Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Revisionist history, revisited again

The New York Times Magazine has a great article this week on the power of the Texas school board, and its influence on how history is taught throughout most of the U.S. A quote:
This is how history is made — or rather, how the hue and cry of the present and near past gets lodged into the long-term cultural memory or else is allowed to quietly fade into an inaudible whisper. Public education has always been a battleground between cultural forces; one reason that Texas’ school-board members find themselves at the very center of the battlefield is, not surprisingly, money. The state’s $22 billion education fund is among the largest educational endowments in the country. Texas uses some of that money to buy or distribute a staggering 48 million textbooks annually — which rather strongly inclines educational publishers to tailor their products to fit the standards dictated by the Lone Star State.
I strongly encourage you to go read the article - it's very informative and well-written.

Related posts:
Revisionist history, revisited and


  1. It's funny how the commenters who had the fiercest critique of your first post on this topic remain silent when you start offering up real-world proof. Also, f*@$ the Texas board of education. F*#@ers.

  2. Mason,

    Thanks for being a douchebag. The New York Times Magazine has always been a really objective source of information on all issues.

    The only way to deal with this is from within the system, so that's the plan. Your Girl Rachel already admitted that she's on board with the process so there really isn't a debate. She already said that she and her academic partners in crime are hard after changing history to fit their view. At least she was honest.

    The issue now is how it can be controlled and whose interpretation of reality gets taught in the schools. We'll see what happens. Don't bet your tuition on the current model.


  3. Quote me, Burn. Stop making shit up and quote me. Is that too much to ask?

  4. Rachel,

    Here you go:

    "As to the claim about Zinn, I'm not always a fan of Zinn's, but at times people like Zinn "distort" "facts" to make a point. We have a habit of accepting the claims of the dominant group in a culture as if they are unquestionable facts, and at times we need to shake people out of this kind of mental inertia and make them question all the accounts they're presented with in order to get a more fair and accurate picture. Everyone has an agenda; nobody is working outside of a cultural and personal perspective, and thus all history is revisionist to some extent and there's no such thing as completely uninterpreted facts."

    So there you have it. So…it's kind of whatever it takes to wake folks up and get them to consider your revisionist view of whatever the hell you and your friends are teaching at the time. Your words not mine. The difference of course is that I think you are teaching to promote your political agenda and you for some reason think you're teaching the truth. A True Believer. Where we differ is that no one ever gave you permission to take the liberties you have.

    Frankly I really don't give a shit about you or other revisionist profs, but I have enough nephews and nieces going to university right now that I'm concerned that they have to study your bullshit to maintain their GPAs pending escape from your academic purgatory and getting out into the real world where the will have to work for a living.


  5. Anonymous2/16/2010

    I think that the point here is that history shouldn’t be taught from only one perspective, but should encompass as many views as possible in order to accurately teach what happened. The article demonstrates that currently an active agenda is being pushed that doesn’t accurately represent what happened. How will our children learn from the past if they aren’t taught what really happened. On another note, I find your personal attacks offensive, demeaning and counterproductive to the discussion that is going on here. Instead of the personal attacks regarding Rachel’s profession why don’t you explain why you feel it is OK for a particular group to use their power to write history.

  6. So, you don't understand the function of quotation marks, then Burn? Christ.

    Since you're either lacking in the intelligence required to understand what I said or you've taken the liberty to be so terrifically creative about your interpretation of my statement, let me make it a little clearer and a little simpler for you, Burn. Every historical account is told from some point of view. There is no human who can tell a completely objective story about anything that has happened. Anywhere. Ever. We are all situated in a cultural and historical context, and our position in our society influences the way we perceive things. It used to be that the white male view was the default, and thought to be totally objective, while the view of marginalized people was suspect and "subjective." But this view has long been overthrown, and it's laughable at this point that anyone, even you, Burn, would still believe it. For instance, certain events will effect white hetero males differently than they effect black lesbians, so the account a white male would give will probably differ significantly from that of the black lesbian. It used to be (and often still is) that the white male view was simply accepted as The Truth while the black lesbian voice was delegitimized. But now we get that every view is "subjective" in some sense, and is therefore "revisionist." In human accounts of history, there are no uninterpreted "facts." Do you see how I'm using the quotes here? Is this starting to make sense to you? When I talk about "distorting" the "facts" I'm qualifying these terms with quotation marks because these are outdated terms that aren't thought to carry the same meaning anymore. A "fact" can only be "distorted" if there still is some sort of totally objective Gods-eye-view from which facts could be reported unerringly. But there isn't. So when someone like Zinn chooses to turn things on their head by telling about events only from the usually silenced marginalized view, this is "revisionist" only to the extent that the mainstream (white male) view was "objective" and "factual" to begin with. Obviously a well-rounded account of history should include the mainstream voices as well, and not just the marginalized ones. But Zinn had a point in that you have to make people stop and think about the way we view the dominant narrative as "the unbiased truth" when in fact it's just one viewpoint among many possible viewpoints.

  7. Maybe it really is an issue of reading comprehension for Burn.

  8. Rachel - 1 of 3

    I wasn't going to respond to you idiots, but since Gina is forcing me to watch Olympic Women's Curling this morning I was faced with two crappy choices, so I decided this would be better than watching marginally talented women faking like they're athletes. If I had known this was going to be an Olympic sport I wouldn't have been so drunk when I did the old bar room shuffle board thing in college. Maybe I could have medaled. Thank God for Title IX or women might have never developed these amazing skills sets here in the U.S. of A. I'm thinking the next Olympic sport we'll get will be women's bowling, since there are full ride scholarships being granted to women in that space now. It will be great.

