Fandango’s One Word Challenge (29 May 2020)

As I please I can travel around,
While the rest of the country’s locked down,
Needn’t follow the rules,
Only made for the fools,
I’m afraid I can smell something brown.

There is a story in the UK which will not die about our Prime Minister’s most senior advisor. While the rest of the country stayed home, he was making roundtrips of hundreds of miles to see family. This was uncovered by the press, and is now out in the open. The advisor has done a lot of squirming, defending himself by saying that technically he was not breaking the law (something which is disputed), and to date, our Prime Minister has staunchly stood by him. The advisor also happens to be one of the chief architects of the UK government’s flagship Brexit (alleged) policy. The story has had top billing here for about the last week.

My offering was inspired both by this story, and by Fandango’s One Word Challenge (FOWC), resign, which, frankly, indicates the advisor’s correct course of action.

The Guardian is a very reputable UK newspaper, although was chosen at random to provide the link. This story has been reported by most sources in the UK.

Dulce et Decorum est

In Melanies Share Your World prompt the other day, I adopted what I think was a forthright tone. She proposed a statement, and I said that yes, with a couple of modifications, I could happily go along with it.

Her original statement was:

In your opinion, does patriotism require the belief that one’s country is the greatest on earth?

and with my modifications, it became:

In your opinion, does patriotism require the desire that one’s country is the best it can possibly be?

It has made me think some since (, so just in those terms, it was an absolutely brilliant post). At the time, I gave a couple of examples, largely to do with fighting for changes to society in order to hit that best it can possibly be goal. While I still feel that is a perfectly valid example, I feel I should probably have also given an example of how patriotism might also mean protecting – again, fighting for – our societies against elements that would harm them.

As a Britisher, for example, I am in absolutely no doubt that somebody like Hitler would have harmed my society, if he had been able to do so. Not just my society, but all our societies. Passage of time has only made clearer exactly what he was about.

I could also not help thinking about Melanie’s word, believe, versus my word, desire. It is significant because just that one word made the difference between agree/disagree with her statement. It raises a bunch of questions for me.

First, if somebody believes their country to be the best, does that mean that it can do no wrong? Does that mean that everything there is already perfect, that nothing could be better? If we look around us, I would suggest that things are not perfect. That being the case, how do we highlight those things that are imperfect? Do we bother? Or, do we just suck it up and pretend everything is okay? If we all pretended, nothing would ever change. So if we do think things need to change, how do we go about that? If change is via the ballot box, what do we then do when the ballot box fails us? Where do we go?

Second, what exactly is their country? Well, that’s why we have politicians – to steer the country. So, the government chooses its diplomats to go out and represent the country in the big, wide world, or at the UN. Or at bilateral summits, say. Each time, the government is pulling the strings.

Governments are elected politicians, they can’t just want somewhere to be great, they must work out how to make it great, what buttons to push. And importantly, they are subject to periodic re-election; we will fire them if they are not up to scratch. So, given that the government might change, and given that the country is represented by its government, how comfortable are we just to say, sweepingly, I believe that my country is the greatest on earth?

I’m not, especially when my country might be run by a government I do not support, whose standards might be very different from my own. I am happy to decide on a case-by-case basis whether, in my opinion, my country is doing right or wrong, I am not at all happy to give a blanket affirmation that it always does right.

And I consider myself to be extremely patriotic.

Coronavirus | USA: One guy’s version of a facemask

The international nature of WordPress. This came from an Italian friend, who picked it up from a French blogger. The blogger’s commentary is in French, but it is the pictures which are important.

This story was picked up by the LA Times a week ago, in a California supermarket, some idiot’s response to the order to wear a mask out in public. The report also says that he was given the choice of either removing his headgear or removing himself – I wouldn’t have given them the choice.

Someone please tell me this is fake.


Il a été interpellé par le responsable du supermarché et invité à se décoiffer ou à quitter les lieux. Les faits se sont déroulés le week-end dernier dans une petite ville de Californie. La police a ouvert une enquête.

Vêtu de la reconnaissable capuche du Ku Klux Klan, un Californien est allé faire ses courses dans une épicerie de San Diego, dans le comté de Santee, samedi 2 mai. L’incident s’est déroulé au lendemain de l’annonce du port obligatoire du masque dans les lieux publics de ce comté.

KKK - 1

Le Los Angeles Times rapporte que l’homme a déambulé dans la boutique avec son caddie sous les yeux ébahis et choqués de la clientèle. Tiam Tellez, un client présent ce jour-là, a partagé des photos de l’homme sur les réseaux sociaux. Il assure avoir vu plusieurs employés du magasin lui demander de retirer son chapeau, en vain. Mélissa…

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