Thursday, April 26, 2012
History is Amassed in the Details
"Living history is amassed in the details," droned Scowl-Face in his best professorial tone. "To fully appreciate the century of public service from Mooresville Public Library, one must be prepared to wade the minutiae." When it comes to 'ol Scowlly, you had best be prepared to wade through something else altogether. You'll see what I mean.
Scowl-Face has a legitimate point, I must concede. Any history worth its salt or pepper (or canned tuna-in-oil) is necessarily replete with ordinary, mind-numbing day-to-day details. Just read any of the 19th century diaries contained in the MPL
Indiana Roving Reporter Room collections, and you'll soon see that people recorded daily events that seem rather dull to a casual modern reader. But it is this enormous accumulation of information--humdrum as some of it may be--that affords a complete, accurate understanding of what life was actually like way back when. Historians largely compress this material so that readers or listeners will remain in their audiences longer than thirty seconds.
It is a tribute to historical writers that they accomplish this difficult task of paring the overwhelming piles of factual minutiae into something approaching readability and reader retention. Then there's Scowl-Face's blog. Even bad examples can be learning experiences.
But, of course, I joke at ol' Scowlly's expense. The Library's history is interesting to anyone interested. I charge $4.50 for axiomatic statements, so pony-up the dough. Or the canned tuna-in-oil.
Library History Tastes Great and is a Good Fiber Source,
Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Library History News Beat
P.S. Reading one of Scowl-Face's blog posts brings to mind "Too Much Information," by Duran Duran, from the self-titled CD popularly known as "The Wedding Album" (1993).