As a bonus, a 17-year-old History Student explains the causes, progress and agony of the Great War
As the falcon flying aloft cuts through the thin air
as the jackdaw, the goose, and the duck feed on the ground,
so the mighty Pindar soars above the highest ether,
and so Bacchylides knows only how to creep on the ground.
Alciato's Book of Emblems in Latin and English translation. 212 Emblems
It was easier to see what was happening if you were a visitor from a less frantically prospering land. J. B. Priestley, affronted by the impact of Texas on his English prejudices in 1954, described the ugly results with pungency in Journey Down A Rainbow. He summed up the system of increasing productivity plus high-pressure advertising and salesmanship, plus mass communications, in the word Admass --- 'the creation of the mass mind, the mass man.' One of the characteristics of Admass was the uniformity of the food on offer. 'If a good Admass man does not order a steak, either he is not hungry or he can't afford the price.' Between Fort Worth and Dallas he found the nomads wandering from motel to motel, 'the tuneless gipsies of the machine age', along roads lined with trailer courts, gas stations, second-hand car dealers, supermarkets, drive-in banks, movie theatres and restaurants, all serving the same food, movies, television, songs and cigarettes. 'It offers movement without any essential change,' he wrote, 'It is a street three thousand miles long. You burn 150 gallons of gasoline to arrive nowhere.' This pattern of life was being copied in Britain and all over the motorized world with greater or less fidelity.
Priestley's warning was that it was essentially a cheat. It did not offer more choice but less than there was before. The freedom to wander at will is illusory if all fhe destinations are indistinguishable. 'The people who live there are dissatisfied, restless and bitter,' he warned, 'Especially the women --- still girls in a mining camp'. It may be unfair to picture the horrors of Texas as if they are worse than the horrors of industrial Britain. The motel-supermarket-hamburger civilization has now been superimposed on what was left of nineteenth-century towns, and has further worn down the differences between one region and the next.
Peter Lewis : The 50s
Love took up the glass of Time, and turn'd it in his glowing hands;
Every moment, lightly shaken, ran itself in golden sands.
Love took up the harp of Life, and smote on all the chords with might;
Smote the chord of Self, that, trembling, pass'd in music out of sight.
Many a morning on the moorland did we hear the copses ring,
And her whisper throng'd my pulses with the fulness of the Spring.
Many an evening by the waters did we watch the stately ships,
And our spirits rush'd together at the touching of the lips.
O my cousin, shallow-hearted ! O my Amy, mine no more !
O the dreary, dreary moorland ! O the barren, barren shore !
Falser than all fancy fathoms, falser than all songs have sung,
Puppet to a father's threat, and servile to a shrewish tongue!
Is it well to wish thee happy ? --- having known me --- to decline
On a range of lower feelings and a narrower heart than mine !
Yet it shall be; thou shalt lower to his level day by day,
What is fine within thee growing coarse to sympathize with clay.
As the husband is, the wife is: thou art mated with a clown,
And the grossness of his nature will have weight to drag thee down.
He will hold thee, when his passion shall have spent its novel force,
Something better than his dog, a little dearer than his horse.
What is this ? his eyes are heavy; think not they are glazed with wine.
Go to him, it is thy duty, kiss him, take his hand in thine.
It may be my lord is weary, that his brain is overwrought:
Soothe him with thy finer fancies, touch him with thy lighter thought.
He will answer to the purpose, easy things to understand--
Better thou wert dead before me, tho' I slew thee with my hand !
Better thou and I were lying, hidden from the heart's disgrace,
Roll'd in one another's arms, and silent in a last embrace.
Cursed be the social wants that sin against the strength of youth !
Cursed be the social lies that warp us from the living truth !
Cursed be the sickly forms that err from honest Nature's rule !
Cursed be the gold that gilds the straiten'd forehead of the fool !
Well --- 't is well that I should bluster ! Hadst thou less unworthy proved ---
Would to God --- for I had loved thee more than ever wife was loved.
Am I mad, that I should cherish that which bears but bitter fruit ?
I will pluck it from my bosom, tho' my heart be at the root.
Never, tho' my mortal summers to such length of years should come
As the many-winter'd crow that leads the clanging rookery home.
