Hypocritical Cant, Politics, Racism, Satire, Social Justice, The Hearthlands of Darkness

What Is The Purpose of Satire?

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Satire is a genre of literature, and sometimes graphic and performing arts, in which vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, corporations, government or society itself, into improvement.Although satire is usually meant to be humorous, its greater purpose is often constructive social criticism, using wit to draw attention to both particular and wider issues in society.

A feature of satire is strong irony or sarcasm—”in satire, irony is militant”—but parody,burlesque, exaggeration,juxtaposition, comparison, analogy, and double entendre are all frequently used in satirical speech and writing. This “militant” irony or sarcasm often professes to approve of (or at least accept as natural) the very things the satirist wishes to attack.

The word satire comes from the Latin word satur and the subsequent phrase lanx satura. Satur meant “full” but the juxtaposition with lanx shifted the meaning to “miscellany or medley”: the expression lanx satura literally means “a full dish of various kinds of fruits.”

The word satura as used by Quintilian, however, was used to denote only Roman verse satire, a strict genre that imposed hexameter form, a narrower genre than what would be later intended as satire. Quintilian famously said that satura, that is a satire in hexameter verses, was a literary genre of wholly Roman origin (satura tota nostra est). He was aware of and commented on Greek satire, but at the time did not label it as such, although today the origin of satire is considered to be Aristophanes’ Old Comedy. The first critic to use satire in the modern broader sense was Apuleius.

Laughter is not an essential component of satire; in fact there are types of satire that are not meant to be “funny” at all. Conversely, not all humour, even on such topics as politics, religion or art is necessarily “satirical”, even when it uses the satirical tools of irony, parody, and burlesque.

Even light-hearted satire has a serious “after-taste”: the organizers of the Ig Nobel Prize describe this as “first make people laugh, and then make them think”.

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Satire and irony in some cases have been regarded as the most effective source to understand a society, the oldest form of social study. They provide the keenest insights into a group’s collective psyche, reveal its deepest values and tastes, and the society’s structures of power. Some authors have regarded satire as superior to non-comic and non-artistic disciplines like history oranthropology. In a prominent example from ancient Greece, philosopher Plato, when asked by a friend for a book to understand Athenian society, referred him to the plays of Aristophanes.

Historically, satire has satisfied the popular need to debunk and ridicule the leading figures in politics, economy, religion and other prominent realms of power. Satire confronts public discourse and the collective imaginary, playing as a public opinion counterweight to power (be it political, economic, religious, symbolic, or otherwise), by challenging leaders and authorities. For instance, it forces administrations to clarify, amend or establish their policies. Satire’s job is to expose problems and contradictions, and it’s not obligated to solve them. Karl Kraus set in the history of satire a prominent example of a satirist role as confronting public discourse.[19]

For its nature and social role, satire has enjoyed in many societies a special freedom license to mock prominent individuals and institutions. The satiric impulse, and its ritualized expressions, carry out the function of resolving social tension. Institutions like the ritual clowns, by giving expression to the antisocial tendencies, represent a safety valve which reestablishes equilibrium and health in the collective imaginary, which are jeopardized by the repressive aspects of society.

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The state of political satire in a given society reflects the tolerance or intolerance that characterizes it,and the state of civil liberties and human rights. Under totalitarian regimes any criticism of a political system, and especially satire, is suppressed. A typical example is the Soviet Union where the dissidents, such as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Andrei Sakharov were under strong pressure from the government. While satire of everyday life in the USSR was allowed, the most prominent satirist being Arkady Raikin, political satire existed in the form of anecdotes that made fun of Soviet political leaders, especially Brezhnev, famous for his narrow-mindness and love for awards and decorations.

Juvenalian

Juvenalian satire, named for the writings of the Roman satirist Juvenal (late first century – early second century AD), is more contemptuous and abrasive than the Horatian. Juvenal disagreed with the opinions of the public figures and institutions of the Republic and actively attacked them through his literature. “He utilized the satirical tools of exaggeration and parody to make his targets appear monstrous and incompetent” (Podzemny). Juvenal satire follows this same pattern of abrasively ridiculing societal structures. Juvenal also, unlike Horace, attacked public officials and governmental organizations through his satires, regarding their opinions not just as wrong, but as evil.
Following in this tradition, Juvenalian satire addresses perceived social evil through scorn, outrage, and savage ridicule. This form is often pessimistic, characterized by the use of irony, sarcasm, moral indignation and personal invective, with less emphasis on humor. Strongly polarized political satire can often be classified as Juvenalian.
A Juvenal satirist’s goal is generally to provoke some sort of political or societal change because he sees his opponent or object as evil or harmful. A Juvenal satirist mocks “societal structure, power, and civilization” (Thomas) by exaggerating the words or position of his opponent in order to jeopardize their opponent’s reputation and/or power. Jonathan Swift has been established as an author who “borrowed heavily from Juvenal’s techniques in [his critique] of contemporary English society” (Podzemny).

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Ancient Greece

The Greeks had no word for what later would be called “satire”, although the terms cynicism and parody were used. Modern critics call the Greek playwright Aristophanes one of the best known early satirists: his plays are known for their critical political and societal commentary, particularly for the political satire by which he criticized the powerful Cleon (as in The Knights). He is also notable for the persecution he underwent. Aristophanes’ plays turned upon images of filth and disease. His bawdy style was adopted by Greek dramatist-comedian Menander. His early play Drunkenness contains an attack on the politician Callimedon.

The oldest form of satire still in use is the Menippean satire by Menippus of Gadara. His own writings are lost. Examples from his admirers and imitators mix seriousness and mockery in dialogues and present parodies before a background of diatribe. As in the case of Aristophanes plays, menippean satire turned upon images of filth and disease.

Roman world

The first Roman to discuss satire critically was Quintilian, who invented the term to describe the writings of Lucilius. The two most prominent and influential ancient Roman satirists are Horace and Juvenal, who wrote during the early days of the Roman Empire. Other important satirists in ancient Latin are Lucilius and Persius.Satire in their work is much wider than in the modern sense of the word, including fantastic and highly coloured humorous writing with little or no real mocking intent. When Horace criticized Augustus, he used veiled ironic terms. In contrast, Pliny reports that the 6th century BC poet Hipponax wrote satirae that were so cruel that the offended hanged themselves.

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Medieval Europe

Two major satirists of Europe in the Renaissance were Giovanni Boccaccio and François Rabelais. Other examples of Renaissance satire include Till Eulenspiegel, Reynard the Fox, Sebastian Brant’s Narrenschiff (1494), Erasmus’ Moriae Encomium (1509), Thomas More’s Utopia (1516), and Carajicomedia (1519).

Early Modern Western Satire

Pieter Bruegel’s 1568 satirical painting The Blind Leading the Blind.

Direct social commentary via satire returned with a vengeance in the 16th century, when farcical texts such as the works of François Rabelais tackled more serious issues (and incurred the wrath of the crown as a result).

The Elizabethan (i.e. 16th-century English) writers thought of satire as related to the notoriously rude, coarse and sharp satyr play. Elizabethan “satire” (typically in pamphlet form) therefore contains more straightforward abuse than subtle irony. The French Huguenot Isaac Casaubonpointed out in 1605 that satire in the Roman fashion was something altogether more civilised. Casaubon discovered and published Quintilian’s writing and presented the original meaning of the term (satira, not satyr), and the sense of wittiness (reflecting the “dishfull of fruits”) became more important again. 17th-century English satire once again aimed at the “amendment of vices” (Dryden).

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Jonathan Swift was one of the greatest of Anglo-Irish satirists, and one of the first to practise modern journalistic satire. For instance, In his A Modest Proposal Swift suggests that Irish peasants be encouraged to sell their own children as food for the rich, as a solution to the “problem” of poverty. His purpose is of course to attack indifference to the plight of the desperately poor. In his book Gulliver’s Travels he writes about the flaws in human society in general and English society in particular. John Dryden wrote an influential essay entitled “A Discourse Concerning the Original and Progress of Satire” that helped fix the definition of satire in the literary world. His satirical Mac Flecknoe was written in response to a rivalry with Thomas Shadwell and eventually inspired Alexander Pope to write his satirical The Rape of the Lock. Other satirical works by Pope include the Epistle to Dr Arbuthnot.

Alexander Pope b. May 21, 1688 was a satirist known for his Horatian satirist style and translation of the Illiad. Famous throughout and after the long 18th century, Pope died in 1744. Pope, in his The Rape of the Lock, is delicately chiding society in a sly but polished voice by holding up a mirror to the follies and vanities of the upper class. Pope does not actively attack the self-important pomp of the British aristocracy, but rather presents it in such a way that gives the reader a new perspective from which to easily view the actions in the story as foolish and ridiculous. A mockery of the upper class, more delicate and lyrical than brutal, Pope nonetheless is able to effectively illuminate the moral degradation of society to the public. The Rape of the Lock assimilates the masterful qualities of a heroic epic, such as the Iliad, which Pope was translating at the time of writing The Rape of the Lock. However, Pope applied these qualities satirically to a seemingly petty egotistical elitist quarrel to prove his point wryly.

