Revisionist History Part 3

This part is going to focus on how people use revisionist history in books and politics, because it’s important to learn how easily facts are skewed, twisted, and manipulated nowadays.

David Alan Stuckman (Wikipedia)

David Alan Stuckman is a former Congressman who worked under Regan and has gone on to write several revisionist books on Capitalism and their history (mostly touting how Democrats have failed and how Republicans can save it). He was quoted in the Atlantic Monthly in the December 1981 issue as saying the “[Reagan’s 1981 Tax Cut] was always a Trojan horse to bring down the top rate…it’s kind of hard to sell ‘trickle down’.” He later on published a book titled The Triumph of Politics blaming Republicans for not willing to reduce spending on top of cutting taxes for the wealthy which led to the large deficit. Stuckman seems to be unwilling to see that “trickle down” economics does not work and will never work and yet has written four books praising it (his last book published in 2019 is all about trashing Trump). His primary book that is seen as wholly revisionist history (and is labeled as such by WorldCat) is The Great Deformation. While he seems to have good insight as to the workings of economics, Stuckman also tends to have a revisionist view of how to fix things, so reader beware.

 

Courtesy of Risen Magazine

Dinesh D’Szousa is a frequent guest on Fox News and has long been a student of Revisionist History. He does have a BA from Dartmouth, where he wrote for an independent student run newspaper The Dartmouth Review and outed several homosexual classmates. He ended up as an advisor to President Ronald Regan. In 1995, he published a book called The End of Racism stating that Slave Owners were painted unfairly and treated slaves really well. He followed this up in 2002’s book What’s So Great About America stating that colonialism helped lift third world countries up to Western standards of living (in Chapter 2). 2007’s The Enemy at Home had the premise that Muslims don’t hate America, just hate America’s sexuality, completely ignoring the issue of Wahhabism and the Saudi Arabia connection to 9/11. He then did a book and film with the same title, Obama’s Rage with no need to explain what it was about. He then did another book and film combination, America: Imagine the World Without Her in 2014. He was then convicted of one felony of misappropriating campaign funds, plead guilty, and sentenced to five years probation (of which he states was an Obama conspiracy). While on probation, he did another book & film combination called Hillary’s America, a hit piece connection her to Slavery, and, therefore, evil. It was just a bunch of thinly connected conspiracies which he touted as truth. Dinesh then rehashed the whole thing in 2018 with Death of a Nation, again trying to connect Andrew Jackson and the Democrats with Slavery, the KKK, and Nazis. Nothing this man writes, says, or does holds any weight historically or logically. Yet anytime he is confronted with the truth, he demands to be debated on stage. Many historians, including myself, have offered to do so. He has yet to take any of us up on this offer. Do not waste your time nor money watching his films nor on his books. If you want to read them, try the library. YouTube has clips of the films. They are laughable as they are disgusting. I cannot handle more than 10 minutes of them before my blood pressure goes up. Truly disgusting. D’Szousa has done more harm with his lies than any other public figure than I know of because so many people have been reached with his presence on Fox News and have seen his films. This is dangerous because they perceive his statements as facts, not lies. It’s an erosion of history happening in real time.

 

Robin Hanson (Wikipedia)

Robin Hanson is an Associate Professor of Economics at George Mason University, which was once part of University of Virginia, until it became independent in 1972. Recently, on Twitter, Mr. Hanson has decided that there were Slaves who volunteered to be Slaves and enjoyed their imprisonment because they chose to enjoy their time this way. He routinely brought up Sally Hemmings, who at the age of 14 was raped by Thomas Jefferson, who was 3 times her age, then was 15 when he brought her to France. In France, she was technically a free person of color. But, Mr. Hanson has stated she willingly remained a Slave and returned to America. Let me help with this one here Robin. She was 15, pregnant, in a country where she didn’t speak the language and probably didn’t know that the laws in this country meant she was now a free person of colour. She left with Jefferson because she didn’t know she had another option. She was his property and was not given a choice. Robin is a blockhead for thinking Sally willingly, at the age of 15, chose to be a slave. He gave the reason that she wanted to be with her mother, who was at the Jefferson plantation and chided Sally for her foolishness. Yes, what child would want to remain with their mother when they are scared and pregnant at such a young age? I cannot believe this person is still employed by GMU and cannot believe he is a research fellow at Oxford University. He should be removed from both positions post haste.

