People Are Too Smart to Fall for That

Cancel the Information Age! A UKTV survey of 3,000 people reveals that 23 percent think World War II prime minister Churchill was made up. And despite the many hours devoted to him on the History Channel, 47 percent believe Richard the Lionheart was a myth.

In Stewart Robb’s satirical “Letter from a Higher Critic” (Analog, November 1966), intellectuals scoff at the notion World War II actually occurred. Arguing that the leaders are merely archetypes whose names, like de Gaulle (“of Gaul”, which is France) and Churchill (“The Church on the Hill”, symbol of old England) are obvious inventions, a scholar makes it all sound as improbable as Homer’s Trojan War. (The very kind of assumption Robb was targeting.)

As a teenaged reader, I considered it perfectly likely that the future would misunderstand the 20th Century to that degree. But I never expected to be living in that future.

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One thought on “People Are Too Smart to Fall for That

  1. scary, innit? The rhetoric of this year’s crop of presidential nominees is chilling in the common dismissal (at least on the leftern front) of any reason to remember 9/11/2001 or fear a repeat…

    You know, I’d like to live in that world, I really would – I’m just not convinced it exists and wonderland is dangerous if you’re actually crossing Wilshire Blvd.~~

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