". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Family Keeps Secrets About Robert E. Lee?

Today's New York Times excellent Disunion column is about Robert E. Lee "The War Comes Home for Lee," and what happens there when Lee breaks his oath of allegience to the United States and defects to the confederacy.

However, viewed according to the dogma of the neverending inglorious lost causers, this is the history of Arlington:

Arlington = Paradise Lost; Lee = God, treacherously deposed ....

There's an additional fascinating and informative column (unusual for that site that seems to have an ongoing contest among its hacks to throw up the most dum and dummer stuff) running today on salondotcom by a writer who usually gets things wrong, but not today (which show what can be done if a writer does some writerly work instead of hacking hairballs), "The Confederate We Still Don't Know."

All of that column is filled with vital information, but it was in a comment by a reader that the most interesting bit pops up, something I should have realized all along, when it comes to endless litney of the inglorious lost causers and how they didn't really lose, were only dishonorably betrayed by you name it.  This is how it started, and why it was perpetuated.

The comment was written by James Levy and tells you what you need to know, and indeed did know, if you / me (and I hadn't, I am ashamed to say) had thought about it for a second:
But Lee granted many interviews after the war and commented on many things, just not on the record in his own words. He was part of the whispering campaign that followed the war, where everybody and his brother Down South tried to fob off the blame for defeat on someone else. There is a huge historiographical literature on how Lee's staff, Hood, McClaws, Jeff Davis, Longstreet (who became a Republican and was vilified by his former mates), Porter Alexander (more honestly than most), Jubal Early et al., waged an incessant battle to excuse their mistakes, glorify the "Lost Cause", and explain away defeat. The idea that Lee was just some private citizen after April 1865 is not credible.

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