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27 April 2015


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PL, take care of yourself! Downtime is important. You will be missed!

Sleep, riches, and health to be truly enjoyed must be interrupted.
-- Johann Paul Friedrich Richter

Be careful when reading health books; you may die of a misprint.
-- Mark Twain

C Webb

Colonel Lang,

Sorry to hear you have been ill.
Hope you have a strong and speedy recovery.

William R. Cumming

P.L. Your blog a treasure and thanks for your efforts for many years.

CROMWELL gets his due in the end but like Cardinal Woolsley he was one of the first wherein England somewhat welcomed the talents of non-royals who were not Scots, Welsh, or Irish.

Consensus of historians is that Henry VIII died of 3rd stage syphilis.

John Minnerath

Heal up SF brother.

Jonathan House

With every good wish and with deep respect

Jonathan House


Pat Lang. You are needed. Your work on this blog is vitally important. Be well.
Wolf Hall. It is just a story. But it could become the truth for many.
Author, Hilary Mantel, is anti-catholic so Protestants are shown as generally good and Catholics as bad.
She said “I’m one of nature’s Protestants. I should never have been brought up as a Catholic. I think that nowadays the Catholic Church is not an institution for respectable people.”
She said the Duchess of Cambridge’s ( Prince Williams wife) persona was that of a “shop-window mannequin” and that that the Duchess’s public image appeared to be that of someone with a “perfect plastic smile” and “a jointed doll on which certain rags are hung”
Cromwell was in reality “a detestably self-serving, bullying monster who perfected state terror in England” – and who continuously called upon torture as a method for extracting confessions from suspects.
Thomas More was a good family man later declared a saint was portrayed as all evil.
Just saying. Only a story with inaccuracies.


Take it easy and get well soon. IIRC, you mentioned that you liked Firefly in a post some time back. I find illness-enforced leisure a good time to catch up on pleasure reading. If you are a scifi fan, I submit a recommendation for the Revelation Space series of books. I put the series in the 'hard' space opera category.

nick b


I hope you're time away from SST will be restful and restorative. So much so that you are back to educating us in short time. Best regards.


Col Lang,

Wishing you a speedy recovery.

USMC 65-72
FBI 72-96

David Habakkuk


Thank you for that. Having given up watching television, I have not seen the 'Wolf Hall' series, and I have also not read the books by Hilary Mantel on which it is based. However, the fact that it has surfaced in discussion here prompted me to do a couple of quick Google checks, with results which bear upon what you wrote.

On this subject, the views of the historian David Starkey – also a noted television presenter – are of interest. As he has repeatedly explained, he is not commenting on the qualities of the series as drama, but he has the gravest of reservations about its accuracy as a portrayal of history. From an interview in January:

'In Mantel's case, according to Starkey, she has been over-influenced by Geoffrey Elton, regius professor of history at Cambridge in the 1980s.

''He was my own teacher, who presented a ludicrous picture of the 16th century as a time when no one really believed very much in religion. That was a result of his own secular views. So he hated Thomas More because he was religious and tried to suggest that Thomas Cromwell was some kind of government bureaucrat, a source of modernity, when in fact he was a highly intelligent, brutal thug, who enforced the king's will with ruthless efficiency.''

(See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/bbc/11355685/Sir-Thomas-More-saint-or-sinner.html .)

There is a curious contrast here. On the one hand, Mantel is clearly a kind of self-hating Catholic, while Starkey is a gay atheist, a Cambridge scholarship boy of Quaker working class/lower middle class origins, who loves Anglican culture.

In an odd way, the wheel comes full circle. In 1931, John Buchan – a 'son of the manse', and a scholarship boy like Starkey, who had enjoyed a spectacular rise into the British elite – published 'The Blanket of the Dark', a story of an abortive Catholic uprising against Henry VIII. It is a novel which is still of interest, and perhaps to people in the United States as well as in Britain, given that sixteenth-century British history remains central to any serious understanding of how your country started and what it became.

