23 Jul

England, Our England

Anyone for pizza and porn?

A visitor arriving in England for the first time and looking for a brief introduction to the life and times of the natives could hardly do better than listen to a seven minutes news summary on a national radio network. I listened this morning to the seven o’clock news on Radio Four. Here is a summary of the contents…

Something called “gender re-assignment” is henceforth to be permissible without your having to get a doctor’s note to say you’re suffering from gender dysphoria – which my dictionary defines as “a state of general unease or dissatisfaction with one’s life.”

Homosexuals and “sex-workers” are to be allowed to donate blood, so long as they promise they have abstained from sex for three months. (They used to have to wait for a whole year). I couldn’t help thinking that a prostitute who hadn’t plied her/his/their trade for three months must be rather on her/his/their uppers, and surely in no state to give of her/his/their blood. Will the blood-donating homos and prostitutes also be required to promise they’re telling the truth about their sex lives?

On the twentieth anniversary of the death of Princess Diana, her sons the princes William and Harry have been offering their recollections of her. Harry said. “She was wonderful and she said we could be as naughty as we liked – only not to get caught.”

Forty left wing – there is no other variety – women presenters at the BBC – the sort who come on the air waves every day to excoriate Tories and fat cats – have written a letter to the director general complaining that some of them earn as little as £150,000pa

A little boy is gravely ill at St Ormond Street hospital and his sad case has been all over the papers for weeks. The hospital authorities claim that to offer the poor mite further treatment would not be in his best interests. The mob has taken to abusing doctors and the nursing staff on the street and over “social media.”

In a rather infelicitous phrase, the newsreader said that the TV programme Love Island is “coming to its climax.” For non-devotees, Love Island is the latest nuts ‘n’ sluts show in which good looking young people are paid to have sex on camera.

So there – courtesy of BBC News – is a brief introduction to what’s going on in England today.

In their decline, the Romans went in for bread and circuses. For us it’s pizza and porn.

As a sort of Thought for the Day, I end my summary report with a text:

“Full publicity is given where shame would be appropriate; close secrecy is imposed where praise would be in order. Decency is veiled from sight; indecency is exposed to view. Scenes of evil attract packed audiences; good words scarcely find any listeners. It is as if purity should provoke a blush and corruption give grounds for pride.” – “City of God” by St Augustine (AD 354-430)

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20 Jul

Dianafication II

Twenty years ago Britain wallowed in a public exhibition of gross sentimentality. The occasion was the untimely death of the Princess of Wales. For a fortnight weeping crowds thronged the area around Kensington Palace producing an ocean of floral tributes. There were similar scenes in many towns and cities. A visitor might have been excused for concluding that the favourite pastime of the British was to watch royal funerals on television, pausing now and again to rush out into the street and throw teddy bears at passing hearses.

It was nothing less than mass hysteria. In such instances when the mob takes over, all reasonable sentiment and genuine mourning are replaced by intense emotionality threatening violence. And indeed there were many threats issued by the crazed throng, especially to the Queen. In an ecstasy of irrational hatred the maudlin mob claimed the death of the princess and her paramour, late at night in a car being driven too fast through Paris, had somehow been contrived by the Duke of Edinburgh.

The mood was psychotic and ugly and if, as I did, you criticised the frenzy, you received death threats – as I did.

We can, I think, detect, a change in the nation’s character from that time twenty years ago which we might for convenience refer to as The Great Dianafication. Its symptoms erupt again every time something nasty happens, such as the many acts of Islamic terrorism and slaughter to which we have had to become accustomed.

Here again is the signature carpet of flowers, the mawkish inscriptions daubed all over the public spaces, the flying teddy bears and the now obbligato crooning by pop-singer-of-the-moment of some hideously sugary ballad. The telly omnipresent, of course, and whipping up the hysteria.

As i write, I notice we have entered upon a Second Dianafication and this time the occasion is the catastrophic apartments fire in Kensington.

Yesterday in a public meeting to discuss the fire and its tragic aftermath there was the spectacle again of mass emotionality threatening violence. Elizabeth Campbell, newly appointed leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council, was asked to resign. No, she wasn’t asked: rather the mob howled for her blood. Speaker after speaker screamed and yelled incoherently from the public gallery. After each had spoken, he was hugged by fellow members of the crowd. When one who announced himself as Hamid ended his tirade with the words, “I’ve had enough!” the room boiled over in tears of anger.

