More Noted Things
How many of the 100 Most Challenged Books, 1990-2000, have you read? Thanks to Ahistoricality, who scored a 19.
Entitlement to Government Sponsorship:
Eric Muller makes the point very well. Freedom of speech and the press no more entitles Michelle Malkin to have her book, In Defense of Internment, sold in a government operated bookstore at Manzanar National Historic Site than Tom Vail is entitled to have his creationist book, Grand Canyon: A Different View, sold in a government operated bookstore at Grand Canyon National Park.
Oh, The Shame of It All:
Scott McLemee's"Inquiring Minds Want To Know," Inside Higher Ed, 27 September, suggests that – not only has George Bush taken to drink again – but that my colleagues, Jon Dresner and Scott McLemee, have been reading The National Enquirer again. [ ... ]
The Right Looks at the Future of Free Speech in the Academy:
Harvey Mansfield,"The Cost of Free Speech," Weekly Standard, 3 October, reviews Donald Alexander Downs, Restoring Free Speech and Liberty on Campus.The Left Looks at New Orleans and the Future:
On 13-14 October, Downs will join David French of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and John K. Wilson, the author of The Myth of Political Correctness in a symposium on"Censorship, Free Speech and Free Press in the University" at the University of Alabama. NB: participation in the symposium is not limited to experts on the right.
Adolf Reed Jr.,"Classify-ing the Hurricane," The Nation, 3 October, argues for a class analysis of what happened in New Orleans.
Mike Davis,"The Struggle Over the Future of New Orleans," Socialist Worker Online, 23 September, argues that there must be a right of return for poor and working class New Orleanians.
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Ralph E. Luker - 9/30/2005
Commander Hopwood, I simply observed that it appears that you made up your mind 63 years ago and that no amount of evidence has made a dent in your opinion in 63 years. We know what you think.
William Hopwood - 9/30/2005
Have you personally done any research of your own on this issue? (And I don't mean only reading Prof. Robinson's book.) If so, it would contribute more to an intelligent dialogue were you to be specific about where you think my position is biased, partial,and wrong. If not, you are hardly in a position to attack the credibility of mine.
Ralph E. Luker - 9/29/2005
Is it possible for you to have made up your mind 63 years ago, never having changed it in 63 years, and still be an impartial, unbiased adjudicator of the evidence 63 years later? It appears to me that you're only interested in re-enforcing your own opinions of many decades of pre-judgment.
William Hopwood - 9/29/2005
My mind was made up about the adviseability of the evacuation in 1942. That view was confirmed as I studied the matter over the past 25 years. What I referred to above was evaluating the exchange between Muller/Robinson and Malkin. It was claimed by Prof. Robinson that he and Muller had thorougly "debunked" Ms. Malkin. After reading Ms. Malkin's response, to each of their points it is my view that Muller/Robins didn't come close. In order to fairly judge the exchange, one must have read Ms. Malkin's book and both sides of the exchange. In my view it would not be possible to make a balanced evaluation otherwise.
Jonathan Dresner - 9/29/2005
Dumb question: If a bookstore doesn't make stocking decisions based on content, what else are they supposed to use?
"Oh, that's the perfect color to complement the blue-tones in the Civil War section.... No, we have too many squarish books; they're just not selling.... I have a paperback here that's just the right thickness for your mosquito problem.... No, I haven't read any of them; it's against the law."
Ralph E. Luker - 9/29/2005
Commander Hopwood, Wouldn't it be fair to say that you had your own mind made up before the controversy began and that no point of evidence has made a dent in what you were predisposed to believe?
William Hopwood - 9/29/2005
Prof. Robinson writes:
"...I am creditably informed that my book BY ORDER OF THE PRESIDENT is not offered for sale at the bokstores of the FDR Library at Hyde Park or of the Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, but I do not conclude that this is censorship."
Not surprising. However,I believe this discussion has centered not on the discretionary right of a commercial establishment whether or not to carry a book, which appears to be a given, but on whether such an establishment might have an exposure to a 1st Amendment challenge if, under pressure, or for some other reason, it removes a book solely on the basis of its content.
"In any case, Eric Muller and I presented a thorough and detailed refutation of Malkin's case. Any assertion that she has not been 'debunked' flies in the face of the evidence."
