Cliopatria: A Group Blog
Aaron Bady (∞); Chris Bray (∞); Brett Holman (∞); Jonathan Jarrett (∞); Robert KC Johnson (∞); Rachel Leow (∞); Ralph E. Luker (∞); Scott McLemee (∞); Claire B. Potter (∞); Jonathan T. Reynolds (∞)
See also: John Podhoretz,"'Path' Missed the Real 9/11 Story," NY Post, 8 September.
Google Video offers nearly 200 programs in Harry Kreisler's series,"Conversations with History." Kreisler blogs about it at Conversations with History Blog. His Conversations on Google Video include Niall Ferguson on Money and Power; and Ferguson's appearance on a panel discussion:"The Empire Dialogues: The U. S. and the World Order." YouTube also has excerpts from his series, War of the World: Episode One and a subsequent episode on the Wall Street Crash.
You can search Google Video and YouTube for other historians of interest. Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., for instance, looking a bit frail already twenty years ago; and he's still going.
In the reading room of the New York Public Library, the vast mausoleum, designed by some schoolmaster with memories of hard oak, dust and gloom, there are men who sit day after day, bulwarked by stacks of books, scribbling, scribbling in the little pools of light from the green-shaded lamps on the long oak tables, and you look at them and wonder what will-o'-the-wisps they are pursuing day after day, year after year. One of them may be writing a history of dentistry in America, another studying explosives in order to blow up the world, a third gathering evidence that Shakespeare wrote the Bible. Their faces are pale and grim. The only cheerful people in that place are those who do not read the books, but only handle them as they come from the dumbwaiter, and set them on the counter like moldy slabs of beef. Those who sit at the long tables day after day are dedicated men; some of them are brave men. There is death in old books from the stacks of a great library; the dust that impregnates their pages is death and darkness; the dust says, 'These are books that no one have opened for twenty years, fifty years, eighty years; and when you have written your book, it too will gather dust.' White book dust, bone dust; garden dirt and axle grease are clean in comparison; they are living and unctuous; rubbed into the skin, they do good. The dust of books causes blains and hangnails; ingested it provokes dyspepsia, flatulence, and heartburn; in the lungs it is cancerous. Who would not choose, if he could, to sit chained to an oar in a Roman galley, in the sunlight and salt air, rather than in this sunless crypt?
That's from Prophet of the Unexplained, Damon Knight's 1971 biography of Charles Fort. I actually quite like working in the archives--blains, dyspepsia, and flatulence notwithstanding--but it's still a great passage.
(I am put out, though, that MIT of all places does not allow digital cameras in their archives, even though the material I'm looking at is not copyrighted, and my flash-less camera will do no more harm to the documents than the pressure of my eyeballs.)
Educational media giant Scholastic, Inc. announced it's dropping its original classroom companion guides to a controversial new docudrama about the events preceding the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks -- and replacing them with materials stressing critical thinking and media literacy.
"After a thorough review of the original guide that we offered online to about 25,000 high school teachers, we determined that the materials did not meet our high standards for dealing with controversial issues," said Dick Robinson, Chairman, President and CEO of Scholastic, in a press release.
The original materials had been criticized for oversimplifications and failures to address flaws in post-9/11 policies, including the invasion of Iraq.
Letter to Disney from several Democratic Senators
September 7, 2006
Mr. Robert A. Iger
President and CEO
The Walt Disney Company
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank CA 91521
Dear Mr. Iger,
We write with serious concerns about the planned upcoming broadcast of The Path to 9/11 mini-series on September 10 and 11. Countless reports from experts on 9/11 who have viewed the program indicate numerous and serious inaccuracies that will undoubtedly serve to misinform the American people about the tragic events surrounding the terrible attacks of that day. Furthermore, the manner in which this program has been developed, funded, and advertised suggests a partisan bent unbecoming of a major company like Disney and a major and well respected news organization like ABC. We therefore urge you to cancel this broadcast to cease Disney's plans to use it as a teaching tool in schools across America through Scholastic. Presenting such deeply flawed and factually inaccurate misinformation to the American public and to children would be a gross miscarriage of your corporate and civic responsibility to the law, to your shareholders, and to the nation.
