Thursday, February 18, 2010

Veritas vos liberabit

Veritas vos liberabit

According to Gloria Steinem, the truth will set us free. But first, it will piss us off.

I think we’re all guilty of it in some aspects - we tend to romanticize the past and history.

We think of the wholesomeness and clean living of the past. We think of how simple things used to be. We think of clean air, pure food, with none of the "evil" stresses of modern living - no cell phones, no traffic jams, no video games, no bad stuff at all.

However there was bad stuff... lots of it.

There was no "wholesomeness" - no refrigeration meant food rotted, sexually-transmitted diseases festered, you could die easily from things that are easily treated today.

There was no "clean living" - personal hygiene was non-existent (at least by 2010 standards) - face it until the 1970s many women only washed their hair once a week when they had it “done” at the hairdressers.

And indoor plumbing is a recent invention - wenches used to fling buckets full of urine and poop out windows into the street (and we think bus shelters smell bad)

Deodorant? Nope - sorry.
Smiling? Nope - your teeth, if there were any, were rotten so probably not...
And as the snow falls outside all I have to do is turn up the furnace and gaze outside my double-glazed-weather-blocking windows.

We're also guilty of putting figures on pedestals which aren't warranted. Napoleon, Amelia Earhart, Kennedy (even staunch party-faithful admit he hadn't really accomplished much at the time he was assassinated), etc

King Tut is one of those figures. He was a minor ruler from a relatively short-lived dynasty. He would probably have remained "unsung" had it not been for the fact that his tomb was forgotten about by everyone - including tomb-raiders.

He is famous because no-one bothered to rob him. His myth started with gold, and was popularized by "fantastical" (in the true sense of the word) rumours of a curse in the already occult-crazed upper-classes.

In short "The pharaoh who in life was one of the least esteemed of Egypt's kings has become in death the most renowned." (Unknown source)

We've all helped too... haven't we? We’ve stared in awe at the riches, we’ve gone to movies, and watched documentaries. Many Tut-fans bought into the "oh wow he had gorgeous stuff, he must have been murdered - ooooo the bust they made from his skull made him gorgoeus!! *fangirl squee* he looks like that guy who played Alexanders lover” *squee* and slashy fanfic about a long-dead Pharaoh flowed.

Thank science, or blame science, for the truth...

The poor little mite who ascended to the throne at 9 and died when he was 19 was a sickly teenager, with a cleft palate, a club foot, and weak bones resulting (probably) from the fact that his parents were full-brother and sister.

He was probably in pain for most of his life; he died of a broken leg and complications from severe malaria. Hardly romantic, eh?

I'm not sure whether I'm happy to find out the answer to a mystery, or whether I'm going to miss the mystery.

A family tree at last

King Tut felled by his feet, not his foes

Egypt reveals Tutankhamun's lineage, cause of death

On sober second thought - I'll keep my blackberry, my frantic schedule, my toothbrush, my 911 access,..

I won't stop loving history and fantasizing about clean water and air - but I will remember that I got it pretty good in 2010.


Trude said...

Exactly!! But it's always so easy to romanticize the past, isn't it? Makes memories nicer that way.

Anonymous said...

Hi Nariane,

and a hot shower on a cold night with a steamy cup of cammomille tea...

yes, life in 2010 is great....