Where is comfort ? in division of the records of the mind ?
Can I part her from herself, and love her, as I knew her, kind ?
I remember one that perish'd; sweetly did she speak and move;
Such a one do I remember, whom to look at was to love.
Can I think of her as dead, and love her for the love she bore ?
No --- she never loved me truly; love is love for evermore.
Comfort ? comfort scorn'd of devils ! this is truth the poet sings,
That a sorrow's crown of sorrow is remembering happier things.
Drug thy memories, lest thou learn it, lest thy heart be put to proof,
In the dead unhappy night, and when the rain is on the roof.
Like a dog, he hunts in dreams, and thou art staring at the wall,
Where the dying night-lamp flickers, and the shadows rise and fall.
Then a hand shall pass before thee, pointing to his drunken sleep,
To thy widow'd marriage-pillows, to the tears that thou wilt weep.
Thou shalt hear the "Never, never," whisper'd by the phantom years,
And a song from out the distance in the ringing of thine ears;
And an eye shall vex thee, looking ancient kindness on thy pain.
Turn thee, turn thee on thy pillow; get thee to thy rest again.
Alfred Tennyson : from Locksley Hall
The mask is off. The League will no longer pretend concern for states' rights and home rule, will fight no more for temperance legislation through local option or for any moderate prohibitory measures that reserve freedom of choice to communities. In the perfervid language of John Granville Woolley, a Prohibition Party demagogue, "the crime of crimes . . . must go. . . . We will crowd it to the ropes. We will not break away in the clinches. And when it lies dying among its bags of bloody gold and looks up into our faces with its last gasp and whispers, 'Another million of revenue for just one breath of life,' we will put the heel of open-eyed national honor on its throat and say 'NO ! Down to Hell and say we sent thee thither !' "
On the morning of December 10 a small boy, carrying the American flag, marched down Washington's Pennsylvania Avenue. Behind him stepped fifty little girls wearing white Sunday-go-to-church frocks, and behind them 2,000 Leaguers and 2,000 White Ribboners in separate phalanxes with banners inscribed national constitutional prohibition. Amid the gibes of foe and hurrahs of friends, they converged upon the Capitol, singing "Onward, Christian Soldiers" and the WCTU favorite, "A Saloonless Nation in 1920," composed by Professor J. G. Dailey of Philadelphia and pronounced by Mrs. Ella Alexander Boole, a New York White Ribboner, as "dignified but catchy music." Waiting for them on the east steps of the Capitol were Congressman Richmond Pearson Hobson (Democrat, Alabama) and Senator Morris Sheppard (Democrat, Texas).
John Kobler : Ardent Spirits --- The Rise and Fall of Prohibition
The man o' the moon for ever!
The man o' the moon for ever!
We'll drink to him still
In a merry cup of ale
Here's the man o' the moon for ever!
The man o' the moon, here's to him !
How few there be that know him !
But we'll drink to him still
In a merry cup of ale
The man o' the moon, here's to him !
Brave man o' the moon, we hail thee,
The true heart ne'er shall fail thee;
For the day that's gone
And the day that's our own
Brave man o' the moon, we hail thee.
We have seen the bear bestride thee,
And the clouds of winter hide thee,
But the moon is changed
And here we are ranged
Brave man o' the moon, we bide thee.
The man o' the moon for ever !
The man o' the moon for ever !
We'll drink to him still
In a merry cup of ale
Here's the man o' the moon for ever !
We have grieved the land should shun thee,
And have never ceased to mourn thee,
But for all our grief
There was no relief
Now, man o' the moon, return thee.
There's Orion with his golden belt,
And Mars, that burning mover,
But of all the lights
That rule the nights
The man o' the moon for ever !
Cavalier Song c1647
Already a dark side was beginning to emerge from this outpouring of emotion. Continual stimulation and disappointment was proving too much for many. At meeting after meeting, penitents were passing from the wildly hysterical to raving lunacy. At Worcester, Mass., the asylum became so crowded as the year progressed that a large hall had to be converted to house the deranged. In this State, in New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and parts of Pennsylvania and Maine, the lunacy rate is said to have more than trebled during the year 1843-44.
