I like the sound of that…Day 32. That really makes it sound like I’ve stuck with this thing for more than a month. Which I guess I have, give or take a few threatening letters to myself. So here we are. Month deux of the Year of Something New.
Watched The Imitation Game last night. It was…good. I feel like I should have more words to say on the subject, but I really don’t. It was a good movie. Cumberbatch was good in it. Plus I’m pleased that the story of Alan Turing is being told to a wide audience – even through the filter of a Hollywood movie – because his is really quite a remarkable and crucial piece of twentieth century history and everyone should know his name. Deciphering Enigma and inventing the computer. Not bad work for one lifetime.
I feel I should know more twentieth century history. Apart from the World Wars-centric modern history that we get taught in school, and that one Australian Foreign Policy subject I took at uni, it seems all the history I’ve learned in my life has been pre-1900. I love Ancient History. I love the Dark Ages. And I am madly in love with the nineteenth century. Seriously that’s my favourite part of all, the long nineteenth century: the French Revolution, Napoleonic Wars, the Treaty of Vienna, 1848, the Crimean War, the development of modern diplomacy, the birth of nation-states, the race for Africa, the Opium Wars, the American Civil War…it’s such a fascinating period of human history, of modern history; there’s so much table setting for everything that followed, especially the World Wars. It makes everything I learned in school make so much more sense.
And then after 1945, I get stuck. The Cold War, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf Wars. The rise of China, and generally modern Asian history. Post-colonial history generally, everywhere: Asia, South America, Africa. I know depressingly little about all of these things. The historian in me is horrified by this realisation, and I am now determined to fix this. The Year of Something New isn’t just about getting out of my house and doing crazy shit. It’s also about learning new things, acquiring new information. At the heart of me, that’s what life experiences are for me: new pieces of information to savour and store – “So this is what doing _____ feels like.” There is just so much knowledge out there about the world that I don’t know. And I want to know it all. All human knowledge. Seems simple enough. I’ve always been willing to settle for merely knowledge of all human history. I want to know everything that ever happened. That’s not too much to ask, is it? Well anyway, I’m for sure going to at least plug the gap in my knowledge that is post-1945 modern history. Come at me.