The Communications Act of 1934 provides your network with a free broadcast license predicated on the fundamental understanding of your principle obligation to act as a trustee of the public airwaves in serving the public interest. Nowhere is this public interest obligation more apparent than in the duty of broadcasters to serve the civic needs of a democracy by promoting an open and accurate discussion of political ideas and events.
Disney and ABC claim this program to be based on the 9/11 Commission Report and are using that assertion as part of the promotional campaign for it. The 9/11 Commission is the most respected American authority on the 9/11 attacks, and association with it carries a special responsibility. Indeed, the very events themselves on 9/11, so tragic as they were, demand extreme care by any who attempt to use those events as part of an entertainment or educational program. To quote Steve McPhereson, president of ABC Entertainment,"When you take on the responsibility of telling the story behind such an important event, it is absolutely critical that you get it right."
Unfortunately, it appears Disney and ABC got it totally wrong.
Despite claims by your network¹s representatives that The Path to 9/11 is based on the report of the 9/11 Commission, 9/11 Commissioners themselves, as well as other experts on the issues, disagree.
* Richard Ben-Veniste, speaking for himself and fellow 9/11 Commissioners who recently viewed the program, said,"As we were watching, we were trying to think how they could have misinterpreted the 9/11 Commission's findings the way that they had." ["9/11 Miniseries Is Criticized as Inaccurate and Biased," New York Times, September 6, 2006]
* Richard Clarke, the former counter-terrorism czar, and a national security advisor to ABC has described the program as"deeply flawed" and said of the program's depiction of a Clinton official hanging up on an intelligence agent,"It's 180 degrees from what happened." ["9/11 Miniseries Is Criticized as Inaccurate and Biased," New York Times, September 6, 2006]
* Reports suggest that an FBI agent who worked on 9/11 and served as a consultant to ABC on this program quit halfway through because,"he thought they were making things up." [MSNBC, September 7, 2006]
* Even Thomas Kean, who serves as a paid consultant to the miniseries, has admitted that scenes in the film are fictionalized. ["9/11 Miniseries Is Criticized as Inaccurate and Biased," New York Times, September 6, 2006]
That Disney would seek to broadcast an admittedly and proven false recounting of the events of 9/11 raises serious questions about the motivations of its creators and those who approved the deeply flawed program. Finally, that Disney plans to air commercial-free a program that reportedly cost it $40 million to produce serves to add fuel to these concerns.
These concerns are made all the more pressing by the political leaning of and the public statements made by the writer/producer of this miniseries, Mr. Cyrus Nowrasteh, in promoting this miniseries across conservative blogs and talk shows.
Frankly, that ABC and Disney would consider airing a program that could be construed as right-wing political propaganda on such a grave and important event involving the security of our nation is a discredit both to the Disney brand and to the legacy of honesty built at ABC by honorable individuals from David Brinkley to Peter Jennings. Furthermore, that Disney would seek to use Scholastic to promote this misguided programming to American children as a substitute for factual information is a disgrace.
As 9/11 Commission member Jamie Gorelick said,"It is critically important to the safety of our nation that our citizens, and particularly our school children, understand what actually happened and why so that we can proceed from a common understanding of what went wrong and act with unity to make our country safer."
Should Disney allow this programming to proceed as planned, the factual record, millions of viewers, countless schoolchildren, and the reputation of Disney as a corporation worthy of the trust of the American people and the United States Congress will be deeply damaged. We urge you, after full consideration of the facts, to uphold your responsibilities as a respected member of American society and as a beneficiary of the free use of the public airwaves to cancel this factually inaccurate and deeply misguided program. We look forward to hearing back from you soon.
Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid
Assistant Democratic Leader Dick Durbin
Senator Debbie Stabenow
Senator Charles Schumer
Senator Byron Dorgan
From the World War II department: a) Gilberto Villahermosa, ed.,"Lost Prison Interview with Hermann Göring: The Reichsmarschall's Revelations," HistoryNet.com, n.d.; and b)"Files Reveal Leaked D-Day Plans," BBC News, 4 September, indicates that the military historian Basil Liddell Hart had the plans for D-Day in hand three months before it took place, thus angering Winston Churchill. Thanks to Anthony Cormack at Blog Them Out of the Stone Age for the tip.
Roger Sandall,"Dereliction Express," The Culture Cult, August, reviews Tim Harford, The Undercover Economist: Exposing why the rich are rich, the poor are poor -- and why you can never buy a decent used car!, Paul Theroux, Dark Star Safari, and V. S. Naipaul's A House for Mr Biswas. Thanks to Arts & Letters Daily for the tip.
Geoffrey Wheatcroft,"Tireless on the Left, the Great I. F. Stone," New York Observer, 11 September, reviews Myra MacPherson's All Governments Lie! The Life and Times of Rebel Journalist I.F. Stone.
Patrick Garrity,"The Long Twilight Struggle," Claremont Review, 5 September, reviews the work of John Lewis Gaddis. Thanks to Tom Brucino at Big Tent for the tip.
Fareed Zakaria,"The Year of Living Fearfully," Newsweek, 11 September, on why, despite the claims of commentators from Richard Cohen to Newt Gingrich and Bernard Lewis, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not Adolph Hitler. [Did we really need Zakaria to tell us that? I'm afraid we did.] Thanks to Alfredo Perez at Political Theory Daily Review for the tip.
Finally,"Defense Department News Briefing on Detainee Policies," Washington Post, 6 September. The whole transcript is worth reading, but at the heart of it, Lieutenant General John Kimmons, Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, says:
No good intelligence is going to come from abusive practices. I think history tells us that. I think the empirical evidence of the last five years, hard years, tell us that.
Moreover, any piece of intelligence which is obtained under duress, through the use of abusive techniques, would be of questionable credibility, and additionally it would do more harm than good when it inevitably became known that abusive practices were used. And we can't afford to go there.
Some of our most significant successes on the battlefield have been -- in fact, I would say all of them, almost categorically all of them, have accrued from expert interrogators using mixtures of authorized humane interrogation practices in clever ways, that you would hope Americans would use them, to push the envelope within the bookends of legal, moral and ethical, now as further refined by this field manual.
See also: Adam Liptak,"Interrogation Methods Rejected by Military Win Bush's Support," NYTimes, 8 September. Thanks to Chris Bray for the tip.
A few days ago, the"Kossacks" -- regular contributors -- at Daily Kos began decrying an upcoming film called"The Path to 9/11," to be aired by the ABC network this coming Sunday and Monday. It was, they averred, a thinly-veiled piece of political propaganda that attacked the Clinton administration and exonerated the Bush administration concerning what the Report of the 9/11 Commission concluded was a massive systemic failure of U.S. intelligence that happened on the watch of both Democratic and Republican administrations.
Initially I was angered to learn that 9/11 was yet again being exploited for partisan political purposes. Then I took a breath, poked around the Internet a bit, and saw a number of blog posts that portrayed the film as really quite arresting and dramatic and not slanted toward any political agenda. So I swept the Kossacks' outcries from my thoughts.
Then came last evening.
I was driving down to Lancaster, Ohio, to visit a conservative evangelical church and had the radio set to a conservative Christian radio station that is fairly prominent in these parts. A Michael Medved plug for"The Path to 9/11" was played twice in ten minutes. It strongly reinforced the right-wing propaganda interpretation.
