Friday, May 25, 2007

Carnival of Bad History #14: Backlog Edition

Welcome to the "Post-Grading Letdown" edition of The Carnival of Bad History.

epppie at Progressive Historians presents a short history of the "sucker born every minute" line, and a drawing in honor of the opening of the new Creation Museum this coming Monday (that's the bad history part). PZ Myers is gathering posts for a mini-carnival in honor of the biblically literal, anti-evolution extravaganza. When you're done reading John McKay's take-down, you can also check out his rant about "the African language".

Joerg Wolf presents Historical Comparisons: Fritz Stern Publishes "Five Germanys I Have Known", which includes some lovely examples of former SecDef Rumsfeld's argumentum ad nazium.

Jon Swift presents Conservapedia which "gives Christianity its due for being so supportive of the work of Galileo and Copernicus." The scary thing about that is that I've heard versions of that argument elsewhere: that Christianity is at the heart of the scientific revolution....

Speaking of satirists, Mark A. Rayner presents Grandfig: Flying Nun: Mark I posted at the skwib. Heh!

Tim Abbott presents "Jumping" Jack Flashman "Massacres" the Historic Record posted at Walking the Berkshires. It's on the internet, it must be true....

Speaking of error propogation, David Parker presents Willie Lynch: The Making of a Slave posted at another history blog. Follow the links, folks: it's worth it. If you teach US history and haven't come across it before, you will soon.

Sergey Romanov does what he does best -- present real evidence and reasonable interpretation for stuff certain people would rather distort or forget -- this time taking on the well-known pro-Stalinist Grover Furr at Holocaust Controversies. In addition to the historical questions, there's an interesting ethical discussion about posting email exchanges.

The Tour Marm presents The Baptism of Pocahontas: Capitol Offense - Get it Right! posted at The Educational Tour Marm. Wonderful discussion of teaching, internet and public history issues, all spiced with righteous outrage.

Henry Midgley presents Bernard Lewis at the AEI posted at Westminster Wisdom. Midgley was not the only person to note Lewis' historical laziness, but he's the only one who submitted!

CapeTownDissentator presents Mission Accomplished: Now Let's Write Us Some History, a discussion of the relationship between servile narratives and political apathy.

That concludes the submitted material. To avoid derision and confusion in the future, submit your blog article to the next edition of carnival of bad history using our carnival submission form. Past posts can be found on our Sidebar.

Now, a few supplemental items from my files:

Will the public domain stay public? Konrad Lawson notes some brazen attempts to copyright public domain documents. Ralph Luker and Tim Burke note other problems with copyright and permissions.

Brett Holman, when he's not revising our very weak understanding of Guernica, is swooning over bad historical fantasies that never got made into movies. Or, you can see the Giant Nazi Robots over at Orac's place.

Sepoy says that Richard Gabriel's military history of Islam's founder "has, on average, a mistake per sentence." I could identify about one per paragraph without trying too hard.... Speaking of Sepoy, he's tweaking the nose of the AHA, but they're good-humored enough about it that they've approved our panel -- token and all -- anyway.

Tim Burke takes on a Weekly Standard piece on Africa on both facts and interpretations. Oh, and he smacks down VD Hanson and 300 in one blow! (for more 300 fun, start here)

In the "Daily Dose of Insanity" category, This Day in Mythstory provides just what it says: anniversaries with a theme and a twist! If you can't tell when he's kidding, that's a good sign that you need more, not less, history in your life.

Another entry in the "one generation's sarcasm is another generation's Protocols of the Elders of [your hobgoblin here]" category: Anti-Grover Cleveland screed turned into pro-Hawaiian Independence "evidence."

Eric Muller got a surprise this Passover: a Confederate Jew on his Matzo Box. I got one of those, too.

One of the most efficient reminders of what the late Jerry Falwell stood for in his heyday (and beyond) came from this 26-point "Don'ts for Students". It's in favor of history (though the rest of the list suggests limits on that), but not family history, or any creative thinking or social speculation.

Chris Bray's been reading some Frederick Kagan, for kicks: the preface is a hoot.

The Conceptual Guerilla takes on Harvey Mansfield on the unitary executive.

Rob MacDougall posits a dystopian future for historically conscious appliances. But at least our modern appliances let us eat better than we used to.

I've got to end on a positive note: These reconstructed photographs are amazing. For real!

OK, now the bad news: Bad History Needs Hosts even more than it needs submissions. We've got a trickle of submissions, but No Hosts lined up for the future. I'm taking volunteers, and then I'm just gonna start assigning months to people who seem capable, whether they're bloggers, historians or just cranky.


Grover Furr said...

