Thursday, August 16, 2007
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
And what encouraged me to post the below poem, was this article from Mark Steyn.
You see the article (registration -free- required) deals with an issue which I believe Philip Larkin intuited a long time past:
"one of the critical questions at the heart of the West's twilight struggle: what is a child?"
Worth registering to read.
The greatest conservative poem, ever, maybe.
Well, that would be Phillip Larkin's "Breadfruit", which is so short it can be posted here without difficulties. I know I regularly overlook the "poetry" element of this blog, mainly because it's been an open question in my mind whether poetry has died or not. The following seems to live. I will explain my view afterward...
Boys dream of native girls who bring breadfruit,
Whatever they are,
As bribes to teach them how to execute
Sixteen sexual positions on the sand;
This makes them join (the boys) the tennis club,
Jive at the Mecca, use deodorants, and
On Saturdays squire ex-schoolgirls to the pub
By private car.
Such uncorrected visions end in church
A mortgaged semi- with a silver birch;
Nippers; the widowed mum; having to scheme
With money; illness; age. So absolute
Maturity falls, when old men sit and dream
Of naked native girls who bring breadfruit
Whatever they are.
This poem has all Larkin's typical laughing irony and serious ambiguity. The irony, for example of dignifying the boys' fantasies as "uncorrected visions", which is itself an oxymoron. The serious ambiguity of "absolute maturity falls"- what does this mean, exactly? Just the end of life, burbling in an old people's home. I don't think so, actually, and for me that's the most interesting thing. While Larkin undoubtedly mocks the cheap pleasures of working class youths, he seems to be saying that those cheap pleasures at least had the virtue of gradually imposing the discipline of experience. The open ended question is what happens when "church or registrar" etc. no longer operates. To borrow from another Larkin poem, High Windows, it seems to me that the ending sets itself similarly, pointing to "the thought of high windows:/The sun-comprehending glass,/And beyond it, the deep blue air, that shows/Nothing, and is nowhere, and is endless."
In a cleverly muted way, Larkin is again the social conservative, questioning "everyone young going down the long slide". In the debate over youth and maturity, Larkin got there before any of us- a sentence I am sure he would find satisfyingly ambiguous.
Monday, August 13, 2007
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Really just recycling
Something that DumbJon pointed out. He highlighted this rag:
(click to enlarge)
It's obvious that Boris is target number one for the "black community". But is it really the black community that has it in for Boris? In my experience, black people know irony when they come across it; there's no commentator more ironic out there than Boris Johnson. He's absolutely never quite serious.
The thing is that this "Black newspaper" is undoubtedly just funded by public money, whether meted out by London boroughs or by the Mayor's office itself. This kind of hit piece is reminiscent of nothing so much as the activities which the GLC (Greater London Council) used to get up to.
So that's the first thing. The second thing to notice is that Labour MPs were involved in the attack. The third thing is that the attack was covered, first by the Press Association, then by the BBC, and finally by these goons at the Black Information Link. It's all so orchestrated, it's difficult not to believe that Red Ken's hand was in there somewhere.
Of course what it means most importantly is that Boris has them running scared. The intelligence quotient and personable nature of the candidate leaves them grubbing around trying to smear him as a racist. Certainly this will convince the "Black Information Link", which owes its existence to the likes of Livingstone. I think more highly of the black inhabitants of London than to believe that they'll agree with them. That, though, is what propaganda is for: the apolitical non-believers, to convince them that no smoke would exist without fire.
And the final point: leopards do not change their spots. Red Ken is still Red Ken, dirty tricks and all, and the Labour party still finds him useful. They don't really change either.