Tuesday, September 3, 2013
The Campaign to Finish "The Last Campaign"
"Give us the tools and we will finish the job," said Winston Churchill, and in a very real sense, that is the genius of Kickstarter; it allows artists, scholars, filmmakers, and a wide variety of makers of culture, artefacts and even just plain products to assist in their funding and thus creation. Supporters get the satisfaction of contributing something they believe in, and sometimes creators offer related perks to those who contribute at a certain level, which they set.
Anthony Clark, an old friend of your Anglocat, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the final stages of research he needs to finish his book, The Last Campaign: How Presidents Rewrite History, Run for Posterity, and Enshrine Their Legacies. The book is an expose of the politicking, brand-building, and whitewashing that Presidents, their families, and their supporters engage in creating glitzy displays and compelling narratives, all the while gently nudging the shadow side of the Presidency commemorated by the library deeper into the shadows. More to the point, these libraries, maintained by taxpayer dollars, are designed to facilitate research and the writing of more definitive history, not merely to be shrines. Anthony Clark, who had to fight to get access to documents in presidential libraries, then became a lecturer on the effect of politicization of presidential libraries, ultimately served on the staff of the Congressional Committee that exercises oversight over the National Archives and this presidential libraries.
In other words, he is an expert in this field who earned his credibility the hard way--working his way from the outside in.
But, you may ask, why do you care?
Because, I would suggest, there is one hell of a lot of information out there, buried under the glitz, the celebrity, the cult of personality, that obscures the achievements and failures, virtues and vices, of our Presidents. We pay for the maintenance of both the information--which is hard to get to--and the infotainment, which is all too easy to flock to and get lost in.
Anthony Clark is trying to blow the lid off the politics and the intrigue--interesting reading in their own right--and bring about substantive reform.
Isn't that worth a look?