Que je suis bête. I wrote the other day about Kenneth Hite’s “Clio’s Nightmares,” but lamented that I had no ideas for a Halloween-themed history bending post of my own. (Miriam’s Victorian Terrors more than made up for it.) It occurs to me now in the grey dawn of November that I what I should have written was “Cliopatria’s Nightmares”: not alternate histories but alternate Cliopatrias.
“Once a year, reason sleeps and the history blogosphere dreams of Cliopatrias that never were…” I’m not actually going to write up the alternates—not until next Halloween, at least—but I’m sure you can imagine a few. An obvious alternate Cliopatria would reverse everybody’s politics, like a Star Trek-style mirror universe. So maybe KC Johnson enforces political correctness in the classroom while the rest of the crew beats the drum for war in Iraq. Of course, unless movies and TV have lied to me, you can identify your evil alternate-universe twin by their goatee. But if I recall correctly, a disproportionate member of real-life Cliopatrians are goateed. Does that mean ours is the evil universe? Another alternate would re-imagine Cliopatria as an adolescent LiveJournal community, all high school drama and lower case typing. Rebecca Goetz and Caleb McDaniel squee over Orlando Bloom icons while Ralph Luker gloats in l33tspeak over the n00bs he has lately pwned or r0xx0rzed. (Juvenilia decoded on request, omg lol kthx bye!!!11!1eleveneleven) And in the last alternate, we’re all, I don't know, geographers. Or vampires. Vampire geographers. Something like that.
The above silliness is brought to you courtesy of my punchiness after a day deep in the archives. I’m in Indianapolis today and tomorrow doing research at the Indiana Historical Society and Indiana State Libraries. Apropos of nothing: They have a gorgeous set up here. Some Hoosier philanthropists must care a lot about state history.
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Jonathan Dresner - 11/4/2005
Apparently in bizzarro world, I'm off doing research or something....
Rebecca Anne Goetz - 11/4/2005
Would you settle for squeeing over Viggo Mortenson instead?? :) I'm open to suggestions...
Rob, this was really funny. I nearly spewed grapefruit juice all over the computer the first time I read it...
Caleb McDaniel - 11/4/2005
(Seriously, though, Orlando Bloom? That is a nightmare.)
Bengt O. Karlsson - 11/4/2005
"Victorian Terrors" was great and I clicked, full of expectatations, my way to Lefanu's (is it Le Fanu or Lefanu?) "An Account of Some Strange Disturbances in Aungier Street". I was quickly disillusioned and realized: You cannot read ghost stories on a computer screen! This is yet another reason why MSM, such as books, will survive also this.