Daniel Defoe pursued a more journalistic type of satire, being famous for his The True-Born Englishman which mocks xenophobic patriotism, and The Shortest-Way with the Dissenters – advocating religious toleration by means of an ironical exaggeration of the highly intolerant attitudes of his time.

The pictorial satire of William Hogarth is a precursor to the development of political cartoons in 18th-century England.The medium developed under the direction of its greatest exponent, James Gillray from London.With his satirical works calling the king (George III), prime ministers and generals (especially Napoleon) to account, Gillray’s wit and keen sense of the ridiculous made him the pre-eminent cartoonist of the era.

Satire in Victorian England

The Force of Example.

A Victorian satirical sketch depicting a gentleman’s donkey race in 1852

Several satiric papers competed for the public’s attention in the Victorian era (1837–1901) and Edwardian period, such as Punch (1841) and Fun (1861).

Novelists such as Charles Dickens often used passages of satiric writing in their treatment of social issues.

In the same period, in the United States, Mark Twain (1835–1910) was a great American satirist: his novel Huckleberry Finn (1884) is set in the antebellum South, where the moral values Twain wishes to promote are completely turned on their heads. His hero, Huck, is a rather simple but goodhearted lad who is ashamed of the “sinful temptation” that leads him to help a runaway slave. In fact his conscience, warped by the distorted moral world he has grown up in, often bothers him most when he is at his best. Ironically, he is prepared to do good, believing it to be wrong.

Twain’s younger contemporary Ambrose Bierce (1842–1913) gained notoriety as a cynic, pessimist and black humorist with his dark, bitterly ironic stories, many set during the American Civil War, which satirized the limitations of human perception and reason. Bierce’s most famous work of satire is probably The Devil’s Dictionary (1906), in which the definitions mock cant, hypocrisy and received wisdom.

20th Century Satire

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Benzino Napaloni and Adenoid Hynkelin The Great Dictator (1940). Chaplin later declared that he would have not made the film if he had known about the concentration camps.

In the United States 1950s, satire was introduced into American stand-up comedy most prominently by Lenny Bruce and Mort Sahl. As they challenged the taboos and conventional wisdom of the time, were ostracized by the mass media establishment as sick comedians. In the same period, Paul Krassner’s magazine The Realist began publication, to become immensely popular during the 1960s and early 1970s among people in the counterculture; it had articles and cartoons that were savage, biting satires of politicians such as Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, the Vietnam War, the Cold War and the War on Drugs. Prominent satiric stand-up comedian George Carlin acknowledged the influence The Realist had in his 1970s conversion to a satiric comedian.

A more humorous brand of satire enjoyed a renaissance in the UK in the early 1960s with the satire boom, led by such luminaries as Peter Cook, Alan Bennett, Jonathan Miller, and Dudley Moore, whose stage show Beyond the Fringe was a hit not only in Britain, but also in the United States. Other significant influences in 1960s British satire include David Frost, Eleanor Bron and the television program That Was The Week That Was.

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Contemporary Satire

Contemporary popular usage of the term “satire” is often very imprecise. While satire often uses caricature and parody, by no means are all uses of these or other humorous devices, satiric. Refer to the careful definition of satire that heads this article.

Satire is used on many UK television programmes, particularly popular panel shows and quiz shows such as Mock the Week (2005) and Have I Got News for You (1990–ongoing). Similarly it is found on radio quiz shows such as The News Quiz (1977–ongoing) and The Now Show (1998–ongoing). One of the most-watched UK television shows of the 1980s and early 1990s, the puppet Spitting Image was a satire of the royal family, politics, entertainment, sport and British culture of the era. Created by DMA Design in 1997, satire also features prominently in the British video game series Grand Theft Auto.

Stephen Colbert satirically impersonated an opinionated and self-righteous television commentator on his Comedy Central program in the U.S.

The television program South Park (1997–ongoing) relies almost exclusively on satire to address issues in American culture, with episodes addressing anti-Semitism, militant atheism, homophobia,environmentalism, corporate culture, political correctness and anti-Catholicism, among many other issues.

