ITV’s Victoria Is Silly, Facile and Irresponsible – I Blame the Feminisation of Culture

Taking the odd liberty with the facts is one thing but doing so with such brazen shamelessness feels like one giant upraised middle finger to those of us who value history.

Did you know that Queen Victoria might never have married Prince Albert had it not been for an amazing stroke of luck on a woodland walk in Windsor Great Park, involving the queen’s beloved spaniel Dash.

Dash, as good fortune would have it, managed to break his leg on a handy knife that someone had left lying around. And the hitherto remote and stuffy German princeling, carelessly ripping yet another of his shirts (the second in about a week) to create a makeshift bandage, splinted Dash’s leg with such tender care that flighty Emma knew at once that cold, disapproving Mr Knightley was the man for her.

And that, I’m afraid, is why I’m not going to be watching another minute of this silly, facile, irresponsible series. Yes, of course I see why Victoria (ITV, Sunday) continues to do so well in the ratings, pulling in a very respectable 5.2 million viewers. Jenna Coleman looks gorgeous (more so than the dumpy Victoria ever did); Rufus Sewell smoulders so tastefully as Lord M he makes Cap’n Poldark look like a dirty old tramp; and, lawks a mercy, what characters they all are below stairs. But the problem is, it’s all made up bollocks, isn’t it?

Making stuff up seems perfectly reasonable when it’s fiction: Poldark can do whatever he likes within the vague realm of plausibility, because he never existed. But when you’re dealing with the life of an historical character, especially one as relatively recent and well documented as Queen Victoria, I think you owe it to your audience to cleave as close as you reasonably can to the known biographical facts.

Rats, for example. There was almost certainly never a moment in young Queen Victoria’s life when she was frightened into hysteria by vermin suddenly materialising on a giant cake, thus causing onlookers to speculate that she might have inherited the Madness of George III. Nor, I don’t think, was there an occasion where her favourite maidservant stole jewellery in order to satisfy the needs of an audience which still hasn’t quite got over the demise of Downton Abbey.

There are a lot of viewers, I’m sure, who appreciate this fluffy escapism and who would not enjoy Lord Melbourne nearly so much if he were shown as he really was — a portly gent in his late fifties, 40 years Victoria’s senior; very much a father figure — rather than, as Sewell portrays him, twinkling with but barely sublimated desire.

Read the rest in the Spectator.

US Professor Discovers the Reason for Islamic State: Climate Change, Apparently

A New York professor has discovered the real reason for the rise and rise of Islamic State in Syria and Iraq: not Islamist fundamentalism, death-cult nihilism or regional power struggles but climate change.

Charles B Strozier, Professor of History at the City University of New York, enlarges on his fascinating thesis at the Huffington Post.

While ISIS threatens brutal violence against all who dissent from its harsh ideology, climate change menaces communities (less maliciously) with increasingly extreme weather. Most of us perceive these threats as unrelated. We recycle water bottles and buy local produce to keep the earth livable for our children — not to ward off terrorists. Yet environmental stressors and political violence are connected in surprising ways, sparking questions about collective behavior. If more Americans knew how glacial melt contributes to catastrophic weather in Afghanistan — potentially strengthening the Taliban and imperiling Afghan girls who want to attend school — would we drive more hybrids and use millions fewer plastic bags? How would elections and legislation be influenced?

As evidence for this novel theory, Professor Strozier – with help from one Kelly A Berkell, attorney and research associate at the Center on Terrorism at John Jay College of Criminal Justice – cites the four-year drought which ravaged Syria from 2006 to 2010, setting off a “dire humanitarian crisis for millions of Syrians”.

He argues:

Drought did not singlehandedly spawn the Syrian uprising, but it stoked simmering anger at Assad’s dictatorship. This frustration further destabilized Syria and carved out a space in which ISIS would thrive.

It is, apparently, a matter of some concern to the professor that this truth is not more widely recognised.

The connection between climate change and conflict continues to evade mainstream recognition, despite reports by think tanks, academics and even military experts. A leading panel of retired generals and admirals, the CNA Corporation Military Advisory Board, recently labeled the impacts of climate change “catalysts for conflict” in vulnerable regions. The Pentagon concluded similarly in this year’s Quadrennial Defense Review that the effects of climate change are “threat multipliers,” enabling terrorism and other violence by aggravating underlying societal problems.

