Sunday Afternoon at the Duke’s

Poor guy missed out on the best. from the Guardian

Poor guy missed out on the best.
from the Guardian

Well, the best thing I’ve done lately is to convince Jess to write for us again. I had come to the end of the road with politics. I had said all that it was useful to say, mostly several times, and much of the campaign has become toxic to me, especially the nonsense that the campaigns (pretty much all of them) spew like a broken sewer pipe. So it was time to quit, and do it cold turkey (although I actually prefer Wild Turkey).

So, I think we’re going to talk about almost anything else, it will undoubtedly have a bearing on politics, here, and on the Brexit campaign in the UK, but we’re mostly going to let you draw your own conclusions on how to apply what we say.

Jess, was talking about the Duke this morning and I thought I’d return the favor although with a different duke.

They say the Duke of Wellington, after he retired, pretty much chose to not talk about politics. I’ve heard that, anyway, that doesn’t make it true. But I think it makes sense, politics gets old, doesn’t it, and eventually, one wants to talk about important things instead. By my lights, that makes him a wise man.

What are important things? Well, whoever they are, they say that for the Iron Duke it was horses, guns, hunting, and pretty Tory women. Sounds pretty sensible to me.

Well, I don’t know much about horses, but cars will work, or trucks, I think: guns, well we can, but we do that pretty regular: hunting leaves me kind of blah, at the moment. But a history video might be good. And while I have no idea if she’s a Tory, I’m pretty confident that Susannah Lipscholm’s looks would please the Duke (and the rest of us) although as I’ve said since Jess first told me about her, I can think of a prettier woman. The fact that she is, in fact, a brilliant historian is even more pleasing to me, and I hope the Duke would agree. Probably he would, after all, Tories, like our conservatives, are supposed to be the smart party. (Somebody please tell the party!)

 

Why Henry VIII? Glad you asked. Here is where modern England begins. The Navy, the Church, the Empire, they all start here, with Henry and Ann. Given that, this is the real start of America, Canada, Australia, and all the rest as well. It took a while, but this is the first step on the road to our world.

Sunday at the Duke’s

They say the Duke of Wellington, after he retired, pretty much chose to not talk about politics. I’ve heard that, anyway, that doesn’t make it true. But I think it makes sense, politics gets old, doesn’t it, and eventually one wants to talk about important things instead.

What are important things? Well, whoever they are, they say that for the Iron Duke it was horses, guns, hunting, and pretty Tory women. Sounds pretty sensible to me.

Well, I don’t know much about horses, other than how to lose money on them, guns, well we can, but we do that pretty regular, and hunting leaves me kind of blah, at the moment. But a history video might be good. And while I have no idea if she’s a Tory, I’m pretty confident that Susannah Lipscholm’s looks would please the Duke (and the rest of us). The fact that she is in fact a brilliant historian is even more pleasing to me, and I hope the Duke would agree. Probably he would, after all Tories, like our conservatives are supposed to be the smart party. (Somebody please tell Dave Cameron!)

True Grit

Well, it’s Saturday, and I’m still on my clunker (Thank God for scheduling) but True Grit seems to be a theme lately here and at Jess’s Watchtower as well. I think we were all pretty disheartened by Romney’s loss and Alan West’s concession the other day hurt as well.

But, America is still for the most part, America, and we built it, and we can damned well rebuild it as well. Jess, in her post the other day, here, gave us some pretty good insight on the American myth. As we were chatting in comments, she mentioned as she has before that her favorite movie is True Grit, the real one, with the Duke, it’s one of mine as well, especially this scene,

And speaking of True Grit, Jess herself knows something about it as well, when I realized I was going to be down for a ridiculously long period of time, I invited her here, late in the night in the UK, and practically before I got moving the next morning she had not only accepted but had a post up for us to enjoy. She’s the kind of friend that is always there when you need them, no matter what is going on in their lives.

Jess has mentioned several of those great John Ford, John Wayne westerns in her week with us (I hope she’ll continue here as she has time, I find her view of America to be something special). In fact, Jess herself kind of reminds me of this scene

Kind of looks like her too, don’t ya think? But, you know, I don’t really understand that lecturer’s point, either. Looks to me like he’s doing what Americans have always done, protected the womenfolk while treating them with a good deal of respect.

Jess also mentioned another old favorite

Thing is, the song has been cleaned up a lot over the years. The Yellow Rose of Texas existed though, she was a mixed race whore. If you remember, Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto, got caught with his pants down, literally. That’s the Yellow Rose’s work. A great American (and Texan) heroine, doing her job.

Another friend of ours, Servus Fidelis, mentioned in the comments that John Wayne made some wonderful war films. He’s right of course. This is my favorite scene from John Wayne.

You know, Jess is right, these films aren’t honest factual history in the literal sense. What they are is how we see ourselves, and to a great extent how the world does as well.

My background is Scandinavian  our myths had to do with gods and goddesses. But, we have something else as well, we have our sagas from the time when we went out into the world, and settled Iceland and Greenland, many say we founded both Moscow and Dublin, and the Eastern Emperor’s Varangian Guard were Swedish as well. A little boastful perhaps but, it’s well to remember that the Viking age ended in a resounding clash of arms as the Danish King of England defeated the King of Norway and two weeks later lost to the Duke of Normandy.

That’s what these films are: The Saga of America.

Jess asked her Mummy a very valid question back when she was 10 when she asked “What is America for, Mummy?” But she got it a little wrong, the real question is, “Who is America for, Mummy?”

Because it’s the Saga of ordinary men and women, who dreamed of living free, and were willing to do the hard, dangerous, and often dirty work of making that dream happen. Even if they were a one-eyed fat man or a Texian whore. America has never been about class or social standing. That’s what I think America is, the new start of western civilization and of the people with True Grit.

But John Wayne is dead and the flag is still there so let’s “Saddle up and get back in the war.

,And Jess, “Welcome aboard, Pilgrim!!!”

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