“Rebellion does not start with an army. It starts with a whisper.”
I appreciate this is a new and self reffing one but I’m giving my co-blogger, Cats, a QOTD…
Collective action will occur in any group of people, and so it should. Universal self sufficiency is just an alternative term for universal poverty. No civilisation above savagery can survive without specialisation, and no dwelling much better than a mud hut can be built by a single person.
Not only is there nothing wrong with collective action, it is something to be sought. The issue is exclusively one of how it is organised, whether by free cooperation or enforced.
Absolutely. The whole principle of the free market is that we do different things. Cats, for example, might install a bang-on computer network but I suspect he is no Kylie when it comes to singing popular songs whilst gyrating his hips – well, not for me anyway… Having said that I can’t exactly imagine Ms Minogue crawling under a desk with a posidrive. Though given her legendary ass (a treasure of the English speaking peoples) I’m not sure I wouldn’t mind seeing her give it a go. Anyway, and this is a bit of an aside things like this are more effective contra radical Islam than any number of JDAMs. Try watching that video, having a wank but thinking of the wit and wisdom of Abu Hamza.
But… This is not exactly a new observation from Cats but one that, like a Kylie video, deserves another run-out. An advanced society requires specialities. Nobody can do everything. And that is where trade comes from. For example the ’70s BBC sitcom “The Good Life” which focuses on the attempt by Tom and Barbara Good to be “self sufficient”. But their neighbours Jerry and Margo who are utterly conventional (and somewhat conservative – I shall not even mention Mrs Mountshaft and the Music Society) eternally dig the Goods out of Pinky and Perky’s sty. I see the show as a satire on the dismal attempt by the Goods to do everything. The money quote comes from Jerry. Tom has a go at “wage-slave” Jerry about why he obeys “Sir”. His reply is roughly, “18 thousand a year (note this is the mid-70s), a company car and an expense account”. He shoots, he scores because money can be exchanged for goods and services including those services done vastly better than by a bodger. Note also Tom is a total git and treats his wife Barbara (played by Felicity Kendal (who frankly I wouldn’t have minded watching wiggling her bum whilst crawling around with a posidrive either) better than your bum Cats – no offence meant Cats!) as little more than a feudal chattel.
Tom Good is something you wouldn’t get now on TV. He is a kinda proto-green who is portrayed by Richard Briers as a deeply unsympathetic character. He treats the toothsome Barbara like a lackey. Jerry and Margo have a vastly more balanced relationship and they also enable Tom and Barbara’s insane attempt to run their half-arsed small-holding in a London suburb. What is amusing is of course Tom gives-up a good job as a senior draughtsman to pursue this absurd dream and the only way he keeps it “pretending to work” is that when push comes to shove Jerry and Margo are there. So the very middle-class “wage slave” and his executive missus keep Tom in his absurd fantasy. It might as well be about wind-farms.
The show circles the overhead on Dave in the Sky of course. Beamed from the Satellites of Love until the heat death of the whole game. Nothing that ever matters (and ’70s sitcoms) ever truly dies.
Not with the overhead of digital immortality of the clacks. Not even Mrs Slocombe’s pussy is dead. God help us! I mean we* will be laughing at dismal pussy jokes** till the sun becomes a red giant.
Anyway back to the Goods…
And this is very interesting. Margo and Jerry were first envisioned as minor characters but couldn’t be kept down. To the extent that when the show aired in the USA it wasn’t called “The Good Life” but “The Good Neighbours”.
*For a different “we” obviously.
**I find them quite amusing because I am utterly puerile. Here is a taster… “Is that Mr. Ackbar? Mrs. Slocombe here, your next-door neighbour. I wonder, would you do me a favour? Would you go to my front door, bend down, and look through the letter-box? And if you can see my pussy, would you drop a sardine on the mat?” That is fucking genius. Read it all here. There is a serious point (though humour is very serious of course). These lines are with us for eternity.
A picture is worth a thousand words, so enjoy this essay.
H/T Tim Blair
“I did begin a story placed about 100 years after the Downfall, but it proved both sinister and depressing. Since we are dealing with Men, it is inevitable that we should be concerned with the most regrettable feature of their nature: their quick satiety with good. So that the people of Gondor in times of peace, justice and prosperity, would become discontented and restless — while the dynasts descended from Aragorn would become just kings and governors — like Denethor or worse. I found that even so early there was an outcrop of revolutionary plots, about a centre of secret Satanistic religion; while Gondorian boys were playing at being Orcs and going around doing damage. I could have written a ‘thriller’ about the plot and its discovery and overthrow — but it would have been just that. Not worth doing.”
