The End of History

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I was not deceived by the proclamations of the end of history in the 90s, though I wished I could be.

Of course, part of the reason I wasn’t convinced was in no way rational, merely a knee jerk reaction to having been pumped chockfull of Marxism six days a week (we had school on Saturday) for most of my schooling and having learned to recognize it as not just bad cess, but bad cess that inevitably fell on its face.

In fact, my 11th grade history book was explicit about it.  The last chapter was called Socialism, the perfect society and expounded on how once you got there, history would have ended, since Heglian interpretation of history specified that all the wars and struggle came SOLELY from internal contradictions in society.  Once those contradictions were eliminated (one must understand here that they called it socialism because by that time already communism had a bad smell, but they actually meant that imaginary state of communism, where not just classes but all monetary transactions would have come to an end, there would be no property, and everything would be held in common, from each according to his ability and to each according to his need. It strikes me now on reading it that this is a weird way to treat envy, since envy by definition can never be satiated. Never mind. Government would then wither away and there would be no more force of need for force, and no one would covet what his neighbor had, forever. The end of history.  And if you’re visualizing a vast plane of mass graves covering all the Earth, you’ve come to the only state that would achieve that.)

Applying it to the end of the cold war was particularly and strangely boneheaded since though a long struggle, it wasn’t the longest in humanity’s history, and it would be like announcing the end of the French-English rivalry that took up most of pre-modern history signified that we shall not “learn war no more.”

Of course I wanted it to be true.  Not the end of history, as such — consider history is the doing of humans. The only way history ends is when humans end — but the peace. I hoped at least that we’d enter one of those halcion periods that have graced humanity now and then when there are no major struggles for a century or so.

I had small sons, and I figured it would be nice to grow old and see sons and grandchildren grow up, and if/when strife returned in a hundred years or so, it would affect my great grandkids whom I wished the best upon, but really, I’d never even meet.

Yeah… 9/11 was a rude wakening.  All the more so since that struggle has been going on for centuries, just shoved to the back and accreted by the other wars.  Heck, if a book I just read is correct all our itch in the middle East is the result of the Roman Empire falling, not to mention being sloppy about paying their mercenaries.  Because history is like that.  There are stones continually thrown forward, to disturb the clear lake of the future.

Which means we need to know history. We need to be aware of all that has gone before. People who aspire to lead the country — any country — either need to have an idea of history, or have counselors who do.

And it must not be a counterfeit, bizarre, just-so idea of history, as has been taught in our best universities for the last century at least.  Obama’s apology tour was based on Marxist just-so stories, under which the West, and particularly America, were to blame for everything wrong that ever happened in the world. (Just as humans are to blame for the extinction of the T-rex according to the Colorado Springs zoo when my kids were little — hopefully they’ve taken that piece of nonsense exhibit down with all the species that have gone extinct and a mirror so the little kids could contemplate “the only species that drives others to extinction.” (which is an appalling ignorance of natural history.) — I think in the left’s minds the west and the US are to blame for neolithic struggles, before either entity existed.) He also believed those twin devils “Capitalism” and “Colonialism” were not the basic impulses of mankind, but evils, uniquely, of the west and America.  So his conscious program to diminish us economically, to convince us to live with less (oh, yeah, he also fails to understand economics, because he was taught things that just ain’t so.) were done with the best intentions, and intended to lead to to peace and prosperity the world over.

Which of us wouldn’t live in more strained circumstances if that meant the end of famines in the world, or that people in Africa would have a little more.  Which of us would not cut back a bit, if that meant that the Middle East would feel more at ease and cease hating us.

Except of course, that the “history” he was taught was no such thing, rather a long and convoluted farrago of nonsense, strung end on end, starting with Marx’s just-so stories, already out of date in his own time (and never IN rationality) and then paved over by various historians who wanted to explain why the working classes hadn’t risen up, and why none of the vaunted predictions of their “scientific” system had come true.

And so what we got was years of strife and struggle all over the world with fractious countries seeing the US self-diminishment as weakness and taking it as an opportunity to strike, even as the US’s economic head-cold caused the rest of the world to catch financial pneumonia.

This is why knowing history, real history — which at this point necessitates going back to books published in the nineteenth century, save for a handful of authors, some of which are only trustworthy for one subject — is vital for the survival of civilization.

It didn’t much matter what they taught rulers when each kingdom could at most attack its neighbors, but for good or ill, modern technology has linked all our fates (and economies) together and someone with power to wreck or marshal an economy or an army having the utterly wrong story in his head can destroy the whole world.

When an entire generation, and several countries have undergone this kind of brainwashing…

Mind you, it is normal for human civilizations to do this. Utterly normal. But it isn’t healthy.

Part of the reason China screwed itself into a loop of never ending stagnation was the charming habit of burning history books (and at times killing all story telling grandmothers) every so often, and substituting them with doctored history books telling a just-so story.  In that way China could go on forever dreaming itself the center of the universe while once-barbarians caught up with it and then surpassed it.

Then there were the fake histories behind the iron curtains.  And let’s not start talking about the history books of the Middle East.

Thing is our progressives have learned from all this, and added refinements. (The people who dreamed the strategy — I’ve been reading Judgment in Moscow by Vladimir Bukovski, so I can say “in Moscow” and if you don’t think so it’s because you haven’t read it — were brilliant strategists.  The fact their followers are mostly incompetent baboons only makes it incoherent, but because of what it is, not ineffective.)

It starts with taking over the schools and making most people incompetent to read anything more complex than a bill (and even that.)  Actively making people uncomfortable with reading, in fact.  Then there is the indoctrination designed to catch those who somehow still manage to read for pleasure, and making them deathly afraid of reading the wrong message.  There is this concept that ideas are contagious, particularly the WRONG ideas (you know, capitalism, individual freedom, etc.)  Apparently one of our luminaries of sf has fallen for this.  (How could they not? After all they bought the so-compelling narrative of Marxism, and yet people keep fighting against it.  And they know they’re the smart ones, all their teachers/mentors/figures of authority told they so.)  This is why they’re so desperate to make sure no one hears the wrong message. It is also why they are afraid to read — really read — anyone who disagrees with them.  (Hence skim till offended, or just calling people the “exorcism words” of “racist/sexist/homophobic” no matter how out of context. I’ve seen someone arguing for the free market being called racist. Which makes about as much sense as screaming the Our Father at a watchmaker. Arguably less.) And if all else fails there is ostracism.  Think the wrong thoughts (even if they were the right thoughts last month) and we’ll shut you out and un-person you.  And look how we have already destroyed others, better than you.

This means that younger people are terrified of reading/encountering the wrong ideas, much less expressing them. And because ideas change every month, and every time and place will be judged by the concepts of this week, this means not reading anything more than a year or so old, or seeing anything more than a year or so old, or… well, walking past statues to a past they think is tainted and unclean.

This superstitious fear of knowledge of the past is going to undo us all, but on its way it’s destroying the arts.  And reinforcing the idea that there is no history.

I’ve mentioned before my shock when in my thirties we got a twenty something in our writers group (she’s now also a luminary of sf/f. Mostly f.) and her admission story was about a famous female sword fighter.  This woman had gone to the best universities, but when I — in my innocence — told her I liked the story, but was it alternate history, she informed me — primly — that no, there were always famous women fighters, men had just redacted history to hide them. At which point I thought she was uniquely stupid. (If only.)

Now it’s propagated and metastasized.  It’s much, much worse.  Because the conspiracy theory of “men hid women’s accomplishments” wasn’t stupid enough, they’ve now decided there is no history.  History and different ways of living, and different mind sets, and different beliefs, and different struggles (many of them brought about by different technology and living conditions) never happened. It’s not true. None of it is true. And because none of it is true, they’re not reading/taking an interest in any of it.

I’m not absolutely sure if this is predicated on a belief that reality itself is a lie (hey, they told that one to both my kids. Second son’s reaction was priceless, because that one is mine from his horns to the bottom of his hooves) or simply that everyone in the past lied to distress millenials sensitivities.

What I do know is that whenever these ducklings, in their 30s and 40s stray into the past in their movies and books the results are almost always hilariously bad. (Or vomitously bad.)

They seem to be unaware of the PURPOSE of setting, say, a movie in the past, with historical characters, and instead treat the past as a sort of fantasy land upon which today’s latest fads must be imposed. (And I don’t mean in the minor ways every generation does that because the past is a different country.)

Among the many ways in which the latest trip was hell, was the fact that my back of the seat screen, on the way across the Atlantic, would neither shut off, nor stop playing Mary Queen of Scots.

Look, I don’t watch history movies because I know myself, but this one seemed, just on the scenes I caught, to be particularly loony, with a black-Scotsman and a lady in waiting who was Asian. It wasn’t till I came back that I realized the director had done this on purpose and was crowing up and down the block that she (he? Don’t remember) wasn’t about to direct an all-white cast, and therefore had “remodeled” history.

The idea of history as something you remodel, by adding more fashionable ideas and perhaps a bigger bathroom was … never mind.

