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I've been thinking about history recently. I was looking at the Wikipedia page for the Jan. 6th Capitol Protests last night and seeing it all laid out in the same language as events hundreds of years ago threw me for a loop. I knew they'd come and gone, but it was strange to read about something so recent as it might appear in papers and textbooks decades from now...
The storming of the United States Capitol was a riot and violent attack against the 117th United States Congress on January 6, 2021, carried out by a mob of supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump in an attempt to overturn his defeat in the 2020 presidential election.
Something else which prompted thoughts of history was the one-two of the stat Gus posted in his thread on 1972 re: the number of domestic bombings in the US around that time and a bunch of comments I read under a Miami Vice clip on YouTube about how great the 80s were, how there was no craziness, life was good.

In both instances (Miami Vice and 1972) I was struck by how poor the collective memory is, how cut off we are from any sense of continuity. Watching a similar dynamic play out post-Capitol Protests as post-9/11 re: calls for further laws, further security, gives me the same feeling. It's as though we collectively start again from certain events, that they produce such a shock they somehow overwrite their predecessor(s) and leave us grappling with false novelty.
 

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How at the mercy of fashion, whims, personal taste and so on history is is incredibly unsettling too. It's an obvious point, but I'm having one of those moments where you feel it much more intensely than usual.
How much of UK dance music history is real?

Every era of British dance music has its myths and over-simplified narratives — hell, even little known local scenes have urban legends. Below, Matt Anniss explores how a tendency towards selective documentation of dance music culture in the UK has led to a widespread acceptance of reductive narratives, which only tell a fraction of British dance music’s complex story
The other article is something third goes on about a fair bit. And I think if you wanted to write an academic history you would have to think seriously about that. You would have to disregard any value judgements, any consideration of what's fashionable or unfashionable. You would have to cover squat techno and handbag house happy hardcore psytrance etc. You would have to ask what was going on in unfashionable places like Newcastle or Bournmouth.

I'm not sure I buy the idea that black and working class stories are neglected exactly. Certainly not in energy flash. In fact magazine, sure. If anything, as third always says, what is neglected is the real mass movements, the superclubs, like, who wants to write about what Pete tong was up to throughout the nineties?
 

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We don't even have a comprehensive history of Dissensus. We've got basically the entire archive at our fingertips and it doesn't come close to covering all the relationships, what's gone on outside the board on other sites and irl, the various eras. You get bits and pieces of people's individual takes on various incidents, but it's all fragments and distortion.
 

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I'm hoping @thirdform will jump in at some point and go on a big rant about History. Was trying to find some of his previous ones, but just searching "history" produces too many results.
 

luka

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Staff member
History is always a distortion and a simplification and is always a way of making a partisan argument, a way to tilt the discourse in the direction you favour. You can arrange the facts into any number of patterns, depending on taste.
 

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How to present history's a running theme of that Laurent Binet book I've been reading on the Heydrich assassination. You get these authorial intrusions with him agonising over what he can get away with making up, whether he should make anything up at all, what he can and can't fit in, where one story ends and another begins.

“I’m fighting a losing battle. I can’t tell this story the way it should be told. This whole hotchpotch of characters, events, dates, and the infinite branching of cause and effect - and these people, these real people who actually existed. I’m barely able to mention a tiny fragment of their lives, their actions, their thoughts. I keep banging my head against the wall of history. And I look up and see, growing all over it - ever higher and denser, like a creeping ivy - the unmappable pattern of causality.”
 

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History is always a distortion and a simplification and is always a way of making a partisan argument, a way to tilt the discourse in the direction you favour. You can arrange the facts into any number of patterns, depending on taste.
It's always about cherrypicking.
Absolutely. It's maddening. I sometimes find myself wondering what the point is in reading a specific history book if I can't get the "definitive" account. It feels like knowingly reading a poorly-translated novel, a novel full of errors. I'm getting something defective, something incomplete.
 

suspended

Well-known member
I've been thinking about history recently. I was looking at the Wikipedia page for the Jan. 6th Capitol Protests last night and seeing it all laid out in the same language as events hundreds of years ago threw me for a loop. I knew they'd come and gone, but it was strange to read about something so recent as it might appear in papers and textbooks decades from now...

Something else which prompted thoughts of history was the one-two of the stat Gus posted in his thread on 1972 re: the number of domestic bombings in the US around that time and a bunch of comments I read under a Miami Vice clip on YouTube about how great the 80s were, how there was no craziness, life was good.

In both instances (Miami Vice and 1972) I was struck by how poor the collective memory is, how cut off we are from any sense of continuity. Watching a similar dynamic play out post-Capitol Protests as post-9/11 re: calls for further laws, further security, gives me the same feeling. It's as though we collectively start again from certain events, that they produce such a shock they somehow overwrite their predecessor(s) and leave us grappling with false novelty.
The arrogance of end of history too, like we really deserved this
 

constant escape

winter withered, warm
Perhaps a way around this parochiality is to analyze what timescales and spacescales are introduced and reinforced by our regular experiences. How much of your history are you incentivized to recall, and how much can you afford to let get buried and potentially lost? How much information about things beyond your direct experiences will prove to be pertinent, and what information?

Then I'd rely on the good old gnostic trick of carrying that concept up a scale to its macrocosm, an effort which in this case would be anthropological. Can the memory exhibited by public discourse be mapped, mapped by statistical representation?

Would there be correlations between those findings and, say, our psychological findings regarding the development of the individual grappling with an ever more technologically determined culture.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
But the time I was doing history at GCSE it was all about assessing sources rather than learning facts, at least that's how I remember it. Working out what direction of spin they'd put on the ball.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
Absolutely. It's maddening. I sometimes find myself wondering what the point is in reading a specific history book if I can't get the "definitive" account. It feels like knowingly reading a poorly-translated novel, a novel full of errors. I'm getting something defective, something incomplete.
I suppose you have to embrace it. Turn to the primary documents. That is to say 'Ferris Beuller's Day Off, Commando, Rambo: First Blood, Robocop, Pretty In Pink etc. Immerse yourself in the period till you feel you have established a gestalt.
 

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But the time I was doing history at GCSE it was all about assessing sources rather than learning facts, at least that's how I remember it. Working out what direction of spin they'd put on the ball.
I can't remember much of what I studied in history at school. We definitely did WW2, also the Wall Street Crash, but that's all that comes to mind.
 
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