Author Archives: mike

Who’s a racist?

So recently we’ve seen two really remarkable examples of obtuse, stupid, clownish buffoonery on the subject of race. First scofflaw rancher Cliven Bundy suggesting that “the nigroes” would have been better off under slavery, when they learned to pick cotton and could be with the families and had something to do.” Second is the remarkably […]

Historical Convention Merch

After the most recent OAH a friend a colleague, Adam Rothman, suggested a line of T-shirts. We came up with a few ideas. Feel free to add your own.

Blogging and the return of the repressed

Earlier today I was at an OAH roundtable on blogging as scholarship. There were a number of distinguished bloggers there (Anne Little;  Kenneth Owen; Benjamin Alpers; John Fea), all of whom blog in very different styles. The audience was great. I thought I’d post some of my argument about why blogging is valuable as scholarship: […]

What do we mean by “racist?”

The term gets used all the time. Ed Kilgore, at Talking Points Memo, says “you don’t have to be a racist to practice racism.” This makes zero sense to me. What is racism? How is it different from prejudice or bigotry? My answer is pretty simple: a racist is a person who believes in the […]

It was misrepresented

Last week I made a post about the UNC student who allegedly received an A- for a 146 word plagiarized paragraph on Rosa Parks. I thought it smelled funny. Yes athletes are allowed to dodge hard college work–who doesn’t believe that? But this just smelled “off,” for the reasons explained. Well it turns out it […]

This is a fake

So recently ESPN  did a story about big time college athletes and academics. Exhibit A was a “paper” allegedly turned in by an athlete at UNC. The paragraph, on Rosa Parks, allegedly received an A- Here it is: The internet agrees: this is an outrage. I agree too. This is an F in a class […]

Corporate Hobbies

The Supreme Court seems poised to radically revise American corporate law, by entertaining the idea that a corporation can have religious beliefs. (Theaporetic is not a corporate lawyer, so if any reader has more accurate knowledge he welcomes the correction to what follows). Hobby Lobby, a privately held corporation, objects to the fact that Obamacare […]

So are there any good historical movies?

Mr smarty pants critic, theaporetic, thinks Twelve Years a Slave is a bad movie, and thinks he proved why, without having actually seen the movie, quite an absurd position indeed. Criticism is easy–are there any good historical movies? Theaporetic, having a nine year old child, does not go to the movies much because babysitting. But […]

More on 12 years a slave

There were lots of stories of slavery and escape from slavery written by the slaves themselves;  a whole genre of North American literature. You can find all the published North American slave narratives collected here, free and in digital form. It’s fantastic resource. Some of the narratives were world renowned in their day, some were […]

Why I Probably Won’t Ever Watch Twelve Years a Slave

Twelve Years a Slave is based on the memoir of Solomon Northup, who was born in comfortable freedom and kidnapped into slavery. Right there is the problem. The movie is presented as an indictment of the institution of slavery, and beyond that as a particularly vivid and realistic account of the awfulness of slavery. But […]