Wilentz Sucks Customer Reviews and Feedback
Robert Sean Wilentz (; born February 20, 1951) is the Sidney and Ruth Lapidus Professor of the American Revolutionary Era at Princeton University, where he has taught since 1979. His primary research interests include U.S. social and political history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Publius for Obsidian Wings mentioned the continuing decline of Sean Wilentz, "If you have the stomach for it, check out Sean Wilentz’s latest — and nastiest — anti-Obama screed. It’s not everyday you see a respected Princeton historian devolve into Grandpa Simpson in four short pages, but Wilentz pulled it off. The 4th page alone is all you need to read. Like everyone else, Wilentz is entitled to his opinion, and to hate Obama. But this particular column is not merely inaccurate, it calls his larger credibility as a historian into question. I don’t say that lightly, so hear me out. Historians are supposed to apply an empirical methodology to their trade. You spend years poring over documents and you go where the evidence takes you. Because it’s so difficult for the lay reader to verify accuracy, it’s particularly important that historians refrain from letting personal opinions and blinding emotions taint their work. When that happens, inconvenient facts get ignored and historical research becomes an exercise in cherry-picking to support pre-existing subjective opinions.
That, in a nutshell, is precisely what Wilentz’s column did. It’s not just that he makes numerous snide petty and juvenile swipes — e.g., he bewails the lack of rigorous analysis of Obama’s relationship with Rev. Wright.
The problem is that he’s writing this nasty stuff as Wilentz, Princeton historian, and not as Wilentz, public observer. He cloaks his screed in the language of a historian — i.e., he pretends like he’s doing real history."
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