Silly Season is Underway

One of the amusements of blogging is the knowledge that some people who really don’t like you are among the most faithful readers of your blog. You learn this when you see that there is a surge of incoming traffic from a blog that you may not hold in high regard, and a check of the link leads you to another elaborate denunciation of your blog for its open partisanship, commitment to political correctness, or whatever tends to offend these overly-sensitive folk who ventured forth from their intellectual and emotional safe space to see what other people were saying. Indeed, some blogs probably would not exist or have even smaller audiences than they currently enjoy were it not for this desire to draw attention to themselves in front of their fan base.

(Note: that’s one reason I don’t link to these blogs. Let them earn their own hits. I know they’ll come here anyway.)

We can expect more of this cross-blog commentary as we enter the heart of the presidential election contest. Politicians love to draw upon historical images and comparisons to make their points, and every presidential election offers case studies in the use and misuse of history, the state of historical memory, and the propensity of some people who claim to be historians to render their fledgling efforts at historical understanding primarily through the lens of political partisanship.

Take a recent whiny complaint from someone whose obsession with left-wing academics (a redundancy in his mind) and political correctness overwhelms what might be considered useful observation and information. Apparently we now know that the political season is upon us because of a surge in posts attacking Republicans, and only Republicans: “They prove it by only doing this type of thing to Republican candidates. And the virtue-signalling is extremely nauseating.”

I guess I struck a nerve.

We note that this protest appeared just a week after a post appeared declaring “Why Progressives Love Abraham Lincoln & Why Conservatives Don’t Undertsand Him.” I’ve retained the original spelling. Oh, no politics here, right? That’s surrounded by three more posts, two reflecting this blogger’s obsession with political correctness and another about protesters bearing Soviet flags outside the Democratic National Convention, something, the blogger asserts, should warm the hearts of “moral reformer” historians.

Now that we’ve established which blog is primarily an exercise in political commentary, we can test its claims for historical accuracy. The blogger appears to be upset that comments to various entries here that talk about how politicians use (and misuse) history are simply political commentary (and thus that the posts to which these comments allude were framed to elicit such commentary, betraying the nefarious motives of the blogger). One need only to examine the comments section of the blog in question to realize that this is just another case of the pot calling the kettle black (given the propensities of some of the commenters over there, “black” will drive them nuts). What people say is what people say. But to see in others what one does note recognize in oneself is telling.

But does this blog restrict itself to commenting on Republican candidates’ misuse of history? The record suggests otherwise. This blog commented on Hillary Clinton’s flawed commentaries on Reconstructiontwice. Nor would it be true the say that we don’t follow up on stories concerning Republicans who take positions where it’s assumed that we agree with them. This blog also followed up on leads that suggested that an advocate of removing the Confederate flag from the grounds of the South Carolina state house may have misstated the facts when she claimed to be descended from Confederate president Jefferson Davis (suffice it to say that the post in question received substantial traffic with the politician in question ran for office and lost).

In short, these are issues of historical accuracy, not political correctness. We conclude that either the critic is incompetent or dishonest. Which is the case, and why that’s the case, we leave to others to decide.

We do notice, however, that while the critic is loud about the supposed faults of others, we have yet to see any commentary on the critic’s blog about the historical shortcomings of his heroes. I bet you didn’t know that there were twelve articles in the Constitution, although Donald Trump (another not-so-well-informed foe of political correctness) says he will defend Article Twelve. And we are surprised that a man who wants to share with us how well a certain Confederate general treated his slaves had nothing to say when Bill O’Reilly asserted that the slaves who helped build the White House were treated rather well. But does our critic note such lapses? No. He’s practicing his own form of political correctness, I guess.

In short, someone who complains that certain blogs are partisan forums without admitting that his blog is indeed slanted for political and philosophical reasons is something of a hypocrite who lacks integrity. But did we really expect anything else?

Talk about “virtue-signalling.”

We admit, however, that we are amused to hear that this blog and other blogs are “nauseating” for this poor critic. We suggest that the best remedy for this particular reaction is to cease reading such blogs. Exercise some self control, please. As for me, I find such whiny rants amusing. I have indeed struck a nerve, and, it appears, more. To point out someone’s incompetence, hypocrisy, dishonesty, and lack of integrity is to fill an empty net with pucks. But whenever I come across such tripe, I’m reminded of this:

Lighten up, Francis.

PS: Yes, we expect to hear from the offended party that he’s endeavoring to prepare a forthcoming reply. Invariably these promises are never fulfilled. That was the case a few weeks ago with another blog, and it’s been the case with me several times.



