Tag Archives: farm

The Nieuw Amsterdam of “Mad Men”

11 Apr

Returning for a moment to my Dutch fascination because of the upcoming International Association for the Study of Dreams’ 2011 conference in the Netherlands…a small synchronicity:

Back in January, when I was in the midst of sending out emails announcing Robbie Bosnak’s “Nieuw Amsterdam and the Golden Age” talk, I watched episode 4 of Mad Men‘s first season (on DVD). The episode title is “New Amsterdam.” It emerges in the story line that Pete Campbell, the obnoxious junior account executive trying alternately to suck up to creative director Don Draper or to show him up, is a descendant of the Dyckmans. Continue reading

Gender and apology

9 Dec

In my last post, I described my “Arguing in My Cornfield” dream of November 20 as having clearly been inspired by my focus on the Dutch history of the New York City region. On November 21, I also came to think of one aspect of that dream as precognitive of a short item on Netscape News—an item that in turn helped articulate a feeling I had in the dream.

In recording the dream, I had written this:

[I only gradually became aware of this after waking:] I’m a man—early middle age, paunchy, round-faced, with strawberry blond hair. I’m wearing brown pants and a rough, long-sleeved, pale orange shirt with slightly billowy sleeves; the cuffs are buttoned. The period [now that I think about it] seems colonial. (Feeling: I feel a sense of entitlement and proprietorship—not to riches, but as being male. Someone who feels no need to justify myself. I’m also very cranky.)

I had found it difficult to describe that feeling, and I wasn’t satisfied that I had captured it accurately in words. (And a few days later, I had a similar dream.) But when I read the article on Netscape, I thought, “That’s it!” The story was titled “Why Women Apologize So Much,” betraying a bit of bias; it could just as easily have been titled “Why Men Don’t (Know Enough to) Apologize More Often.”

The article (quoting LiveScience.com as its source) says that women and men actually apologize in the same percentage of the situations they think an apology is called for. The difference is that men view a lot fewer of their actions as needing an apology.

(The LiveScience source article was published on September 27. The studies were done by Karina Schumann, a doctoral student in social psychology at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.)

“Arguing in My Cornfield” dream

30 Nov

Pondering the once-agricultural, once-wild setting of New York City on November 18 worked its way into a dream on November 20. I titled this dream “Arguing in My Cornfield”:

Sunny. I’m standing sideways at the end of my farm, which is a single, raised field about 20 x 30 feet. (Raised = like a raised garden, the dirt being piled about 6 inches above the surrounding ground level and contained within a sort of wall of single, rough-hewn planks laid on the ground.) I’m just inside the very tall (8 feet) chain-link fence along the shorter end of the field; at the top, the fence curves in toward the field. Twenty feet beyond the fence is woods. In the other directions, the forest is much farther away; the ground is mostly grass (not a lawn), plus the similar field of my neighbor, off to the left (?). (Feeling: Precarious, because I might be balanced on the little wall, and there’s not much room between the fence and the crop.)

[I only gradually became aware of this after waking:] I’m a man—early middle age, paunchy, round-faced, with strawberry blond hair. I’m wearing brown pants and a rough, long-sleeved, pale orange shirt with slightly billowy sleeves; the cuffs are buttoned. The period [now that I think about it] seems colonial. (Feeling: I feel a sense of entitlement and proprietorship—not to riches, but as being male. Someone who feels no need to justify myself. I’m also very cranky.)

My field is not just corn, but several other tall crops all mixed in together. It’s extremely dense—too thick to move through. (Feeling: There’s something almost wrong about this density, slightly obscene and greedy. This is extremely intensive farming!)

My neighbor, too, is out in his field, and we’re yelling across at each other, arguing nastily. I tell him to ~ stay off my land; apparently I think he’s trying to encroach. (Feeling: Very territorial. Not cooperative at all.)

For me to dream of myself as being male and as being in a different era are both extremely rare. The associations I made right away to the dream’s content connect it solidly to my recent attention on Dutch history in New York, and particularly to the agricultural era. My looks in the dream are of a type I associate with being Dutch. The feeling about abundance that I have (“There’s something almost wrong about this density, slightly obscene and greedy”) led me to this waking association:

The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age, by Simon Schama, a book I’ve owned for years but haven’t read. > Strong day residue from 2 days earlier: I’d had this book down off my shelf for a few days (surprised to see I still had it), out of enthusiasm and the hope I can read it before past IASD President Robbie Bosnak does his talk here in January on an alchemical interpretation of the Dutch Golden Age. But of course I don’t have time to read the book yet, so I put it back on the shelf.

The wildness of Queens

29 Nov

Entering the holiday season was, of course, a foolhardy time to start a blog. I’d been blogging less than a week when Thanksgiving preparations and celebrations kept me mostly offline for longer than that.

It was the English colonists of Massachusetts, not the Dutch colonists of New Netherlands, whom we credit with the first Thanksgiving, celebrating the harvest with the native Americans who’d helped them survive in the New World. But a little reading in the historically rich library of the Holland Society of New York, 20 West 44th Street in Manhattan, made vivid in my mind’s eye what the setting must have been like. Continue reading