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In our age there is no such thing as 'keeping out of politics.' All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.-- George Orwell

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Limits of History

The Portland baseball history presents a complicated challenge.  The subject warrants a document of greater depth focused on the game's regionalism and aspects of its lesser-known history--the people, places and events forgotten by omission.

I regret I can't do that.  I don't have the patience or energy any more, not to mention the necessary resources, which makes me feel like I'm cheating and glazing over too much.  Every aspect of the history has richer possibilities that would take much more time and research to polish into a comprehensive account.

Then of course there would be the small matter of finding an audience for such a book. Its regionalism would be limiting and expectant to begin with.

An in-depth, regionally-focused work wouldn't have the "Big Event" (read famous) personalities and happenstance that piques wide-spread popular interest, such as the Babe getting drunk every night throughout his career, or Ty Cobb's mean streak. I mean, who would care that some small-fry .220 lifetime hitter in Portland had similar attributes?

Therein unfolds the ever-present dilemma in historicity.  Micro-history is a tough sell, aside from being tough to dig up and write.  People prefer the big story to be dished to them on a platter.

I tend to believe historians are like poets.  They write for each other much of the time.

How much is enough? And what is the meaning of that which is revealed in any historical narrative?  How much of the peeling away of a subject even matters?

So my book will be a somewhat breezy, thin volume, with a few pictures throughout.

Not optimal history or storytelling by any standard, just me trying to deliver a more readable account than my original.


TS 

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