About once a month, the Fiend Mr. Free Market sends me listings of guns which he (rightly) thinks will make me drool. Here’s one, from Holt’s Auctions, an exquisite double rifle in .303:
However, what grabbed me was not the gun, but an anecdote and observation (bold) from its onetime owner the Duke of Portland:
The Portlands received Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria at Welbeck Abbey for a week in 1913 when the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne visited England. During the stay he took the Archduke shooting on the estate when, according to Portland’s memoirs, Men, Women and Things:
“One of the loaders fell down. This caused both barrels of the gun he was carrying to be discharged, the shot passing within a few feet of the Archduke and myself. I have often wondered whether the Great War might not have been averted, or at least postponed, had the Archduke met his death there and not at Sarajevo the following year.“
Over the years, many people have written to me asking about early South Africa, and more specifically about the Boer War (or, as the Boers called it, the Vryheidsoorlog, or [Second] War of Freedom) from 1899-1902.
A few days ago, I found an old 1992 documentary on BoobTube, and it’s not bad — only just a tad over an hour — and it covers the period quite well, and impartially. So that’s your weekend viewing assignment. (There will be a test.) If any questions of history remain, write to me and I’ll put the answers up in a follow-up post next weekend, when I’ll talk about my family’s relationship to the war.
There are three books I’ve always recommended on the topic: Rags of Glory by Stuart Cloete, and the book it’s partially based on, a campaign journal called Kommando written by Deneys Reitz, a wartime Bitter-Ender (you’ll get that explained in the video above) who went on to become the Deputy Prime Minister of the unified South Africa. Both are absolutely brilliant — Cloete’s book also incorporates a view of the Boer War from the British perspective, and it’s both accurate and illuminating.
The third — an actual history book — is The Boer War by Thomas Pakenham, generally regarded as the sine qua non of historical sources for the conflict. Written during the late 1980s, it’s devoid of any hint of the political correctness which infests later works on the topic.
Pearl Harbor Dec 7, 1941
And just so we can also be reminded of the end result:
Nagasaki, August 6, 1945
I actually laughed out loud when I read that some idiots are going all outraged-wokey at the fact that Israeli beauty Gal Gadot has been cast to play Cleopatra in yet another remake of the Egyptian queen’s saga. (Here are the details.)
Actually, it would have been more justified for blondes to get upset about the role going to a brunette, because as a Ptolemy (and therefore of ethnic Greco-Macedonian heritage), Cleopatra was most likely fair-skinned and blonde.
It is, as they say, to LOL.
Here’s the serious part of this. In their struggle to claim some fragment of cultural worth, Black Africans have always tried to appropriate Egyptian civilization as “African” — specifically, with regard to sub-Saharan Africa, which had no civilization at all to speak of. In this, of course, they have been abetted by Western “African Studies” academics, who have performed all sorts of intellectual gymnastics to conclude that yes, ancient Egyptians were really just like the Masai, promise.
The plain fact of the matter is that Nilotic people are as different from sub-Saharan Blacks as Scandinavians are from Aztecs. The fact that Egyptians too have dark skin is a matter of geography, not racial kinship. And the northern Greek tribes of Macedonia have closer genetic, linguistic and cultural ties with Serbs than with Arabs, let alone Black Africans.
Anyway, I don’t care. These wokesters have shown their asses yet again and given us yet more reason withal to make fun of their ignorant little wokish philosophy (such as it is).
I’m just curious to see how Gal Gadot measures up to Elizabeth Taylor. It’ll be a tough job.
October is (British) Black History Month, which completely escaped my attention. My apologies to all Africans who may feel slighted by my oversight.
So join me in commemorating the event by reading this piece of Black History.
I’ve never been to Auschwitz, whose 75th anniversary of liberation happened this week. I’m not sure I could stand it.
Dachau was bad enough.
Ich habe Dachau gesehen.