Learning to Read

Here’s an example of how not knowing how to read (and not knowing how to quote) results in intellectual confusion. The example comes from a noteworthy Confederate heritage FB site.

Riley Learns to ReadI get where you’re coming from, Mr. Riley. I shook my head after reading this, too. Why?

Could it be that this is what Earl Hess wrote?

Hess quote
Pages 97-97 of Hess, The Union Soldier in Battle (1997) reprinted in From The Civil War Soldier: A Historical Reader, edited by Michael Baron and Larry Logue (2002).

Why, yes, Mr. Riley, this is what Earl Hess wrote. You appear to have left out several key words. Why is that?

Now on to the second quote:

Hess quote 2
Page 102 of Hess, The Union Soldier in Battle.Why, Mr. Riley, it seems you left out some words again. Why is that?

Why, Mr. Riley, it seems you left out some words again.

I shake my head.

And then, of course, there was the typical ranting in response:

Hess explosion


So, what we have here is someone deliberately misrepresenting what an author wrote in order to gain points from the usual suspects, including the always reliable Billy Bearden. You remember Billy, don’t you?

Now watch other people defend or excuse that practice.


20 thoughts on “Learning to Read

  1. M.D. Blough March 23, 2014 / 2:30 pm

    I actually had an example of that in a brief filed by an opposing counsel many years ago, He cited a case for the proposition that category 1 of simple coal workers’ pneumoconiosis could not be disabling as a matter of law. My colleagues and I were baffled since we were familiar with the case (we were the counsel for the prevailing party, the claimant) and knew it had rejected that contention. We checked the case and it did, in fact, have the language he cited and the court said it, but the court was quoting HIS (he was the opposing counsel in the cited case) argument before categorically rejecting it. We noted that in our responsive brief.

    Cherrypickers assume that the audience is either too stupid, to lazy, or too invested in the proposition that the cherrypicked quote is used to support to check on its accuracy. It is the lowest depths of intellectual dishonesty. However, if one has actually read the author in question, it’s pretty easy to spot a quote that’s been wrenched out of context like that. Earl Hess simply would not write what Mr. Riley claimed he wrote. Quoting someone’s opinion and identifying clearly as that does not constitute endorsement of that opinion.

    • Joshism March 23, 2014 / 9:13 pm

      It doesn’t help that the modern media engages in cherry-picking intellectual dishonesty on a regular basis which serves to encourages (indoctrinates?) viewers to engage in similiar intellectual dishonesty, intentionally or accidentally (their preexisting biases cause them to focus on the parts that confirm their biases – they see offense because they expect to see it).

  2. Ken Noe March 23, 2014 / 3:00 pm

    I feel for you, Earl, another fine heritage defender did this very thing to me a decade ago, and my false, twisted words still pop up on the net from time to time.

  3. Brooks D. Simpson March 23, 2014 / 4:50 pm

    And here go the heritage folks, just as expected.

    Wonder what shows Carl “Hey Arnold!” Roden attends. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Keep up the hard work, Mr. Grove. ๐Ÿ™‚ Good work to save Mr. Roden.

    Same thing goes for good old Connie Chastain. You go, girl! Apparently when I point out that she excludes blacks from her use of the term “southerners,” she claims that’s misrepresentation, although she also admits I’m right. Go figure. But she has nothing to say about Mr. Riley. Crickets indeed.

    Confederate heritage fanatics at their finest … except when it comes to supporting a book that endorses their perspective. That Kickstarter campaign’s still struggling. Maybe Connie will help this author out.

  4. Al Mackey March 23, 2014 / 5:44 pm

    One must have what it takes in order to be a neoconfederate.

      • Al Mackey March 23, 2014 / 6:42 pm

        An understanding of history is a detriment to becoming a neoconfederate. So is intellectual integrity.

  5. Joshism March 23, 2014 / 9:01 pm

    Funny thing is some Southerners believed their fellows were indeed “victims of social and economic structures that denied them opportunity for individual improvement” such as a little book titled “The Impending Crisis” (which sadly seems forgotten by most other than the later Pulitzer-winner that shares its title).

