We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

“It’s why I’m dangerous”

Who’s the coolest? Terry Deary, the author of “Horrible Histories” or Lars the Emo Kid?

Deary: “Attack the elite. Overturn the hierarchy.”

Lars: “I’ve got so much passion in my body that I just wanna … kill you!

Deary: “I started challenging authority at school, really, and just kind of never stopped.”

Lars: “I’m just so complicated that you’d never understand me.”

Deary: “It’s why I’m dangerous; inculcating rebel ideas into the minds of innocent young people using humour.”

Lars: “I got the cops called in on me last week because I walked outside with a gun and professed my love to a flower.”

Thanks for doing Horrible Histories, Mr Deary. As I said in 2005, when my then eight year old son asked me “Who is your favourite Habsburg?”, I knew that was £200 we could afford after all. He literally read those magazines to pieces; we still have them in their free cardboard holders, and the best-loved issues are reduced to stacks of flaky individual sheets of paper, like illustrated filo pastry.

Furthermore, Mr Deary, I have a lot of sympathy with your views on education and its ruination by twonks in government, or would if I thought you meant them, though could I just add that it is not without the bounds of human variety for trigonometry, chemistry or French to turn out to be “the skills you are going to need.” Now please stop being such a poseur. You are not Han Solo. Lars is cooler than you.

14 comments to “It’s why I’m dangerous”

  • George

    “I was in this small touring company, taking plays for children round Welsh village halls. I did find I had this facility for knocking ideas into scripts.”

    1.01 his wages were payed by the tax payer at this point. Sounds like another lefty “anti-establishment” poseur happy to live off money stolen by the state.

    I’m sure his books are enjoyable but apart from filling your head with interesting trivia I would question the utility of what they teach you in comparison to trigonometry, chemistry or french.

  • Laird

    Well, I’ve never read any of the books (in fact, never heard of him before this post), but it seem to me that inculcating a distrust of authority has a fairly high degree of utility (even if it is created by a poseur).

  • Alisa

    Maybe some, Laird, but not a very high degree. The messenger is important, and do-as-I-say tends to be much less effective than do-as-I-do.

  • bloke in spain

    “but it seem to me that inculcating a distrust of authority has a fairly high degree of utility”

    If that’s what he’s doing.
    Historically, his little people were a sullen brutish crowd. These were, after all, the folk take their kids to watch a to a public hanging or a witch burning. The people he criticises are history’s individualists. Yes, they may have been nasty people but they lived in nasty times. Without them we’d still be in mudhuts crawling about in our own shit.
    And it’s absolutely no different today. The collective is still a vicious surly brute. Except now it’s the authority through it’s crowd pleasing, crooked politicians. And it’s the individualists have the hard time.

  • Slartibartfarst

    To establish a claim to being dangerous, maybe you actually have to either be considered “dangerous” by the authorities, or be engaged in some activity that the authorities would consider to be “dangerous” if they knew about it.
    Otherwise, you might just be considered a potential subversive, which might not be the same thing as being considered a “danger” per se.

    I am reminded of the bit in the US TV series “Breaking Bad”, where the hero says to his wife:

    “I am not in danger. I AM the danger.”

  • JohnB

    It all sounds rather reactive.
    Still struggling to leave home.

  • Laird

    And Lars the emo kid is “cool”? Really? Really? You have a strange definition of “cool”. Talk about poseurs . . . .

  • I didn’t say Lars was cool, just that he was cooler than Deary. It wasn’t a compliment to either of them.

    Lars has the excuse that he is a teenager and fictional. Deary needs to stop fictionalising himself.

    I wasn’t being sarcastic when I thanked him for writing Horrible Histories though. As I said in the post from 2005, the magazines (I can’t speak for the later TV series) do navigate between schoolboy grossness and pity for the underdog with remarkable skill. It is no bad thing to inculcate distrust for authority either. While it is true that the writer (or writers, it was something of a team effort, I gather) fell for pretty much every standard left wing misconception about history around, his version of left wing historical fantasy was a great deal less statist and more humane than some.

  • Where does one start, in deciding who your favourite Habsburg is?

  • thefrollickingmole

    The histories are usefull as they are in many ways, the only exposure kids will get to large periods of history..

    In many ways they are a bit like the old Flashman series of books, lots of titilation and fluff, but the actual histroy is fascinating.
    The footnotes in Flashman (usually after hes introduced yet another amazing character) were 1/2 the fun, horrible histories is a bit the same.

    Look the bloke obviously still moves in his “Im a bad boy student” circle, and the point above about the brutality of the common man in those eras is correct.

    As for your favourite habsburg? Id start with ones who could feed themselves..

  • William O. B'Livion

    Maybe instead inculcating a distrust of authorities, we should be teaching our children how to select authorities worth trusting, how to evaluate the job their doing, and how to challenge them without acting like spoilt little brats throwing a temper tantrum.

    Question Authority is a semantically different statement than Spit In Authority’s face. One is useful. The other is part of what is tearing Western Europe and the US apart.

  • Sigivald

    Trigonometry is very, very useful if you ever need to make things, or measure something larger than a yardstick or tape easily manages.

    Chemistry is less typically directly useful, but still good to know, if only to help prevent people scamming you with ridiculous chemical/medical claims.

  • William O. B'Livion


    Chemistry is *massively* useful. It teach you that if you need to clean something mixing bleach and certain other cleaners means you get to take a nice break from work while the ER staff check your lung function &etc.

    It also means that should you need to er… never mind.

  • “I was in this small touring company, taking plays for children round Welsh village halls. I did find I had this facility for knocking ideas into scripts.”