The second time I captured most of it on a digital recorder. Here's a transcript:
... The truth is that terrorist strikes against America began long before 2001, and a superb upcoming mini-series on ABC-TV,"The Path to 9/11," makes that point unforgettably clear. The five-hour dramatization begins with the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, highlighting eight years of confusion and passivity in the Clinton administration, while Bin Laden and colleagues intensified their anti-American jihad. As early as 1983 Hezbollah had killed 241 Americans in Beirut, and even four years before that, the embassy hostage crisis in Iran highlighted the new threat from Islamic extremism. Terrorism was hardly a response to the war in Iraq but that war was part of our response to a long series of atrocities reaching back more than twenty-five years. I'm Michael Medved.
When I got home a wrote a Daily Kos"diary" post about the Medved plug. It generated a fair amount of response, including some suggestions concerning other blogs and Kos diaries that were exploring"The Path to 9/11," especially this one. It transpires that former Governor Thomas Kean was signed to the film as a co-executive producer, but no Democrats; that conservatives were invited to pre-screenings of the film, but again no Democrats; that the film was made in collaboration with the conservative evangelical Film Institute, whose maiden production, coyly termed,"The Untitled History Project," turns out to be"The Path to 9/11"; that 100,000 press kits have gone to schools encouraging the use of"The Path to 9/11" as a tool to teach the history of the WTC/Pentagon attacks; and that former Clinton administration officials are assailing the film for massively distorting their actions, but are having to base their objections on what they've heard about the film, since ABC is refusing to supply them with an opportunity to screen the film in advance.
There's an argument to be made, I guess, that judgment ought to be postponed until the film is aired. But the swift boating of John Kerry is much on the minds of those who have followed this story, and the consensus is that this is a time to contact ABC and object. I'm not usually one to go in for these things, but I've sent an email of protest to ABC via a web page set up by the Democratic Party. If the film is as slanted as Democrats suspect, and as Michael Medved's plug strongly suggests, then a protest is in order on those grounds. And if the film proves more or less balanced, a protest is still in order concerning the blatantly partisan way it has handled the advance publicity. It may be an intentional publicity campaign based on the premise that no publicity is bad publicity. I've thought of that. So have others. But you don't exploit 9/11 that way.
Michael Bérubé, Max Blumenthal, and Tim Burke have found David Horowitz's ideological twin in Teheran. Given Davy's abandon of leftwing for rightwing bombast and demagoguery, is it too much to imagine that he may yet betray that zealotry to head"Islamofascism"'s American ministry of propaganda?
David Greenberg,"Help! Call the White House! How the 1927 Mississippi Flood Created Big Government," Slate, 5 September. Human and natural disaster drove the creation of big government in 20th century America. William Leuchtenberg pointed to mobilization for World War I as the major precedent for the New Deal. David Greenburg points to responses to the 1927 Mississippi Flood. Recalling both 9/11 and Katrina's devastation of the Gulf coast, it's daunting to recognize that both parties have accepted big government, that big government did far too little to prevent or prepare for disasters that recently devastated two American cities, and big government still mismanages recovery from them. [Ed.: That's Luker editorializing on Greenberg's article; not Greenberg's conclusions.]
Janny Scott,"9/11 Leaves Its Mark on History Classes," NYTimes, 6 September, notes many ways in which 9/11 has reshaped the teaching of American history.
Finally, from NYU and our You-Should-Be-So-Lucky Department:"Shakira's Hips Actually Remarkably Well Informed," Gawker, 6 September.
Academics have always had these archives and the search tools that allow us to do our trade. However, these Google tools are really a revolution outside the academy. It allows easy public access to the archive [the millions book scanned - and now, the million newspapers scanned].
What that means for us? We oughta think about it.
Al Zambone,"It Wasn't Really About Whiskey," Books & Culture, September/October, reviews William Hogeland, The Whiskey Rebellion: George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and the Frontier Rebels Who Challenged America's Newfound Sovereignty. Zambone is a blogger and a doctoral candidate at Oxford whose dissertation is on the Anglican Enlightenment in colonial Virginia.
John Noble Wilford,"An Abolitionist Leads the Way in Unearthing of Slaves' Past," NY Times, 5 September, reports on archaeological study on Maryland's Wye Plantation, where Frederick Douglass was a slave as a child.
