I Miss the History
Friends, before you rip me a new one and inundate me with “but what about so-and-so” Tweets, please just take a deep breath, relax, and open yourself up to an idea. I think many (and I emphasize…not all) historians on the Internet have moved away from history and settled in with political activism. Now this is just fine and dandy if that’s your thing. You do you.
I miss the history. I really do. In the dark ages, when Twitter was but a wee fledgling (and I was newb in grad school), we use to have great conversations, we discussed ideas, and gave advice. We opened up unconsidered pathways and passed around citations and archival references. It was rad. So rad, in fact, that I thanked my Twitter followers in my first book!
Now, can one be both a historian and an activist? Why certainly. But I am less convinced that those two things can seamlessly intersect if Truth and objectivity is our goal. I’m not saying it can’t be done, I’m just suspect when agendas are clearly in play. And really…the rage, dismissiveness, attack dogging, and bandwagoning (especially recently) directed toward even the slightest criticism or disagreement is unbecoming. It’s leaving me longing for 2009. Go ahead and @ me. In your heart you know I’m right.
Look, I know the oft-repeated calls for “civil discourse” are turning into something of a cliché - particularly since so few earnestly seem interested in anything resembling civility, or for that matter…discourse. Fair enough. After a short respite from rage-induced Twitter unpleasantness (I couldn’t deal), I’m going to do my best to focus on the history on the Internet.
As such - I am reintroducing my podcast: The Rogue Historian (emphasis on historian) as a platform for the analysis of primary sources. The objective: hash out context and meaning with fellow historians while scrutinizing a single document or an assortment of documents of historical significance. Debate will surely ensue. I welcome it. We might disagree. I welcome that. And if the conversation encourages you to think about something in a way that you perhaps have not considered, well then…I welcome that too.