Saturday, April 21, 2007

Daisy Buchanan's

As the crow flies, somewhere, in a movie, I remember someone saying no politics and no religion in a bar room conversations. So what does that leave us really? Chicks and sports? Last bar room frolic featured conversations about all of the above, that's when you know you've reached a golden moment, or one of clarity, in vino veritas est. Or then again, these are those lies that make familiars out of strangers.

We got to talking about history. Someone proposed that marketing was simply the history of human desire. I think there's some truth in that. Thinking back on it now, what makes a good historian? What is history to you? At one time I thought it was about narrative; the best history was a good narrative that rendered the facts into a kind of story. Today I'm not so sure. When I think of historians like Raul Hilberg and his epic treatise: "The Destruction of the European Jews", that's a kind of history that is so far outside of narrative that you can't breathe because every word and every insight is a kind of climax. When you listen to him speak, in Lanzma'ns Shoah, about documents and artifacts of the war years from 39-45 you realize that artifact isn't necessarily unearthed in a 2000 year old tomb. The materiality of the modern age, it's documentary artifacts can be realized as equally important as the Rosetta Stone, or the clay objects found on an ancient strata of Babylon that were interpreted as the beginning of abstract counting systems.

So all of this leads to a question: what makes a good history? What is history? Do you differentiate between personal history and a more global history? Having heard/read about revisionist history, is there such a thing as an objective history?

night night

1 comment:

Bookworm said...

Good history is any tale about the past that doesn't make you fall asleep while it's being told