Sunday, May 22, 2011

Lies, damn lies and revisionist history

We all create our past in some way. Memory is an imperfect thing. Many of us do it without even realising. A good example is going through a photo album with a parent
"Oh look, there you are... you were cranky that day"
Now you may not remember that day at all, but before long you adopt their memories of the event as your own, and eventually you are sharing the picture with someone else and even embellishing the story.

This process is in sharp contrast to those who deliberately set out to obfuscate the truth. Those who deliberately set out to reconstruct events to make themselves look better. See the trouble with those ones, apart from the whole intent thing, is that they do not do it with the collusion of willing helpers. Quite the opposite in fact.

They put those of us who were there at the time in a difficult position. Do we stay silent and thereby complicit in their revisionist history or do we speak out? Does calling them on their shit make a whit of difference in the long run or does it just rally the troops to their cause? Does doing the right thing, which is a value judgement at best, actually change the inevitable outcome? Hell for that matter does knowing you have done the right thing offset the high level of grief that inevitably ensues?

Maybe some of us are too morally ambiguous to be faced with these questions L


Dina said...

"In the long run", neither their lies nor your attempts to right them actually matter. But who gives a fuck? The only relevance is momentary and personal, and--quite frankly--if the moment calls for it (somewhere within your gut) then you should definitely speak up. Not for anyone's sake but your own. And then, just let go of it altogether and move the hell on, fast.

xantu said...

Revisionist history... yeah... I remember once when in a casual conversation with my parents the topic of spanking came up and they both sat there and said that they had never spanked us children. Brain freeze... eye bulge... cough... choke...

Now there never had been abuse. They had never spanked me too hard or too long or when I did not royally deserve it, but they did spank us. I remember dozens of times. One of the few decent things my brother did was take me to one side and confirm that yes they did spank us... that I was not going crazy.

MsSparkles said...

If there was a current example, I would imagine that the truth as we remember it would be almost irrelevant as the protagonist has probably persuaded himself of the 'truth' of his (hypothetical) historical revisionism. If you look at the track record of such a person, there are lots of glaringly obvious flaws to be seen in the whole premise, but that stops neither him, nor his devoted followers - a high proportion of whom are similarly devoid of appropriate qualifiers.

The truth rarely gets in the way of a good story.