For purely academic reasons, I’ve never understood the argument that we should ignore Rush Limbaugh because he’s simply an entertainer who says outrageous things that millions of people are merely entertained by. I didn’t read the complete works of Silas Weir Mitchell because they were good—they are almost uniformly awful—I read them because they were popular. I was interested not in the content of his thought—it is almost uniformly mediocre—but in why his contemporaries found it so wildly appealing. If you want to learn which ideas and ideologies literate Americans in 1900 found comforting, you do not consult Henry James: you turn to the inartistic novels that parroted their prejudices back to them in a language they already understood. So when people say that we should dismiss Limbaugh on the grounds that he only says outrageous things to sell his product, I’m never …
(Before I get started, I want to acknowledge that I know Ann Althouse is an attention fiend, and as such revels in any that comes her way. Furthermore, I know that giving her the attention she craves will only embolden her to spout even more outrageous nonsense in the future. However, the white-hotness of her intellectual dishonesty here compels me to consider it a vacuity of historical import. Future scholars will read this post and realize that this was the moment crypto-conservatives discovered the fact that no matter how shallow their waters were, Zeno and his paradox prevented them from ever being emptied altogether.)
It may not be breaking new that the President copped a glance at a young Mayara Rodrigues Tavare last week:
But I want to call your attention to Ann Althouse’s “close-reading” of the photograph:
Obama’s arms hang free, emphasizing the tilt, and either gravity or…
It only took six months, but the mainstream media finally accomplished what no conservative media outlet ever could have: it sent a reporter into the Columbia library. In October 2008, Andrew McCarthy complained that it was impossible to learn anything about Obama’s heady days of Ayers-inspired radicalism at Columbia:
As [Ayers] so delicately told the Times, America makes him “want to puke” . . . Such statements should make Obama unelectable.
Time and again, conservatives have proven that Obama is Ayers is Alinsky is Annenberg is Hitler—all they were lacking was the actual proof. No more. Thanks to the Times, they now have the evidence they were always pretty sure existed. How did the Times get their hands on these hot documents? What did it do that McCarthy—a former federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York—could not?
Laughing at the “Young Con Anthem” because neither “Serious C” nor “Stiltz” have skillz is all well and good, but there’s more to their awfulness than the sort of schadenfreude you get watching the first two weeks of American Idol. For the uninitiated:
This breed of rap is all about establishing and maintaining identity, which you do by asserting your authenticity and questioning that of other rappers—either by attacking it whole cloth (coastal feuds) or its legitimacy (street credibility). The Young Cons talk up their own game like some white Wu-Tang. Ideally, these assertions of identity should be such that when they “manufacture poems to microphones, bones fracture.” (Let that play while you work and your dull life will turn into a Jim Jarmusch film.) What makes the Young Cons so tellingly awful is that they sat down to forge a…
John Ziegler, you’ll remember, considers tragic suicide the perfect occasion for self-promotion, so his recent antics should come as no surprise. Here’s what happened:
He announced that he would demonstrate the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Journalism. On the day of the event, he was treated like a demonstrator.
That should be all you need to know, but Ziegler is a savvy self-promoter. At some point after he’d made his intentions to demonstrate clear enough to USC that they hired extra security and set up a barricade, he decided that he would not be demonstrating the event after all: he would be reporting on it. Here he is informing a very polite USC employee of that decision (3:48):
USC Employee: You indicated that you were here to demonstrate.
Ziegler: Actually no, I called off the demonstration. I’m just here to find out what’s going on.
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This blog is a blog about history, Yiddishkeit, and the Muppets, neither exclusively nor necessarily in that order. And as William Gibson said about this very blog (no, really), “History can save your ass.” Yiddishkeit and the Muppets are just extras.
is the associate director of the Cornell in Washington program and a senior lecturer at Cornell University. He teaches courses on European history, modern military history, guerrilla war, and the role of popular will in waging war.
is a professor of history at UC Davis. He is the author of A River and Its City: The Nature of Landscape in New Orleans, which won the Abbott Lowell Cummings Prize in 2004, and his new book, A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling Over the Memory of Sand Creek, will be published by Harvard University Press in fall 2012.
is a professor of history at UC Davis. She is the author of Real Enemies: Conspiracy Theories and American Democracy, World War I to 9/11 (Oxford, 2009); Red Spy Queen: A Biography of Elizabeth Bentley (North Carolina, 2002); and Challenging the Secret Government: The Post-Watergate Investigations of the CIA and FBI (North Carolina, 1996).