Naturally a presumed "debunker" believes he got the best of it, but a careful reading of Malkin's point-by- point response to the alleged Muller/Robinson "debunking" reveals that she gave as well as she got. I recommend that interested parties read the full exchange and draw their own (if possible) open-minded conclusions.
Greg James Robinson - 9/28/2005
There is room for debate as to where the First Amendment enters with commercial sales venues. I am creditably informed that my book BY ORDER OF THE PRESIDENT is not offered for sale at the bokstores of the FDR Library at Hyde Park or of the Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, but I do not conclude that this is censorship. In any case, Eric Muller and I presented a thorough and detailed refutation of Malkin's case. Any assertion that she has not been "debunked" flies in the face of the evidence. In any case, the Park Service did not grant or propose any forum for the hearing and examination of such charges before stocking the book.
As for character assassination, whatever else can be said about Michelle Malkin, nobody can say that she is more smeared against than smearing. Certainly I have never made personal attacks on her, as she has on me.
William Hopwood - 9/28/2005
"There's a difference between 'disagreement' and 'thorough rebuttal and debunking.'"
Yes, but the main difficulty experienced by Malkin's critics is that, although they disagree with Malkin, they are unable to adequately rebut or credibly debunk. But you miss the point. Had the NPS bowed to Muller's call for banning the book because of its content, it (the NPS) might have exposed itself (even according to Muller himself) to a possible 1st Amendment challenge.
"The problem with the content of Malkin's book is not its political take, but the fact that it contains bad arguments, weak evidence and glaring omissions."
Such generalizations without specifics are not credible without substantiation. However, they are fairly typical of critiques by those who disagree with Malkin's conclusions but find it difficult to impossible to successfully discredit the book's evidence and documentation. Too often this frustration on the part of some results in ill-conceived character assassination by them of the author.
Van L. Hayhow - 9/27/2005
Someone on this site suggested some time ago to solve the problem of the book by moving it to fiction.
Jonathan Dresner - 9/27/2005
There's a difference between "disagreement" and "thorough rebuttal and debunking." The problem with the content of Malkin's book is not its political take, but the fact that it contains bad arguments, weak evidence and glaring omissions.
William Hopwood - 9/27/2005
"Eric Muller makes the point very well. Freedom of speech and the press no more entitles Michelle Malkin to have her book, In Defense of Internment....."
Interestingly, though, Eric Muller also makes the point that "if the basis of the removal decision was disagreement with the book's content" it could be a 1st Amendment problem.
As I recall, Prof. Muller called for the removal of Ms. Malkin's book from the Manzanar book shop specifically because of the book's content. Perhaps it was that in mind, that the book shop pointed out that Manzanar was not a "memorial" site but a "historic site" and raised the 1st Amendment defense as noted in the Boston Herald article because of Muller's original call for removal for content and the fact that that "could ironically be viewed as denying the First Amendment rights to free speech."
Sharon Howard - 9/27/2005
If you head on over to the 10 most challenged books of 2004, at number three is Michael Bellesiles' Arming America, "for inaccuracy and political viewpoint". I'm curious as to what others who know more than me about the case think about this one. From all I've learnt about the book, "inaccuracy" is something of an understatement: so, is asking for the removal from a public library of a work of history that has been investigated and proven to be fraudulent and dishonest comparable to books (especially novels) being challenged for offending sensibilities? And, if we do think this is different, does that imply that there are circumstances under which 'banning' books can be justified after all? (But then of course, where do we draw the lines...?)
I don't think I would demand the book's removal from the shelves... but I can't say I'd be very comfortable to see it there either.
Jonathan Dresner - 9/27/2005
if McLemee's column puts the lie to my statement that there's nothing more interesting to say about the controversy (I love the argument about the Enquirer as folkloric ballad; I've often said that Shakespeare, were he alive today, would write for Fox), or proves my assertion (in comments) that mainstream media outlets will work in the otherwise untouchable story by reporting on the controversy....
- Did a historian who said he’s a victim of McCarthyism get the story wrong?
- Stephanie Coontz’s work on the history of marriage cited by the Supreme Court.
- How Does It Feel To Have One’s Work as a Historian Cited by the Supreme Court? Cool. Very Cool. Thank You Very Much.
- NYT History Book Reviews: Who Got Noticed this Week?
- David Hackett Fischer wins $100,000 prize for lifetime achievement in military writing