What in the World?

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In the latest edition of World magazine, just out, a short article has appeared on the flap surrounding the booklet Southern Slavery As It Was. In that article, I was quoted (accurately) as saying that this was an issue where we deserved the lump on our head. This being the case, I also want to say here that we deserve (in the decrees of God) the misunderstandings that have resulted. When you screw up in the way we did, you cannot demand that everyone else in the world go to infinite lengths to figure out what actually happened. So if, in any of the responses below, there is an implied criticism of World, it is with an acknowledgement that our screw up with the booklet helped to create the situation to begin with. And with regard to the central issue itself, the error itself, the best thing to do is just take your licks.

That said, and in that spirit, just a few clarifying comments.

1. When Mark Bergin, the reporter, interviewed me, the working title for the forthcoming book-length version was Black and Tan. We have since altered that name so that no one could accuse us of talking about coon hounds when we were actually talking about mixed beer. The working title now is Regenerate But Unreconstructed.

2. Our acknowledgements in that article that the publication of the booklet was “wrong and inappropriate” should not be taken as an acknowledgement that the citations were “stolen” or instances of “plagiarism,” as the article put it. The assumption that we were guilty of that kind of sin we heartily dispute. Our sin was elsewhere.

3. There is not really an ongoing spat between Christ Church and the Moscow community. There is an ongoing cultural clash between Christ Church and a handful of Intoleristas, and it is actually part of a larger, national cultural clash that World magazine is fully engaged in. It is unfortunate, in my mind, that World missed the real story here. And there is quite a real story going on here.

4. There is much more that could be said, but on the subject of whether that booklet, in the form it was in, should ever have been published, nothing more needs to be said. We all agree that it should not have been.

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