 

Avital Ronell (Northwestern.edu)

Avital Ronell gets a mention here only because she is such a problematic figure in Academia. Most Academia Feminists flock to her and protect her, yet she is not a Feminist. I repeat, she is not a Feminist in any sense of the word. She does nothing to promote other women or other under-represented people forward. She has often been cited for being unusually cruel to her graduate assistants and recently had to pay for sexually abusing and harassing one for years. Her books are often unreadable to the point of being gibberish. Parts of her books that are readable seems to read more like essays written by her grad students than by her which makes me wonder if they are the works of her assistants over the years and she’s been taken credit for it and making money off of it. It’s  not really revisionist per se, only she it is dangerous to assume everyone in Academia is honest and forthcoming. Not everyone is nice. This is a gentle remainder of that.

 

The point of this three part posting was this: vet your sources carefully when researching historical or even modern day issues. The Internet is a terrific resource and it’s amazing how much information is at our fingertips! But the downside is there is a lot of misinformation out there too. Even at the library, there are books, which I know, we think we can trust because they’ve been edited, published, and therefore have been vetted to a certain amount, but that’s not always the case anymore. Publishing crackpot conspiracy theories is a big business nowadays and there are many books and independent films being touted as historical proof of things when they aren’t. Take the History Channel, for example. When it first came out, it had wonderful programing on all sorts of subjects and looked into all kinds of historical eras. Now, it’s mainly aliens, Bigfoot and WW2 if we’re lucky. WW2 is the only thing on there keeping it history relevant at this point, and that’s extremely frustrating as it’s also sad.

Revisionist History Part 2

For this posting on Revisionist History, I thought I’ve focus on an area that most people don’t think about much, which is the area of biographical films (or biopics for short). Now, biopics are good for introducing famous or interesting people to a wider audience, but they are also notorious for glossing over the bad parts or nasty parts of a person’s life and even changing facts to create a more palatable film. In a way, this is a bit of revisionist history because people will use films as 100% facts, not realizing that like other films, there are things that are made up in them. So, I thought it might be nice to look at some examples of this just to be a different change of place.

General Custer (courtesy of USF.edu)

Any biopic about General Custer is going to be problematic because his widow, wanting to to make her dead husband into a hero, wrote a biography on him after his death which turned him into the hero from which all film interpretations are based upon. Only one film (Little Big Man) comes close to showing him as a jerk and idiot, so it’s closer to truth. There are a lot of films in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s that glorify this man and they are laughable in many aspects. Custer was a Confederate soldier that was notorious for disobeying orders. He was ordered to NOT engage the Native Americans. He did anyway and is responsible for one of the greatest losses of human life outside of the Civil War in the 19th Century. So, always be aware of any film that portrays him as a good guy because historically, he wasn’t. It’s important to be aware of men such as Custer who are idolized to this day from the false biography his wife had written and published. It’s amazing the damage a false narrative can still cause after over a hundred years. She purposefully revised history and people not only bought it, no one wanted to believe anyone who was stating the truth!

Andrew Jackson (Courtesy of thehermitage.com)

The few times this President has been portrayed on screen, no mention of the Trail of Tears is brought up and he never swears. Jackson was known for swearing up a storm. He was racist. misogynistic, and from all accounts, an premier asshole. I would love it if we started doing more honest portrayals of our Presidents in films or even in Theatre pieces because people need to be aware of the good and the bad. People are not aware Jackson was behind the Trail of Tears because it’s not taught in schools or it’s just not common knowledge. It should be though. For some reason, there has been a deliberate push to lessen the damage Jackson inflicted on this country and to build him up a a hero when he was not a hero in any sense of the word.

Queen Christina of Sweden (Public Domain Image)

This monarch’s story has been fictionalized only a few times, which is sad (though she has a few plays and an opera) because she is so interesting! Raised to be King, she had female and male lovers, abdicated, lived her life in exile, patron of the arts, never married. I’ve only seen two films on her (and there are so many on Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth I). It’s hard to say if these two films are very fictionalized because from all historical accounts, she was bisexual and did travel to Rome (one film has her sleeping with a member of the Vatican). So, am I am saying is it’s possible. I also don’t know a lot about her as there’s not many biographies on her. I’m sure some liberties were taken on both films (that’s a given) but the true and accurate things that would seem pure fiction, were not. So, I included this because sometimes real life is stranger than fiction!

Biblical based films are always a little hard to judge. When they are taken from stories from the Bible, you can judge them for things like historical accuracy and if they adhered to the Bible story. A lot of the older films (pre-1980s) aren’t too accurate, but they were dealing with things like the Hayes code which prohibited certain body parts (like belly buttons) from being shown and didn’t allow certain words (even from the Bible, which is funny considering the Hayes Code was a Catholic run organization) from being said. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy some of those lavish productions for the over the top costumes and sets, but they do a lot of adding in of love stories and characters that aren’t in the original source material to turn it into a workable film.

