We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Thursday, October 25. 2007
The myth of middle class job loss. Lib. Leanings
Carl Hiassen (one of our favorite authors) on stinking campaign cash
It's good to see that Canberra has its law enforcement priorities in the right place.
The 52 Senators who want you to pay for other peoples' abortions. Corner. May I mention that an elective abortion is not a medical treatment?
Million dollar painting found in NYC trash. Moral of the story: Always look through other people's trash. I admire the honesty of this lady, too.
Knife fight: Bateman at Media Matters goes after VDH.
Bush and Cheney lit the forest fires. Everybody knows that.
Dems propose 4% surcharge on incomes over 150,000. Why? I suppose just on general Marxist principles. The rich? A cop married to a supervisory nurse make that much around here. It isn't "soak the rich" - it's "soak hard-working families." To soak the rich, go after Ted Kennedy's and George Soros' offshore investments. Anyway, a tax increase won't happen, now.
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Bateman is as about as disingenuous as he claims others to be. This is typical pouting from academics that we see all of the time. "Polemicist", "fabulist" etc are just a couple of examples of the type of derision and name calling that exemplifies the typical academic historians disdain for those historians who actually write good history that actually sells. Rather than say, self-preening articles that only other academics or students (usually coerced) will ever read.
Case in point:
"Those who know better (academic historians in this case) often cannot match the volume of the polemicist who cloaks himself in the garb of legitimate-seeming history. It is a sad fact that "popular" usually trumps "academic" in the bookstore, so the falsehoods put together by the fabulist often drown out his academic critics. The general public, for its part, is often taken in by the fact that the fabulist appears learned and, therefore, should be trusted."
You see, to academics like Bateman and Alterman (whose main works lately are mostly political diatribes) if the public actually buys your book in a bookstore- you are not to be trusted. There is most definitely a political ax to grind, and often, the way that the subject of history has been hijacked in the last 40 years - the general public are the ones who will suffer.
Since leftists have moved history into the "Social Sciences" arena, away from Humanities, it has suffered more in the public arena. The emphasis has been to demonstrate that America is not unique, nor our system of government an example to the world. Capitalism is the enemy and the ultimate bias (Mr. Bateman notwithstanding) is the Marxists interpretation that has permeated throughout academia. It is through this filter that many academic historians are judged, vetted, hired and fired. In other words, in academia, History is not about history. It's about a template- a theme- a meme- a ideologically viewpoint to which you cram whatever "facts" you can use to prove your point. The story, the people and the time doesn't matter, as long as you can find something to fit your preconceived narrative.
Mr. Bateman for his part, called VDH and other "populist" historians (IE, Historians who actually write good books that people will read, backed up by facts and figures) on the carpet for being biased, yet hid his own biases beneath a veneer of "academia". He stated that only "academic" historians are to be trusted. Ranted against VDH's thesis in Carnage and Culture (which is also revisited in other VDH's books, and is well researched and backed up), yet offered no alternative argument- nor demonstrated where the thesis was wrong- and did not back his own argument up. The worse offense, in some ways, was to tout his military credentials in the midst of all of this. It offends me as a historian and as a military brat. In other words, Bateman spends most of his time huffing and puffing, and not much time blowing any houses down.
You'll have to forgive my long comment. In my offline line life (and my non-penname life), I teach History (and Humanities) at a local University, and this hits a nerve.
That was a fine comment, JC Loophole. I agree wholeheartedly. The slurs begin only a few sentences in, "...or VDH, as he styles himself". More battlespace prep by the Clintonistas.
I left a comment at the site; quoted Bateman's "Hanson is tricky" and added, "translation, 'I don't like his politics'".
Agree wholeheartedly, JC. I kept waiting for Bateman's examples of Hanson's 'perverted' sense of history and then the 'solution' that would put Hanson in his place. Bateman made a fool of himself.
"LTC Bob Bateman"?
as in Lieutenant Colonel Bateman???
after i read this in the first paragraph:
"For example, as historians we privilege the written word."
i smelled a phony.
OK,back to read the commentary and JC's post above.
nah--he's real. MediaMatters is too crafty for that sort of ploy. It sells the higher quality baloney.
the clintonistas have their carefully-crafted military-contingent cover in place. Starting with whats-his-face from Arkansaw, Gen Wesley Snipes or something.
imo, the shibboleth phrase...
"privileging the written word"...
is karlmarx/pomo-speak for:
"i can no longer read or write in such a way
that i can comprehend,nor be comprehended"...
but in fact this is of no consequence,because there IS no "truthiness" to be had other than the Narrative...
so here's mine.
praise be to father karl,
It is for a fact an awkward neologism--odd to hear in the same sentence one is using to praise one's own dedication to classical form.
An unconscious "tell" ?
