The Future of History

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Challenging the Orthodoxy

Now this I found interesting:

Basically, it suggests that a number of new studies have revealed that those who question the official version of certain events (and are often branded "conspiracy theorists" by their detractors) might in fact be more sane, more conscious of history, and less inclined to rant and rave, than those who unthinkingly accept the official accounts.

It's not a perfect argument.  There are many conspiracy theories out there which are - let's face it - plain bonkers.  But here's an interesting fact: according to the article, the term "conspiracy theory" was invented by the CIA in an attempt to smear and belittle anyone who queried the official explanation of the assassination of John F. Kennedy.  In other words, the very term "conspiracy theory" is a form of government propaganda.

Why have I brought this to your attention?  Well, I found with my first book for The History Press, The King Arthur Conspiracy: How a Scottish Prince Became a Mythical Hero, that certain (how shall we put it?) traditionalists went out of their way to rubbish my theories.  I'm not going to get paranoid here (a trap many "conspiracy theorists" fall into), but will just point out that those "experts" who think they know all that there is to know about Arthur - and who are determined to keep him firmly lodged in southern Britain (i.e., they want him to be "English" and "Christian") - were not prepared to examine the evidence I presented in my book.  It didn't fit in with the "official" accounts of Arthur (which were, in fact, all invented many years after Arthur's death), and so they had to attack it with all the meagre weapons at their disposal - including spite and ridicule.

I consider that a taster for what is surely to come when my new book, Who Killed William Shakespeare? The Murderer, The Motive, The Means, is published very shortly by The History Press.  We will most likely get the same sort of angry, blustering responses, based not on any consideration of the evidence but on a kneejerk contempt for anyone who questions the established story.

And so I take heart from the studies referred to in the article above - in that, arguably, my research into William Shakespeare's life, works and, in particular, his death, takes more account of history than those who will inevitably seek to undermine my research.  (A good example: one of the main pieces of evidence for the murder of William Shakespeare is routinely dismissed by the country's leading expert on all things Shakespearean, and invariably on the shallowest of grounds; frankly, I don't think he's ever looked into the provenance and relevance of the death mask, because it doesn't fit his own theories).

This is one of the reasons why, when Shakespeare's skull is revealed to the world (in my book), I will argue against it's being returned to Stratford.  I don't think Stratford deserves it.

Why?  Because the Shakespeare institutions in Stratford are so wedded to their own version of Shakespeare's story that no amount of evidence will sway them.  Even though the story they tell doesn't make much sense, and takes very little heed of history.  They'd rather promote a portrait of somebody else (see previous posts) than look Shakespeare in the face.  So they shouldn't be allowed to claim his skull as and when they finally admit that it does exist.

They weren't prepared to question their own (inherited) account of Shakespeare's life, which means that they've been misleading the international community for years.  And I'm pretty sure that they'll react with tremendous anger to any book which challenges their sanitised story of his life.

I'll probably be branded a "conspiracy theorist" - just like the CIA smeared anyone who doubted the official account of JFK's death with the belittling term.  But the evidence will remain, and that's what really matters.

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