wild goose chase

Would it surprise you that I once knew a professor who taught historiography: the study of historical writing. I was so terribly, painfully, young back then and he was so epically old. “Of course we all know that history is always written by the victorious,” he said, “to find the truth you must look at the fossils and the trees, you must cut down the trees and read their rings, because the history that people have written on paper is little more than opinions, judgements and lies. Learn to read the tree rings,” he said, “unearth the fossils and search for their ancient truth” he said, and then he gasped a final breath and died.

No. Actually that last part is a lie, but it sounds good, and it was over thirty years ago, he was really very ancient then, so he probably won’t be alive to call me a liar now.

If he was still alive he might be one hundred and eleven years old and he would write his final great work, a tome about all the history books full of lies, and this is the photograph which would be on the cover.


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