October 24th, 2003



I met with the Professor and the Landlady last night. Aside from serving me a very pleasant Russian wheat beer, the Professor made a few comments about this curiously semanticised spam I've been getting, which he hasn't. I'm continuing to forward examples so he can fine tune the gearing on those twentieth-scale difference engines he uses for emailing purposes. What a shame that Franklin Mint made such a small number of these for public sale. One particular item that I received this morning, I find less than complimentary to women, although it might be what a lot of men who take up the offer of the dating agency are actually thinking:

Watson Is waiting to meet you which means in Greek both 'sow' and 'a woman's organs of generation'

Whatever... The mysterious Skeletal Soon left a query recently about how historical truth becomes established. This was in response to mention of Diana's death and the recent revelation that she has made mention of a possible car accident in a letter to her death. Now, those who know me will be aware that I am no English monarchist. I have a soft spot for older forms of kingship, as I never had to live through them: Tang dynasty China, Japan in the Asuka/Nara period and the not-so ancient Russian imperial period. It's more the ideal than the reality. I know very well that I probably would have been swept up with the crowds that stormed the Winter Palace, just as I would have been unlikely to have lasted even to the time of the gulag. I don't think that monarchism is any more of a sham than our current democracy is, but as personalities I find them so, well, disappointing. They're crap and that's an unforgivable state for any imperial line. It's when they act like gods, or the representatives of a celestial realm, that they earn my grudging respect. No imagination. No intelligence. No flamboyance. Dull as ditchwater.

Part of the attraction towards Diana was that she seemed, to some, to be something other than a complete dullard. She gained charisma and allure, which are essential attributes for the position. Although she never convinced me, you could see that people could identify with her, particularly when she became evidently victimised by the majority of the Royal Family. At last we could all admit we knew they were just German pretenders with posh accents, whereas Diana was an English Rose. I have a slight soft spot for her marriage with Charles, as the first time I ever snogged a girl was on the Mall as C_____ and I slept out there the night before the wedding with thousands of others, drinking something distinctly methode champenoise. She came from just outside of Edinburgh. Tara. We wrote for a while, but at the time I was put off by the fact her favourite record was 'The River' by Bruce Springsteen. These days I'd be quite happy to meet someone who liked Bruce, although preferably in one of his lesser tub-thumping modes.

This isn't answering the query (yet!). Diana's death was suspicious. I always imagined she was getting sucked into a dark world of cocaine sex and fashion openings. The car crash resulted from the hefty doses of Celebrity she'd been taking. That car's following us. So what? Drive faster, escape, sniff, they musn't catch up, sniff, put your foot down... Losing reality and thus ultimately losing reality. The letter is curious and it's interesting that Earl Spencer came forward quickly to dismiss it as coincidence, just as his letter mentioning that he thought she was mentally ill began to bubble up to the surface. At the time of her funeral, I remember his quite stirring oration. I was down at an Irish pub, hoping that it might be a place of republican refuge. Unfortunately not. Big screen TVs all around. I idly thought that this would be the perfect opportunity for dynasty change. Everyone was so fired up with this hysterical confusion they would have willingly stormed Westminster Abbey and lynched the lot of them, save Charles, William and Harry. Charles would have been paraded through the streets and then publically executed. William would have been crowned, under the watchful eye of the Earl Spencer. Codpieces might even have come back into fashion and we'd all talk in iambic pentameters for a couple of months.

Still not answering the question. It's an intricate problem and I'm wary of taking a stance I later regret. Truth, in its material and earthly sense, mmm, probably should read some Gramsci first, but I've never been able to raise the energy. It's certainly related to power. I don't think you can write an unifying theory of historical truth. It's not a science and there's too much contingency to isolate in the equation. Therefore, it's a dark science, something occult. Hence, historical interpretation, from whichever source or interest group, cannot be protected from being superceded or becoming redundant anymore than this house I live in can be protected from geological forces, whatever the local council might like to think. We are not in control. Such truth as is established is only ever a perpetual catwalk of couture designs. We are fickle. We are evermore disinterested in eternal truths. The abandonment of God, within the Western tradition anyway, removes the only point of permanence. By letting loose the moorings, we drift on the open sea. Looking into the water: brightly coloured gelatinous ontologies float around, the occasional flash of an electrical eel, I am certainly losing it on this boat ride, others perhaps not. I wish that I'd had the chance to live in the medieval world.

To a conspiratorial mind, which I certainly have, truth is one more aspect of the eternal battleground between good and evil. I am a Christian, and although I am tending towards a Gnostic standpoint here, I believe in the reality of this war just as others profess a belief in the heat-death of the Universe. Sometimes I wonder if they are not the same thing, but couched in different languages. If you don't have a belief in the supernatural, that which is both beyond us and yet within us all, I think any discussion of truth, historical or otherwise, will always be a sham. It will make sense for a while, for sure. This is part of what I think about truth, anyway.

Following this path can easily delude many into believing that truth is manipulated at some higher level of human organisation: Freemasonry, Illuminati, White Lodge, what have you... I do believe that truth, and frequently that of historical truth (whatever that is, for Hank's sake!), is manipulated at some dark level, but not these particular delusions. Thinking about this area has me either reaching for an imaginary bottle of Haloperidol or my prayer book.

This entry hasn't addressed how truth is established in a more mundane (and less conceivably insane!) sense. I'll try and think of examples I know of for discussion at some point soon. Hiroshima, I think, is an interesting example. As might be the Russian revolution also. Those sure are big subjects there! What I've written so far is kind of an attempt to describe that I do have an attitude towards history that is utterly out of fashion. Sometimes in academic writing, I'd like to able to write that winged chariots descended from the sky, or that locusts rained down on a besieged town, that the actions of some personality were presaged by various omens. I don't think these things are any less true than what you find in textbooks. It's a shame we've abandoned them. We lost part of ourselves at that point.
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