I have absolutely no problems with multi-race or multi-cultural casts, but if you want to do that, do a fantasy, a science fiction, or even an alternate history.  Make sure people understand that “it’s not always been like this.”  Of course, idiots think that casting the past as the present is USEFUL because honestly, they’ve probably been taught the past was always like the present and xyz lied about it.  And they want to make sure people today understand “it’s always been like this.”

But it hasn’t always been like this.  In fact, the bigotries and small-mindedness of a lot of the past are explained by the fact that travel was difficult and therefore each race and culture relatively isolated and able to indulge their tribalism to their heart content.  Making it all about “they lied” doesn’t prepare one for the tribalism resurfacing in today. It prepares one only to be a brainwashed soldier in a war of ideas for which one is woefully unarmed.

And then there is Robin Hood.  I don’t know why my husband does this, but not only does he watch these movies long after they become obviously crazy, but he watches the director’s commentary afterwards. I happened to have been cooking and the family room is right next to the kitchen.

The number of times I screamed “Because you’re an idiot, you ignorant toddler” at the self-preening idiots explaining why they’d done this or that is dwarfed by the number of snort-giggle “Oh, yeah, that’s new.”

To put this gently, the total idiots who made the latest Robin Hood movie, had actually no clue of the legend or its depth (okay, most liberals think it’s about robbing from the rich to give to the poor. Actually he robbed from the taxman, but never mind.) but they knew they had to make it “relevant” and cram into it as many up to date “issues” as they could think of.  And please, understand, by “think” in this case I mean “regurgitate half digested Marxist pap all over.”

So, you know, the crusades were dreamed up by the church for power. There was no danger from the Saracens. (This at a time when half of Europe was taken over by Moorish imperial ambitions.)  Little John is a moor. (Makes as much sense as tits on a bull) And, of course, a victim.  Maid Marian is — YAWN — a fighter and it’s very important to see her as a fighter, which completely recasts all the — YAWN — past.  And in the end it’s all about fighting these bad times in America under the most oppressive administration EVAH (which is why movies can be made criticizing the administration, just as they were in Germany under Hit–  Oh, wait.)

On top of all, their commentary oozes this assumption that war only exists because someone in the west wants power and makes their countries attack hapless and defenseless natives.

The idea that people who have dark eyes/hair or can tan also have agency, and can also form armies, or strike back in other ways is utterly alien to them, because St. Gramsci made these people the perfect victims, who are never evil.

It’s not just that the whole thing is idiotic, or that they think they’re being startlingly original while at the same time saying and doing only the approved things.

It’s more that despite both these movies having dismal performances, these ideas propagate.  I was quite startled, for instance, when marketing the Musketeer Mysteries, on being told I hadn’t done my research, because — of course — Porthos was a pirate, which I think was a creation of that execrable Disney movie.

And that a bad narration in head renders people unfit to be leaders of anything or even — solely — voters.

The hour is late, the peril grave, and we must rebuild.  Stone by stone — even if they are pebbles — we must rebuild.  While they tear down and fill new generations’ heads with mulch, we must rebuild.

Because it’s the only hope for civilization.

331 responses to “The End of History

  1. Those who think History has ended are doomed to repeat it.

    I just wish the damned fools didn’t insist on dragging us through it with them.

  2. Sure, Porthos wasn’t a pirate in the original work, but Oliver Platt was still the second-best part (after Tim Freaking Curry!) of that movie.

    And the only three (IMO, your mileage may vary, consultant a physician if the condition lasts longer than four hours, etc. and so on) really good Robin Hood movies are, in no particular order:

    — Robin Hood (1973): the animated Disney version
    — The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men (1952): another Disney production, this one starting Richard Todd.
    — The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938): Errol Flynn. Olivia de Havilland. Basil Rathbone. Claude Rains. ‘Nuff said.

    • Jeff Greason

      In which Basil Rathbone, world-class fencer, does his level best to make Errol Flynn look like he has some idea which end of the sword is pointy, and *almost* succeeds … (and yes, I LOVE the 1938 version, in gloriously oversaturated “look at me” Technicolor)

      I realize swordplay is not the content of the post or commentary, but I just can’t let it pass without suggesting a look at the Tyrone Power “Zorro”, in which Basil Rathbone finds an actor who will actually learn from him something about fencing and you can just see the joy on his face in the fencing scene — “At last, someone I can actually enjoy fencing!”

      • I love The Mark of Zorro! And the climactic duel between Power and Rathbone is easily one of the best swordfights ever committed to cinema. Rathbone looks like he’s honestly struggling to stay ahead of Power for most of the scene. I believe that Rathbone would later say that Tyrone Power was the most capable onscreen opponent he’d ever faced, no small praise coming from an Olympic-level fencer.

        • As you wish:


          “The climactic sword fight between Zorro (Tyrone Power) and Captain Esteban Pasquale (Basil Rathbone) in the original black and white. Fun fact: both actors were already accomplished swordsmen outside of motion pictures. Basil Rathbone remarked after filming ‘Power was the most agile man with a sword I’ve ever faced before a camera. Tyrone could have fenced Errol Flynn into a cocked hat.’ ”

          Technical note: observers will perceive the two are fighting with sabers, entailing use of edge as well as point, and that there is much egregious movement of their blades, flourishes doubtless intended for the camera, often taking their points off target, something accomplished fencers try to avoid.

          • BTW: Famous People Who Fenced

            Selected entrants:
            George Washington
            Lonnie Anderson
            Richard Thomas
            Paul Newman
            General George Smith Patton
            Jimmy Buffett
            Bo Derek
            George Peppard: a fencing instructor before becoming famous in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ with Audrey Hepburn.
            Winston Churchill: won Public Schools Fencing championship in foil in his youth.
            Erza Pound: the famous American poet became fencing master and secretary to the great Irish Poet W. B. Yeats, after meeting him in 1912. William Butler Yeats started learning to fence at age forty-eight.
            Neil Diamond was a New York University saber fencer before his career as an entertainer.
            Bruce Dickerson: the lead singer for Iron Maiden, fences and owns the British fencing equipment maker, The Duellist.
            Robert Redford
            Robert Redford fenced his director, George Roy Hill, on the set of ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’ according to DVD extras.
            Guy Williams: born Guido Catalano in New York City in 1923, Williams was an fencer but took more lessons for [the Disney TV Series.] Williams was 6 foot 3 inches tall and used a real foil not a stage weapon in Disney’s Zorro.

        • He was not an Olympic-level fencer. There was an Olympic-level fencer in Hollywood. He was the coach for most of the fencing. He did observe that Rathbone was one of his students who mostly likely could have succeeded in competition fencing.

      • I remember reading somewhere that Danny Kaye took to fencing very well for The Court Jester.

        • And Mr. Kaye also faces Basil Rathbone (albeit an aged one…).

          Although for best fencing scene I do wish to argue for The Princess Bride.

          • “I am not left handed”

          • I will second The Princess Bride. Supposedly, the comments the characters made about the styles of fencing was accurate, and was reflected in the fight choreography.

            I also suggest Scaramouche (1952) for a fantastic final duel that ranges through an entire packed opera house.

            • Doldrum those comment’s are all about actual 17th and 18th century fencing master’s. I spent some time on a project studying 17th century rapier fencing and they’re all important (though whether they apply to the correct issues my memory can no longer recall). Rapier (and later court sword) fencing would bear little resemblance to modern fencing. The rules of scoring STRONGLY drive your actions for sport fencing. This can have you try things that would end in death or at least mortal injury if tried with a Rapier… HEMA (Historic European Martial Arts) has interested me but at 58 that kind of activity is a sure way to end up with a knee or hip injury even if I were far more in shape than I am (Only shape I have is vaguely pear shaped 🙂 )

          • I will second The Princess Bride. Supposedly, the comments the characters made about the styles of fencing was accurate, and was reflected in the fight choreography.

            I also suggest Scaramouche (1952) for a fantastic final duel that ranges through an entire packed opera house.

            • I have no idea how this happened.

              • According to Cary Elwes’ book about the making of the movie, the two actors were trained by two of cinema’s greatest fight stagers: Peter Diamond and Bob Anderson (the stunt coordinators who’d choreographed the lightsaber duels in the first “Star Wars” trilogy.)

                According to one source belched up by Google, while the named styles were indeed taken from old fencing manuals by screenwriter (and book author) William Goldman, the fighting techniques demonstrated were pure cinema. As originally choreographed the fight sequence ran only about half as long as expected, so they had to on-the-spot come up with an extended version.

                Cary Elwes spends quite a bit of his rather charming memoir, As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride discussing the training, rehearsing, development and filming of the sequence. Unsurprisingly, he reads the audio version (clocking a pleasant seven hours, one minute) of it himself, although quotes from other participants in the film are often in the person’s own voice.

                From IMDb:

                Peter Diamond was one of the finest British stuntmen, with a career spanning over fifty years worth of television and film work. He originally trained as an actor at RADA and went on to become a stuntman, fight arranger and director. He is best known internationally for his work on the Star Wars films, as well as his contributions to Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Superman II (1980), and Highlander (1992) and Highlander (1986).

