Mary Rosh was Lott’s most determined online defender, posting many messages, almost all of them defending Lott and displaying close familiarity with Lott’s work. Benny Smith is Bellesiles’ most determined online defender, posting many messages, almost all of them defending Bellesiles and displaying close familiarity with Bellesiles’ work.

Andrew Ackerman has an excellent article in the Emory Wheel, laying out the evidence that Benny Smith is really Michael Bellesiles. Firstly, there does not appear to be any Benny Smith in the Detroit area. That suggests that the name is a pseudonym, but of course does not mean that it is really Bellesiles. Secondly, Smith knows things, such as the cover art for the new edition of Arming America, that only Bellesiles and a few others know. Ackerman concludes:

It is becoming increasingly apparent that one of two scenarios exists: Either Bellesiles and Smith are in cahoots and Bellesiles is using Smith as a mouthpiece in order to garner self-respect in the wake of his downfall, or Benny Smith is Bellesiles.

Benny Smith has actually denied that the second scenario is true. In my recent run in with Benny Smith on HNN, I asked him:

Perhaps you can now satisify my curiosity? Your posts sometimes seem to display a great deal of knowlege about Bellesiles’ doings. Does he send you comments and information to post?

Benny Smith replied:

And regarding your own curiosity, I have not received any materials directly from Professor Bellesiles.

Either Smith is lying here, or he really is Bellesiles.

Postscript: Ted Barlow thinks that Smith is Bellesiles and notes some important differences between Lott and Bellesiles: same people still support Lott and Lott’s employer tolerates his activities.

Comments

  1. #1 Seb
    October 11, 2003

    “And regarding your own curiosity, I have not received any materials directly from Professor Bellesiles.”

    Or, Smith received materials but not “directly” — they were passed on by a third party.

  2. #2 philip railsback
    October 11, 2003

    The supposed “fact” that there is no Benny Smith in the Detroit area is very, very weak. Benny is of course a nickname, probably short for Benjamin, though not necessarily. It could be somone’s middle name. It could from anywhere, I guess. How earth could anyone verify that there is no Benny Smith in the Detroit area? It simply isn’t possible. That doesn’t mean that Benny Smith really exists, just that this part of the evidence isn’t really evidence.

  3. #3 philip railsback
    October 11, 2003

    I just did a Yahoo people search and came up with 28 hits on variations of Bens and Benjamins in Michigan. Two of those are located within Detroit city limits. Others are no doubt located nearby. There’s a Benny Smith in Flint, a Detroit suburb.

  4. #4 philip railsback
    October 11, 2003

    I went and read the Ackerman article and I see that he doesn’t actaully claim that there are no Benny Smiths in Detroit, but that called them all. That’s definitely better, though it doesn’t account for unlisted numbers, of course.

  5. #5 Tim Lambert
    October 11, 2003

    Seb, there are a lot of Benny Smith postings over the last two years. It would require a third party to be passing lots of information on over a couple of years. This doesn’t seem likely to me.

  6. #6 Brett Bellmore
    October 11, 2003

    It would come as a great suprise to Flint residents, that they’re living in a suburb of Detroit; The two cities are nearly 70 miles apart.

  7. #7 Seb
    October 11, 2003

    “Seb, there are a lot of Benny Smith postings over the last two years. It would require a third party to be passing lots of information on over a couple of years.”

    Fair enough — but the word “directly” nevertheless strikes me as rather conspicuous in the denial. Maybe I just need to replace the tinfoil lining in my hat.

  8. #8 Tim Lambert
    October 11, 2003

    I think the word “directly” was a bit of misdirection. Anyway , looks like he isn’t Bellesiles and has just been jerking everyone around.

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.