Thursday, September 18, 2014

Scotland on my mind

Why should I be so relieved? I'm making my way through several hundred printouts of Revolutionary War pension applications in which aged veterans, including a 90 year old GGGG Grandfather Knox, a Scot born in Ireland, told about their fighting the Tories and the British in North Carolina.  Next thing I do will be about a Scottish immigrant, "my brave captain," one man said, red-headed, who escaped from Fanning and found his way to the Patriot camp by the 7 stars. I love these Scots, even GGGG Grandpa Henderson, a Scot, who after the war married the daughter of a Tory whose sister was the wife of young Dr. John Pyle, who lost an eye in Pyle's Hacking Party, and went off into exile at Greenville, SC with several Brashear Tory in-laws and for a while young Pyle. They come to life as you listen to their voices, and you can even help them. Unbelievable how you can help Grandpa. The scribe said he served under Puriegood. No much man attested to anywhere else. But I saw similar names attributed to a French officer, spelled weirdly, then Feregood or something similar then saw a couple of Farraguts. It all lined up: the Ferrygoods or whatever were all attempts to say Farragut, as in George the father of David. So I gave Grandpa Henderson the right officer--a triumph of textual scholarship. Will Graves and C. Leon Harris set it up so you could SEARCH their labors, and interact with these old guys, in my case mainly young Scots, old Scots in 1832 or later. And yet, and yet, I did not want the YES voters to win. Why did it matter?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Ed Shneidman, where are you when I need you?

When you are very old you start to consult people who are not available anymore. Just now I wanted to call Ed and talk about narcissism. I see the murderous Tory David Fanning as a narcissist, most obviously in his design for a costume to go a-murdering in, him and his 25 men--and I mean costume, not uniform. Classic narcissist, I would think, but I wanted to run the tetter-head evidence by Ed. What if, as a boy, your scalp tormented you and made you smell so bad no one could be in a room with you? What if, after being "cured," you had to wear a piece of silk under your hat, all your life? Ed would have had something to say. I miss him. And now someone he knew here in Morro Bay and introduced me to has recently died. So many people are not here when you need them.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

One of the Comments Cohan got the Huff Post to drop from his "Too Much Free Speech" article

Too much free speech seems to be any speech that criticizes William D. Cohan.

 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

My comment in the Huffington POST on Cohan's complaints about "free speech" on Amazon

Hershel Parker · Top Commenter · Northwestern University
As Dorothy Rabinowitz says in the WALL STREET JOURNAL, Cohan wrote a dishonest book and compounded his folly by embarking on a Media blitz in which he has made increasingly reckless false claims about the falsely-accused Duke lacrosse players. He may turn out to have said actionable lies. The WSJ on 11 April had already published a puff piece by David M. Shribman, one of many ignorant incompetent puff pieces that welcomed THE PRICE OF SILENCE. Cohan was the beneficiary of the corruption of reviewing in the mainstream media. I have a vested interest here because the President of Duke University (as he is now), Richard H. Brodhead, lied about me in the NEW YORK TIMES in June 2002, saying that only I in my "black hole" had ever heard of the book Herman Melville finished in 1860 and called POEMS. That is, the Dean of Yale College defamed me as a biographer who merely "surmised" rather than worked from documentary evidence. Of course, everyone had known about POEMS since 1922. I became interested in the non-rape case because I knew of Brodhead's dishonesty in the NEW YORK TIMES, and then became appalled at the behavior of the Gang of 88 at Duke. I have written about this at some length in MELVILLE BIOGRAPHY: AN INSIDE NARRATIVE (published January 2013). Now, I am one of the Amazon reviewers of Cohan's THE PRICE OF SILENCE. I have also made several comments on other reviews of the book. If you go to my (admittedly long) review on Amazon you will find detailed criticism of the incompetence and even viciousness of Cohan's book. I dare to hope that Rabinowitz's review will be a turning point. This may be the time when the amateur reviewers in Amazon push the mainstream media toward honesty. Here is a comment I posted this morning on the comment by carla4515:

What's most encouraging is that the WSJ corrected itself. Someone assigned a review to someone who ought to have been responsible, David M. Shribman, boss at the Pittsburgh POST-GAZETTE. That review, published 11 April 2014, was an incompetent puff piece. So the WALL STREET JOURNAL had to look at its own mistake and decide to protect its new reputation as the most serious national reviewing newspaper (much better now than the NEW YORK TIMES) even if it meant repudiating its own review. Don't look for more reviews by the shamed Shribman in the WSJ! All this speaks very well for the seriousness of the Book Review editor at the WSJ and the integrity of some members of the editorial staff, particularly Rabinowitz herself, who paid attention to what Cohan was doing on his Media Circuit Circus as well as the falsifications in the book. I regard Rabinowitz's review as a turning point in the long-term fate of Cohan's very bad book, but I am optimistic enough to see it as just maybe a turning point in reviewing, the point where the corrupt mainstream media meets the Great Waters of the Amazon. How can I be so optimistic at almost 80? Well, I'll tell you--I'm optimistic after reading so many intelligent one-star reviews of William D. Cohan's THE PRICE OF SILENCE here on Amazon.

I will keep using the image of GREAT WATERS OF THE AMAZON in celebrating the best hope readers have of fighting the ignorance and incompetence of the mainstream media.

MELVILLE BIOGRAPHY: AN INSIDE NARRATIVE--Year's Work in English Studies






Saturday, September 6, 2014

James Lee Burke's WAYFARING STRANGER


Wayfaring Stranger

I got to that miracle drug "streptomycin" and had to stop. I know Hershel Pine very well, particularly because my wife is a Hungarian Jewess. For some odd reasons she does not take my Depression stories as seriously as I do. I plan to write a book called ORNERY PEOPLE: WHAT WAS A DEPRESSION OKIE? but the Oklahoma presses refuse it by return email. There's something about "Okie" still that they can't stand. When I tell about joblessness and homelessness or living in a tent in the whole winter of 1941-1942 my wife tells me how lucky I am. "Why, when you had cataract surgery this year they had perfected toric interocular implants to reduce astigmatism, and now you see better than ever in your life, you say, and you went down to the DMV to get a license with no restrictions, even age-related ones. And when those teeth broke you had the money to pay for titanium implants and now you say you chew better than you ever did. And by the time you got TB they had streptomycin!"

The other drugs our Holland fellow takes in Wayfaring Stranger? Ah, I was a telegrapher on the Kansas City Southern Railroad in DeQuincy, Louisiana, in 1955 when I found I had TB. I was shipped out east of Shreveport, near the Texas line, to a warehouse called The Pines (that had no trees except a few short pin oaks) where you waited to die. After a few months I drove out to California where doctors knew about streptomycin. I gave myself shots on the thigh. I swallowed para aminosalicylate sodium and isoniazid. Every Monday I lay on a table and a doctor took a horse needle, maybe 6 inches long, and threw it somewhere near my navel, and pumped me up with air. Tearing the layers apart the first time was memorable. This was pneumo-peritoneum.

Yesterday I had my annual physical and I forgot to ask the doctor what he heard in my lungs when he had me breathing hard for his test. I'm just lucky. 
 
And I love this book. James Lee Burke is America's best living novelist.

GGGGG Grandfather Joseph McGehee Thought he Married a Good Virginia Quaker girl, a Chiles

Who would have thought? This is NOT the mother of my GGGG Grandfather Jake. But she is the mother of his half brothers and half sisters including the generous Chiles McGehee.