Here’s a recent Al Jazeera documentary, from the ‘Fault Lines’ series, called History of an occupation, about the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement. What I find fascinating about modern-day history is how copiously it is recorded. At the moment I’m writing a book about a 17th century poet, Robert Herrick, which takes an awful lot of research, and there’s still huge gaps about what’s known about Herrick. Another example of this is a close contemporary of Herrick, William Shakespeare: no one knows the exact date when Shakespeare was born, and there’s just as much unknown about Shakespeare as there is known about him.
Nowadays, everything gets written about, filmed, recorded on a mega scale. Historians four hundred years in the future will have a much easier job; that is, if all those bits and bytes haven’t been turned into radioactive dust and the aforementioned historians aren’t living in caves deep underground.
But let’s not get too depressed. I wonder if this Al Jazeera documentary will survive across the centuries..?