Saturday, December 10, 2005

Junk History III Mythistorian Reviews Book Edited by Mythistorians

The passage below is typical of the pseudo-intellectual waffle-language of mythistorians. It is a paragraph from a book review in the Australian Journal of Anthropology of April 2004. The review was written by Michael Jacklin, and the book in question was edited by primo mythistorians Bain Attwood and Fiona Magowan. The title of the book is telling (pun intended): Telling Stories: Indigenous History and Memory in Australia and New Zealand.

This collection explores the constructed nature of history and its intersections with oral narrative, testimony and memory. The essays delve into the complexities of Indigenous/non-Indigenous relationships involved in the production and circulation of Indigenous histories. The discussions of collaboration and entanglement in the configuring of Indigenous histories make this collection of particular relevance for those concerned with the ways Indigenous narratives negotiate the cultural domains of non-Indigenous Australia and New Zealand.

This work, on the evidence of the review alone, would have a substantive quality akin to chinese whispers. You may know the timeless military anecdote. A message is passed back to a reserve company by word of mouth. The message begins at the front as follows: "send reinforcements, we're going to advance". By the time it gets to the reserves, it has morphed into "send two-and fourpence, we're going to a dance".