The issue at stake in Sergei Romanov's criticism of me is not whether I am a "pro-Stalinist", any more than it is Romanov's "pro-Gorbachev / Eltsin" views.

Rather, it's a question of evidence: what it is, how to evaluate it, how to draw the best conclusions from it.

Romanov assaulted me for daring to question the "consensus" about the Katyn massacre. To question it! period.

Not that I deny the Soviets killed all those Polish officers -- I don't. But I also do not affirm the Gorbachev-Eltsin version, because there are serious problems in accepting the "smoking gun" documents as genuine.

Romanov doesn't want to hear that there are serious problems with these documents.

In fact, there's no question that at least one of the documents is forged. If one is forged, others could be too.

There is a good case to be made, and it has been made. But Romanov doesn't want to hear about it!

The point is this: everybody has biases and preconceived ideas. But, if you want to discover the truth, you have to set them aside, or otherwise allow for your own biases, so that they do not blind you to the evidence that tends to put your biases into question.

In my view, Romanov is unable to do that. And that's the problem!

Gorbachev and Eltsin -- I'm more familiar with historical work done during Gorbachev's time -- presided over major historical falsifications. Plus they are politicians. There is just no reason to "believe" them.

But "question the faith, and you are a heretic". Romanov is in the business of excommunicating heretics.

Too bad! We'll never get to the truth that way!

Sergey Romanov said...

Furr claims above that I assaulted him for "daring to question". This, of course, is not true: as anyone who has read our exchange knows, I attacked him for his absurdly incorrect claims made with a perfectly straight face.

There is actually no question about the authenticity of these documents, and I know this because I have examined deniers' arguments, one by one. Furr doesn't cite any evidence that "at least one of the documents is forged". I want to hear about it! But Furr wouldn't tell...

Grover Furr said...

Mr Romanov states:

"There is actually no question about the authenticity of these documents..."

But he knows he is wrong. There are huge questions about their authenticity.

What Mr Romanov should have said is that HE is convinced they are genuine.

Mr R, the fact that YOU are convinced doesn't mean that questions do not exist!

Mr R also knows that I have told him I'm going to publish an article on one of these documents, arguing that it is a forgery.

But instead of informing readers of this blog about this, he states a falsehood: "Furr wouldn't tell..."

These are "weasel words" -- literally true, but intended to deceive.

Few researchers will give away their research before it's published. Why should I?

And why should I give it to Romanov, of all people? I asked him not to publish our private email exchange, and he did it anyway!

You just can't believe Mr R. He is not objective.

Objectivity is essential in studying any historical question. It is especially important when studying hot, controversial topics that you yourself have very strong feelings about -- as Mr R has about Katyn.

But Mr R makes no attempt at objectivity. He'd rather call names.

His abusive rhetoric and use of terms like "moonbat" show he either is a neocon, or chooses to imitate them. This is a group of people without any interest at all in the truth!

Bad company, Mr R. Past time to change your style of discussion.

Also, past time to be HONEST in your discussions and replies!

As it is, you make IUri Mukhin, the main scholar who argues the case that the "Katyn packet" of documents are forged, look very good, in comparison.

Too bad! There's plenty of room for a good, DISPASSIONATE, examination of Mukhin's arguments. Too bad, that is, that your lack of objectivity, your passion for invective and insult, utterly disqualifies you.

It's never too late to change, and I hope you do. But change begins by recognizing that you have been WRONG.

Are you capable of this? We shall see.

Sergey Romanov said...

Furr wrote:

"In fact, there's no question that at least one of the documents is forged. If one is forged, others could be too.

There is a good case to be made, and it has been made. But Romanov doesn't want to hear about it!"

I replied:

"I want to hear about it! But Furr wouldn't tell..."

Furr retorted:

"Mr R also knows that I have told him I'm going to publish an article on one of these documents, arguing that it is a forgery.

But instead of informing readers of this blog about this, he states a falsehood: "Furr wouldn't tell..."

Furr refused to tell me what his argument was - before the publication. Understandable. But he is still lying when he says that what I had written was a falsehood.

I do want to know Furr's alleged argument, and he doesn't tell (for an understandable reason; but he still doesn't). What could be simpler than this?

To sum up:

Furr's claim: Romanov doesn't want to know!

Fact: I do, I have never claimed otherwise, and Furr knows that I do want to know.

Furr's claim: Romanov lies when he says that Furr didn't tell him his argument!

Fact: Furr did not tell Romanov his argument, he only said that he (Furr) had an argument, but did not tell Romanov what it was.

Furr's claim: There are huge questions about authenticity of Katyn documents.

Fact: Furr's mere claim does not make it so.