Around page 18, I paused and read Benjamin's "On the Concept of History/Theses on the Philosophy of History," which I haven't read in a while. If you've never glanced at it, take a look--it's pretty incredible.
A historical materialist cannot do without the notion of a present which is not a transition, but in which time stands still and has come to a stop. For this notion defines the present in which he himself is writing history. Historicism gives the ‘eternal’ image of the past; historical materialism supplies a unique experience with the past. The historical materialist leaves it to others to be drained by the whore called ‘Once upon a time’ in historicism’s bordello. He remains in control of his powers, man enough to blast open the continuum of history.p.s. Re: my Dowd-rant, it's LEGIT with Benjamin does it, okay?