The Grinch Who Stole Thanksgiving

By November 21, 2007

 America's First Thanksgiving?

The Grinch Who Stole Thanksgiving–that’s how some folks (particularly in the New England) refer to Michael Gannon, emeritus professor of history at the University of Florida. I don’t know if we can say that Gannon really “stole” Thanksgiving, but he at least articulated an alternative narrative to our traditional story that the first Thanksgiving occurred in 1621 at Plymouth Rock. In his 1965 book, The Cross in the Sand, Gannon argued that the original Thanksgiving occurred at St. Augustine, Florida on September 8, 1565, a full 56 years prior to our traditional dating. Like much of academic discourse, Gannon’s work remained out of the public sphere until 1985, when a reporter popularized the idea that Thanksgiving’s origins should point south, to Florida. The issue has received further popularizing in a new children’s book, America’s REAL First Thanksgiving.

Many Americans will no doubt shrug their shoulders and say, “Who cares?” I know it won’t ruin my turkey tomorrow, but I think that this story does have some interesting implications. I still have vivid memories of cutting out figures of Pilgrims, Indians, and turkeys from construction paper during elementary school. That’s the image that remains in my mind, and is part of a foundational narrative in American collective memory. American identity is in part dependent on the image of the English Protestants having the first meal dedicated to giving thanks to God in the New World. That’s where Gannon’s work gets interesting, because it presents a countermemory that contests traditional narratives and identities in the U.S. Rather than imagining white protestants that speak English sitting down with Native Americans, Gannon provides an image of Catholic Spaniards in Florida having that first feast of gratitude. A different image with a distinctive identity behind it.

Two truisms apply here: memory has more to do with the present than with the past and collective memories reflect power and are therefore frequently contested. It remains to be seen whether this counter-image will ever be accepted by enough people in the United States for it to really challenge the traditional 1621 dating and image. As is obvious from the article I cited above, there are people in Florida who celebrate the 1565 date. I found another website, from which the above picture is taken, that claims that the first Thanksgiving was actually held in 1598 in New Mexico, and invites people to celebrate that date. Given the politically charged debates over whether the U.S. should be a bilingual nation, coupled with the ever increasing hispanic population in the country, I expect to see more such counter-narratives that contest and challenge traditional images rooted in English Protestantism.

Article filed under Miscellaneous


  1. I think the first thanksgiving was probably initiated by Father Lehi and clan and whoever they found here, if you accept that theory, and instead of turkey they probably had curelom meat.

    Comment by Stan — November 21, 2007 @ 7:57 pm

  2. Haha, good point Stan. Now if you could ever get that image into school textbooks or Thanksgiving Day documentaries, that will be the day. I think that we’re a lot closer to the day when we’ll see Spanish Catholics taking space away from English Protestants than the scenario that the Book of Mormon suggests.

    Comment by David Grua — November 21, 2007 @ 8:13 pm

  3. “the first Thanksgiving occurred in 1821 at Plymouth Rock” – 56 years prior to 1565.

    Excellent article, David, but you might want to change the math. *grin*

    Comment by Ray — November 21, 2007 @ 8:16 pm

  4. Sorry, 56 years AFTER 1565.

    Comment by Ray — November 21, 2007 @ 8:16 pm

  5. Thanks, Ray. I’m perpetually stuck in the 19th century.

    Comment by David Grua — November 21, 2007 @ 8:16 pm

  6. Good find. I was hoping someone would dig up something to make the holiday somewhat controversial…

    But in all honesty, this reminds me of Claudia Bushman’s America Discovers Columbus, where she argues that we did not acknowledge Columbus as our founder until we wanted to cut ties with the English.

    Comment by Ben — November 21, 2007 @ 8:21 pm

  7. In reading the Wikipedia article on Thanksgiving, I noticed that in 1619 the Jamestown settlers held a Thanksgiving. That’s another post though, treating the struggle between New England and Virginia over which region should hold hegemony in American memory, and, by extension, identity.

    Comment by David Grua — November 21, 2007 @ 8:22 pm

  8. Like Ben, I thought of Columbus. Vikingophiles can claim first European landfall in the New World as often and as loudly as they want, but mostly we’ll cheerfully go on remembering Columbus and 1492. That’s the “discovery” that made any difference in later American civilization. And the Pilgrims in 1621 are the ones with a greater claim to continuity for most of us. It isn’t the objective “first” that matters to me, it’s that that’s the one to which I trace my Thanksgiving and its traditions.

