa. Located in North Hall, it has been a part of campus life in Iowa City for more than 30 years. Tony Grego, a graduate student in social work, is the current coffeeshop manager. For more information, call (319) 335-1281. Bill's Coffeeshop Newsletter is a weekly publication distributed via e-mail. It is written by Tom Gilsenan, a former coffeeshop manager. Opinions expressed in the Newsletter are those of the writers and should not be construed as representing the School of Social Work or the University of Iowa. For a file of back issues, visit the coffeeshop website: www.uiowa.edu/~socialwk/bills.