Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Killing Hitler

It is not possible to research a time travel novel without coming across the trope of going back in time to kill Hitler. You can listen to brilliant John Finnemore's sketch about it here, at about 26.30 minutes in.

But everything has unintended consequences. I've been thinking about one aspect of this lately, what with Plebgate, Emily Thornberry's snide Twitter photograph, and David Mellor, whose tirade at a taxi driver included the words:

"I’ve been in the Cabinet, I’m an award-winning broadcaster, I'm a Queen’s Counsel - you think that your experiences are anything compared to mine? And if you think you’re going to be sarky with me, get a better education before you try being sarcastic with me."

And I thought that though there is a lot wrong with our civilization, how nice it is that a de haut en bas attitude is deeply unfashionable these days. Bragging that you are superior because you are rich, successful, well born, white, male, or well-connected is likely to raise a chorus of boos, where not so long ago it was accepted. Perhaps this is connected to the world's horror at where Hitler's concept of German superiority led.

Hitler tapped into the secret belief most of us have that we are better than other people, a belief we should be aware of and treat with suspicion. 

FULL DISCLOSURE: I have to admit, I harbour a deep inner conviction that I am better than people who get apostrophes wrong.


  1. When you hear David Mellor doing his radio phone-in with Ken Livingstone, he's always so polite. His taxi outburst tells us what he's really like.

    I loathe the contemporary fashion for hating all politicians on principle. I hate them on a case-by-case basis. But you're right. Better unthinking scorn than unthinking sycophancy.

    Did you hear Tom Mangold's dissection of the Jeremy Thorpe scandal on Radio 4 the other day? Mangold's conclusion was that Thorpe got away with it for so long, not because of any organised conspiracy, but because the police (among others) thought it improper to bring down one so eminent.

    (By the way, I am good at apostrophe's too, so you are not better than me.)

  2. You listen to what must surely be radio's least appealing duo, David Mellor and Ken Livingston? Good grief. I suppose it could be worse, say if Russell Brand was involved...

    I listened to the programme about Jeremy Thorpe as I fell asleep in bed, and must look it up and listen to it properly. At the time I found it completely incredible when Thorpe maintained he could not recall what he meant by the phrase in his letter to Norman Scott, "Bunnies can and will go to France".

    I will not comment on your apostrophe tease. I am ignoring it in a marked manner. So there.

  3. This is such an interesting blog post yet so hard for me to respond to without going on for miles. I was being lazy and hoping everyone else would say what I think and I could just 'agree'.

    Or are we all Christmas shopping or baking or whatever?

  4. I am definitely not doing Christmas baking. Or shopping.

    You'll have to just agree with me and Iain, Anna.

    (I cannot believe I am being asked to prove I am not a robot on my own blog when I have this function turned off and have just checked it is still turned off. I hate word verification. I can only apologize while I try to sort it out.)

  5. Yours is easy to see, Lexi, so no worries. Some are difficult to read.

  6. *hops up and down*

    The ease or otherwise is not the point! I've chosen not to bother my commenters with Captcha, and it's bally well there just the same!


  7. Stephen Hawking worries that one day artificial intelligence will catch up with us and maybe overtake us. Proving that it is not a robot leaving a comment will become more difficult.

    At least we know that your intent is not to bother us with Captcha. Worrying though, when you can't switch it off. And this one I'm supposed to type is not very clear. Maybe this comment will have been in vain.

  8. Funny thing is, if I ignore the Captcha and click publish, it publishes. I wonder if this happens for everyone?

  9. If you can read this, then it works for me.

  10. That's good - except no one will know...

  11. I ticked the 'prove your not a robot' box. No self respecting robot would be dumb enough to do that!

    Hawking is worried that if we allow robots to alter their own circuitry they could start evolving and then perceive their creators as superfluous recyclables.

    Surely no human would be dumb enough to allow this ... though I did tick that box. LOL

    I would love to glimpse a few centuries into the future to see what really happens.

    Merry Christmas Lexi

  12. I don't tick that box and, presumably under the impression I am a robot, Blogger still allows me to post.

    The problem with seeing what happens a few centuries into the future is that if things were bad, you might feel you had to dedicate your life to preventing it happening, instead of doing what you are currently happily doing. Which would be tiresome.

    Happy Christmas, Q!