Old battles, tradition and culture.

Surely one of the finest writers in the English language today: AA Gill on the Battle of Towton..”the bloodbath that changed the course of our history”
‘…Walk in the margin of the corn as it is ruffled by the blustering wind. Above, the thick mauve, mordant clouds curdle and thud like bruises, bowling patches of sunlight across the rise and fall of the land. In the distance is a single stunted tree, flattened by the south wind. It marks the corner of this sombre, elegiac place…’
(A few quiet beers on Anzac day naturally leads to mulling over why we fight, why we always answer the call to arms, what makes us the killing animal. And what life would be without conflict and a pride in our fighting forbears, those ancient ancestors who shaped us.)
UPDATE: link now works.

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17 Responses to Old battles, tradition and culture.

  1. Kris K says:

    In fundamental terms – we fight because EVIL exists. And until the personification of evil is incarcerated [along with all his followers] for all eternity we will continue to fight; good will continue to rage against the forces of evil and oppression.

    In the final analysis, though, GOOD will triumph. Coming soon …

  2. KG says:

    I don’t share your optimism, Kris. Or your faith. There’s been a tectonic shift in the culture and I doubt we can find our way back.

    • Kris K says:

      Don’t get me wrong, KG – left to our own devices man would annihilate himself. A fallen creature can never redeem himself.

      • KG says:

        “A fallen creature can never redeem himself.”
        So how does that fit with the Christian idea of redemption?

        • Kris K says:

          Essentially that’s what separates Christianity from ALL other religions; Christianity is unique in that it is Christ [God] who redeems us through His death on the cross; through His shed blood. Our only ‘contribution’ to salvation/redemption is placing our faith and belief in Christ’s completed works.

          All other religions are man’s attempts to redeem himself of his sinful nature through his own effort – an impossible feat. The ultimate case of trying to pull oneself up by one’s bootstraps so to speak.

  3. Moist von Lipwig says:

    The AA Gill article eludes me through a paywall KG , but anybody who describes Piers Morgan as..”the most amateurishly unpleasant, small-minded, bottom-sniffing, drip-dry tosspot to grace your living room” ..has my full attention always. :razz:
    Kipling’s poems can be quite poignant on Anzac Day.
    From.. Young British Soldier
    “When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
    And the women come out to cut up what remains,
    Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
    An’ go to your Gawd like a soldier.”

  4. KG says:

    Aaargh! I got into it no problem, VonL, but now it says “page not found”. Sorry about that, I’ll see if I can find another source.

  5. KG says:

    Link now works. Gill’s restaurant reviews are a delight. :smile:

  6. George says:

    Or Kipling’s sad verse penned after his son was kia in France:
    ‘When they ask you why we died
    Tell them that our fathers lied’

  7. KG says:

    I was fortunate, George–mine never lied. In fact he did his best to drive home the horrors and discomforts of what he’d done and seen.
    But what use is that to an army brat, brought up in barracks and immersed in army culture, eh? Young men still go off to war.

  8. KG says:

    And for real horror, this captures some of the flavour of it…..

  9. oswald bastable says:

    Bastards make the Nazis look like boy scouts- and no bugger seems to know- or want to know- about it! :censor

  10. kowtow says:


    My Boy Jack

    “Have you news of my boy Jack?”,
    Not this tide.
    “When do you think he’ll come back?”
    Not with this wind blowing ,and this tide.

    “Has any one else had word of him?”
    Not this tide.
    For what is sunk will hardly swim,
    Not with this wind blowing ,and this tide.

    “Oh dear,what comfort can I find?”
    None this tide,
    Nor any tide,
    Except he did not shame his kind-
    Not even with that wind blowing,and that tide.

    Then hold your head up all the more,
    This tide,
    And every tide;
    Because he was the son you bore,
    And gave to that wind blowing and that tide!

    J Kipling served with the Irish Guards and was kia 27.9.15
    Rudyard wrote a 2 volume history of the IR in ww1,I suspect as a tribute to his boy Jack. The film of the same name, My Boy Jack, is very good.

    Kowtow had a great uncle who served in the same regiment. Maybe along side ,who knows?

    Nanking and the Japanese.
    I recommend The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang.