What do we really know? How do we know it? What narratives do we accept as true for history?
What does this have to do with it getting late? I’m watching a documentary produced maybe 35 years ago, La Belle Epoque. It is an admirable presentation, but it presents a bias, a bias that we think exposes the Truth, rather than obfuscates it.
The premise is that there were, at that time, incredibly wealthy people, and then there was everybody else, living lives of material desperation. That there was a middle class, who owned houses, bought life insurance, educated their children, both sons and daughters. From these educated women, came the suffragettes. It was a middle class phenomenon. That is but one example.
My point is that the narrative exaggerates the class differences and class struggle, by ignoring the sizable bourgeoisie.
The authors and producers of this work, along with many other scholars pay inordinate attention to Freud and Marx. Other figures given attention, Darwin, Nietzsche become the other figures in the pantheon. Were no other scholars and thinkers at work then? Were there other artists besides the ones championed by Gertrude Stein and her brothers? Who else was writing music besides the favorites of the avant garde? There is an assumed narrative that we readily accept.
In the next few years, people are going to challenge the narrative of that age we call The Twentieth Century. You heard it here first.