and you’re setting them up, and I’m knocking them down

So posting has been thin on the ground of late; I tend to blog about interest, and as university has gradually become more routine in the long inevitable slump towards graduation there’s just generally less to say; going through the motions, ticking off the days. The only things of serious interest to me have been law and dissertation, neither of which I can really post about in detail. Writing about my experiences with law firms, in the age of HR staff with Google, is a balancing-act-over-a-minefield of candour vs employability, and the minor revelations so rarely seem worth the effort.

And diss – when I kicked off, I had a plan to chronicle the entire research process (hell, I even had a tag in mind – “disserting genuously”). But between the outside-of-uni small-arms-expert brofessor who’s helped with research requesting general discretion, and my tutor straight up telling me “don’t blog about this” (yeah, I’m pretty notorious in the history department these days) I’ve rather failed on that count.

But the thing is is finished now, after an all-week sleep-loathing burn of tea and adrenaline and months upon months of prep. It’s very much been affected by its design process, has cut back hugely on the gun-fetishing pseuodacademia and technical language, bulked out hugely on the generic info-dumping history, and goes a little outside my comfort zone on the theoretical front; overall, it’s absolutely not the dissertation I would have written for Rob. I don’t think any of these are good things or bad things, just things. (OK, on reflection I guess the gunwank thing is probably objectively good.) It is not perfect – these things are never perfect! – but it’s a fair reflection of my ability, and that’s good enough for me.

Everything’s gone a bit quiet, but I think that’ll change soon.


“I wish I could fill in some sort of health and safety form that exempted me from going to lectures.”
“It’s a fuckin’ minefield of safety risks out there, I’ll concede.”
“A bee could fly into my mouth and sting my oesophagus.”
“You could fall victim to some extremist ideology and die in a shopkeeper-killing rampage.”
“I could get hit by a bus, or a plane could crash on the lecture theatre, or there could be a tidal wave.”
“The logical conclusion to this is a health and safety endorsement for you and several decades of food and fuel to be secured in a comet-proof bunker.”
“Sounds about right.”
“Of course, there are comets and there are comets. I reckon in order to be safe you and everything you want or need in life should be sealed within a solid 100km wall of tungsten in every direction.”
“Now, I don’t think we actually have that much tungsten on Earth, or even in the solar system, so we’re going to need to branch out. Essentially, what you need is a health & safety form that puts out in a clear and logical sequence of arguments that, rather than go to lectures, you should be supplied with the necessary resources and support to embark upon a campaign of galactic conquest.”

“So, what is the role of the historian? What’s history for?”
“…if you believe I’ve got the answer to that, I’ve got some real estate to sell you on Glen Ross Farms.”

“‘Historian’ is not a protected term. Anyone can call themselves a historian. It’s not like being a nutritionist.”

“Diseases and general Aztec flaws; deft political manouevring among the various Aztec factions, and a small, highly competent and highly ambitious bunch of heavily armed Spaniards.”
“And there was whatsherface – Diaz’s mistress. No, Cortez’s. She had political leverage.”
“Eh. If she wasn’t there they would have found another translator. She’s overplayed, it doesn’t matter that Cortez was banging her.”
“Nonsense! Gives more leverage, makes them much more loyal. Well, unless he was shit in bed.”
“…you’re saying that the entire fall of the Aztec empire came down to how good Cortez was with his cock.” 

“He’s much better at speech and mannerisms. Less of this arch heraldry stuff. Gets across how people actually talked.”
“If Froissart were an oral historian, he would have done the voices.”