I’ve never really made any bones about who I am and what I do. I’m a young-ish Historian, who reads a lot, and takes an interest in what goes on around the world. Yes, I talk a lot about military stuff. Im not a soldier, sailor or airman. But I am a Historian who puts a history-stye spin on current events. Therefore I see my view of the past as not just the past, but at the intersection between the past, present and the future, and all kinds of subjects that run through it like threads.
I’m always intrigued by the reactions that my writing has had. I have no problem with criticism, if anything I like it when people point out if I’ve made a mistake; it helps shape my thoughts. But when its based on nothing but snobbery, I allow myself a little chuckle. In recent months I have read that my writing is ‘hardly rocket science’, and it has been firmly stressed by another than I am an ‘amateur’. Both of which statements are, essentially correct. However, it is the undertones inherent in them that disappoint me.
I do not have a clue how a surface to air missile works. My Dad – an ex-Dockyard worker – does, having worked on them in the late 70’s and early 80’s, and now works on satellites. But he doesnt know much about history. My point? Not everyone can now everything, its pointless to try! I remember giving a talk based on my dissertation some years ago, about a nautical instrument maker in 19th Century Portsmouth. One of the audience asked a deliberately trying question about the standardisation of screw threads. My response? ‘why don’t you ask an engineer?’!
The internet is full of self-appointed experts, who love to talk the talk on all manner of forums. I’m no stranger to internet hard-men, and internet-experts are from the same mould – the easiest way to make yourself look good is to knock someone else. The irony is you tend to find that the most snidey critics have nothing of substance to offer of their own. Whereas my articles, my talks, my research, is there for all to see.
Its not rocket science. And too bloody right. Cos then only rocket scientists would understand it! And everyone deserves a chance to understand the past, the present and the future.