A tinker’s dam and history’s bunk

I guarantee that you have yet to read a history book which, no matter how well-researched, recorded and double-checked, does not contain error. That is the very nature of the sources of history and biography. The protagonists themselves get simple things like dates wrong, even when they record such details at the time. Reminiscence messes further with the mind. Test yourself on what you did on this day last year, or ten years ago this month. Journalists and typesetters make mistakes aplenty in the course of their work – on names of strangers and dates of little interest to them. Journalists often throw in rumour as fact to fill space or sensationalise what they see as a dull yarn. They did it then and they do it now. Moreover journalists copy from one another. By doing so often enough they are crystallising a rumour into a fact by its mere repetition.

Note to self; the title of this piece is taken from the Henry Ford “History is bunk” quote in the Chicago Tribune in 1916. I have a feeling I have been tinkerist and that Jasmine Alahbai Brown will issue a fatwah.

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