Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hack history, right and "left"

Steven Thomma has an imformative article about present-day conservatives writing history the way they wish it had been: Not satisfied with U.S. history, some conservatives are rewriting it McClatchy Newspapers 04/01/10.

And I suppose some people will never be able to separate history from present-day politics. But, according to current journalistic habit, he notes, "The left has done it," too.

Which I suppose is technically true. You can find "left" versions of the far-right Ur-conspiracy theory, the Roosevelt-planned-Pearl-Harbor thing. His example of bad "left" history is Ward Churchill (?!), the Native American Studies professor who pretty much no one outside his specialized field had ever heard of before conservatives made him a target.

And I suppose he could be considered "left". Although I remember when I first heard conservatives complaining about him, I looked up his website and glanced through his papers posted there, I saw that he was referencing the Holocaust using arguments very typical of Holocaust deniers, an obsession virtually exclusive to the far right.


In any case, his scholarship has always been poor; see John LaVelle, The General Allotment Act "Eligibility" Hoax Wicazo Sa Review http://bit.ly/adxf7s Spring 1999 (who argues that Churchill tries to foment "popular hostility toward Indian tribes") and the 05/09/2006 Report of the Investigative Committee of the University of Colorado reviewing Churchill's scholarly work for the professional scholarly criticisms, and Gary Kamiya, Ward Churchill's win is scholarship's loss Salon 04/09/2009 for a summary . He's long been known among Indian activists as opposing the right of Indian tribes to self-determination, which is a cornerstone of Indian tribal governance and activism.

But I suppose if we just define "left" as anyone Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck don't like at a given moment, he fits.

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