Needless to say, if the whole purpose of the meeting was to discover the facts about the catastrophe, a parade of mass hysteria was no way to go about it.

Sinisterly, the newly-elected Labour party MP for the constituency, Emma Dent Coad, declared, “I agree entirely” when she was asked if she backed the petition of 1500 demanding Elizabeth Campbell’s resignation.

What makes these events so frightening is not the display of mass hysteria – worrying though that is – but the fact that this hysteria is being hijacked and exploited by politicians of the hard left.

For Corbyn and his gang, this – thanks again to the ubiquitous telly – widely publicised protest is one more useful ingredient in their revolutionary stew. It amounted to an advertisement for the nationwide discontent being whipped up by the Corbynistas. Corbyn has already promised a summer of co-ordinated strikes and “a march of a million” to culminate a “Red October” to sweep him into Number Ten.

As in war, so in a revolution, truth is the first category. The lie put about during the first Dianafication is that the death of the princess was the fault of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. The tower block fire is being promoted as all the fault of the Tory government.

It is just another step towards the mob’s conclusion that all our ills are the fault of the Tory government. So let us bring down the Tory government – as Chavez and Maduro would say, “By hook or by crook.”

There will be more protests, more. floral tributes, more teddy bears and more cringingly awful crooning; more hugs, more tears and more riots.

There will be blood

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17 Jul

Four legs good; two legs bad

I don’t know how they get away with it. Let me try to explain, but first you’ll need a bit of background

The first Bishop of Loughborough is to be Rev’d Canon Gulnar Eleanor Francis-Dehqani, Canon Francis-Dehqani was born in Iran in 1966 and, along with a great many other Christians, she and her family fled that country after the 1979 Islamic revolution which brought to power Ayatollah Khomeini

The new bishop likes to be called Gull and the Diocese of Leicester (of which Loughborough is a part) has told us what they expect from her: “Guli will take a full role in the work of the Church across Leicester and Leicestershire, but the post will also have a focus on supporting Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) clergy, lay workers and congregations in the county.”

Gull is delighted with her job specification:

“I’m very excited…”

(Newly-appointed hierarchs always start off by telling us how excited they are)

This one is excited “…about the potential for this role which draws together several important themes in the current life of the Church. Whilst being a bishop for the whole diocese, it (sic) will be a particular joy and a privilege to learn from and draw out the rich resources of Christians from minority ethnic communities.”

Well, she does not exactly speak as we speak in the street, but I think we know what she means. Since her escape from Iran, she has held a great many posts in the realm of synods, quangos and church committees and she has mastered the art of talking multi-culti bureauspeak.

That’s what I meant by saying I don’t know how they get away with it. I mean Gull and the Diocese ought surely to be arraigned for racism?

We can only imagine the furore that would ensue if a diocesan office had issued a job-specification as follows: “The post will have a focus on supporting White, English and Majority Ethnic (WEME) clergy, lay workers and congregations in the county>”

And if the appointee’s response had been: “It will be a particular joy…”

(Joy, like excited is another word they can’t leave alone)

“…and a privilege to learn from and draw out the rich resources from the majority white English population.”

An appointee saying such things would be denounced immediately for shameful and vile racism. She certainly wouldn’t be appointed. For the scandal is that you can be as racist as you like – so long as the objects of your racism are British and white.

I have listened to the arguments of the multi-culti fascists for for half a century and so I know them all off by heart. We are allowed to make exceptions in the case of preferred minorities, because they are under-represented and so we must give them a leg up with a good dose of positive discrimination.

The trouble with this is that there is nothing positive about it. Discrimination is discrimination is discrimination.

The multi-culti bureau-speakers are racists. And they get away with their racism because the counter culture, the culture of preferring minorities, is the culture now.

Do you remember chapter three of Animal Farm and Snowball’s condensation of The Seven Commandments of Animalism? “Four legs good; two legs bad.” 

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16 Jul

Coming soon: Venezuela

I have long wanted to visit Venezuela for its mountain scenery, glaciers, rain forest, great plains and the Orinoco delta. The country ranks seventh for biodiversity, featuring rare and magnificent species. Such colour, variety and grandeur.

But it’s a long way and the cost is off-putting, so I shall probably never manage to arrange my visit. I’m not too disappointed though because, when Mr Corbyn comes to power – sooner than you think – Venezuela will come to me. Corbyn is a great admirer of Venezuela’s former Marxist dictator Hugo Chavez, saying: “He has done so much for his country and for a wider world.” Chavez is dead now but his successor Maduro is carrying on – and even improving upon – the former president’s good work.

