Much poor commentary, reconstruction and reflection on the origins of the Great War has appeared in the last few years. A little has been outstanding and for the best of reasons, such as Annika Mombauer’s documentary collection The Origins of the First World War, published by Manchester University Press. The great bulk has been either indescribably poor or intended to deceive.
Thus Sir Huw Strachan in Australian Historical Studies (vol. 46, no. 1 , p. 128):
As Joan Beaumont [in Broken Nation] makes clear, thanks not least to the rejection of conscription, more Australian men of military age did not join the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) than did.
Actually more did join; over 40 per cent. could not remain in the army having failed the subsequent medical examination. Both Strachan and, more seriously, Joan Beaumont ignore the single, perfectly accessible, source telling ’em so: Alison Pilger, ‘The Other Lost Generation: Rejected Australian Volunteers, 1914–1918’, Journal of the Australian War Memorial, no. 21 (October 1992), pp. 11–19. Beaumont has no excuse; deceit was evidently her purpose—and of those who assisted in the construction of her poor book.
For infantilism, rather than tawdry politics, see ‘World War III‘ by someone called Roger Cohen in The New York Times, 26 November 2015. Unsurpassable. It’s so bad it must immediately appear on schools’ reading lists. The maintenance of public ignorance is doubtless a difficult task but achieved with aplomb by most of those who join the program. Such is the havoc wreaked on the public mind by nations’ unelected politicians numbered in many thousands over the course of the last half century or so that politicians in the public sphere, themselves little more literate, have little to fear. And likewise their enemies.
A few days shy of three months ago I ordered a new 12″ MacBook. The general view seemed to be that it may take between four and six weeks to appear. Nearly twice that time has since elapsed and no sign appears of said MacBook. For other product, I think, I should have cancelled the order. In the US MacBooks have even been discounted. But here, South Australia, such product is not even available.
Why is this? Does Apple not trust us in Australia to pay our national and foreign debts and so purchases from offshore are no longer possible? Has language in Australia been so devalued–even debauched–that corporate American doubts we can manage such equipment? It certainly seems to be government policy but I doubt the politicians–elected and unelected–have quite achieved that Orwellian goal (see the first two paragraphs of ‘Newspeak’ on that page following Winton’s surrender to Big Brother).
Meanwhile the order remains in place, entirely without expectation that it will be fulfilled.
I’ve seen many complimentary remarks about Spotlight. And it could indeed be useful. That was when it worked. After the latest security update from Apple it no longer does so. It is now totally useless.
I’ve reached page 82 of Carolyn Holbrook, Anzac: The Unauthorised Biography (Sydney: NewSouth, 2014) only to see that the next page is page 35. From there the reader may reread pp. 35 through 82. The argument–such as it is–is rejoined on page 131. This remarkable performance on the part of the printer and publisher reflects quite well the quality of the argument of the author which has received loud approval from various academic historians of a particular political stamp (not that there seem many if any exception possible). The book is notable for what it leaves out much more than for what it includes.
One of the cover blurbs comes from Jay Winter. I wonder: has anybody every conducted a critical reading of the work of this historian? His eccentric definition of transcendence should set alarm bells ringing . . . but apparently not. After all, like his Australian counterparts, Winter reckons some people unworthy of genuine attention. Curious, is it not, that these same people of the past may prove either to have been a substantial minority of public opinion or roughly half of the population here and there in Australia. Still, we must not let empirical evidence get in the way of contemporary political imperatives. I suppose that publishers who cannot put the physical book together probably help in this. Then again, when the books are as tedious as Holbrook’s, what does it matter?
Is there any other connection. What other quality would one associate with Apple. Competence? No, not any more. But greed, definitely. Why else bother with new versions of software and other bits and pieces annually?
Clearly Apple does not test its new offerings to anything like a satisfactory degree. New features? Rubbish. Just new ways of making the computer work less effectively, particularly if the machine is more than a year old. No doubt Steve Jobs was as keen as anyone to make bug profits; his successors appear to have no other interest. Mavericks? Yosemite? it doesn’t matter. Both more or less fraudulent. Mini iPad 3: the ‘3’ referring to what? One feature, of questionable genuine utility. The list can then go on and on and on. . . .
This from a gang that harps away about ‘moral obligations’ regarding the scientific and governmental fraud of climate change (apd.); curious how that extends neither to products nor taxation.
