Things Noted Here and There
Eric Muller,"The Pope's Disastrous Speech at Auswitz," Is That Legal?, 29 May, attacks Benedict's interpretation of the Third Reich. A number of historians join the discussion.
I love it when the Phi Beta Cons' loopy Candace de Russy gets all current with things. Both she and the PBC's George Leef think Tom Reeves"is thinking ‘heretical thoughts'" and"hit the nail squarely on the head" with his two year old"Heretical Thoughts About Higher Education." It's another of Reeves' bitter reflections on the democratic hope for higher education. No need to get all present tense about it, Candace. Reeves has been pounding that nail and serving up that cup of bitters for years.
Jon Wiener,"Gun-research ‘Freak'-out," LA Times, 31 May, rightly calls for John Lott's law suit against Steven Levitt to be tossed out of court.
There is, undoubtedly, much to admire and respect about our fellow historian, S. Frederick Starr. He's the author of nearly two dozen books, including Red and Hot: The Fate of Jazz in the Soviet Union, 1917-1980 (1983); and Bamboula! The Life and Times of Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1995). He's had a distinguished administrative career, as Vice President of Academic Affairs at Tulane (1980-81) and President of Oberlin College (1983-94), but he has been the founding director of the Central Asia Caucasus Institute at Johns Hopkins since 1996.
Two articles by Ken Silverstein,"The Professor of Repression," Harper's, 24 May; and Silverstein,"Academics for Hire," Harper's, 30 May, are just stunning in their claims about Starr's use of the Johns Hopkins platform for active apologias on behalf of oppressive-istan regimes. Silverstein's second article also implicates Harvard historian Brenda Shaffer, who is research director of the University's Caspian Studies Program, in similar apologias. These programs appear to be largely funded by regional regimes, American oil and industrial investors in the region, and right-wing foundations in the United States. Thanks to Manan Ahmed for the tip.