Monday, December 16, 2019

How Schools MIGHT Teach History

I'm re-reading The Daughter of Time, by Josephine Tey. It's an absorbing tale that has an inspector of the English police, recovering from a workplace injury, in a hospital, and quite bored. He starts examining the criminal case against King Richard III for murder of his two nephews.

Interspersed between the research into the long-ago crime, is commentary about what today would be called "Fake News", and how people respond to evidence that they have been tricked. From a postscript in a letter to the injured policeman, 
 It's an odd thing but when you tell someone the true facts of a mythical tale they are indignant not with the teller but with you. They don't want to have their ideas upset. It rouses some vague uneasiness in them, I think, and they resent it. So they reject it and refuse to think about it. If they were merely indifferent it would be natural and understandable. But it is much stronger than that, much more positive. They are annoyed.
 It does make you think, doesn't it? How a normal person, naturally with some individual flaws, can be recast as the Absolute Essence of All that is EVIL. And how resistant people can be to any examination of the facts that would put that characterization into doubt.

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