―The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 256
Yup. Wise old stick was JRRT. I don’t do his anti-industrialism but what I bolded (and italiced) says worlds to me. “their quick satiety with good”. Oh yeah, baby – we have that in spades! And in pure literary terms how could he top LoTR? It just wasn’t the epic. Tolkien was very English (as was Elgar – also a Brummie – sort of) – “a smiling with a sigh” – the violin concerto? They saw hideous things (JRRT was a junior officer in WWI and got a Blighty) and an age of genuine progress (Victoria) hit the buffers, badly. You heard the phrase, “How the other half live”? Ever wondered what that specifically reffed? Before Victoria came to the throne roughly half the population of these Britannic Isles lived in abject poverty. By the time she joined the choir eternal it was 10%. I’d call that a result. Was this the result of political machinations? Was it heck! It was the result of the Stephensons and Teslas, the Armstrongs and Watts, the Swans and Edisons, Daimler and Benz, Parsons and Morse, the Maxwells and Marconis, Semmelweiss and Seacole… And hordes more. We built the foundations for a paradise undreamed of by the greatest potentates of Egypt or Babylon and we pissed it up the wall because as JRRT put it we can’t sit still.
In 1900 Russia had the highest rate of GDP growth on the planet. Yes, the Tsar was a vainglorious dimwit but imagine Russia now if folks had just hung-on? Imagine Europe now without two catastrophic wars?
JRRT wrote some unforgettable lines but he out-did even himself with…
“the most regrettable feature of their nature: their quick satiety with good”
Absolutely bang on the money. We are kids, really. We will play with something till it is broke. It is the curse of the double-knowing ape. Maybe it can be our blessing too. I dunno. I am due at our little war memorial tomorrow. It is somewhat sobering.
When I was a primary school kid me and my mates built a fall-out shelter – having seen “Threads” – on some waste ground. We lined it with cardboard boxes – well proof against a Sov bomb and we had the Armstrong Works Tank Factory just down the road. Actually my mate Steve brought the dog – a Collie – and she did much of the digging. We were really scared. We even stashed some bottles of pop in there, in case. And to think a few years later the Berlin Wall comes down (Nice! Peace at last!) and then we have bearded loons flying Boeings into buildings! Jesus fuckimg wept! It never ends.
How do the Czechs know that the world is round?
In 1945 the invaders were driven out to the west and in 1968 they came from the East. In 1989 they were driven to the East and in 2004 they came back from the West
Made in reference to the Czech Republic (and previously Poland) telling the EU that they aren’t going to subsidize their Warble Gloaming nonsense anymore and are going back to all those millions of tonnes of cheap, dirty, brown coal that they’ve got underground (WSJ Link)
Let’s hope this attitude is catching and it starts becoming a UK meme as well. We’ve still got about 1,000 years worth of coal underneath us if it wasn’t priced to death with all of this Warble Gloaming idiocy
JRR Tolkien started writing a sequel to the Lord of the Rings.
I did begin a story placed about 100 years after the Downfall [of Sauron], but it proved both sinister and depressing. Since we are dealing with Men it is inevitable that we should be concerned with the most regrettable feature of their nature: their quick satiety with good. So that the people of Gondor in times of peace, justice and prosperity, would become discontented and restless – while the dynasts descended from Aragorn would become just kings and governors – like Denethor or worse. I found that even so early there was an outcrop of revolutionary plots, about a centre of secret Satanistic religion; while Gondorian boys were playing at being Orcs and going round doing damage. I could have written a ‘thriller’ about the plot and its discovery and overthrow – but it would be just that. Not worth doing.
I think that says as much about our World as Middle Earth. No moment of triumph ever lasts. It’s a second law of thermodynamics for societies.
This comment fell foul of a CiF censor.
Mankind has a long history of people who were absolutely convinced that survival depends on everyone else adopting their belief system.
Steven Goddard at Real Science.
The truth will set you
free at loggerheads with greenie Graunie gatekeepers. It makes you wonder what these people are afraid of.
“Sticking Rawls into libertarianism is like attaching a washing machine to a soufflé.”
“Let the dems have their way or we may lose elections and the dems will have their way.”
–Comment by “bgbear,” August 2, 2013 at 1:15 pm, at
the self-critical impulse in Western culture has mutated into an auto-immune syndrome. The agents of our culture are opposed to it.
“White guilt”, multi-culturalism, oikophobia, and xenolatry are rampant – especially in the academy and high culture circles.
Love it. You don’t even have to look up the word in the dictionary, the meaning is obvious. Not that you will find it, neologism and all that.
Best word I have encountered since Roger Scruton expanded oikophobia.
[You capture] the ambivalence of liberty–not easy, not for everyone, not an institution to take for granted.
–Commenter Dave Conley, in response to a comment about the story ‘Canada in landmark move to strike out “hate speech” law’ at
Joss Whedon rocks.
Boyd:[After handing Echo a gun]Do you know how to use this?
Echo : I’ve got four brothers, none of them Democrats.