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The Art of Zinn

by Mojambo ( 108 Comments › )
Filed under History, Liberal Fascism, Political Correctness, Progressives at August 14th, 2013 - 7:00 am

Good for former Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana (now President of Purdue University)  for wondering why Zinn’s pseudo-history books are required readings in Indiana’s public schools. if yo;u pick up Zinn’s “”A People’s History of the United States” you will see that it is not even foot noted. it is one long, pedantic, boring Marxist polemic. I’ll bet that Barack Obama has read the book cover to cover.

by David J. Bobb

Upon the death of the Marxist-inspired historian Howard Zinn in 2010, eulogies rang out from coast to coast calling him a heroic champion of the unsung masses. In Indiana, then-Gov. Mitch Daniels refused to join the chorus and instead sent emails to his staff wondering if the historian’s “execrable” books were being force-fed to Hoosier students. The recent revelation of these emails provoked an angry backlash.

High-school teachers within Zinn’s vast network of admirers blogged their disapproval of the governor’s heresy, and leading professional organizations of historians denounced the supposed threat to academic freedom. At Purdue University, where Mr. Daniels now serves as president, 90 faculty members hailed Zinn as a strong scholarly voice for the powerless and cast the former governor as an enemy of free thought.

An activist historian relentlessly critical of alleged American imperialism, Zinn managed during his lifetime to build an impressive empire devoted to the spread of his ideas. Even after his death, a sprawling network of advocacy and educational groups has grown, giving his Marxist and self-described “utopian” vision a wider audience than ever before.

Zinn’s most influential work, “A People’s History of the United States,” was published in 1980 with an initial print run of 4,000 copies. His story line appealed to young and old alike, with the unshaded good-guy, bad-guy narrative capturing youthful imaginations, and his spirited takedown of “the Man” reminding middle-aged hippies of happier days. Hollywood’s love for Zinn and a movie tribute to his work has made him even more mainstream. As his acolytes have climbed the rungs of power, still seeking revolution, “A People’s History” has increased in popularity. To date, it has sold 2.2 million volumes, with more than half of those sales in the past decade.


© LAN/CorbisMatt Damon and Howard Zinn at “The People Speak” premier, Nov. 19, 2009.

In Zinn’s telling, America is synonymous with brute domination that goes back to Christopher Columbus. “The American system,” he writes in “A People’s History,” is “the most ingenious system of control in world history.”  [……..]

For Americans stuck in impoverished communities and failing schools, Zinn’s devotion to history as a “political act” can seem appealing. He names villains (capitalists), condemns their misdeeds, and calls for action to redistribute wealth so that, eventually, all of the following material goods will be “free—to everyone: food, housing, health care, education, transportation.”  […….]

Schools with social-justice instruction that draw explicitly on Zinn are becoming more common. From the Social Justice Academy outside of San Francisco to the four campuses of the Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools for Public Policy, in Washington, D.C., social-justice academies relate their mission mainly in terms of ideological activism.  […….]

While social-justice instruction may sound to some like it might be suited to conflict resolution, in practice it can end up creating more discord than it resolves. Several years ago, the Ann Arbor, Mich., public schools faced complaints from the parents of minority students that the American history curriculum was alienating their children. At a meeting of the district’s social-studies department chairs, the superintendent thought that he had discovered the cure for the divisions plaguing the school system. Holding up a copy of “A People’s History,” he asked, “How many of you have heard of Howard Zinn?” The chairwoman of the social studies department at the district’s largest school responded, “Oh, we’re already using that.”

Zinn’s arguments tend to divide, not unite, embitter rather than heal. The patron saint of Occupy Wall Street, Zinn left behind a legacy of prepackaged answers for every problem—a methodology that progressive historian Michael Kazin characterized as “better suited to a conspiracy-monger’s website than to a work of scholarship.”

Yet despite the lack of hard evidence in three-plus decades that using “A People’s History” produces positive classroom results, a number of well-coordinated groups recently have been set up to train teachers in the art of Zinn. [……..]

Before Zinn launched his own teaching career, he became a member of the Communist Party in 1949 (according to FBI reports released three years ago), and worked in various front groups in New York City. Having started his academic career at Spelman College, Zinn spent the bulk of it at Boston University, where on the last day before his retirement in 1988 he led his students into the street to participate in a campus protest.

