“History is written by the assassins,” says a student, sitting in a history class, taught by the protagonist of a 1983 Argentinian movie called The Official Story.
It’s a good movie; it won the Oscar for best foreign film. It tells one very small piece of Argentina’s history, variously called the last junta, the dirty war, or the Condor operation, when thousands of people were disappeared by their government to repress dissent.
It’s about a middle class woman, a woman whose life is built upon acceptance of the official story. Her husband works with the junta; they benefit directly from an unquestioning belief in whatever their leader says and does.
Their lives are disrupted by those who do not accept the official story. Some are always driven to poke a few holes in that story and to start to look for the truth. These are the people who don’t benefit or have no hope or desire to benefit from those in power.
These people are always labeled: troublemakers, agitators, doubters, witches, subversives, dissidents, usually by the people who gain or hope to gain from those in power.
The whole purpose of the official story is to soothe and reassure people that their “choices” are good ones and that they deserve to benefit at the expense of others.
The official story is written by the victors, as noted earlier, and those particular cooks seem to draw from the same ingredient list over and over: wishful thinking, guilt/denial of guilt, positive spin, lies of varying degrees of severity, hopium, spiced with racism and sexism, usually wrapped in nationalism.
There will always be people who will cling to the official story – despite all evidence to the contrary – and they will always be fools who should be shunned.
The vast majority of us do some sifting; we pick and choose which official story we’ll believe. There are a plethora of them from which to choose.
Every country has its official story; every religion; every institution or corporation or organization.
Life is, of course, much easier for those who live uncritically. And, for reasons I do not yet understand, they really want everyone else to live uncritically – or less “negatively” – as it is sometimes framed.
Nobody likes a buzz kill.