Can he depend upon the memory hole?

Re-writing the past, re-inventing history; these are the tools of propagandists.

And perhaps for the first time in history, Ted Kennedy’s words will not be forgotten. The emergence of the Internet has closed down the “memory hole” within which the former apologists of Joseph Stalin, Kim Il Sung, Fidel Castro and Saddam Hussein could hide their bad advance and from which they could emerge at whiles to offer new sage advice. The term ‘memory hole’ itself was coined by George Orwell who used it to describe the mechanism through which the media manipulated historical memory. One of the tenets of the Party in Orwell’s 1984 was that “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past”, and the key to achieving mastery over history was the liberal use of the ‘memory hole’

Unfortunately for someone, whether it be Senator Kennedy, Bishop Sako or George Bush, a monolithic media no longer controls collective memory. Recently Max Boot reminded Seymour Hersh of his past writing and what little resemblance it bore to events. If Iraqis, in defiance of present-day O’Briens, can drink a toast to the future, it is due in part to the new-found power to stand once again upon the past. To all the custodians of the memory hole one can say, ‘Who acts in the present controls the future. Who manufactures fantasy becomes the past.’
[wretchard; Colors to the Mast; Belmont Club, 28Ja05. hat tip Command Post]

There has always been legend and song. Gutenberg started the popular spread of the written word. As technology bounces, the opportunities for people to share an accurate memory of what actually was become less expensive and more pervasive. We can hope that this will enhance intellectual integrity in the future’s representation of the past.

But don’t get too optimistic. Remember the Swift Vets. They had direct memories and recordings but still suffered a damping effect of legacy media. Fortunately, alternate media did get the word out and people did pay attention. Let us hope that the sedition being espoused by current politicians will come back to face them in future campaigns.

Don’t let anyone depend upon a memory hole.

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