Just finished reading a book from Michael Crichton called “Timeline” – it was a good one. But then, which Crichton book isn’t, really? From the sleeve:
In an Arizona desert a man wanders in a daze, speaking words that make no sense. Within 24 hours he is dead, his body switftly cremated by his only known associates. Halfway around the world archaeologists make a shocking discovery at a medieval site. Suddenly they are swept off to the headquarters of a secretive multinational corporation that has developed an astounding technology. Now this group is about to get a chance not to study the past but to enter it. And with history opened to the present, the dead awakened to the living, these men and women will soon find themselves fighting for their very survival – six hundred years ago.
So, a book on time travel, sort of. This company develops the ability to visit past ‘universes’ using the theories of quantam mechanics and sends this group of people back to 1357 France, of all places. I won’t write a spoiler on the book – however there was one part that I found humerous that I thought I’d share.
This corporation is planning on marketing the past – with the spin on it that our modern world is not authetic since we live in the days of plastic surgery – fake reality on television – politicians who will say/do anything to get elected . . . the marketing spin is that the general public wants to go back to something real and authentic. So they bring you the past. They were working on a PR slideshow to show to investors – so they sent a group of PR execs. into the past to videotape some well known historical events:
The screen showed a gray, gloomy image, overhanging clouds. the camera panned to show some sort of gathering, shot over the heads of a large crowd. A tall man was climbing up onto a plain, unpainted wood platform.
“What is this, a hanging?”
“No,” the media kid said. “That’s Abraham Lincoln, about to deliver the Gettysburg Address.”
“It is? Jesus he looks like hell. He looks like a corpse, all wrinkled and pale. Is that his voice? It sounds squeaky!”
“Well, no one’s ever heard his voice before . . ”
“Are you out of your mind? No one wants to hear Abraham Lincoln sounding like Mickey Mouse!”
“…Well, let’s look at the second video. We wanted to get a real famous event tha teverybody would know. This is Christmas Day – 1778, on the Deleware River. I’m afraid it’s a bit dark. It’s a night crossing. But we thought George Washington crossing the Deleware would be a good . . . ”
“George Washington? Where?”
“He’s there . . in the boat”
“That huddled mass laying in the back of the boat is George Washington?”
“No No NO! If we’re going to sell this thing – he has to be standing in the front of the boat looking like a General!”
“I know that’s the way the paintings portray him . . but, in reality . . ”
“FUCK reality – What’s the matter with you people? I don’t care about reality! I want something intriguing, something sexy and you people are showing me a walking corpse who talkes like Mickey Mouse and a drowned rat in a boat!”
Ever wonder how much of history has been ‘spun’ to fit an image? Probably a very large part of it. I found this passage amusing. Ever think of where you’d go if you had the chance to travel back in time? If it were possible?
But then – I’d like to know who shot JFK, too. And how did those stones get to stonehenge, anyways? Did Betsy Ross really make this nation’s first flag? Pearl Harbor – did FDR know in advance? Was the Apollo Moon landing a total fake? Is there a different story behind Princess Diana’s death?
Wouldn’t you just love to be a fly on the wall of history? If only to put some conspiracy theorists in their place . . . or have them put you in yours. 😉
You see what insomnia does to me?