I recently came across this bit of prose.
“The year was 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren’t only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.”
It is from a very short story called “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. The full text, which seems to be in the public domain, can be found here.
A little more research took me to this film, here: https://youtu.be/XBcpuBRUdNs I think it is worth watching.
Having followed some of what has been going on in Australia and, to be fair, France as well as one or two other countries, I cannot help feeling that our antipodean friends are well down the road to a Vonnegutian dystopia. By contrast, Zimbabwe, for now at least, seems the be the epitome of sanity and adherence to human rights.
What say others?
It’s a funny old world, innit?
- Ash Barty. Just as Sam Stosur starts getting to be just a bit past it, along comes young Ash. What a girl! Will she take out Wimbledon? I’ll keep my fingers (and toes) crossed.
- Nick Kyrgios and Venus Williams, did you watch their last match? Tennis at its very best, with Nick clearly in awe of playing with such a goddess of the sport. Shame he’s now had to withdraw after injuring himself.
- Covid – we’ve kept our infections and deaths down pretty well, but our vaccine roll-out has been pathetically slow compared with many other countries. Logistics, all is logistics – our pollies hadn’t even heard of the word until a couple of minutes ago!
- China. Has reverted to the 1800s, has gone utterly doolally, has a lot to answer for, and is stupefyingly dangerous. Handle with great care until they recover.
That’ll do for now. 😎
One of the most prevailing stories of the 1974 football World Cup happened during the Brazil v Zaire (as they were then called) match. As Brazil lined up a free kick, a defender broke free of the Zaire wall and booted the ball as far as he could, receiving a yellow card for his troubles. African ignorance of the beautiful game was cited and laughter and derision was thrown at the men of the Congo. In fact, that kick may have saved lives. After losing 2-0 versus Scotland, then being thrashed 9-0 v Yugoslavia (as they were then called), the Zaire ruler threatened the players and insisted that they not lose against Brazil by more than 3 goals. The time wasting tactic at that free kick helped the Zairian footballers cause. They only lost the game 3-0. I’m not sure if they lived happily ever after. At least they lived.
The then ruler of the African nation was Mobutu Sese Seko Nkuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga (meaning “The all-powerful warrior who, because of his endurance and inflexible will to win, goes from conquest to conquest, leaving fire in his wake). Now there’s a name for a monster. Every day is a school day, they say. Alas, just like at school there’s no way I’m remembering that.
I do remember the free kick.
While watching the, now five years old (Happy Birthday da da da), Africanews channel on YouTube (FYi, as I know Charioteers like a stat, I was one of 47 watching; a select band you could say) a segment came up showing a collection of youths parkouring in the rubble of Gaza city. Well played those Gazans, their attitude to the current crisis was , hey you know what, life goes on and let’s make the most of this opportunity.
My maternal grandfather fought and was wounded at Gallipoli. It was not his first armed conflict. 15 years earlier, he had joined a Highland unit that had been raised by his brother to fight in the South African War.
Grandfather had several sons, two of whom fought in WW2 and were awarded the MC. He also had some nephews who distinguished themselves. One became a notable commando who was involved in numerous military excursions, including the disastrous Dieppe Raid, the D-Day landings, at which he was piped ashore, and the capture of Pegasus Bridge. Churchill said of him, ‘the handsomest man who ever cut a throat’. Another nephew, also my mother’s cousin, founded the SAS. My own father was in the SOE and was parachuted into Albania, so that side of the family did not do too badly and that is without mentioning the fact that his grandfather fought in the Peninsular War and was wounded at Quatre Bras, shortly before Waterloo. There were other brave men from countless other families, from around the world, especially so from Australia, New Zealand and other colonies. There was a better generation of women in those days as well; one whose members sacrificed their own wellbeing for the good of the nation.
All this is not to say that I am an advocate of war. I am not. What I am saying is that the men of past generations appear to have considerably more courage and moral rectitude than the current lot who seem to be terrified of a disease that poses minimal threat. Those men took huge risks and were prepared to sacrifice their lives to protect their freedoms and the freedoms of their kinfolk. This generation is prepared to sacrifice its freedoms to protect their lives from a disease that has almost no chance of killing them.
I think the real ANZACs along with my ancestors, would be truly horrified by the craven behaviour of their descendants and those who now lead them. For this generation to celebrate their heroics, is an insult to their memory.
As for that wretched New Zealand woman….
The world will miss you.
Rest in Peace – you surely deserve it for a life well lived.
I take malicious joy in watching people here squirm. I know, of course, that it’s not very kind of me. After years of toxic bile directed towards Blighty, the lot have had to face the reality of their own ineptitude. No, Germans trains do not run on time and save for a very select few lines, they’re not particularly clean or brilliant, either. The famed ICE is really no better than the Bristol to London-Paddington GWR line. The country is hardly efficient. If anything, the albatross that is the state weighs heavily on the necks of the country’s peasants.
