The Curmudgeon


Friday, September 11, 2009

Gordon and Alan

Since talk is cheap even in a recession, the Glorious Successor has apologised to the shade of Alan Turing for the Christian way in which Turing was treated for his homosexuality - a treatment involving arrest, humiliation and chemical castration, which led to his suicide at forty-one. The Glorious Successor notes that the present year has been one of "deep reflection", owing apparently to the fact that it ends in the same digit as the year in which "the British government declared its willingness to take up arms against Fascism and declared the outbreak of World War Two", rather than merely declaring war on Germany as historians had previously thought. In similar vein, Britain's leading liberal newspaper today reports that the persecution of men like Turing was actually the fault of the evil Soviets, "provoked by the defection of the diplomats Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean to Moscow", rather than by any supposed unpleasantness inherent in the law of Albion.

Be that as it may, the Glorious Successor regurgitates some choice chunks of his curriculum vitae and drops the names of Presidents Sarkozy and Obama before getting around to that of the "quite brilliant mathematician, most famous for his work on breaking the German Enigma codes". The Glorious Successor refers to him as Alan Turing, and then as Turing, and eventually, having mentioned the great man's homosexuality, with the sofa-cosy Alan. The Glorious Successor observes that "it is no exaggeration to say that, without his outstanding contribution, the history of World War Two could well have been very different", which almost certainly qualifies as what could without an overly excessive degree of equivocation be called a fair approximation of the likely factual veracity. The Glorious Successor ends, bizarrely, by being "very proud to say: we’re sorry, you deserved so much better". Even when the outstanding scientist and Fellow of King's College Cambridge is being thus directly addressed, the term Dr Turing is conspicuous by its absence. The Glorious Successor (whose father, as you may have heard, was a Christian minister) does not mention having got on Tony Blair's hotline to the Deity in order to check on the state of Alan's immortal soul; but then, as heir to the office of the man who declared the outbreak of World War Two he does, of course, have a fairly busy schedule.


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