SocialismToday           Socialist Party magazine

Issue 77, September 2003

Dumbed-down history

AN EXCELLENT article on the rewriting of history by Geoff Jones (World war one right-wing myth-making, Socialism Today No.74). I have not read the two books that were reviewed, but have noted this trend of simplification being used to ensure the dominant theory is the only voice heard.

This simplification is most apparent with the Sky/Murdoch school of history/documentary channel programming. Battles are relived through graphics and stirring commentary which has no relevance to the reality of war. Even when participants are interviewed their contribution is reduced to small soundbites that demean the individual and their suffering

The written histories are now aimed at markets and reviews rather than from a standpoint of fact or even belief. Historians like EH Carr are viewed as being dated and ‘unfashionable’, to be replaced by the written-for-TV books of Simon Schama or the ‘nasty Bolsheviks’ opus of Orlando Figes.

The dumbing-down that began in the 1980s with TV news and documentaries is now following its logical path of being used to dumb down written history, to make it fall in line with the ‘New World Order’s’ concept of what history is. It reduces complex issues to ‘good guy, bad guy’ and degrades the individual to the role of a pixel on a TV screen.

Shaun Moore

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