What really happened in the past? Thanks to these weirdos, we may never know for sure.
The war for historical truth is not a war in the most direct sense. No guns and bombs will be found here; instead, it is a war of ideas, waged with our understanding of the past hanging in the balance. For a war itâ€™s fought pretty nicely, and if ratings-hungry news outlets didnâ€™t starve for flashy, headline-pretty stories it probably wouldnâ€™t be called a war at all. But it is flash that they want, and a war it shall remain.
The war has seen many high-profile battles in America, pitting creationists against evolutionists, traditionalists against multiculturalists and skinhead Nazi Holocaust-deniers against just about everybody else.
Now the war for historical truth has come to Green Lake, and the battle lines are well-drawn.
Historical controversy is actually nothing new to Green Lake, though academics have argued for years about how long this has gone on. The townâ€™s most controversial contemporary historian is, of course, H. Ryland Stevenson, who claimed that Abraham Lincoln waged the Civil War to save his political career. â€œHe just wanted to show he was tough on treason,â€ says the outspoken Stevenson. His newest work, â€œ$25,000 Pyramid,â€ asserts that ancient Egypt used superheroes to build their huge monuments, and have covered this truth for over 4000 years so as to control the world comic book market.
His efforts notwithstanding, Stevenson is not considered a threat. â€œHeâ€™s seen as an amiable dope in historical circles,â€ says Dr. Julia Moeller of Appleton State University. â€œThe real threat,â€ she says, â€œare the revisionists.â€
Nationally known revisionists, and their very wild, reckless claims, have denied major events like the Holocaust, earning some followers, some cash, and the eternal enmity of real historians. â€œBut the ones in Green Lake,â€ Moeller says, â€œare even more bizarre.â€ One group is pressuring the public school system to, according to their literature, â€œstop perpetrating the myth of some â€˜American Revolutionâ€™ and teach our children to respect and obey the British Crown as they should.â€ One board member has publicly backed the measure, and it is gaining support in some circles. Another group denies that French Canadians compete in the Boston Marathon, and has a former marathon champion, Montrealâ€™s Jean-Luc Bountrois, speaking on their behalf. â€œI never earned any of my medals or trophies,â€ he says. â€œI stole them from an antiques trade show and engraved my name.â€ The strangest group, Habitat for Inhumanity, denies that evolution ever took place, and has hired a lawyer to buy Wisconsin wetlands so they can live on as the primitive one-celled organisms they believe themselves to be. One Habitat for Inhumanity member claims to have reproduced by dividing in half, as amoeba do. He is currently in fair condition at a local hospital. (See the Green Lake Flagbearer report â€œOuch! Man Divides Himself in Halfâ€ for more information.)
Their work, and the work of other denier groups, infuriates historians by ignoring evidence and spanking their critics. â€œThese groups… they only see what they want to see. And,â€ Moeller sighs, â€œmy rear hurts from all those paddlings!â€