Massie on the way news from Iran is being open-sourced:
It really is living history. There's an immediacy and a passion that thrills, even as some of the stories highlighted chill the blood and leave one feeling shaken and appalled. Everything is chaotic, rumour and intrigue thrive and no-one has the whole story. Indeed, there are unreliable narrators everywhere. Collectively however, the tweets and photos and commentary are much greater than their individual observations and leave one with a sense, no matter how confused, of the extent of the thrilling and terrifying drama unfolding on the streets of Iran's major cities.
In that sense, then, there's also a novelistic quality to the sweep to this narrative that, actually, carries echoes of, say, Stendhal's justly famous depiction of Waterloo in the Charterhouse of Parma. That was a recreation of the chaos of battle; this is happening in real-life and real-time. And, to be clear, comparing this Iranian revolution to great scenes from great novels isn't meant to trivialise the story. On the contrary, it's a way of highlighting the epic nature of the passion, the pathos, the excitement and, yes, the confusion of what we're seeing. There's great brutality on display but also great humanity and, in as much as this is the kind of material a Stendhal, a Tolstoy or a Dickens would use as their inspiration, its overall impact is as powerful and intense as the great nineteenth century novels. This time, however, it's a story being written in real-time in blogs, on Twitter and on Youtube.
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