Stephen Colbert’s television program, The Colbert Report (2005–14), is instructive in the methods of contemporary American satire. Colbert’s character is an opinionated and self-righteous commentator who, in his TV interviews, interrupts people, points and wags his finger at them, and “unwittingly” uses a number of logical fallacies. In doing so, he demonstrates the principle of modern American political satire: the ridicule of the actions of politicians and other public figures by taking all their statements and purported beliefs to their furthest (supposedly) logical conclusion, thus revealing their perceived hypocrisy or absurdity. 

Legal Status

For its nature and social role, satire has enjoyed in many societies a special freedom license to mock prominent individuals and institutions.In Germany, and Italy satire is protected by the constitution.

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Politics, Racism, Satire, Social Justice, The Hearthlands of Darkness

Ways Imperialism in 19th Century England Ruined the World

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“The sun never sets on the British Empire.” Arguably the greatest empire of all time, at its height the British Empire was certainly the largest empire in history, and for nearly two centuries was the foremost global power. By 1922, the British ruled more than 458 million people, and covered 13,012,000 square miles—almost a quarter of the Earth’s total land area.

But in spite of these great accomplishments, the British Empire sowed the seeds for some of the worst disasters that have afflicted humanity. Although the British were not responsible for all of the events directly, their interference in others’ problems was often just as destructive. Here are ten ways the British Empire ruined the world:

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Apartheid

Apartheid was a system of racial segregation enforced through legislation by the National Party governments, the ruling party in South Africa from 1948 to 1994. The rights of the nation’s black majority were curtailed, and white supremacy and Afrikaner-minority rule was maintained.

The British did institute some reforms after they seized the Cape from the originally Dutch Boers—such as by repealing the more offensive anti-black Boer laws. But after one hundred years of wars, and having gained complete political control, the British made a decision that doomed many South Africans. They gave Boer republics the green light to disenfranchise all non-whites. The apartheid system was entrenched in the Union constitution, which was drawn and approved by the British government. In 1913, the Native Land Act was brought into force; it pushed black people off the land on which they were either owners or tenants, and relocated them to shantytowns in the cities.

Apartheid would not end until the F. W. de Klerk government moved to lift bans on African political parties, such as the Africa National Congress and Pan African Congress. These actions culminated in multi-racial democratic elections in 1994, which were won by the African National Congress headed by Nelson Mandela.

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Irish Potato Famine

During the summer of 1845, a “blight of unusual character” devastated Ireland’s potato crop—the staple of the Irish diet. A few days after potatoes were dug up from the ground, they began to rot. Over the next ten years more than 750,000 Irish died from the ensuing famine, and another two million left their homeland for Great Britain, Canada and the United States. Within five years, the Irish population was reduced by a quarter.

The inadequacy of relief efforts by the British Government worsened the horrors of the famine. England believed that the free market, left to itself, would end the famine. In 1846, in a victory for advocates of free trade, Britain repealed the Corn Laws, which had protected domestic grain producers from foreign competition. The repeal of the Corn Laws failed to end the crisis since the Irish lacked sufficient money to purchase foreign grain.

Britain began to rely on a system of workhouses, which had originally been established in 1838, to cope with the famine. But these grim institutions had never been intended to deal with a crisis of such enormity. Some 2.6 million Irish entered overcrowded workhouses, where more than 200,000 people died.

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Invention of the Machine Gun
 
In 1879, the Gardner Machine Gun was demonstrated for the first time. It could fire ten thousand rounds in twenty-seven minutes, and its accuracy was superior to that of the Gatling gun. This impressed military leaders from Britain, and the following year the British Army purchased the gun.

In 1881, the American inventor Hiram Maxim visited the Paris Electrical Exhibition. While he was at the exhibition a man he met told him “if you wanted to make a lot of money, invent something that will enable the Europeans to cut each other’s throats with greater facility.”

Maxim decided to move to London, and began working on a more effective machine-gun. In 1885, he demonstrated to the British Army the world’s first automatic portable machine gun. Maxim used the energy of each bullet’s recoil force to eject the spent cartridge and insert the next bullet. The Maxim Machine Gun would therefore fire until the entire belt of bullets was used up. Trials showed that the machine gun could fire five hundred rounds per minute, and therefore had the firepower of about one hundred rifles.

The British Army adopted the Maxim Machine Gun in 1889. The following year, Austria, Germany, Italy, and Russia also purchased the gun, causing an arms race on the European continent. The machine gun would haunt the British during the Battle of the Somme, when the British suffered 60,000 casualties.

