Ever dreamed of the chance to study history with a guy who thinks the Dead Sea Scrolls are remnants of texts that Constantine suppressed, that Native Americans carved Hebrew inscriptions, and that Parson Weems is a reliable source of information on George Washington?
Well, if you’re between the ages of 18 and 25, you—yes, friend, YOU!—are eligible for a two-week internship at Beck’s Mercury One library.
You’ll have to apply first, of course. They’re not just taking any Tom, Dick, or Harry from off the street. But if you make the cut and fork over $375, you get access to Beck’s collection of original documents and “the opportunity to gain a wealth of knowledge from our speakers and guest lecturers.”
While you’re there, maybe David Barton will sign your copy of the book his publisher recalled. Start getting those CVs ready!
I can understand why the folks at Glenn Beck’s news outlet would get a kick out of Hillary’s Lincoln mistake. But the admonition against removing a speck from your neighbor‘s eye seems awfully appropriate here.
Glenn Beck hosted an exhibit of historical artifacts called the “Independence Through History Museum” at the Grand American Hotel in Salt Lake City over the July 4th weekend. The museum was only one part of Beck’s “Man in the Moon” event, which included conferences, lectures, and a live performance that (as far as I can determine) was an attempt to combine historical pageantry with Cirque du Soleil.
More info here and here. Note that the exhibit featured Arnold Friberg’s painting of Washington praying in the snow at Valley Forge. Since it’s doubtful the incident in the painting ever happened, it’s highly fitting that David Barton helped select the items to be displayed.
Whenever Glenn Beck and David Barton get together to talk about history, you know you’re in for a show.
Check out this conversation they had about the movie Lincoln. Beck asks Barton about the film’s accuracy, and Barton claims that, contrary to what the film shows, the Thirteenth Amendment passed Congress easily as a “slam dunk” and without all the wheeling and dealing.
In reality, the vote in the HOR was anything but a “slam dunk.” Approval of a proposed constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds majority, not a simple one, and the Thirteenth Amendment just barely passed. A mere handful of additional nays, and it wouldn’t have.
Barton’s supporters are always assuring us that he’s an expert in matters constitutional and historical; he does know how new amendments get added to the Constitution, right?
As for the “wheeling and dealing,” Lincoln’s administration did, in fact, put quite a bit of pressure congressmen to support the amendment. The exact nature and extent of that pressure is a matter of some uncertainty (for obvious reasons, it’s not the sort of thing that leaves a paper trail), but that Lincoln was more heavily involved in this congressional matter than was usual for him is pretty well established.
Head over to Civil War Memory to watch Glenn Beck pick up Nathan Bedford Forrest’s sword, explain that the weapon likely “skinned people alive,” and proclaim it “a sword of tremendous American evil.” Sort of like the One Ring, I suppose; we should put it in a fire to see if it’s got an inscription.
As you might imagine, the SCV was less than thrilled with Beck’s attempt to paint Forrest as a nineteenth-century Hannibal Lecter.
Beck also had a number of artifacts on hand during a rally in Texas this past weekend. If this broadcasting thing doesn’t pan out, maybe he can get a gig as a museum docent. Hopefully he’ll do some additional reading between now and then.
It’s a source of both surprise and amusement to me that the post on the Bat Creek Stone continues to get passionate comments almost two years after it went up. Whenever I glance at the search terms that bring people to the blog, “Bat Creek Stone” is invariably near the top of the list. I can understand that, since it’s a pretty obscure topic and thus there are only so many places on the Interwebs a Google search will take you. But the fact that people continue to post replies is unusual, since this blog gets very modest traffic and it’s rare for any of my posts to generate more than a few comments.
I’m also surprised at the diversity of these reactions. Some people take issue with specific points, while others just seem irate that I was critical of Glenn Beck. Some readers want to use the post as an opportunity to make a case for pre-Columbian contact in general, or for the validity of Mormonism.
I’m not qualified to make a case for or against the Bat Creek Stone. I’m neither an archaeologist nor a linguist. But I have a real problem with a public figure like Beck taking it upon himself to educate his audience about the past and making such a mess of it. Getting one’s facts straight is the first responsibility of the public historian. When it comes to the Bat Creek Stone, it simply won’t do to present it as an undisputed artifact. That’s what Beck did.
I’m not complaining about the reaction the post has gotten, mind you. Far from it. I wish readers would pitch in like this all the time. I just think it’s interesting that of all the subjects we toss around here, this is the one people want to discuss the most.
Among the things for which I can be thankful this season is the release of a book about George Washington by none other than Glenn Beck. Whenever Beck dons his history teacher’s hat it makes for great blogging fodder, and the comments his fans leave are invariably entertaining.
It is thus with a girlish squeal of delight that I share the following ad copy:
Through these stories you’ll not only learn our real history (and how it applies to today), you’ll also see how the media and others have distorted our view of it. It’s ironic that the best-known fact about George Washington—that he chopped down a cherry tree—is a complete lie. It’s even more ironic when you consider that a lie was thought necessary to prove he could not tell one.
For all of his heroism and triumphs, Washington’s single greatest accomplishment was the man he created in the process: courageous and principled, fair and just, respectful to all. But he was also something else: flawed.
For Beck to carp about how “the media and others have distorted our view” of history is an exhibition of either striking disingenuousness or breathtaking chutzpah, since few media personalities can match his track record of erroneous historical statements. This is the same man who insisted that pre-Columbian Indians wrote in Hebrew and built Egyptian-style pyramids, and that the Dead Sea Scrolls had something to do with Constantine.
Note the breathless overselling of common knowledge. Brace yourself, because you’re about to get the Real George Washington At Last—and apparently he was a fallible but genuinely great human being who didn’t cut down a cherry tree. Bet you haven’t heard that one before.
This is standard operating procedure for history written by celebrity pundits and politicians. Rehash general information from secondary sources, add a moral spin, simmer for two minutes, serve.