domenica, novembre 08, 2009

Some histories need to end

Brideshead Revisited, ugh, a nasty little book about horribly nasty people, but such a good read that almost immediately upon finishing I bought Decline and Fall from a lovely new used bookshop that just opened across from my favourite grocery store.

Waugh provides a ghastly cure for anybody who fears that they're finding Graham Greene's bleak and gruelling vision of British Catholic duty has anything convincingly heroic to it outside of the Graham Greeniverse. Mind you I liked it very much, if not as much as the Graham Greeniverse, upon accepting the world of the novel for what it was . . . a place populated by the sort of people Monty Python made fun of, the End of Old Money History.

BTW, the End of History is such an interesting idea, isn't it? You'd think Fukuyama et al would have hestitated a bit more before proclaiming it considering the consistency to which it's been proclaimed over a history of our race and planet which, whatever else you'd like to say about it, certainly hasn't ended yet. As a matter of fact, offhand I have to say they way people Keep! Reporting! The END!!!!!! Of History!!!!! is one of the best advertisements I can think of offhand for postmodern historiography.

People are attached to their world view, to their own lifespan, to the extent that generation after generation can proclaim the End of History with amazing regularity, and re-arrange history to argue that it has led up inexorably to that End Point. I think it's probably a fairly natural instinct, as far as anything we've had an instinct to do since we started wearing clothes is 'natural', but I also think that inclination is a damn good reason to bend yourself into pretzels in the effort to take an objective, distrustful view of history. And people who say otherwise smell bad. But I digress.

Brideshead Revisited, grim, awfully grim. Not utterly without humour though. It is so nice to escape into books these days. Everything continues fucked, as you can imagine.

2 commenti:

Baywatch ha detto...

why is it that everyone always thinks *they're* at the End of History?

Isn't History just Time's record of making Things Happen?

Cause = Time?

as broken social scene so gloriously put it.

oh those canuck bands!

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

Because we are selfish, self-centred brutes who at heart would rather deny future generations the right to even EXIST than admit that things will keep ticking along basically normally once we're not alive anymore, which, you'd think obviously, we spend most of our time not being, by any reasonable definition.