Coloring the past…

Napoléon III

I follow various railway related groups on the web, some in English, some in French, some in German, and I often find the differences fascinating. I recently noticed another one: people in US forums colorise black and white pictures. This is something I never noticed once in the german or french speaking groups, but multiple times on the english speaking ones, and it was always a scene from the USA that was colorised.

In general, the relationship with the past seems very different: American society is still trying to handle the civil war which took place between 1861 and 1864. The supreme court invokes stuff that is even older. In 1861, France was an empire, with, at the helm, emperor Napoléon III. Germany did not exist: that year, the king of Prussia Friedrich Wilhelm IV died. Two years before, the Austro-Hungarian empire had lost Lombardy to Italian nationalists. In Japan, the Edo period was in its last days. In China the Taiping Rebellion was raging. Not many people in Europe or in Asia connect with these events anymore.

Saying that the USA has no history is a cliché, but it seems to be me that the problem is more than it cannot let go of what little history it got, it should stop trying to make it more present by colouring it…

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