    Comment by Ardis Parshall — November 21, 2007 @ 10:04 pm

  9. Bah! I hope you don’t meet up with Leif in the afterlife with that attitude, Ardis.

    Comment by J. Stapley — November 21, 2007 @ 10:33 pm

  10. We also want to recognize Columbus more, in my opinion, because it fits into the nice rhyme: In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

    Comment by Ben — November 21, 2007 @ 10:57 pm

  11. I know it won?t ruin my turkey tomorrow

    It won’t ruin mine either, although now that my wife is aware of the possible influence of the Spanish-speaking world on the first Thanksgiving, her homemade guacamole for tomorrow’s post-dinner snacks for the football games just took on added significance.

    Comment by Christopher — November 22, 2007 @ 1:19 am

  12. I’ve tasted that guacamole and I’m jealous.

    Comment by David Grua — November 22, 2007 @ 10:10 am

  13. Thanksgiving is the traditional fall harvest festival. Everyone in that time had been celebrating it for a few thousand years.

    The question is what is the first Thanksgiving in our tradition that is our cultural root? The answer to that remains clear.

    Comment by Stephen M (Ethesis) — November 22, 2007 @ 11:07 am

  14. The fact that people contest it indicates that the answer is not so clear.

    Comment by David Grua — November 22, 2007 @ 12:15 pm

  15. Seems silly to try to trace a common cultural phenomenon (communal feasts of thanksgiving) to any particular instance. Feasts like this are exceedingly common in many cultures, including white colonial. It’s really a decision about when to decide that a particular meal or idea about that meal needed to enter our cultural consciousness. Otherwise, we should trace Thanksgiving to the Catholic liturgical calendar or the Eucharist or the early meals in the Garden of Eden.

    Can someone comment on the notion that Thanksgiving as we know it is actually first celebrated (as a national feast in the secular liturgy) at the end of the Civil War? I personally would be inclined to allow Lincoln and colleagues to decide how they want to situate the feast (assuming there is reasonable historical consensus about the role of the Civil War).

    I’m less interested in the argument that Thanksgiving is a marketing gimmick to expand the Christmas buying season (I remember this line being popular in the 1980s and 1990s), though that also merits mention.

    Comment by smb — November 22, 2007 @ 2:00 pm

  16. Sam: Silly as it may seem, Americans of different stripes trace the origins of Thanksgiving to a particular event (whether it be Florida in 1565, New Mexico in 1598, Jamestown in 1619, or Plymouth Rock in 1621). The date and the place is important (otherwise people wouldn’t fight about them), because the ways that we imagine our past tells us about who we are as an “imagined community.”

    Like you say, understanding the history behind these contested images is important. According to the Wikipedia article on Thanksgiving, Washington was the first president to proclaim a thanksgiving feast in the month of November, but the holiday did not become a regular event in the calendar until Lincoln in 1863, who proclaimed that the feast should be held the last Thursday of November. FDR later changed it to the fourth Thursday of November. It is interesting to note that both Lincoln and FDR were presidents during times of national crisis, and therefore would be seeking for ways to unify the country.

    Wiki does not contain a discussion however of how the image of the pilgrims in 1621 was privileged in American memory over other viable candidates such as Jamestown in 1619.

    Comment by David Grua — November 22, 2007 @ 2:45 pm

  17. It isn’t PC to cut out or talk about Pilgrims and “Indians” in school anymore, so it really doesn’t matter who had the first Thanksgiving.

    Comment by EBW — November 22, 2007 @ 3:06 pm

  18. It was my understanding that FDR tried to move it to the third Thursday, but Congress didn’t like that so moved it back to the forth, or something.

    Before Lincoln, most the Eastern states celebrated it. However, as I went through early Mormon Journals, there are really very few references, one of which was Woodruff, who appeared to be celebrating it in 1848 because he was in Massachusetts. It is not until the last quarter of the century that you see more regular mention.

    Comment by J. Stapley — November 22, 2007 @ 4:10 pm

  19. For more on FDR and the Thanksgiving debate, see here.

    For Lincoln’s 1863 Thanksgiving Procalamation, see here.

    For George Washington’s 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation, see here.

    Comment by Christopher — November 22, 2007 @ 5:21 pm

  20. The fact that people contest it

    — indicates nothing more than either some people like to be “controversial” or that they need tenure.

    Academics contest the authorship of all of Shakespeare’s plays and the reasons for the World Trade Center collapse. The mere existence of contention means nothing by itself.

    Stepehn M. (Ethesis) is right, BTW. Harvest festivals do not equal Thanksgiving, and people who are trying to collapse the two are guilty of equivocation.