Nice catch, gumshoe--it took awhile to sink in, but nice catch.
no great catch,
it's just typical (coded?)pomo-speak,Buddy.
if he were a "classcal liberal",
he would,imo,be straining for all he's worth to
"privilege the truth"...
but since he's likely some form of deconstructionist,
much as he might like to argue his views are true,
that option isn't available to him.
instead,as others pointed out,
he resorts to ad-hominems and doesn't get around to addressing his objections to Hanson's writings.
I just now re-read the piece, and it IS awful. Dishonest and mean, and academically useless.
''His technique worked -- until now.'' Bateman says.
IOW, this best-selling academic autor has fooled EVERYbody, ALL this time, until LTC Bateman has come along to straighten it all out?
he continues "(VDH's)...personal signal work is a pile of poorly constructed, deliberately misleading, intellectually dishonest feces."
''...he silenced his critics.''
How? By saying their work is FECES?
But, VDH never does that sort of thing. That's bateman doing that sort of thing. While asserting that VDH does it, which he doesn't.
Habu is right--these people have gone 'round the bend.
What is the bend?
In this case, Bateman has obviously been tasked with--because he's a military man--neutralizing VDH's position on the war.
So Bateman is going through the motions (even at the risk of making a fool of himself with anyone who can read or think) in order to create a meme wherein Clintonistas can say, in a million conversations around the world, that "VDH, you know, has been thoroughly discredited by intellectuals within the US military".
As Bateman says (admits), he (Bateman) has been given the site's 'bully pulpit' for a few weeks in order to "...take down one of the most profound perverts of the historical record in the modern era, Mr. Victor Davis Hanson."
He announces this, grandly (read it, you'll gag), at the top of the piece, after which he proceeds to keep reminding us throughout that he's 'taking down' VDH--but--he never actually DOES anything even remotely resembling a 'takedown'.
He just keeps telling you that he's doing it.
Oh, yes, he calls names, and puffs his own resume, for sure. But he's not the first sterling resume to fall into the Clinton maw, alas.
It's NewSpeak, alright--signature Clinton/Soros/MediaMatters work.
He even asks, piously, rhetorically, presumably after decades of VDH's dishonesty having finally just now had enough of it, "So what is an honest historian to do?"
LOL--hmm...how about going on a Soros-funded dirty-politics site which has been repeatedly proven to be deliberately dishonest, and asking, all-wide-eyed and innocently,
"So what is an honest historian to do?"
Just found this @ The Corner--
VDH has responded to the piece (follow the link). I went to his site "Works and Days" and left a comment, a re-written version of the one above:
Mr. Bateman has obviously been tasked--because he's a military man--with neutralizing VDH's opposition to MediaMatters' general philosophy.
So Bateman, thus tasked, would be going through the motions (I read his piece twice and it's painfully poorly-wrought) in order to create a meme wherein the Clintonistas running the site can fan out to proffer "VDH, you know, has been thoroughly discredited by intellectuals within the US military".
As Bateman says (admits), he's been given the site's 'bully pulpit' for a few weeks in order to "...take down...Mr. Victor Davis Hanson."
He announces this, grandly, at the top of the piece, after which he proceeds grimly thru paragraphs salted with a variety of reminders that this is a 'take down' of VDH.
But he never actually takes down VDH. Nor says anything at all that a reader would consider even remotely resembling anything at all of a 'takedown'.
But boy he sure does keep telling us that he's 'taking down VDH'!
I dunno, maybe he honestly believes that bragging up his own resume while calling VDH a "liar" who writes "feces" constitutes a "takedown".
Nah, he couldn't possibly believe that--and he has no need to, for that matter, as this is strictly signature lefty assassination work.
There is a good laff, tho--when the good author asks, piously, rhetorically (presumably because decades of his highly ethical sensibility's enduring of VDH's dishonesty has finally come to an unbearable head), "So what is an honest historian to do?"
LOL--what to do, what to do--well how about taking to the bully pulpit of a notoriously hard-left smear site to ask the world, "So what is an honest historian to do?"
I dunno, maybe an honest historian will see the question and will give him the answer.
Then he'll know.
buddy has a point:
Bateman gets his task assignment and his bully pulpit,
and then asks rhetorically...
"What's an honest historian to do?"
since Bateman is preaching to the choir on the
MM site,there was never any arguement to make or points to refute in VDH's work....Bateman just puts forward the dishonest idea that 'because I appear on this site(that you all like to read so much), I am therefore an honest historian
....there IS NO truth(except MY truth),and I'm an honest historian because I say so."
Ford TV commercial...sunshine,brass band,smiling people:
"Ford makes the BEST cars in the world!"
That's it--''honesty is agreeing with oneself'' (the triumph of the subjective).
Thing is, that's all true, if and when the topic is one's emotions.
Gets less and less true the farther it ventures outward into the world of facts.
