History is but a fable agreed upon.M. de Fontenelle, 1724, The origin of fables
What goes around comes around I guess. Because what the old French geezer was talking about was the fact that the Greek myths were exactly that… myths. There were stories aplenty but no actual history of any sort.
In effect all the news from the ancient Greeks was fake news. All the news from anywhere was fake news until we started inventing things like the telegraph system, telephones and television – so that it was possible to see the truth.
Possible. Not inevitable.
The quote at the start of this article is the basis for the adage ‘History is written by the winners’. In essence it is those who win who get to tell the story and create the truth. Back in the days of Napoleon (who also used this adage) that was about the people who prevailed on a battlefield being able to justify their actions afterwards.
Only now we have the internet and the obfuscations, misdirections and outright fabrications that were once possible (inevitable) because of a lack of information have returned ten fold due to a rampant surplus of information. It is not surprising that we are breaking down into ‘tribes‘ again and that those tribes are spouting very simple ideologies. The confusion is driving people back to the basic human method for survival in my opinion. Learn the rules of the tribe and then stick with them. As a strategy for getting through life this is pound-for-pound your most efficient method of survival from birth to death.
Your parents teach you basic things – don’t eat that, don’t go there… and you get by on that. The unfortunate thing for humans is that a great many people never really get beyond that level of analysis. And I don’t blame them. If this Brexit/Populist/climate change denying catastrophe has taught me anything it is that thinking about big, shitty stuff is hard. I’d rather be writing stories, or reading them, or… doing anything else really.
But now we fight through stories themselves.
Momo scared the freaking shit out of me. I found the image in itself scary enough but then there was the whole story that the meme was going around telling kids to hurt themselves and as a father I was even more terrified. I am fairly good at telling bullshit from nutella usually but (confession) I had a chat to my daughters on the back of this. How could I not. A powerful image that had the possibility to hurt my children. I’m going to react and react quickly aren’t I?
And now there are even scarier stories being told by another grotesque… BOJO!
We’re getting drug death stories which are distorted, we’re being promised the shipping work for the navy again because we fell for that last time.
Why? Because a story is a powerful thing. Ever since the Indy Ref in 2014 we have been besieged by one particular type of story and it goes along the same lines every time.
Scotland you are weak, you are in danger. Don’t do anything stupid.
And every story that follows the ‘Too wee, too poor, too stupid” framework is designed to do the same thing – affect how we vote. The onslaught is fairly constant and it is now coming through every channel. The BBC are terrible for it but they are joined by other TV channels and a great deal of the internet. The battleground of stories is constant. 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
Which is why I write blogs and make movies.
Our latest effort is our first step into the fray. Alongside my creative partner David Barras we are putting a story out there to help the cause of sanity. But we are being guided by what we have seen. Shouting isn’t helping – what it needs are stories, told simply and well that show the truth of what we are saying. For the moment we want to concentrate on Independence as a first step (for reasons outlined here) and that means telling the story of Scotland’s current relationship in a way that might just get through to people listening to other sources. We might, possibly, be able to change a few minds by changing how we tell the tale.
Winners are those with the best stories these days
To that end there is now a script that we hope to make this August/September. There is a facebook page where we are showing the type of approach we think will work.
If you are pro-indy at all you should check it out because it might just be your best step in helping that idea along. If you think like we do. If you think our story deserves to be told, we would be honoured if you will stand alongside us in creating it. Contributions are closing but can still be made via our indiegogo page.
Thank you for listening.
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