Saturday, January 26, 2008

Australia Day

To all my readers down under, if I have any, I hope you all have a great Australia Day.

Friday, January 25, 2008

God, Gold, and Giggles Two Anglosphere Books

Brief Reviews of Spud by John van de Ruit and God and Gold by Walter Russell Mead

Taking the more serious of these two book first, W.R. Mead’s interesting new book “God and Gold” which traces the assent of the Anglo-American world system. Mead’s who’s previous book “Special Providence” which traced out four competing traditions in American foreign policy in this book looks at the deeper roots of the success of the maritime empire increasingly known as the Anglosphere.

Mead takes especial note of the religious traditions of the English speaking people, concentrating on the so called Anglican compromise between the supremacy of the bible and the supremacy of tradition in church affairs mediating between them with, not reason, but reasonableness or commonsense.

He also discusses the more proximate causes of the Anglosphere’s success, a group of strategies which he cleverly names “the protocalls of the elders of Greenwich.” While he misses several important points, not least the importance of commodity money to a stable and growing economy, in general this is an interesting and informative book.

The second book is a first novel by South African author John van de Ruit about a boy nicknamed Spud (because he has no hair to cover his spuds) during his first year at an all boys boarding school in South Africa (from comments on the net the school Spud is attending is a thin fictionalization of Michaelhouse of which van de Ruit is an Old Boy)

This book is firstly and most importantly side splittingly funny. Take for example the following, which needs the explanation that The Guv is Spud’s English teacher and Rambo is the nickname of one of his class mates.

“Wednesday, 26th January

“06:40 The Guv instructed the class that lesbian writers are to be taken with a pinch of salt. He says they are all “frustrated sex-crazed rug munchers with under arm fur” and we should therefore dismiss the work of women called Woolf, Renault, and Agatha Christy.

“Rambo asked him if we should study Shakespeare sine he was a pillow biter. The Guv then accused Rambo of being homophobic and said he had nothing against dykes and poofs. He even confessed that he wouldn’t mind giving Martina Navratilova a jolly good rogering.”

Secondly this book is a must read for every one who went to an all boys boarding school and has fond memories of the experience. It brings vividly to life the experience of an all male environment, both the good: the camaraderie, freedom to be a boy, and the sense of adventure and the bad: the pack mentality, the farting and other uncouth behavior.

Third and related to the previous this book is a tribute to boys and a relief from the anti boy prejudice all to often seen in our culture today. The boys in this book are drawn true to life. While they have their crudities and faults, they are (with a few memorable exceptions) not brutes. Spud is a boy of reason, sensitivity, and passion as well as a good cricket and rugby player.

Lastly I want to mention that readers should not be turned off by the fact the book is being marketed to a young adult market in the United States. The book will no doubt be enjoyed by younger readers, it was written for an adult audience as the humor cited tends to demonstrate.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Day For Thanksgiving

In the ongoing rush of events many of them disheartening, it is easy to forget how much we have to be thankful for. Today we can remember with gratitude the life of the late, the Right Honorable Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill Knight of the Garter, Order of Merit, Companion of Honor, Fellow of the Royal Society, Privy Counselor, Privy Counselor for Canada, twice Prime Minister, Leader of the House of Commons, Chancellor of the Exchequer, the first ever Minister of Defense, twice First Lord of the Admiralty, Secretary of State for War, Secretary of State for Air, Minister of Munitions, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Home Secretary, President of the Board of Trade, Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, Elder Brother of Trinity House, Chancellor of the University of Bristol, Father of the House of Commons, Nobel Laureate for Literature, first Honorary Citizen of the United States, etc.

Today is the 42nd anniversary of the death of this great leader of our people. Among his many achievements is one that touches the heart of this blog, his four volume “A History of the English Speaking People” which is one of the first self consciously Anglospherist works. He also wrote multi volume histories of the First and Second World Wars and multi volume biographies of the First Duke of Marlboro his distant ancestor and Lord Randolph Churhill, his father. He was also a great painter aswell as a member of that most British of all professions, a practical inventor.

He was born 30 November, 1874 at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, the home of his fathers, the first son of Lord Randolph Churchill and Jennie Jerome. He was a graduate of Harrow and the Royal Military College Sandhurst. He served in India with the 4th (Queen’s Own) Hussars and fought on the Northwest Frontier. He charged with the 21st Lancers at Omdurman, the last real cavalry charge of the British Army. He served with the South African Light House during the Second Boer War. He was elected to parliament for the first time in 1899 and sat almost without interruption through the reign of six monarchs. He joined the cabinet for the first time in 1908. During the First World War he served with the Royal Scots Fusiliers commanding the 6th battalion (territorial army) on the Western Front. He held all of the important offices open to a commoner and refused elevation to the peerage as the Duke of London. He died 24 January, 1965 and after a state funeral was laid to rest in the graveyard of St. Martin Church, Bladon a short drive from where he was born. May his memory endure as long as our people.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Beautiful Anglosphere Tradition

While by no means exclusive to the Anglosphere, the tradition of choirs of men and boys has remained strong in the church of England. The practice of Cathedrals or large church’s having schools to educate the choirboys continues in some parts of the Anglosphere.

Here are some interesting documentaries that I found on you tube after I heard this wonderful rendition of the 50th Psalm by the King’s College Choir. A documentary about the King’s College choir is here, here, here, and here. A documentary of the St. Paul’s choristers is here, here, here, here, and here. A documentary about St. Thomas Choir School is here, here, here, and here.