History and cultural heritage as a source of inspiration is truly amazing in many ways. The fastness of it, the depth and richness. The endless possibilities in analyzing histories, comparing the past and the present or juxtaposing those. You can interpret it endlessly and use it as a foundation for study, fiction, research and art. This makes it very great, but not unique in the complete body of work we call culture. What makes it so special is that, as property in the public domain, no part of history can be owned by a single person or cooperation.
It may seem really straightforward to you that when I take an era in history, say the French revolution and write a narrative history of this era, that I do not automatically own the rights to that historical event. I have copyright of my work, but the foundation on which this work has been build does not default into my care completely. I can’t bar people from entertaining the same narrative or a completely new interpretation of the French revolution just because I wrote something about it in a particular context.
Now where am I going with this?
Continue reading On (fictional) universes and the insanity of IP ownership
Draft 5 currently under revision : click here for version 4 of the paper : ZP_hist_context_Draft4
Every year when festivities of Sinterklaas come to the Netherlands, the skewed debates around Black Pete (zwarte Piet) raises it’s ugly head again. What really annoys me is the incompetence and utter selectivity with which historical claims are made in this “debate” and criticism is brushed aside simply by playing the racism card.
History is an academical discipline and a hard one at that. It’s not a plaything that one can simply cherry-pick in order to construct an arbitrary interpretation of history. Unfortunately, our shared history is often abused by individuals or groups in order to either claim personal grievances or greatness. This selective laymen attempt at historical identity manufacturing has been frowned upon, rightfully, for decades now by most people because it is a fallacy and often a dangerous one at that. By superficially skimming historical narratives one could link ones identity to that of kings or martyrs easily and, to the untrained eye, convincingly.
Continue reading On the origins of black Pete, A proper historical context.