Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Luk√°cs

Friday, December 01, 2006

Surely shome mistake?

The current edition of Private Eye - with the front cover 'Blair Admits Iraq Disaster' ('David Frost: 'You've just told the truth!' Blair: 'It was a slip of the tongue') - is quality. I don't buy it every week - and sometimes you feel ripped off, but occasionally there is an issue which is so anti-war and anti-capitalist that it feels like a true defender of the people against the ruling class. For example, there is a nice little satire on Orwell's 1984 (revised 2006 Edition):

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Winston Smith, his chin nuzzled into his breast in an effort to escape the vile wind, slipped quickly through the glass doors of Victory Mansions, though not quickly enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dust from entering along with him.
Inside the flat a fruity voice was reading out a list of figures which had something to do with the Government's endless war on terror. The voice came from an oblong metal plaque like a dulled mirror which formed part of the surface of the right-hand wall.
"Our war on terror to defeat Syria and Iran is at an end.
"Our war on terror with our partners Syria and Iran has just begun"...

Yet there was another little story which caught my eye, 'Nursery Times':

'Small Boy Arrested as Emperor Opens Parliament'
By Hans Muslim Andersen.'

A small boy who shouted at the Emperor during yesterday's ceremonial opening of Parliament was arrested and charged with offences under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.


As the Emperor Tony I proceeded toward the Grand Imperial Council Chamber, winning admiration from all present for the magnificence of his new suit, spun by the tailors Campbell and Manderson, the small boy, whose name cannot be revealed for security reasons, shouted out, "Look, everyone, the Emperor hasn't got any policies." (Surely 'clothes'? Ed.)

Doesn't Suit You, Sir

Immediately the Emperor's security guards jumped on the small boy and charged him with the new offence of Threatening-The-Security-Of-The-Realm-By-Making-Comments-Critical-Of-The-Emperor-Within-2-Kilometres-Of-The-Council-Chamber-When-He-Is-Not-Wearing-Any-Clothes.'

This is clearly amusing, but parts of it did seem a little familiar to me. Back in July, my (admittedly less witty) effort in this vein The Emperor's New Sweater ended in a remarkably similar fashion: Those in the crowd that day who had shouted out the truth were later detained under the new anti-terrorism legislation. The boy was taken off to the appropriately titled 'Camp X-ray' where he was tortured, and remains detained there without a trial to this day... I am not sure what, if any conclusions, to draw from this other than Hans Christian Anderson had a talent for pricking the pomposity of the powerful - and doing so in a way which retains relevance over 150 odd years on.



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