I blow through here / The music goes ’round and around / Whoa-ho-ho-ho-ho-ho / And it comes out here • Red Hodgson. 1935
The adage “history is written by the victors” is attributed to Winston Churchill, although there is no evidence he ever said or wrote that. Perhaps the more appropriate axiom is “History is bunk,” uttered by Thomas Edison in a 1916 Chicago Tribune interview. A loathsome man and a first-class bigot, Edison said:
“… what do I care about Napoleon? What do we care about what they did 500 or 1,000 years ago? I don’t know whether Napoleon did or did not try to get across and I don’t care. It means nothing to me. History is more or less bunk. It’s tradition. We don’t want tradition. We want to live in the present and the only history that is worth a tinker’s dam is the history we make today.”
We’ve always been surrounded by bunk. I’m a history buff, but I’m also a science-fiction fan and, often, it is hard to tell the difference. The problem is, today’s omnipresent instant communications means these days bullshit travels at the speed of light. But the yin to that yang is that the victors no longer have an exclusive on history-writing, no matter who first said history was controlled by the winners. By the way, to my research, that was India freedom fighter Jawaharlal Nehru.
We have cameras on our cellphones that record on-the-street reality. We have podcasts and blogs. We have much, much greater access to documentaries and to historical records. Of course, the problem remains discerning the truth from the bullshit while divining the trajectory of everybody’s point of view. This is nothing new, but if you’re good at using search engines, you have enough patience and determination and a hankering for facts you will probably get closer to the truth now than ever before.
Which brings us to Donald J. Trump. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #070: History Looks Forward”