Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Carnival of Bad, Bad, Baaaad History

Welcome to the Carnival of Bad History, a brainchild of John McKay of Archy, who also hosted the First Edition. A little later, Alan put together an issue 1.5 on the homepage, but then it appeared that the carnival was going to die a natural death. Well, not so fast! This is a focused and specialized topic, thus one cannot force the blogosphere to churn out dozens of brilliant essays every week! So, we decided to follow the example of another specialized carnival, the Carnivalesque, and do it quarterly - every three months or so. This gives all of you enough time to write and submit your entries. So, the Carnival is back and it is bigger and better than before. Sit back and enjoy!

Until a couple of days ago I had no idea that Abby and Nate are dating! Wow, how much brainpower combined under one roof! And we have examples from both of them today. First, Abby (aka Existential Me), in Star Wars: Does The Past Change The Past asks probing questions about the way we perceive history and how much it matters if we have experienced past events first-hand or post facto. "Who's Han Solo?" ask the kids.

(St.)Nate writes about The Strange Voyage of Saint Brendan: "According to texts that date back to the Middle Ages, an Irish abbot reached a strange land back in the 5th century. This has inspired some to believe he had reached the New World and even convinced one person to make a repeat trip, even though there's no evidence his story is anything more than fiction." Ah, but we are all Irish on St.Patrick's Day!

Oh, no, no, no, says PZ Myers of Pharyngula, while polishing the horns on his helmet: it was not the Irish, it was the Vikings and Knights Templar tromping all over Minnesota. Viking runes all over the North American continent! It seems so easy, I should start travelling around and discovering all sorts of Serbian Cyrillic writing in ancient America and "prove" that Serbs have come here first! Or perhaps it was the Gauls, particularly the indomitable ones from a little village in the corner of the map, the guys with wings on their helmets. You guessed it:

Asterix!!!! My favourite cartoon character of all times! He is REAL! Ooops... Not exactly. Alun wondered how out of touch with reality an essay could be and still be accepted by an essay bank. With a little help from postmodernism generator, the essay was finished. The results are amazing, with great references to the brilliant works of David Beckham and Dr.Dre. Safety warning: Do not drink or eat while reading this! It's online at Cheathouse and on Alun's blog with a Coda here.

But what if it wasn't real people or even cartoon characters but, gasp, ghosts!? Trish Wilson decided to write about a popular New England legend that will not die because it is so romantic: a popular example of bad history - The Truth About The "Haunting" Of Ocean-Born Mary.

Orac Knows a lot about many things, including WWII and Holocaust, and is wondering how David Irvng became a Holocaust denier. After all, Irving is a pretty smart guy. On the other hand, it is not that surprising what Pat Buchanan said about the Second World War, don't you think?

Which made me remember my own Victory Day post in which I wonder Who Won World War II, confused by a variety of competing stories. If the history is written by victors, and there are so many victors, which account is correct?

It is not just winners who write history. Losers write and re-write it, too: Japanese Lynn-Cheney, by Historians.

Still on the topic of Holocaust, or at least the misuse of the term, Walloper (formerly known as Pseudonymous UNC Student, and briefly last month as Pseudonymous UNC Graduate) found a youth group that asks: Are you a survivor of the abortion holocaust? Well, if you look at year-by-year statistics in the US (and don't forget Poland!), there is something fishy with their conclusions....

Mike Huben sends a link to his page, not a blog: Libertarian Revisionist History, full of links to interesting takes on libertarian distortions of (mainly) US history. By the way, Mike is also looking for criticisms and critical reviews of the book: "Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men: A History of the American Civil War" by Jeffrey Rogers Hummel, which he gathers is strongly revisionist.  Any takers, for the next issue of the Carnival?

Editor's Choice: From Publius at Legal Fiction, a post that dissects how ideologically motivated reading of history, especially legal history, by a Supreme Court Judge can have serious consequences for all of us and our grandchildren.

History of Art is not immune to to misrepresentations, either, as Alun discovers in: Something, somewhere, has gone terribly wrong

Finally, let me finish on a lighter note, with a satire of my own, which just goes to show how little difference there is between humor and some people's serious distortions of history.

Thank you all for coming. This carnival was a real pleasure to host. If you are interested in hosting a future edition, let John know at badhistory AT aol DOT com. I hope the posts you have just read have inspired you to write one of your own and submit it in three months!

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