The Curmudgeon

YOU'LL COME FOR THE CURSES. YOU'LL STAY FOR THE MUDGEONRY.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

A Solemn Day, Rah Rah, Hooray

A deceptively measured and civilised statement from the Emperor of Japan, expressing "deep remorse" and "utmost grief" for Japanese crimes during the Second World War, stands in marked contrast to the more upbeat and democratic tone of the British celebrations. The commander of the US Pacific fleet may be laying wreaths with officials from the birthplace of Admiral Yamamoto; but Britain will have none of such crass revisionism. Accordingly, Britain's Head Boy and his chums have broken out the historical aircraft and the Rudyard Kipling, and are having a big rah-rah for the British and Commonwealth soldiers who fought a British and Commonwealth world war to preserve the freedoms of the Conservative Party. Those free British conscripts who volunteered to fight the Japanese, of course, were fighting in places like Singapore and Malaya, where the British Empire's values of liberty and democracy were apparent to a most refined and sharp-edged degree. The Japanese Emperor cunningly insinuated that present and future generations should not have to keep apologising for the errors of the past; a view entirely opposed to that of Churchill's heirs, who require the glory of past conquests to point up whatever sheen of adequacy they can scrounge from standing next to a survivor, always provided the survivor isn't foreign.

4 Comments:

  • At 9:55 am , Blogger David OBrien said...

    It's a strange anniversary to celebrate, almost disrespectful. What's so special about 70 given that an anniversary obviously passes every year? 100 I can understand and 50, but 70 isn't even three quarters of a century. Maybe it's just too convenient to the various leaders in terms of the nationalistic propaganda value to ignore.

     
  • At 11:26 am , Blogger Philip said...

    If it's got a nought on the end, that seems to be enough. Also the veterans are in their nineties and not getting any younger, so bets to get full use out of them before it's too late. Waste not, want not.

     
  • At 12:08 pm , Blogger David OBrien said...

    Yep, that's about right.

    Have you ever read 'Salammbo' by Flaubert? I just finished it and some of the descriptive passages reminded me of your work.

    I'll be expecting a piss take of Gordon Brown later btw ;)

     
  • At 1:45 pm , Blogger Philip said...

    I don't know Flaubert's work at all; I think I picked up The Temptation of St Anthony as a teenager, with the vague idea that it was a horror story; but I didn't get very far with it. The mechanics of composing a good historical novel must be similar in some ways to those of doing an SF or fantasy story: in both cases you have to sketch in just enough to bring an alien society to life without resorting to lectures and digressions that will kill off the reader's interest.

    It would be inexcusably immodest of me to attempt a piss-take of Gordon when he does them so well himself.

     

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