This poem, written in 1919, is prescient of our own era. Back then, socialist ideas were making inroads against civilized society (the Russian Revolution was in 1917) and various utopian and progressive ideas were in vogue in various countries. The Western world was weary of war (Word War One had ended in 1918) and looked for a better tomorrow, usually in the wrong places. What, you may ask, was a copybook? It was an exercise for small schoolboys. At the top of the page, in perfect penmanship, was some wise saying or old maxim. The pupil was to copy the heading repeatedly down the page, imitating the penmanship. In the process he learned to be legible. At the same time he acquired a store of conventional wisdom and learned a bit about spelling and good phrasing as well. A number of things in Kipling's poem are recognizable today because modern progressive ideas are not actually modern, but old tired ideas. The supposedly modern themes of arms control, sexual liberation
Showing posts from February, 2012
- Other Apps
- Other Apps
As I noted previously , there are three particularly important news stories in the present day: the Western debt crisis, rising Islamism in the Mideast and discontent and uncertainty in China. In this morning's news, we have riots in Greece as the government makes some gestures toward cost control, and a report that Iran is prepared to carry out suicide boat attacks in the Persian gulf. The Tibet situation continues to ferment, of course, and has spilled over into parts of Sichuan, and a young nun has burned herself to death. On the other side of China, the village of Wukan is in the process of electing its own officials . You may remember that late last year, Wukan rebelled against what residents perceived as a dishonest land grab by officials. No news reports of discontent, at this time, from points between eastern and western China. That must mean nothing is happening. . . or being reported.