History is a set of fables we tell ourselves --- tall tales about why things turned out the way they did.
Some stories are more convincing than others; some have great popularity for a while, then are "seen through" and discarded in favor of other explanations; some never catch on. Factual accuracy is less important than coherence, style, and simplicity. It also helps to have strong individuals to focus emotion on: villains and heroes, knaves and knights, sinners and saints. A complex, open-ended, long-range, multidimensional, subtle-shades-of-gray explanation doesn't appeal, regardless of its objective truth. Give me a ripping yarn, to go, please!
Friday, June 15, 2001 at 05:34:14 (EDT) = Datetag20010615