One billion reasons to make shit up. by underground

Not for the first time I have just had an argument with someone about the validity of “historian” Gavin Menzies’ work. Despite selling copies of 1421 by the shelf load, his theory that China discovered the world has been well and truly dismissed. The criticisms of established and respected historians make for hilarious reading. The fact his ‘ancient’ maps are written in modern Mandarin is comical. His follow up 1434 is refuted with equal ease. It truly is a wonder anyone swallows a word of his writings. So why do people believe his theories?

People love conspiracy theories. It’s fun to think there is more going on. Man never landed on the moon, Elvis is still alive and aliens crashed at Roswell. Some like to think the authorities are lying to them. Often they are, and there are countless proven examples. But almost as if they doubt their credentials, perhaps jealously of their vast intellects, some love to dismiss academics. Slated for being out of touch with society in their ivory towers, people believe scholars are pulling the wool over their eyes. Global warming? Hoax. Evolution? Lie. Established history? Bullshit. Each with their own motive, academics spin a web of deceit, enticing society to follow a tall tale which influences their worldview.

Menzies is in good company. A certain David Irving flew in the face of criticism and denied the Holocaust. And no doubt there are a few sales to be made from neo-Nazis, even though, like Menzies’, Irving’s theories a based on dodgy evidence and outright lies. But the more academics that criticise it, the more nutjobs that buy it. Ian Wishart clearly knows the formula too!

Menzies must have made a killing from his books. They have been hugely popular in China and have even been quoted by Chinese President Hu. And with China’s massive population, and the potential sales, there are one billion reasons to make shit up.


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Apparently, Menzies originally thought of the idea as a work of fiction, but was persuaded by his publisher to present it as fact.

Comment by Paul Litterick

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