I’ll be on the road much of today. The list in my little notebook of post topics is getting longer and longer (I’ve got at least a month’s worth in there now), and I hope to weigh in on the plagiarism issue this evening. Right now, I’d like to share a quote from the preface to James Ellroy’s American Tabloid. I don’t read much fiction, but when I have over the last couple of years it’s been Ellroy more often than not. He’s the author of L. A. Confidential and The Black Dahlia, which were turned into motion pictures of which you may have heard. Ellroy’s novels are like train wrecks – you don’t want to look, but you can’t help yourself. Really good stuff about really bad people. Anyway, this little quote sums up how I feel (at times) when reading about the American Civil War or watching films like Gods and Generals:
Mass market nostalgia gets you hopped up for a past that never existed. Hagiography sanctifies shuck-and-jive politicians and reinvents their expedient gestures as moments of great moral weight. Our continuing narrative line is blurred past truth and hindsight. Only a reckless verisimilitude can set that line straight.