I found the "Patrick Henry Said What?" entry on your blog while searching for the origin of the attributed Patrick Henry quote about the Constitution not being an instrument. Thank you for exposing the error of this attribution. I teach AP U.S. History, and I am always on the lookout for information exposing erroneous historical claims.
|The food was terrible and |
the portions too small.
Maybe you fallen victim to some cultural/geographical snobbery too, although why anyone teaching in Cheney, Washington, population 10,590, would feel superior by reason of location is beyond me. (Perhaps there are cultural wonders in Spokane of which I am unaware.) But, in your "No, You Cannot be a Professor" entry, you note that it's not worth pursuing a history Ph.D., because any professorships would only be available "in some part of the country usually only seen on American Pickers [sic]." Another cheap shot?
I certainly am not urging you to suppress your political or cultural thoughts or biases. But I think that it would be more honest of you to just do an open and fully developed hit piece on grass-roots conservative political movements, or on the cultural shortcomings of "flyover country," rather than to take snarky little shots in the course of discussing other subjects.
John D. Unimpressed
Major, U.S. Army, Ret.
John, for all I know you may be correct. Certainly with as few readers as I have for this blog, I should not risk alienating any. Let me explain where I was coming from when I wrote those bits.
|Wrong on two levels|
group. Col. Unimpressed protests that the Tea Partiers are not "unique or even unusual in misquoting ... the Founders."
Actually, they are. In fact there is a whole, award-winning book by Jill Lepore devoted to the Tea Party misinterpretation of the American Revolution. Or just Google about for Tea Party "quotes" pages and fact check them. Here is the first one I found. I checked the first five--four of them are made up.
I have never in my life heard anyone claim that the Constitution contained the phrase "separation of church and state" (though it certainly does establish that principle, and the phrase is an actual quote from Jefferson) or a "Good and Plenty clause." The left has its wackaloons, to be sure, but fabricating "quotes" from the Founders is a right-wing phenomena.
As for the other charge, of elitism and snobbery against the heartland, I don't think that is particularly valid. My post discouraging students to try to become history professors was not to save them from the imagined indignity of living in the Midwest, a place I happily called home for a dozen years while teaching at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin. I pointed out that there are no jobs, that a PhD can take ten years, that there are enormous opportunity costs in starting your career a decade after your peers, that a PhD in history can leave a person prepared to do little outside of academia, and that the pay for professors is terrible.
I also wanted to point out that having any chance at all for a tenure track job necessitates being willing to take a job anywhere at all. So I wrapped up my arguments with this line:
|"Frankie! Seen a tenure-track job in here?"|
Dear Readers, I submit that a piece of writing as fine as that requires no further defense.