‘Plagiarism’ and other piffle…

Though I have no interest in social media, I am sometimes made aware of the rubbish spouted by True Believers on various Boer War Facebook pages. Increasingly desperate to defend their much-cherished National Party myths, these fanatics are often jolly entertaining as they flail wildly, frantically coming up with more and more outlandish reasons to deny historical reality.

After my blog post where I busted a couple of myths about Kalkheuwel, one fellow popped up to say this:

Quite how writing a blog article is ‘cashing in’ is anyone’s guess: clearly Mr Wilson’s understanding of business is just as suspect as his understanding of history. It is also remarkable that he seems to suggest that no one should be allowed to write about any subject, unless Mr Wilson thinks they ‘personally have a recognized part of’ it. A very strange way to study history.

Undeterred by the replies which pointed out just how ridiculous his stance is, Mr Wilson then doubled-down on his fanatical defence of Boer War myths, posting this:

Clearly spelling and punctuation are not Mr Wilson’s strong points, or perhaps he was just so enraged at his beloved myths being punctured that he could not control himself as he hammered away on his keyboard. One assumes this rage also clouded his mind such, that he is unaware the ‘demise of Rhodesia’ happened 42 years ago.

Mr Wilson refers to something he bizarrely calls: ‘The If Man, the Anglo Boer War ‘Commandos and Kak’, which rather suggests he has absolutely no idea what books I have written… and certainly does not give one the impression that he has taken the time to actually read them, and learn a bit about the Boer War. Heaven forbid.

Then we are treated to a few unsubstantiated, throw-away remarks of the type that True Believers love to spew out. Rather than taking the trouble to explain why my article about Kalkheuwel was in some way inaccurate, instead he claims (without any evidence whatsoever) that ‘many’ will fault my standing as an ‘authority’ on the Boer War, and that I am not a ‘respected’ author (I guess ‘respected’ means ‘one that writes stuff that maintains National Party myths’).

Rather inconveniently for Mr Wilson and his ilk, however, my research and writing on the Boer War saw me elected as a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society – so that torpedoes this childish line of attack completely. Given that the Royal Historical Society recognises my work, and my contribution to the subject, Mr Wilson can be assured that his lack of ‘respect’ for me is not going to give me many sleepless nights.

He also claims (unlike myself, apparently) to have a ‘direct connection to the actual history’. I think we can be reasonably sure than Mr Wilson is not about 140 years old, so quite what ‘direct connection’ he thinks he has to the Boer War is unclear. And given that Mr Wilson knows absolutely nothing about me, it is also unclear why he proclaims to have a ‘direct connection’ to the conflict, and that I don’t.

Furthermore, it is just as unclear why Mr Wilson seems to think having a ‘direct connection to the actual history’ automatically gives one a special insight and profound knowledge of the Boer War. Does he think that I, for example, have some sort of uniquely deep, and otherwise unobtainable, knowledge of the battle of Driefontein, simply because my great-grandfather fought in it?

It is also remarkable that Mr Wilson suggests only those who have ‘a foot in both camps’ are entitled to write about / research / have views on a given historical event. Following his (ahem) ‘logic’, he presumably also has no respect for anything written about the Second World War, unless the author had one grandfather who served in the RAF, and another who was in the Waffen SS? Equally, is he seriously claiming he only ‘respects’ a historian’s research of the Battle of Rorke’s Drift if they had a great-great-grandfather who served in the 24th Regiment, and another who was a Zulu warrior?

Of course, this sort of ludicrous bleating and squawking is only done when it comes to the Boer War, and would never be said about any other conflict. Amusingly, however, it is the sort of deluded grasping-at-straws and special pleading that the increasingly frazzled Defenders of the Myth are now reduced to.

And as for his entertaining, pulled-out-of-the-air-in-sheer-panic-stricken-desperation, accusation of ‘plagiarism’, it is noteworthy that he was unable to provide a single example.

Still, perhaps Mr Wilson slept a little better that night, proudly thinking he had played his part in keeping the myths alive a little longer.

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