In his 1924 thriller, 'The Three Hostages', Buchan had provided what has to be a classic statement of the paranoias of Protestant Britain. But in the later novel, the metaphor of 'the blanket of the dark' is ambivalent. Something is hidden, but what is it?

For the different kinds of Protestant, the 'dark' is Catholicism, but equally for the Catholics, the new 'night' is what those same Protestant want to bring to England. And there again, the 'light' might be a classical world, of pagan glory and splendour.

So at the centre of a novel by a deeply Protestant writer is the extraordinary scene where, when he is caught in the flood which will doom his uprising, its protagonist – 'Peter Pentecost' – sees the vision of the Virgin Mary.

In an odd way, however, the wheel has come full circle. So history as conceived by Buchan, or Starkey, is not a simple story of 'good guys' and 'bad guys'. Whatever one's own beliefs, or lack of them, it is important to attempt to enter into the mental worlds of others – and not try to interpret their motives in terms of some kind of abstract schema of historical 'progress'.

Of course, if one thinks of oneself as embodying a self-evidently virtuous 'modernity', and has simpering contempt for anyone who does not – see Mantel's comments on the Duchess of Cambridge – then this kind of empathy is impossible. But then, such intellectual shallowness makes it difficult to make sense alike of the sixteenth century and the twenty-first.


Col - like Dismayed, I have found periods of convalescence a time to catch up on unfinished books and unwatched videos, and hope that the time will be fruitful for you. Illness certainly offers lessons in patience (!), and I hope you recover fully, even if it takes a bit of time.

This blog is a treasure trove; I take time most days to read both posts and most comments. I have strongly encouraged a number of people to read SST, and I have the sense that they have done so, and recommended this blog to others. I am not at all surprised that SST's readership has increased.

I shudder to contemplate what propaganda I'd have succumbed to re: chemical weapons in Syria, if not for your corrective, ongoing instruction. Consequently, I appreciate your ensuring that the blog remains active while you convalesce, because IMVHO the information published here is extremely important.


Col. Lang,

Take care of yourself and return with gusto!


David Habbakuk, you just posted on bullshit. I beseech ye, etc. consider ye may have just stepped in some. Media thrives on misconstruction. If all we know is what the commentariat have said about something, chances are what we know is probably wrong. Mantell was snarking about THE PRESS and PR mediated [bullshit?] constructs using the D of C as example.

She explains it on YT somewhere. Can't find it - this will have to do.


Medicine Man

Take care, Col.

Lord Curzon


I'll raise a pint of the black stuff to your health tonight; get well soon!

Lord Curzon

Interesting you mentioned Starkey, I enjoy his take on English history immensely.

Patrick D

Hope you feel better soon, Colonel!


Along with everyone else I hope you are well enough to get back into SST soon.
While you are taking it easier if you have time you might like to check out some more TV. Clair Foy (AKA Anne Boleyn) is, in my opinion, one to watch. I do not think this was a good showcase of her work but she was excellent as Amy Dorrit (Little Dorrit) and in 'The Promise' which should be very much up your street. The promise is set in Israel and is a drama looking at Clair Foy's character(a young English girl on holiday)introduction to terrorism - state and counter state - both now and through a recently uncovered journal of her grandfather's. He had been a British Sargent in WW2 who was involved in the liberation of one of the German camps prior to posting to the Palestinian mandate where his platoon suffered badly at the hands of the Zionist terrorist. It is told in flashbacks and the obvious parallels between then and now caused all parties portrayed to squeal loudly, as you would expect. I don't recall it every being discussed on SST which I suspect means it was not picked up by US TV - not a great surprise given its subject matter - if it is I hope it is discussed here as I would be very interested in SST commenters views on its historical accuracy and degree of bias.

Given what is going on in Baltimore 'The Wire' - come back Jimmy McNulty all is forgiven. Coming full circle Dominic West(McNulty) played Cromwell in 'The Devil's Whore'.


Col. Lang -

Please get well soon!


The Promise is on this playlist with miscellaneous related material. I haven't seen it.


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