1973 - when I started asking questions, like, "Why are we all dressed so funny?"

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Over-correcting Does Not Set the Record Straight

Trust Me...

Well, I really enjoyed the Introduction to James W. Loewen's Lies My Teacher Told Me but it has failed to enlighten much after a pretty stellar beginning. In the first chapter (Handicapped by History: The Process of Hero-making) it becomes clear that Loewen is one of those authors who has this super-mystical ability to see through everyone and everything to see the "true" motives and either discover the manifold darkness that lurks in the hearts of men (especially of the dead white dude variety) or that kids aren't being mean (i.e., just being kids) when they mock but are really enlightened critics of traditional pieties: 
Students poke fun at the goody-goodiest of them all by passing by passing on Helen Keller jokes. In so doing, schoolchildren are not poking cruel fun at a disabled person, they are deflating a pretentious symbol that is too good to be real (36). 
Concerning the authors prioritization of ideology over truthfulness, I should have been tipped-off by the "lies" in the title. Errors or even omissions or mistakes would suggest a possibility of goodwill in one's adversaries, whereas lies ensures that one's opponents are not merely sloppy or mistaken or naive, but wicked, wicked, bad people. 

We'll see if Loewen suffers from selective outrage. I suspect that while he speaks in glowing terms about Helen Keller's socialism, he'll have little praise for Elizabeth Cady Stanton's opposition to abortion. 

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