Noted Here and There ...
As students of regional studies, my colleague, Nathanael Robinson, and Geitner Simmons have been trying to help us understand why this map of the electoral college vote in 1896 (scroll down) looks so much like this projection of the electoral college vote in 2004. George W. Bush as William Jennings Bryan? John Kerry as William McKinley? This will take some explaining!
One plausible explanation for Martin Luther King's"I Have a Dream" speech at the March on Washington is that he was delivering a fairly uninspired text built on the metaphor of a"bad check," until Mahalia Jackson called out from behind him:"Tell ‘em about the dream, Martin!" With that, King abandoned his text and launched into a version of a well rehearsed oration Jackson had heard him give weeks earlier in Detroit. I thought about that again as the blogosphere mulled over George Bush's truly bizarre pledge last week not to appoint anyone to the Supreme Court who would approve of the Dred Scott decision. As you may know, one plausible explanation for it is that of Paperwight's Fair Shot. In pro-life circles, the argument goes, Dred Scott is so commonly identified with Roe v. Wade that George Bush's handlers knew that he could cite Dred Scott and it would be understood by the base as a figurative reference to Roe, without antagonizing pro-choice voters. Put that together with speculation that Bush was wired for radio communications from his handlers (scroll down; see also: Wendy McElroy's post at Liberty & Power) and you get Karl Rove as Mahalia Jackson calling out:"Tell ‘em about Dred Scott, George!"
My colleague, Jonathan Dresner, has a fine essay,"Revising Hawaiian History for an Unambiguous Age", over on the HNN mainpage.
The new Common-place is up. Of particular interest are Suzanne Lebsock's meditation on history and fiction, Anne G. Miles,"Slaves in Algiers, Captives in Iraq", and Matt Childs's review of Randy Sparks's new book, The Two Princes of Calabar: An Eighteenth Century Atlantic Odyssey.
At Gnostical Turpitude, Ed Conn cites a number of goodies, including a profile of historian and conservative activist Michael Ledeen in the Boston Globe, Richard Posner's review of The Annotated Sherlock Holmes for TNR, Joshua Glenn's rather mean speculation in the Globe about why Posner was so critical of Holmes's deduction, Lynn Barber's profile of historian David Starkey as"the meanest man in Britain," Scott McLemee's review of a psychiatrist's interviews with Nazis at the end of World War II, and Catherine Kodat's review of new books on the cultural Cold War for the Boston Review.
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