8 thoughts on “Silly Season is Underway

  1. Shoshana Bee August 6, 2016 / 3:42 pm

    One of the first things I do when I depart my usual blogs and pass though the phantom tollbooth is to look at the comments. Lordy, except for the lone voice of reason – Mark Snell – the rest of the echoes pinging around that chamber must be the Silly Sect. I see that the Great Debater makes an appearance to (try) to instigate yet another dog fight on a podium. What are we up to now? At least 4 different challenges issued (all mix-n-match of different people)? Makes perfect sense to me: Certainly if one is insecure about his adversarial skills via written expression, he could always (hope) to shout down the opposition a la GOP debates. The perpetrator of the blog’s barely coherent posts admonishes the Great Debater that he is too busy for debates (hint: get a life, dude!) I suppose that Washing Machine Charlie will continue flying around the blogosphere dropping his one bomb wonder of instigating debates, whilst the other will continue making himself ill by visiting nausea inducing blogs. Indeed: ‘tis Silly Season.

  2. Sandi Saunders August 6, 2016 / 4:41 pm

    There are so many Civil War blogs, Facebook pages, groups and individuals that from time to time I stumble upon one and sometimes read and engage before I realize they are just posers for the Lost Cause Myth, Lincoln haters, government haters, liberal haters, intelligence and fact haters, or even more oddly a Civil War PC Revisionist hiding as someone telling “the truth”. When you use “The War between The States” instead of Civil War, it is a clue IMO. A clue to run. The cult of the South as being the Confederate state of mind is strong in some people and it is sad that they have no ability and crib off legitimate sites, post pictures with legitimate historians which insinuate a relationship, and work to claim a legitimacy they do not earn. Many have been in denial for 200 years and appear content to stay there.

  3. Jimmy Dick August 7, 2016 / 5:59 am

    Let’s just call it for it is. Very little of the Southern Heritage(TM) stuff has anything to do with the actual Civil War. Most of it involves sustaining a fake narrative that serves as window dressing to sustain white supremacy. Almost every person involved with that concept ties it to their modern political ideology. They are short on facts and long on opinion.

    It is sort of hilarious how they can go on and on about what their opinions are, but when challenged to provide proof through primary sources explaining what the “states rights” were that caused secession in 1860/61, their shrill screeches of of opinion continue, but the actual facts are never used.

    I think an original idea and a cold glass of water would be a fatal overdose to them.

    • Andy Hall August 7, 2016 / 8:44 am

      “Very little of the Southern Heritage(TM) stuff has anything to do with the actual Civil War. Most of it involves sustaining a fake narrative that serves as window dressing to sustain white supremacy. Almost every person involved with that concept ties it to their modern political ideology. They are short on facts and long on opinion.”

      Just so. The Confederate Heritage movement, at least as its loudest and most belligerent advocates practice it, is best understood as an expression of political and cultural tribalism, wrapped in a veneer of historical references. The events and personalities of 1861-65 mainly serve to validate the speaker’s present-day beliefs and positions.

      • jason perez August 8, 2016 / 12:07 pm

        Its amazing how John Mosby’s statements still apply today:

        “After the fight is over they invent some fanciful theory on which they imagine that they fought”

        -John S Mosby, letter to Reuben Page, June 11, 1902 , Letters

        Sorry Prof Brooks, but at this point you are just going to have to just accept enduring silly season as part of the profession.

        • Andy Hall August 8, 2016 / 6:17 pm

          Apart from relatives, there are a handful of old Confederates I’d like to meet. Mosby is one of them.

  4. Joshism August 8, 2016 / 4:29 pm

    What the heck is “virtue-signalling”? That’s a new buzzword for me…

    • Brooks D. Simpson August 8, 2016 / 10:04 pm

      I just quote ’em. It is amusing, however. I never hear anyone complain that the blog in question slights history in favor of rants about political correctness and the academy. Then again, that may be testimony to a rather limited readership. Maybe people accept that it isn’t much of a history blog any more.

      But I will say that the blogger thinks highly of himself, even if he lacks new material. “I must have struck a nerve,” he claims. That’s his standard retort, right next to the usual “threat” to issue a future response (he’s not very good at keeping his word). Note that “threat” is missing this time. I know it’s important to his ego to think he’s struck a nerve. That’s par for his foolishness. I think he’s funny, just like his fellow CSA heritage buddies the Virginia Flaggers (and even less effective). “Someone comes off as a bit insecure, wouldn’t you say?” Yup. He does. But thanks for the link and the traffic. Note he’s entirely unable to wrestle with my actual argument.

      Now he’ll go back to showing us how a southern gentleman behaves, complete with name-calling and personal attacks. I guess the southern blood that runs through him has become diluted … or maybe he’s just deluded. Take your pick. He’s a suitable representative of his cause.

      See, I have nothing against people who hold different views. However, I have little patience for intellectual ignorance, stupidity, or foolishness, and those are characteristic of the blog in question, although it appears that I live rent-free in this fellow’s mind. So I’ve yanked (pun intended) his chain a few times, and, like a puppet, he responded, albeit weakly. Then again, he’s just a slightly more civil version of Connie Chastain, although just as foolish.

      Having highlighted the inadequacies of the critic, I move on, secure in the knowledge that someone in the Old Dominion is still flustered. (He’s proven so since, in another whiny retort. It’s almost too easy.)

      Lighten up, Francis.

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