As a good Marxist, Maduro understands that you can get that wonderful Communist system to work perfectly only after you have seized absolute power and political control. And here we must congratulate him on his 100% success.

In 2015 Maduro’s party lost the general election – a bit of a blow to any aspiring leader which would have disheartened a lesser man than Maduro. He may have lost but he was not going to be defeated. The day after the election results were declared, he announced, “I’m going to prevent the opposition coming to power by hook or by crook.” Interesting word, crook. So he ignored the verdict of the people, remained in office, sacked the judges, appointed new ones and established personal control of the military.

Forget such hell-holes as Somalia and Syria, Venezuela is the most murderous country on earth. There is a killing every twenty minutes and, over the last decade, millions have been slaughtered – more than those killed on both sides in the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s.

Crime is the number one national occupation but only 2% of offenders are prosecuted.

The prisons are squalid and holding twenty times the population they were designed for. There is imprisonment without trial. There is widespread use of torture. As one Caracas journalist put it. “Thousands of people just disappear.”

Yes, Corbyn’s heroes Chavez and Maduro  have certainly done a great deal for Venezuela.

The country has greater oil reserves than Saudi Arabia but its people are scavenging for food in dustbins and rioting is constant. Fertile fields are left barren and grain production has fallen by 80% in just a few years.

The currency is worthless and people require wheelbarrows to carry the notes necessary for the daily purchase of what little there is on sale – reminding us of Germany’s hyper-inflation of the 1930s.

Tropical diseases are rife and there is a diphtheria epidemic. But the hospitals have no drugs, medicines or other vital supplies.

The British government has strongly urged none of our people to travel to Venezuela.

Now observers fear the country is on the verge of civil war.

It must require a very special magic for a political leader to bring a fertile and oil rich nation to starvation and the brink of dissolution. It does: it requires a Marxist magic of the sort that Corbyn admires and promises to bring to our country.

Corbyn repeats time and again that he will introduce stratospherically-high taxation. Profligate public spending and borrowing. Endless subsidies to the shiftless underclass and to the “state-uneducated” youth who adore him because he promises them the earth. Massive pay rises to his supporters in the public services and the industries he vows to re-nationalise. The establishment of a nomenclatura of his political cronies. Co-ordinated industrial chaos. The promise to rise to power by months of rabble-rousing on the streets culminating in “a march of a million” to overturn the results from the ballot boxes.

Coming soon then: Britain Venezuelan style.

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14 Jul

Transcendental gibberish

William Hague, who was leader of the Conservatives while they were in transition between what Theresa May called “the nasty party” and what, under her leadership, has become “the totally useless party,”  now moonlights as Occasional Panglossian Columnist (OPC) on the Church Times.

William is very ambitious. Not for him the trivial aims of passing a law to ensure that everyone is happy all the time or turning the reservoirs of ignorance and imbecility which are our state schools into models of scholarly excellence. No, William really wants to make his mark.

He wants to abolish all rape and sexual violence in warfare. He says: 

“It is often said to me that without war there would be no war-zone rape, as if that were the only way to address the problem. While, of course, our goal is always to prevent conflict, we cannot simply consign millions of women, men, girls, and boys to the suffering of rape while we seek a way to put an end to all conflict, since this goal is one we should always strive for but may often not attain.”

I have read William’s statement eight times already this morning and I still can’t make up my mind whether it is a moral message so profound that we should all be awe-struck and take our shoes off before we read it, or whether it is a candidate for one of the six impossible things that the Red Queen in Through the Looking Glass boasted she could do before breakfast.

William’s words are so momentous that I cannot bear the full glory of them in their entirety, so I shall have to discuss them a bit at a time.

First his certainty of the truth of the proposition, “Our goal is always to prevent conflict.”

No it isn’t. Sometimes the right thing to do is to wage war thoroughly – for instance, when our country is threatened by a murderous aggressor. Let us take the example of Britain’s declaration of war on Germany in September 1939. We shouldn’t have done it according to Bill Pangloss. We should have tried to prevent it. And we did this resolutely and consistently for a decade. It was called “appeasement” and it didn’t work. In fact, most military historians are agreed that, if we had waged war on Hitler sooner – for instance when he marched into the Rhineland with a battalion that was little more than ceremonial – the far greater carnage that ensued would have been averted.