 

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Atlantic Slave Trade

The British did not start the slave trade or even import the most slaves (both of these dubious distinctions belong to the Portuguese). In the beginning, British traders merely supplied slaves for the Spanish and the Portuguese colonies; but eventually, British slave traders began supplying slaves to the new English colonies in North America. The first record of enslaved Africans landing in British North America occurred in 1619, in the colony of Virginia.

In the 1660s, the number of slaves taken from Africa in British ships averaged 6,700 per year. By the 1760s, Britain was the foremost European country engaged in the slave trade, owning more than fifty percent of the Africans transported from Africa to the Americas. The British involvement in the slave trade lasted from 1562 to until the abolishment of slavery in 180—a period of 245 years. History Professor David Richardson has calculated that British ships carried more than 3.4 million enslaved Africans to the Americas during this time.

In addition to being a major player in the slave trade, the British supported the pro-slavery Confederates during the Civil War. The British needed cotton to fuel their machines; this caused the demand for cotton to skyrocket, which in turn demanded slave labor. If the Confederates had won at the battle of Antietam, the British would have given full support to the rebels, and may even have tipped the Civil War in favor of the Confederates.

And although Great Britain was one of the first nations to abolish slavery, they quickly made up for the loss of human labor by extracting Africa’s raw materials and resources.

ies on the first day. Since its introduction, the machine gun has caused countless fatalities across the world, and has allowed for more people to be killed within a shorter time span.

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Opium Wars

Seeing little to gain from trade with European countries, the Chinese Qing emperor permitted Europeans to trade only at the port of Canton, and only through licensed Chinese merchants. For years, foreign merchants accepted Chinese rules—but by 1839 the British, who were the dominant trading group, were ready to flex their muscles.

They had found a drug that the Chinese would buy: opium. Grown legally in British India, opium was smuggled into China, where its use and sale became illegal after the damaging effects it had on the Chinese people.

With its control of the seas, the British easily shut down key Chinese ports and forced the Chinese to negotiate—marking the beginning of what is known as the “one hundred years of humiliation” for the Chinese. Dissatisfied with the resulting agreement, the British sent a second and larger force that took even more coastal cities, including Shanghai. The ensuing Opium War was settled at gunpoint; the resulting Treaty of Nanjing opened five ports to international trade, fixed the tariff on imported goods at five percent, imposed an indemnity of twenty-one million ounces of silver on China to cover Britain’s war expenses, and ceded the island of Hong Kong to Great Britain.

This treaty satisfied neither side. Between 1856 and 1860, Britain and France renewed hostilities with China. Seventeen thousand British and French troops occupied Beijing and set the Imperial Palace on fire. Another round of harsh treaties gave European merchants and missionaries greater privileges, and forced the Chinese to open several more cities to foreign trade.

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Scramble for Africa

The Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 began the process of carving up Africa, paying no attention to local culture or the differences between ethnic groups, and often leaving people from the same tribe on opposite sides of artificial, European-imposed borders.

Britain was primarily concerned with maintaining its lines of communication with India, hence its interest in Egypt and South Africa. Once these two areas had been secured, imperialists like Cecil Rhodes encouraged the acquisition of further territory, with the goal of establishing a Cape-to-Cairo railway. Britain was also interested in the commercial potential of mineral-rich territories like the Transvaal, where gold was discovered in the mid-1880s.

As a result, during the final twenty years of the nineenth century, Britain occupied or annexed territories which accounted for more than thirty-two percent of Africa’s population, making the British the most dominant Europeans on the continent.

By 1965, Britain had lost its stranglehold on the continent—but the consequences of imperialism were immense. Firstly, the settler states of Kenya, Rhodesia, and South Africa saw many episodes of violence before African nationalists could forge a return to stability, after the departure of the colonial governments. Corrupt African “strongmen,” or dictators, often gained power—despite ignoring the social needs of the people. Economic dependence on the West, coupled with political corruption, crippled attempts to diversify.

Even today, Africa is the least developed region in the world, with poverty and malnutrition running rampant. The idea that Europeans wanted to “civilize” Africa was an utter lie, and a means to justify the exploitation of the continent.

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Hypocritical Cant, Politics, Racism, Satire, Social Justice, The Hearthlands of Darkness

Chapter 9:Insidious Hummings….

