Thursday, June 19, 2003


I've been sitting on the thing I'm about to say for a while now, in hopes that someone else would say it. I've not seen anyone else say it, however, so now I'll get it out from under my butt.

Hillary Clinton's book is called "Living History". I would be hard pressed to think of a more meaningless fucking title. Press me hard will you? Well then:

"Experiencing Stuff"
"Being Alive"

My beef (other than my loathing of Hillobeans) is that we are all, right at this moment, living history. We always have. We will continue to do so. In fact, all human beings ever ever ever have lived and will live history.

Cuz that's what history is. It is all about us. It is not about non-us things. No one has ever written a history of anything that is not in most significant ways a product of things people have done (Hawking was playing with a phrase: he wasn't actually telling the history of time). The other stuff? The stuff about things that happened before there were people? That's called, variously, geology, paleontology (sp?), and other such.

Most things that people do, I regret to inform you, are pretty mundane and humdrum. Living, breathing, eating, drinking, sleeping, working, fucking, dying, breeding, etc. Still, it is history. In fact, there are many historians (and I am sortof one [historian, that is]) who think the seemingly mundane stuff is endlessly fascinating. See the books "The Year 1000" or "The Peasants of Languedoc" or "The Foul and the Fragrant". Do you know, for example, that many/most European villages during the middle ages had no names? Did you know that the people who lived in those villages, by and large, had no names either (at least not as we usually think of them today)?

That's every bit the history that is Hillary "I couldn't breathe" Clinton's life. In the long run, in fact (and I'm a born-again annaliste, so it is all about the long run) that stuff is way more important.

So. Think back over ALL the things you did during the years chronicled in H.R. "the best thing I ever did was send my child to Britain" Clinton's tome, write it all down, send it to a publisher, and demand that it be published as "Living History, Too". If the plan works, future historians will take note.

Future alien paleontologists may also wonder what happened to all of the pretty trees, who simply wanted to have a little bit of "living biology".


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