McPherson is phoning it in

As the idiom has it, James McPherson is "phoning it in." He has been "phoning it in" for a long time, blandly recapitulating the strained synthesis and sweeping generalities found in Battle Cry of Freedom.

Tonight, however, he will literally be phoning it in.

He will speak to a Troy/Albany Civil War Roundtable by telephone.

Can you imagine listening to Civil War history cliches couched in the least challenging terms issuing in halted, "thoughtful" delivery through a cheap speaker for about an hour? While you sit in an hard chair counting "ums" and "ahs"?

The organizers can and do and are thrilled beyond words.

"Professor McPherson will open our conference call by discussing the question, 'Was Slavery the Cause of the Civil War?'" said Dr. Milton McPherson of Troy. "Of all the people in the world, Professor McPherson knows more about the African American experiences during the Civil War and Reconstruction than anybody. What he will present is first-class stuff. What he knows is mind-boggling."
His effect on fans is mind-boggling.