Revising Revisionism
Hugo Chávez’s Favorite Book Disavowed by Author
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  • Stephen K. Mack

    Mr. Mead, you and your staff have outdone yourselves with this hysteria mongering headline: ‘Hugo Chávez’s Favorite Book Disavowed by Author’, and this little gem:’Eduardo Galeano, the author of mega-influential lefty masterpiece’. Hard to top this premature triumphalism, but you managed it with this Pikettygate chatter. The Giles FT essay was utterly trounced in the comments section of the original essay, and since, in an essay by R.A. at The Economist, who came to the defense of scholarship of the Capitalist apostate Piketty. The debate on a failed and failing Capital has only just begun!
    http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2014/05/inequality-0
    Or should we take this speculation on the ravages of age and illness that has led to Mr. Galeano’s repudiation of his youthful polemic, by Mr. Yates in the NYT’s essay by Larry Rohter, as indicative of something explicable? :
    ‘Mr. Yates said Mr. Galeano might simply be following in the tracks of the novelist John Dos Passos, a radical as a young man “who became a conservative when he got older.” On Spanish- and Portuguese-language websites, others have suggested that Mr. Galeano, who in recent years has had both a heart attack and cancer, might simply be off his game intellectually.’
    Your editing of the NYT’s essay to the ‘the heart of his disavowal ‘ leaves historical/political honesty and nuance as a victim of your self-serving narrative.
    StephenKMackSD

    • truthsojourner

      Totally incomprehensible.

      • Stephen K. Mack

        truthsojourner,
        Is this the extent of your contribution to this important conversation, a two word dismissal?
        With a name like truthsojourner one might expect some kind of argument, but instead this two word non-contribution. Do better!
        StephenKMackSD

        • PKCasimir

          I also found it incomprehensible.

        • Dan

          everything you say may be completely true, and nonetheless, you are a pompous d-bag. Is that a good enough contribution Your Majesty?

        • Breif2

          Indeed! If only he would make a more substantial contribution, such as: no one could possibly recant “leftist” beliefs. If Galeano did so, it’s because he’s senile.

          By the way, truthsojourner was being kind. You want more than his two words? Here goes:

          “Mr. Mead, you and your staff have outdone yourselves with this hysteria mongering headline: ‘Hugo Chávez’s Favorite Book Disavowed by Author'”

          This is a factual headline. What is possibly “hysteria mongering” about it?

          “and this little gem:’Eduardo Galeano, the author of mega-influential lefty masterpiece’.”

          ??? Do enlighten us as to what you find so glittery about this phrase. (Unless you are attempting to throw Galeano down the garbage chute, Trotsky-style: “Oh well, he was never all that”.)

          “Hard to top this premature triumphalism, but you managed it with this Pikettygate chatter.”

          In the context of your comment, this “premature triumphalism” is a reference to WRM’s account of Galeano’s disavowal. I’m willing to grant you “triumphalism,” but what on earth does “premature” refer to?

          “The debate on a failed and failing Capital has only just begun!”

          You seem to have a strange understanding of the word “debate”, eg “I have only begun to debate how incomprehensible you are!”

          “Or should we take this speculation on the ravages of age and illness that has led to Mr. Galeano’s repudiation of his youthful polemic, by Mr. Yates”

          First off, I would think that the fact that Yates is the publisher of the book in question has some relevance. Someone as concerned with honesty as you present yourself might have seen fit to mention that.

          Second, Yates is not the one speculating about the “ravages of age and illness”. These speculations are attributed to anonymous web sites. Yates simply refered to the phenomenon of people becoming more conservative as they age. I hardly see how this would support any thesis you would wish to peddle.

          As to web sites “suggesting” that Galeano might be “off his game intellectually”, that is simply the laziest and most arrogant debate tactic. If my interlocutor no longer agrees with me, why bother re-examining my beliefs? Rather, reflexively conclude that there must be something deeply wrong with him.

          “Your editing of the NYT’s essay to the ‘the heart of his disavowal ‘ leaves historical/political honesty and nuance as a victim of your self-serving narrative.”

          The heart of the matter is that Galeano has disavowed his book. Period. That is the essence of the NYT article. Your imputation of dishonesty is itself dishonest and self-serving.

          “Do better!”

          Happy to be of service.

          • Stephen K. Mack

            Thank you for your well argued reply to my modest polemic. I can
            appreciate the time and effort involved. One can only observe that
            American Conservatism, in all it’s iterations, is obsessed with the
            ‘Left’, even when it is simply the rhetorically created specter of a
            Left-wing Social Democrat, like the economist Prof. Piketty.The ‘Left’
            as confected by Conservatives is a creature of an ever shifting set of
            parameters: a bogey man tailored to the rhetorical occasion, and Mr.
            Mead shows himself as a practitioner of that craft and it’s pitfalls.

            Hysteria mongering has been a specialty of ‘Conservatism’ since the
            Nixon/Mundt/McCarthy cabal of the late 40’s to the mid 50’s, Mr. Mead
            simply continues the tradition with his headline featuring Chavez, the
            bête noire of American exceptionalist claims to hegemony.

            Mr. Galeano, not the first man in his old age to repudiate his radical past, nor the last.

            Conservatives are practiced at the art of Triumphalism from Reagan to
            Bush II, as a function of their political opportunism. The fall of the
            Soviet Union was a very complex historical phenomenon, not attributable
            to any single cause but a concatenation of forces, and not because
            ‘Dutch’ led the way forward: the current Conservative Mythology.

            Breif2, do catch up on the ‘PikettyGate’ issue here:

            Chris Giles in the FT of May 23,2014

            http://blogs.ft.com/money-supply/2014/05/23/data-problems-with-capital-in-the-21st-century/

            The Economist of May,31 2014:

            http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21603022-latest-controversy-around-thomas-pikettys-blockbuster-book-concerns-its

            A quote from this article, hardly a ‘Left’ publication, is utterly
            relevant to the continuing debate on inequality i.e. Piketty’s
            statistical data and it’s interpretation as a point of endless debate,
            fruitful or barren. Why else would Mr. P. put the data online, except as
            an invitation to an extended debate? ‘PikettyGate’, Mr. Mead’s lame
            attempt to discredit the professor’s work almost equates to a schoolyard
            taunt or mirroring your attempt at blistering sarcasm.

            ‘Nitpiketty or a pickle?

            All told, Mr Piketty is guilty of sloppiness (certainly in

            his notation), and perhaps of some errors. But there is little evidence,

            so far, to support the serious charge of cherry-picking statistics. Nor

            have his findings that wealth concentration is, once again, rising been

            fatally undermined.

            Nonetheless, Mr Giles’s critique is enormously useful. By

            taking a tooth-comb to the wealth-distribution numbers, he has provided a

            powerful reminder of the limitations of such historical data series. Mr

            Piketty’s conclusions are drawn from huge numbers of sketchy figures

            (many of which have not yet been subjected to such a review). He has

            pulled them together in what remains an impressive piece of scholarship.

            But just as the statistics have their limits, so does the certainty of

            the trends Mr Piketty identifies. The logic of “Capital in the

            Twenty-First Century” is not an iron law.’

            This writer takes the Giles/Piketty debate seriously as part of a
            continuing debate ‘not an iron law’:revelatory rather than ideological!

            Best regards,

            StephenKMackSD

          • Breif2

            “One can only observe that American Conservatism, in all it’s iterations, is obsessed with the ‘Left'”

            I have no doubt that you can provide evidence for this assertion. I similarly have no doubt that one can provide evidence for the other direction (“No pasaran!”). I welcome civil level-headed political discourse.

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