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Scrubbing History Clean

Cicero: “To be ignorant of what happened before you were born is to be ever a child."

Once upon a time it was discovered that the history we were all taught was full of slanted viewpoints and doctored myths that had been complacently accepted by earlier generations, and that this would no longer do, so a proclamation went out across the land: uncover the truth about the past and teach our children to look unflinchingly upon the bad as well as happily upon the good of what our forefathers did so that we could forge a better culture as free as possible from lies and cant.

Then along came a Bad Fairy, who envied the truth-seekers their academic reputations and as well all those nice, fat research grants. The Bad Fairy's problem was that she didn't have the patience or frankly the talent (she was a bad fairy in more ways than one) to work to obtain a good reputation as well as all the sweet, sweet cash. So she figured out a way to get these things anyway: she put a spell upon the land that made everyone exchange their own clear native tongues for politically-correct speech, a language where every word offends everyone else in a different way. Soon all the people had done so many horrible things in the name of Political Correctness that it was obvious that they had outdone their ancestors in narrowness and idiocy. The only way to avoid having to confront this truth about themselves was to pretend the past never happened. And so history was once more taught as it had been in the bad old days: as a compendium of slanted viewpoints and doctored myths.

(Via Tom McMahon.)

Comments (2)

Steve Skubinna [TypeKey Profile Page]:

Since you' re quoting Cicero, have you read Anthony Everitt's recent (say, withing the past five years) bio? Well worth it.

I also have Everitt's newest bio of Augustus in my bag. My enduring image of Augustus is of Brian Blessed in I, Claudius shouting "Quinctilius Varus, give me back my legions!" I wonder if I will be able to read this one without picturing Blessed in the role.

Nah, I haven't read it. I have a copy of some of Cicero's writings, and I take it out every now and then. I saw that saying on the internet, though.

There's another one of his that I like: "Time are bad. Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book."

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Don't worry, he's just chopping broccoli.


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