Saturday, August 09, 2014

Today -100: August 9, 1914: Thy mirth lay aside, thy cavil and play

Serbia declares war on Germany.

Austria invades Russia, burns some villages.

The war reaches Africa: British troops from the Gold Coast (now Ghana) attack German Togoland (now Togo) and seize Port Lome.

Never let it be said that the war isn’t affecting Americans too: many New York restaurants’ chefs are returning to France to fight, and the NYT is On It!

World War I will produce some great war poetry.  This, by the British Poet Laureate Robert Bridges, is not an example of that:

    Thou careless, awake!
      Thou peacemaker, fight!
    Stand, England, for honor,
         And God guard the right.

    Thy mirth lay aide,
      Thy cavil and play,
    The foe is upon thee
      And grave is the day.

    The monarch Ambition
      Has harnessed his slaves,
    But the folk of the ocean
      Are free as the waves

And it goes on like that.

Elsewhere, the NYT informs us that Serbia’s poetry is the most warlike in Europe.

The NYT correspondent briefly detained in Berlin as a suspected English spy has left the country and it’s probably a complete coincidence that today’s NYT headlines include “Berliners Turn Into Furies” and “Berlin Mad; Paris Quiet.

The Netherlands, while officially neutral, is granting a harbor near Rotterdam to the Vulcan Company, which is evidently acting for Germany.  The Netherlands’ legal jurisdiction over the harbor will be limited.

Fog of War (Rumors, Propaganda and Just Plain Bullshit) of the Day -100: Count Albert du Mun, a Conservative French MP, says he heard that some Danish children were pulled off a German train for shouting “Vive la France!” and shot.

The Sunday NY Times helpfully explains the latest art movement, Vorticism:  “What is Vorticism? Well, like Futurism, and Imagisme, and Cubism, essentially it is nonsense.”

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