By early September, the threat of the last day had spread everywhere. Hundreds of thousands of acres of crops went unharvested. Beef cattle were slaughtered and "love feasts" given to the very poor. Usually rational people went everywhere in flowing white robes and greeted their friends with the biblical kiss. Others took pleasure in washing the feet of those who came to visit them. Others, even less balanced, sold all their possessions and selected some high place in which to await the Lord. Some roosted in trees and one man in Worcester equipped himself with a pair of turkey wings, prayed fervently to the Lord to "take him up" and jumped out of a high elm tree. He was lucky to escape with no more than a broken arm.
Many people were now in dire want and perhaps one of the most terrible aspects of the Millerite prophecy was the fate of many of the children. While their parents prayed day and night without thought of food, they starved in the last throes of terror. In one family of ten in New York State, the four youngest children died of starvation before a few outraged "cynics" beat the parents into some semblance of sanity and removed the remaining young children. Suicides were common now. One of them was a New York City bootmaker who had thrown shoes, lasts and tools into the street and gone to join the Millerite congregation.
At the tabernacle in Boston, a crowd of several thousand kept up a continual "watch" day and night. Hundreds of others crowded round the doors. In the spare lots nearby, religious fervour had turned to an orgy of despair --- or perhaps a reversion to something even more primitive. Men and women rolled in the coarse grass drinking, while others made love shamelessly in broad daylight. Others stripped off their clothes and danced naked.
The substance of her later visions was eagerly snapped up by pockets of believers in most of the States of America. The Messiah was to appear as a cloud in the east no bigger than a man's hand; and would approach the earth for seven days, during which period sinners would have the opportunity of repenting. This elect would be gathered from all parts of the world. They would come riding on clouds to an unnamed mountain top in California, where the Redeemer would be waiting them. These saints, numbering the familiar 144,000, would then be wafted to heaven to the strains of angelic music, while the remainder of the sinful world was being burned to a cinder.
People had sold all their possessions and paid their debts; and, on Reidt's instructions, had taken to a diet of carrots and water in preparation for the Day of Wrath.
On the afternoon of February 6, when the cloud was first expected to appear, Reidt destroyed his union card, sold all his furniture and his car, and then concluded the final sale of his house, which was to became effective on the morning after the Day of Doom.
Similar scenes had been taking place throughout America. In West Oakland, Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Martin had sold their home for 3,000 dollars and spent every penny having "Seven Days to Doom" tracts printed and distributed. In San Diego, thirty disciples had disposed of everything they had, put on flowing white gowns and established themselves on a hill top outside the town in preparation for the Second Coming.
As the panic increased, tragedy was added to foolishness. Karl Danzeisen of Temperance, Michigan, who had slaved all his life to build up a 35,000-dollar business, was heartbroken at the thought of losing all. He came home with a gun, shot and wounded his wife, and then killed himself. Mrs. Andrew Korts, of Skickshinny, Pennsylvania, raved for an hour at her terror-stricken family, warning them that the world was coming to an end, then ran out into the wood-shed and hanged herself. In Cleveland, Ohio, an even more horrible tragedy occurred. Six respectable girls took part in an orgy with a number of boys after a doomsday meeting. When they had come to themselves, they were so frightened that they all committed suicide by drowning.
Meanwhile, the prophetess who had started it all had locked herself in her home to prepare for the last day, refusing to open the door to anyone. Many of her followers had taken to the hills in white "ascension" gowns.
Antony Hunter : The Last Days
[ A history of Doomsday beliefs ]
I know only two things about this redoubtable descendant of Daniel Boone:
A/ This song should be played on each anniversary of the Nazi-Soviet Pact that went up in the flames of Barbarossa.
B/ His daughter ate dog-food straight from the bowl.
However, I would like to start with an event which remains on my mind since the first time I read Cherry's book………. One night Cherry and Dan (at the time her fiancé) went out to a nice restaurant and she ate a full dinner. Dan left Cherry at her parents' doorstep. Both waved to each other and as Cherry closed the back door, she saw the leftover meat scraps in her dog's dish. She was sorry that she missed her favorite food: lamb chops. Cherry went straight ahead to the dog's dish and ate the dinner's remnants. While eating, Cherry heard a noise on the window behind her. It was Dan who came back to check on her.