After so many years of hearing about how Adolfina Honecker, er, Angela Merkel I mean, is a leader superior to Boris, Toxic Tess (not difficult to be) or David Cameron (again, not exactly a challenge) it’s all come undone. Germany has managed to bungle everything terribly. Take, for example, the vaccination drive. Elderly people were expected to complete a ten-step online appointment registration process with a two-step online ID-verification procedure. The procedure would give me a fit of the vapours and I grew up using this technology. I bloody well can’t imagine my 89-year-old nan who has never used a computer in her life or the 77-year-old neighbour who thinks it’s all bollocks to cope with it. (This isn’t a swipe at the venerable, rather a swipe at the fact that Germany is yonks behind the UK, Australia, Sweden and USA in respect to digitalisation)
The glorious German government is now at the verge of collapse with both major parties heading to historic defeats. The CDU and CSU are caught up in scandal after scandal, reaching as high as the health minister himself. (His husband was profiting from government procurement contracts given the company he works for.) Between general incompetence and corruption, the sense that the CDU/CSU just need to leave and that SPD have betrayed everything they should stand for, Germany’s heading to a frightful coalition.
Then, when things were already going badly, they waged war against the Oxford jab for political reasons. This isn’t my opinion, this is the view of the Italian health authority! As Britain passed the milestone of 50% vaccinated, the German government has finally started to grasp that it might need to simplify its vaccination process. Not that it much matters to me. I’ve given notice of intent to vacate to the landlady, made sure that my papers in the UK are in order and have my aeroplane tickets booked. Oh, and I have made arrangements to get the Johnson & Johnson single-shot jab whilst in California. I might as well get something out of my tax dollars.
I am aghast at the global shenanigans caused by one mediocre Mercan actress and her juvenile, brain dead poodle of a husband. The sooner Liz and Phil remove their titles and banish them fully from The Firm, the better. They have turned the UK’s Constitutional Monarchy into a third-rate soap opera and anyone who says so is culture cancelled by the woke brigade – poor old Piers Morgan, for example.
And another thing –
Cressida Dick, who until now I regarded as the best Metropolitan Commissioner of Police since Sir Robert Peel, has screwed up right royally by allowing her officers to act as though they were aspiring to be American thugs (so-called Police) by beating up and arresting many defenceless women on Clapham Common (a place I know well, but that’s quite another story) who were there in memory of a local girl who was recently murdered by a Metropolitan Police thug who had been serving in the Diplomatic Protection squad – that means armed – until his mates finally threw him in the clink.
They should have been supporting the lasses rather than wrestling them to the ground and handcuffing them.
O tempora, o mores!
Just in case this hasn’t already gone three times around the world and settled on everyone’s computer screen, Governor Andrew Cuomo of the State of New York is under attack for “sexual harassment.” The last time I looked, five women had come forward to make such claims, and I have no doubt that, as such things usually go, that number will continue to grow. Also, just in case another posting from me doesn’t cause you Charioteers to skip over this, I’ll throw in a couple of comments:
The veracity of all such claims is questionable. Ideas can be implanted, either by others or by oneself. I once had occasion to witness this at first hand in a case involving a young female and had some rather harsh words with the “analyst” involved, with the result that, knowing he was “rumbled,” he immediately discontinued this approach. Some women have been known to fabricate such stories deliberately, perhaps in hope of gaining fame and/or fortune from their publication.
Continue reading “Fitness to Govern”
Reading Nice Matin this morning I discovered that all this “woke” nonsense has spread to France.
A large crowd, about ten or so, gathered in Antibes to rename one of the streets in the town centre in honour of International Women’s Day.
At the corner of two streets, avenue Pasteur and avenue Thiers, they are trying to hang up a bit of paper inscribed Louise Michel. How pathetic! despite having lived in Antibes for more than eight years, I have no idea who Louise is. If these characters wanted to replace Pasteur with a female, what’s wrong with Marie Curie, another internationally renowned scientist.
Adolphe Thiers was a French statesman who helped to bring down the Bourbon monarchy, taking part in both the 1830 and 1848 revolutions. He finally became the first president of the Third French Republic. But of course he wasn’t a woman. Want a well known female politician? Why not Simone Weill, survivor of the concentration camps (Ravensbruck, I think) who went on to become a government minister.
For some reason Nice Matin does not want me to reproduce the photograph of this bunch of anoraks and it’s not a great photo anyway.
I feel guilty about International Womens’ Day since I took our female kitten, age five months, to the vet to be spayed this morning. Have I betrayed the sisterhood?