                Bob Anderson was born on September 15, 1922 in Gosport, Hampshire, England as Robert James Gilbert Anderson. He is known for his work on Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983), Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and The Mask of Zorro (1998). [Anderson] was an Olympic fencer for Great Britain. Was called up to help out on Errol Flynn’s The Master of Ballantrae (1953) after the competition. This was his entry into the movie business. [He] Is arguably the most legendary of sword-fight trainers/choreographers, having trained everyone from Errol Flynn to the cast of the Lord of the Rings film trilogy.

                Both men are now deceased.

                Oh! Did you mean you had no idea how the double-posting of your comment came about? Simple: Word Press sucks.

      • Now you have a hint at why I enjoy fencing so much, even if I lose frequently.

        • Back in my college days I scheduled a fencing class immediately subsequent to my Calculus class. There is nothing quite so cathartic as running somebody through with a yard of steel.

        • Jeff Greason

          One of my fondest memories is losing to the Lebanese national fencing champion who was in California on a full athletic scholarship. I lost 5-2, but the first two points were mine, as he assumed that he had nothing to worry about from a Caltech student. Then he woke up, brought his “A” game, and I went down — but I made him work for it 🙂

        • There is nothing quite so humbling as fencing with a serious hangover. It wasn’t a terribly good idea to have breakfast, though my stomach contents stayed where they belonged.

          I did somewhat better in later bouts, sans hangover, but I rather understood the scene in Raiders where Indy decides to shoot the swordsman.

          • Friend of mine does an annual fencing and wine tasting tour through France. I have no idea how much wine gets drunk, or how much actual fencing he accomplishes.

      • Hey, that’s the movie that gave us the “Flynn” and the “Flynn Feint…”

      • The irony being that the medieval world LIKED bright colors. We’re used to thinking of faded tapestries…Technicolor came a lot closer to what they were like when new.

        • Heh. You brought to mind the reactions when they undertook restoration of Michelangelo’s work in the Sistine Chapel. “What, you mean it wasn’t this dark and sooty originally?”

        • One reason they liked bright colors was that they were not so easy to get as nowadays.

    • Sadly, we hardly ever get a glance of the 1922 Douglas Fairbanks version of the tales. Back in the late Seventies PBS had a children’s version of Masterpiece Theatre, hosted by Bill Bixby, running BBC serials under the title Once Upon A Classic. Among their serialized adaptations were a six-part Robin Hood and an superb eight-part King Arthur, featuring perhaps the first realistic portrayal of knightly sword-fighting in a duel between Lancelot and Mador de la Porte, a knight who has traveled the world mastering the fighting style he found.

      Sadly, I can offer no insight into the swordplay on parade in Maid Marian and Her Merry Men, an early Nineties BBC spoof of the Robin Hood legend featuring Kate Lonergan as Marian and Tony “Baldric” Robinson as the Sheriff.

      • Amsel, Matthew

        That was a fun little show.

        “Behold, the prince’s underpants!”

      • The Douglas Fairbanks movie that you should not miss is The Thief of Baghdad — the original, accept no substitutes!

        • Showing on TCM June 30 at 12:00 AM

          Douglas Fairbanks has been called the first celebrity, which is probably correct, and his 1924 epic The Thief of Bagdad: An Arabian Nights Fantasy holds a special place in his sizable body of work – not because it was his best picture, but because it capped a phase in his career so grandly and excessively that afterward he looked for less humongous productions that better suited both his talent and his audience. This said, the freewheeling Arabian Nights adaptation has lots of atmospheric charm and silent-movie spectacle, and looking for hidden wires in rope-trick, flying-horse, and magic-carpet scenes is a good part of the fun.

          [SNIP]

          The Thief of Bagdad was directed by Raoul Walsh, still fairly young but already a seasoned Hollywood hand. He was surprised when Fairbanks asked him to supervise such an exotic entertainment, since most of the pictures he had directed at that point in his career “dealt with cowboys and gangsters and pimps and prostitutes and the dregs of the American West,” as he later wrote in his autobiography. He quickly accepted the job, though, happy to work with Fairbanks, whom he considered “the perfect hero.” He also appreciated the lavish production values of the project, with sets created by the great William Cameron Menzies and costumes by Mitchell Leisen, later to become a prolific director himself. The Thief of Bagdad was the first Hollywood picture to cost more than a million dollars, according to Walsh, who filmed it in an efficient thirty-five days. True to its gigantic scale, the movie doesn’t boast many close-ups, preferring wide shots that show off the walls, towers, stairways, minarets, and other vertical things that Fairbanks scales, climbs, clambers up, and scampers over in scene after high-spirited scene.

          http://www.tcm.com/this-month/article.html?isPreview=&id=1491500|386911&name=The-Thief-of-Bagdad

          • WP broke the link, so cut and paste the one above.

          • as the token film student here, i would point out that the lack of closeups is also due to a lack of the equipment necessary to be able to do closeups while people are running, fighting, climbing etc. Camera cranes really wouldn’t exist for another 5 years….

          • The FX are better than some in movies from decades later. And used to great effect.

    • Yes. The Adventures of Robin Hood.

      And notice that Lady Marian refused to go off and marry Robin Hood because she could not give up her position that would allow her to influence the political issues of the day. . . .

    • Has Curry been arrested for stealing so many movies, yet?

    • It was still a dog of a movie. If you want Dumas, try the Richard Lester films. I think they capture the essence of the book best.

      And Charleton Heston’s best performance.

      • What they did with Milady deserves being whipped barefoot, dragged by a donkey from one end of Hollywood to another.
        Which it occurs to me a lot of the residents would pay to have done to them.

      • Was it a faithful adaptation? Heck no! Was it a particularly good movie? Nope. Was it a fun movie? With Tim Curry as the villain, how could it not be?

        • Men in Tights.

          I’m all for “Rule of Fun” movies as long as they don’t lecture me!

          • C’mon – you mean you don’t find being talked down to and instructed by your self-recognized betters fits your definition of”fun”? You need to appreciate how privileged you are that they take their precious time to lecture you.

        • Chrismouse

          I love beyond all endurance his reply to somekne who tweeted her concern for how he was doing lately. “I like to sit with a bowl of mini 3Musketeer bars, unwrapping a few to eat while I cackle ‘All for one and more for me.’ ”
          That’s someone who hasn’t lost his sensr of humor. He’s in two of my top three favorite movies.

    • I’ll cheerfully admit that rather loose Disney adaptation is my favorite Musketeers movie.
      It was unapologetically cheesy, the actors actively competed for the title of biggest ham, and it never lost sight of the goal of being fun. All while actually sticking pretty close to the plot.

    • A few years back, BBC had a new version of Robin Hood (BBC America had it), and I face-palmed when Robin is using not a Yew or Oak long bow, but a hunnish style “horn bow”, that was obviously a very light fiberglass rendition, that made the ones Lars uses in his “research” look stout. My Glass and Ash laminated U-Finish horse bow looks about the same (though at nearly 70# draw)
      An English online acquaintance said they made some reference to him snagging it on crusade as a better alternative or some such. I’m sure the reality of English weather did wonders to the fish glue.

      • I was so psyched when the adds for that started appearing… and then devastated when our cable provider dropped BBC America from our package. Started watching clips on YouTube some years later, and quickly discovered that I really hadn’t missed anything.

  3. Oh, and the Russel Crowe movie was surprisingly libertarian for a 21st century Hollywierd production.

  4. BobtheRegisterredFool

    I think, considering my age at the time, that some of my gullibility about the end of the cold war may be defensible.

    • Margaret Ball

      I can’t claim youth and innocence, but my excuse for gullibility was that it happened six years after I had essentially renounced the world. (Current events and discussion thereof, a writing career, two small children; pick any two out of three.)

  5. They were screaming their addled heads off back when Kingdom Come: Deliverance (a recent RPG) came out. Because the game emphasized historical accuracy whenever possible and thus depicted medieval demographics as they truly existed.

    But no; some African King (Kang?) once walked to Bohemia at some point within a few centuries of when the story takes place, so that proves that Medieval Bohemia was 50% black. Or something like that.

    It’s funny how the white male patriarchy has always oppressed women and “people of color”, but there were also famous famous people in those categories who were just as good if not better. They they were also removed from history. Somehow.

    For the idiots to be right you would need a universe where there has been rampant time travel that has caused causality to come apart at the seams.

    • Yep. There were blacks in Scotland because the king paid a nursemaid to be brought a black baby. So ambassador is black. Head>desk.
      For the record, there also weren’t significant white people in Africa.

      • Well the usual suspects recently had a fit over Cleopatra not being cast as a black African (because we all know Greeks were black)
        Liz Taylor’s Cleo is closer to reality than what passes for such in their knowledge.

    • Yes, the way SJWs act as if white people aren’t native to Europe is very puzzling.

      • Richard Mcenroe

        We so evil we culturally appropriated our own culture!

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        Well, tens of thousands of years ago…

        There’s a bunch of fun arguments against it. One, that agriculture may have been invented by relatively few peoples, and spread heavily through displacement of hunter-gatherers. Another, that whatever the timing and locations of the spread of the pale skin mutations, culturally defined whiteness cannot really predate western civilizations.

