Glossary search



n. ~ The process of increasing the marketability of a story by removing or downplaying distasteful or potentially controversial facts from the historical record to make the story as unobjectionable to as wide an audience as possible.

(Maher 1998, p. 259) Lost in a Disneyfied World: Archivists and Society in Late-Twentieth-Century America. ¶ Archivists understand the past as complex, multifaceted, and fractal. They know it conflicts with the present and offers both intellectually and spiritually enriching perspectives on life. In the other world, we see well-funded, slick, and often superficial presentations of the past that generally reflect a single harmonious, monolithic, and monocultural image, free from disturbing incidents or experiences that might engender the question of 'why.' ¶ The social appropriation of the past for commercial and political use is a complex phenomenon. One the one hand, it bolsters public interest in history and would seem beneficial to archives. On the other hand, much of the mass market appeal of history seems to operate on a more superficial and sinister level. There is a strong primary emphasis on the emotive appeal of the past; nostalgia and 'event experiences' are very much in contrast to documentary-based examinations of the past where the evidence can be removed and reexamined.