27 February 2007

A Comedic History Break

This comic from Pearls Before Swine captures exactly how I often feel about history and its aficionados:

I fell off my chair when I read this. Really. Right off.

Have you ever experienced the horror of telling someone a historical nugget that, to you, is intensely interesting, only to look at the receiver of your tale and see a thick, clear glaze over their eyes? It seems to happen to me almost every time I open my mouth.

To the historian, be they amateur or professional, tidbits of history like the one in the comic above can seem like the blood of everyday life. To others, though, they may (read: most likely) are irrelevant and dull. Part of the reason why I enrolled in the Public History program at Western was an idealistic bent of mine that wants to improve upon history-telling of the sort depicted in Pearls Before Swine.

I do not think that history has to be boring, but I admit that it often is. I have no prescription for how to change this. All I can say is that I know interesting history when I see (or hear, or read, or listen to) it, but that what is interesting to me may be lifeless to another.

I didn't mean for this post to be intellectual at all; I just wanted to share the comic. Then I got thinking about it and dug a little hole from which I cannot seem to extricate myself. So instead of trying to climb out, I'll dig deeper and request that anyone with an interest in history think before they next speak about a history topic. You may be doing more harm than good.


ANR said...

I really relate to what you said about people's eyes glossing over whenever I think of something historical that's interesting.

To answer for this, here's a cartoon that takes Historical nuggets and packages it in edgy comedy.

It's called Historted. see it at www.historted.com

I'd love to know what you think of it.

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