The great actor Sir Ian Holm died recently. He was wonderful in Chariots of Fire, of course and people tell me he was fine in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which I haven’t seen. But the movie I most loved him in was The Emperor’s New Clothes, a movie that imagines Napoleon coming back to France from St. Helena, and not being recognized. The former Emperor, down on his luck, meets and falls in love with a fruit vendor, and decides to help her fix her failing business. This has to be my favourite scene in the film, a moment that captures the importance of leadership and planning. So inspiring – whatever you do, do it well!
I try to take a long walk each day, usually while listening to an audiobook – I learn and burn calories! I occasionally select books I have already read, especially if I remember enjoying them or taking in a lot of information from them. One such book is Niall Ferguson’s Civilization. Here’s a relevant to today’s news (and to other things) paragraph (and a bit):
For some reason, beginning in the late fifteenth century, the little states of Western Europe, with their bastardized linguistic borrowings from Latin (and a little Greek), their religion derived from the teachings of a Jew from Nazareth and their intellectual debts to Oriental mathematics, astronomy and technology, produced a civilization capable not only of conquering the great Oriental empires and subjugating Africa, the Americas and Australasia, but also of converting peoples all over the world to the Western way of life – a conversion achieved ultimately more by the word than by the sword.
There are those who dispute that, claiming that all civilizations are in some sense equal, and that the West cannot claim superiority over, say, the East of Eurasia. But such relativism is demonstrably absurd.
Yeah, listen to him. A voice of sanity in this madness.
Adding to my comments in the post below, I will direct you to John Palmer’s post on the topic. It is worth your time. This last paragraph, in particular, resonates for me. I am reluctant to engage with anyone about this issue (or many others), as I hate the flame wars, but I have rarely unfriended due to differences of opinion.
I’m lucky. I have friends from all over the place, politically, geographically, religiously, racially, LGBTQ-wise, etc. I am confronted by conflicting arguments and flame wars all the time. They upset me and disturb me, but I rarely unfriend or block anyone involved in these events. And yet, they tear me apart inside.
Will keep my comments about the current anger, fear and loathing limited, but I will say the following: I am annoyed as heck at all the posturing and virtue-signalling. If I see one more person on social media put up that putrid meme that starts “In this House” and goes on to list all the wonderful things that go on in that house I will be ill. Truly ill. Especially since the last thing that is listed is something about “kindness.” It has been my painful, personal experience in life that those who talk about their own kindness are almost always deficient in it. Also tired of people talking about how they are going to “check their privilege.” Oh, shut up, already. Your self-importance does not help. I am immensely bothered by the misrepresentation/misuse of a Martin Luther King quote. You know the one. It’s about riots being the language of the unheard. Yeah, he wasn’t endorsing rioting. And how sad is it that this needs to be said? Terribly sad. And finally, just a really good column.
“Let us Remember Those who Will not Come Back.”
In honour of the date, an article about the last Nazi message decoded by the British.
Also – this is in French – a tribute to a French Holocaust survivor who passed away on May 1st.
And I would like to redirect all of you, my dear readers, to my other site, where I post the war letters – and other memorabilia – of my uncle.