    Comment by Ivan A. Wolfe — November 23, 2007 @ 10:37 am

  21. Ivan,

    David Grua is right, btw. And the fact that people contest it means much more than some people wanting to be controversial or that they need tenure.

    Your traditionalist view of the Thanksgiving holiday (one, which I happen to share) does not mean that we can simply ignore those who contest that tradition as merely trying to be controversial. Why should your worldview (even if it is the most common) be accepted as the “correct” or “true” one?

    You see, I just contested your view, and I am neither trying to be controversial or anywhere near being “up for tenure.”

    Comment by Christopher — November 23, 2007 @ 11:38 am

  22. the fact that people contest it means much more than some people wanting to be controversial or that they need tenure

    As said above, the mere fact of contestation means nothing, and David Grua is wrong if that is his contention. [If he has more than that, I’d love to hear it, though].

    Unless you also believe that the mere “fact” of people contesting Shakespeare’s authorship or who argue that 9/11 was an inside job really means there’s any real validity to those stances.

    For there to be some importance to the issue, there has to be more than “the fact that” some people contest it. A few academics contest the existence of the middle ages (not the label – the actual existence) - – but that means nothing.

    Same thing here. That’s a very thin foundation to build an argument on. I need more than mere equivocation between harvest celebrations and Thanksgiving before I can give this idea any serious credence. As for now, it sounds as reliable as 9/11 truthers or Oxfordians. Perhaps there’s a good reason “Gannon?s work remained out of the public sphere until 1985.” Far too many bizarre theories have permeated the public sphere already. I have yet, in this post, to read a good solid defense beyond “the fact that” it’s contested means something. It doesn’t mean anything by itself.

    Comment by Ivan A. Wolfe — November 23, 2007 @ 1:13 pm

  23. Let me put it this way:

    The contention is

    IF something is contested, THEN the answer is not so clear/there is something important in this controversy

    but there’s no compelling reason why that is any more valid than these formulations:

    IF something is contested, THEN someone is trying to get tenure
    IF something is contested, THEN someone is just being contentious
    IF something is contested, THEN one of the parties is acting in bad faith
    IF something is contested, THEN the issue is a silly one not worth pursuing
    IF something is contested, THEN someone is making a play for political power

    Why is the first one somehow privileged over the others? In some sense, this follows the fallacy of false cause. There needs to be more than “the fact that” contention exists.

    I think I appear more on the attack than I mean to be (try to read my above comments in a friendly tone, imagining a smiley face emoticon).

    What I’m really asking is this: What else is there BESIDES “the fact that” there is a mild controversy?

    Comment by Ivan A. Wolfe — November 23, 2007 @ 1:28 pm

  24. OT – Wow that phantom time hypothesis is baked. Lets eliminated 300 years for lack of evidence? Dunno if the Welsh would appreciate their golden age called for account of not enough archeological evidence.

    Kind of reminds me of those who like to now argue that there was no Anglo-Saxon (and Jute) invasion of England and that the Romano-British just switched sides because it was fashionable. Why because of lack of archeological evidence.

    Comment by Jon W — November 23, 2007 @ 1:48 pm

  25. Ivan: Perhaps I misunderstood Stephen’s initial comment (or you perhaps misread my response), but I wasn’t promoting an “equivocation between harvest celebrations and Thanksgiving.”

    My response instead was directed at this point:

    The question is what is the first Thanksgiving in our tradition that is our cultural root? The answer to that remains clear.

    I read that as Stephen arguing that the Pilgrim feast in 1621 is “clearly” at the cultural root of “our tradition.” If that’s not what he meant, then my apologies. But if it is, I think it’s arguable from the links I provided in the initial post that there are Americans that do not see the 1621 feast to be at the root of their cultural traditions, and therefore choose to celebrate Thanksgiving on a different date (and thereby point to a different origin for Thanksgiving). It was to the folks in Florida as well as the Chicano culture that permeates the Southwestern United States that I referred to as contesting the 1621 Pilgrim story, not academics or people that seek to stir up controversy for controversy’s sake.

    In my initial post, I noted two axioms associated with the study of collective memory:

    Memory often has more to do with the present than with the past.

    When Anglo-Americans developed our Thanksgiving traditions in the 19th century, they needed a past that was usable. Apparently Catholics in Florida and in the SW were not useful, and neither were Anglicans in Virginia. Instead, Calvinist Pilgrims in Massachusetts were chosen to represent America as a Protestant nation. [Disclaimer: I have not done a thorough analysis of the development of Anglo-American Thanksgiving traditions, and so I should be clear that these conclusions are based on my own broad reading in 19th-century American history and not in hard data.]

