All posts by MHUS

Bias in Academic History?

I got my latest copy of the SMH Journal of Military History a few weeks ago and am working my way through the articles.  The Journal always provides grist for at least one post, most of the time it is a thought provoking article that prompts me to post.  This time it is different.  There is a phrase in one of the articles that caused me to raise my eyebrows.  The article is:  Candice Shy Hooper, “The War That Made Hollywood: How the Spanish-American War Saved the U.S. Film Industry,” The Journal of Military History76 #1 (January 2012): 69-97.  The phrase is:

“The newest form of mass entertainment in the United States was, virtually from the outset, held hostage by a very small, primarily mechanically minded monopoly of urban white males.” Emphasis mine

The sentence is at the end of a paragraph discussing the stagnation of film as an industry after it’s introduction.  What got me thinking was what the point of the sentence, especially the last three words was.  I cannot figure out the implication of the whole urban white male piece except that the author is somehow implying that any other group of people would have done a much better job of developing the nascent film industry.  I good go into an orgy of being offended but I will not, instead I will simply point out that the author does not expand on why this was a bad thing other than to claim lack of imagination.

I cite this as an example of why current academia is losing it’s popular appeal.  Knowledge is no longer for the masses, it is restricted to an elite group of people who let their own prejudices guide them as they delude themselves into thinking ow open-minded they are.  I guarantee that if she had made the same remark but substituted black males or females, the comment would not have made it past the peer-review process.  In many ways, those that claim to be open-minded or objective are just as much, if not more prejudiced tha thse they are writing about.

Mostly, I am just shocked that this comment and its tone made it into the Journal. Apparently the reviewers agree with her implication that urban white males are somehow bad.  Never mind the fact that most of the scientific advances of the last 400-500 years have come from that group.  They have bought the white man is an oppressor meme hook, line, and sinker.  How sad.


Comments please, I would love to get a discussion going on this.

Happy Veterans Day

Veterans Day POster

Today is Veteran’s Day in the US and Armistice Day in Britain and France. It is a day to remember the end of the fighting in World War I on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. It is also the day set aside in the US to remember all veterans, not just those of World War I but also those that served in our nation’s other wars and those that served during peacetime. It takes something special to serve your country and a little bit more to do so voluntarily. There is always the possibility of going to war and giving your life for your country while in the military. I hope that everyone takes a moment today and remembers the sacrifices of all the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who have served and fought for the United States. If you meet a vet today, shake his hand and thank him for his service. Remember, less than 1% of the US public serves, yet they do so to protect that other 99%.

US Department of Veterans Affairs site about Veterans Day

More Research Needed On Veterans Health Issues

More Research Needed On Veterans Health Issues
By: Doug Karr, USN Veteran
Operations Desert Storm & Desert Shield

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that there are nearly 25 million veterans currently living in the United States. Nearly $60 billion is spent on federal programs for veterans, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. This is in addition to funding from individual states. Despite such efforts, there are still many health issues facing veterans today. A recent report released by the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee shows that many veterans are facing disability and mental health issues. The report states an urgent need for services to deal with such conditions as early as possible.

During wartime, the main health concerns for those in the military include gunshot wounds, shrapnel injuries, head injuries, loss of limbs and other immediate injuries often treated in the field or in the area. The American Chiropractic Association reports that back problems due to muscle strain and tension are common among patients who are veterans. The National Association on Mental Illness is partnering with the VA to determine reasons for the increase in mental issues among returning veterans. The study will focus on veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq. Nearly 200,000 returning veterans have been diagnosed with PTSD since 2007 according to the National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, service members have been at risk for mental health-related problems dating back to the Civil War. Today, the top mental health issue among military veterans is Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD symptoms do not usually develop right away. PTSD can lead to other problems such as depression and substance abuse. The Army’s vice chief of staff, Gen. Peter Chiarelli, recently noted that many veterans’ health facilities are “overwhelmed” by veterans facing mental health issues. The Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center in Fort Hood, Texas handles more than 10,000 mental health evaluations every month.

According to the Veterans Health Administration, some service members experience health problems related to exposure to environmental hazards such as chemicals, contaminated water and infections. Some cancers, such as mesothelioma, are not detected until many years after initial exposure. Unfortunately, the mesothelioma prognosis is not good since the condition is not detected until later stages. According to a recent Yale study, some forms of cancer are also more prevalent among veterans. There has been an increase in cases of liver cancer and some rare cancers over the past decade among returning military members according to the NCVAS. More research is needed to determine the reasons for such an increase.