If you’re wondering I would change to Windows in a flash were there a genuine alternative to MS Office, especially the horror that is Word. What windows-based word processor, comparable say, to Mellel, is available? AFter all, one still has a book to write. But ‘Made on a Mac’, I’d rather not.
Or, why should they–or we? If the images from the current Worldwide Developers’ Conference are any guide then little is on offer. One reason for ignoring contemporary television and 99.9 per cent. of cinema is that is utterly devoid of merit, in essence a non-stop offering of kiddie litter. Apple, whose disdain for sceptics of any sort, not just climate change (as presently defined) is well-known, has little now to commend it. Safari often is little more than a spinning beach ball. What OS X has is a choice of word processor. Mellel is the one of choice here but , unlike Windows, there is a choice. Linux is irrelevant. So we stay with the increasingly egregious Apple–and its awful keyboards.
So a new directorial fuss generated entirely upon political grounds, whatever “Electronista staff” may claim. Funny how one side of politics only cops this type of campaign, though Apple’s Al Gore should have. But then it was Apple that may have inaugurated this new set of heavily political concerns.
In recent years I have often wondered if the twenty-first century had any merit. By and large it has not. Truth is dead. So merit too. Scholarship has largely died; universities, like primary and secondary schools, have become agents of (typically lying) propaganda. What trust may one reside in government? And media? ‘Nuff said. Corporations are not much better although they have at least to abide by some degree of consumer and other law.
It might be amusing if not so serious. Condi Rice is said by “Electronista staff” to have had a master’s degree by the age of twenty. Fine (though William Pitt the Younger went to Cambridge shortly after his fourteenth birthday). Given that intellectuals place great store in irony (more or less synonymous with contempt) the “Electronista staff” might have recalled that Condoleezza Rice’s doctorate was supervised by Josef Korbel, father to one of her predecessors as Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright. Rice’s career is quite marvellous, as interesting as is much of her background, not least some of her experiences as a child. So here we are, yet another politically motivated campaign designed to denigrate persons of ability but the wrong politics.
It used to be said that the cream rises to the top; no more, politics will only have the scum. The lie is all.
Donating $1,000 to a political campaign is now a cause for giving some one–the boss, no less–the sack. Thus the fate of the CEO of Mozilla, because:
as Glenn Reynolds points out, he held the same view about gay marriage as Barack Obama in 2008 rather than the view Dick Cheney held in 2008
A company statement is, as Powerline suggests, straight from the pen of George Orwell when writing distopian fiction.
A few weeks ago it was the boss of Apple who said that a certain group of people could not hold or buy shares in his company. That’s the same CEO whose remuneration this past year was $US73.9 million. As at other times it remains very safe, even congenial, to be politically correct these days with little want of help from taxpayers–whether they like it or not. I think often of Pastor Paul Schneider (1897-1939) when contemplating the present. Who was he? Look him up. The parallels are not clear-cut but as Mark Twain remarked, history doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes. And the rhythm here is becoming more clear with each day that passes.
Update: Robert P. George at First Things takes up the story.
That is,the point of consecutive pieces of television advertising. Normally I watch not television, but this morning for the first time in several months, I did see a little. It was last few minutes of the first half and the first few minutes of the second half of the Champions League quarter-final between Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund. And Ronaldo’s goal was sublime. But that’s not the point.
The point is the accompanying advertising prior to the chat show that for decades has punctuated SBS’s football offerings (the least viewer could write the script). The first advertisement was for something called BET365, which concluded in small print ‘gamble responsibly’. Next was Nike, offering an imperative in much larger font size: ‘Risk Everything’. Hmmm.
Time magazine had a brief essay on the subject of Islamists and the Syrian border town of Kessab. It seemed largely sympathetic to the marauders. A blogger, Mark Movsesian, with First Things informed readers of the existence and events at the place. He further observed:
Many Armenian Christians in Kessab descend from refugees who fled the last great persecution of Christians in the region, the Armenian Genocide of 1915–itself a byproduct, in part, of a jihad the Ottoman Empire declared against Christians during World War I. The sad ironies will not escape any of the Christians in Syria today.
Mark Twain’s rhyming history diligently creates new couplets.
And western media? Except for Time as mentioned, neither seen nor heard.