by Unknown | 9/13/2008 01:53:00 PM
The hosts at Pacifica Radio get a taste of Mike Gravel's legendary mouth when they try to pigeonhole him on Sarah Palin. I can't say I understand why Gravel feels the need to defend Palin, who to my mind is indefensible, but I respect him for speaking his mind. (Hat tip Ahistoricality, via e-mail.)

The short-lived Ambrose Hofstadter Bierce, III has hung up his shingle. For reasons I no longer need to get into, I thought AHB was placing his anonymity at serious risk in recent weeks, so I'm glad for his own safety that he's made this choice. Nevertheless, his voice will be sorely missed in the blogosphere.(Hat tip Ralph Luker, who wrote an excellent piece defending AHB a few days ago that I've been remiss in not linking to.)

The Sean Wilentz saga continues, with our own James Livingston sending Wilentz an open letter. Meanwhile, Russell Jacoby reports that prominent Harvard political scientist Theda Skocpol has written, "Any of us from the progressive side of academia who runs into Sean Wilentz should cross to the other side of the street and keep moving!" (Hat tip Ralph Luker, yet again.) The idea that Wilentz's political views should make him a pariah is patently offensive to me. On the contrary, he should be lauded as a hero for applying his scholarship to the public sphere. See Eric Rauchway for more on this.

One day after the anniversary of 9/11, here's a link to our symposium on the subject from last year. If you're looking for a more humorous take, check out the ever-hilarious Fafblog!

Finally, our thoughts go out to those in Galveston and Houston, where strandsofpearl is one of many who are currently huddled in evacuation shelters.

What's on your mind?




Blogger Ahistoricality on 9/13/2008 4:32 PM:

he should be lauded as a hero for applying his scholarship to the public sphere

That's going a bit too far in the other direction, I think. Because he wasn't applying his scholarship to anything of the sort. Most of the writings I saw promulgated a fairly shallow set of analogies or, in the infamous convention-week piece, absurdly tendentious arguments presented as verities. I'm all for historically-informed commentary, goodness knows, but you and I both know that earning a reputation for shrill partisanship doesn't do the profession any favors.

Not being an Americanist, I didn't see the signs you did of AHB3's decaying anonymity: Clearly he agreed, eventually, that being revealed would be too harmful to risk. I'm disappointed, though, and I wish others would begin reporting on the state of history departments and movements of historians in some detail.


Blogger Ahistoricality on 9/13/2008 4:56 PM:

Oh, and the Gravel piece is here, specifically.

I would have been more impressed if he'd been a little more honest, or better informed, about the defenses he was offering. It struck me as a fairly knee-jerk response rather than a thoughtful one.

Now, in the midst of the most entertaining political season in years, I have to go grade: got those first few stacks of papers and tests coming in already!


Blogger Unknown on 9/13/2008 9:33 PM:

Thanks for the correction -- I've fixed it in the post.

You raise good points about Wilentz, but I consider any historian to be a hero who engages with the public sphere while using his or her official title. I don't much care what they write so long as they write something. We're in agreement about the shrill tone of Wilentz's work, but I'm just glad he's saying anything at all to the general public -- most historians aren't.

Have fun with your grading!


Blogger Unknown on 9/14/2008 5:29 AM:

SiteMeter just made their stats completely unusable.

I'll leave the old counter up for the historical data, but I'll be switching to a new counter very soon.


Blogger Ahistoricality on 9/14/2008 9:21 AM:

I use, and I've always been pretty happy with it. But my traffic and needs are less than yours.


Blogger Unknown on 9/14/2008 6:08 PM:

Looks like the reaction to the new SiteMeter was so negative that they've decided to roll back to the old product. Thank goodness.