    Memory reflects power, and is therefore frequently contested.

    The priviledging of the 1621 Pilgrim story illustrates who has had power to define what is significant in American history. What we’re seeing in the links I provided is 1) an effort by some Floridians to take pride in their own state’s heritage by promoting an alternative narrative to the 1621 Thanksgiving story and 2) an effort by some in the growing Hispanic population (Hispanics are now the #1 minority in the nation, having bypassed African Americans in population in 2000) to connect with an image of Thanksgiving that resonates more fully with their sense of identity.

    The question, for me, is whether or not the majority of Anglo Americans will allow for other voices in the Thanksgiving story, or if they will continue to silence those that differ from them.

    Comment by David Grua — November 23, 2007 @ 2:42 pm

  26. When Anglo-Americans developed our Thanksgiving traditions in the 19th century, they needed a past that was usable. Apparently Catholics in Florida and in the SW were not useful, and neither were Anglicans in Virginia. Instead, Calvinist Pilgrims in Massachusetts were chosen to represent America as a Protestant nation.

    When Anglo-Amerians developed our Thanksgiving traditions in the 19th century, were they aware of the history of Catholics in Florida? They may have chosen to ignore them even if they were known, but if that history was unknown — as the history of everyone outside one’s own tradition usually is — then overlooking it in favor of the New Englanders doesn’t mean a lot. As for overlooking Jamestown, is there any evidence that Jamestown’s Anglicanism was any consideration? Or was Jamestown’s site in Confederate Virginia a more likely consideration in the middle of the Civil War?

    The question, for me, is whether or not the majority of Anglo Americans will allow for other voices in the Thanksgiving story, or if they will continue to silence those that differ from them.

    I hear variations of this question whenever some historical “first” or cultural development traditionally associated with Anglo (or more broadly, Western) civilization is claimed to have originated in some other culture. The overwhelming evidence is that the American Founding Fathers were consciously looking at England, Rome and Greece when they debated constitutional principles and that they were hardly scholars or respecters of Native American political philosophy — if sympathizers or descendants of the Iroquois want to recognize elements shared by their league and the US Constitution, it’s fine with me. I’m not “silencing” them, though, by declining to adopt their claims myself. Likewise, I have no problem at all with parallel celebrations if those who trace their personal heritage to Catholic or Spanish roots want to honor a Thanksgiving based on the Florida history — but I am also not willing to be “silenced” myself and ignore my own cultural roots.

    Comment by Ardis Parshall — November 23, 2007 @ 3:55 pm

  27. Ardis: Like I said in my disclaimer, I really have no hard data for my theory about why the Pilgrims were chosen over the Catholics in Florida or the Jamestowners. My guess is that, as with all things Catholic, whatever was known in the 19th century about the Florida date was dismissed as Popish and unnecessary for consideration (which, again, tells us a lot about who had power to include and exclude in 19th-century America). As for your alternative theory as to why the Pilgrims were chosen over the Jamestowners, I concede that your proposed Civil War narrative is just as plausible as mine. Until either of us have more evidence, though, we’re not going to get very far.

    As for your other point, I’m not sure what we’re arguing about if you’re so willing to let others promote alternative Thanksgiving narratives. My question was if Anglo Americans were willing to allow competing images, or if they’d continue to fight against them and try to show them to be historically inadequate. I in no way intended to imply that you should be silenced or give up your traditions.

    Comment by David Grua — November 23, 2007 @ 4:48 pm

  28. I find it interesting that Americans, in general, have been willing to recognize celebrations of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa during the traditional Christmas season, but (judging by the vast majority of comments on this post) seem not-as-willing to budge on alternative celebrations of Thanksgiving.

    Comment by Christopher — November 23, 2007 @ 11:11 pm

  29. If people remember and recognize alternative celebrations of Thanksgiving, that is wonderful. Anything that preserves historic memory is usually a good thing.

    What I don’t think is wonderful are conspiracy theories that some person or another maliciously marginalized other traditions by referring to one he was familiar with instead of another. Absent explicit evidence, that is positively ridiculous.

    Comment by Mark D. — November 24, 2007 @ 12:06 am

  30. I fail to see where this post has gotten to the conspiracy theory status. How the Thanksgiving tradition gained in popularity is secondary to the fact that society has a tradition behind their celebration and they have to interact with this memory. The discussion of that memory (not the fact itself) has been an extremely useful model in my understanding of history. I look forward to seeing more analysis of memory in Mormon culture like the kind David Grua puts out on this blog. Keep it up.

