“Wild Bill” Strikes Again

You will find his name on a host of message boards, listservs, and other sites.  His mission is nothing less than to protect and defend Confederate heritage from anyone who asks questions or offers a view that differs from his own.  No, he does not live in the "Heart of Dixie", but in Commack, New York – or as he fondly notes at the end of emails and comments, "behind enemy lines."  I've been the target of "Wild Bill" for some time now, but by  now I've grown to appreciate his enthusiasm and good humor.  Today I received an email from a friend who monitors a number of these message boards and email lists.  Today's installment by "Wild Bill" is a real doozy, which you can read in its entirety here.  This is my favorite part of the post:

Don’t waste your time trying to debate Levin. He won’t allow it. It would spoil the nice, neat look of his blog. “Thank God for Kevin Levin”, was one of the comments on his blog!! (YIPES!?) Don’t waste your time trying to engage him in debate on neutral territory either. He has nothing to gain by it. And don’t waste time trying to enlighten those who worship at his temple. They are already in. So what to do then? Email him?   While it might get under his skin, it isn’t going to change anything.   Start a counter blog?   Having had a website myself once upon a time, I can tell you that such things are extremely time consuming. Actually folks, there’s a lot more at stake here than simply counter-pointing a blowhard yankee blogger. Levin, you see, is a teacher, the same kind of teacher who teaches your kids to be ashamed of who they are and where they come from. I wish I had a dollar for every Southerner who’s told me that he’s lost one or more children to an educational system which has seen fit to ingrain shame into them. 

And there are many Kevin Levins, in public schools and in private ones, all over the South and indeed, all over the country. The way to combat people like Levin is not to challenge them to intellectual duels, which they will not accept because they have nothing to gain, but to challenge them when they try to (and I mean this in the most literal sense) take your children away from you! Remember, you pay their salaries. You pay for your kids to go to the school, be it a private school or a public one. Don’t send your kids to them without first giving those kids the “lowdown” on who they themselves are, and who people like Levin are! And when teachers like Levin try to make your kids ashamed of who and what they are, go pay those teachers a visit and tell them that you pay their salaries and that you don’t appreciate what they are trying to do. I could be wrong, but my gut tells me that such schools as the one Levin teaches in are full of “latchkey children,” (children whose parents simply turn their kids over to the educational system without keeping tabs on what’s being taught).

You will notice that he spends quite a bit of time criticizing me for not allowing certain comments through on my blog.  As all of you know I do monitor comments for language as well as content.  If the comment contains offensive language or deviates significantly from the topic I delete it.  Readers, however, are free to disagree.  What "Wild Bill" doesn't tell his readers is that I allowed one of his crude comments through in response to Peter Carmichael's guest post on Confederate slaves.  In fact, both Peter and I welcomed "Wild Bill" to respond directly to the content of the post, which he attempted to do, but than failed to follow-up at all.  It was clear to us that he simply had nothing useful to say.  I couldn't be happier that this blog has brought "Wild Bill" to the point where he feels a need to lash out once again. 

Well "Wild Bill", the cat's out of the bag.  Anyone who bothers to look can see that you are nothing but a fraud and a liar.  It's just more evidence that Civil War Memory is on the right track.  By the way, I will be teaching a course on Civil War memory next semester and I plan on using your emails and postings as a case study for a lesson on the divisive nature of remembrance and commemoration.  Thanks buddy.  Keep them coming.

Note: I've decided to create a new category titled, "Fan Mail" for just this sort of thing.

Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth

“Levin’s study is the first of its kind to blueprint and then debunk the mythology of enslaved African Americans who allegedly served voluntarily in behalf of the Confederacy.”–Journal of Southern History

Purchase your copy today!

13 comments… add one
  • Kevin Levin Oct 15, 2008 @ 20:14

    Brooks, — “If it quacks like a duck, then it must be a duck.”

  • Brooks Simpson Oct 15, 2008 @ 12:54

    The Long Island Ducks minor league hockey team used to play in Commack Arena. I saw them there. So did the New York Nets in the Rick Barry, pre-Dr. J days.

    This guy lives a dozen miles from my family. You can’t go home again, I guess.

  • Kevin Levin Oct 15, 2008 @ 8:44

    Chris, — Bill constantly reminds me that I ought to be lucky that I don’t have his kids in my classroom. I’ve had parents complain about my teaching in the past, but as long as the administration allows me to teach I will do so in the only way I know how. My AP students perform exceptionally well every year and I have students who go onto college to major in history and become teachers in the field. A few have even gone onto to graduate studies in history. I could care less about what this clown has to say. As far as I can tell Bill has no degree in the field, no teaching experience, and he has never written anything for a legitimate publication.

