01 June, 2012

Don't Defame The Dead (1)

Well, would you like it? If not, why are you inventing such hateful, hurtful nonsense about Edward II in your badly-written melodramatic novels? Don't defame the dead.
This is one of the most disrespectful and unpleasant things that you can write about anyone. Don't defame the dead.
I am bored beyond tears with all the nasty snidey bigoted remarks about Edward II's sexuality. Deal with it. Don't defame the dead.
Do you have any actual evidence that Hugh Despenser raped or sexually assaulted Queen Isabella? No. Don't defame the dead.
Edward II was popular in Wales and didn't order any Jewish people murdered, as a 2006 novel says he did. Don't defame the dead.
Roger Mortimer and to a lesser extent Henry of Lancaster are SO useful to Isabella fans in this respect. Don't defame the dead.
Is it so hard to believe that Piers Gaveston was more than some idiotically one-dimensional cardboard cut-out 'favourite'? Don't defame the dead.  Isabella of France was a complex human being who was neither a devil nor a saint. Don't defame the dead.
Don't defame the dead.  It's easy to do.  You just remember that they were human beings as much as you are and remember that telling lies about them says far more about you than it does about them.

Some friends of mine joined in my Don't Defame The Dead campaign on Facebook; their posts are coming here soon.  If you fancy having a go yourself, here's the site to make the cards!


Trish Wilson said...

If I could put you wise Kathryn on one legal point. You cannot defame the dead as many an outraged family member has discovered.

However, in the case of one guy who defamed the living as well as the dead he ended up being defamed as well even before he was dead. I’m a great believer in Karma.

Kathryn Warner said...

I already know you can't defame the dead, Trish. I'm not talking about the legal position, I'm talking about trashing the posthumous reputations of people who were as human and as important as we are, and why it shouldn't be done. And I believe in karma too... :)

Trish Wilson said...

Oh believe me Kathryn I know all about posthumous defamation. Over the last three years I’ve encountered one case after another but the question I put to myself is what the evidence for and against? And that is what so many historians don’t do. As it is I’ve been hard put to read any book that doesn’t contain some element of bias or prejudice and some of the claptrap has had me wanting to scream out loud except it’s not done in a library.

Kathryn Warner said...

Sounds like you have a really good way of looking at things, Trish. I understand completely about the wanting to scream out loud when I read some piece of specious invented slanted nonsense passed off as 'fact'.

Undine said...

What a great concept! Count me in, in my own small way.


Kathryn Warner said...

Thanks, Undine! So glad you think so, and am going to read your post now!

Trish Wilson said...

Would that the specious invented slanted nonsense passed off as 'fact' were only confined to historical fiction. Alas it is not so. And you wonder why I’m champing at the bit.

In my former profession accuracy was part of the job. In the case of one Dutch bank I discovered that in the English translation of its annual report it had translated assets in custody – what’s in vaults - as assets under management (AUM) which is what interests analysts those self-same analysts that deliver credit ratings such as the triple A which has been so much mentioned recently. In the event the variation wasn’t that much but had it been several millions it could have skewed up the analysts’ report.

If I could say in passing it’s each and every country‘s credit rating that determines what the rate of interest will be in the matter of borrowing – the higher the score the lower the rate. At the moment the UK’s score is still AAA but that’s only because of the austerity measures brought in and that it would seem has turned out to be something of a double-edged sword.

As for the EURO crisis I’d like to tell you something my late father a Bank of England Mandarin told me twenty years ago. ‘Trish it will all end in tears’

So if I’m something of nit-picker in the matter of accuracy I hope you understand why.