"Ah, yes, I think you may deliberately either gloss over or deliberately miss my point. I do NOT use the dictionary definitions of myth and legend in my book. As I said before, I use definitions taken from lengthy academic studies, which you will have to read in the context of my book. My entire book deals with what the meanings of the words are. I am not going to repeat the entire book here on your website. It is not as simple as 'fiction vs. fact' like you seem to want to make it."
If your peers tell you to jump off a bridge...
Naturally I believe it is a great mistake to ignore the definitions from an academic dictionary such as the Oxford. So some "academic studies" change the definition, does that mean you must follow? This will surely confuse many of your readers.
Yes, I do believe it is as simple as "fiction vs. fact." Thus far, all I see is that you are trying to convince everyone that "fiction" IS "fact," which of course would lead to the idea that Soapy Smith's history is mostly fiction. That won't happen.
"No. The Soapy Smith Tragedy was intended as a political satire. I believes it was interpreted as a joke by many of the contemporaries who read it, but it was written as satire by Chris Shea, a politician (not by H. B. LeFevre, as you have erroneously stated elsewhere). Newspaper articles written elsewhere, some in Skagway, some in Denver, some in other places, were not written as fiction, but again as satire."
Readers need to know that those comments are purely your own theory, and not based on any facts (fact vs. theory).
"Have you read Jane Haigh's PhD dissertation on political corruption in Denver? She concluded that Soapy was a minor player."
Jane's book, King Con: The Story of Soapy Smith was merely a rehash of outdated information from old biographies. Much of the Denver underworld information was due in part to the Blonger website, the successors to Soapy's empire in Denver, however, I have not had the pleasure of reading her PhD dissertation. I will ask her if your latter statement is true, that she believes Soapy was a minor player in Denver.
"Now, the FACT that you did not once cite the townsite files for the city of Skagway (National Archives, Record Group 49, Records of the General Land Office, Division K, Documents Relating to the Skagway Townsite, 1898 - 1908) indicates that you do not understand the single most important political issue in Skagway during the months of 1897 - 1899. No one could be called the King of Skagway if he was not in some way involved with the Skagway Townsite Lawsuit, which began as early as August 1897. Testimony in the lawsuit was gathered throughout March and April 1898, and all of the most important people in Skagway were involved in the townsite. The complete absense of Soapy and his operatives indicate that he had very little power over issues that of vital, lasting significance to Skagway and the people with real power in the community."
Cathy, Soapy was an underworld figure, a "fixer." He was behind the scenes. Apparently you do not understand how underworld politics works. I am certain that Soapy had his hand in the workings of the proceedings. He had his hand in everything that interfered, or could interfere, with his growing empire. Dealing with the White Pass and Yukon Railway and their interference with his empire is most likely what got him killed.
"Oh, that's right. You think Allan Hornsby, Billy Saportes, and Frank Clancy were Soapy operatives. Again, I disagree. I think Soapy had arrangements with these men that were similar to those he had with corrupt politicians in Denver, but that does not make them Soapy's operatives, any more than one could call Bat Masterson, Ed Chase, or Chief Brady Soapy operatives. Rather, Soapy was at best a colleague of these men, at worst, a tool. Hornsby, Saportes and Clancy were, in the beginning actually members of what became known as the Committee of 101, prominent citizens of the community, and had agendas outside anything Soapy was interested in, and I believe that is how the first two came to be involved in the meeting at the Klondike on July 8. "
Allan Hornsby, the newspaper man, was receiving graft from Soapy. Billy Saportas, reporter, became closely entwined with the workings of the Soap Gang. He was the man who warned Soapy that the vigilantes were spoiling for a fight. That pretty much makes these men under Soapy's thumb don't you think? Bat Masterson and Ed Chase were good friends and supporters of Soapy's. Chief Brady was instrumental in aiding the release of Soapy's men when they were imprisoned. The methods and operations of a political machine is a complicated process.
Do you have any provenance that Hornsby, Saportes and Clancy were, in the beginning actually members of the Committee of 101?
"King or, more properly, "boss" of the underworld in Skagway -- I might concede that. But King of Skagway? No. As you will see in my up-coming book, that is the stuff of legend, and cannot be authenticated, when primary historical documents are carefully examined."
Cathy, who cares what they called him? So a newspaper called him "king." The idea was that Soapy was in control of Skagway's underworld, which in turn controlled the politics of Skagway that might eventually interfere with the hugely profitable gambling houses, saloons, brothels and bunco operations. It's the way Soapy operated in Denver. It's the way he operated in Creede, and it's the way he operated in Skagway. That same formula continued for many decades, and in many ways, still does. I enjoy watching HBO's Boardwalk Empire. Although fictional and of the roaring 1920s era, the methods of political operations and the underworld's control of it are pretty much the same, minus technology.
"If you haven't seen it, you might look at my PUBLISHED piece on Chris Shea entitled "Christopher C. Shea,'King of Skagway,' Progressive Era Mayor and Game Warden in Alaska." (Pacific Northwest Quarterly, Winter 2007/2008 Volume 99 Number 1, pp. 16-29."
I would like to read it. Is there anyway you can digitally send the article? (firstname.lastname@example.org)
"My point is, for you, the story ends with Soapy's death. For me, as an anthropologist and folklore specialist, the story begins with his death."
Not at all. My book did not end with his death. In fact there are 4 chapters in the book related to post-death. After 650 pages I was forced to conclude the book, but my website and blog take over for all that post-death history. Anyone looking at the archives of my blog will see many posts related to post-death articles that extend to the present day. I know, coming from your own words, that you have "been watching" my blog so how can you possibly make the above "point?"
Ah, yes, I think you may deliberately either gloss over or deliberately miss my point. I do NOT use the dictionary definitions of myth and legend in my book. As I said before, I use definitions taken ... more
Am I really missing the point? Jeff Smith,Sat Nov 5 1:13pm
It looks like my earlier answer to your inquiry about an electronic copy of my Chris Shea piece got lost in that long answer I wrote early this morning that disappeared in the ethernet. I don't have... more
PNQ wanted to work in hard copy after it got to a certain stage in the editing process, as do most magazines, books and journals. The best I have is an electronic copy of a final draft. And, like I... more
Point 1: Academic discussions. I got a Doctorate in Philosophy with a specialty in Anthropology. One of the things such a degree confirms upon its recipient is give one license to engage in academic... more
I congratulate you on obtaining your degree. I do not disrespect that, however, your degree does not come with the right to change definitions form the acclaimed Oxford dictionary. In the long run... more
My point about Jane Haigh's dissertation goes back to your earlier assertion that you had grounded yourself in the political context the times. Then you say you have not read Jane's dissertation. I... more
One more bit on Jane Haigh. I reviewed Jane's book, King Con: The Story of Soapy Smith . It is filled with errors throughout and no new information. She published, and THEN decided to do the research ... more
Recently I have noticed your same superior attitude in some other people with degrees. It came from a blog I found on history. Someone had written a post in which I had some very interesting and... more
Sigh ... I once read something someone said to Chris Shea when he repeated asked the same question over and over. The person being questioned ended up replying something to the effect, that he could... more
Ok, Cathy I'll try one more time. I originally brought up the very academic Oxford dictionary definitions to you for the words legend and myth because of what you wrote. For instance, in a previous... more