One of the things that has gotten me about the abortion 'debate' is that it is no longer a 'debate': just two sides locking horns forevermore to continue extracting funds to keep to enshrined goals that remain unquestioned. This has removed the 'middle ground' or 'common ground' of the argument and when I get a phone call from those looking at one 'side' or the other, to get my view for a poll or raise money, I am immediately asked in their couched terms which 'side' I am on.
My answer: neither.
Amazing the silence on a telephone call from a pollster on that! They did try to 'shoehorn' me into their agenda driven political views (and, really, one does not have to name either 'side' as they are both guilty of this), and I tried to explain that my view is not undecided, and that it is reflected by neither 'side' of the 'debate'. Yes, I do imagine it was a classic Dumb Looks Still Free moment on the other end of the line. The inconceivable had happened: a THIRD side had shown up that was for neither of the two existing views!
Fun and frivolity is not had by doing that, as you then become the equal target of both sides. 'By not supporting us you are supporting *them*!!'
No, I support the federal form of republican government run as a representative democracy to have society uninfringed upon by government. My view on that revolves actually having read the R v W text and seeing that the SCOTUS has tried to limit debate from the get-go. By accepting those limits we fall into a dichotomous trap... a strange thing to do when Freedom of Speech is enshrined and only reasonable limits for safety can be enacted to restrict it. Abortion is not that. So the SCOTUS can go away with their lovely limitations on speech and outlook and let the People decide upon if we should have a broader debate.
Currently, after decades of perpetual nothing that has not happened. In putting forth for no side each gets some 'win' but neither remains satisfied and the responsibility for the entire thing falls back to where it belongs: We the People. Of course saying that 'sexual freedom' also brings 'responsibility' with it does tend get some folks riled... but it is not about your rights, but about something held in common amongst us: Citizenship.
Once I read the SCOTUS ruling and thought in that term, then things began to demystify... because we also have responsibilty to do something else. Form 'a more perfect Union'. No 'side' wins, but society is sustained by that and made better once arguments are removed from the realm of pure perfection, and put on the ground to get dirty. More than willing to work towards perfection, and understand that absolute perfection is beyond us.
I do think strange thoughts: http://thejacksonianparty.blogspot.com/2007/05/modern-jacksonian-chapter-6-limits-of.html
Bird Dog, News Junkie et al-
As Buddy Larsen indicated above, Victor Davis Hanson has replied to Bateman's hit piece at his site:
It would be worth linking to his response. He pretty much shows how Bateman completely embarasses himself. I would think Mr. Bateman would withdraw from the field after this, to reserve some measure of dignity. I doubt it.
Yes, AJ, but such well thought out 'strange' thoughts.
agree--AJ ain't strange--he be "chewy' as in, lots of thoughts there to chew on.
The Media Matters Morons are over in the comments at the VDH site. So I added:
But to be serious for a moment, since coming across a VDH rec (as a mil historian doing new work in an old field) in a John Keegan slick-magazine interview some years before 9/11, I've read several of his books and would like to continue believing that the scholarship is as it appears--that is, solid, insightful, written to a general audience, and only as politically loaded as a reader wants, by his own inference, to make it.
So, I can't help but feel that Media Matters has crosshaired him over his support for OIF.
Now, this is fair enough--but to couch this political attack within an aggressive, spite-filled, rather juvenile characterization of his work ?
Nah--anyone with LTC Bateman's CV must know better.
He has obviously drawn some secret and unflattering conclusions about his own "market" at Media Matters.
Nothing else would explain his tone-as-substance essay--his 'talk-down' billed as 'take-down'.
But take heart, Media Matters readers--if you were any less intelligent, LTC Bateman would have had to resort to ridiculing VDH's looks, or his clothing, or his racial profile.
The most interesting things I've seen here are the attributions by many that my critique of Hanson have been political. I am curious, where in my entire body of work, either my book on No Gun Ri, or on that on military theory, or the books on the Civil War, WWI, WWII, and the Cold War to which I have contributed, have I ever made a single political statement?
I publish reviews in the Chicago Tribube, write editorials for the New York Post and the DC Examiner (all right wing) and not a word of my politics is inferred by the Right. I critique VDH, of my own volition (and it was my idea), for free, and suddenly people assume that I am of the left, and paid for by the left? What curious logic. Upon what basis? There is equal evidence that I am of the Right.
Mr. Hanson has, in the past, referred to those who dared to criticize him as "dense" , "mentally unbalanced", "ignorant of military history", and "moronic." I was merely pre-emptive. It worked. (He himself has no academic background in military history, he is a classicist). That is to history what a linguist is to English Literature. A related, but entirely seperate field of utility in history only up to about 500 AD.
I would be interested in seeing comments with regard to my two (so far) essays of critique, vice the introduction.