Thursday, June 01, 2006

I should first of all make it quite clear that I am not picking favourites.

Each one of you is very dear to my heart in your own unique and disturbed way.

However, I must say thank you to raincoaster, firstly for the best comment I have seen for some time – go to Boris’s and look for mustard. (Now. And no silly remarks). Secondly, for her little thread about lessons from history. Without wishing to be disrespectful, the lessons that she has selected from a historian called Charles Beard are complete nonsense and should be dismissed along with so much of the rest of the insanity peddled by historians. Historians should not be grouped with physicists who are the purveyors of absurd religious doctrines that make no sense, but they do have their own little corner reserved for them in the crazy room.

The first point to make is that there is no point in having any lessons from history if we refuse to, or are incapable of, learning them. Evidence: the re-election of George W. Bush.

Secondly, by its very nature history is not something that we can experience at first hand. Form 3b will not be going on a field trip to the battle of Lechfeld. They might go the site of the battle. They might see a lot of old stuff. They might, if they are lucky get to re-enact the battle. They will not, almost certainly, get to meet Otto the Great or Henry, duke of Bavaria. There is not a chance that they will ever know what it was like to be attacked by 50,000 magyars. This is a shame, because Form 3b are a bunch of annoying little bastards, and a sharp spear or two up the rectum might do them all a world of good.

One of my history teachers had a joke about the Holy Roman Empire. “There are three things to remember about the Holy Roman Empire, it was not holy, it was not Roman, and it was not an empire”. It would have been unfair to say that one of my history teachers had a joke and not qualify it - he may have had other jokes, but I was asleep on those days. The point is that that is as funny as history ever got. You can call your leaders Charles the Bald, you can have events referred to as “the defenestration of Prague”, but no matter how you tart it up, none of it relates to anything else and is therefore lacking in the potential to amuse.

So what, dear readers, can we learn from history? I suggest the following.

  1. Don’t offer tea to Americans. It is too sophisticated a beverage for their palate.
  2. If you have a bunch of religious nutters that you want shut of, by all means put them in a boat and send them somewhere distant, but at least make sure that they do not arrive there – they will fuck the new place up. Try drilling a few holes in the boat.
  3. Don’t go to Moscow in the winter. If the Sainsbury’s truck can’t get through to help restocking the shelves, then you are going to get a little peckish by the second month.
  4. Beware of Greeks bearing gifts. Do not follow the example of that daft tart queen Elizabeth II of England and think that the souvenir from Ramsgate that makes an amusing farting noise is charming and an indication of the suitability of the donor as a mate. Your offspring will be cretins.
  5. Do not interrupt the inhabitants of Devon when they are playing games. They are very touchy. They get cross very easily. Best let them finish before conducting any business, such as buying scones or conducting massive sea battles.
  6. Organise your diary a bit better. You will not be at your best if you choose to fight the Norwegians on Friday in Yorkshire and the French on Tuesday in Sussex. Have a bit of a nap in between.
  7. If you have a young son called Attila, the best course of action is not to force him to go to Rome during his summer holidays, let him get on with playing his video games. Otherwise he might develop a bit of a grudge.

(That’s enough crap examples: Ed.)

Over to you. Prizes for the more obscure references.

29 comments:

Dave said...

It seems to me you have learned alot of history, if not from it.

Odd that you should mention Attila; I decided yesterday that I would write about the Huns tomorrow.

Dave said...

8. Don't make your last words homo-erotic. Particularly if you are a sailor. It's all history will remember you for.

raincoaster said...

Beware of white men bearing blankets. (should I supply my own Wikipedia reference so the Europeans and Americans will know what I'm talking about?)

PS thanks for the link, however condescending. I have just shot up twenty thousand in Technorati rankings as a consequence.

If you will clean up your links (the contemporary equivalent of cleaning your room?) I will be happy to post your lessons as a riposte to Charles Beard's.

Mark Gamon said...

Firstly for firstly??

Tee hee. I love spotting those...

Frontier Editor said...

Raincoaster - well aware of the danger of gift blankets, and a pox upon us for not washing them first.

And, as the husband told his wife after she expressed concern about his fascination with English Romantic movement poetry: "If you can't stand the Keats, get out of the hitchin'."

Frontier Editor said...

9) Beware of the Bavarians. As happy a lot as they may be in October, their lack of decent taste in facial hair has caused France and the Low Countries enough dyspepsia. And one should wonder about a region whose national anthem is 'Deutschland uber y'alles.'

raincoaster said...

Hitch is much more a Dryden sort of fellow, don't you think? He doesn't deserve Keats anymore.

Also, I'm with Mark: can't link to you, Vicus, until you fix the links AND clean up "firstly for firstly."

Frontier Editor said...

Then there's always the matter of whether the Bacon is Donne

Richard said...

If you've got a piece of paper in your hand, remember to read it, especially if instead of saying,"Ok, What you said" it says "Up yours, Nev. Give Pickford's a call"

Pamela Troeppl said...

whaddya mean, never give us tea?!?