Pat Boone --- Love Letters In The Sand
From my youth upwards
My spirit walk'd not with the souls of men,
Nor look'd upon the earth with human eyes;
The thirst of their ambition was not mine;
The aim of their existence was not mine;
My joys, my griefs, my passions, and my powers,
Made me a stranger; though I wore the form,
I had no sympathy with breathing flesh,
Nor midst the creatures of clay that girded me
Was there but one who --- but of her anon.
I said with men, and with the thoughts of men,
I held but slight communion; but instead,
My joy was in the Wilderness, to breathe
The difficult air of the iced mountain's top,
Where the birds dare not build, nor insect's wing
Flit o'er the herbless granite; or to plunge
Into the torrent, and to roll along
On the swift whirl of the new breaking wave
Of river-stream, or ocean, in their flow.
In these my early strength exulted; or
To follow through the night the moving moon,
The stars and their development, or catch
The dazzling lightnings till my eyes grew dim;
Or to look, list'ning, on the scatter'd leaves,
While Autumn winds were at their evening song.
These were my pastimes, and to be alone;
For if the beings, of whom I was one, ---
Hating to be so, --- cross'd me in my path,
I felt myself degraded back to them,
And was all clay again. And then I dived,
In my lone wanderings, to the caves of death,
Searching its cause in its effect, and drew
From wither'd bones, and skulls, and heap'd up dust,
Conclusions most forbidden. Then I pass'd
The nights of years in sciences, untaught
Save in the old-time; and with time and toil,
And terrible ordeal, and such penance
As in itself hath power upon the air
And spirits that do compass air and earth,
Space, and the peopled infinite, I made
Mine eyes familiar with Eternity
George Byron : Manfred
[ FineReader couldn't scan this, and damned if I was going to type out all that, keeping the rather idiosyncratic spellings of the period; however some twirling of a waxed moustache seems in order; with much sinister mocking laughter. ]
My thoughts by night are often filled
With visions false as fair:
For in the past alone I build
My castles in the air.
I dwell not now on what may be:
Night shadows o'er the scene:
But still my fancy wanders free
Through that which might have been.
Thomas Love Peacock : Castles in the Air
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For the first time in ages, rain was bucketing down this morning — since sadly, and contrary to forecast, having stopped — I had to go and purchase electricity, and so went to Hadleigh, discovering another new useless métier in that driving through heavy rain is sheer delight, giving some purpose to the mindless activity… This meant going through tiny twisting lanes generally at 30mph since families of pheasants wander, devoted to kamikazi tactics — most motorists here aver that pheasants and partridges are the most stupid of all birdlife when confronted by cars, but this seems as deeply incomprehensible as most human assertions: they are goddamned pheasants after all; one can’t expect them to spend their rather short lives until shot or with wrung neck studying motor mechanics.
Anyway, en route I saw signs, and so discovered St. James’ Chapel, and took a few quick snapshots. It’s an absolutely perfect little building.
Ryan Walter Wagner --- Adventures At Stoney Creek
This song in sympathy is extraordinarily like I Would I Were Where Helen Lies --- [ Misfortunately, the last is usually sung not to the simple tune evident in the pattern of the words, but to a more ornate and less attractive melody. ]
"The King of Prussia and the German Emperor must always be in a position to say to any lieutenant: 'Take ten men and shoot the Reichstag !'"
Herr von Oldenburg auf Januschau
[ To an applauding Reichstag. ]
This being a framed print, with no signature — it could be either a limited edition or cut from a Christmas card for all I can tell — there’s no attribution possible…Still, it’s remarkably like Jamie as an infant undoubtedly planning revenge upon some unfortunate person or set of persons.
Usually, however, the Dutch were practical in their naming, and like the Indians considered that the various parts of the river should have secure names even if the whole did not. To a boatman the stream could be simply "The River," but he needed terms for every section, to locate himself, or give directions, or to gossip about past voyages. In the very first years, before 1625, the skippers named every reach and point, so that still along that river men say names ending in rack and hook, like Claverack, "Clover Reach."
With the Indian names the Dutch did as all the others had done, making the words over to be more like their own language. So arose Hackensack, and Poughkeepsie, and Scheaenhechstede ( which became Schenectady ) looking enough like Dutch to deceive an Englishman.
