Yesterday, I finished my guest appearance on a Point of Insanity Podcast, specifically Whose Podcast is it Anyway, which will turn up on Friday, August 18. It was a lot of fun and I got to talk about some of the things I've lately posted about, along with slamming the company behind D&D, adding some talk about Sasquatches and about Russian history.
Listening to Chad, the Podcast presenter, talking about his relationship to the Reagan era (he turned 13 when the Wall came down), I was astounded by the knowledgeable distance between what he knew and something that was happening while I was a conscious and politically active, self-aware individual. I had turned 16 before Reagan was elected; I watched that campaign, my first (politically interested Canadians watch both the American and British festivals, as we are affected by both), and I remember very clearly what sort of things were being said about Reagan.
None of those things are being said now. Reagan is the go-to president when people want to talk about a Republican who did bad things but was basically of good character. Pundits will often say, "Reagan did this or that thing, but at least he was aware of the consequences of what he was doing." Like being aware makes it all better.
Reagan was awful. Worse than that, he was a joke. But the Iran-Contra thing had been going on all that summer and making Carter look like a worse joke. Reagan "got the hostages out," which he totally did not do, as anyone conscious was aware of at the time, but all that has disappeared into dry history books no one reads. I have lived long enough as a political animal to watch history being rewritten by the winners. Totally rewritten.
However, as you will hear, Chad seemed to find my few comments about the Afghani war and the coming down of the wall as interesting ... and that makes me wonder about how much raw history is being lost on a daily basis as people who remember first-hand what was going on in the 60s, 70s and 80s are passing away. History seems a mystery to most people anyway, since the education system (in Canada too, as much as anywhere) is shoving it aside in favor of social culture and social responsibility.
I can't say that the world "needs" me to settle in and write a ton of history, giving my take on things like the Reagan years or what it was like to listen to stories about Carter's brother or Gerald Ford's falling down stairs, both of which were so important a week couldn't go by without either being parodied or discussed. There are hundreds of thousands of history students who are already doing this, not to mention a major cultural effort of writing the history of everything via Wikipedia.
It reminds me, however, that people don't read history. If it happened before we were born, it seems to bear little interest for us; why care, everything that matters must have happened after 1964, the year I was born.
(I know, you think that everything that mattered happened after 1976 or 1983, but you're wrong)
Of course, we're willing to make some exceptions for things like Kennedy's assassination, that McCarthy thing and Nazis, but we don't want to get crazy, right? Not that anyone understands the fifty reasons why people would want to shoot Kennedy, or who McCarthy was or what started that witchhunt, or that Nazis were not just bad guys in Indiana Jones' movies, but hey, we're just interested in the important stuff, right?
I think it is a little sad. I could do a podcast every week where I did nothing but talk about history, potentially with time to look up small details on the net just to be sure I got the details right ~ and what's odd is that I'm sure that some people would really like it.
But my experience with Chad reminded me what I really need to make a podcast work: someone to ask me questions. I'm great at answering questions off the cuff. I enjoyed doing the bits with my daughter, but the issue there was that she steadfastly refused to be a set-up person for me (something about not wanting to be in the shadow of her father or some silly thing). I've played around with just talking, but it feels ... weird. If I'm just going to chatter, I'd rather write. I write better than I chatter.
I'd love to do more podcasts. I've looked, and I've had some others who have looked, but we haven't found any podcasts who are willing to step up. If anyone has any ideas ~ or connections, which is better ~ I can write the introductory email.
And if someone wants to dig in and go head to head with me, I have the means to record us and I have the guy to edit us (if he's still willing). So let me know. Could be fun.