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In the distance we could hear the native drumming then just as suddenly it ceased. Night fell and with it an uneasy silence broken only by the insidious humming of grasshoppers,and the raucous braying of a herd of Nederhiwi Wild Boar. All around us lit torches materialised, and with them the native occupants of the outpost, who did not acknowledge our presence, but did make sure that the area in which we were camped was exceeding well-lit.

“Wallee ici! Wallee na hutu ici!” jabbered one of the splay footed natives pointing enthusiastically towards the wide open gates. The excitement rippled through that alien horde until as one they cried “Wallee ici! Wallee ici” turning their faces and bodies as one towards the din being made by the sound of approaching drums. Had Professor Powell prevailed victoriously over the Kon-Kon-Safwo-Redwoods? We would soon know!

“Wallee ici!!! Umtargatie victoreee!”

Umtargatie victory indeed! For even as Professor Powell led his triumphal procession in through the Ivory festooned gates, the Wahiri Hiri were conquering the Umbongoan Countryside and sweeping all before them!How long would it be before they reached this Ivory outpost?

“Umtargatie victoree! Victoree!” more cries of triumph and celebration as the Nederhiwi clamoured to meet their alabaster skinned saviour. Glancing feverishly upon his enthralled flock whose wildly impassioned joy was infant like in its expression, Professor Powell let himself be passed from hand to hand overhead, till at length he came to rest upon a huge intricately carved Ebony Wood stool.

“My dear children!” cried he waving an imperious hand over us all “The battle was joined and won, the Kon-Kon-Safwo’s have conceded their defeat and it is as Emperor of Nederhiwi that I now address you!”

“Conceded their defeat?” said I turning to Captain Dunrudy who stood close by scratching his his head and looking perplexed “What does he mean by that?” in reply Captain Dunrudy discretely tapped the butt of his Maxim “Not what he thinks! Them Kon-Kon-Safwo’s don’t like being crossed, they gets their livelihood from delivering cargoes of Ivory, Ivory which he won’t let them have they may have departed, but they won’t have gone far I wager!”

More exultant whoops of pleasure followed and with it a degree of frenzied dancing so far divorced from the region of moral decency that I shudder even to describe it.

“Twerk it my children! Twerk it! Twerk it!” cried he whose spiritual faculties were now so weak that moral decency even in dance eluded him,”Twerk it!”.

“Declared isself Emperor of Nederhiwi?!” muttered Captain Dunrudy wiggling his hips discretely in time to the the beat of the Tom-Tom Drums “The Imperial administrators won’t like that!”

“Y’all-ah!” muttered Pasher Arshad “Had he been in the service of the Sultan Abu Dekallah he would have been whipped severely, tied to a dozen horses and torn limb from limb for his treacherous infamy!”

Dear devout reader, t’was as if we had descended into the very fires of hell with the good professor as our guide! No importunate sinner found chained midst the smouldering embers of Gehenna could have known such despair, such horror! The dreams of empire had borne us aloft from the emerald isle we called home, to this place of boundless savagery. The Professor Powell I knew had entered Africa as a highly civilised British Anthropologist, but like an infatuated, sultry eyed lover, darkest Africa had lured him deep into the nihilistic bowels of the Nederhiwi, and the savagery, the utter savagery of it all had closed around him.

Above us the pure white stars sparkled innocently, and the pale moon hung luminously in their midst, looked down with a cold eye upon the tawdry goings-on to which we found our good Christian selves reluctantly made privy. Ah! How the torches scattered around the camp glimmered, their unrelenting glare casting light and shadow upon the nefarious twerkings of Professor Powell and the heathen Nederhiwi. Oh! The plenteous tears shed by us all as we witnessed the frightening depths of degradation to which the Professor had succumbed! With a look of primal ecstasy he arched his back and shimmied till the Palm Fronds tied to his thick waist swished to and fro rustling audibly, and all the while, rapt with horror, we watched him, watched him and prayed!

“Twerk it! Twerk it! Twerk it!” cried Captain Dunrudy wiggling his hips and joining arms with the bemused Chief Porter who snickered loudly and declared “Umbwaaga na butu! Moribundus tee tee!”. Dear reader, how many morally decent supplications can be offered up in circumstances such as this and to whom? I must confess that I could think of no appropriate bible scriptures that could touch on matters such as this save one,

“It is not the sound of victory,
    it is not the sound of defeat;
    it is the sound of twerking that I hear.”

To be continued…….

