". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Queer History

Here the countdown is already happening and the annual excitement that is Gay Pride in June is already building.  What used to be a Gay Pride weekend, and then week, has expanded.  Gay couples -- even groups -- from other countries and states are visibly plumping up the usual tourist hordes on the sidewalks and in the restaurants.

Thus this recently published book fits right into the current ambience,  Double Lives – A History of Sex and Secrecy at Westminster by Michael Block.

The many well known Brit politicos who were gay or bi sexual include Winston Churchill.  That was a surprise to me, at least.

From the Guardian's Books section: .
There are now 32 openly gay MPs, but for much of the 20th century many politicians were forced to lead complex, clandestine sexual lives. Michael Bloch tells their stories and salutes their powers of subterfuge. . . . 
As a young cavalry officer, the Old Harrovian Winston Churchill was accused of having “participated in acts of gross immorality of the Oscar Wilde type” with fellow cadets at Sandhurst; but he successfully sued his accuser for libel, and there is no evidence that, as an adult, he engaged in physical homosexual relationships. Yet he was far from being straightforwardly heterosexual. Although he worshipped his beautiful American mother, he showed a lifelong aversion to women. (In Churchill’s only novel Savrola, the obviously autobiographical hero has a purely chaste relationship with the heroine, obviously based on Churchill’s mother.) He seems to have had a low sex drive, and married rather cold-bloodedly, aged 33, for social and dynastic reasons, just after being appointed to Asquith’s cabinet. Though he came to depend on his “Clemmie” in many ways, she was often exasperated by his emotional unresponsiveness and treatment of her as a child-bearer and housekeeper, and more than once considered leaving him. 

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