chaletian: (p+p lizzy tea)
Actually, one of the things I found interesting about Richard II relates to an earlier post I made, about how weird I always find it when the overthrow of a monarch is treated as such an unprecedented event, when frankly it is one of the most precedented things in English history.

Watching the play, seeing Richard’s reaction to being deposed by his cousin, I did genuinely sympathise with his outraged disbelief that this could happen, in the indignity of it; the shame, almost. How could it happen? How could it be allowed to happen?

And yet, it’s funny, because the play references at various points Richard’s and his cousins’ and uncles’ descent from the great Edward III with no recognition that Edward himself became king when his own father was deposed. It’s a very weird selective blindness.
chaletian: (darwin)
I find it increasingly curious that, upon reading British history books, every telling of the tragic fall of a monarch seems to come with commentary about how unprecedented it was, how shocking, how cataclysmic. But they weren't entirely ignorant of their own history, even where it was a simple narrative constructed by monks or whatevs. The Anglo-Saxon kings had their fair bit of shenanigans. After Henry I died, Stephen and Matilda pinched the crown off each other a time or two. John told everyone Richard I had died. John himself was pretty much decrowned, and the throne given to the French. Edward II "abdicated" and died in Mysterious Circumstances. Richard II "abdicated" and died in Mysterious Circumstances. Henry VI had his crown pinched, then given back, then pinched again, then died in Mysterious Circumstances. Edward IV had his crown pinched and then took it back. Edward V if not died then disappeared in Mysterious Circumstances. Richard III had his crown taken in battle by one of his subjects. Charles I had his head chopped off. Charles II, to begin with, had no throne to inherit. James II was deposed.

There were a whole host of different circumstances, but the sanctity of the anointed king was surely never completely beyond question. Surely at some point it had to stop coming as a surprise?
chaletian: (darwin)
(No. No, they didn't.)

So, I'm not going to have a giant thing over Nick Griffin's appearance on PMQT (except to say I think the debate over whether BBC should have invited him is a bit stupid, as I posted before. It's not the BBC giving him validity, it's the British electorate - if you want a democratic country, you've got to accept that you're not always going to like what people decide), but I'd just like to say:

WTF is with the concept of "indigenous" as relating to Britain? That word displays such a breathtaking ignorance of this island's history that it's almost flabbergasting.

Firstly, of course, current research tends to favour the idea of human life having originated in Africa and then emigrating outwards to populate the rest of the world. Which means that Britain and, in fact, the rest of the world, doesn't have an indigenous population.

Secondly, get a fucking clue. Almost every country in northern Europe has invaded Britain, settled there, and influenced its genetic stock. The fucking Romans invaded Britain. And after the military invasions finished, there has still been wave after wave of immigration into this country, and I'm not just talking about the West Indies in the 50s, for example, but, say, Huguenots in the C17th.

Talking about "indigenous" Britons is bullshit. And Nick Griffin is an educated man, so I suspect he knows it's bullshit, which makes him a fucking demagogue, and a racist one to boot. But it's not like any of this is news.


ETA: Yes, in the course of this post I have used a fairly narrow definition of "indigenous".
chaletian: (blackadder lord)
Look: random artifacts from the Mary Rose. I love sunken ships; there's something so romantic about them. Or at least, not sunken ships themselves, but the sense of history being revealed.
chaletian: (bard r&j fuck it)
Seriously. Oh yes. With my tiny, tiny shiny laptop teetering on top of the laundry basket. Laptops and wireless: they make the world a glorious place.

Anyway, I had some thinking to share, about history and how we understand it and stuff. This was, naturally, prompted by an SGA fic I just read: Written by the Victors, a superlative piece of fiction about Atlantis seceding from Earth, and historical interpretions of the same. It featured straightforward fictional prose about the events in question, combined with "secondary sources" from both sides of the schism. It was a brilliant read, and is actually one of my very most favourite fandom tropes, namely how events and characters will be viewed by history when anyone actually alive at the time is nothing but crumbled dust. I've seen Buffy fic that looked at this (and the Fray comic sort of touches on the idea), and Harry Potter as well, I seem to recall. Babylon 5 actually did it themselves, with the wonderful ep Deconstruction of Falling Stars. I've even written something similar myself in the Hornblower fandom.