 

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Cultural Intolerance, Hypocritical Cant, Politics, Racism, Satire, Social Justice, The Hearthlands of Darkness

Chapter 8: A Dark Remembrance

 

Ah me!” sobbed Miss Cranford “How many dark and onerous days have passed since last I laid eyes upon the beloved face of my poor deceased brother; most beloved padre of the children of RibaKiba. Alas that he who survived so much depredatory wickedness, should have fallen foul of the evils of the Wahiri Hiri Rebellion!”

“The Wahiri Hiri have rebelled?” I cried disbelievingly for I found it hard to imagine such a pale and disinteresting species mounting a regime overthrow of any kind.

“The Wahiri Hiri having conducted much of their business with the Barbary Corsairs, and having seen how well they prosper in their piracy, have become discontented with their lot!” replied Miss Cranford “Hence their desperately wicked rebellion against the forces of the British Empire! Why I myself was forced to flee bible in hand, and many Christian Riba Kiba with me!”

“But what of Captain Jamieson?” Miss Cranford’ became agitated and her face darkened at the mention of his name , I can only conjecture from this that some infamous misfortune had befallen my greatly misled friend. “Kidnapped by the Barbary Corsairs” replied she in a whisper not quite meeting my eye “As were most of the Christian Riba Kiba”

The Barbary Corsair Pirates were infamous throughout North Africa for their dissolute pirating practices, and I could scarce conjecture how they had become involved in the imperial affairs of Umbongo Bongo. The Barbary, wealthy beyond imagining, were a terror to all who encountered them, for though they were generally spoken of as pirates their truer profession was that of white slavers! I One thing now seemed beyond doubt, we must quit this savage outpost at the earliest opportunity.

When first I entered the palace of Professor Powell it had been midday, but now the suns last rays pierced the stained glass windows of that shadowy heathen chamber as I carefully untied Miss Cranford, and gently led her out of that place of heinous depravity. As she wept wildly clinging to my strong masculine shoulder, I led the newly liberated English gentlewoman from the place of her captivity, and she all but collapsed into the arms of Captain Dunrudy once we had reached the camp.

“Mah Gawd! It cannot be!” cried Captain Dunrudy as the poor woman sobbed terribly in his sinewy masculine embrace “Mah Gawd Miss Cranford! What terrible development is this? When last I saw you, you and your saviour were happy and blest! Should you not be at the Riba Kiba Mission with your dear brother the most Reverend Cranford?” alas the woman was unable to respond to his inquiries for she had fainted; and he, deeply moved by the sight, tossed away his flagon of Whisky and scooping up the distressed lady carried her into his tent and laid her on his portable camp bed.

“I’ve been in this bally country for nigh on fifteen year and never laid eyes on a more sinister set of goings-on! An English woman and a missionary held prisoner by natives! Where’d you find er? Professor Powell’s Twerking Harem is what she told me but he couldn’t have!” Captain Dunrudy looked at me “Nay he wouldn’t! No! Not to an English woman!”

“An Englishman who has gawn native and cavorts about in grass skirts is capable of anything” I replied “What is more she says the Wahiri Hiri are at war with the Imperial Army of Umbongo Bongo and in league with the Barbary Corsairs!”

“Bloody hell!” he cried looking about him with dawning horror “Out of the frying pan into the fire! Where’s me whisky!”

“Bismillahi!” Shrieked Pashar Arshad, he glared malevolently at the red nosed sailor,

“You’ve downed enough whisky to merit a thousand lashes many times over! If the Wahiri Hiri have burned down the missionary outpost it will not belong before they turn up here! Do you wish to wind up eating roast Armadillo and pulling an Ox Cart in Morocco? No? Then you had better leave off Shaytan’s juice!”

To be continued……..

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Hypocritical Cant, Politics, Racism, Satire, Social Justice, The Hearthlands of Darkness

Chapter 7: Sardines & Nederhiwi Red Herrings!

These many weeks the hunt for Professor Powell had occupied my thoughts and filled my waking moments. I who set out upon this dark and shudderingly terrifying adventure, full of all sorts of nightmarish fears and wild apprehensions, have now reached my journey’s ruinous black end. The Professor Powell I knew at New College is a man greatly changed! So preoccupied has he become with the protection of his ever increasing mounds of glorious Ivory, that he has become remiss in his duties towards the Empire.

The West Africa Company (who commissioned his research) have received not a single consignment from the Nederhiwi Ivory Outpost . What is worse, he has left off wearing the starched shirts and linen suits indicative of his imperial standing amongst the natives, adopting the native garb with all the resolute enthusiasm of a degenerating heathen.

