Today the dog leaped over the creek after treeing a cat. I was struck by his graceful confidence, which, though I love this dog, seems a confidence wholly unearned. He made it fine, though.
On Twitter, I saw a person recounting a story of her elderly grandmother’s surprisingly progressive response to a relative’s life situation, the whole family, really, way back in the early 1900s.
I didn’t quite believe the story. It seems a little too perfectly aligned with our politics today and less so with what I know of the politics of the time. On the other hand, who knows? The world is a big place and people have been surprising in it a long time.
But then someone jumped down the storyteller’s throat about how the terminology the grandmother had used in the story–remember, a story recounted as having happened in the early 1900s–was hurtful.
Which, I have to say, is pretty damn likely, being as it was the early 1900s.
And then the storyteller apologized and said she had made a mistake trying to cram the whole story into 140 characters and the grandmother had actually said the thing we would say now.
And then I knew the story was bullshit. But no one else seems to. They’re all just pleased about the apology.
Or maybe it doesn’t matter that the story is bullshit?
I don’t know. I have a hard time knowing if things I remember are real–partially because I think I do genuinely have a shitty memory and partially because I have been trained since childhood to believe that there is always some generous way to interpret a situation that will explain the behavior of assholes, so I have always found my own memories and feelings about things suspect. But that’s why I want to know things, true things. I want to see for myself things I can count on. Even if they’re painful or imperfect.
So, I can’t understand this other impulse to have a story–passed off as true–that probably isn’t true, but tells us that how things are now is how they always have been, we’ve just been denying it.