I swear if I hear the phrase “as a historian….” ONE MORE TIME as a prelude to someone being smackingly patronising and “better than thou” I am going to chuck my PC in the skip and start writing with a quill.
Over on the Historical Novel Society yahoo group, someone asked a very sensible question about historical facts or theories that change, as we all know they do. What she said was should she change her work to the newly accepted theory regarding how her protagonist died, or stick with the old theory? Sadly this point was almost entirely ignored as people dragged out the whole “historical accuracy vs THE DEVIL” argument and lo and behold one person in particular HAD to tell the whole world that they were not only a historian – BUT A LIVING HISTORIAN. (as opposed to what, I really don’t know.)
Listen to me, you people. Having a degree (and this might be a shock to you, so you might want to sit down) simply means you studied for a subject and passed an exam. It doesn’t necessarily follow that 1. You know more about history (even the period you specialise in) than the person you are patronising, 2. You are more intelligent than others, no matter how often you tell them you are and 3. Entitles you to ANY kind of special treatment and 4. It makes you a better person in any aspect. In fact, in my opinion, if you’ve had to drag “I’ve got xxxx degrees in xxx” into any discussion, then you’ve already lost it.
You’d think that after six or so years on LJ and elsewhere, I’d lose my capacity to be surprised at the inanities people will wank over, but I never get used to it. Some people seem completely incapable of playing nicely with others, yesterday I saw instances of people leaving yahoo groups because they didn’t like the people they were in the group with, and people, who weren’t getting “OMG YOU ARE A HISTORIAN? THEN YOU MUST BE RIGHT” responses, unsubscribing in a childish sulk.
I’ve often been cowed by these people, and there have been times when I wish I could put “Erastes read Super Smashing History at Terribly Posh College” on the back of my books but GAH. If it meant that I’d turn into someone who trots out their piece of paper to shit on people’s heads, then I’m glad I don’t.
In other depressing news – I hear Ugly Betty is cancelled, and the wonderful Bryan Batt isn’t being returned for Mad Men series 4. It makes sense for the story, of course, but I’ll miss him a lot.Erastes