How do I define history? It’s just one f*%&ing thing after another.
— Rudge in Alan Bennett’s The History Boys
I came across this sentence last night and it’s been haunting me ever since. It reminds me of a situation which I encounter almost everyday: “What’s the story?” my editor(s) ask, when I make a pitch to them about something I want to write on.
Well I don’t blame them for asking the same question over and over again. After all, newspapers are in the business of making sense of what is happening around us. But are we really doing that? Or to ask a deeper question, can we really do that?