Niall Ferguson,"The Nation That Fell to the Earth," Time, 11 September, is the issue's cover story. (Subscriber only) Do you get the impression that Ferguson is underexposed? Thanks to Manan Ahmed for the tip.
Finally, we report very few of the many historical conferences that are held every year in the United States and abroad, but History in the Digital Age, at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, on 21-22 September, is a noteworthy exception. Thanks to Manan Ahmed for the tip.
So we read in Leviticus 20:13, in the very King James English that God used to give His points extra special emphasis. That settles it. Not much ambiguity, is there? I hope you gay-marriage supporters out there will now just, you know, be quiet, and otherwise behave yourselves.
Okay, now let's talk about shellfish and other unspeakable foodstuffs from the sea. Consistency is important, and we've let this one slide too long.
Fortunately the good folks behind the website God Hates Shrimp are starting us down the right path.
Bring all of God's law unto the heathens and the sodomites. We call upon all Christians to join the crusade against Long John Silver's and Red Lobster. Yea, even Popeye's shall be cleansed. The name of Bubba shall be anathema. We must stop the unbelievers from destroying the sanctity of our restaurants.
You can't argue with conviction like that! Why, you'd be a fool even to try.
I am particularly impressed with the page of website banners suitable for downloading. It is also good to see that anti-shrimp protesters are showing up at demonstrations by traditional-values folk.
Niall Ferguson,"Conservative Doesn't Mean Anti-Conservation," LATimes, 4 September, argues that American conservatism has begun to be more supportive of conservation efforts.
James Green,"The Rise of the Immigrant," Boston Globe, 4 September, argues that there could be a new era for organized labor in the United States.
There's been a query on H-Teach that intrigues me. Gael Graham at Western Carolina University asks if there are specific examples of American historians influenced by the Annales School who have written on British North America or United States history. The question has had two replies, one very specific and one more general: a) James Henretta,"Families and Farms: Mentalite in Pre-industrial America," William and Mary Quarterly (January, 1978); and b)"all of those colonial historians who wrote closely detailed studies of particular New England villages during the 1970's (Lockridge, et al)."
If the Annalistes influenced the writing of American history, was the influence limited to colonialists? Was the popularity of community studies in subsequent periods influenced by the Annalistes? I'm wondering, for instance, if Jim Cobb's study of the Mississippi Delta as The Most Southern Place on Earth isn't a good example of that. Did the Annalistes contribute to reconfiguring emphases in American history from the constitutional, intellectual, legal, military, and political to social history in ways that are sometimes unacknowledged?
And now, as you may have heard or noticed, the "Lee Siegel on Culture" blog has disappeared down the memory hole at TNR Online, following the revelation that its eponymous pundit had an imaginary friend named"Sprezzatura" who showed up in the comments section to hail Siegel as"a powerful critic" who is brilliant, witty, and possessed of the virile prose style of a much younger man.
Siegel is in his forties (as am I). He probably knows the bit in Cyril Connolly's Enemies of Promise about that miserable period when you realize, not only that you aren't a bright young writer anymore, assuming that you ever were, but that the people who actually are bright young writers don't really pay any attention to you, let alone hold you in awe.
A lot depends on how much awe you were expecting, of course. Just how to handle this disillusioning episode of self-disenchantment is, in any case, one of the tests that life throws down. Guess what? Reading Cyril Connolly doesn't help all that much. (Trust me on this.)
Even after the digital erasure by TNR, Siegel's blog is still in cache at Google. So, for however long they will work, here's a link to part one and part two of the dispute with Hitchens.
Hitchens now has some final words on the matter of Siegelian sockpuppetry. At least I assume they are final. It's hard to imagine he'd need to twist the knife yet again. An extract:
Picture Siegel if you will, scurrying to his blog every day to see if anyone has noticed his scrawlings, gibbering with rage when criticized by a real person (like me, say) but then howling with glee as he writes impassioned impostures in his own behalf, and giggling when he checks to see they have been printed. This is writing of the Bates Motel school. So is this, by the way, from another of his self-confected defenses of himself:You’re a fraud, and a liar. And a wincingly pretentious writer. You couldn’t tie Siegel’s shoelaces.
