With all the attempts to resurrect the reputation of Michael Bellesiles by the New York Times and the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Iowahawk did some resurrections of his own. He republished a column on academic miscreants like Bellesiles from 2002. It still makes for great reading.
Bellesiles, for those that don’t remember, was the Emory University historian who published a book called The Arming of America which said that people in Colonial America really didn’t have many firearms. Of course, he depended on documents that couldn’t be found such as probates records that were destroyed in the 1906 Great San Francisco earthquake. He eventually had his Bancroft Prize taken back and lost his job at Emory. Lately, he has been teaching as an adjunct instructor at Central Connecticut State University where, once again, he lapsed into his habit of academic fraud.
From Iowahawk comes this wonderful assortment of quotes:
“It now appears that few, if any, 18th or 19th century Americans owned guns,” says Bellesiles in the book’s conclusion. “To the contrary, it is clear that most Colonial Americans abhorred firearms, and spent most of their incomes on espresso machines, yoga classes and Eames chairs.”
In Bellesiles’ thesis, the current proliferation of guns in American society is a relatively recent phenomenon, which he traces to a secret 1963 marketing agreement between weapon conglomerates Daisy and Red Ryder and Boy’s Life magazine.
Bellisiles later hypothesized that the records were in the courthouse in Nacho Burrito County, which researchers were also unable to find. Last week Emory administrators sent a letter to Bellisiles asking for a response to the growing criticism, but this time the professor was himself missing. When last seen he was in a secluded river wilderness outside Atlanta, paddling a canoe with Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds and a strange looking mountain boy with a banjo.
Andrew Breitbart has also covered the media’s resurrection of Bellesiles here on his Big Journalism website.
Frankly, I think Bellesiles ought to just hang it up and jump that freight train that he is shown with in the New York Times piece.
H/T Snowflakes in Hell for the Big Journalism piece.