Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Professor Bierce's Raison d'etre

Greetings, fellow academics with too much time on your hands and too little knowledge of things petty and profound involving the Historical Profession. There is a sad lacuna in our knowledge of the triumphs, tribulations, and scandals involving our fellow scholars. Usually, in hushed tones in the corridors of overpriced Hiltons and Marriotts, at least every January, countless Historians gather to twitter about the follies and foibles of their fellows. On occasion, in nearby bars, inebriated devotees of the Goddess Clio (the few who stay up past 9:30 at night) engage in boisterous banter tearing down their betters or lamenting their great, yet Unfinished Magnum Opus.

Professor Ambrose Hofstadter Bierce, III, will offer an occasional service to you tattlers and tipplers. Gather here, in the virtual corridor, yes, gather here without the indignity of paying a quarter of your measly salary on an uncomfortable plane ride, an overheated hotel room, and a grossly-inflated $10 bottle of beer--all for the purposes of basking in the presence of a few thousand poorly-dressed, anxious, and utterly bored fellow historians. Come here for credible reporting without having to look at all of those crepe-sole shoes. No more tattered tweed, no more blue wool skirts.

Professor Bierce will comb the web for you. He promises to be as factual as the History News Network but more adventuresome. Whether spelunking around the bottom of a well, roaming the edge of the Great West, or hitching a ride in the belly of an early modern whale, he will venture far afield to the darkest corners of the Great Web of Information ever searching for the smoking gun.

But he will rely, above all, on your contributions. After all, gossip is a collective enterprise. It should be said that Professor Bierce is discriminating. He has his own History Standards. He will not reprint everything that comes his way, unless it is Good and True or too Good to Be True.

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