Wow! This from a man who has his shoes on the wrong feet, and who sometimes finds it soothing to announce that he is a poached egg, and must forthwith lie down on a large piece of buttered toast.
The cream of the jest is the pseudonym under which Siegel sent this padding to his own cell. The chosen name was Sprezzatura. The term comes from Castiglione’s 16th century"Book of the Courtier," where it is described as a style that" conceals art, and presents what is done and said as if it was done without effort and virtually without thought." The dispatch of self-loving anonymous missives to the"Talkback" section of TNR hardly conforms to this airy nonchalance. It reeks, rather, of frantic calculation, masturbation and midnight oil. It’s the wanking hangup caller, and the picknose kid who rings the old lady’s doorbell and runs away. It actually illustrates what Castiglione gives as the opposite of sprezzatura; namely the affectation of one who is"forever praising himself, swearing and blustering about as if to defy the whole world."
I wrote to Siegel suggesting that he find some place of relaxation and enjoy the new free time at his disposal, and received a reply saying that he could"finish with you anytime. 'People' expect me to." For"people," read"voices"....I pass this on, as a warning to both editors and readers, in case this poor fellow manages to publish anything bizarre in the future.
Thanks to Nav Purewal for the Hitchens link
For all the humor extracted now from references to"writing of the Bates Motel school" and so forth, I do think some compassion is actually in order.
Yes, he did this to himself. And yes, watching Lee Siegel call anyone else on the planet"a wincingly pretentious writer" is pretty damned rich. The man did not just have a"kick me" sign on his back. He had it tattooed all over him, for and aft, and wore it on a baseball cap to boot.
Be that as it may, there is clearly something wrong with the guy. It does not seem possible that anyone could read his diary from Slate three years ago and not conclude as much.
A blogger whose comments imply first-hand experience of severe (possibly suicidal) clinical depression experienced some
I recognized much of my own depression in those six-month old samples; the pattern of mumblingmumblingmumbling then EXPLODING WITH OUTRAGE over some observation, unimportant in itself and only barely a sequitur to the mumblingmumblingmumbling. Then there's the back-to-the-wall defense of Siegel offered by sprezzatura, coming out in two forms -- reiterations of Siegel's basic point....in ever-tightening spirals of flowery pedantry, juxtaposed with his naaa-naa-naaa mantra.
Continuing this point in another post:
I think sprezzatura was using Lee Siegel as a straw man, to draw the attack, so strong, handsome, chesty sprezzatura could vanquish the mice that dared criticize either one of them. Then TNR canned him....Public humiliation, loss of the sole prop to his ego (see again his commentary on social relations and women), and an uncertain, probably bad, employment future. I think he's a very good candidate for a suicide attempt
That part about employment prospects may not be true. Over the years, I've watched as the vicious and deranged depart from publication after publication -- being, in some cases, more or less fired -- while yet rising steadily to the heights.
Is it worth mentioning that Lee Siegel has a book out now from a major press, and that its title is Falling Upwards?
Richard Brookhiser,"John Adams Talks to His Books," NY Times, 3 September, reflects on Adams' marginalia. From Zoltan Haraszti's John Adams and the Prophets of Progress (1952) to this month's exhibit at the Boston Public Library,"John Adams Unbound," historians have found a key to the second president's mind in scribblings in the margins of books in his personal library. The link in Brookheiser's article is misleading, but soon you'll find the marginalia from Adams library here.
Alan Cooperman,"An Old Battle's Fresh Wounds," Washington Post, 3 September, looks at controversies about Robert N. Rosen's Saving the Jews: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Holocaust and the Coral Ridge Ministry's documentary film"Darwin's Deadly Legacy" and its companion book, Evolution's Fatal Fruit: How Darwin's Tree of Life Brought Death to Millions.