        • There’s also the bit that melanin depletion is an adaptation to the amount of cloud cover and thus inversely to the amount of UV light one gets living where active glaciation is ongoing.

          Which means that adaptation could only happen after folks moved to live close to the glaciers, and that predates agriculture by quite a bit.

          The theory on that spread of agriculture that makes the most sense to me is the beer theory: Hunter-gatherers were induced to settle and help out with the hard work of farming all that grain because that’s the only way they could get beer.

    • “…Medieval Bohemia was 50% black.”
      Really? Because it appears the Houst family name originated in Bohemia; and you find a bunch of them still there. So I guess that means I have black ancestry, and makes me the descendant of slaves, and entitled to reparations and affirmative action, right? It’s really just coincidence that my hair is straight and brown, my lips thin, my nose typically German, my skin as Irish white as it gets without being freckled, my baby blue eyes, my lack of rhythm, and the fact that I can’t jump… oh dash it all, you know what I mean.

    • elainethomp

      sigh. To believe all that you have to be really out of touch with reality.

      There was a kerfuffle some time ago, and now a book about it (By Milo, Middle Rages ) about a historian who argues it isn’t ‘white nationalist’ to note that medieval Europe was basically white. Or so I gather – I’ve got the sample on my Kindle but haven’t gotten to it. The historian in question is Rachel Fulton Brown who blogs at “Fencing Bear at Prayer”.

      Best sword fighting I’ve ever seen was in samurai movies. Best of that was in the live action Ruruoni Kenshin trilogy. I fenced in college and can see in the American movies the moves and how good (or not) the people are, but the Japanese do it all very much more viscerely. It’s a fight.

    • Had the same with Witcher 3 iirc. And the stuff added to appease in the DLC was so hamfisted that it was painful. Even included the “current year” quip.

  6. What gets me is, in every movie I have seen recently (a very small sample, I do admit), in which a “Moor” is a character – the Moors apparently are all from sub-Saharan Africa.

    I don’t quibble with the fact that every one of them spoke their lines far more intelligibly than the majority of the white actors – all of them that I have seen are black actors that came up the hard way.

    • And they’re all noble and shining beacons of wisdom.
      Because the left are immense racists who put their talking points in the mouth of minorities.

      • If you* ever want to see some truly racist behavior, watch a Leftist with a protected minority who declines to spout the lines that the Marxists have put in his** script.

        * = obviously not you, Sarah, because you’ve seen far too much of it, but “you” in general.

        ** = yes, I just used a masculine pronoun to refer to someone of indeterminate sex. No, I’m not going to apologize.

  7. All of this just reinforces (strongly!) the fact that leftism, no matter what skin you put on it (socialism, marxism, communism, fascism, environmentalism, etc.), is a religion. the description of the Socialist end-times at the top of your post is completely paradisiacal in nature and form. For all their bleating about how bad religion (other than Islam, which I think they see as some sort or co-religionists although the Muslims would just as soon slit their throats as anyone else’s) is, their belief system isn’t even marginally a religion, it sits squarely in the middle of the definition of a religion.

  8. Also I owe everyone an apology: yesterday I was far more ranty than I ought to be and generally being a jerk. Sorry for the multiple walls of text.

    (though I still insist that the Conservative establishment and NRA leadership belong on gallows, and that most Pastors fit the definition of “Spawn of Satan” better than someone chanting over a pentagram)

    • It’s okay to be angry. How did Kirk put it? “I need my anger!”
      Heck, I’d vote for you as President of the NRA if you ran.

    • Meh. Ain’t a one o’ us what don’t get the occasional bug up our behind. It’s easy ’nuff to skim over rants, and L’ud knows the conservative “leadership” gives us ample cause to engage in ’em.

    • You ranted, but you were rational, and you formatted it decently.

      Sounds like a Tuesday.

    • (The thing I like about here is that if you do rant, folks will engage– but not hold a grudge.)

      • Pffft. Anybody ’round here tries holding grudges is soon gonna be so weighted down they can’t keep up and have to leave. And that’s even if they’ve brought a wheelbarrow.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          Yes, and no.

          I do have to forgive and forget an awful lot to stay here and pass for functioning.

          On the other hand, I do shift my opinion of posters.

          I confess to some irritation over the use of stupid when the other’s perspective could have easily and justly supported a belief that the statement was wrongly, insanely, or evilly based.

          Questions involving the results of the collective secret hearts of tens or hundreds of millions are hard to objectively judge. Especially where the likes of communists are involved, intelligence analysis may induce paranoia and only be as sound as rumor and speculation. Intelligent persons working on such problems might arrive at wildly different conclusions, especially if they start from even slightly different data sets.

          I do at times comment here based on lazy thinking, done at a very low level of mental capacity. I understand that it may not be obvious from a comment what went into that comment.

          I have very strong opinions about what minimum data constitutes due diligence when it comes to evaluating marijuana in the context of the information war with the communists.

          Folks have valid reasons to do the factional calculus and conclude I am not their ally. Folks have sound reasons to look on the works of my voice, and conclude that I reason evilly or insanely.

    • stopped my NRA Lifetime payments around Katrina, and the “Conservative establishment” seem to want to conserve the perpetual, subservient, “honorable”, minority opposition.

    • I joined the NRA after that little twit in Florida got so much publicity. But now… I suspect I’ll let the membership lapse.. unless there is Significant Change (which, alas, I do not see happening. First Test: Is Wayne still there? Yes? Then NO.)

  9. There’s a show on Netflix, called King’s War, that’s about the fall of the Qin Dynasty in China, and the rise of the Han. One of the things depicted in an early episode is the Qin emperor – after growing frustrated with the Confucions – ordering that all “books” (really, bamboo scrolls) be destroyed.

    Of course, given what I know about the guy, he probably would have ordered it anyway even if he hadn’t been upset with the scholars.

    • Donald Stephens

      Sure, those are books. That rectangular book that isn’t a scroll is called a codex.

      • They seemingly didn’t have any of those in 200BC China.

        There have been some scenes with cloth used as paper (for important stuff like imperial edicts). And an occasional private message (from someone very well off) written on paper gets delivered in a slender tube. But there hasn’t been any sign of bound paper volumes.

  10. hopefully they’ve taken that piece of nonsense exhibit down with all the species that have gone extinct and a mirror so the little kids could contemplate “the only species that drives others to extinction.”

    Lord, I hate those anti-human “we’re the only species that kills for reasons other than to eat” screeds. Forget about the infanticidal chimpanzees, the massive wars of ants, or the truly cruel behavior of mink (trust me, those little monsters deserve to be made into coats), have these people never seen a suburban house cat?

    • While all the while ignoring the complete uncaring with which animals kill to eat. Animals don’t bother killing before they start eating, why would they? And then in the next breath the idiots condemn people hunting for food who go to great pains to make the most humane kills possible.

      There really is no other conclusion than that they hate people.

      At least I know I should never be Supreme Overlord. Because when I got done massacring the Do Gooders I would have made Thanos look like the good guy. They on the other hand can’t wait to have that power.

      • They really hate people, yes.

      • I once had a long thread that did actually end with my saying that if people were no different than animals, we had no more duties than they did, and if we had duties, we were different — and someone saying actually I’d given her something to think about.

      • was it Prince Philip who said he wanted to reincarnate as a plague to remove huge numbers of humans from the planet? Or did he just say we were a disease and needs curing.? He’s said some truly stupid stuff.

      • Wanna bet they’d not believe you if you told them that pigs don’t often bother waiting until their victim is alive before they start eating ’em?

        And I fully believe that they hate people.

  11. my 11th grade history book was explicit about it. The last chapter was called Socialism, the perfect society and expounded on how once you got there, history would have ended

    In Final Soviet Socialist State (FSST) the purpose of All history is to show the inevitability of the FSST. There is no purpose in teaching of History after reaching the FSST because such teaching could only foment reactionary thought, endangering the perfection of the FSST, thus bringing down the FSST upon any such reactionaries.

    Once attained, the End of History will be officially designated as having occurred in 1984 in commemoration of glorious founding* of TED conference on February 23, after which calendars will be reset to Year Zero, and each subsequent year will also be known as Year Zero in our Brave New World.

    *per Wiki, official mutable History record of FSST. “Trust Wiki: We Constantly Revise History So You Don’t Have To Remember!”

  12. There were often a few famous female swordfighters running around, but being female was part of what made them famous. And they were usually unusually tall and strong and put a lot of effort into being fast, or they were just very fast and very well-trained. And often they were famous because they appealed to men as a fetish, like women gladiators.

    And there were women who came from rich families where no guy of age was available as a warleader, and they got trained a lot by very good teachers.

    And there were women who were just good enough to fit in as one of the boys in an army, but that wasn’t common unless recruiters were desperate. And everyone usually pretended they did not know.

    Most women who historically were fighters were desperation fighters, trained for last resort situations and fighting unfair.

  13. You get a similar situation with black people — there had been some in Europe since Roman times, there are times and places where there were more or fewer black people around, and some of them were famous.

