Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Carnival of Bad History, issue #1
It's finally here, our first issue!! It's not as big as I had hoped, but it is the first issue, and it will grow.

Orac at Respectful Insolence how he came to take on the ultimate in bad history. The title tells all: "Musings on the 60th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz: How I discovered Holocaust denial." It is a sensitive and moving glimpse into a battle that rages over the internet every day.

Most of us, if we have heard of Trofim Lysenko, know him only as a Stalinist characture. Lysenko was a Soviet biologist who pushed some outdated theory of genetics, based on Marxist ideology and managed to single-handedly cause a famine. But how many of us cam detail that theory and place it within its history of science context. Coturnix looks at his book collection and gives us a lesson in what Lysenko believed, how he argued it, and even manages to find an occasional nice thing to say about him.

Jonathan Dresner of Cliopatria showed the kind of enthusiasm we like to see. He sent us not one, not two, but three contributions.

Contribution number one he calls his personal favorite from last year, a "whack at the Marco Polo myth." What is the myth? The idea that Polo ever made it all the way to China.

Contribution number two finds a childish myth embedded in the President's second inaugural address.

Contribution number three takes aim at a historically trained neo-con's fantasy and holes it below the waterline. He also gives us some tasty folk music to wash down our history lesson.

Finally, my own contribution is actually an old post that I republished last month as an example of the kind of thing I had in mind for the carnival and just because I like insulting what passes for intellectual honesty among our leaders. Condi and Rummy tell us about the German Werewolf program, but their explanation fits better in a Captain America comic book than a peer reviewed history book.

And that's it. Our first issue has been short but sweet. Many people who expressed interest in the idea of bad history also expressed some shyness that their work was not good enough. Nonsense, truth is not the exclusive property those who lucky enough to be paid to pursue it. This week I'm going out recruiting posts and I won't take no for an answer.

Issue #2 will be out on the ides of March. I'll also be hosting that issue here at archy, but Alan gets to write it.

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