    Comment by Rob — November 24, 2007 @ 12:33 am

  31. The question, for me, is whether or not the majority of Anglo Americans will allow for other voices in the Thanksgiving story, or if they will continue to silence those that differ from them.

    That sounds like a conspiracy theory to me.

    Comment by Mark D. — November 24, 2007 @ 12:37 am

  32. That’s not a conspiracy theory. Unless I’ve missed something in my own Angle American culture, there was no deliberate conspiracy to exclude minority voices in the Thanksgiving tradition. It just didn’t occur to me, my family, or my elementary school teachers to explore other voices. I hope that can be different for the next generation, but the silencing was not deliberate. In other words, I see a big difference between ignorance and conspiracy.

    Comment by Rob — November 24, 2007 @ 12:51 am

  33. Mark,

    It seems unfortunate you are not familiar with how historic events become embedded in the memories of people. It is no secret that the group of people who has the most power in a given society pretty much narrates history as they want history to be remembered.

    If you read textbooks from Japan and textbooks from the USA, you can rest assured they will differ on how they narrate the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This shouldn’t come as a surprise.

    In the case of the USA, many different ethnic/cultural groups have coexisted throughout a good portion of modern history and thus they have to share the same history from a certain point on. While analyzing where different historic memories have roots, it is necessary to understand how history has been narrated and by whom, and therefore try to visualize how the memories are embedded in the minds of people. This is not possible to do disregarding the very important role that power plays in the complex process of historical development.

    Throughout history, Anglo Americans have silenced MANY voices, believe it or not, in an effort to create the history that they wish will define them for generations to come.

    Comment by Manuel — November 24, 2007 @ 1:07 am

  34. Yeah, just think how the 1830’s and 1840’s might have been recorded differently in the textbooks of Utah, Missouri and Illinois at the time of each group had written its own version. Oh, wait, they did.

    Comment by Ray — November 24, 2007 @ 1:37 am

  35. Rob / Manuel,

    “Silence” as used here is a transitive action verb. The American Heritage Dictionary defines it as:

    To make silent or bring to silence: silenced the crowd with a gesture.
    To curtail the expression of; suppress: silencing all criticism; silenced their opponents.

    One cannot silence someone else through benign neglect. Silencing is about ostracism, censorship, and suppression. The theory that Americans silence other Thanksgiving traditions is a classic conspiracy theory – conspiracy, as in sharing the same spirit, or “a combination of persons for a secret, unlawful, or evil purpose”.

    Comment by Mark D. — November 24, 2007 @ 2:27 am

  36. Mark,

    While I do not believe David Grua is talking about any conspiracy in his post (since he has stated so himself and since others seem to agree that he wasn’t alluding to a conspiracy), I don’t think he would be wrong even if he was.

    One of the definitions of silence that you posted is the word suppress.

    One of the definitions for the word suppress in the Merriam Webster Dictionary is the following:

    “to keep from public knowledge: as a: to keep secret b: to stop or prohibit the publication or revelation of ”

    This type of silencing has occurred numberless times in every civilization. It has been done by those who hold the power in a given society. In the USA, Anglo Americans have certainly done it numberless times. To be in denial of this seems ludicrous to me. Even Church Authorities have exercised this type of suppression. To conclude that such suppression is always with an “evil purpose” in mind is wrong.

    I think you need to wake up and accept a reality of life. Historians are not going to turn a blind eye to this real fact when they analyze history.

    Comment by Manuel — November 24, 2007 @ 2:46 am

  37. Manuel,

    The fact that suppression of some ideas is a historical reality is a red herring. No evidence has been offered that anyone (let alone the American populace at large) has been silencing, censoring, suppressing, or ostracizing alternative Thanksgiving traditions or those who promote them.

    Comment by Mark D. — November 24, 2007 @ 2:58 am

  38. No it is not red herring Mark, and you know it well. If this is how you react when you begin to lose an argument, then I guess further discussion with you will be useless.

    The fact that the powerful narrate history and therefore decide what is stated and what is suppressed is not a distraction to this discussion, but rather an important idea that has to be given consideration when studying history. Failing to do so creates the closed mindedness that you are reflecting on your posts.

    I don’t believe the post was ever intended to bring evidence that someone is trying to ostracize someone else. I believe the post is in part trying to promote thought about the different roots of the Thanksgiving tradition and how the memory would develop given the demographics of the nation.