    The Bohemia thing? Oh, man, I know about this. The symbol and favorite saint of some Germanic noble houses was St. Maurice or Moritz or Mauritius, an early Christian martyr of the Theban Legion. Because of his name, he was drawn as a Moor. Because he was a patron of knights and soldiers, he was often drawn as a medieval knight. There are a few other saints who were known to be black Africans who were drawn as such. There are also some legendary knights of the Round Table and of Charlemagne’s court who were portrayed as noble Moors who converts to Christianity, and beautiful Moorish princesses were often damsels.In distress who converted and married heroic knights.

    There is this crazy guy who insists this means that black Africans ruled Europe during the Middle Ages, and specifically Bohemia.

    • The weird bit was that, since at least one historical damsel had a Germanic/Frankish name and descendants, there was a line of thought that she physically turned into a white person when baptized (following a similar motif where dogheads, werewolves, and pagans/Muslims under curses were turned normal by Baptism). The motif went away later in medieval times, when it became obvious that African Christians were not under a spell that had changed their skin color.

      • Ah. See my answer to your other comment. She probably was just the daughter of a Germanic/Frankish woman.
        Also curiously, my SIL’s family — of long standing in the area of the village, to the point of their family name going to early middle ages in mentions and their having occupied till recently the farm given to an ancestor for service under Trajan (there was an inscription over the gate) — was known in local parlance as “of the [female] Moor”. No one knows why, but I presume because an ancestress had that history.
        They run to blond/redhead with green eyes.

        • FlyingMike

          With the number of Irish slave girls that the North African Moors preferentially bought at volume discounts from both Moorish raiders and Vikings, I would not be surprised to find Redhead/Blond recessive genes in a lineage that had most recently come over from North Africa in that era.

    • Malory’s Arthur stories – and presumably some earlier ones as well – include Sir Palomides, who is explicitly identified as ‘The Saracen’. So there is a basis for a Saracen. But his name suggests that he’s the only one. He’s reasonably active for one of the general mass of knights. The most notable thing about him is that he becomes smitten with Isolde (rather ironically – obviously that particular relationship isn’t going to go anywhere…) who occassionally and unintentionally inspires him by her mere presence.

      • If a man’s not inspired by a woman (one way or another), it’s time to check for a heartbeat.

      • Wolfram’s “Parsival” gives the titular knight a half-brother by his father Pellinore’s first wife, a black moorish princess. But unlike most “mixed-race” people we meet these days, the knight in question is described as piebald.

        Well, I didn’t read it for the biology OR the geography lessons, so…

        • *considers* You know, there are birthmarks and skin conditions that have that effect….

          • And there are idjits so ignorant they’re going to think “Black Irish” refers to melanin.

            • I once heard a black boy explaining the Black Irish were escapees from slave ships.

              • Oh, good lord … the ignorance is such that it burns …
                I’ve seen Black Irish, and Black Welsh, too. Amazing, ice-pale complexion, and ink-dark hair and eyes.

                • I have to TRY to be fair, there is a long running joke about “black Irish” applied to the awesome black football players for the US college Notre Dame.

                  ….

                  • I know it from my uncle, and his younger son, both of whom are golden (heh) examples of Black Irish, and know it…..

          • And maybe that was the only mixed race person the author had seen. Same occurred to me.

          • There are, and I’ve seen some such, but that’s not how you get them.

            • No, but it is a plausible way to keep the character as described if someone was trying to do a modern update.

              Of course, you could also hang a hat on it by having the rather standard “palms and soles are much lighter than the rest of him” color variation on the actor.

    • Dear Lord. Most moors were from NORTH Africa and Mediterranean.
      Note I’m not saying there weren’t black people around in Europe, but mostly in Roman times. Disruption in travel sort of stopped that. I once had to explain to someone that when I was a kid there were NO black people in Portugal. But she’d met so many black people in Portugal and tasted their food and… refused to believe this was the result of those who ran away from the communist take over of the African colonies.
      There were black people in Europe after about 1500, but MOST in menial positions OR great curiosities.
      Look, I’m all for not paying attention to race if people acculturate. But projecting that into a past where people from the next village over were “foreigners” is stupid.

    • And actually, if you look at “beautiful moorish princesses” in Portuguese legend, these are mostly pale and blue eyed. Which is entirely believable. Portugal was a crusade land so long, and frontiers were held so long, with kidnapping for slavery on both sides, the population was basically the same, and in the north often Celt and (in those days) heavy frankish and germanic.

      • Sarah, apparently the new Miss India competition is ‘so white’ and ‘lacking in diversity’… because Indians consider pale skin beautiful. All of the women there are Indian.

        • And tries to put the blame on the caste system and colonialism. Not true. Desiring paler skin among women is virtually universal.

          https://quillette.com/2019/02/13/the-origins-of-colourism/

          • Likely it is that paler skin displays lack of flaws more clearly … it certainly reveals any and all blemishes most distinctly.

            A friend of mine back in college days was white as only the Scots can be, yet had a yen for “dusky” and olive-skinned women. The “preference” for light-skinned gals is apparently not universal.

            • *cough*

              Humans are biased when it comes to beauty, study says
              [SNIP]
              They may try to downplay it, but the beautiful people have it pretty good: They snag hotter dates, score free food and land higher-paid jobs. Now, behavioral neurologists are revealing the primal instinct driving our bias for beauty.

              A new study, led by scientists at Penn Medicine, seeks to understand our brain’s response to people with facial abnormalities, such as scars, birthmarks, dysplasia and other “deformities.” Their findings, published in Scientific Reports, show an inherent bias against the “disfigured” and innate preference for the conventionally attractive.

              “Judgements on attractiveness and trustworthiness are consistent across cultures, and these assumptions based on facial beauty are made extremely quickly,” says lead study author Dr. Anjan Chatterjee, professor of neurology and director at Penn Center for Neuroaesthetics. “On the other hand, people with facial disfigurement are often targets of discrimination, which seems to extend beyond the specific effects of lower overall attractiveness and may tie in more with the pattern of results with stigmatized groups.”

              [END EXCERPT]

              There you have it: Evolution is Racisssst!

            • Also means she doesn’t work outside.

            • my mostly Irish/English husband married me, after dating a lady of Italian descent. He wasn’t looking for pale.

            • I would guess the appeal of the exotic can overcome it– for example, those knock you dead pics of ladies with blue eyes and dark skin, the darker the more striking.
              (assuming similar levels of symmetrically gorgeous bone structure, anyways.)

          • Indeed!

            I mean, why would pale, pale skin be desirable or seen as a sign of beauty amongst white people otherwise? Milky skin and either gloriously golden or night-ebon black hair, or flame red hair were subjects of ballad and poetry. While hair and eye color varied, the milky or ivory or alabaster description of the woman’s skin as a sign of their gorgeousness was ancient, and not just because of ‘caste’ or colonialism (though there may have been some influences with regards to caste, it’s not always the case.)

        • Well, they can’t complain the competition isn’t “fair”. 🙂

    • IIRC, St. Mauritius was one of the saints taught about with great admiration during my German Sunday School classes in West Germany but damned if I recall any of that right now.

  14. If “diversity casting” were set up like opera casting, where anybody can look like anybody as long as the voice is the right range to sing it, nobody would care.

    But we have to be made to care, and to bow before their virtue.

    • Opera does have a weird situation right now, where a baritone man has announced he is now a baritone woman. But he isn’t taking hormones to ruin his voice (unlike poor Heather Alexander), and he is still singing baritone men’s parts.

      Because opera, as crazy as it is, has a savage respect for the realities of the voice.

      So far.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      There was a Black Actor playing the Marvel Villain Kingpin (who is white in the comics).

      But it was interesting to hear why he was chosen to play Kingpin.

      The Kingpin is a very large and imposing person so the movie makers needed an actor was a very large and imposing person.

      Apparently the only actor the casting department could think of was that black actor so he got chosen to play Kingpin.

      That is a reasonable reason. 😉

      • I *liked* that portrayal. The dude was obviously smart, physically imposing and powerful, and utterly without compassion.

        • Iirc, Michael Clarke Duncan.

          • Yep, and per IMDB:
            For his role as the criminal mastermind behemoth Kingpin in Daredevil (2003), Duncan put on 40 lbs. to his already-largely-built physique.

            • 40? Probably looked like 10-15 on the rest of us . . .
              brings to mind:
              Casting for Roadhouse, they got to the script writer’s description of the band playing and thought “Were are we going to find a blind guy playing a guitar on his lap? Wait, I seen this one guy . . .” and got Jeff Healey and his band to agree to play the part.
              When the script writer was told, he said he had been in a club and seen Healey playing and thought “That is the kind of band I need for this place I’m writing about!” and went home and wrote the scenes with him in mind.

      • As I understand it, Kingpin in the comics was originally intended to be black, but Marvel was concerned about being accused of encouraging the “black thug” stereotype, so when it was made Fisk was white.

        That said, Michael Clarke Duncan’s portrayal was probably the only good thing about the Affleck DD. 😛

      • KINGPIN! That’s the guy.

