Seeking Better Times

I blame my parents.  Had it not been for them, my life story would have been quite different (never mind non-existent).

Neither parent came from aristocratic nor even middle-class stock, in fact quite the reverse:  my father was a farm boy, later a welder and boilermaker, still later a civil engineer;  my mother was a miner’s daughter, secretary and later, a housewife.  Not the most promising ground for a young boy to grow into something much.

Yet they both had one burning desire:  to make their children more educated, and in those days in once-colonial South Africa, this meant sending both me and my sister to expensive private schools — state-run schools then, now and forever, no place to become educated.   The other course they decided on was that we children were to be raised as English-speakers primarily, and bilingual Afrikaans a distant second.  For my father, an Afrikaner who could trace his roots all the way back to pre-colonial South Africa and who spoke only Afrikaans until he met my English-speaking mother, this was no small thing;  but as a student engineer, he’d struggled mightily because back then, there were no Afrikaans textbooks for engineering so he’d had to learn to understand English at the same time that he was grappling to learn engineering.  Even so, he’d never read Shakespeare or any of the vast treasures of English literature, and never would.  As a result, he vowed that his children would not be brought up with that linguistic handicap:  so off we went, to St, John’s College and St. Andrew’s School for Girls respectively.

The “colonial” part of the above cannot be overstated.  South Africa had been a British colony for a long, long time:  the Cape Province and Natal since 1806, and the rest of the country since the conclusion of the Boer War in 1902.  While the Dutch (later Afrikaans) influence was significant, the overwhelming influence of the culture was English, and by “English” I mean pertaining to England and not to Great Britain.

Hence, St. John’s College was a brother school to England’s Eton College and not Scotland’s Gordonstoun, for instance.  In some areas of South Africa, a large proportion of its White inhabitants spoke no Afrikaans at all, and even in cosmopolitan Johannesburg, speaking Afrikaans was often seen as “low class” among the upper-upper crust, and Afrikaans words were Anglicized.

The “class” ethos was completely embraced by the English-speakers, even though actual titled families and the scions thereof were practically non-existent.  Most recent British immigrants were of middle-class or (some) working-class stock, and they embraced the English class structure with vigor.  In Pietermaritzburg in Natal Province, for example, the highlight of the social calendar was the annual Royal Agricultural Show, which resembled nothing as much as an English institution like the Chelsea Garden Show, and was run for many years by Mark Shute, a Brit by birth and an Old Boy from Marlborough School in Wiltshire.

And the appellation “Royal” could be found all over the place, in its original meaning of “As appointed by His/Her Majesty”, as could institutions named “King’s” or “Queen’s” (e.g. King Edwards School and Queen’s College).

As a result, we kids raised in this atmosphere were steeped in English culture — until 1961, we sang “God Save The Queen” at the end of a movie, and as late as the 1970s, people would clap when members of the Royal Family appeared on movie screens (well, half the people anyway:  the Afrikaners would stand stonily silent).

And this English culture was firmly rooted in the past:  Victorian, Edwardian and that of the 1910-1960 era.  The morals, virtues and values were all English circa  1820-1960:  fair play, cricket, infra dig., formal teatime at 4pm, “that’s just not done, old man” and even noblesse oblige  (sans any noblesse ) and all that.

As one of the people raised in this tradition, therefore, it should come as no surprise at all that I espoused, and still espouse that tradition.  My schooling and cultural upbringing were always steeped in reverence for tradition, said tradition pretty much ending just before the Swinging Sixties [spit], and even though I as a callow youth embraced the latter with a vengeance, I would drop it like a hot rock whenever it came time for the Old Boys’ Banquet at the Rand Club or College Gaudy Day (in American parlance, homecoming), and don the formal attire required for said occasions.

So therefore it should also come as no surprise at all that I revere occasions such as Test cricket at Lord’s, the Badminton Horse Trials and, of course, the Goodwood Revival (any of which, I should state, I would rather attend than the British F1 Grand Prix — and you all know how much I love Formula 1).

Even being called a “colonial type” (a slight insult in the U.K.) brings not anger or resentment but a warm feeling in me.  I may not have been born in the right time or place, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love it.

Thus, I am enormously attracted to the prospect of a return visit to Lord’s, High Tea at Fortnum’s, donning the Harris Tweed to go birdshooting with Mr. FM at Lord Someone’s estate, and attending the Goodwood Revival dressed in period clothing (which hasn’t changed much — duh! — from the aforementioned attire for shooting).  And those are just some of the activities which jump to mind.

It all hearkens back to my upbringing and brings with it a longing for a gentler, more gracious era, and my being an entrenched conservative, this too should be unsurprising to anyone who knows me.

And it’s all thanks to my parents.

Here are a few of the aforementioned occasions and artifacts:

I have to stop now, or we’ll be here all day.