With Hopoakan-hacking the Dutch went even further. This was a place across the river from Manhattan, meaning in the local dialect "at the place of the tobacco-pipe." But Hopoakan sounded like the name of a village in Flanders, and there were also Dutch people of the name, one of whom came to New Netherland as a schoolmaster. So the name soon came to be, and remained --- Hoboken.
With their towns and villages the men of New Netherland followed no system. Often they used names from the old country, as with their chief settlement, New Amsterdam. So they also transplanted Breukelyn, Vlissingen, and Haerlem.
Sometimes the name arose from the landholder. One settler was Jonas Bronck, a Dane, who had a farm just north of Manhattan. From him men came to speak of Bronck's River. Also apparently they said "the Broncks," as men say in English "the Smiths," meaning where the Smiths live, and so came the Bronx.
Still a little farther north was the settlement known officially as Colen Donck, "Donck's Colony." But this Adriaen van der Donck bore a courtesy title "Jonkheer," meaning about the same as "Squire." By that title his tenants usually addressed him; before long they began to call Colen Donck merely "the Jonkheer's," and so came Yonkers.
In later years there grew up a legend that these early Dutch were dull-witted and ox-like, notable mainly for baggy trousers. But more truly those first Dutch were as wild a crew as any that ever landed in Virginia, and they looked upon the New Englanders as parson-ridden snivelers with no appreciation of rum or a bawdy song or an Indian wench. Their word gat which they used so freely for "channel" or "passage," meant also "hole" in its most derogatory sense, so that a map of New Netherland must have impressed a contemporary Hollander as of a peculiar pungency. They named a Hoeren Eiland in the Fresh River, and a Hoeren Kill on South River. A tradition is preserved about the naming of the latter, and though it may not be wholly correct, it shows what the next generation thought a likely story:
These men or traders came ashore with their goods, where they traded with the Indians and frequenting so much with the Indian women, till they got the country duties, otherwise called the pox, and so they named that place Whore-kill, that is in English the Whores' Creek.
This writer told also of another name on the South River:
remembering ( I suppose) how they had been served at the Whore-Kill, they went some ten or twelve miles higher, where they landed again and traded with the Indians, trusting the Indians to come into their stores ashore, and likewise aboard of their sloop drinking and debauching with the Indians till they were all at last barbarously murdered, and so that place was christened with their blood and to this day is called the Murderer-kill, that is, Murderers Creek.
And so to this day also there is on that coast a stream called Murderkill River.
George R. Stewart : Names on the Land 
Lost in the empty snow-bound country, without shelter, path, or bite to stay his entrails, he grew wild and desperate at last, howling his need like a beast, sinking again and again, worn out; longing only to sleep, and die in the snow. But famine would grant him no peace. He ran madly on, avid to live, quickened and spurred by the bitterest hunger and despair, by soulless strength and wild desire, the sheer stark force of naked life in him. From juniper-bushes, laden with their snow, he clawed, with stiff blue fingers, the shrivelled berries, chewed up the bitter fruit, strewn with pine-needles, whose sharp taste maddened him, devoured handfuls of snow to still his thirst. Blowing in his frozen hands, he sank down to rest upon a hillock, eagerly spying out the land. Only heath and woodland within sight, nowhere any traces of men. Over him flew two ravens; he eyed them maliciously. No, they should not get him for their supper, not with an ounce of strength still in his legs, a spark of human warmth still in his blood. He stood up, to fight again with mighty death, ran on and on, while in the fevered exhaustion of this last effort, a thousand strangest thoughts possessed his mind, and he cracked wild jests with himself, half in his head and half in words. He shouted to Victor, whom he had stabbed, taunting him in harsh scorn of his death: ‘How is it with you, sly brother ? Does the moon shine clear through your ribs yet ? Are two foxes snuffling round your ears, lad ? You told me once you killed a wolf. Did you bite out his throat or tear his tail off ? So you wanted my ducat, you old guzzler ! But you see little Goldmund was your match — eh, Victor, he tickled your ribs finely ! And all the time you’d a wallet of cheese and sausage, you swine, you gormandizer.’ Such jests as these he proclaimed, howling and panting, mocking the dead, and crowing over him, laughing the fool to scorn, for letting himself be slaughtered like a fool, the poor knave, the silly swaggerer !