    In any case, I'm devastated. I keep hearing how much of a moron I am from you and your girlfriends on this blog and now my life is falling apart. I mean, I used to be a pretty happy & successful dude so finding out now that I'm actually an idiot is very hurtful. Being the sensitive guy that I am, I'm not sleeping well any longer, I drink too much (well actually that's not new, but it is fun) and I argue with Gina (but she still loves me, go figure). The good news is that I don't kick the dog, probably because we don't have one…although I also don't kick her cat, who totally has it coming, so I think I should get some plus points for controlling my urges in that area, right? I feel like I'm literally at the end of my rope because you ladies don't appreciate me. I wonder if you chicks are committing a Hate Crime on me? If so you should be ashamed of yourselves.

    I've been searching deep into the dark recesses of my mind to try to figure out what my problem is and I think I've got it…I'm a business guy. After you've done the business thing for a while you get pretty good at calling bullshit on bullshit artists. It's kind of a Darwin thingy because if you can't detect those folks you'll probably lose money and end up with a bad outcome, both personally and professionally.

    So…when I run into people that are obviously doing something that they are not willing to admit to red flags start popping up. I actually didn't plan on responding to your third or forth posting on the revisionism thing because it was pretty clear you weren't buying my program. I will admit that when your buddy Mason tossed the rock it pissed me off.

    As you know, I'm totally unimpressed with people with PhDs although I get that you folks are extremely dazzled with yourselves. I also don't give a shit about formal forms of argument and whether you decide to drop quotes or not. I know…I'm a Heathen. Maybe in my next life I'll be as smart as you folks.

  9. Rachel - 2 of 3

    What I do care about is a post-secondary academic structure that forces non-tenured professors to kiss the asses of primarily liberal, progressive tenured professors in an effort to become tenured. This of course means that even fair-minded candidates need to buckle under if they want to have any chance to become tenured, have a teaching career and pay off those huge student loans they took out to get that Doctorate. It's a screwed up system that guarantees cronyism and all of the associated bullshit. Frankly it also does not encourage open discussion, which theoretically is why people send their children to university as it is supposed to be an environment that encourages all viewpoints. The current environment only encourages conformity to the liberal progressive tenured Academy at the expense of all other viewpoints. This of course drives all of the politically correct revisionist bullshit that is getting tossed around. For the past several decades it hasn't been cool in Academia if you aren't poor mouthing "current state". The fact that you don't really think it is revisionism speaks volumes, as does your frequently stated position that the Patriarchy caused all of the problems.

    OK…that was very therapeutic, so let's move on.

    Let me give it to you in simple Montana boy terms because I'm not as smart as you and your girlfriends. I think your position on Relativity is pretty clear and is totally fucked. You may call it something else, but that's what it is. Since we (citizens) are paying for and trusting tenured, non-tenured and temporary professors to teach and grade our young people based upon some common, basic educational foundation, I believe that most reasonable people would agree that we've effectively empowered people like you to do the "Right Thing". Now I say the Right Thing in the context of my understanding of the term which I have spoken to previously in this blog so I don’t need to repeat it here. My position is that members of the Academy, like you, given your clearly stated political positions & revisionist strategies should not be empowered to teach young people anything…well, maybe yoga, aromatherapy or reflexology would be OK…

    Part of the problem with "regular people" here in America is that they assume that most other citizens believe that since we live in the greatest country in the world, that "riding the horse that got us here" is a good thing . This is of course in contrast to the views of you and your friends who think that the foundation is flawed, we've been wrong from the beginning and the rights of minorities trump the rights of the majority. It's the typical deal in which our strength ends up being our weakness as a country. Because we are the most open and inclusive of any country that has ever existed in the world agendas like yours are allowed to gain traction and we end up where we are. This is a pretty basic disagreement and now lots of those "regular people" are finally figuring out what is going on. They made the mistake of assuming that most people would do the Right Thing, which as we know, that isn't the agenda of Academia, Feminism or the GLTBQ community. So now that regular people are finally figuring out that it's kind of a battle to the death, it's game on. It will be interesting to see how it works out. Personally I think you folks screwed up, you thought that just because you were allowed to constantly pop off about your self-serving agendas that you would get everything you wanted. I'm thinking not so much…

  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  11. Sometimes, when I'm reading Burn's comments, I have to check the address bar to make sure I'm not reading The Onion.

    I think I'm going to start a drinking game. A shot for each time he mentions "Rachel and her girlfriends," two shots for each time he mentions other people's college degrees, three shots for each time he mentions that he's a business man, and so on.

    Since I'm not much into alcohol, it's going to have to be Mountain Dew. Wow, am I going to be wired...

  12. timberwraith,

    You'll get so much work done!

  13. Remember Hammy the squirrel's caffeine fueled adventure at the end of the movie Over the Hedge? That's gonna be me.

    Brace for impact...

  14. Timber,

    So…you're still hanging around feeling sorry for yourself because the world has been picking on you your entire life and you still can't get your shit together?? Trust me when I say that losers tossing rocks at me because I've made something of my life doesn't change my day. Maybe you should try giving shit to someone like yourself that is also a full time victim. It might actual bother them.

    Do the world a huge favor, quit being a victim, get a job, contribute to the economy and try to help someone else instead of feeling sorry for yourself 24/7/365.


  15. Aw, thanks hon. You're such a sweetheart. Sending my love right back to ya. ;-)

  16. Oh, I almost forgot: you just mentioned being a business guy. That's three shot glasses of Mountain Dew.

    Lets see. How many shots for the whole "stop playing the victim" meme? Four shots sounds good.

    Keep 'em coming. I've got a case o' Dew sitting right here next to me. Better break out the chips and dip, too.

  17. No problem. Appreciate the confirmation. Keep working on that self image and don't hurt yourself with that soda.