Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Friday, 12 March 2010

History is so last year, innit

Optimism is a wonderful thing. Oh to share the sunny outlook of David Dimbleby, who claimed this week that 'History programmes on television are filling in the gaps in children's knowledge of the subject'!

I'm sure they are, in homes where enlightened parents discuss homework with their children and frequent the local library to research projects. But in an age where, according to much-promulgated statistics, most children have televisions in their bedrooms, David Starkey is wrestling with Christina Aguilera and coming off worse.

We are, after all, talking about generation X-box, the spawn of the electronic age. Last month? That was, like, so ages ago; last year? Practically the stone age, dude. All that matters is the here and now: as far as they are concerned, 'history programmes' means the first series of 'Skins'.

They might pick up a bit of historical knowledge from 'Lark Rise to Candleford' - rural soap with bonnets - or 'The Tudors' and 'Rome' - raunch and ananchronism in equal measures - but, when it comes to the crunch, the lure of 'Strictly X-factor Find Me A Talented Nancy Boy On Ice' is apparently irresistible.

Sorry , Mr Dimbleby, but I think you're preaching to the converted. The huge surge in demand for history books and television programmes is actually fuelled by those of us who remember first-hand the primitive, far-off times before the internet and mobile phones; the young have far more important things on their minds.


  1. "...the lure of Strictly X-factor Find Me A Talented Nancy Boy On Ice..."


  2. As much of the "history" on TV seems to have occurred during my lifetime, I sometimes wonder where I was when all this was going on.

  3. JuliaM: thank you - we aim to please.

    Demetrius: http://www.theonion.com/content/node/29830