Then he thought no more of poor, lean Victor, since Julia seemed to run in front of him, just as she had left him that night. To her he cried out little love-words, tempting her with lewd, jocund cries, asking her body; let her come to him, strip off her shirt, and they’d go to heaven together, for one hour only before they died, an instant only before they stank and rotted. Begging her, enticing her on, he told of her little jutting breasts, her legs, and the rough, gold hair under her armpits. And again, as he stumbled on his way, in the snowy tuft-grass of the moorland, with stiff legs, and drunk with pain, triumphant with the flickering greed for life, he began to whisper to another. This time it was Narziss he talked with, telling him new thoughts, new jests, new wisdom.
‘Do you fear, Narziss,’ he asked him, ‘has your blood run cold ? have you not seen it ? Yes, my friend, the world is full of death, he sits on every hedge, and stands in wait round every tree-trunk, so there’s no help to be got by building stone walls and dormitories, and churches, and chapels of ease. He’ll spy you out through any window; he can smile, he knows each of you so well, and at midnight you can hear him chuckle, calling your name outside the house. Sing your psalms and light up your tapers on your altars, hurry to your matins and vespers, gather your herbs in the stillroom, pile your books together in your libraries. Do you fast, amice ? Do you watch ? None of it all will do you good: friend Bones will take it all away from you, strip off the flesh, and leave you rattling. Run, Narziss, make haste. There’s junketing out in the fields: run — only keep your bones together, man, they’ll fall apart unless you look to them. Bones won’t stay tight for any man ! Alas for our poor bones ! Alas for our poor soft gullet and belly, alas for our poor bit of brain under the skull. All that melts away like the snow. It all runs off to the devil, while crows, like black priests, croak on their branches.’
He strove to show her he was grateful, and when, in a short while, he could take the roads again and was eager to get up and go his ways, she held him back, saying that soon the moon would change, and then the weather must certainly be warmer. So it was. When Goldmund went his ways the snow lay, sick and grey, on the roads; the air was heavy and damp, and spring winds moaned in the sky.
Hermann Hesse : Narziss and Goldmund — Trans by Geoffrey Dunlop
Where forlorn sunsets flare and fade
On desolate sea and lonely sand,
Out of the silence and the shade
What is the voice of strange command
Calling you still, as friend calls friend
With love that cannot brook delay
To rise and follow the ways that wend
Over the hills and far away ?
Hark in the city, street on street
A roaring reach of death and life,
Of vortices that clash and fleet
And ruin in appointed strife,
Hark to it calling, calling clear,
Calling until you cannot stay
From dearer things than your own most dear
Over the hills and far away ?
Out of the sound of the ebb-and-flow,
Out of the sight of the lamp and star,
It calls you where the good winds blow,
And the unchanging meadows are;
From faded hopes and hopes agleam,
It calls you, calls you night and day
Beyond the dark into the dream
Over the hills and far away.
W. E. Henley : Where Forlorn Sunsets Flare
These important changes in the social role of women ought to be considered alongside the 1978 amendments to the Code of Personal Status introduced by the Ba˘th. The preamble states that the new code is based on “the principles of the Islamic shari˘a [ Islamic law ], but only those that are suited to the spirit of today.” The break with tradition as it affected women occurred in two important areas: first, authority was given to a state-appointed judge to overrule the wishes of the father in the case of early marriages; second, the new legislation nullified forced marriages and severely curtailed the traditional panoply of rights held over women by the men of the larger kinship group ( uncles, cousins, and so on ). The intent of the legislation as a whole was to diminish the power of the patriarchal family, and separate out the nuclear family from the larger kinship group whose hold over the lives of women was considerably weakened.
In general, wherever women were clearly being involved in new areas of decision making, these were explicitly formulated as pertaining somehow to their sex ( not their individual personhood ) and simultaneously “politicized” to a remarkably unnecessary extent. The only way in which the “popular committees” could function is as pressuring agencies, forcing couples to conform to whatever outcome the party line deemed suitable. The facts of the case, the letter of the law, and the “rights” of everyone concerned are shunted aside in such arrangements. In addition whenever traditional male rights over women were weakened or abolished, the state adopted this role, acting “on behalf of” the female sex, not upgrading the status of women as individuals who were being discriminated against because of their sex.
