No, I don’t mean “cymbals”. Read on.
Part I: You might be a Confederate
Suppose that, in some future time, nearly all of humanity’s records of the last few centuries were lost, and all the people of the future had to go by for the 19th and 20th centuries were copies of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Inglourious Basterds, and The Grand Budapest Hotel. Oh, what the hell, let’s throw in a few episodes of F Troop or Wild Wild West just to be generous.
Pretty funny, huh? It would put the stories of our time in the same class with Gilgamesh, the Iliad, the synoptic Gospels, and the King Arthur stories. In other words, people would be forced to base their imaginings of our times on works in which historical accuracy had no place, was not a consideration, was simply not the point of the story at all.
I hate to break it to you, but that’s what MOST history becomes for most people, without anything catastrophic happening to records. If I need to explain:
First, history is written by the winners. Those killed in the historical process can’t talk or write. Those impoverished by it have little influence over what gets published. Those culturally marginalized by history often don’t speak a language widely known in the future. Continue reading