Friday, June 15, 2007

From nukes , to plague, to hiv and to Spanish flu

The latest edition of Dan Carlin's Hardcore History podcast is titled 'bubonic nukes' and it discusses the effects the black death had on Europe in the late Middle Ages.

I want to be fair to Dan. After my last review, in which I complained he is too winding in introducing his point, he wrote me two emails. I'll give you a quote from each one:

My job [...] is to try to interest as many people as I can in the subject matter, and oftentimes that mean we must deal with elements that are too basic for an "advanced user" like yourself.

There are other good programs that deal with the narrative history. I want to bring back the oral history idea that our species used in earlier times to convey the events of the past as long as we have inhabited this planet. That is, of course, storytelling. There are, as you no doubt well understand, rules to storytelling...and building up to the drama and climax are standard tools in the storytellers arsenal.

I would like to add something to this. I think we must take the podcast not as a pure history podcast. The monologue borrows of history a lot, but the central and contemporary point is a thought Dan wants to pass, not a historic one, let alone a set of historic facts. So, if the latest edition is about the plague, it is not intent to inform you about the plague as it hit the world starting the fourteenth century, but rather to contemplate on the effect this had on society and compare this to what we once viewed as the pinnacle of disaster: nuclear aftermath. Eventually, nuclear disaster seems less disastrous and Dan points out that the possibility of pandemics such as the black death are still possible.