History, Animated, Quick and Uneuphemistic
By Maria Popova
Despite our general dismissal of history as a boiling pot of mistakes that humanity never learned from, we have to admit it offers a great and telling tale or two. And the History Channel is out to prove it.
The Great and Telling Tales of History is a brilliant series of 1-minute films in which history’s walking encyclopedia, historian Timothy Dickinson, tells us, in a grandfatherly voice and an endearing British accent, little-known and fascinating facts about the history of politics, pop culture and the world at large.
But what makes the films truly marvelous is that we’re taken through the unexpected twists and turns of history by artist Benjamin Goldman‘s wonderful animation — dark and delightful at the same time, every bit as full of unexpected twists and turns as the stories themselves.
The talks aren’t just mere recaps of history, either. They’re full of Tim Dickinson’s own, often unapologetic and unorthodox, theories about the world — like the rather snarky short on drugs, in which he shares this uneuphemistically true sentiment about human nature:
The point is, we are fundamentally dissatisfied with our standard biological condition, and we’ll find one way or another of altering it.
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Published December 15, 2008