        I was blanking so hard I had to ask Elf who the head of SHIELD is…..

      • Patrick Chester

        For Star Trek: Deep Space 9 they were not looking for a “black station commander” when casting for the role of Ben Sisko. Avery Brooks tried out for the part, got it and the rest is history.

    • Nick Fury.

      The bad guy in Daredevil (blanking– the guy with fridges for legs).

      Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. (I have lost track of how many folks they’ve put in that role. He is my height, so putting someone who is A FOOT TOO TALL had me steamed…but by the time it got to “how do we know it’s really you?” I was completely sold.)

      ***IF*** the actor can make me believe, I’m all for it.

      • Patrick Chester

        Yeah, Hugh Jackman being too tall was also my one objection. Remember too many issues where some about-to-get-his-butt-kicked bruiser towered over Logan with a sneer.

        He managed to convince me otherwise.

      • I know that Nick Fury still bothers quite a few people. None of the “contra books” casting ever bothers me, so long as the actor is good.

        Of course, my measly two bits of a childhood allowance was being sent to Ace, Signet, and (occasionally) Berkeley to build my collection of Heinlein, Asimov, and Clarke – not Marvel or DC.

        • Heck, if it wasn’t such an obvious geek-casting and he didn’t RULE the role, it’d bug me.

          Open racism, which is what recasting folks as (minority) because they are (race) is, bugs me.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            In that recent Star Trek movie where the Asian (possibly Indian) Khan was played by an British actor because (basically) the Bad Guys have to be White. 😡

          • except, it wasn’t. when Marvel did the Ultimates alternate timeline/redo of the Avengers, Nick Fury was black and made to look like Jackson. It wasn’t invented for the movies.

            • Which the writers came up with and got permission for because Jackson is an enormous geek, and he said only if they let him be Fury in the movie. Thus, geek-casting, rather than a “just make him black” thing.

              For once, it wasn’t racist, but I can see it bugging folks because the vast majority of cases ARE just race-based.

        • Making Fury a ‘nam veteran rather than WWII bothered me, even though I understand their “need” to do it. Making him Samuel L Jackson did not bother me.

          • In-world, he’s WWII Vet’s son. Pretty sure they kept at least that from the new comics. (they seem to have done well about keeping only the decent stuff)

    • Well, Jerry Pournelle did have a case of failing to suspend disbelief. But that was because a blond man and a black woman were singing about how they recognized they were twins because they looked so much like each other.

  15. … the only species that drives others to extinction.

    Oh, I will acknowledge this. Most species just walk to extinction, but humanity does drive some The ancient American Indians drove most of the hemisphere’s megafauna off cliffs, for example, establishing their bona fides as the World’s Most Spiritual People(TM).

    As for humans eradicating the Thunder Lizards, recent advances in the understanding of Quantum Tunneling indicate that humans were responsible for the asteroid collision which formed the geological region now known as the Gulf of Mexico, the effect of an experiment in 2146 AD (estimated) which brought a large meteor through time to collide with Earth in the the Late Triassic, tunneling through Time and the Earth to emerge in Eastern Siberia in 1908, triggering the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake as it approached its exit date/point. The force of its passage is also attributed as causing the eruptions of Krakotoa (1983), Mount Tambora (1815) and the Minoan eruption (1641 BC, approx.).

    • So THAT”S what happened to my asteroid! I was going to get rich cornering the market on iridium when it inexplicably disappeared. Any idea who the dirty doers were who ran off with it, and apparently lost control of it??

    • FlyingMike

      You left out the penultimate Human’s Fault point, where human time-tunnelled to populate the planet that orbits between Mars and Jupiter, and then used CAPITALISM to blow it to smithereens, one chunk of which was flung out and eventually impacted Chicxulub.

      Thus everything being the fault of HUMANS and CAPITALISM.

      Kind of like the folks who maintain native Americans are actually moslems – impossibility does not matter.

    • Amazing creatures, these humans. Probably best to leave them think they do run things… and stay on any good side they might have. But having a backup plan or seventeen is also a good idea.

    • I am SO going to KILL you guys! The Muse just woke up and is off and galloping. She’s hard enough to keep under some semblance of control without people encouraging her!

  16. “there were always famous women fighters, men had just redacted history to hide them.”

    So if if no one knows about them, how are they famous?

  17. modern technology has linked all our fates (and economies) together

    Even two hundred years ago economic events in distant parts of the world required considerable time to have any effect in other areas. A recession in the United States or a drought in China had little immediate effect on Europe’s economies, and European events little mattered in the Americas, Asia or Africa. Even in India, where the British Raj ruled, events had little immediate effect in London.

    Now? Rumors of China raising Rare Earths prices cause tremors in financial markets instantly throughout the world.

  18. Colonialism: I’d say the Russian take-over of eastern Europe counts as colonialism.
    Jemisin: I was in a bookstore Sunday, and it had 3 different Jemisin novels, which I would not touch.

  19. Jeff Greason

    “Scaramouche”, like “The Princess Bride” is part of the pantheon of great cinematic fencing scenes. I used to watch it so often my VHS ‘off the air’ copy wore out….

  20. Makes as much sense as tits on a bull

    This statement is offensive, denying the desires of bulls to identify as cows. It is very important for bulls to learn to embrace their nurturing side and your mockery is very, very, very hurtful.

  21. Jeff Greason

    “Rare Earth” metals are not especially rare, but their extraction and refining isn’t particularly low impact on the environment. The major sources used to be in the U.S. and the ore bodies haven’t gone anywhere, we just closed the mines.

    However, if we really wanted to, it turns out the both Rare Earth Elements and Lithium aren’t especially hard to get from Lunar regolith. “No environment, no impact”….

  22. FlyingMike

    [The LightBringer’s actions] were done with the best intentions, and intended to lead to to peace and prosperity

    Which explains why The One became so bitterly annoyed with the US electorate, those idiots! Why couldn’t they see what he was trying to do? He surely had the bestest intentions ever! Why, he got more cooperation from the Russians than here in the US!!

    There was no danger from the Saracens. (This at a time when half of Europe was taken over by Moorish imperial ambitions.)

    To which I say Charles Martel [Gee, no Hollywood movies about him at Tours in 732, are there].

    Also the Siege of Vienna (1529) and Kahlen Berge (1683) [also nada on these from Hollywood].

    • FlyingMike

      Aaaaand WP kicked my link-free post, to which this is a reply, to moderation – It can no longer be denied that WP delenda est.

    • Sabaton might have songs about them, though. I’m not a fan of rock…but for them, I’ll make an exception.

      • love their new colab with Time Ghost for Sabaton History on the Tube of You

      • So far the only song they have about Christians vs. Muslims is “Winged Hussars,” which is about the 1683 Siege of Vienna.
        You might potentially count “In the Name of God” as well, though that’s more of a contemporary piece.

    • Jeff Greason

      “Good intentions are no substitute for knowing how a buzz saw works, Ira; the worst criminals in history have been loaded with good intentions.” Lazarus Long (Robert A. Heinlein)

    • “Day of the Siege” is quite good. But, yes, not from the Holy Weird people. (Polish and Italian.)

  23. The sad part is that women DID play a role. Often behind the scenes, but I suspect a complete diplomatic history would find women providing a significant amount of the back-channel communications. And espionage. Peacemaking…or agitating for war. The history of duelling is packed with incidents of people encouraging an encounter that should rightly have been avoided.

    Not to mention the all-important “Why We Fight” role. NO man wants to look weak or cowardly in front of the ladies.

    WRT the “warrior women”, it’s a complete farce. Totally unrealistic.

    • Yes, but women power has never been mainly physical.

      • When the queen in chess gained the modern move, it was known as “queen’s chess” or “mad chess.” And it was in early modern times.

        • A thought about a possible variant chess rule set:

          Give the king the ability to move in the way the queen currently does, and rename the piece that currently moves the way the king does “the adviser.”

          The adviser would be flexible but weak; the king could have a decisive effect on the battlefield, at the risk of losing all.

  24. “Mind you, it is normal for human civilizations to do this. Utterly normal. But it isn’t healthy.”

    Such is the problem with the entire mental health community in America, or any other place that uses the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). They equate the entire range of behaviors as normal in many cases, yet fail to discern that the ends of the range are unhealthy to either the individuals themselves, or society as a whole.

  25. Also, I never really believed in “the end of history”. It was blazingly obvious over a decade ago that the Chinese were on the move…in the direction of Wilhelmine Germany prior to 1914.

    The American Unipolar Era is drawing to a close. Welcome back to great power politics. Better enlarge the Navy.

  26. It starts with taking over the schools and making most people incompetent to read anything more complex than a bill (and even that.)

    This was the problem with the whole concept of “America is trying to get an empire” theory I’ve had, especially the way it was being …preached, or at the very least, implied, while I was in college.