The Ba˘thi measures must not be exaggerated. No social group, least of all Iraqi women, was exerting pressure on them. But by choosing a particular “style” of legislating on this issue, they reveal how they think when not being boxed into a corner by the “contradictory demands of modernization and development and those of ‘cultural authenticity.’”
Ba˘thist ideals, tied up as they are with the Ba˘thist view of the Islamic experience, provide the ultimate source of authority and the final test for what is justified. Even the power of the Leader is derivative from these ideals, and all sources of authority outside them threaten the Ba˘th. It rankles to have fathers, brothers, uncles, and cousins, all lined up to exert varying degrees of real power and control over half of the Iraqi population. Thus, if a new loyalty to the Leader, the party, and the state is to form, women must be “freed” from the loyalties that traditionally bound them to their husbands and male kin. This was the essential purpose of the 1978 legislation on Personal Status, which diminished the power of the patriarchal family. Therefore, women, ( like children, as we have seen ) gain somewhat in status in relation to these particular groups of men, only what they must lose in freedom to the Ba˘th. Politically, the appropriate imagery is once again that provided by Saddam Husain of the child informer.
Samir Al-Khalil : Republic of Fear — Saddam’s Iraq
Actually, the Invasion, and imperialist imposition of a new regime over there has rather nullified most of the Ba'athist sexual equality measures, leading to the restoration of the traditional opportunities for muslim women. The joy of the above passages relate to the fact that feminism, like other ploys, was merely a means for the revolutionary state to shatter opposition and tighten control. As has happened here also.
Whether either Saddam's pro-feminism or the new lot's older ways were better should be regarded as a deep question, involving the various alleged rights of plenty of differing and utterly disparate groups; the rights of imperialist conquest; the rights of indigenous peoples; questions of religion and questions of culture, that can best be answered by 'Meh, who cares ?'
Nonetheless, the sort of people who go around looking wise, and pontificating: 'Only Time will provide an answer.' are in rare luck.
Although uninterested in automobiles, I'm terribly fond of my little Pajero, 'Baby', as I call her without the faintest trace of mawkishness. Certainly she may lack a dainty grace, but she could go through a large crowd of people in 10 seconds. She looks like this ( except goldish champagne ):
Yesterday I went to the dentist in Ipswich keeping a wary eye out for cop-cars; keeping to the correct mileage to the sulphurous annoyance of the drivers behind; and inter alia running a red light unnoticed. After picking up some more boxes from the garage, glancing without pleasure at the rest to be moved --- since we've not really had a summer the cold and wet inculcates mould ---- I left Baby in a multi-story since cars there attract less attention than on the road. Unfortunately there were a couple of hours to kill, and this not merely reinforced my distaste for a place where I had been far too often, but emphasised how further along the road to booklessness towns are on. Two books only could I buy: of thousands of books most were modern trash, and the rest either uninteresting or read. On my own road to perdition, it shewed that I have, on most subjects, read as much as I shall ever want to. And of the few types of books I still do want to read, these are unobtainable in shops... Which is one form of defeat.
Still, and this is more a subject for a separate paper, Defeat is illusory --- as much as is Victory --- vital, and necessitous. It is not only part of the human condition, but the major part; and is far more enriching than the equally temporary feat of victory. Apart from the fact that without defeat we could no longer fight ---- I have never heard of any commander who, lying, didn't proclaim the ultimate aim was universal peace; peace on their terms no doubt, but boring deadly peace nonetheless --- it may not be the lostness of lost causes that is the potent attraction, but that those causes being more correct than others were bound to lose, and gain a shining aura in the process. The Prussians were powerfully beaten at Jena, but their fighting there should be as cherished as that in any of their victories. And... in Valhalla both victors and defeated are created anew to battle the next day...
On the other hand, for a future post on Himmelstürmers, I came across this related page on the new GMC Yukons with pop-up Gatlings, and I can honestly say that if I ever wanted another SUV than my sweet Baby, it would be one of these. The Prussians could have used one at Jena; and it would be useful if I ever visited Jena, Louisiana.