I hope I’m not going too slowly for you, but one has to be so punctilious when stating the bleedin’ obvious.

So, let me move on to the next episode of Willie in La-La Land by reminding myself that in moral philosophy ought implies can. In other words, I cannot be bound morally to do what I can’t accomplish physically. For convenience, let us take another historical example. How would William have prevented the mass rapes perpetrated on German women by the avenging Red Army in the last years of the Second World War? What “mechanisms” would he have “employed”, what “systems” would he have “put in place” so that these unpleasant things could not have happened?

The answer of course is that, if William had been around in 1943, he would have been powerless to do anything to prevent these atrocities – because he would have had no authority over the Red Army. Similarly today, he has no control over what barbarians of Islamic State or Boko Haram might do in the territories which they occupy.

(Incidentally, he might just possibly be able to minimise such atrocities but, ironically, only by doing the one thing which, he says we must not do – and that it by waging war on them).

Of course, we might devise a moral code for the conduct of our own armed forces which says that they must not rape the enemy’s womenfolk. But the conduct of the enemy’s armed forces is beyond our control.

In the light of these reflections, we can return to William’s original statement and see that it is not, after all, some exalted ethical proposition.

It is sanctimonious gibberish

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17 Jun

The show must go on!

from the office of the Controller Monomedia (incorporating BBC, SKY & ITV) to all staff…

Boys & Girls,

First, congratulations and a million thanks for your coverage on the day after the Kensington fire. Our ratings were off the top of the Richter scale. It’s even more mega than that: forget the death of Jo Cox or Cilla or even Michael Jackson, this is our finest hour since the princess popped it in 1997 and the universal Dianafication that followed.

Kensington represents our biggest touchy-feely extravaganza for decades. And wow, you certainly showed how to sell it!

I’ve just enjoyed looking back at the vids. There were so many highlights but surely the masterstroke was the split-screen shot with “cold fish” May on one side and Comrade “Hugger” Corbyn on the other. Jeremy, “man of the people,” kissing the little ones, while May, beautifully captured scowling behind a line of coppers, was the icing on the cake.

Editors and film crews did excellent work getting close-ups of smiling children of the local riff-raff. And how you captured the delicious “anger”!

Above all you remembered the first law of telly journalism: emotion – especially grief – is “sexy.”

Of course, I realise that all this was not achieved on the hoof. Your preparations were meticulous and cameras were in place early. This reminded me of one of our greatest successes, the Brixton and Toxteth riots of 1981. Every evening before sunset, our crews were on the spot when the oiks emerged and started chucking their petrol bombs. There were some unforgettable moments –  like the close-up of the young thug stepping inside the smashed window of a shoe shop and nicking a pair of expensive trainers.

Your manipulation of the mob’s mood was superb. Every time a presenter said “There is rising anger,” there was rising anger.

The juxtaposition of dispossessed survivors and cries of “heartless” and “cuts” was another stroke of genius.

But the most wonderful Diana moment for me was when one of our prettiest young presenters – tears in her eyes – delivered straight to camera – “Here in Kensington and Chelsea, some of Britain’s very poorest are living side-by-side with the richest fat cats.”

Now, the thing is, you must not let up. The present media bonanza mustn’t be allowed to fade into a nine days’ wonder. It’s your responsibility – and privilege, I might add – to keep it going. Your job is to fan the flames, so to speak!

Emerging themes for the next few days; (1) masses of floral tributes (2) wayside shrines (3) vigils (4) gratuitous – and escalating – violence.

See if you can get a rock singer to dedicate his/her latest “number” to the people of Grenfell Tower.

I must end on a cautionary note. It has come to my attention that some of our people have been heard muttering, “Hey, we’d better be careful what we wish for. If we actually succeed in putting Jeremy in Number 10 and getting a revolutionary communist government, press and telly freedom will be the first things to go.”

Ignore these Jeremiahs. (Gosh, I nearly said Jeremys!)

It’s our show. Enjoy it while it lasts!

Love

Gordon

Gordon Oswald Dickheadson {GOD}

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16 Jun

I apologise – for my understatement

Harold Wilson famously said, “A week is a long time in politics.” How about amending that to “a couple of days” in the light of recent events?

