Thursday, January 18, 2007

Chaucer Versus Socialism

Splitters , they have certain characteristics in common , they always believe that they are the holy chalice in which the soul of the mother party rests, and ,they are , to some extent, right.
If you wanted to know what a lot of Conservative activists would privately like , read what a member of UKIP publicly advocates as policy. Similarly, if you want to know what Labour activists really feel ,read the Socialist Worker .
Particularly on the left ,this is the case . UKIP has specific reasons for springing into existence but there is little need for the Socialist Worker Party other than to be Jiminy Cricket to Blair’s Pinocchio …( and yes I am rather pleased with that).
In a time when , for transparently opportunistic reasons, the Lying Scotsman is pretending to care about the Union, it is instructive to see how the Socialist Worker Party feels about the idea of national culture . Follow me , if you will through the looking glass to a topsy turvy land where Gordon Brown is considered too patriotic. It will surprise you not at all that the arena for their mighty Gladiators is “English Literature” and its study . I plucked this from a duffle coated Das Kapital clutching museum exhibit as he stomped of to protest. Or something…..

Its marvellous stuff .First of all how do we leap from political reality to the safe haven of the classroom..
“the kind of rhetoric Gordon Brown and Tony Blair are going in for is supported and sustained by conversations and study in the cultural sphere.”
Well quite, a sense of nation has been brutally imposed on an unwilling people by the iron fist of the NUT , I don`t think , but never mind let us probe a little more deeply.. Why is the teaching of English Literature such a dreadful imposition on the Socialist spirit, . There have been attempts , it appears ,to dilute this cultural poison
,“people will end up with something much less rigid with American, African, Caribbean or post-colonial literature being available. But “….. here`s the rub…,” there remains a problem – the narrative of a national English literature remains intact.”

Catastrophe !

This hysterically myopic piece stamps its foot because Derek Pearson has looked at the cannon of Eng Lit and attempted to find lines of continuity that might be termed an English Character. Naturally Duffle-coat`s first problem is the Power to the People classic . Why is it called English Literature when it includes Scots and Americans and Africans and so on ? Tricky isn`t it …the clue is in the language I feel ,and from then on we are into what used to be called Marxist criticism. This strange phenomena took various artefacts , textual or otherwise and squeezed them under a grubby plank of dogma extracting any political juice they might . The entire exercise is a little perverse but it really is worth it for the entertainment .
Poor Mr. Pearsall has evidently detected qualities such as “Irony , commonsense, geniality and morality.” ( I would add smut) He reckoned without Duffle coat who has noticed many of the characters are …not very nice . Also , and this is typical , there is no evidence that Chaucer was very nice. Poor old Duffle undoubtedly a professional Litter bug and yet he does jot understand the first thing about a work of fiction. It wouldn’t mater if Chaucer were the poisoner of Olde medieval London town. The tales are a construct. There is actually a character gentle Geoffrey who is equally a construct for the purposes of self deprecation and courtly grace notes . We spend lives interpreting the moral framework of the book but Socialist worker operate at this level.” If there is a baddy then the book is advocating badness. “Words do not fail me but I `m trying to crack on so insert sneers , to taste . He goes on to mention that the stories draw heavily on the French tradition and they do . They did not spring into being from a rock ,no . They are developments of what has gone before of course but Chaucer spoke Norman French as did his audience . The primary fact of the book is that he chose to use the previously despised English . Consider the famous lewd Millers tale in which parochialism is used for comic affect.
“ We have a small English University Town , where students lodge in the houses of the townspeople. The girl in question is no damsel but the young pretty discontented wife of an old carpenter…(carry on , you might say).. The cheeks kissed are famously not those of the face.”. The whole tale slyly undercuts the grand opening Knights tale which precedes it. When the story is introduced noone objects , none of the dignitaries but of course the querulous Reeve ,a carpenter ,does …and hence the merry badinage of competitive tale telling begins. “

Well nothing we recognise there then
Now I do not have the space to argue at length to what extent this can be put at the head of English Literature and to me it is so perverse to argue otherwise that it defeats the patience so lets hurry onto Duffle coat’s gripe .
In essence it is that by seeking a continuity between the great English Cannon you exclude new , perhaps immigrant, influence and in any case it is all a big con to fool us into rushing of and killing Muslims for the oil…….gulp.Lastly he bewails that labour have any truck with national culture at all when class should be the true loyalty da de da de dah.

Some another time I will bore you on the bright fresh spring of English writing and how it informs and criticises and “lives” most especially with the English . Today my point is this .Socialists hate this country, and any country . They hate its culture , they deny its culture has value, and they deny the “Dear people of this land “ as the Queen mum called us ,are more that the odds and sods who happen to be sitting here. Housing policy in London is in the hands of Ken Livingston , who might have written this tripe., Gordon Browns support is entirely composed of near relatives . This real poison is in the heart of government
What Brown and his followers think of this county and its proudest achievements is this .


Croydonian said...

Take a bow Mr N. Excellent stuff.

Anonymous said...

I preferred the stuff about nude sunbathing which was rather sexy - ignore Mr Croydonian - he is politically obsessed whilst you will be next Mayor of London.

Newmania said...


Praguetory said...


Croydonian said...

Are you a pair of roadies?

newmnaia said...

Good one C.I seem to be interested in thigs no one else is ...oh well.

David Allen said...

N _ Wonderful piece _ and anything which lauds the Great Chaucer has to be a good thing to a medievalist like me.
C _ nice one!

newmania said...

Thanks David I fear few are interested in repelling the hoardes on this particular field and IT and CU are so much pithier.
Hope to meet up next week C is coming and JT will come along.

A Medievalist ...mmmm I wonder what you mean by that David ..and I `m thinking bad bad thoughts

Anonymous said...

Oh dear - hope I've not been depressing!! I have attention deficit problems which accounts for the fact that I am a failure. Most succesful people are obsesive loonies!! So keep it up!

Gorilla Bananas said...

These socialists sound pretty bad. The closest thing we have to them in the jungle are the parrots. Holier-than-thou fuckers, always running down ape culture and preaching solidarity with the monkeys (their fellow tree-dwellers). If I wanted to be a monkey, I'd grow a fucking tail.

CityUnslicker said...

A very nice concluding paragraph. The driving force behind marxism and socialism is hate and envt. This is why is it such a terrible political philosophy.

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