How ’bout that? In the span of a couple weeks “Historical Digression” got nominated twice for the Liebster Blog Award. I am most grateful to “…and then there was Sarah” and “Peabody’s Lament” for the kind acknowledgement.
The Liebster Award is a peer recognition given out by fellow bloggers simply to acknowledge blogs they find enjoyable and interesting. It is a pat on the back from people who understand the work it takes to keep a blog going. And, really, who doesn’t need a pat on the back from time to time? So, many thanks indeed for the “attaboy.” I will certainly pay it forward.
The rules of the Liebster Award are as follows :
1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog and link back to the blogger who presented this award to you.
2. Answer the 11 questions from the nominator, list 11 random facts about yourself and create 11 questions for your nominees.
3. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 11 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been chosen. (No tag backs)
4. Copy and Paste the blog award on your blog
Questions from “…and then there was Sarah”
1. Everyone has realistic goals and dream goals. Name one of your dream goals.
Finally publish this historical fiction novel I’ve been working on forever, enjoy rave reviews, write more novels and live comfortably as a writer for the remainder of my days. Ah, dreams…
2. Name a book you’ve read that is generally considered by critics and the masses to be a good book by most, but that you did not enjoy.
I’ve got two here. This Republic of Suffering by Drew Gilpin Faust and John Adams by David McCullough. The former is a very worthy subject (how the Civil War changed our cultural perceptions of death), a fascinating topic and she made a great contribution to the study of the Civil War by writing it. But I just found it so bloody (excuse the pun) repetitive. It seemed like an essay that was padded out to be a book. As for the latter, historians will think I’m crazy because it has been so universally adored, but I just couldn’t get through it. Don’t know why. It never grabbed me.
3. Is there any genre of music that you can’t stand, under any circumstance?
Several. Heavy Metal. Disco. Rap. I could go on. I generally stick to more traditional stuff.
4. Where is the most interesting place in the world that you’ve been?
I am really not very well traveled. I’ve only been overseas once and that was a fantastic trip to Ireland. The Rock of Cashel blew me away.
5. Name a current trend or meme (last few years) trend that you can’t stand.
Not really bothered by any meme’s, but how about a fashion trend? The low riding pants on teenage boys…good lord.
6. Do you play any MMO games? If so, which?
Can’t say I do. I had to look up what MMO’s were.
7. Any interesting phobias?
I really don’t like horses. Was nearly trampled by one as a kid. Being a Civil War reenactor this can be difficult as you often have mounted officers getting way too close…some heart pounding moments.
8. Has there been a book, song, or movie that has changed your life? How?
Ken Burn’s documentary The Civil War absolutely changed my life. I have always been interested in history, but after that I realized an obsession with the Civil War. Set the course for a lot of life decisions.
9. If you had the power to change one law in your country, what would it be and why?
I don’t normally discuss 21st century politics, but I think it would have to be bans on gay marriage. It is, after all, the 21st century.
10. Do you share your blog with people you know in real life? Why or why not?
Yes, but I did not initially. It took about a year and a half before I even put my name on my blog. I guess when you put yourself out there, there’s always the fear of people thinking you’re strange. But everyone’s strange, so why not?
11. Is Schrodinger’s cat dead or alive?
Schrodinger would say both. I say open the box and find out.
Questions from “Peabody’s Lament”
1. Why do you study and present the past (you can say for the money, but we know better)?
Several reasons: personal fascination with history (which, for me, sometimes borders on a transcendental-type philosophy), a strong desire to memorialize individuals or events that have been all but forgotten, and the Indiana Jones complex…”that belongs in a museum!”
2. It has been suggested that one of the easiest ways to navigate daily life is to make certain you don’t talk about money, religion, or politics. Then why are they all history people seem to talk about?
Ha. Because most historians talk about dead people, and it’s usually okay if you do that.
3. Is Clio (history) to be a muse or just amusing (actually this question is from Thomas Schlereth’s Artifacts and the American Past)?
I’m not familiar with the book, so I may be missing the context, but I always think of Clio as a muse. The study of history, I find with most people, is really a passion. I tend to this of that sort of passion as inspired. So, perhaps I’m too much of a Romantic, but I do think of Clio as a muse, indeed.
4. What do you think it takes to create valid history (for example, an interest in critical reading, an academic degree, the ability to breathe)?
This is tough. I am hesitant to say that it takes an academic degree because I know many good “amateur” historians (especially in the reenacting world) who do not have degrees in history. That said, writing valid history does require a set of skills that is best acquired through a history degree (or two). Some folks are blessed with good critical thinking and through extensive reading acquire an ability to evaluate primary sources. But these thing are best taught in the academic arena. So, for the most part, I do think it takes a degree…although there are certainly exceptions.
