montagnarde1793: (la jeune fille à la colombe)
[personal profile] montagnarde1793
...Is anyone else depressed by people who seem otherwise intelligent and well-intentioned try to say things - or even worse, educate others - about the French Revolution and are so wide of the mark you wonder whether they even bothered applying their apparent intelligence and good faith to the question at all?

Well, I've just experienced this, and not for the first time. (Larry Gonick, I'm looking at you.) So I don't know if you've heard of John Green. He's a novelist, but I've not read any of his books. I know of him because he has a few vlogging series on youtube, which for the most part are cute, quirky, informative and sincere and one gets the impression from watching him and his brother, with whom he collaborates, that he genuinely wants to make the world a better place.

But.

But his videos on the Revolution (which I'm not going to link to, as I'm sure he gets enough publicity without my help)? The worst I've seen in a long time. I started out with the "Reign of Terror" one - since those are usually the worst offenders, particularly with a title like that - and to be honest, I couldn't proceed past his assertion that price controls categorically failed and are somehow equivalent to stealing bread from all of Europe. I'm honestly at a loss as to how anyone could come to that conclusion. (Never mind the usual dross about Robespierre being "in charge" - or however he worded it - of the CSP and so on.)

Worse than that though, I'm just incredibly disappointed. I guess I should know what to expect by now, of the mainstream anglophone world in particular, but it just depresses me immensely to see well-meaning, apparently otherwise intelligent people spreading misinformation about the Revolution. Especially when it doesn't seem like they have a particular political axe to grind, which would at least be understandable... Their understanding of the Revolution is just that unsophisticated and ill-informed. Which I suppose you could say makes it irresponsible for them to try to educate others on the subject, but to be honest, I don't think they can possibly really know enough to even realize how ill-informed they are. And that's the most depressing part of all. *sighs*

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montagnarde1793

October 2014

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