History is yours. Be a loud voice. Tell the whole story. Tell your story. Show the world what actually happened.
I’m awake at an unmentionable hour. Thank you, thunderstorm. This posting may not be 100% grammatically correct, but I promise to properly script a video to explain my point further if need be.
I have skipped the green thumb and baking stages of quarantine and dove headfirst into the “philosophical and deep thinking stages.” And I know what you’re thinking. What about that Blueberry Cobbler you made yesterday? Well, I say baking is a science, and I assure you no scientific effort went into that cobbler. It was done by eye and what looks right.
We live in an incredible time. We hold, in our electronic devices, the power and access to be well-educated people. Access to information was a long desire for people of the past. We have it, don’t take it for granted. Educate yourselves, but you must keep an open mind to all sides, perspectives, and paradigms. This is one thing that being an English major taught me: how to be objective. I do admit this has led me into trouble. Many of my friends, family, peers, don’t always interpret objectiveness to be “objective” and instead sometimes see it as a way to argue or as me disagreeing with them. Not the case, I just consider all sides and attempt to make them see all sides.
As someone who spent the majority of her academic career pursuing primary sources, the further I moved through my university curriculums, the less I used secondary sources unless needed. Primary sources are trendy! I’ve held in my hands, and of course studied, etched tablets, Catholic Masses published in the 17th century, surgeons records from monasteries. It’s incredible to read how the past thought and what was believed. Seeing in front of you, how far we have come is remarkable.
If studying primary sources and history has taught me anything, it’s that we don’t discover or find. We interpret with the occasional prove. We look at tax records, newspapers, court records, censuses, oral stories, and beyond to craft and piece together what we believe in having happened. But things can change. New records become available, altering our interpretation, or we simply learn new information. Perhaps a different historian comes and brings their knowledge and expertise, and we gain a new perspective.
This happens even in small-town histories. So the next time you go to a historical monument and the docent gives you a different story than they did last time, it’s likely not because they are trying to change history. New records or sources may have been found. This happened where I volunteer. For the longest time, we believed one of our structures was built in the 1890s due to tax records. But with new information, we believe the structure was built in the 1920s. However, more research is needed to confirm.
Likewise, just because something is valid for the majority, doesn’t mean there aren’t exceptions. Dare I say, Anna Kingsley, is a prime example of this. She was a remarkable woman who deserves to have her story told in its entirety as it is EXTREMELY complex and in the wrong hands is virally controversial.
With that, every story is case by case. Sometimes, we get that letter to the Queen stating precisely what happened, whilst other times we are left to piece records together. In some instances, that letter to the Queen was a blatant lie, and we go back to square one. Most times it’s a combination of all these things. Also, just because there’s a law or a judge ordered an action, doesn’t mean it’s followed. I think that’s common sense, but you would be surprised.
What is my first point? Your memes, Facebook posts, Zoom happy hours, blog posts, text messages, dare I say, Animal Crossing logs, are all modern examples of “primary sources.” You see, the other thing we hold n our electronic devices is the ability to create content. Who’s to say that EBSCO or ProQuest, perhaps World Book or Gale won’t have a “Social Media Archives” housing all your FB posts, blogs, tweets, and memes for future generation’s research.
In 100 years, when someone is studying this pandemic, he or she may ask, “Did they actually think injecting disinfectant was going to cure this? No wonder there was a pandemic.” Dead. Serious. And your Tweets of “I don’t know who needs to hear this, but please don’t inject yourself with disinfectant” can be the difference between “A Homo habilis discovering his opposable thumbs says what” and real intellect, science, and common sense actually being present.
Edit: Lysol has issued a warning saying not to inject yourself with disinfectant. Now that person may interpret all this to mean something along the lines of, desperate times call for desperate measures, persuading them to write an elaborate essay on despair and hopelessness, mental well-being at a full decline. Or they may write an essay entitled, “Pandemic TidePod Challenge: What in God’s Name Happened in 2020? And How Are We Still Alive?”
Little John is going to ask his mother, “Were turnips a cure for COVID-19? Because everyone is asking their friends their turnip prices.” His mom is going to say, “Ask your grandma to explain to you what Animal Crossing is.” Soon, middle school primary source essay exercises are all covering, “The Effects Animal Crossing had on the Mental Well-Being of Society.”
What is my second point? Take pride in your content. EVERYONE is a content producer nowadays. Be the voice to speaks out and explain what is happening in your mind write now (see what I did there?). This content is going to be crucial for future historians. This is a concept I full-heartedly believe: people will care what you have to say, they just may not be born yet. Share your genuine thoughts, fears, and contribute to the story productively. Don’t let future historians be left with “vague interpretations.”
We live in an incredible time. The ways in which to story tell and story create are endless. Content creation has become a tool and method of modern rhetoric. Do your part by keeping a journal or a diary. Talk to people, hear their stories, and document their stories. You have a chance to tell the history. Did you know Anne Frank began rewriting pieces of her diary after hearing on the radio diaries were being collected to record War Time events and situations accurately? Well, now, you do. She did so with the intention of her diary to be published.
Did people really protest screaming that massages were necessary? You were there. Tell that story because it’s your story. Whilst you’re at it, throw in how the Darwin Awards were extra special this year. Perhaps explain what the Darwin Awards are in the event they don’t exist in the future.
No, there weren’t that many people on the Florida Beaches contrary to what the media reported. We know this thanks content created by the live cameras and drones that flew overhead by the residents who live along the coastline sick of being called “Stupid Floridians”. In fact, why is the same photo being used for Florida and LA? Yes, NYPost and NewsBreak, I’m calling you out on that. (NewsBreak has since removed the article and photo due to a publishing glitch.) Whilst I’m at it, at one point, photos were circulating of Jax Beach’s crowds showing the pier… which hasn’t been that long since Hurricane Matthew. Those have also been removed, claiming due to technological glitches. Share how FaceBook implemented measures to remove the propaganda from began circulating. Yes, I used the “P” word just as it was used in WWII.
With all that, I’m going to bed. Goodnight everyone. This will be published in the morning and expect numerous revisions.
If you do have a different perception of this topic, I encourage you to comment below respectfully and continue the conservation. Please also note, I revise this daily to make sure my argument is well constructed and presented accurately.