ASK DR. BOLI.

Dear Dr. Boli: As a historian of recent events, I often find myself in the delicate situation of having to give an objective account of some political figure with whose policies I disagreed violently. How can I maintain scrupulous fairness toward the weasels whose sordid affairs it is my duty to chronicle? —Sincerely, David McCullough.

Dear Sir: If you work hard to master your prejudices, you can approach your political differences with your subject in a mature and dignified manner, as befits an adult historian rather than a fourth-grader. For example, the iconodule writers who took on the task of narrating the reign of the iconoclast emperor Constantine V never mentioned his name without adding the epithet Copronymus, and so as Constantine Poopyhead he has passed into history. This technique gave their productions a calm dignity and sober style that have greatly enhanced their reputations among historians, and surely you can find a way of adapting it for your own purposes.

Comments

  1. Clay Potts says:

    When reading history I always prefer to go as directly to the original source as possible – one day while reading Constantine V’s June 742 Facebook page, I noted several angry posts exchanged between Constantine and his brother-in-law where he repeatedly referred to his brother-in-law as “Thou Art-a-basdos!”

  2. This would seem an inappropriate place to link to my views on that honorable cad, Galahad Newman Bousted, so in the interest of my self-interest, that all might benefit, here’s the link.

    Jeffery Hodges

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