David Jones, artist and poet (1895-1974) begins his PREFACE TO THE ANATHEMATA :

'I have made a heap of all that I could find.' (1) So wrote Nennius, or whoever composed the introductory matter to Historia Brittonum. He speaks of an 'inward wound' which was caused by the fear that certain things dear to him 'should be like smoke dissipated'. Further, he says, 'not trusting my own learning, which is none at all, but partly from writings and monuments of the ancient inhabitants of Britain, partly from the annals of the Romans and the chronicles of the sacred fathers, Isidore, Hieronymous, Prosper, Eusebius and from the histories of the Scots and Saxons although our enemies . . . I have lispingly put together this . . . about past transactions, that [this material] might not be trodden under foot'. (2)

(1) The actual words are coacervavi omne quod inveni, and occur in Prologue 2 to the Historia.
(2) Quoted from the translation of Prologue 1. See The Works of Gildas and Nennius, J.A.Giles, London 1841.

03 August 2017

Look, up in the sky! It's a bird, it's a plane, it's...

Michael Fullilove, Executive Director of the Lowy Institute for International Policy, addressed the National Press Club of Australia yesterday. His topic, 'Australia in the Trump era'.

He concluded his speech with this anecdote :

Ladies and gentlemen, I was last in the United States in January. I left just before Mr Trump’s inauguration ceremony.

I’m very fond of America. I admire its energy and its idealism and, for all its flaws, I believe the country does much more good than ill.

I have many friends and colleagues in Washington, which was once my home… and I didn’t want to be there to see what followed.

Because I left town before the twentieth of January I don’t have any first hand information for you on what Sean Spicer memorably described as, “the largest audience ever to witness an inauguration period, both in person and around the globe.

But, I was part of that huge crowd on the National Mall in 2009 for President Obama’s first inauguration. And before the proceedings began in January 2009, I looked up to see a bald eagle, Americas’s national symbol, soaring and swooping over the Capitol dome. And I found this quite affecting, I’m a romantic by nature, and I turned to the stranger sitting next to me and I pointed this out to her.

But she turned out to be a very conservative Republican, and she said to me, “That’s no heavenly sign, that’s a trained eagle that the Obama campaign has put up in the sky to attract positive media attention.

Now, at the time, I found this world view merely disappointing. In retrospect, I see it as pretty disturbing. It was an early case of a new more dangerous strain of partisanship in which Americans are willing to ignore reality if it does not fit with their prejudices.

I was present, I believe, at the first instance of fake news : where I saw an eagle, she saw alternative facts.

And, ladies and gentlemen, this is the world, Trump’s world, in which the United States and Australia must now make our way. 

Thank you


Look, up in the sky! It's a bird, it's a plane, it's...
or rather, we are...
Theatre of the Actors of Regard!

 A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
 someone looks at something...