5. As I mentioned above I don’t get a lot of mail from my readers. Do you feel like you do? Do you feel as though you’re connecting to your audience? Does that matter to you?
I don’t e-mail with readers. But I do highly value comments and try to respond to virtually every comment that is left on my blog. I always wish I had more feedback. Sometimes I do feel disconnected…but so do most bloggers, I think.
6. As the American Hysterical Society’s collections demonstrates, there is a lot of American history humor related to Whites, Blacks, and Natives. Why do you think there is so little, if any, humor about Asians, South Asian Indians, and Hispanics in American history?
Hate to cop out, but I honestly have no idea.
7. Should they be forced to remove the word history from the name History Channel?
YES! I know that won’t happen. But, YES! I wish they would. It is a sore spot for me. Aside from their obsession with swamps, trucks, loggers and aliens (how is any of that history?), when they DO try to put on a “serious” documentary production, it is absolute garbage. Their recent “Gettysburg” is a perfect example.
8. As we are fond of saying here at the AHS, history doesn’t sell. Do you think there is a business of history? Is it lucrative?
There is if you are Stephen Spielberg. Or the producers of Downton Abbey. But, for all the rest of us, no. I agree…history does not sell. Even the largest museums are having trouble these days. Hopefully this will change. There will always be a business of history but it will continue to survive off of philanthropy and not broad public appeal.
9. Do you believe folk art is its own form of art, separate from academic art? Did you not read our previous post about this? How come?
I did not read the post previously…sorry. But I just did and I disagree somewhat. I think there is absolutely no reason to banish folk art from “academic” museums or segregate it in any way. Indeed, a piece of folk art placed in historical context with pieces of “professional” art can be very informative. However, I do think folk art exists as a style or historical trend. I’ve seen plenty of it running a historical society in a small, Massachusetts coastal town. And it is definitely a different animal. Just as modern art is different from Renaissance art. It doesn’t mean any of them should be banished from museums.
10. When we say it’s important to know history, which history should we mean (political, social, economic, art, etc)? Why?
All. There are endless ways to approach history and virtually all of them are important. The only approaches that somewhat irk me are those that forget that people drive history.
11. Who is your favorite member of Spinal Tap?
Nigel. Because Christopher Guest is so damn brilliant.
Eleven Random Things About Me
1. One of my favorite things about Civil War reenacting is drill…and I rather dislike most “battles.” This makes other reenactors think me strange.
2. I am color blind. Can’t tell red and green apart and have trouble with a myriad of similar tones. I really dislike color-coded documents.
3. I try to make it to Gettysburg once a year and never tire of it.
4. I’ve never been further west than Indiana.
5. I get excited about obscure, ignored historical markers. But anyone who reads this blog would know that.
6. The closest I have come to meeting my maker was during a nighttime stroll in the Annapolis Royal cemetery adjacent to Fort Anne in Nova Scotia. In the dark I came a hair’s breadth away from walking into a 30 foot ditch surrounding the fort. Really been meaning to write them about putting up a fence.
7. I am of Irish heritage but mostly study 19th century Boston Brahmins and Yankees. This creates some dissonance in my brain.
8. I desperately wish I could play the fiddle.
9. I am a dog person who owns a cat (perhaps the one cat that I like)…this also creates dissonance.
10. I very much enjoy hikes in the woods and would do it daily if I could.
11. I rarely eat vegetables. Unless potatoes count as a vegetable.
[In no particular order. I know the guidelines suggest blogs of 200 followers or less, but I've included some larger blogs here too, because I really like their stuff.]
Questions for My Nominees
1. Did you see the movie “Lincoln?” If so, what did you think?
2. What is your favorite historical site and why?
3. The National Park Service at Gettysburg just began the demolition of the 1962 Cyclorama building after a drawn out controversy and legal battle. Do you have an opinion on that?
4. Dog person or cat person?
5. This is an oldie but a goodie…If you could meet any historical figure, who would it be?
6. Do you believe in ghosts? If so, was there a particular incident that cemented this belief?
7. What is your favorite historical film?
8. There seems to be an increase lately in terms of making non-fiction historical books into films. What non-fiction might you like to see turned into a film?
9. Is there a particular historical site that you feel is in serious jeopardy yet still possible to save?
10. Who do you think fired the first shot on Lexington Green?
11. What is the most interesting historical artifact you’ve ever seen?