That was interesting reading about Cicero and Rome in general. I'm from the U.S., and I guess I don't understand the anger as much because all of our history is so mythologized and cleaned up. Lies about figures in the past, or at least very generous descriptions of them, is a given. Even the villains of our wars usually don't have the worst things about them dragged out for us to learn about. Learning about how awful people were is mostly something you have to do in college, or on your own.
Thanks for that! And what you say is sort of depressing, but I guess that’s how things work in many nations today. I was lucky to have high school teachers who introduced me to critical thinking and understanding history in context (hence my annoyance about Cicero, because it’s very hard to find anyone, even in university, who’ll take a shot at him), but I’m starting to think they were the exception, not the norm. Like - those people were the good heritage of the 1960s changes, you know? That last batch of angry ‘68 kids who hadn’t sold out and hadn’t given up, and they were mostly a bit bitter about where the world was ending up, because who isn’t, but still - they showed up every day and took us seriously and forced us to stop and think. And, well, they were the product of a university system that actually taught you how to do that, and when I see what university has become today, I increasingly fear that high school students will never have what I had - that through a malignant convergence of governments veering to the right (and therefore, imposing a ‘clean’ version of history in school), new teachers formed by the corporate ‘points system’ that is more and more popular in academia and kids who’re exposed to all sort of bullshit and are anxious about their future prospects, history and literature will become what they were before 1968 - just a bored guy repeating what’s in the textbook, and a firm line drawn between ‘good people’ and ‘bad people’. And I know we’re seemingly facing more urgent problems, and I know it’s important to get everyone into STEM faculties, but humanities - when taught well, those classes are the place where you become an active and independent citizen - someone who knows how to think critically, how to question authority, but also how to appreciate that sometimes you need to negotiate and step back and get along with people you don’t agree with. Honestly, I learned so much about the world through ancient history, and it scares me how every day there are new attempts to sabotage how we teach those subjects - and also, as you say, that there are so many countries out there where this knowledge never surfaces at all. It’s a mess, alright.