Hypocrisy – not OUR future

Whenever I see one of the “Not our Future” anti-smoking ads, this is what I think:

Add to this the increasing push to make New Zealand smoke-free by 2025, and I feel like banging my head against a wall. Now, i’m not a smoker myself, so outlawing the humble durry wouldn’t affect me in the slightest. Nor am I a rabid libertarian, ready to pounce on any supposed example of “nanny statism”. I’m a pragmatist – and I cannot stand the kind of contradictory logic that goes into a campaign like this. It is, at best, misleading – and, at worst, blatantly hypocritical.

Here’s why.

Continue reading “Hypocrisy – not OUR future”

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Exploding the ANZAC myth

I had my first metahistorical “wow” moment when I came back to study history at university in 2008. At the time, my interest in history was based on my belief that it was merely a catalog of cool shit that had happened in the past. Boy, was I in for a shock.

On the advice of my lecturers, I decided to read the VUW guide to Writing History Essays. History, I read, was not about capturing some objective truth – it was about coming up with arguments that best fit the available evidence. Thus, the textbooks that had formed the staple of my highschool history career were not an official retelling of ‘what really happened’ – they were merely one person’s attempt at reconstructing what happened. This not only made them conjectural – it made them contestable. Which made me wonder – just what other historical narratives that I had been fed throughout my life were contestable?

Enter History 2.0. A world where critical thinking and geeky enthusiasm provided the means for deconstructing hegemonic historical narratives in order to reach a closer approximation of truth. Or, in layman’s terms, a world where I could take a step back from popular historical beliefs and say “Hey? What’s really going on here?” This, I decided, was where one of the true powers of history lay – exploding historical myths. And what better place to start than with ANZAC Day?

Continue reading “Exploding the ANZAC myth”

Why history is awesome

One of the questions I get asked fairly often is, “so what is it that you’re studying at university?” As my fellow aspiring historians would appreciate, this is a difficult question to answer. What to say? Where to start? How does one reduce the subject of multiple years’ research into a simple, one sentence answer?

My stock-standard response is to repeat the title of my thesis: “oh, i’m looking at radical conservative movements in Australia and New Zealand during the Great Depression.” To me, that single sentence – complete with all the little connotations that only I am familiar with – is more exciting than a rollercoaster full of sharks hurtling through space.

However, i’ve no illusions that most non-historically inclined people tune out somewhere after ‘radical’. And why wouldn’t they? Let’s face it – we aspiring historians love OUR topics, but sometimes WE even struggle not to fall asleep when a colleague is ranting excitedly about their own little research babies. Continue reading “Why history is awesome”

Hello, world!

“This is how the blog begins… not with a bang, but with a programming reference.”

Hello, and welcome to my new website / blog! I’ve been procrastinating about creating a site for months now, until I stumbled upon the idiot-proof wonder that is WordPress. I know, I know – a former software engineer designing a website using WordPress. How shameful!

I hope to use this site to keep track of my academic and fiction projects. Chances are, i’ll probably use it for the occasional rant, whether or the political, historical, or anecdotal variety. One day, Flying Spaghetti Monster and mass publication willing, this thing might just evolve into an official website. But until that day comes, I hope the three or four people who scroll through this out of sheer boredom find it interesting! Continue reading “Hello, world!”

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