Monday, May 26, 2008

Ah, England!

For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare...bottom?

This marvellous essay was linked to at Crooks and Liars, via The Vanity Press. It explains the "tory roots" of right wing sex and wog obsession by the modern right wing in the US. Can't say it explains everything, but my favorite part is this passage.

So now Red-State America is in the mood to hear that the whole modern world is a big mistake. That was exactly the argument of Paul Johnson, popular right-wing historian of the Thatcher era. But since he couldn't say outright that the natives were better off when ruled from London, he resorted to literary techniques to make anti-Imperialist heroes like Gandhi into villains in his big Thatcher-era pop history book, Modern Times. Johnson showed Tory writers how to defend the indefensible (imperialism, colonial massacres) using literary devices rather than argument. So although he can't really say outright that everything was better when London ruled India, he devotes a strange amount of space to slandering the sexual practices and toilet habits of Gandhi and the suspect lack of sexual enthusiasm of former U.N. Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold.

Johnson's career as moral enforcer ended in the usual way, when the part-time girlfriend who'd been whipping his bare bottom for years grew tired of listening to Johnson talk about the sanctity of marriage and his love for his wife. She took a page out of Johnson's book by selling her lurid story to the tabloids. Johnson's response was a classic: "We are all sinners. I know I am." By that time, of course, everybody knew.

Read the whole thing, every part is pure gold.