Here is something I wrote this morning:

“On the political scene, I really think we’re in the deepest you-know-what. I’m not persuaded by such as Lord Stoddart, Charles Moore and Simon Heffer – much as I respect them – that we’ve reached “peak Corbyn.” The current leftish antinomianism has momentum – literally! – and, in my view, still has a long way to run. In addition to democratic votes, we are seeing the typical Marxist-Leninist tactics of taking to the streets, mobilisation of the unions, the social and political blackmail of the people; utopian promises, lies and threats  become an institutionalised political tactic Add to this the wholesale bribery of a generation of young people who have been propagandised and de-educated in the state schools and the “universities” where they are mollycoddled in their “safe spaces” and where free speech is all but abolished.

“Day by day we are seeing the practice of politics move further away from peaceful democratic processes and closer to the streets and to violent insurrection.

“As a friend put it to me just before last week’s General Election, ‘We’re one crisis away from revolution’.”

In a very short time we see that the Grenfell Tower disaster is being outrageously politicised by the Corbynistas. Jeremy himself has been endlessly photographed hugging and cuddling Kensington locals in the street. At the same time his comrades have described Theresa May as “inhuman” for not engaging with the locals on her visit to the scene yesterday.

The word “inhuman” was also used to describe Mrs May by a SKY News reporter at the scene. The reporter added, “There is a lot of anger. There could be violence on the streets.” Does that statement only very marginally fail to count as incitement to violence?

Another reporter said of the leader of the house, Andrea Leadsom, interviewed at the scene, that her visit was part of a “damage-limitation exercise” by the prime minister’s colleagues following Theresa May’s alleged “Inhuman” behaviour yesterday.

Meanwhile, the communist shadow chancellor John McDonnell has renewed his call for a protest march to be held next month to be turned into “an insurrection of a million to force Mrs May to stand down.”

What price the ballot box which resulted in the rejection of Corbyn’s Labour party, a rejection measured by the fact that it won 56 fewer seats than the Tories – worse than Labour’s defeat of 2010 which Corbyn called “a disaster.”

I now see that my words of this morning were really an understatement of the danger faced by the nation.

It’s later than we think.

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16 Jun

2017 0r 1917? Or perhaps 1848 or 1789?

On the political scene, I really think we’re in the deepest you-know-what. I’m not persuaded by such as Lord Stoddart, Charles Moore and Simon Heffer – much as I respect them – that we’ve reached “peak Corbyn.” The current leftish antinomianism has momentum – literally! – and, in my view, still has a long way to run. In addition to democratic votes, we are seeing the typical Marxist-Leninist tactics of taking to the streets, mobilisation of the unions, the social and political blackmail of the people; utopian promises, lies and threats  become an institutionalised political tactic Add to this the wholesale bribery of a generation of young people who have been propagandised and de-educated in the state schools and the “universities” where they are mollycoddled in their “safe spaces” and where free speech is all but abolished.

Day by day we are seeing the practice of politics move further away from peaceful democratic processes and closer to the streets and to violent insurrection.

As a friend put it to me just before last week’s General Election, “We’re one crisis away from revolution.”

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15 Jun

Hilary is bunk

You don’t need much in the way of wits to see through the phenomenon Hilary Mantel.

Her biographical novel Wolf Hall is a book only literal-minded and forensic. Its author tells us that every smallest movement of the plot was first checked against what could be discovered as the most accurate historical account. The result is not a novel but artifice, the literary equivalent of painting-by-numbers – a technique which surely pre-empted any reluctance on the part of the literal-minded judges to award Mantel the Man-Booker Prize. Mantel regards Cromwell, the plunderer of the monasteries, as a principled man and an idealist – but then her original idea of what constitutes a man of principle must be set beside her description to Sir Thomas More as “a fanatic.”

And now here comes the Great Dame again to give us the Reith Lectures on the relationship between history and fiction. She does not betray the reputation for fatuity which she first revealed in Wolf Hall. In fact she exceeds it, particularly when she begins with an astonishing remark concerning historical persons: “We can know what they did but not what they thought.”

If this were the case, we could know what Nelson had for breakfast on the morning of the Battle of Trafalgar but we could never know that his battle tactics were dictated by his earlier thought: “I will sail my fleet in a straight course directly through the middle of the enemy’s lines of ships.”

But that thought is precisely what we do know. We can infer Nelson’s thoughts from his deeds. What we may be conflicted about is whether he had one egg that day or two.