  6. Joshism March 23, 2014 / 9:08 pm

    Also significant is the reminder from the posted comments that (many? most?) Proud Southerners still hold to what the fallacy that vile Yankees raped Southern women in large numbers. Those Yankee Devils were little better than the Mongol Hordes the way some of them tell it.

    By my understanding, rape was fairly rare in the Civil War (especially by comparison to say World War II) and what rape did occur was almost entirely white-on-black. Besides exaggerated stories passed down through the years, I suspect a great deal of that comes from changing use of verbiage over the last 150 years. For example, “rapine” referring to the forcible seizing of property rather than sexual assault and the idea that “rape and pillage” is not always meant literally.

    • Brooks D. Simpson March 23, 2014 / 9:30 pm

      Confederate heritage advocates are very quick to talk about the raping Yankees who stole everything … but they are rather quite about slaveholder/slave rapes, preferring to tell us that masters treated slaves just like family while overlooking the fundamental truth that slavery is theft. You tell me why they make this distinction.

  7. Ryan Q. March 23, 2014 / 9:16 pm

    Reading a 200 page book (plus end notes) can be very hard and taxing. Hess’ trilogy on earthworks may just cause them to faint.

  8. Brooks D. Simpson March 23, 2014 / 10:50 pm

    Connie whines in response that she’s been the victim of the same practice, and that I only quoted part of what she said.

    He did so to try to make me look uninformed about the Emmett Till case, or unsympathetic toward the victim.

    This is what she said at the time:

    Emmett Till was not falsely accused. He came on to a white woman in pre-civil rights Mississippi, and the [sic] was brutally murdered for it.

    Give her credit: she realized the murder was “an atrocity.” But, as her comment at the time suggests, she still doesn’t quite understand why. After all, as she said, “Notice, too, how he fraudulently labels the the Till case as an example of ‘false accusation’ …”; in short, she still believes Till was rightly accused.

    Guess those sweet southern boys were justified in what they did in the fantasy world of Connie Chastain. They simply should have gone about it a different way.

    Next: Will Connie return to defending/excusing Billy Bearden for expressing the wish that someone gets raped? Once more, the proposed victim would be black. Once more, the person sharing a wish for violence (at least it’s not committing violent acts) is white.

    Maybe one reason some people are defined as belonging to protected classes is that they need to be protected from vile white supremacists. Some names come to mind.

    And yes, these are the friends of the Virginia Flaggers.

    • Rob Baker March 24, 2014 / 6:34 am

      Well what do you expect really? Connie is a hypocrite when it comes to things like this. She blatantly ignores the wrong doing of her “ilk” in order to attack you. Then gets upset when people point out the tu quoque fallacy in her argument. She blindly accepts any story given to her by Southern Heritage advocates, regardless of how heinous that action might be. Remember her defense of John Hall breaking federal law by impersonating a blind person?

      • Brooks D. Simpson March 24, 2014 / 8:48 am

        Well, she also defended John Hall’s anti-Semitism. One might suggest that she defends the wrongdoing of others because she really doesn’t think it’s wrong.

        • Rob Baker March 24, 2014 / 8:52 am

          Perhaps. Either a lack of objectivity or agreement.

    • John Foskett March 24, 2014 / 8:25 am

      Well, I suppose that in somebody’s screwball world he may have been “correctly accused” of “coming on to a white woman”. Whether “coming on to a white woman” is a proper basis for “accusation” is, of course, the fundamental flaw. It’s like saying somebody was murdered because they were correctly “accused” of reading a comic book – which is where that analysis belongs.

      • M.D. Blough March 24, 2014 / 10:31 am

        And let us not deal with her nostalgia for a society in which the penalty for a boy, visiting the area and oblivious to its dangers for anyone black, especially if male, whistling at white woman is kidnapping, torture, and execution. This was state-sanctioned (and at times state-conducted) terrorism designed to keep local blacks in line through fear just as the execution of the three civil rights workers in 1964 was. The terrorists’ miscalculation in the latter case was that two of the victims were northern whites and that drew national attention.

        • John Foskett March 24, 2014 / 12:32 pm

          It’s pretty clear that she views “coming on to a white woman” as some sort of problem which the killers overreacted to. Morning Joe would be proud…..

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