By Albert Brenner
September 27, 2006 09:54 AM EST
Ever since the postmodern/poststructuralist French philosophers, Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault, emulated Nietzsche and Heidegger in equating truth with art, the world has witnessed a plethora of revisionist attempts by the West to placate its self-induced feelings of guilt vis a vis its self-determined non-humanist treatment of other races and their places. It is therefore hardly surprising that the 'conquered' in history have grasped this self-recriminatory attitude with both hands (and feet), and are exploiting it like a hooker that stumbled on a ship full of gold-laden sailors on an around-the-world-in-eighty-days voyage.
It goes without saying that modern popular culture is feasting on this cornucopian quagmire of bad conscience on the part the West. Kevin Costner's Dances with Wolves showed us that the cowboys were actually barbaric eco-unfriendly murderers who slaughtered the nature-loving and peaceful Red Indians. Jane Seymour's Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman, showed us that Afro-Americans were actually part of the higher social strata in 19-century America. And Clive Owen's Arthur showed us that the traditionally dainty Guinevere was actually a tattooed kick-ass 5 ft 2 feminist killing-machine. Art is art, and one shouldn't take the extravagances of its dramatic-license too seriously. It is only when historical facts are blatantly distorted by powerful people, like politicians, that any intelligent person is morally obligated to take them by their collars and press their faces to the grindstone of implacable reality.
The 'most conquered' in recorded history will obviously spin the tallest tales. South Africa is currently the most virulent example of this feel-good fallacy characterizing the current politically-fashionable marathon to 'rewrite' history. Thabo (AIDS-is-not-caused-by-a-virus) Mbeki, the President of South Africa, is desperately trying to underpin his African Renaissance endeavor by firstly, stealing the limelight from the ancient Egyptian Empire. And all in the West are nodding their heads in dutiful PC acquiescence, lest they be accused of racism. It is all too easy to placate a fickle conscience at the expense of the unrelenting truth.
Mbeki's spin on history is rapidly gaining ground, even among erstwhile moderate African commentators. One even ventured, "And yet Africans were not always like this. The forefathers and mothers who built Zimbabwe and the pyramids of Giza, who taught the Greek mathematicians the basics of algebra and trigonometry (original spelling), were great people." Mbeki's second angle of approach is underpinned by his sneaky efforts to steal the limelight from Western antiquity. He is having a whale of time in/by accusing the West (ala the Black Athena liberal idiocy) of deliberately whitening all the black faces that supposedly adorned all the vases, murals and paintings of the Macedonian, Greek and Roman Empires. Even if we are forced to swallow the latter unsavory serving of historical un-truths, Mbeki is still left with the rather unenviable task of trying to explain why his hallowed Egyptian-linked forefathers mysteriously forgot the wheels and written language they used once they crossed the equator.
This turn of politically-correct historical events is rather sad, but quite true. Mind you, isn't it curiously reminiscent of the fisherman who came back to tell his friends about the 'big one that got away'? Be that as it may; all is not kosher in the realm of truth anymore. The best example of aestheticism leading truth by the nose is the recently-unveiled statue of the completely fictional 'King Tshwane' in Pretoria, South Africa. This 'real-life' hero is credited with having known the evil intentions of the diabolical white settlers 200 years after he was actually supposed to have been born. According to this 'mythical truth', he had somehow managed to succeed in rapidly spreading his dire warnings about the impending havoc that was to be wreaked by the evil white man 200 years before they actually decided to trek inland. So much for mobile phones!
Fiction is definitely more palatable than the truth in our 'everybody-is-innocent' day and age! To paraphrase Orwell; everybody is innocent, but some are more innocent than others. No prize for the one who correctly guesses which grouping is less innocent. It suffices to say that history is being taken for a very bumpy ride by those who have conveniently forgot that it is not a dish best served warm in order to stroke the egos of the faint-hearted. Writing the history of the present insults the truth of the future.
History is nobody's fool, and it will certainly not be bamboozled by the mesmerizing escapism offered by two French philosophers who have all but succeeded in selling guano as croutons to a civilization that has forgot that which has made it the most enlightened and advanced in the history of mankind. The truth, and nothing but the truth! "Wer den Zeitgeist heiratet, wird schnell Witwe". Loosely translated, this German proverb means that those who fall for the intellectual fads of the month are bound to suddenly lose their grip on the realities of uncompromising existence. Something Nietzsche tragically forgot when he painted God out of existence, and subsequently became stark raving mad. Amen.
Source:The Conservative Voice