    I pointed out that it was the Americans, not the Spanish, who gave my people more education than just ‘the ability to read the Bible, and often the friars didn’t even do that, teaching ‘because I said so’ since the Franciscans were dominant and the Jesuits were fringe; bit hard to control people who can understand what you’re saying. Some-notably, my socialist teacher- argued that it was so we’d favor Capitalism over Communism, and that was a form of ‘control’, and I noted that the Communists were more controlling than the Capitalists, and I’d seen it up close and personal (they couldn’t really argue that and sulked; the students, my fellow classmates, listened.)

    There is a sort of nihilism, weirdly combined with an egomania in declaring ‘the end of history.’ It’s the same as claim of seeing the end times, I found, because human lifespans are short, and we’re unlikely to see the theorized energy-and-matter end of the universe.

    • I suspect China would be a lot more cautious with their South China Sea misadventures if the Philipines were still part of the US…

      • Jeff Greason

        One of the serious diplomatic venues involved in the next ten years is going to be the Phillipines. They have some domestic politics going on that are somewhat torn between “It’s popular in some circles to pose as Anti-American” and “Hey, wait, the Chinese are an actual threat and actually taking over our stuff”. I would not be a bit surprised to see a turn in Phillipine politics back towards the U.S. as that dynamic works out.

        • Duterte seems to be bouncing back and forth between both positions, which I suspect is cause for concern. He knows China’s closer, and appears to want to make nice with them. But he also has apparently been informed by the Chinese government that no, the Philippines will not get to keep access to its islands in the region even if it abandons the US for China.

        • I’ve heard there was a time when there were a lot of South Korean demonstrations against American presence — right up to the moment when the American negotiator said sure we can consider that.

          • I think people here have mentioned the same about when the US military decided to leave Subic Bay and Clark Air Base.

          • Sounds like when various folks in (West?) Germany said they wanted the US bases to go… and Poland spoke up, “We’ll take them!” … and then someone ran the economic numbers and… well, there we still are.

            • Kinda sorta: The thing is, the Germans did run the numbers and change their minds about being so vocal, but there’s now an institutional bias towards bashing the Ami’s that they can’t quite shake. Plus the big-footprint US Army Armor presence has been gone for a while – now it is mainly the big hospital complex at Ramstein, and as the stuff in the middle east winds down there will be fewer medical evacuations to handle.

              On the other hand Poland would be ecstatic if one of the old cold-war-scale US Army Armored Brigade bases was set up there, with a strong in-situ cadre plus prepositioned equipment for a REFORGER-scale (REFORPOL?) mass reinforcement strategy in case The Shirtless Tsar comes calling.

              • TheOtherSean

                Or to provide a strong defense while Poland resolves the Germany problem for us? 😛

                • The problem of actual Germans appears to be self-resolving given German birth rates.

                  The problem of the people the Germans are importing to replace themselves, not so much.

      • Maybe. (Maybe you’d also actually have 58 states, haha) But honestly, that would’ve required being stricter about the Spratleys and countering China’s pushes into the ocean before I was born, a stronger military, and a lot less hate for the concept.

        Also, the Philippines should have always had a strong military of it’s own, but I’ll blame anti-military Leftists for that, and this desire to not ‘anger’ the stronger nations of increasing military strength without the backing of a strong economy.

        https://www.news.com.au/technology/innovation/military/china-denies-targeting-australia-with-lasers-in-south-china-sea/news-story/4205c1e5b6fce92b25e61f682090dc59

        China maintains a robust maritime militia in the South China Sea composed of fishing vessels equipped to carry out missions just short of combat.

        China claims the strategic waterway virtually in its entirety and is sensitive to all foreign naval action in the area, especially by the US and allies such as Australia.

        Similar incidents involving lasers and the Chinese military have also been reported as far away as Djibouti, where the US and China have bases.

        Last year, the US complained to China after lasers were directed at aircraft in the Horn of Africa nation that resulted in minor injuries to two American pilots.

        China denied that its forces targeted the US military aircraft. Graham wrote that bridge-to-bridge communications with the Chinese during the voyage were courteous, but that the Chinese requested the Australian warships to notify them in advance of any corrections to their course, something the Australian navy was “not about to concede while exercising its high-seas freedoms”

        China has clearly not been demilitarizing, quite the contrary, it’s been expanding it’s access to resources while giving it’s population of young men something to do. It’s something of a win/win. China’s playing the long game of expand, conquer and keep, and has been for decades; I reckon that the Philippines will become, eventually, Chinese territory (and I’m sure there are leftists out there that would be fine with that because ‘not evil capitalist America rawr’, the flaming idiots) because I actually think the single-six-year term for presidency accomplishes nothing if the next president is unwilling to carry on the previous presidents’ plans or reforms, and we cycle through competence versus corruption each election time.

        And I don’t think that Taiwan legalizing same sex marriage is going to do it any good in the long run: China may just use it as an excuse to ‘rescue them from themselves’, given how destructive they would likely see how the acceptance of homosexuality has gone in the West, but we’ll see how it plays out.

        • 60, you skipped Hawaii and Alaska again (~_^)

        • Did your* military get more or less support after ….gads, I barely remember enough details to be halfway useful… during the big joint exercises between 04 and 07, one of your teams walked right into the middle of a terrorist drug-deal and actually shot back.

          They were better aims than the guys trying to kill them, but one of the guys turned out to be some sort of official……

          * PI, not Aussie, you’ve just got more claim on them than I.

          • The rumor mill has indicated that there was a lot of SOF support that went to the PI after 9/11 that never really made the news to help stamp down what was looking like a budding franchise branch of AQ in the south.

            If you take that as true, a lot of the grumpiness that led to Duterte being what seemed from a distance like a bit of a loon regarding the US was actually a reaction to that unpublicized US assistance raising local hackles.

            • Oh, that franchise is still there.

              Pisses the heck out of the non-member locals, too.

              #politics

            • You mean against MILF? (People always laugh when they hear about that group for the first time…) We were providing assistance against them for a while. But last I’d heard was that they were playing nice in a semi-autonomous area.

              • Chrismouse

                Abu Sayyaf Group. And a little bit of Jemaah Islamiyah. MILF is a spinoff of MNLF, but both of them were pretty small potatoes (and domestically focused), whereas ASG and JI were transnational. Mindanao was space to train so they could go conduct operations in Malaysia, Indonesia, and elsewhere. Infighting among terrorist groups is perfectly fine, until they take to terrorist attacks as ways to count who’s better/stronger.

          • Macapagal-Arroyo was the President at the time, and I believe she greatly encouraged increased military joint exercises with the US. I don’t remember the specific incident, but given what I remember she probably sided with the military.

            Corrupt officials in the Philippines are nothing new; which is why Duterte actually imposed a crackdown on corruption as part of his administration.

        • There would probably be worse things than having the Philipines as US states. On the other hand, I’ve encountered some pretty strong anti-US sentiment based around what happened when the US suppressed the armed independence stuff. And that might have gotten worse if the islands hadn’t gotten their independence.

          You’ve also got the possibility that the islands would end up like Puerto Rico – i.e. a permanently poor, corrupt territory with Marxist terrorists murdering people in the mainland US in “support” of independence.

          • Oh yeah, I was just talking to a friend in the US about how I blame the Philippine lefties for a lot of how the Philippines is now. Lefties have a strong anti-US / Western Civ sentiment, full stop anyway.

            Re: the anti-US sentiment after suppression of armed independence rebellion: looking back at it as a historian, I can’t really condemn the US about that too much. They were the power that governed over the Philippines at the time, and is obligated to suppress armed rebellions the way any state is obliged to do in order to maintain law, integrity of government and order, especially as it was part of an American commonwealth. The Philippines was going to get it’s independence eventually; a lot of people wanted it ‘naaaaooooowwww’ – but then World War II happened.

            Whether or not the Philippines as a nation has succeeded in governing itself well, independently, I’ll leave up to the opinion of the observer. I hold the rather unpopular view of ‘stop bloody navel gazing and whining and improve, you’ve had since WW2 to sort crap out.’ There’s SOME validity to the accusation that the Philippines didn’t get anywhere near as much support post WW2 from America the way Japan and Germany did; but apparently for Filipinos who fought beside American soldiers in WW2, and their family/children, they could claim American citizenship (or so I was told, because my grandfather was supposedly entitled to claim it if he so wished.) But I’m also of the ‘raised-eyebrow’ criticism on the front of ‘but we didn’t get enough help’ with the response of ‘They died defending us, next to us, and at the same time you lot wanted them gone, make up your minds.’ (I have a lot of irritation for wailing about past wrongs decades after the event to justify ‘why we suck.’)

            Sure, we could’ve ended up like Puerto Rico, thanks to corruption; but I’m not sure that the years that followed our independence were really too much different in outcome.

            I mean, we still have Marxist terrorists of our own (now strongly allied with the Islamic ‘separatists) murdering people in an ‘endless revolution against the Philippine government to establish their own autonomous region/s’ so that’s still the same.

            Or we could’ve ended up a lot like Guam and Hawaii instead. Which would’ve been interesting.

            Anyway. Huge rant, which summarizes a great deal of my ‘what were you DOING?!’ to my fellow historical Filipinos.

