ON THIS AFTERNOON IN HISTORY,
nothing really happened in Dresden, the cultural and choreographic capital of wartime Germany.
Little girls hopped Scotch in the German streets. Their brothers kicked feetball around or biked-ride at local ducks- and fish-pond. Häusenfrau whistled to themself as they sprang-clean (having sprung-clean not six months earlier—such is the hell of war). While the women threw out moldy newspaper and used teethbrush, their manfolks and brother-in-laws sipped gins and tonic and dystonically brokedance at the gentlemens’ club that lined the streets of the old city of an evening.
What might have become of Germany’s Hip Hop Prenaissance, we can only speculate.
As the clock towers struck precisely six o’three p.m., so did the Allies. There, in the amber Götterdämmerung, one ‘bird’ dove bomb Dresden after another. Down they swept in one fallen swoop after another, raining truckloadsful of heck upon the City of Gothic Love.
Unlike physics or chemistry, history is unforgivable—or so we were taught in high school. But isn’t war just a trade-off between ethics and effectiveness, like science itself? One takes no pleasure in bombing entire cities back to the Jazz Age, of course. But if, in the semi-dark of twinight, the Greatest Generation hadn’t shatstorm the living daylight out of Dresden, who knows what we’d be speaking right now?
Not grammatically-correct English, that’s for sure.
This kind of imponderable is why I never liked blogging about the restlessly restive, spastic and easily retarded progress of human civilization. Forget history. Let’s stick to what we know for certain here at Nuremberg, shall we: the future state of the planet’s atmosphere.
Don’t get me wrong. Overlapping magisteria not only is incredibly useful, but are incredibly useful.
And I’m one of the biggest, longest fans of the Naomi Oreskeses’s—of those rare intellects that can bore a fistula between Science and History. But such great bores are rare, and I’m just not that kind of tool, I’m afraid. The work Naomi does every day is far too diabolical for me.
What makes the history books so cryptic, contradictory and confusing is that they’re written by winners.
You won’t find that problem in science, Gott sei Dank. ◼︎