Monday, January 31, 2011
THE SPITFIRES OF TRANSITION
Within hours of coming home to Great Britain, I encountered a Spitfire. Admittedly it was on TV rather than airborne reality, but World War II aircraft are not too common a sight on US TV unless you’re a total devotee of the History Channel and even there, over the last few years, the focus has largely moved from it’s famous obsession with Adolf Hitler to more modern marvels like logging, ice trucking, and the UFOs of Area 51.
I must make it clear that I have absolutely nothing against the Spitfire. The grand creation of R. J. Mitchell is an all time gorgeous piece of machinery, and may also have saved my generation from a life of goose-stepping fascism. What has taken a certain degree of cultural adaptation is that Brit media appears constantly to be celebrating the finest hours of the nation’s history of which the Spitfire and the Battle of Britain are splendidly visual examples. And this Anglo media love affair with the past is by no means limited to World War II or the 20th century. It seems to encompass everything from the Napoleonic Wars to the Norman Conquest, and frequently stars Sean Bean. Tonight, in the wee hours, I’ll be watching an episode of dramatic bio-series of Oswald Mosley. It’s all jolly good fun, an maybe even faux-educational, but I am left with the distinct feeling that Britain is now a culture that believes it has completed its date with destiny, and retired to a bed of its once-epic former laurels.
Again, I feel a disclaimer coming on. I also have nothing against destiny, history, laurels, or even – under certain circumstances – retirement. I have even taken part in a few forty-years-ago-today BBC shows about the counter culture which I guess are a part of exactly what I’m talking about. My problem is re-acclimating to an environment where history runs long and deep, after dwelling for so long in Southern California where all but a very eccentric few are wholly unbothered and unaware by and of anything that happened prior to a week ago last Tuesday. (Once met a Hollywood movie studio executive who lacked a basic grasp of the films of Clint Eastwood.) I have a feeling I will return to this theme more than once.
John Barry – RIP
Click here for Bond theme
The secret word is Memory
Posted by Mick at 1/31/2011 12:50:00 PM