Friday, December 31, 2010

History of a Freak Nation

Upon reading about Virginia's factually-challenged textbooks, I started delving into various issues on textbooks, leading me to TTL, The Textbook League; which is apparently some group of educators who review school textbooks in order to weed out the bad ones.  I don't know much about their group, but the guys who write for their website are some rightwing kooks.  Certainly intelligent, but kooks nonetheless.

Here's a review by Angelo M. Codevilla, a professor of international relations at Boston University, titled Brainless, Twisted "History" and Ridiculous Ignorance; which was a review of a 1996 textbook called "History of a Free Nation."  Needless to say, it wasn't a favorable review.  Codevilla says of Free Nation: "leftist indoctrination masquerades as history."  Why?  Because it had mistakes?  No, because it didn't emphasize how much white people kick ass. 

Apparently, if a history of freedom doesn't highlight white asskickers, it's a biased piece of trash.  Even worse, it didn't explain who Jesus Christ was or emphasize how important Christianity was towards our freedom.  Instead, it dared suggest that our Founding Father revolted for materialistic reasons, rather than godly ones.  The horror!


And yeah, sure, the textbook acknowledges that America is special, but it dares suggest that some of this specialness came from non-Europeans.  Ouch.  Codevilla also complains that the book doesn't say that the immigrants of today (ie, brown ones) aren't as good as the immigrants of yesteryore (ie, white ones).

As he laments:
The American establishment of a century ago insisted that immigrants must melt into our common nationality. Among some members of today's establishment, the very idea of nationality is problematic.
Because of course, nobody knows who the Italians, Irish, or Jews are anymore, because everyone so quickly melted together many generations ago.  And we don't have ethnic-themed restaurants all over the place with their crazy German, Italian, or Japanese culture.  It's only with these pesky immigrants who come in with their spicy foods and crazy dance music who are causing all the problems. 

It's as if Little Italy and Chinatown were just kitschy tourist traps.  I suppose the parts in the Godfather movies when they speak Italian is some sort of leftish hoax on America, as there's no way the Mafia wouldn't have dropped all their cultural ties to the old country.

I'm sure it's just a matter of time before Angelo Codevilla gets around to anglicizing his name; lest we be reminded that he's named for the town in Italy his people came from.  Way to assimilate, Codevilla.

Manly Historians

Towards the end of the review, Codevilla writes:
Reading this book, one gets the impression that America, for most of its life, has been a land of racial and economic iniquity, ruled by an aggressive, regressive, repressive style of morality.
Uh, yep.  Sounds about right to me.  I mean, slavery was built into the Constitution.  And it wasn't until the last sixty or so years that we, as a nation, really started to work to fix all that.  Freeing the slaves was great and everything, but that was only a start.  And all the same, we still have people who want a more aggressive, regressive, and repressive society; at least as far as they're the ones who get to be that way.  In their way of thinking, they're being repressed if they can't oppress others.

But of course, that's what the good professor is really getting at.  His problem with the textbook isn't that it's factually incorrect, but rather, it didn't conform to his worldview or emphasize the parts he liked best.  He believes that America's brilliance is due to his brilliance and people like him.  He believes he's owed something a little extra because of this, and doesn't appreciate the snubbing Glencoe served him with their history text. 

It didn't get the facts wrong, it just didn't stoke his ego.  And for guy's like Codevilla, that's what it's all about.  His own life is a boring mess, but he can always relive the past, back when men could be men and God ruled the earth.  And he'll be damned if anyone tries to tell him it wasn't exactly like that.

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