    Comment by Manuel — November 24, 2007 @ 3:07 am

  39. Manuel,

    You are being extremely condescending here. Your comments are saturated with self righteousness, unjustified assumptions, suppositions, and ignoratio elenchi. You keep speaking as if you can read my mind and then you proceed to argue against your own imagination. 95% of what you have said is completely irrelevant. If that makes you feel like you are the winner, go for it.

    Comment by Mark D. — November 24, 2007 @ 3:15 am

  40. Could it be that what I have said is actually relevant and you have decided it isn’t because it contradicts your absurd position and you have no other way out?

    Didn’t you say this: “Absent explicit evidence, that is positively ridiculous” about David’s post? Were you not being condescending there? So, who is being self righteous now?

    Unjustified assumptions? Have you bothered to analyze history at a level of understanding why things happened? Apparently not. None of my assumptions is unjustified. If anything, I have made assumptions on events that have happened many times.

    Suppositions, yeah, I bet you have hard evidence of everything you state in blogs where history is being analyzed. In fact, you are the one who has made the most absurd suppositions here.

    “Ignoratio elenchi” … if you think what I am saying is a fallacy or an irrelevant conclusion, then why do you get so worked up? And, why haven’t you been able to at least bring some valid argument against my position instead of just dismissing it as irrelevant?

    I have argued specific points of your POSTS not your mind. I am not arguing against my own imagination (my imagination and my sense of self are very much in tune). Could it be the other way around? Maybe you are imagining too much?

    I think you are a bit worked up now; and, in a position that nobody can be right except you. A position that nobody’s arguments can be relevant except yours. So frankly, I think this has become pointless.

    Comment by Manuel — November 24, 2007 @ 3:36 am

  41. My, my. All this excitement over one (perhaps poorly chosen) word. Mark, I can assure you that I was not using “silence” in a manner nearly as literal or specific as you seem to want me to have done. Neither was I arguing for some kind of race or culture-wide conspiracy among Anglo Americans to ostracize, censor, or suppress other Thanksgiving traditions out of a common spirit to to commit some secret, unlawful, or evil design. That’s a lot to read into one word.

    That word (and the sentence it was used in) was simply refering to some of the arguments that I’ve heard on this topic that are contingent on this simple narrative: “The Pilgrim story of 1621 is clearly at the cultural root of our tradition.” This narrative is based on several assumptions that need to be unpacked concerning “cultural root,” “our,” and “tradition.” I read that as saying that there is only one “cultural root”, only one group of like-minded people included in “our,” and only one legitimate tradition, thereby placing all other voices in the realm of the illegitimate. I don’t think that this is in every case a conscious, or to use your word, malicious, act, but it is built into the discourse that some Anglo Americans use to discuss these things. Perhaps I should have used “exclude” (which I’m using here with a broad connotation that includes unreflective action) rather than “silence” and we could have avoided this little excitement.

    Comment by David Grua — November 24, 2007 @ 11:50 am

  42. One cannot silence someone else through benign neglect. Silencing is about ostracism, censorship, and suppression.

    I think “benign neglect” is a prime example of “ostracism, censorship, and suppression.”

    [Admin. note]: Mark D., you are dangerously close to officially threadjacking David’s post. Please stay on topic, address the relevant questions, and keep insults to an extreme minimum. Thanks.

    Comment by Christopher — November 24, 2007 @ 11:54 am

  43. I don’t think David Grua’s post/comments come near the level of conspiracy theory. I mentioned a few, but I was using some extreme examples to make a very limited point. David Grua replied and answered my concerns (though I should add I enjoyed Ardis’s comment as well).

    Perhaps Michael Gannon’s research *might* be considered a borderline “conspiracy theory”, but I would suggest if Mark D. (or anyone else) wants to argue that point, he should go read Gannon’s research first.

    I personally think a lot of what passes for “cultural theory” in today’s academic marketplace borders the “conspiracy theory” level, but that’s only due to Sturgeon’s Law: 90% of everything is crap. The real trick is to figure out which is the 10% that might be worthwhile. But in that case, we’re getting into a metadiscussion and are far afield of the initial discussion.

    Sorry if I contributed to a threadjack.

    Comment by Ivan A. Wolfe — November 24, 2007 @ 12:23 pm

  44. David G.,

    Thanks for your clarification. I can readily agree with any description that does not assert intent without evidence, let alone imply a nefarious motive.

    Comment by Mark D. — November 24, 2007 @ 1:11 pm


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