JRR Tolkien (Courtesy of the Tolkien Estate)

Now, a Tolkien Biopic is shortly coming out and the Tolkien Estate hjas stated that they did not authorize the film and do not approve of this film. Where does this leave us? Tolkien did publish letters (I have a copy) which gives insight into him as a writer and a person. There are a few biographies on his as well as biographies on people he knew such as CS Lewis. Of course, there are going to be some liberties taken with it and some things are going to be left out. I don’t expect this is going to be a film that is going to be 100% accurate. If it’s 80% accurate, I will be satisfied. It’s sad that the family were not involved and don’t approve. So it’s a film that I will most likely wait to see when my library has a copy.

David Bowie (Courtesy of the Bowie Estate)

This brings us to another issue. There is also a film coming out about David Bowie that is also not authorized by Bowie’s family. Because it is not authorized, there will be none of Bowie’s music involved and it will take a lot of liberties of the man’s life and career. There is no authorized David Bowie biography available, so this film will be pure speculation plus any interviews that are out there. This is what I would call pure revisionist history in terms of a biopic whereas the Tolkien film has resources such as Tolkien’s letters that author himself published during his own lifetime plus many authorized biographies of the author and the men he knew an worked with. That gives his film a more accurate feeling to it than this one will have.

The point I am trying to make is this: some biopics (especially the older ones) are not at all accurate and yet people will believe them as being 100% true. Remember that during the early 20th Century, film studios were trying to make money and most films were shot in as little as 4 to 6 weeks, not months like they are now. Historical accuracy wasn’t as high as a priority as entertainment value. It’s only more recently that it’s been more of a need to be both accurate and entertaining. Though there are always people put there that do films that are completely revisionist history (and they tend to be full of conspiracy theories, which is how you spot them easily). And also because there are so many biographies in terms of films, TV specials, and even books set to come out in the near future I felt it was a good idea to do this little posting on this now instead of later.

 

 

 

Revisionist History: Part 1

Revisionist History is a subject very close to my heart because it drives me insane. One of the biggest perpetrators of this trend, currently, is Dinesh D’Szousa. Thankfully, Kevin Kruse (@KevinMKruse) is a great historian who constantly has to educate Dinesh on basic Civic history, so I won’t even bother going into that here. So, what is Revisionist History? Revisionist History, otherwise known as Historical Revisionism, means challenging the established (accepted, traditional, orthodox) views held by professional scholars, historians, and offering up contrary evidence or reinterpreting that evidence (or the motivations of the people involved) to come out with a completely different viewpoint. And yes, the purpose is to provoke, to misdirect, and to be controversial. People who espouse such theories tend to view the traditional views as negative and wrong, and will often get into heated debates and will state that the previous viewpoint is the illegitimate history. These revisionists will forge documents, manipulate statistics, photo-shop (a lot), twist evidence to support their world view and will attack anyone who informs them that they are incorrect. The biggest and most well known example of this is Holocaust Denial. I’m sure I don’t have to explain what that is, but there are many examples of people denying that it even occurred and ex-Hollywood types like Candace Owens trying to state Hitler was not all that bad, which is a revisionist tactic. Now you know why it drives me up the wall and why I sometimes have to just not look at the news and turn to books to de-stress.

Example of revisionist history done by Stalin himself. Courtesy of Freerepublic.com

I am going to focus this first part on just one particular irksome area, which is people of color wanting to make every single person in history black. Now, full disclaimer here. I am a person of color. My father was born in India before India & Pakistan were split and then he moved to Pakistan at the age of four, I believe. So, I am not against people of color learning about their culture and heritage. There are many examples of important figures throughout history and I do plan on doing blog posts to highlight this in the near future. But claiming things that are one thing but really aren’t is wrong. Just as we have a culture of White Supremacists trying to erase people of color from the past, we now have people of color trying to erase Europeans pout of history as well. This is not the way to lean about history. Erasing each other is only causing pain and destruction. Let us begin.

Black Britain

From realhistoryww.com where they claim that QEI was African-American (even though America was a Colony at the end of her reign) and was Britain’s first Black Queen.

RealHistoryww.com is a site that loves to state every single monarch and important person throughout history as Black. they claim that any picture of this person as white, is a whitewash an an attempt to keep the “true history” of the blackness hidden, but they have the “real evidence.”  Now, here’s the problem with this “real evidence.” This is the only picture on the site showing the supposed Black Queen Elizabeth I. It is an engraving and as anyone with an art background knows, engravings were done based on portraits and are done in such a way as to emulate it by use of lines. Those lines are ink. Ink is black. This does not indicate race.