            • Chrismouse

              Lot of Filipinos still take advantage of the historic relationship to move to the US and join the military, too. A lot a lot.

              Carefully does not look at the number of Filipinos at her command. Not all of whom are in the supply rates, either. Fire controlmen, damage controlmen, information technology specialists…

            • Sorry –

              I meant that the anti-US sentiment itself might have gotten worse among those inclined to lean that way. Independence likely provided an excuse for some of those who were still feeling aggrieved about what had happened at the start of the century, allowing them to put some of those feelings to rest and stop dwelling on it.

    • America: World Geeks.

      “Check out this cool nifty shiny toy we have!”

    • if the United States were trying to acquire an empire, we’d be collecting tribute. And my taxes make it clear we aren’t.

      Now, the Chinese term “American hegemon”…is precisely correct. We ARE a trade and cultural imperium. (I suspect this is one reason the Europeans are twitchy. We conquered the world with Mickey D’s and Mickey Mouse. Humiliating.)

  27. FlyingMike

    The End of History

    At the time I took it as pure hubris, along the lines of “All that stuff that happened before is no longer of any relevance, as we are now the New Humans, in the New Human Era, with only New Human Rules to bind us, and then only those which we choose to observe”, so basically just like the French Revolution, proclaiming a new calendar, renaming the days of the week, and counting forward from zero.

    Frankly I was thinking the guillotine or modern equivalent would not be far behind. I’m happy to have been wrong there – so far.

    • TheOtherSean

      Though that would be one way to cleanse the west of the scourge of progressivism, I hope it doesn’t come to that.

    • I just thought it was nonesense. I was an AF Intel officer when the USSR fell and figured 20 years tops for the Russians to recover and revert to pre-communist imperial/paranoid driven expansionism.

      Being stationed in the Pacific gave me an appreciation on PRC ambitions. Seeing near real time reports on the Tienamin Square massacre did not give me the warm fuzzies about the Butchering Barbarians of Beijing.

      Interesting times and hard history coming.

      • I figured maybe ten years until there would be Russians and Americans fighting Russians and Chinese.

        Fortunately I was wrong…

      • Seeing near real time reports on the Tienamin Square massacre …

        You must be mistaken. NOTHING happened in Tienamin Square. There’s nothing to see there. Move along and watch your mouth.

        • Chrismouse

          We’re pretry close to nothing’s thirtieth birthday…

          • …and the Han Imperium in Beijing is very much aware of that date.

            • Chrismouse

              Yup. That’s why they’re all “And no rare earrhs for you!” And “you will regret this trade war!”. Because it allows them to spin up their people, so any external commemorations can be dismissed as attempts to “contain China’s rise”.

              • Remember: reports of declining diesel consumption do not indicate a faltering economy!

                Chart of the day: China diesel consumption vs rail use
                Contrary to the simplistic assumption that falling diesel consumption is a sign of a slowing Chinese economy, it is merely a sign of a more efficient one
                By DAVID P. GOLDMAN
                China’s economy is becoming more efficient, shifting away from costly (and polluting) diesel fuel to more energy-efficient and cleaner railways and natural-gas-powered trucks. The notion that the tariff war might have caused diesel demand to drop in China is silly. Only 5% of China’s manufacturing is sold to the US, and most of that is consumer electronics and similar goods with a very low ratio of weight to value.

                Excerpt from Washington is wrong about China’s economy

        • We have always been at war with Eastasia

          • FlyingMike

            Which also applies to the diesel consumption story that RES quoted – “Oh, no, you have it all wrong…”

  28. Christopher M. Chupik

    You saw the latest Robin Hood movie? My condolences. My own hopes were not that high to start with, but I lost it completely when a friend mentioned the draft notice for the Third Crusade. That’s so wrong it’s not even in the same dimension as right.

    True story: our library got the Blu-Ray for that movie as a donation a week after it came out. That’s an all-time record.

  29. Jeff Greason

    No, Rathbone was not Olympic level (or at least never chose to compete there), I do recall him being a British Army fencing champion but I’m not certain of that.

    • I found a reference to him being two-time Army champion but not from an authoritative (or even semi-authoritative — I’m looking at you, Wiki) source. IMDb says he was:
      0 – Best known for his fencing skills as the greatest swordsman in Hollywood history
      0 – British Army Fencing Champion.

      Of course, it also claims “He is credited with creating the definitive screen interpretation of Sherlock Holmes, his only rival generally conceded to be Jeremy Brett’s interpretation of the fictional detective,” so there’s that.

      • The definitive actor for Sherlock Holmes was William Gillette. On account of being an influence on Doyle.

  30. Margaret Ball

    OT, but title/author of the book connecting the mess in the Middle East with the fall of Rome?

    • I’m trying to remember. It’s an exploration about the real existence of Mohamed and Mecca. My kindle has been acting up or I’d look it up.

      • I recall a scholarly book coming out a year or two ago (or ten, the way my memory telescopes things lately) casting doubt on the historicity of Mohammed, but Mecca is not in doubt, surely?

        • yes. it is. Apparently the current city not only isn’t old enough to be the Mecca mentioned, but all the features are wrong.

          • That would be… odd…

            How exactly would you go about losing track of a holy city that belongs to the religion that’s had control of that region the entire time?

            • well, several things: the religion seems to have started elsewhere and then the region now calling itself Mecca claimed it is one of them. And plausible.

              • I saw an article recently contending that one way to explain some of the very, very odd things that the moon-godlet-Q-book says is to recognize much of it was translated from another language, the result of it actually being based largely on a completely different Christian book by an Aramaic-speaking sect that was hijacked wholesale and revised.

                Since orthodoxy insists it was in fact dictated in a cave in Arabic, this is not permitted to be said, under threat of beheading by the religion of peace cult of submission.

                • The fun thing is that the root of the term “Koran” is the Syrian term “lectionary” — a collection of readings excerpted from something larger. Also, many of the mysterious terms appear to be from Syrian.

            • crawford421

              There were multiple cities called “Babylon”, as it was something more like a title than a name, so the possibility of “Mecca” changing isn’t that surprising.

              • TheOtherSean

                Alas…

              • snelson134

                There’s also the possibility that it was destroyed and rebuilt; the Prophet’s return from Medina wasn’t peaceful. See also: Troy.

                • I recently read somewhere, that I don’t remember now (brain like a steel sieve), that Mecca and Medina were sacked in the 8th or 9th century by a Islamic cult that was trying to bring about the end of days.

          • I’ve heard claims that the qibla was originally different, though I am certain neither of the accuracy of the claim nor of the accuracy of their ability to determine directions at the time.

        • Mecca-as-a-huge-center, it seems, does lack documentation.

          How much of that is a matter of records making it down, given that there was that one guy who destroyed the Muslim version of the gnostic gospels…..

          • Yes, but there were orthodox records of trade with the region too.
            Actually things in the past tend to be better documented than we’d think. If you ever want to seem spit up pea-soup while my head goes around 3 times tell me we have insufficient records of Shakespeare, one of the best documented people in history. (Rolls eyes.)

            • I think that is usually mentioned as something like “the strange lack of Roman trade records” or something like that?

              • yeah. Look, I read it a little while back, but the CONTENTION is that a city of that size wouldn’t just appear over night.

                • My research consists of second hand hearing and being in the same room a Prime docu was on, but I really like the “it was a pirate town” option. ^.^

            • tell me we have insufficient records of Shakespeare

              Doesn’t it depend on the definition of “insufficient” and “records”?

              It isn’t as if we have film of him, right? Frankly, if we had sufficient documentation people wouldn’t be able to deny who he was, right?

              Never underestimate the ability of the willfully ignorant to deny evident facts.

          • elainethomp

            responding to Foxfier
            “Mecca-as-a-huge-center, it seems, does lack documentation.
            How much of that is a matter of records making it down, given that there was that one guy who destroyed the Muslim version of the gnostic gospels…..”

            The Townsend book goes into that, and cross references to trade information from all activies before Mecca/Islam. There’s NOTHING anywhere. Trade routes are very well known and Mecca is not on any of them.

    • It finally occurred to me I could search my digital order history — derp — and the book is The Mecca Mystery: Probing the Black Hole at the Heart of Muslim History by Peter Townsend

  31. Why are they trying to create/”revise” female characters when there are so many inspirations of actual historical women that are worth the effort?

    Is it because many of them have been and can be “traditionally” female?

    Or just that they didn’t hate men enough?

  32. of course they believe this way Sarah. they take it all on faith, because Marxism is their religion.

    (maybe if we say that often enough they will recoil in horror because EWWW RELIGION!!!)

  33. It’s the end of History,
    the start of You and Yours
    It’s inside astrophysics and
    and we’ll ask it, of course.

  34. For those looking for a better search engine:
    https://gibiru.com/

    I’ve been getting pretty good results with this one. Seems to be basically a giant, living ad for a VPN service and the first five-ten results are usually ads marked as ads and occasionally useful ads, but the important thing is THEY DON’T TRY TO HELP ME.

    It would’ve taken me half an hour of fiddling to get the results I got for the Mecca thing up above, and I got both links in three searches with jibberish thingie.