Thursday, May 1, 2008

American Miseducation

Susan Nagel's book on Marie Therese is relevant to what's happening now (see my May Day post at because it illustrates the mindset of the most powerful members of our nation's intellectual class, centered in the heart of print media in New York.

The scariest part is that Susan Nagel, and one of her biggest fans, Maria Elena Vidal, are both college professors-- yet they've shown little dedication to history as a search for truth. (One could fill up an entire volume listing the historical inaccuracies and misconceptions in Nagel's book.)

On her blog (listed at a previous post) M.E. Vidal equates noticing the realities of this country with Marxism. The belief: "Oh, you said the words 'inequality' and 'class' so you must be a Marxist!" She shows an inability to think outside the standard boxes labelled "Right" and "Left" which have over the years become ever smaller.

Ms. Vidal should be reminded that the French revolutionaries embraced "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" without the influence of Marx. I don't think he was around! She should realize that there were once revolutionaries in this very country-- yes, believe it-- whose ideals were democratic and whose actions kicked out the royals and every touch of royalty, a royalty which George Washington himself abhorred.

Ms. Vidal and Ms. Nagel are big fans of Edmund Burke. They're reading the wrong text. They should be reading and teaching Thomas Paine's Rights of Man instead.

(Catch my full review of Marie Therese, Child of Terror at


Anonymous said...

Elena Maria Vidal is not a college professor. Please get your facts straight before embarking on a slander campaign.

Jim Martin

K.I.N.G. Wenclas said...

Well, excuse me. I stand corrected.
She's listed as a "lecturer" in bios-- which I took to mean in the sense of a college position.
(Who does she "lecture" to?)
What about "historian"?
Should we knock that out of her bio as well, as her sense of history is so, well, UNhistorical?
Now that you've weighed in, Mr. Martin, with such outrage, perhaps we can discuss the "history" of Vidal and Nagel.
Care to discuss my book review?

K.I.N.G. Wenclas said...

p.s. I see that Ms. Vidal identifies herself as a Catholic author.
I have to say that I find this a tad troubling.
I was raised a Catholic; was imbued with the church's teachings about social justice.
Does not Ms. Vidal understand the context within which she writes?
That the U.S. is creating its own unreachable aristocracy-- while millions live in poverty?
I have a post upcoming on my other blog about inequality-- an inequality embodied in our educational system. (In Detroit, where I live, the high school graduation rate is down to 25%. The schools are literally disintegrating; broken windows, no heat, broken lavoratories, etc, with no funds in this bankrupt and forgotten city for repairs. Quite a contrast to the privilege of the "Gossip Girl" books.)
Vast inequalities mirroring the inequalities of 1789 France WHICH LED TO REVOLUTION and which our good Christian author historian seems not even aware of.
The people throughout the country were starving. Louis XVI, he of the 1,195 horses, kindly removed a smidgen of grain from a couple of his palace's several granaries. Wow.
Just as the Bourbons-- and the French Church-- celebrated merely the outer trappings of their religion, not its core demands,
so Ms. Vidal is caught up worshipping the manners of Marie Antoinette.
I note the Burke quote on her blog.
Is she not aware of Paine's response?
"He pities the plumage, but forgets the dying bird."

K.I.N.G. Wenclas said...

p.s. Well, of course Ms. Vidal shouldn't be my target. In this sense Mr. Martin is correct. I'll lay off, as per my "Discord" post above.