Queen Elizabeth The Rainbow Portrait; I believe the engraving was possibly based on this portrait. Courtesy of the Royal Family’s Website

The main problem is Queen Elizabeth I was widely painted throughout her life. First as Princess Elizabeth, then as Queen. I find it hard to believe that out of all those portraits, and all those descriptions from foreign courtiers, not one ever mentioned she was not white. Not one. The problem with revisionist history is you pull on one thread, it easily unravels.

AFRICAN CHINESE PEOPLE At about 35,000 B.C. a group of these African Chinese; later known to us as the Jomon, took this route and entered Japan, they became the first Humans to inhabit the Japanese Islands. Later, another group; Known to us as the Ainu, followed. Where else did these African-Chinese travel... the Americas maybe?

From AtlantaBlackstar.com; they claim this picture proves that Blacks are the true Chinese and Japanese and came to Asia 35,000 years ago. They claim this picture as proof. Yes, they are claiming this picture is 35,000 years old.

This picture also appears on Realhistoryww.com, Africaresource.com, and a boatload of blog sites “claiming” to spread the true history of Africa. I Googled the image and it seems to have come from the Cambridge History of Japan in reference to the decedents of the Minatowaga people who now reside in Tibet. This picture was taken in the 1940s in Tibet from what I can see (and I had to use a magnifying glass so couldn’t read the entire date), but it’s from the 1940s. Apparently these people migrated to Okinawa around 40,000 years ago and the chapter talks about a pair of skeletons dating from 20,000 years ago. That’s all I can read without straining my eyes too much. I believe they reference coming from Africa over 100,00 years ago and moving out of India 60,000 years ago, which in terms of migration, makes sense. So 35,000 years (according to the book) would put them in Siberia. I had to look up human migration for those dates and they are accurate according to the Smithsonian, so I think I am fine with that. Now, as I have stated in a previous blog post, photography was not invented until 1827 or 1828. Anyone with common sense should be able to realize that a claim that this picture cannot be thousands of years old. I am shocked and disgusted that this claim has been circulating around for years.

Dravidians - India , please read this picture is much deeper it explains history.

From realhistoryww.com; they claim this is an Indian from India.

Again, Realhistgoryww.com seems to be very good at the revisionist trade. I again Googled this image and it came up as being in someone’s academic paper on Aboriginal tribal dances and the similarities to Sri Lankan temple dances. I think it might be part of a dissertation. I have no access to it and it’s on academia.edu’s website as not available to the public, but interesting that this image is in a piece of academic work. And this image also pops up as being in an issue of the Smithsonian’s magazine on Australia and the Aborigines. Clearly, this is not a person from Southern India. As a Desi person, I am angry that the website would do this to that person, but also to my culture.

This is now my favorite meme of all time! Elizabeth I © The Tudor Tutor

While I did point out some other problem website, I mainly focused on Realhistoryww.com. Because this website has over 18,000 posts of revisionist history and I see it shared all the time on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and on other blogs as fact. It’s not that hard to use common sense and figure out when someone is distorting history for some nefarious purpose. Because, let’s face it, if all the leaders of and America were secretly Black, then why the hell did we have Slavery? Or the Trail of Tears? Or Massacres in India fighting for independence? Or Apartheid? Rational Wiki is a good place to vet websites you are unsure of. For Realhistorywww.com, this is what they have to say:

Realhistorywww.com is a crackpot black supremacist website owned by a poster on Egyptsearch forum “Mike111″…Mike’s website argues that all ancient civilizations wer ebalck and that white people are “sickly albinos” that are inferior. Many of Mike’s racist Egyptsearch posts reveal an unhealthy obsession with white females:

“”We have all heard Whites espouse glowingly of the “Delicate” White skinned, rosy-cheeked beauty.

Has anyone ever really analyzed and considered that proposition?

Why would ANY man want a “Delicate” (Sickly) Woman?

The offspring would likely be sickly too.

And the sex? Can’t do much rocking-n-rolling with a sickly woman.
Conclusion: There is serious delusionary[sic] thinking going on in the White mind”

Yes, it’s disgusting. It should make you angry. Mike 111 has made similar remarks regarding mixed people and people he doesn’t consider “fully” black, which is everyone except African-Americans and Africans. Everyone else has been tainted by the “sickly” Europeans in his eyes. And that’s incredibly sad. So I hope this has made you aware that this information is out there and it does exist. And how you have a responsibility to vet information before sharing it on your social media pages. Stop the spread of misinformation.