Pith Helmet

From Our Delta Yankee Echo Desk
February 9, 2008, 3:28 am
Filed under: culture | Tags:

“The Last Testament of Flashman’s Creator: How Britain Has Destroyed Itself” by GEORGE MACDONALD FRASER

When 30 years ago I resurrected Flashman, the bully in Thomas Hughes’s Victorian novel Tom Brown’s Schooldays, political correctness hadn’t been heard of, and no exception was taken to my adopted hero’s character, behaviour, attitude to women and subject races (indeed, any races, including his own) and general awfulness.

On the contrary, it soon became evident that these were his main attractions. He was politically incorrect with a vengeance.

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Digital Flatulence
December 30, 2007, 5:57 pm
Filed under: culture | Tags:

“Discourtesy is unspeakably ugly to me.”
— Hannibal Lecter

Although I pride myself on being a bulwark against change, I recognize that we live irrevocably in the cellular age. There is no turning back. Cell phone use is an incurable infection that has spread from generation to generation as quickly as an Arnette, Texas superflu spreads from redneck to redneck .

This year, Santa Claus brought a phone to my third-grade-or-so nephew. Although what any grade-schooler is doing with a phone other than announcing to his friends which kid in their class has cooties, I’ll never know. At that age, I was too busy throwing my garbage-can lid shield at Red Skull or climbing up the schoolyard slide to get away from a school of piranhas.

I can’t throw stones, mind you. I made my Faustian pact with Verizon years ago and sealed it with my purchase of my Star Trek Communicator ringtone. But there are times and places when catchy ringtones, regardless of whether they are Mos Def or Mozart, should be disabled.

Movie theaters are one such place. Everyone seems to know that — thanks to the little reminders that the management flashes up on the screen prior to showing “our feature presentation.”

Another place is someone’s death-bed. As a loved one is passing away, nothing heightens the sense of tragedy more than the absurdity of having someone’s cell phone blurt out a pop tune as family members hover nearby for some crucial last words, a message from just-this-side-of-beyond. And, just as one should refrain from attending a funeral home visitation while wearing clown shoes, one should also avoid having one’s cell phone burst into the opening bars of a Wilson Pickett tune.

This message in manners brought to you by your friends at Pith Helmet.