    He’s a nobody, though he is good for a few laughs. How could he expect us to take him seriously when he signs off as “Wild Bill”?

  • Chris Paysinger Oct 15, 2008 @ 8:18

    I have couple of concerns about “Wild Bill’s” rationale. First, as a public educator, does he really believe that I give a damn about a parents opinion about my teaching? The only way to be a good teacher is set high standards and stick to them even if the Pope questions you, much less a parent who probably has the alterior motive of just wanting their child passed through.

    Also, “Wild Bill” is concerned that history teachers are distorting the truth? We just finished the Early Republic period and my students couldn’t believe Jefferson, Washington, etc. were slave owners. How can students appreciate and understand the issues that followed if they think that something like slavery only became a problem when those pesky Missourians asked to became a state. I’m not distorting this info to meet any agenda I might have. But I’m sure not glamorizing paternalism, etc. It seems to me that it is just the truth and our teachers leaving out key information is just as bad as teaching with a heavy bias.

    I really don’t understand how people can believe that “consesus” history is the only way to teach/learn. I’ve had quite a few parents take exception with the way I teach slavery, ie that it was pretty damn important in the coming of the Civil War.

    Now I need to get ready to teach about the structure of early Southern society….in a completely unbiased way, of course. I think I’ll mention that they did have slaves.



  • Kevin Levin Oct 15, 2008 @ 7:06

    Mannie, — Just the other day I came across a couple of Kevin Levins, which was quite awkward since I could not convince them that I was me. Those Levinites can be quite rude and persistent.

    In all seriousness, this guy would be horrified to hear of how many of my students have gone onto study history in college and graduate school or are currently on the road to becoming history teachers. It warms my heart to know that the plan is working.

  • Mannie Gentile Oct 14, 2008 @ 22:20


    I have to agree with the main thrust of Wild Bill’s argument about there being a lot of Kevin Levins out there.

    I saw three at the home improvement store today, and one outside a Wendy’s.

    Just before lunch I gave directions to two Kevin Levins who were trying to get to Sharpsburg.

    In total I saw seventeen Kevin Levins today. This redundancy is getting a little tedious (no offense).

    Gotta go, you seem to be at my front door right now.


  • Paul Oct 14, 2008 @ 20:20

    Kevin –

    Your new “fan mail” section reminds me of a new non-fiction book by SF author John Scalzi titled “Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded.”

    The publisher writes how Scalzi’s readers “sometimes send him hate mail, which [Scalzi] grades on originality and sends back. Along the way, Scalzi’s become a best-selling, award-winning author, a father, and a geek celebrity. But no matter what, there’s always another Whatever [column] to amuse and/or enrage his readers.”

    So there you go. You may have a future book here!!!


  • Kevin Levin Oct 14, 2008 @ 20:06

    Patrick, — I bet you’ve got some wild stories in your box.

    Marc, — He’s made those same comments about Blight a number of times. The problem is that there is no indication that he has actually read the book, and since Bill tends to post on sites where others are of the same mindset he doesn’t have to display any understanding. They just lap it up as if they also have read the book. Well, at least it’s worth a few laughs in the end.

  • Patrick L Oct 14, 2008 @ 19:16

    As one who is proud of (perhaps too much) his “fan mail” NPS stories, I fully support airing yours… and I think that classroom case study will be absolutely fascinating.

  • Marc Ferguson Oct 14, 2008 @ 18:26

    I have to admit that I did get a good laugh out of it, but I got an even bigger laugh from going to the site itself. It’s hilarious! The comments about David Blight are especially funny. Also, allow me to brag that in reading through some of the earlier posts on the site I came across a reference to myself by another one of the usual suspects from these sites, who referred to me as “one of the most nauseating anti-Southern hacks on the Web.” Considering the source, I took that as high praise indeed.


  • Kevin Levin Oct 14, 2008 @ 17:44

    Glad to see that the two of you got a good laugh out of this one.

  • Marc Ferguson Oct 14, 2008 @ 16:46

    “The way to combat people like Levin is … to challenge them when they try to (and I mean this in the most literal sense) take your children away from you!”

    Snatching children again, Kevin?


  • Mark Snell Oct 14, 2008 @ 16:08

    Yikes! I guess I’m a “Kevin Levin” too! Then again, I’m just one of those “liberal academics.” 😉


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.