Comments on: Howard Zinn, 1922-2010 http://www.historiann.com/2010/01/28/howard-zinn-1922-2010/ History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Tue, 23 Sep 2014 01:47:33 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: Duckrabbit http://www.historiann.com/2010/01/28/howard-zinn-1922-2010/comment-page-1/#comment-543627 Sat, 30 Jan 2010 12:44:05 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=9382#comment-543627 I read People’s History in a high school history class, alongside a more conventional textbook. It gave me a kick in [what I now take to be] the right direction. Changed the way I thought about social conflicts and social movements.

On a slightly tangential note. I’ve recently been convinced that conscientious people should avoid using “classy” and “tacky” as evaluative terms, the same way we would avoid “gay” or “lame” or “retarded” for the obvious reasons. “Classy” and “tacky” are rooted in classism, and traditionally indicated facility (or lack thereof) with politeness conventions of the wealthy. Today, people unthinkingly use them to denote facility (or lack thereof) with moves made in a variety of social games we value.

So here, you’re calling Silber “classy” — ironically — because he’s spectacularly failing to behave in a way that befits his position. The standard of behavior you’re employing belongs to feminism rather than wealth, but the reason the word WORKS to express your meaning is because of its classist past.

I would encourage you to avoid that word.

I love the blog, and this post was wonderful as always!

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By: cgeye http://www.historiann.com/2010/01/28/howard-zinn-1922-2010/comment-page-1/#comment-542873 Fri, 29 Jan 2010 20:53:33 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=9382#comment-542873 O/T: Another profile in courage:

http://blogs.denverpost.com/thespot/2010/01/20/bennet-joins-chorus-urging-dems-to-slow-down-on-health-care/

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2010/01/28/howard-zinn-1922-2010/comment-page-1/#comment-542564 Fri, 29 Jan 2010 13:14:10 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=9382#comment-542564 DV–excellent points. Yes, tenure helps, but unless one has an income stream separate from one’s faculty position, unis can still exert a great deal of economic pressure on one. (This may be a good argument for pursuing contracts to write “popular” books–which would address your concern about faculty as public intellectuals AND perhaps give them the means to do whatever they want without fear of reprisal or salary-bullying.)

Rad: I remember that million-dollar payout. Awesome leadership, B.U.!!! Silber’s gubernertorial campaign back in 1990 was just weird. He ran as a Democrat, when most liberals of course hated his guts. (The fact that the Dem party nominated him is another argument in favor of my analysis that Massachusetts really isn’t all that “liberal,” although it is reliably Democratic.) He paved the way for the rise of Bill Weld–I had a lot of friends who voted for Weld simply because the notion of Silber as governor was so completely offensive that they saw Weld (reasonably, IMHO) as the lesser of two evils.

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By: DV http://www.historiann.com/2010/01/28/howard-zinn-1922-2010/comment-page-1/#comment-542139 Fri, 29 Jan 2010 05:04:55 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=9382#comment-542139 This discussion of Zinn as a part of a rare and dying breed recalls for me a point one Latin American historian made: in Europe and Latin America, faculty are “public intellectuals” – activists even – but not in the U.S. This must be a legacy of McCarthyism (and the on-going witch hunts for “liberals” in academia), which is why someone like Zinn is missed so dearly. The only other historian I know who invited her class to a picket line acted with the same job security that Zinn did; she had tenure.

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By: Rad Readr http://www.historiann.com/2010/01/28/howard-zinn-1922-2010/comment-page-1/#comment-542123 Fri, 29 Jan 2010 04:47:32 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=9382#comment-542123 Remember when BU appointed that president some years back, and the guy did not want Silber on the board (or something like that). Rather than offend Silber (aka Richard III) the university withdrew the offer and had to pay $1 million severance — to someone who never even arrived on campus. I’m just glad Silber lost his bid for governor. Didn’t he know that to get elected he needed to undress for a photo spread. Uh, never mind.

But about Zinn – yes! Real hero, and when Silber is forgotten we’ll still have copies of the People’s History.

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2010/01/28/howard-zinn-1922-2010/comment-page-1/#comment-542032 Fri, 29 Jan 2010 01:37:58 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=9382#comment-542032 Prof. Zero: Big Daddy Silber wasn’t about to let Prof. Zinn have his allowance now, not after he. . . said mean things about his leadership!

Indyanna, I liked that fitting end to Zinn’s career too. There may be some administrators out there behind a mahogany (or mahogany veenered) desk with an eye on protecting and compensating hir faculty well, but they’re like hen’s teeth, I am sure.

koshem bos: there really aren’t *any* Zinn’s left among historians that I can think of. And Zinn was singular when he was alive. “Historians” in the popular imagination all are well-paid, prominent talking heads like Michael Beschloss and Doris Kerns Goodplagiarist, or avuncular elderly white men on Ken Burns’ and other PBS American Experience documentaries. Not a radical among ‘em. But, as Zinn’s career suggests, radicalism has its price. Zinn was fortunate to have the means to give the double finger to John Silber and Jon Wesling.

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By: Professor Zero http://www.historiann.com/2010/01/28/howard-zinn-1922-2010/comment-page-1/#comment-542013 Fri, 29 Jan 2010 00:42:09 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=9382#comment-542013 $41K! That is amazingly bad. In 1987 I was a new PhD and new assistant professor and I made $30K with good benefits, at a school that likes to compare itself to BU. My father was a full professor in the humanities at UCSB at that time and I saw a pay stub in 1986; he was making $66K.

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By: koshem bos http://www.historiann.com/2010/01/28/howard-zinn-1922-2010/comment-page-1/#comment-541959 Thu, 28 Jan 2010 22:26:29 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=9382#comment-541959 In these days when most the progressive cannot even understand what it means, Zinn was a real progressive. Not some faux monkey jumping up and down and berating Hillary, not some guy who make several hundred of thousand a year and believe that this middle class status has to protected and preserved.

There aren’t too many Zinn’s left.

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By: Indyanna http://www.historiann.com/2010/01/28/howard-zinn-1922-2010/comment-page-1/#comment-541922 Thu, 28 Jan 2010 19:51:04 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=9382#comment-541922 “Faculty Advancement.” What a nice term for it, if only it was true. You almost picture someone sitting at a huge mahogany desk who thinks 24/7 about how to keep instructional compensation up there within a few light years of, say, that of Goldman Sachs portfolio advisors. My favorite part of the Globe obit was Zinn knocking off thirty minutes early during his “last lecture” so he could join a picket line, and bringing 100 of 500 students in the class along with him!

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2010/01/28/howard-zinn-1922-2010/comment-page-1/#comment-541921 Thu, 28 Jan 2010 19:50:23 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=9382#comment-541921 Jonathan–thanks for the tip. He had a long and eventful life right in the middle of the major conflicts of the twentieth century: communism and anti-communism, Nazism and anti-Nazism, and Jim Crow and the Civil Rights movement, just to name three. Really, he’s almost Zelig-like or Forrest Gump-like in his proximity to or participation in the major events of the past century.

I found his last bit of published writing over at The Nation, in a forum in which various people rate the first year of Obama’s presidency. Zinn is not impressed, as you might expect, although he says “[a]s far as disappointments, I wasn’t terribly disappointed because I didn’t expect that much.” He concludes that “I think people are dazzled by Obama’s rhetoric, and that people ought to begin to understand that Obama is going to be a mediocre president–which means, in our time, a dangerous president–unless there is some national movement to push him in a better direction.”

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