Axver (axver) wrote,
Axver
axver

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Who needs history anyway?

Many of you would have heard of the book 1421: The Year China Discovered The World by Gavin Menzies. If you haven't, Wikipedia is always handy for a quick overview. Put simply, Menzies makes the assertion that a Chinese fleet discovered vast amounts of the world well before European explorers did, e.g. the Americas, Antarctica, and Australia. Also put simply, the 1421 hypothesis and Menzies' book are nothing more than pseudohistory. Perhaps I am being too polite: 1421 is utter codswallop. It is the wet dream of an amateur historian wholly deserving of the title "amateur" and completely undeserving of the title "historian". Menzies and his ghostwriters shamelessly twist, distort, misinterpret, and play with evidence in a way that suits preconceived conclusions. Any sort of intellectual honesty or historical method is sacrificed at the altar of Menzies' ego as he seeks to singlehandedly rewrite history with a pack of poorly substantiated claims put together to create a book that is effectively fiction. No genuine, reputable historian or other expert in any relevant field takes this drivel seriously. Menzies and 1421 are the laughingstock of the intellectual community and the butt of repeated jokes - I have heard many and made a number myself. It is a stunning example of how not to do history.

And then yesterday I had the misfortune to discover that a sequel was published last month. Meet 1434: The Year A Magnificent Chinese Fleet Sailed To Italy And Ignited The Renaissance, convoluted title and all. You don't even need to read it to know it's a complete load of bollocks mixed with horseshit. A Chinese fleet visited Italy and foisted upon them the beginnings of the revival of the cultures of European Antiquity? Yeah, sure. If I ever feel like reading insufferable claptrap, I might just check this out to see specifically what wild and peculiar claims Menzies makes. How the hell does this ahistorical hogwash get published and stocked in bookshops around the world while genuine, innovative, interesting history is rejected by publishers daily, or printed only to be confined to obscurity? I think my creatively blasphemous response dripping with sarcasm from the Interference Superthread rather satisfactorily summarises my feelings towards this:

... oh my god.

Oh my non-existent god.

OH MY NON-EXISTENT GOD ON A STICK.

OH MY NON-DIVINE, ENTIRELY HUMAN JESUS CHRIST RIDING A BIKE THROUGH CENTRAL MELBOURNE IN RUSH HOUR WEARING NOTHING BUT A G-STRING.

This is the end of the history discipline, folks. We all might as well just pack it in. Close the faculty doors. There's thoroughly no point studying it when there are geniuses like Gavin Menzies and his shameless ghostwristers to tell us all how it
really happened.
Tags: china, history, literature, rubbish
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