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Speed With Style: Peter Revson book

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  • #16
    While there is certainly what can be seen as a symbiotic relationship between those in journalism and historians, especially over the last century and a quarter or so, but when it comes to sport and motor sport, it can also be a very frustrating relationship as well at times. Historians certainly become attuned to the Zeitgeist of the era they are researching and learn how to literally interpret the journalistic styles of the day. By and large, one finds that journalism does provide the proverbial "first draft of history." Journalists and historians often find themselves facing pretty much the same issues, even if many years apart in some cases. One of the things that good journalists and historians develop is the ability to compartmentalize their thoughts across the board. Biographers who fall in love with their subjects (far more common than those who hate theirs it seems) are no different than journalists who get too close to their subjects, if not worse. Objectivity is a goal, just as there is there often more than two sides to a story, not to mention that journalist face the false equivalency issue, with both dealing with the unpleasant issue that facts often tend to be inconvenient things for some...
    And so we beat on, boats against the current, drawn back ceaselessly into the past ... F. Scott Fitzgerald
    Ever have the feeling that the rest of the world is a tuxedo and you're a pair of brown shoes? ... George Gobel

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    • #17
      Originally posted by 1987Carzan View Post
      Sold, thank you and everyone else for the input.
      Hi there. I didn’t forget about you. I just did a big move last week so everything is packed away. As soon as I unpack it I will make arrangements to send it to you. Sorry for the delay, I should have mentioned my move.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Don Capps View Post
        While there is certainly what can be seen as a symbiotic relationship between those in journalism and historians, especially over the last century and a quarter or so, but when it comes to sport and motor sport, it can also be a very frustrating relationship as well at times. Historians certainly become attuned to the Zeitgeist of the era they are researching and learn how to literally interpret the journalistic styles of the day. By and large, one finds that journalism does provide the proverbial "first draft of history." Journalists and historians often find themselves facing pretty much the same issues, even if many years apart in some cases. One of the things that good journalists and historians develop is the ability to compartmentalize their thoughts across the board. Biographers who fall in love with their subjects (far more common than those who hate theirs it seems) are no different than journalists who get too close to their subjects, if not worse. Objectivity is a goal, just as there is there often more than two sides to a story, not to mention that journalist face the false equivalency issue, with both dealing with the unpleasant issue that facts often tend to be inconvenient things for some...
        I have nothing to add to this currently, just want to say hello Don, miss speaking with you. Thanks for all you did for me in my previous position.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by lotuspoweredbyford View Post

          Hi there. I didn’t forget about you. I just did a big move last week so everything is packed away. As soon as I unpack it I will make arrangements to send it to you. Sorry for the delay, I should have mentioned my move.
          No problem, I figured you were busy. Let me know whenever.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by lotuspoweredbyford View Post

            I have nothing to add to this currently, just want to say hello Don, miss speaking with you. Thanks for all you did for me in my previous position.
            Mike,

            Same here regarding our conversations. FYI: I will be in South Bend twice, early in July (the Concours) and then a month later in August (a presentation at the Studebaker Museum), and then in Auburn at the ACD Museum in early August for a meeting. Hard to stay away from Indiana...

            Don
            And so we beat on, boats against the current, drawn back ceaselessly into the past ... F. Scott Fitzgerald
            Ever have the feeling that the rest of the world is a tuxedo and you're a pair of brown shoes? ... George Gobel

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            • #21
              Don, you bring up a great point re: access. It's a double edged sword. When I pitch a story, the first thing editors want to know is "who will/can you talk to?." For something like a piece on the deep connections Glendale, California had to the Indianapolis 500 with the Kurtis and Watson shops being located there, it was easy as I was in contact with the authors of the books on Watson and Kurtis, and I knew a couple of others to contact. Unfortunately, when it comes to others (e.g. Ed Elisian), the passage of time has slammed that door firmly shut, as there seems no one left to speak with.

              Which makes me wonder, under those circumstances and conditions, how anything can be written about any person, place or event more than a couple of generations back?
              "Versions of a story that are more tidy, compact, and camera-ready should generally be viewed as historically suspect." - Jackson Landers

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              • #22
                "Which makes me wonder, under those circumstances and conditions, how anything can be written about any person, place or event more than a couple of generations back?"

                We historians somehow manage to do that, at least to the best of our abilities...

                I do get your point, however, and it is often not that easy given that sometimes the research can be EXTREMELY frustrating thanks to issues with the archival trail, possibly dealing with the works of hagiographers, the influence perhaps of legend/mythology, and not least, of course, simply trying to piece things together from what you can find and make sense of at times. That said, we still manage to do our best. Putting together a presentation regarding the 1863 campaign for Charleston was challenging, but then writing a paper on the formation and service of the post-bellum Black Militia, the National Guard, of South Carolina from its creation in 1868/69 until its demise in 1905 was a REAL CHALLENGE given both the relative dearth of archival material and the wide dispersal of what there was. Twenty-plus years later, I would have loved to have rewritten it given the additional material that later turned up thanks to the efforts of others. My current research effort regarding the first 25 years of US racing is turning out to be a far different process than what it was 20 or 25 or 30 years ago, with materials now being available that were difficult to access -- or even imagine -- when I first looked into the project.

                Access does not necessarily mean in-person access. I had access to much of the Bernard Fall material some years ago and soon found myself accepting many of his points of view regarding the Indochina War uncritically rather than questioning or analyzing them as one must as an historian; I literally had to do a stand-down and a reset before being able to write the paper as it should be written. Even though he died in 1967 and I never met him, I found myself liking the guy and seeing things through his prism on the war versus using the material as a means to further develop my contextual basis for the paper I was writing. As I have mentioned, we often learn very valuable lessons the hard way and that was a hard lesson. That was an eyeopener for me, finally realizing how such things happen to both journalists and historians.

                But, yeah, Jim, more times than I can count, I have had the same feeling about things: How am I ever going to write (or give a presentation) about this...?
                And so we beat on, boats against the current, drawn back ceaselessly into the past ... F. Scott Fitzgerald
                Ever have the feeling that the rest of the world is a tuxedo and you're a pair of brown shoes? ... George Gobel

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by Don Capps View Post
                  "Which makes me wonder, under those circumstances and conditions, how anything can be written about any person, place or event more than a couple of generations back?"

                  We historians somehow manage to do that, at least to the best of our abilities...
                  Don, I believe you missed the point by only viewing it from a historians perspective.

                  It was from the journalism standpoint. It comes from the experience of having editors first questions always being: "who can/will you talk to?" I understand that one goes to an expert/historian for quotes on those no longer around to speak for themselves (hence my comment about using the authors of the books on Kurtis and Watson), but what when one is both the expert and the writer? Then it becomes written in "one voice" and that is unacceptable in journalism. That is the dilemma. How does one write journalistically about a subject from an increasingly distant past where all of those involved with even secondhand knowledge are no longer available to speak to and "experts" are non-existent? This also partially explains the amount of the errors and myths in auto racing history being perpetuated from earlier works.
                  "Versions of a story that are more tidy, compact, and camera-ready should generally be viewed as historically suspect." - Jackson Landers

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