Why even now a ferocious tribe of head shrinking savages, intent upon collecting their share of the Ivory have joined him in dance-combat!. For two days now the drums of the Kon-Kon-Safwo-Redwoods have rung out savagely, and as a blood red sun sets shimmeringly on the horizon and the day draws to a close, I cannot help but to wonder what the outcome will be.

 “Have you had a bite to eat?” enquired Captain Dunrudy as he partook of tinned Sardines delicately mingled with fried Nederhiwi Red Herring. I could not help but to marvel at a man who having imbibed enough whisky rations to have inebriated an entire army, now sat contentedly chewing upon a plateful of pungent smelling fish served up for him by a voluptuous plum skinned Umbongoan maiden, who grimacing broadly offered me some native victuals.

 

From the jovial manner in which Captain Dunrudy chewed upon his food I assume it was most palatable for him. My English constitution I fear is not as robust, for I found the mere smell of the cooked victuals surprisingly repellent, and was forced to fall back upon the remainder of some Kitchener Dried Mule Jerky I had purchased several months ago at the Umbongo Nefertiri Outpost. I soon completed my spartan meal, washing it down with several Gin and Tonics, before wandering off in the direction of that eccentric structure to the left of the Ivory mounds which I’m told was the main headquarters of the outpost. 

“Umbwaaga na butu! Believe me!” Captain Dunrudy declared as he chewed his fish, washing it down with yet more whisky. “He’s built a graveyard behind that lot, and what you’ll find there scarce bares imagining! The natives say there’s at least a dozen imperial administrators buried back there. Right alongside the half a dozen missionaries what thought they’d make civilised Christian Englishmen out of the Nederhiwi, well! They soon learned a thing or two!”

As I walked towards the towering structure from time to time I would glimpse out of the corner of my eye occasional glimmerings such as would suggest the swift, furtive movements of dark skinned savages. Not that I let that put me off my mission which was to acquire what insight I could as to the precise nature of Professor Powell’s barbarous lunacy.

As I approached the wooden structure which alone seemed to tower over that corner of the compound, I was overcome by a sudden desire to mutter the Pater Noster under my breath, and I could not resist crossing myself several times as I entered into the soul-less dark interior of Professor Powell’s home. A ponderous and weighty silence filled each oak panelled chamber, whose tables of sparkling cut-glass and crisp white linen, whose walnut cabinets full of intricately painted bone-china, silver plate and scrimshawed Ivory had been dusted and polished to perfection, t’was most disturbing. 

Travelling deeper into the cavernous interiors of Professors Powell’s home I came upon a chamber whose earthen floor had been polished to such a high shine that one could almost see one’s face in it. An ornately carved chair had been placed in the centre of this room and upon it sat a poor creature in a state of parlous anguish. Her matted hair was loose and lay dishevelled upon the shoulders of a tattered gown and it was impossible at first to discern whether she was of civilisation or merely a tribeswoman of the Wahiri Hiri.

There was an air of tainted purity about her , an aura of almost imperceptible light and as she raised her head from off her chest I saw that she bore a gold crucifix upon it. Could this be an English woman and a missionary?! T’was a terrible shock to perceive an English woman shackled and chained like a savage to a chair owned by the good professor (who had once partaken joyously of high church), and in a room festooned with grotesque Nederhiwi statues, which I took to be representations of the local deities. 

“What is this place?” I asked not wishing to hear what I guessed would be an answer most shocking to my Christian sensibilities.

“T’is the Twerking Chamber of Professor Powell!” she replied “A most barbarous and impious sight you are unlikely to see in any other imperial district! I have been imprisoned for some months merely for seeking to turn the Nederhiwi back from the wilderness of vicious corruption that, that devil (turned heathen!) has urged them to embrace! I have been chained up to the Throne of Ululations for exhorting them to be good Christians! Professor Powell proclaimed that I shall not leave here till I relinquish my faith and twerk!”.

Raising a delicate and trembling milk white palm to her pallid face she tilted back her head and fell to laughing hysterically till she howled with anguished tears, finally she let loose such a stream of terrible invectives that it seemed as if she had succumbed to that impenetrable darkness some call Africa. But at last she recovered her composure and I, having stifled my horror and gathered my resolve, drew forth a Maxim Pistol and firing off several shots, freed the unfortunate lady from her chains.“Praise God!” gasped she, her face contorted with joy,

“An Englishman has come! An Englishman has come!”

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