Today, Boston University hosts the Howard Zinn Memorial Lecture Series, and New York University (Zinn’s undergraduate alma mater) proudly houses his academic papers. In 2004 Zinn was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Havana, an occasion he took to excoriate the lack of academic freedom in America. As recently as 2007, “A People’s History” was even required reading at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy for a class on “Leaders in America.”

Thanks in part to an endorsement from the character played by Matt Damon in 1997’s “Good Will Hunting,” Zinn’s magnum opus has also turned into a multimedia juggernaut. Actor Ben Affleck (like Mr. Damon, a family friend of Zinn’s), and musicians Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Eddie Vedder and John Legend all have publicly praised Zinn.  [………] There are “People’s Histories” on topics including the American Revolution, Civil War, Vietnam and even science. Zinn die-hards can purchase a graphic novel, “A People’s History of American Empire,” while kids can pick up a two-volume set, “A Young People’s History of the United States” (wall chart sold separately).

In 2005, as a guest on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” Zinn delivered his standard wholesale condemnation of America. Surprised by the unrelenting attack, host Jon Stewart gave the historian an opportunity to soften his criticism. “We have made some improvements,” the comedian asked, “in our barbarity over three hundred years, I would say, no?” Zinn denied there was any improvement.

As classes resume again this fall, it is difficult not to think that despite the late historian’s popularity, our students deserve better than the divisive pessimism of Howard Zinn.

Read the rest – Howard Zinn and the ar tof Anti-Americanism

Jeb “Porky” Bush blasts Matt Damon as hypocrite on public education

by Mojambo ( 12 Comments › )
Filed under Education, Headlines at August 7th, 2013 - 8:49 pm

A Hollywood liberal turns out to be a hypocrite? I am shocked! Shocked!!

by Cheryl K. Chumley

Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida, on Tuesday sent a blistering critique of Hollywood actor Matt Damon’s decision to school his three children at a private facility, not public: You’re such a hypocrite.

Mr. Damon did, after all, campaign very publicly about the importance of public education, Mr. Bush pointed out, Newsmax reported.

On Monday, Mr. Bush tweeted: “Matt Damon refuses to enroll kids in Los Angeles public schools. Choice ok for Damon, why not everyone else?”

The Twitter query came just a few days after the Hollywood actor, during an interview with a reporter from The Guardian, said his three children would be heading off to a private school in the L.A. area — not public.

“Sending our kids in my family to private school was a big, big, big deal,” he said, Newsmax reported. “And it was a giant family discussion. But it was a circular conversation, really, because ultimately we don’t have a choice. I mean, I pay for a private education, and I’m trying to get the one that most matches the public education that I had, but that kind of progressive education no longer exists in the public system. It’s unfair.”

That’s quite a morphing from 2011 when Mr. Damon — the son of a teacher — spoke at a Save Our Schools rally.

YouTube recorded him saying then: “From the time I was in kindergarten … all the way through my high school graduation, I attended public schools. And I would not trade that education, that experience, for anything. I had incredible teachers.”

Mr. Damon was just in the news for comments he made during this same interview with the British newspaper in which he suggested that President Obama was being bullied by political opponents into making policy decisions he doesn’t really want — and that he should be granted some leeway on the public relations front.

Michael Moore wants Matt Damon to challenge Obama

by Phantom Ace ( 18 Comments › )
Filed under Barack Obama, Democratic Party, Elections 2012, Progressives, Socialism, Special Report at August 15th, 2011 - 9:22 am

In 2008, Obama was the savior of America to the left. Now in 2011, he’s not considered Progressive enough. There are grumblings that Obama might be challenged from the Left. Well, there are reports of that Michael Moore is trying to draft a challenger to President Hussein. His dream candidate is Matt Damon!

Even in the increasingly wild world of American politics, it seemed an especially crazy idea: Matt Damon for president? After all, the handsome actor, whose boyish good looks belie the fact that he has just turned 40, is still best known for his early role in Good Will Hunting, where he played a working-class Bostonian.


The suggestion quickly spread across the media, generating a lot of chuckles as well as predictable outrage from conservative pundits. But the suggestion showed two things that are not so easily dismissed. First, quietly and with impressive charm, Damon has emerged as an eloquent and fierce spokesman for a slice of liberal America. On everything from the Iraq war to education policy, he has been happy to take a stand and, rather than praise the president, he has come out publicly to say Obama has “mishandled his mandate”.

I hope Matt Damon challenges Obama. A primary challenge to President Hussein helps divide the Progressives. Plus it would be hysterical!