Indeed. We have written about this unlikely alliance between the US military and the climate alarmism industry at Breitbart too. But the conclusions we have drawn on this are not quite as enthusiastic as Professor Strozier’s. Au contraire, the US military’s weird decision to lend its authority (and vast budget) to endorsing the discredited junk science of the warmist establishment is in much the same league of unforgivable irresponsibility and institutional political correctness that made, for example, the Fort Hood massacre possible.

Read the rest at Breitbart London

Related posts:

  1. Why climate science is far too important to be left to pretty boy celebrity physicists like Professor Brian Cox
  2. Islamic State jihadists: once you’ve beheaded someone for fun where do you stop?
  3. Climate Change: an emetic fallacy
  4. Why conservatives shouldn’t ‘believe’ in climate change


History Like It Used to Be

History like it used to be

Because I was taught history properly by my prep-school teacher Mr Bradshaw, my head is full of easily accessible dates which I know I’ll never forget. Obviously, I know Crécy (1346) and Agincourt (1415), but I also know one or two more obscure ones like those of Blenheim, Ramillies, Oudenarde and Malplaquet. This is because of a cunning acronym Brad taught me — a phone number BROM 4689 — which I dare say I remembered mainly because at the time I lived in Bromsgrove.

According to the new history-teaching orthodoxy, of course, dates are an unwelcome imposition on a child’s creative spirit. What matters now is not whether you can remember why, when or by whom great battles were fought, but how well you can empathise with the misery felt by their participants. Not royal or noble participants, obviously, because they’re insufficiently representative of the common man. This is why every Nu Generation history teacher’s favourite war is the Crimean War: because then you get to bring in Mary Seacole.

How do we stop our kids being bored rigid by this turgid PC drivel? How do we rescue them from the even more depressing new orthodoxy, whereby history is to be taught not as an exciting narrative about goodies and baddies shoving red-hot pokers up kings’ bottoms and sailing the seas in ships called Shit Fire, but as a multiplicity of competing viewpoints which render all attempts at objectivity ultimately meaningless?

One option is to drip-feed them at home with excerpts from proper old-school history books like H.E. Marshall’s Our Island Story (republished by Civitas), Ladybird Series 561 classics like King Alfred the Great and Oliver Cromwell, or George Chamier’s more recent When It Happened in Britain. Another is to get them watching the BBC’s Horrible Histories (CBBC). Not that they’ll need much persuasion. If they’re anything like my kids, they’ll be on to it already — probably viewing it on computers via BBC’s iPlayer because that’s how the inheritors of the earth do things these days.

(to read more, click here)

Related posts:

  1. Isn’t Black History Month a bit racist?
  2. Separating myth from reality in a history of the Battle of Britain
  3. Royal Society: doh!
  4. The global economy is collapsing. The solution is not more media studies graduates

4 thoughts on “History like it used to be”

  1. James W says:21st June 2010 at 1:55 pmLooks like a great piece – I shall save reading it in full until I pick up my Speccie.

    Anyway, fully agree, it’s dreadful leftist garbage isn’t it?

    Quite depressing that the left are happy to consign the nation’s fantastic history to, well, history………..all for the sake of wanting kids to know what it was like to go without TV, toothpaste, tetracycline and Toblerones.

    I fucking loath the left.

  2. Herkinderkin says:4th July 2012 at 3:14 amJames, the “”red more, click here” link throws a 404 error..
    1. Eric says:4th July 2012 at 3:21 amIt looks like the problem is on The Spectator site – there are google links to the article, but the article is not showing on Spectator.
      1. Herkinderkin says:4th July 2012 at 4:02 amThanks Eric. I’ll come back to it tomorrow – his subject is dear to my heart. Mrs H and I had to assist in our own children’s primary school education by teaching them basic arithmetic, English, spelling and grammar, as none of those were addressed adequately by the schooling at the time.

        And this is the scary bit – our kids are the same generation as James. Now, HE writes as a concerned parent, so how much worse has it become after another generation of galloping political correctness?

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