Author Archives: Dr T P Wilkinson

All men are mortal

My deceased mother-in-law, not a pious person but one of utterly conventional morals, used to say when someone over 70 —she died of heart failure somewhere in the mid-70s after our divorce—was diagnosed with some serious illness, “well at least they can’t die young.” I say she was conventional because she certainly had all the usual ideas about what to do and say among polite people. Maybe having lived through the Second World War—on the losing side—and knowing enough people who did die young just gave her a certain sobriety in matters of life and death. I mention this because in our age of exhibitionism and euphemism it is very difficult to conduct a sober, let alone rational discussion about the circumstances by which individual human beings die. Continue reading

Films to chew on

Why does gratuitous violence also attract the ‘compatible Left’?

For years there have been two films from Hollywood that have drawn innumerable fans, especially among the “cultivated” (compatible) Left. These are Aliens with Sigourney Weaver and The Silence of the Lambs with Anthony Hopkins and Jody Foster. I have had to endure excerpts but have never been able to overcome the revulsion in order to actually sit through either film in its entirety. This was, of course, long before I recognised that I cannot watch “war films” anymore either, although I grew up on a steady fare of John Wayne, Robert Mitchum and all the other usual suspects who incarnated US war mythology from the 19th and 20th century. Continue reading

Donald Trump as ‘Anti-Wilson’

A century ago, a Southern academic and racist emerged in Europe and the United States as a crusader to “make the world safe for democracy.” [1] Wilson had been inaugurated as president in 1913, the year before Europe’s imperialists plunged the world into four years of mass murder. That war alone, caused some four million direct battle casualties and untold millions of non-combatant deaths in the aftermath. Woodrow Wilson, despite the policies he actually pursued, would be turned into an icon of the 20th century’s most enduring myth—the benevolence and humanitarian virtue of the great slaveholder republic founded in 1776. Wilson could arguably be called the nation’s first celebrity politician and international celebrity export. This remarkable marketing accomplishment predated television. Continue reading

Journalism and pornography

Real crime is always organised

When I began reading the work of Douglas Valentine about six years ago, I had not read his books, only the articles that the US online journal CounterPunch had published. In fact I only began reading CounterPunch because of the accident of having been introduced to the two original editors of what was then only a printed newsletter. Later I was even able to publish a few pieces in that journal before its more famous founding editor’s demise. Why do I preface a book review with such personal observations? To that question, I will return later. Continue reading

Railways to hell: reviewing America’s ‘Orient Express’

Since “American Sniper” has become one of the “top grossing films of all time”, garnering a few Academy Award nominations and at least one, if trivial, award, there have been even more reviews written about this insidious and insipid strip of celluloid. Unsurprisingly all of them contain the same swill. I had to return to my own review just to see if I had perhaps omitted anything essential or if anyone might have thought in an at least similar direction. Continue reading

Dirty Harry’s gone a-huntin’

I’m not accustomed to paying much attention to anyone’s national holidays, except perhaps France’s, but only because it at least commemorates what for a brief time was a real revolution. Since I pass a certain consulate almost every day, I do wonder every time I notice that the flag has not been hoisted. Continue reading

Charlie Hebdo and the ‘Wild West’

Innumerable Hollywood films begin with or contain scenes that can be roughly described as follows: family of settlers (whether pastorally or agriculturally engaged) are found dead, including women and children of course. Indications of “native” activity, i.e., arrows are found either in the corpses or in various places on the set. Often flames or smouldering ruins appear. Then someone with authority enters the scene to summarise the events making it clear that “Indians” have attacked and murdered an innocent settler family. This inevitably leads either to police, military and or vigilante retribution. Continue reading

The ‘moral equivalence of the Founding Fathers’

Since 1976, the bicentennial of the unilateral declaration of independence (UDI) that led to the founding of the United States of America from thirteen originally British colonies, Black History Month has been an officially recognised period—in February—when the descendants of the Founding Fathers acknowledge that the descendants of their slaves also have a history. Also in February, Presidents’ Day—initially George Washington’s birthday but now a combined birthday celebration for Washington and Abraham Lincoln: the Father of the Country and the Great Liberator. Continue reading

The state as protection racket

Chapters in the history of daylight robbery

I always ask myself when someone says or writes “loss”, where did the money go? Even when a ship is lost at sea there is generally wreckage. Of course, the ocean is bigger than the economy and it is possible that a ship’s remains disappear beyond recovery. The price of abandoning the very modest social gains of the New Deal in the US and social democracy in Europe with the ascendancy of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan has been enormous, not only for US and European working people but for the rest of the world. In fact, the meter is still running with no indication of when it will stop. Continue reading

Is a new “cold war” coming? You can’t be serious

A somewhat incendiary reply to a ludicrous question

This question is asked repeatedly in the English-language media—probably the most heavily censored data streams in the world (a point to which I will return). Why should anyone worry about a new “cold war”? Perhaps it would be more relevant to worry about the extent of current and future “hot” ones? Continue reading

Why Putin? Why Hitler?

There would appear to be something grotesque in the inflationary use of the term “Hitler” to attack any national leader opposed by the US regime and its vassals. What does the word “Hitler” actually mean, esp. if anyone can be compared to Hitler, except actual fascists? Continue reading