Frontier Editor said...

I think he's referring to my sweet iced tea recipe which, frankly, is an aberration of how English tea is prepared.

Although there are several charming wartime photos of tea being brewed over a leaky petrol tin filled with gasoline-soaked sand. Almost as charming as wartime photos of G.I.'s brewing instant coffee over a heattab

Vicus Scurra said...

Dave, I could kiss you.
Raincoaster, clean up my links? What business is that of yours? My links go exactly where I want them to go. The fact that one or two of the destinations are dormant is neither here nor there. Should we refuse to read Tolstoy just because he has been remiss in keeping his writings current? So, and I say this with a great deal of compassion, sod off.
Mark, yes, yes, all right.
And, if you will excuse the breakdown in my logical connections, where did we get on to poets?

Vicus Scurra said...

FE, I deliberately did not refer to your tea posting, as it referred to McDonald's. I have to maintain some standards - in a non-judgemental way, you understand.

Frontier Editor said...

Perfectly alright - I just assumed it was the mention of 'tea bag' that might have sparked any comment.

Dave said...

Hardly, I trust.

Mark Gamon said...

Next time someone sails up your local waterway and offers you 60 guilders-worth of beads, glass, and cookware in exchange for twenty square miles of nearby island, remember that the Dutch are a lot smarter than they like you to think. The value of your investment can go down as well as up.

Vicus Scurra said...

Dave, you are fitting in here very well. I say this, as you it may give you cause to reflect on the wisdom of this course of action.
Mark, you are the winner so far.

eaval - very naughty, but with added emphasis.

Pamela Troeppl said...

Dave? Run away! Run away!

Carmenzta said...

I don't know much history, even though it wouldn't help knowing it as I come from the land that re-elected George W, so I have to be content with just criticizing:

Vicus: "as you it may give you cause" ?? That's just as bad as "firstly for firstly." This was said with the utmost compassion.

wuqfona - Nigerian for one of those snazzy, slim new cellphones.

Frontier Editor said...

I'm hurt that my Southern German reference crashed and burned, but I'll recover.

Vicus Scurra said...

OK, so I seem to be seem to be repeating stuff today. I don't appear to be learning lessons from history do I?
Now, is there anyone else who would like to find faults with my use of English, criticise my links, object to my appearance or just generally beat me up, or can I get back to helping humanity?

Frontier Editor said...

As a history major myself, I can cite at least one useful lesson from history - Mankind in general is dumber than rocks.

And you've helped my self esteem - I've already dyed my hair in a maniacal frizz and I'm starting two shows daily in Wolverhampton next week. And where I keep my money is none of your f****** business.

Richard said...

He's English, surely. Mr Frontier Ed is living proof that one only needs to live here for a few years to undergo an involuntary irony tranplant.

I think it's about time he had a proper name though.

Vicus Scurra said...

Yes, Richard, I agree about the name. And I think that photograph may not be the real deal either. Not sure about people who do that.
I need to go on record to dispute the commonly held misconception that only the Brits understand irony. Not my experience at all.

Frontier Editor said...

I can guarantee that the photo isn't real - American media companies generally don't take well to their management - low, mid or high - conducting their own personal blogs, so I have to protect the guilty. It's Darren McGavin as Carl Kolchak, for the record.

Richard said...

No, the French are pretty good at irony or rather, having worked with them for 10 years or so, they think they are. When they do get it, it becomes quite fun because they suspect everything. The Germans though, worse than the Americans. Absolutely no concept of any kind of humour except slapstick. If you've ever sat through Saturday night telly in Germany you'll understand. You know how some autistic people get confused when an actor gets killed in one series and appears in a different one? Yer average German can't rationlise that one either.

I think we ought to call him Roger. Endless comic potential.

raincoaster said...

So you cleaned up "Firstly for firstly." Big deal. I'll give you a link when you get rid of "< !--[if !supportLists]-- > < !--[endif]-- >"

Vicus Scurra said...

Richard. I had forgotten about the Teutons. Please, someone, introduce a German, Swiss or Austrian friend here who is possessed of a sense of irony so that we can eliminate racial stereotyping.

Frontier Editor said...

Actually, I may have a documented instance of Germans showing a rudimentary form of irony (I do have a small stake in this since my ancestry is some strange mix of Welsh, German, Huguenot, black and Cherokee)

When Robert Stanford Tuck (not Stanford-Tuck)was shot down by flak over France in 1942, he loosed a burst of cannon fire before he put his Spit down in a farm field.

After a squad of German soldiers captured him and roughed him up a bit, they marched him to the flak emplacement that bagged him.

Suddenly the soldiers began laughing, clapping Tuck on the back and congratulating Tuck on his marksmanship.

Apparently, one of Tuck's rounds went straight down one of the quad flak mount's barrels and detonated against an outgoing round, killing the flak crew.