31 May 2009

Celebrating Manly Heroes

I've commented before on celebratory history and how elites in academia like to focus on the "sins of the fathers" in their perspective. This approach, contrary to their claims, is agenda driven and is part of the broader culture war against American exceptionalism and the re-writing of American history.

I recently came across an anecdotal comment that, in a small but profound way, points this out. One of my favorite sites is The Art of Manliness. The advice and commentary offered there is always fresh and always inspirational; though it hearkens back to a time when men were a lot more like John Wayne and a lot less like Matt Lauer - your father's and grandfather's day. It's a popular site, even in this very "unmanly age" in which we find ourselves living.

The host of this site is Brett McKay, a recent law school graduate and brilliant marketing guru. In one of his recent posts, Brett commented:

"I got to experience Dr. Fears in the flesh as a student at the University of Oklahoma; his classes always filled within minutes and students would sit on the floor and in the aisles hoping to get into his class. Listening to Dr. Fears on CD isn’t quite the same as the live-action version; part of the experience is seeing this bald little fat man pretend to decapitate and stab students. But if you want to be inspired by the heroes of the ancient world, his lectures will give you a nice kick in the pants. While many history professors these days concentrate only on the “sins” of our past, Dr. Fears is an old school guy who skillfully examines the lives of history’s great men, distilling out their lessons in how to live a more moral and ethical life."

Those of you who teach, observe and learn.

4 comments:

Greg Rowe said...

When teaching Texas history, I never mention to my student that Sam Houston was thought to be a drunkard and a bigamist, that William Barrett Travis supposedly left mountains of debt and a wife in Mississippi, or that Jim Bowie was suspected of land fraud when he left Louisiana. What these guys actually did in Texas after they got here is much more impressive than all that and a heck of a lot more interesting to seventh graders! As my four-year-old daughter commented after visiting the Sam Houston statue in Huntsville for the first time (a trip I was not on because I was at UVa taking a Civil War seminar course with Gary Gallagher), "He was Texas." She was more right than any Houston biographer I have ever read!

As I make the move to teaching US History next year, I hope to take the same approach. My theory is that America is not exceptional because we are better than everyone else in the world, it is exceptional because, in spite of our flaws and frailties, we have found ways to better ourselves throughout our history. Or least we have most of the time.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Thanks Greg.

"My theory is that America is not exceptional because we are better than everyone else in the world, it is exceptional because, in spite of our flaws and frailties, we have found ways to better ourselves throughout our history. Or least we have most of the time."

I would agree. My own viewpoint is that Providence has allowed us to better ourselves because of our founding principles, despite the warts and blemishes since then.

America is truly unique and we are quite blessed to be a part of her experience.

Greg Rowe said...

Providence and our founding principles have indeed allowed us to better ourselves by giving us a path to follow.

BTW, thanks for the link to this website.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

You're welcome Greg.