Raw Story reports that a UKTV Gold television survey showed 58% of Britons think Sherlock Holmes really existed, while 23% believe Winston Churchill is a myth.
I don’t deny the mythical character of much of Churchill’s life. Anyone who’s read Geoffrey Wheatcroft’s review of three biographies of the irascible drunk, in the May 2006 issue of Harper’s (subscription only), knows that a huge portion of his life was made up out of whole cloth, or constructed by others under his loose supervision. (Unfortunately his racism was genuine.)
…Churchill the great writer [was] awarded the Nobel Prize for literature on the strength of a book that was largely written by others.
But he did actually live, whatever you think of him. So did Gandhi, Florence Nightingale, the Duke of Wellington (boo!), and Richard the Lionheart.
The post-literate generation may believe that watching pictures move gives them information, but the results prove otherwise.