Anti-presentism = anti-wokeism ?

Last year, I wrote a couple of posts defending historical presentism, that is, the view that we should examine events and actors in history (at least in modern history) in the light of our current concerns, rather than treating them as exempt from any standards except those that prevailed (in the dominant class) at the time.

Those posts referred to controversies within the history profession. Unsurprisingly, given the current state of the US, they have now been embroiled in the culture wars. Rightwing critics of wokeism have now added presentism to the list of evils against which they are fighting, along with critical race theory, cancel culture and so on.

This creates a dilemma for anti-presentists. Do they welcome political support, even if it comes from rightwing culture warriors? That’s a natural thing to do, but it implies a lot of baggage. Once you identify as “anti-woke”, you’re committed to racism, misogyny, science denial, book-banning and, ultimately, fascism.

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Digital hoarding

Yesterday, I dug into the deepest nest of folders on my MacBook Pro to find a paper I wrote on a 512K Mac in 1987, for a magazine that no longer exists and isn’t (AFAICT) digitally archived. The file must have made transitions from “hard floppies” to removable 44Mb drives (remember them?) to hard drive to SSD and then, when that filled up, to my iCloud backup.

Today, I read about “digital hoarding“. Count me in!

Whatever the psychological causes, it’s hard to imagine negative real-world consequences from storing files. And it’s easier to search for stuff when you need it than to spend a lot of time filing. I used to sort my email, but now I just delete 90 per cent as it comes in, and archive the rest every couple of years.

In the physical world, I’m the opposite. I’m hopelessly untidy, but I follow Marie Kondo in throwing out anything that no longer sparks joy, and in trying to avoid acquiring stuff I don’t need. Being free of paper has been a huge boon in this respect.