Pushback

Here’s an interesting situation over in Britishland:

The English Touring Opera has dropped 14 white musicians in a woke drive to ‘increase diversity’ in the company.  The musicians, aged 40 to 66, have been told they will not be offered contracts with the company in Spring 2022 citing diversity guidance from the Arts Council England, the Sunday Times reported.
The musicians, who officially work as freelancers, can be dropped from the opera season-on-season but many have played with the company for up to 20 years and consider it a permanent job.

Of course, this is a disgusting thing to do, but complaining doesn’t achieve anything, as any fule kno.

Here’s a thought.

I don’t have the numbers, but I’m willing to bet that this 40-66 age group would constitute a majority of the Touring Opera’s audience.  So I call on all patrons in that age range to boycott their performances.

I wonder if the company’s finances could sustain the subsequent loss of income…

Winning Combination

Longtime Readers will know that among my many passions in life (guns, beautiful women etc.) are two things especially:  cars and fine art, especially paintings.

The latter two may seem a little at odds with each other, but there you go:  each of the two inspires wonder in me.

If you follow my reasoning, and you should, then let me introduce you all to some of the works of artist Alan Fearnley:

   

One may think that Fearnley specializes in older cars;  but one would be wrong:

One might also think that Fearnley specializes in classic pastoral themes, but again one would be wrong:

   

And finally, Fearnley doesn’t just do cars:

 

I have over a dozen of his pics saved as laptop wallpapers.  Here’s one:

Longtime Readers will not be surprised at this choice.

All the above, and many more, can be found here.  No need to thank me, it’s all part of the service.

Taking A Stand

Now here’s a place I’d like to visit the next time I go Over There, because the owner seems to have the Right Stuff.

A pub boss has called last orders on customers in sportswear in a bid to drive out ‘chavs and roadmen with bumbags’ from his watering hole.
Landlord Brian Hoyle, who runs The Orange Tree in Hereford, has put a blanket ban on customers wearing hoodies, tracksuits and Stone Island clothing in his pub.
He is also barring under 21’s from the city centre pub at weekends due to youngsters being ‘unable to handle their booze’.

Needless to say, his dress code and age limit have aroused the anger of The Usual Suspects:

But the ban, which Hoyle says is aimed at making his watering hole a ‘proper’ Hereford pub again, has proved controversial among residents in the cathedral city.
Some of the residents have accused the policy of being ‘discriminatory’.

You see, this is what happens when you start ascribing motives to an ordinary word, used in its original (and correct) sense for centuries.

Let me say right now:  there’s nothing wrong with being discriminatory:  it’s a human trait that distinguishes civilized men from savages and animals, and helps us provide order in our world.

Sadly, of course, “discrimination” these days is used almost exclusively to demonize racial discrimination, which is not necessarily a Good Thing when applied purely as a measurement of skin color.  But historically, that is actually the least of the word’s many applications.  Here are a couple more.

When I say, for example, that I loathe “American” cheese (that orange paste stuff) and prefer to eat Jarlsberg, Cheddar or Emmenthaler, I am showing that I have a discriminating taste — just as is someone who would prefer to own and shoot a Colt Government over a Jennings Saturday Night Special, or prefers to own good knives made by Ken Onion over cheap brittle stuff made in China.  Nothing wrong with that.  Experience has taught you that stuff of inferior quality is not worth ownership or use.

When you prefer to invite people of your own sort to dinner parties, you’re being discriminating in your choice of friends — and once again, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

So of course, our worthy publican in the above story is setting his preferences — because over many years and much experience, he had discovered that people who dress a certain way and/or of a certain age tend to abuse his hospitality, so he wants to preclude them from coming in and, let it be known, spoiling things for people with manners, respect and proper attire.

Somebody needs to put an end to the loutish, boorish behavior of the younger generation, and he’s chosen to make a stand.

And good for him, say I.  If I were in his shoes, I would do precisely the same.

It’s Not Hypothetical Anymore

A Black intellectual asks this question, talking about a White man:

Confronted by someone who is constantly bludgeoning me about the evils of colonialism, urging me to tear down the statues of “dead white men,” insisting that I apologize for what my white forebears did to the “peoples of color” in years past, demanding that I settle my historical indebtedness via reparations, and so forth—I well might begin to ask myself, were I one of these “white oppressors,” on exactly what foundations does human civilization in the 21st century stand? I might begin to enumerate the great works of philosophy, mathematics and science that ushered in the “Age of Enlightenment,” that allowed modern medicine to exist, that gave rise to the core of human knowledge about the origins of the species or of the universe. I might begin to tick-off the great artistic achievements of European culture, the architectural innovations, the paintings, the symphonies, etc. And then, were I in a particularly agitated mood, I might even ask these “people of color,” who think that they can simply bully me into a state of guilt-ridden self-loathing, where is “their” civilization?

Good question, because there is no answer.

And as the title suggests, this is no hypothetical question because it is asked and answered every day by us White people.

The plain and simple fact is that the sum of our civilization, whether technology, sciences, language, philosophy and culture has been created almost exclusively by “Caucasian” or “White” men, and the contributions by “other races” — all of them — have been practically zero or at very best, minimal.

Prove me wrong.