25 Apr 2008, Comments Off on Lest we Forget

Lest we Forget

Author: Helen

…to write something for Anzac Day:

I’m just going to send you to this comment at LP by Jack Robertson on Anzac day last year. Because you might as well have the best.

Comments (0)

  • Oz Ozzie says:

    Sad to have such a marvel of thoughtfulness buried inside a comment thread. thanks for the link. The brief interchange around Graeme Bird’s comments are worth considering too (though he missed the point) – weakness invites wars just as much as militarism, and alliances may be leading one down the path to hell.

    For me, the message of Anzac day is, “sometimes war comes, like it or not. If you can, avoid it. If you have to do it, do it well. But oh, how painful.”

  • zoot says:

    Thanks for the link Helen, I missed it last year. Must agree it’s simply the best. It’s made all the more authoritative because Jack’s ‘been there, done that’ to a degree unmatched by the carping critics he always seems to draw.

  • Jack Robertson says:

    Hey you, bless. Bless. I’d forgotten that ramble. Strangely dislocating when you read something ancient you’ve written that still more or less rings true in your own mind’s ear.

    Not entirely enthusiastically, I took my son into the city for his first parade yesterday, H. When my wife’s mum was about his age her dad was killed, when the POW ship bringing him back from working on the Burma railway was sunk by Allied aircraft. Such are the ‘privileges of mundane tragedy’ (Clive James, I think) that cast shadows across generations. My wife finds the thought of our gentle unblemished little man ever shooting and bombing and killing and dying a matter simply beyond any and all sane contemplation. Yet every single little white cross on the planet is an echo of a wailing mum’s mewling cleanskin…I find it almost unbearably painful to think about the numbers like that. A cacacophy of little boys – girls now, too – crying for their mums as they bleed to death in a foreign trench. It’s insane. If there’s such a thing as human sanity, war can’t be anything but its opposite: insanity distilled. It’s a psychopathic perversion. A lunacy. But I’m still a young enough man to remain terrified that my own son will grow up to feel the same old catastrophic masculine pull of the ages: the yearning to worry, worry at the mystery of death by becoming an instrument of it. Behold, I am become…

    How to unsex war once and for all, H, huh. Might just be the next big thing in the feminist project. Someone once said that violence is the only way men can stop women laughing at them. That might absolve women of your many, varied (and expanding?) culpabilities in the making of wars a shade too blithely condescendingly for some modern feminists…but there’s something to it, too, I think.

    Tony Judt has a pretty good piece in the current NYRoB on how we’re increasingly obfuscating all the really important lessons of war with memorial hyperbole, BTW. Found it harder than ever to disagree, in all the slick razzamatazz yesterday.

    Warmest rgds, H. Thanks for remembering that link.

  • Jack Robertson says:

    Pardon, meant ‘two days ago’ x 2, obv.

  • Dave McRae says:

    Great read in that link – thanks for posting it!!

    And Jack – great to hear you’re ok – I miss your writings that were, until recently, at your ButterfliesAndGuns blog.

  • Jack Robertson says:

    Hi Dave – thanks for that, I appreciate it. I s’pose really should be kicked in the bum for the diva-like way I just deleted Bugs & Slugs without explanation. It was largely a matter of time and priorities: I’m a fulltime dad at the moment and I was getting too distracted. Or so my wife reckoned! She’s right, though – I do find it hard to do things at less than full-on focus.

    To be honest I’ve always had an awkward relationship with blogging. I’m a shithouse self-publisher: I can’t always get the tone and rhythm of the ‘sphere right and inevitably end up giving myself sleepless nights over ill-conceived and/or misconstrued comments/posts. It happened again recently, and I’m giving the blogosphere away completely for a while (again!).

    Thanks for your kind nod, Dave. And to you too, H. Always kind.

  • Helen says:

    Jack, do you think you have a book in you, as they say? (Sounds damned uncomfortable!)

  • Jack Robertson says:

    Dunno, H, I’ve been writing unpublishable novels for a decade now. I could be one of those purgatory types Barry Humphries likes to sneer at (rather ungallantly, IMHO): people with grandiose artistic aspirations/delusions but only modest artistic talent to match. Whateva, as they say in the ‘sphere. Gunna start me on novel five, anyway. Passes the time, don’t it.

    BTW, the Apollo Bay gigs sound blasty. My duo scored another paid Balmain show last Thursday. Fun, even to a modestly-peopled joint. Dunno if that particular pub’s gunna keep the faith with the live music thing, though. Like many – the audience/cultural habit in the Sydney scene seems to dying away along with the working venues; chicken and egg thing, maybe…tho’ from what my brother says Melbourne is still vaguely viable, if as always precarious. Festivals seem to go from strength to strength, so obviously punters still crave the communal charge of live performance. Just…not in pubs so much, perhaps.

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