Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Back from the OAH

I just returned last night from the annual meeting of the Organization of American Historians in San Jose, where I was once again reminded of why I no longer make a habit of attending the big historical conferences. This one was a disaster by just about anyone’s reckoning, attracting several hundred fewer participants than expected. This was the result of a last-minute change of venue. It was originally scheduled for San Francisco, but the hotel where it was to be held was in the midst of a labor dispute. The OAH sent a survey to its membership, asking if they’d be willing to cross a picket line, and--surprise, surprise--the members decided overwhelmingly to express solidarity with the horny-handed sons of toil. So there was a scramble to book a venue in San Jose, and we ended up sharing the local convention center with a much larger group of Bible enthusiasts. This fact elicited a great deal in the way of snide comments from the assembled historians. In any event, the decision to move from San Francisco to San Jose probably cost the organization about twenty percent of its attendees. One longtime member told me that the OAH lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process, leading to speculation that this might be the end for the venerable organization.

As for the conference itself, there’s very little to report. Suffice it to say that at one point I was imprudent enough to let on to a young woman that I had voted for George W. Bush. "And yet you write books," she responded.

And yet.

Discussions - 7 Comments

"horny-handed"???

It’s an old expression that means "calloused."

John:

Was the strike organized by the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union? If so, OAH solidarity makes perfect sense. Its president is John Wilhelm who had been a progressive student activist at Yale in the 1960s and early 1970s. This union gave quite gnerously to defeat President Bush in 2004.

Regards

Ken

Ken,

Good detective work, but I am not sure the link you propose - even if correct - would be necessary. At the gigantic University where I worked, a janitorial strike caused the boomer professors to hold classes outdoors so as not to "cross the picket line" by using the buildings. When you are guilt-ridden over being a six figure salary socialist, an opportunity to demonstrate to the world - and yourself - your "commitment" is not to be missed.

Of course, the actual "exploitation" that professors could have an impact on is that of their fellow PhD’s who are being paid next to nothing with no benefits to instruct the classes tenured radicals won’t teach. But this would involve rethinking the six figure and near six figure salary boomer profs at State Schools get. And hey, redistribution of other people’s wealth is fine, but lets not be silly here!

I had almost forgot why I don’t belong to the OAH anymore. Thanks for reminding me!

Yeah, those crazy paranoid lefties. First they’re striking. Then they’re telling you that they think Bush is an idiot. Next thing you know, they’ll be collectivizing your farm and sending you off to the Gulag. Keep up the good fight, brothers and sisters! Only your eternal vigilance keeps those horny hands from closing around our throats!

Are there non-leftist historian conferences?
Anyway, the stuff they teach in AP US is hectic. The book can be deemed safe for Chinese school children. (Its title: "Out of Many")

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