Why I disagree with Alice Smith about “the BLM movement”

Alice Smith tweets:

“The BLM movement is totally different from the BLM organisation.”

Yes, just the same way that the Marxist movement is different from Marxist organisations.

And your point is?

Setting aside that bit of snark at the end, which I only include for completeness (that is the whole tweet), I think Alice Smith is wrong about this. I often do agree with her, which is why I follow her on Twitter, but on this, not.

I think that the “Marxist movement” is a lot more similar to “Marxist organisations” than the “BLM movement” is to BLM.

For instance, before they embark upon a test match, England’s cricketers and their test match opponents this summer have together been “taking the knee”. That makes them, in their way, part of the “Black Lives Matter movement”. I know why they’ve been doing this. They’re saying that back lives matter. They are saying that, what with cricket being very multi-racial and multi-cultural, everyone should be treated with respect, there should be no racial insults, etc. etc. And the world in general ought be like that too. It may be a bit virtue-signally, but they really are signalling actual virtues by doing this. Which is why I do not object.

If, on the other hand, I thought that by kneeling thus, these cricketers had been signalling their approval for the demolition of Western Civilisation and its replacement by tyrannical barbarism, which is what BLM, the organisation, believes in and is doing everything it can to bring about, I’d be angry. But if these cricketers thought that that was what taking the knee actually meant, or what the rest of us watching this on our televisions also thought it meant, they’d not be doing it.

Insofar as the BLM organisation actually succeeds in convincing us all that taking the knee does indeed mean favouring the destruction of Western Civilisation, then the practise will become confined to those groups of people who actually believe in the destruction of Western Civilisation. My understanding is that this is happening, somewhat, in America, which is why taking the knee is now losing some of its appeal. But it is not happening, or has not yet happened very much, in Britain.

Nathan Law versus the ChiComs

I remain totally pessimistic about Hong Kong winning in the short run, i.e. not being crushed by the ChiComs. If HongKongers want to get back at the ChiComs, then they must unite with all the other enemies of the ChiComs, and defeat ChiCom rule not just in Hong Kong, but in China as a whole. That’s the only way they’ll ever get their version of Hong Kong back.

What this man …:

… is doing tells me that this process is now getting cranked up. However, Newsweek’s piece has an error in its headline. They say he is opposing “China”. Wrong. He is opposing the ChiComs, on behalf of Hong Kong and on behalf of China.

Nathan Law now operates in London. Good for London.

I am now following Nathan Law on Twitter.

I have a Leader. Not necessarily The Leader, you understand. But A Leader. Someone to follow. Maybe I’ll find a better leader in the future, but meanwhile, he’ll do.

Look back along Hobart Place at roof clutter – and …

A few days ago, I walked beyond the top end of Victoria, beyond Victoria Station, at the top end of Grosvenor Gardens, and I saw this:

But it was getting dark when I first photoed the above scene, so this afternoon I went back, to see if I could do better. And I think I did. Roof clutter plus The Wheel. I love roof clutter, and I love to photo The Wheel in unobvious ways, that being a view of The Wheel that no longer exists. So The Wheel, only just visible above some roof clutter. Just the thing.

While searching out the exact best spot to photo photos like that one, I moved in the opposite direction of The Wheel, so as to see more of The Wheel. I found myself in a place. A place called Hobart Place. And looking back along Hobart Place, I not only got the above photo, but also discovered another view, which I had not been expecting:

Not so long ago you could see the Shard from just outside Victoria Station, looking down Victoria Street, but those days are now gone, with the new office blocks that have been built on the right side of Victoria Street looking down it, just past Strutton Ground. But it turns out that you can see the Shard from Hobart Place. For the time being, anyway.

The top of the Shard is a bit of a muddle, but it is a very recognisable muddle.

Here’s a photo I took which combines both the above views:

I should probably have another go at that one. But, you can just about make out those two Big Things, above all the stuff in the foreground. What that big grey building in the middle with the particularly excellent roof clutter, I do not know. Should be easy enough to find out, if I really want to.

In the second of the above photos, the one with the Shard in it, you can also see the rainbow flag featured in the first of these three photos, the one of the top of 55 Broadway. I promise nothing, but that’s a building that deserves a posting of its own.

