That’s what we do, you and I. We make history. We also report history. Our lives are made up of minutia. We brush our hair, we do our laundry, we eat, we sleep, we work, we create history every day but not one that needs to be recorded. And sometimes, just sometimes, we are part of that which does need to be remembered.
But do we remember it correctly? They say that ‘history is written by the victors’. That was true at one time but now we have Instant Replay everywhere. Chances are our piece of history is going to be on YouTube somewhere. And we can’t escape that. Is that good for history or bad?
I once made the quip that memory is the ability to edit our lives. We all do it. We want to remember the good and temper the bad. I think that’s just human nature. But what about the times before cameras were everywhere? Did our history books get it right? I’d like to think so but there were no recording devices. We have people writing history from their memories about their opinions, their side. And that’s where I question whether or not truth is related in history.
Nowadays people go to the movies for their history lessons. Movies are made to make money. There is always a ‘based on a true story’ or ‘inspired by events’. Actors, Producers, Directors and the hundreds of people involved in making movies don’t do it for free. It can be a lucrative business. To that end they make changes to accommodate their narrative and often for financial reasons. And now I’m going to have a little rant.
In 2012 the movie Argo was released to widespread acclaim. It won several prestigious awards and it was a lie. I am Canadian and proud of my country. On November 4, 1979 the United States Embassy in Tehran was attacked and most of the Embassy staff were taken hostage. Six avoided capture and were protected by the Canadian Embassy and then ambassador Ken Taylor. He got them out of the country. It’s a Canadian story usurped. And that’s the history that will be remembered because it’s on the screen. And it angers me.
Oh, and one more thing that really irks me: Director Ben Affleck didn’t even thank the people that actually did the deed. He should be ashamed. I hope history remembers this part.
So how do we trust history when it is fed to us as entertainment?