Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I have a research paper requirement for one of my classes (a class on US Presidents and foreign policy crises). I decided to pick a topic that required me to do research in the LBJ Presidential Library Archives. I had my archival research orientation today. I did not actually look at anything, but I'll be back later in the week.

On the tenth floor of the Presidential Library and Museum, they have a replica of the oval office as it looked during LBJ's term-and-a-half. It's much more impressive looking and detailed than it looks in these photographs. The museum is free, and it was apparently important to him that it not be a reverential gloss on those years. Accordingly, there's the expected stuff about what a great man LBJ was, his achievements in passing civil rights legislation and the Great Society programs, as well as a fair amount of detail on the things he felt he handled poorly (Vietnam). There's also an animatronic LBJ that plays recordings of the man himself telling off-color jokes with world leaders (I'll get pictures and maybe some video of it later this week).

Given that it's free, and the tendency of the last 20 years is for presidents to increasingly offer the public only flattering and heroic representations of themselves (not to mention classifying their presidential papers to keep them from pubic scrutiny for decades) people in Austin might be impressed by it.


mark said...

That looks awesome. Do you need a student ID to get in? I would love to check that out.

Dr. Cox said...

I just wrote a whole bunch about the Great Society in my own research paper! I've changed my stance on my paper; as I was actually writing it, and really learning, I ended up becoming very interested in it. Plus, I became really engaged with that whole, "Wow, I'm really stretching my brain and learning cool new stuff I never otherwise would have learned!" Now my solution to poverty, instead of shooting people, is for the government to start funding abortions and make them free for everyone!

(Just kidding again.)

(Sort of.)


(Though I almost suggested it in class today when we were talking about poverty and poor women having 18 kds.)

(That's probably the most conservative thing you'll ever hear me say. Except that I think everything should be closed on Christmas Day. I guess that's a pretty conservative position too.)

(I'm kinda drunk.)

bryan h. said...

one does not need a student ID to get in. in fact, i think it's the only presidential museum that's also free.

Anonymous said...

yeah I went there with my folks when I lived there. It was great. LBJ was an interesting chap. there was also a pretty rad manuscript exhibit up when I was there. I think there was a letter from Thomas Pynchon to JD Salinger up on the wall and a charlotte bronte manuscript that was handwritten in the tiniest handwriting I've ever seen.

and by the way, I agree with Ryan above, free abortions for all.

(I am also a little drunk and just lost my job (where I worked in the mall (where I saw things I will never be able to understand))).


mark said...

Matt...that was the most interesting use of parentheses I've ever seen.

sorry about your job.

Anonymous said...

well, I'm currently taking calculus and programming in Java (both really heavy on the parentheses).

bryan h. said...

hey matt,

i'm sorry to hear about your job, too, but happy to hear from you nonetheless.