And I love it. I love it so much I can't even express it, because they never KNOW. They never can, it's impossible. Seeing how characters in the future construe and interpret the past that we know is just so real, and I can't put this into words, though I've been thinking about it for a couple of days. Because this is how our understanding of the past works: we take the evidence, what we have it. We look at paper and buildings and art and laws made and unmade, and we cobble together what we think happened. And we can be right and we can be wrong, and we can't really know, because we weren't there. And people lie and are unreliable and it's so easy to misinterpret something.

And I love it when characters in the future come face to face with the figures of their history (everyone should read [livejournal.com profile] liz_marcs' Living History [BtVS], because it's awesome), because their figures are creations of the collective imaginations of generations, and the present characters are real. I just... meh. I really don't have the words to say what I'm trying to say. Boo.



In other news, this whole 13-year-old boy fathering child / not fathering child / someone else / what-the-fuck-ever: NONE OF MY FUCKING BUSINESS. I DO NOT FUCKING CARE. WHY IS IT ALL OVER THE FUCKING NEWSPAPERS? HOW IS THIS IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST? LEAVE THE KIDS AND THEIR FAMILIES TO SORT IT ALL OUT BECAUSE IT IS NOTHING TO DO WITH ANY OF US AND FOR FUCK'S SAKE STOP USING IT TO HERALD THE END (ONCE AGAIN) OF CIVILISED SOCIETY AS WE KNOW IT.
chaletian: (margo)
This morning I was idly glancing across at my neighbour’s copy of Metro, and noticed a couple of bits about David Miliband. Apparently, he’s been heaping praise upon Gordon Brown at the Labour Party Conference and being all smiley and stuff. Ah, I thought cynically, nice try; position yourself as the nice chap, get some press coverage, and then disclaim politely when the rebel element in your party propose you as the new leader, before graciously agreeing. Anyway, Miliband was going on about Brown’s contribution to international development policy etc, and I thought (in my mind), you know what, I don’t have a clue about half the stuff the Government’s done, because it doesn’t really interest me. I keep track of the things that *do* interest me, but a lot of stuff I don’t bother about, and I imagine lots of people are the same.

And the thing is, give me late C19th British politics, and I can give you chapter and verse (please note: this is actually a lie. Ten years ago I could have done; not any more) on the people and the legislation and the political shenanigans and the ins and outs of the various groups and parties. I knew what happened when, and who was involved. I knew (insofar as anyone could) why people chose the actions they did, and why they supported the legislation that they did. We can build up such a clear idea of it all, not only from books, but from the press of the day, and Hansard, and private correspondence and diaries and all that. It’s funny to think that a hundred years hence, people will have a better understanding of the politics of our day than we do ourselves.

Also, moving on from that, how much are we at the mercy of the press? Really, all we know is what they tell us. And you can manipulate that a bit by choosing your sources of information, but only a little bit. It’s slightly freaky. Huh. Anyway, that’s today’s thought of the day.

In other news, I have a couple of genius links to share (that will have already been on some people’s flists, but whatevs):

Barack Obama chats to Jed Bartlet, courtesy of Aaron Sorkin

Hamlet’s Facebook

Simon Pegg writes the end of Spaced

Also, it has been brought to my attention that I do not have a tag for Katie. Please do not think FOR ONE TINY SECOND that this does not mean she is not AS IMPORTANT AS GOD. Clearly, she is. I just don’t bother to tag her as it would be a little redundant given that she appears in practically EVERY POST EVER. Glad we’ve cleared that up. *g*

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