The key difference between thinking historically and thinking historishically is that historians cannot make stuff. Confronted with lacunae they can, it is true, reach for the unstable verities of other social science, weasel words like might or may, assertions of must or had to, or they can attempt the no less slippery reliance on analogy. Or they admit to making a guess but rely on their general mastery of the subject matter to paper over the idly speculative guessing game.
However, the best historians when confronted with a lacuna, Heydrich's motivation say, or what the Nazis said to Hindenburg during the fateful meeting, etc, remain calmly silent secure in the knowledge that you don't get to know everything and that making stuff up is just not on.
On the other hand, some of the respondents are confused about Red Plenty's genre based on its truthiness and historishical nature. As one. put it
[i]t probably works well as history, though I really don’t know enough about Russian history to judge. It certainly has the feel of the best kind of history - it captures what it (probably) felt like for the people under examination when the past was modern, and exciting, and uncertain and contingent, and all those other things that we have trouble imagining the past as.Another confused the making up of stuff with historical accuracy arguing that
[b]y using fiction, Spufford is able to make abstract accounts of how the Soviet system operated concrete, and concretely horrible. The collage of stories allows him both to portray individuals striving to reach goals and the overarching system that encompasses those individuals.For all of the authors citation of Hayden White's notion of emplotment, making stuff up is the opposite of concrete and has little to nothing to do with history as a discipline, which seeks to make events concrete by using the facts of the matter to create a coherent and plausible account of the event or whathaveyou under consideration.
If Santorum highlights the dangers and dementedness of truthiness and factiness, Ryan Lizza recent essay on Obama's second term highlights the danger of historishical thinking. He "argues" that
[i]f he manages to win this year, it is likely to be by less than that, which would make him the first President in a hundred and twenty-four years to win a second term by a smaller margin than in his initial election. Whatever a mandate is, Obama won’t have one.It is worthwhile here to note that Lizza, relying on the work of Robert Dahl Lizza has already dismissed the idea of a presidential mandate as a "myth." This means, according to Lizza, that if Obama survives a close reelection he wont have something that doesn't exist much as in a similar fashion if I follow the rainbow I won't have a non-existent pot of gold.
The reasons for Obama's "likely" election year squeeker are the horrid economy and and the bizarre idea that
[b]arring a disastrous revelation or blunder, Mitt Romney will be a more formidable opponent than many assumed during his rightward lurch to secure the Republican nomination.