Or again: we know what the Roman commanders were thinking before they sailed to invade us. They were thinking, “We can succeed in this operation.” Or they wouldn’t have come!

Nearer home, we can know that Dame Hilary Mantel gave the Reith Lectures because we have recordings of her giving them. We can also know that, some time before the lectures began, she thought, “I will agree to give this series of lectures.” And if we ourselves, give the matter more attention, we can come to know in more detail her train of thoughts as she was making up her mind to give the lectures, what she would entitle them and what she would say; and even why she would say what she did say.

We can learn the meaning of historical study from R.G. Collingwood who wrote: “Historical knowledge is the re-enactment in the historian’s mind of the thought whose history he is studying.”

There is a widespread and foolish notion that what we call history is the past in, as it were, a long stream of events going right back to earliest beginnings. This is delusional thinking for there is no such past. It exists only in the minds of present day historians as they think about the past.

Dame Hilary takes the forensic view of the past and forms of it a kind of museum culture. This too is delusional.

Collingwood again: “Nothing capable of being learnt by heart, nothing capable of being memorised, is history.”

Rather, history is our present thoughts about the doings of our predecessors. 

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13 Jun

Ill met by moonlight

There is a noxious composition by Harrison Birtwistle called Endless Parade, really an extended noise, the very antidote to music. It’s one of those many pieces written by avant garde composers to irritate regressive people who like their music to have tunes and even to have something to do with beauty.

Endless Parade has its verbal, intellectual and philosophical companions in most of the discussion programmes about history, ideas and the arts on such as the BBC, the Arts Channel and the History Channel. With notable exceptions  – such as Leonard Bernstein’s remarkable series The Unanswered Question or Bryan Magee’s Conversations with Philosophers – these programmes are at best uninformative and misleading and at worst mere fatuity and claptrap.

Typically the format consists of a presenter who pretends ignorance – when this is Melvyn Bragg the pretence is undetectable – who asks faux naif questions of “experts” on behalf of the  ignorant and idiotic listeners or viewers. What follows is the spectacle of academics attempting to talk for long enough to generate in themselves the hope they might accidentally discover something interesting to say.

They hardly ever have. And this is not least because they can’t speak English. They speak only academic jargon. They might be reading from the text book or, more likely these days, the “study module.” They also speak “hand- me-downs” which are really only the unexamined universal prejudices of left wing university types turned media sages: The Renaissance a good thing; the Enlightenment a jolly good thing; French Revolution a pretty good thing; universal rights – bang on; democracy, modernity, diversity, feminism, multiculturalism, equality etc…

No need to flog it to death

And I mustn’t fall into the same trap and waffle as these illustrious persons do. Let me offer an example.

Yesterday on his Radio Four programme Beyond Belief the genuinely likeable Ernie Rea was asking a panel of three “experts” about humankind’s relationship with the moon over the millennia. Amid the usual catalogue of infelicities and desecrations, there was offered the insight that it was only with the coming of the Romantic Movement that we “…began to talk not just about the city but about the wilderness; about women and the feminine as well as males and the masculine; about the night and the dark as well as the day.”

By heck, whatever did we do for conversation before the time of Shelley, Keats and the other boys (and girls) in the 18th century band?

Had we really never come across Moses who led the Israelites forty years in the wilderness of Sinai? Of Jonah in the darkness of the stomach of the great fish? Or, “Yea the darkness hideth not from thee” (Psalm 139:12). Or the fact that St John of the Cross (1542-1591) wrote of “the dark night of the soul” centuries before Mary Shelley gave us the benefit of her nasty dreams? In my ignorance I had thought women had always featured prominently throughout our religion, mythologies, history and culture yonks before The Lady of Shallott turned up. Or perhaps Eve, Ruth, Naomi, Deborah the prophetess, Cleopatra and the Queen of Sheba were only men in drag? Same goes for Ophelia, Desdemona and Lady Macbeth, I suppose?

Did we have to wait for the Romantics before we could talk about women? For heaven’s sake the dumbos on our panel of “experts” were discussing the moon! Wouldn’t you have though that even academics might notice that from ancient times the moon has always taken girls’ names: Selene, Artemis, Diana?

Beyond Belief indeed

PS It never stops. That doyenne of the purple patch and the non sequitur, Hilary Mantel, has just been on previewing her forthcoming Reith Lectures by telling us, “The spoken word differs from the written word.”

Gerraway!

Give her the Nobel Prize somebody!

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