Here we go again: military historian complains that no one teaches or writes about military history any more, part eleventybillion

rowlandsonbogus

Do we exist?

Via Patrick McCray on Twitter yesterday, I learned that Robert Neer, a part-time lecturer in military history, laments the state of military history among professional historians:

I am not a disinterested observer. Since 2011, when I received my PhD in history from Columbia University, I have taught a course called‘Empire of Liberty: A Global History of the US Military’ on and off at the university during the summers – a survey of ideas and events from King Philip’s War in 1675 to Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. It surprised me to discover that this was the first course on the history of the US military in many years at Columbia. It startled me even more to learn that there is little research into the history of military power at elite US universities (themselves key players, ironically, in the story: Columbia and the University of Chicago gave us atomic weapons, Harvard invented napalm, and MIT and others are major military research centres). In fact, academics nationwide often dismiss military history as the home of fetishists of suffering and antiquarians obsessed with swords, muskets and battlefield tours.

In one of history’s great ironies, when I read Neer’s article, I had just minutes earlier sent another draft of an essay I’ve written for The Routledge Handbook of Gender, War, and the U.S. Military to my editors, Meredith H. Lair (George Mason) and Kara Vuic (Texas Christian University).  Lair and Vuic are two military historians who seem to have found employment at accredited universities in a profession that allegedly refuses to recognize the legitimacy of their field.  Amazeballs!!!  But apparently Lair, Vuic, and I–not to mention our teaching and research–don’t exist, at least not according to Robert Neer.  So what gives?  Why are we completely invisible to some military historians? Continue reading

Race, sex, and voting rights in American history: again, the longue durée

Memories of 2008!

Deez nuts!

Hillary Clinton, running against a white man for the Democratic nomination, loses the support of white men.  But in the end, does it really matter?  When her opponent was a black man, she won white men by a country mile.  This says more about white men’s prejudices than it does about Hillary Clinton.

In any case, I’ve been frustrated by the tendency of the political media to treat white men as though they’re the real voters, the real Americans, and the rest of us as though our votes don’t really count the same.  It’s seen as “inevitable,” somehow, that Clinton wins non-whites and women of all ethnicities, whereas it’s a real achievement for Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump–two white men–to win a majority of white men’s votes.

Why does the white man insist on voting with his peen?  That’s unsanitary, as well as disgusting identity politics. Continue reading

A revolution happened last night, and no one noticed

How’s this for women’s history month?  For the first time in the long history of the republic, members of a major American political party voted decisively to nominate a woman as their presidential candidate, and no one noticed because all we want to talk about is the baloney-faced misogybag DONALD DRUMPF!

It’s true!  Even articles online this morning purportedly about Hillary Clinton’s amazing wins in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, and Illinois are really all about her potential opponents Drumpf and (mysteriously, fantastically) Ted Cruz.  I guess we really don’t want to admit that Clinton–with all of her older, darker, uncool, non-hipster voters–was able to win last night, and win big in both the south and the industrial midwest.

Deborah Tannen explains exactly why this is revolutionary–and importantly why we don’t want to admit it–in a succinct new article, “The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy of Disliking Hillary Clinton.”  She analyzes not just Clinton’s long history in the public eye, but specifically draws a comparison to her current opponent for the Democratic nomination (and FINALLY brings up something I don’t see at all in public conversations about the candidates): Continue reading

Why doesn’t Clinton just drop out already?

Remember all of those calls eight years ago for Hillary Clinton to drop out of the Democratic nomination fight in the midst of the March primaries?  Remember all of those Brobama dudez screaming “the math!  The math!  Just look at The Math!”  And why was the b*tch insisting on peeing in the punchbowl when all of the kool kidz just wanted to party on down and let Barack Obama turn his attention to the general election?

Yeah, well:  I’m not going to return the favor.  But just for once, could we take a look at The Math in 2016, courtesy of Philip Bump?  It turns out that Clinton has a +206 earned delegate lead (that’s just counting the delegates she’s earned in the primaries and caucuses so far, not any of the superdelegates).  By comparison to this point in 2008, Obama had only a +90 delegate lead. Continue reading

The Cruel Shoes: Claire Underwood’s powerfully destabilizing stilettos

Here’s  a fascinating read by Megan Garber of fictional First Lady Claire Underwood’s perma-stilettos in House of Cards:

It is strange and striking that Claire Underwood, who is a human woman if also a fictional one, spends the early episodes of Season 4 of House of Cards permanently clad in stilettos. Claire, now the First Lady of the United States, wears her signature shoes—the shoes that complete her “power dress code”—not just when she is making public appearances, giving speeches and attending international summits and what have you, but also when she is not, technically, “appearing” at all. There’s Claire in the kitchen of the White House residence, hanging out with her husband while teetering in stilettos. There she is visiting her childhood home in Texas—among horse stables and tangled grass, upon soil that is so perilously soft—clad in sky-high heels. There she is nursing her mother in the same impractical footwear. In a scene that finds Claire exhausted from a day of, in every sense, dealing, she returns, finally alone, to the retreat of her lush bedroom, lays down on a chaise, assumes a fetal position, and falls asleep. In her heels.

(Did no woman, ever.)

What does Garber think this all-stilettos, all-the-time performance means? Continue reading

Report from Precinct 114 in Weld County, Colorado

Me & my neighbors in Potterville tonight

Me & my neighbors in Potterville tonight

I’m just back from the caucus. It’s nice to see my friends and neighbors, but seriously: we vote by mail in this state. Why the FRICK are we stuck with this deeply undemocratic caucus which most people can’t or don’t know how to get to? I say secret ballots in primary elections serve democracy better.

THAT SAID, I arrived at the caucus at 6:40 to check in and find my precinct. After nearly an hour of standing around, waiting for stuff to happen, listening to the caucus Chair reading letters from a few Democratic candidates for down-ballot positions, and a short speech from my representative in the General Assembly, Dave Young, we got down to business. Continue reading