Patrick Crozier and I talk about French military disappointments (and so does Antoine Clarke)

These disappointments happened in 1870, 1914, 1917, 1940, 1944(?) and 1954. We don’t talk about them in chronological order, because we started with 1914, which was the failed French Ardennes offensive, right at the start of World War 1. But events in all of those years get a mention.

Listen to our conversation here, where there is also lots of further detail from Patrick. Under where it says “Notes” there are 20 items of relevant information, any one of which could have been expanded into a decent blog posting in its own right.

But hello, what’s this? It’s a conversation between Patrick and our mutual friend Antoine Clarke, whom Patrick and I mentioned in our conversation, several times. This was recorded nearly a decade ago. Not having heard it before, I listened to it last night, further delaying me in putting up this posting.

My main reaction to what Antoine said is that, clearly, what I said about how the French “self image” switched, in Parisian artistic circles, from warmonger to peacenik, took its time spreading to the rest of the country. Antoine talks vividly about his ancestors telling their children that the reason they were born was to get Alsace-Lorraine back from the Germans. Also, he said fascinating things about reparations. French had to pay reparations to get the Germans out of France after the 1870 disaster. And they paid the lot, and the Germans left, far quicker than had been expected. Everyone chipped in voluntarily. I knew none of this.

In general, I think that following our chat about Lockdown, Patrick and I showed a return to form, assuming I’m allowed to say that. Maybe you’ll think better of our Lockdown chat than I do, but for me the trouble with that was that all I recall us doing was expressing our own opinions, much as anyone listening could have done for himself. But people listening need to be told at least some things they didn’t already know, just like Antoine does in his talk with Patrick, for instance with all that stuff about reparations that I knew nothing about. At least, when we talked about France, Patrick and I had read interesting books which people listening might not have read. Patrick had been reading this book, and I’d been reading this book. (I copied both those links from Patrick’s Notes.) That may not be anything like an eyewitness account following one of us having been present as a small child at Dien Bien Phu, or a great uncle reminiscing about bombing French civilians following the D-Day landings. But it is something.

Nelson with scaffolding

Another photo of Nelson, done by me yesterday …:

… to add to these two. As reported earlier here, one of those two photos found its way onto the Nelson sculptor’s own website.

I doubt Lesley Pover will want this latest photo, because scaffolding. But I like it. Because scaffolding.

I like Trump because of his vices

This guy, Shmuel Klatzkin, almost says why I so like the Trump Presidency:

But I think it will become clearer that the only antidote to the clever dishonesty of the Obama years was the blunt, bulldozing, free-talking, bragging Trump. For all his many faults, he has kept the most basic faith between the electorate and an elected leader — he tells the people what he means to do, and then he does it.

The point is that only blunt bulldozing would have sufficed. Where it says “for all his many faults”, it should have said something more like “because of his virtues and because of his faults …”. Trump is operating at a time when “virtue” would have rendered him utterly ineffective. Trump would either come out swinging and yelling and bragging. Or, he’d fail. Klatzkin said all that, but then, when it came to summarising his piece, he missed the nail and hit timber.

I recall writing a piece for Samizdata not long after Trump was elected, in which I expressed the hope that he would not stop tweeting. I hoped he would not turn over a new leaf and become “Presidential”. He has not turned over that new leaf. Good. It was essential that he did not.

England v Pakistan: No spectators and all the time in the world

The first test match between England and Pakistan could be a terrible disappointment, for England fan me. But, as I write this now, it could get special. England are chasing 277, I think it is, in the fourth innings. Pakistan got a first innings lead of over a hundred, but then got bowled out for only 169, so England appear to have a chance. It’s the morning of the fourth day now, so England have two days to get those runs. Nobody is at the ground watching, other than the players not out on the pitch and the ground staff and the TV and radio commentators. But it turns out that mere spectators at the ground aren’t necessary for test cricket to be thoroughly absorbing. Test cricket can be played in front of a live studio audience. But if it isn’t, nothing important seems to change.

Basically, if England start losing wickets now, as they well might according to what I’m hearing about plays and misses, then Pakistan will surely win later today, by quite a lot. If England can somehow hang about until tomorrow, they have a chance.

Oh dear. England one down already.

LATER:

England are nevertheless now hurtling towards their target.

