Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Life Lessons from Grad School at UT Tyler

About a month ago I posted about the Final Frontier for those interested in an History from the University of Texas at Tyler. The Frontier is full of reading books, writing reviews on them, discussing their relevance and importance, and finally constructing a complete historiography on the gathered information. But why do you care? Why do I care? Is anyone honestly still reading this or am I beating a dead horse?

To be perfectly honest I am not the least bit offended if you are bored. Most people are when it comes to history. For most there is a general disregard of important facts that may bore but still are of vital importance. We are a society of which lives on LEGEND and MYTH.

What does this mean? Well, I take this from Robert Wuhl and his “Assume the Position with Mr.Wuhl” film in which he lectures a freshman 1301 course and debunks several myths and fallacies concerning American history. Such as the legend of Paul Revere and his midnight ride. In high school classrooms we base our entire understanding of this event through a poem written nearly 100 years after the fact. If that was the way historians critically analyzed historical events we would be using the musical 1776 to better understand what Thomas Jefferson sounded like when he spoke.

First of all Paul Revere was no the only person to warn that the British were coming. The warnings that the British were coming were intricately planned ahead of time and consisted of several riders. One of them happened to be Paul Revere.. The real hero of this story is Israel Bissell who rode over 300 miles changing horses along the way.

Now that is an American Hero. So, why did Longfellow decide to write about Paul Revere? Because what’s better for a story and remembering the American Revolution than with a man whose last name is the root for reverence. And, what’s a more American name than Paul Revere? Well Maybe Dusty Hill but that’s for a different post.

What I’m really trying to get at here is how we go about checking our facts when it comes to our day to day lives. When you log on to facebook and you see that one of your friends posted about the death of a celebrity check your facts before you freak out / not care a bit about them. As a grad student you learn to only accept information from a credible source that not only cites its sources well but also uses the most primary sources available.

So in the end its important to check your facts and get your story straight before you go blabbing about something that just isn't true. 

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