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The Control of History

Program #PARM014. Recorded in Los Angeles, CA on May 11, 1994.

The conventional view of history is that it is neutral and impartial, written by disinterested, objective scholars. These lofty ideals, however, don't stand up to scrutiny. History is a vehicle for ideology. Its guardians—historians—often fabricate, distort and omit crucial facts and events. Take President Kennedy, for example. There's a lot written about him. In 1962 he sent the U.S. Air Force to bomb and defoliate South Vietnam. At about the same time, JFK launched a campaign of terror, sabotage, biological warfare and assassination against Cuba. It was called Operation Mongoose. You'll have to look far and wide to find those things out. And don't bother looking in school textbooks, because they won't be there. History is a commodity, manufactured like any other product. Its production, what is selected, emphasized or ignored, reflects not just race, class and gender biases but also the interests of hegemonic power. For example, just read Henry Kissinger or Arthur Schlesinger.


Michael Parenti

Michael Parenti is one of this country's foremost independent political analysts. Cornel West calls him, “a towering prophetic voice.” He has taught at major colleges and universities in the U.S. and abroad. He is the author of numerous books including the classic Democracy for the Few, Power and the Powerless, The Face of Imperialism, and The Assassination of Julius Caesar.


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