LATER: Three quick wickets. England now four down and sinking fast. Shame. Looks like being all over today. The next LATER in this looks being that.

LATER: Well if you follow the first link at the top of this you will now know what a win this was for England, and with the final day not needed. Following those dots above, England lost a flurry of wickets and were at one point 117-5. But Buttler and Woakes turned it around, first by counter-attacking (that being why the final day was not needed) and then by, well, just batting. Buttler got out before the end, but Woakes stayed to the end.

The weird thing is: It would be logical if both Buttler and Woakes now got dropped. Buttler kept wicket very badly, and his batting has not usually been nearly this good. Woakes might be dropped if Stokes is fit to bowl. Given that Stokes actually did some bowling, he surely will be able to bowl. More likely though is that Buttler will stay, and they’ll hope he keeps better in the future. And Anderson will get dropped. Wibble wibble wibble. What the hell do I know? What a game.

Some more creature tweets

A scary tweet:

The other thing I found out was that the female monarch butterfly has an array of chitinous teeth inside her ‘vagina’ …

Chitinous? Excuse me while I google that. Here we go.

A nitrogen-containing polysaccharide that is a tough, protective, semitransparent substance and is the principal component of arthropod exoskeletons and the cell walls of certain fungi.

A tweet about how They solved a life-threatening problem for this glorious pelican.

A scornful tweet, about how the brother of a lion was also a lion. Or so CNN claimed.

A tweet about a beautiful, very long but only two-door, charger. Which is a creature.

A tweet about Mama monkey making funny faces at baby.

A tweet about what someone joining in the tweeting called a beautiful bird, which means I can include it in this list. What it really is is a huge nuclear bomber airplane called the Convair B-36, which had both propellers and jets to drive it along. It reminds me of those big old sailing ships that also had coal-powered engines:

Anyone know where that photo was taken? It should be recognisable, if you recognise it I mean.

Are you bored with all these creatures tweets? Well then, here, especially for you, is a tweet about a snake yawning.

Olympic mascot fun on the South Bank

We’re talking about “Wenlock”, one of these two.

All I knew about Wenlock and “Mandeville”, at the time, was that I did not approve, because I did not approve of the Olympics. My opinions on other matters determined my aesthetic preferences. But the aftermath of the Olympics was not the anticlimactic waste and squalour in the Olympic part of London that I then feared. So, now? They look like fun. How we humans do love our other creature friends, even when they’re totally made up.

It would appear that they used the same formula as they later did for buses and elephants, and suchlike. Lots and lots of copies, all identical in shape, but each decorated differently. How could I object to that?

Here we see a couple of Wenlocks, on the South Bank, in the Olympic summer of 2012, being photoed with tourists, by tourists. And by me.

There was a Wenlock decorated with an octopus and two fishes (one jelly, one regular), and I daresay with other aquatic creatures:

And there was a Wenlock dressed as Big Ben:

And, as a little image-googling quickly confirmed, many more besides.

I did some cropping to exclude some faces of kids, which meant Wenlock also had one of his faces sliced in half, while still keeping the excellent fifth finger of the left hand of a photoer. The lady waving her arms and legs in the air was making a bit of a public spectacle of herself, and is accordingly fair blogging game.

Still Thames water at the beginning of Lockdown

I think that, on balance, this was the best photo I got yesterday:

But I didn’t photo it yesterday. I couldn’t have. This was taken on April 5th, by Alastair. He showed it to me on his phone, and I said, can I stick it here. No problem.

What we see is the effect of Lockdown when it began, and when it was as tight as they could make it. The point being: no boats moving on the River. So, in the absence of wind, the surface of the Thames is ultra-smooth. Not quite as smooth as an actual mirror, but pretty close. On his phone, I had to take this on trust. But with my clunky old C20–style computer with its big C21 screen attached, I can see it clearly. Wonderful.

It is possible that in the above, April 5th should be read as May 4th, but I don’t believe so. I wish the Anglos could have a conference and agree about the order of month and day of month numbers. 4-5-2020, 5-4-2020? May 4, April 5? I never know which is which. When communicating dates, to myself or to anyone else, I try always to use English for the month, and then it’s clear.

But back to the photo, which was taken with his mobile (a Samsung). But of course. When those things learn to do x25 zoom, I’ll probably stop bothering with a camera type camera myself.