American University historian, Alan Litchman, who blogs at POTUS, is a candidate for the United States Senate from Maryland. In"Letter from a Baltimore County Jail," 1 September, he explains why he is in the slammer after being excluded from a major televised public debate prior to the state's Democratic primary election. King, I suspect, he's not, but here are a background story and a photograph of Lichtman's arrest. Thanks to Jon Dresner for the tip.
John Stauffer,"Slavery and the Legacies of the American Revolution," NY Sun, 30 August, reviews Simon Schama's Rough Crossings, François Furstenberg's In the Name of the Father, and David Brion Davis's Inhuman Bondage.
Tony Judt,"Goodbye to All That," NYRB, 26 September, reviews Leszek Kolakowski, Main Currents of Marxism: The Founders, the Golden Age, the Breakdown, Kolakowski, My Correct Views on Everything, and Jacques Attali, Karl Marx ou l'esprit du monde. There is a long interview with Judt at"'Wie die Beamten des Mittelalters'," Stern, n.d. Thanks to Alfredo Perez at Political Theory Daily Review and Nathanael Robinson for the tips.
Fredric Jameson,"First Impressions," LRB, 7 September, reviews Slavoj Zizek, The Parallax View. Thanks to Manan Ahmed for the tip.
But don’t take my word for it. Read it for yourself.
PS Here’s a question for you. A high ranking Al Qaeda leader has been captured in Iraq. Is there anyone reading this who doubts that he will be tortured?
Selim Nassib,"Vocation Battlefield," SignandSight, 31 August, is a Lebanese author's thoughtful essay on the history of Lebanon over the last half century. It originally appeared in Die Tageszeitung on 7 August. Thanks to Alfredo Perez at Political Theory Daily Review for the tip.
Finally, things are lively among the TNR blogs these days. Just as it launched Open University, TNR found Lee Siegel, one of its regular columnists, bloggers and senior editors, guilty of sock puppetry. His blog, Lee Siegel on Culture, has been eradicated and he is suspended from publishing at TNR. It's no great loss to the net. Siegel made his last big splash with a piece about"The Origins of Blogofascism." On Siegal's demise, see also: Ezra Klein and John Podhoretz. Maybe TNROnline will now acknowledge its stepchild, Open University, on its mainpage and index its posts there. Thanks to several tipsters.
Our colleague, KC Johnson's new blog, Durham-in-Wonderland, focusing on the rape charges against Duke lacrosse players, is a remarkable popular success, averaging several thousand hits a day. More importantly, KC's research has influenced major journalists, including the New York Times' David Brooks and National Journal's Stuart Taylor. If I were in trouble, I can't think of a historian whose persistent support could be more valuable than KC's.
Bad History Department: Cliopatria's contributing editor, Jim Cobb, calls Donald Rumsfeld on bad history in an editorial in this morning's AJC. Here, in case you missed it, is a full text of the speech. Rumsfeld draws other nominations for the next Bad History Carnival from Derek Catsam, Kevin Drum, Hiram Hover, and John Prados. Five strikes and you're out, Don. Resign! Thanks to Jim Cobb and Glenn Reynolds for the tips.
Too Quick to Publish Department: You may have heard from Eric Alterman or Martha Bridegam that"A. N. Wilson is a shit." Some of us who labor for years over a book -- weighing and testing evidence (and, er, wasting time on other things) -- can't help but think that this was a very well-executed hit.
Finally, from our Military Affairs Bureau: Nat Macon at Whig Hill caught Stonewall Jackson engaged in a counterfactual exercise – or something like that; and, thanks to Mark Grimsley,"a nuclear explosion at sea can enliven your whole day."
With all due respect to Cliopatria's old friends at Crooked Timber, The Valve, and The Volokh Conspiracy, Open University could easily become the most important academic blog on the net. Other, comparable efforts have been launched and failed. This one, I predict, will not fail and it marks a new maturity in the academic blogosphere. See also the comments a little less enthusiastic than my own at Crooked Timber. Thanks to Scott McLemee for the tip.