Saturday, October 25, 2008

History Is Written By Popular Memes


They say that the Norse explorers, far from being obsessed with fighting and drinking, were a largely-peaceful race who were even criticised for being too hygienic.

The university's department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic has published a guide revealing how much of the Vikings' history has been misrepresented.

"A medieval chronicler, John of Wallingford, talking about the eleventh century, complained that the Danes were too clean - they combed their hair every day, washed every Saturday, and changed their clothes regularly."

"Although Norse men and women may have sometimes liked fighting and drinking, and were sometimes buried with weapons, they also spent much of their time in peaceful activities such as farming, building, writing and illustrating."

The Telegraph


So our popular image and reality diverge quite a bit, don't they?

This happened because those who got dominated by the Norse complained loudest and longest. These complainers were dumber than the Norse, so at a disadvantage when they came into town and set up shop.

We see the same pattern in memology: an idea that appeals to people because it "sounds like" how things "should" be dominates over the more complex, or even simpler, historical truth.

Democracy is just the most recent step in this direction.

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Subvert the dominant paradigm, don't be a solipsist.

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