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Thread: How England Sees Itself

  1. #31
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    Going back to the original post, surely Niall Ferguson deserves a mention. Has anyone ever bothered to read any of his books? Can't say that I have, but I did watch an interview with him on the Wall Street Journal website that was shockingly bad. I'm yet to hear or read anything from him that is insightful about China, which could be a bit of a problem given that it's become something of an obsession for him.

    http://www.lrb.co.uk/v33/n21/pankaj-...watch-this-man

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrfaucet View Post
    Going back to the original post, surely Niall Ferguson deserves a mention. Has anyone ever bothered to read any of his books? Can't say that I have, but I did watch an interview with him on the Wall Street Journal website that was shockingly bad. I'm yet to hear or read anything from him that is insightful about China, which could be a bit of a problem given that it's become something of an obsession for him.

    http://www.lrb.co.uk/v33/n21/pankaj-...watch-this-man
    I read empire without knowing anything about the guy, it really pissed me off actually. then I found out who he was on wikipedia. i don't think I would have read it if I'd known.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrfaucet View Post
    Going back to the original post, surely Niall Ferguson deserves a mention. Has anyone ever bothered to read any of his books? Can't say that I have, but I did watch an interview with him on the Wall Street Journal website that was shockingly bad. I'm yet to hear or read anything from him that is insightful about China, which could be a bit of a problem given that it's become something of an obsession for him.

    http://www.lrb.co.uk/v33/n21/pankaj-...watch-this-man
    Linked to him briefly up thread. He's kind of an exhibit A for the prosecution.

    Mercilessly ripped to shreds by (of all people) Johann Hari here:

    http://johannhari.com/2006/06/12/the...se-for-empire/

    The subsequent correspondence in the pages of the Independent are worth a read too. Briefly redeemed Hari in my eyes after his Iraq & Chomsky debacles

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrfaucet View Post
    Going back to the original post, surely Niall Ferguson deserves a mention.
    "A mention" isn't what I'd say he deserves...

    There's alread a thread on Dissensus called "the odious Niall Ferguson", I think.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by zhao View Post
    i hope the Dissensus response will not be like the one to Black Athena: "everyone knows this already", ("everyone" must meaning blogger friends because there is only too much evidence in the real world to the contrary)
    how exactly would you characterize contemporary Britain's relationship to something like the 30 million Indian deaths due to starvation because of British self serving agricultural policies? or similar things in Ireland? or these kinds of control and repressive mechanisms in general, largely invented by the English?
    I like the way that you don't even get around to asking the question before telling people not to bother answering if they don't agree with your preconceived idea of what their answer should be. Good research methodology there.

    Seriously, though, I'm probably biased by the fact that most of my mates are fairly educated left-liberal types, but my impression is that a lot of people are in general aware that a lot of very bad things happened in the name of the British Empire (and of european colonialism generally), that they aren't hyper-aware of the specifics except in a few cases - so most people will know about the horrors of the slave trade but not necessarily about the Siege of Drogheda (this doesn't bother me that much in general, although Drogheda is perhaps a bad example) and that they think that all this stuff ended about the beginning of the twentieth century and we've been pretty groovy since then (which does bother me, a lot).

    Edit: Or to put it another way, I think a lot of the British view of our colonial past could be summed up as "that was quite bad, isn't it good that we don't do anything like that any more."
    Last edited by Slothrop; 13-11-2011 at 08:29 PM.

  6. #36
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    Yeah, that thread got a bit ridiculous - at one point zhao was more or less telling those of us from the UK what we had and hadn't been taught in GCSE History.

    The thing about a complete list of horrors committed by imperial Britain (or probably any European country with an overseas empire, or the countries founded by European settlers in the New World) is that it would be far too long for any normal person to memorise...



    I think possibly more people than you might think are aware of recent and current 'crypto-imperialist' goings-on, though - I mean, look at the scale of the protests against the Iraq war, for instance. OK, so obviously the protesters were outnumbered by non-protesters, but there were probably a lot of people who were against the war but couldn't physically attend the protests for whatever reason.

    But again, as with WWII, it's easy to make an emotionally appealing pro-war case because of the apparently "absolute evil" of the enemy.
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  7. #37
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    craner was so taken with fergusons 'empire' he read it twice. i think its on the what are you reading thread, he says he's rereading empire which blew my mind.... reading it is one thing but re-reading?

  8. #38
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    niall ferguson should just be a daily mail columnist. doesnt deserve as much credit as he gets.

  9. #39

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    It's a good book! The idea that it's simply an apologia for Empire is...wrong. I would suggest you haven't actually read the book with any attention whatsoever. There's a lot of narrow-minded, blinkered, knee-jerk prejudice on this forum, I find.

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    Quote Originally Posted by luka View Post
    i would, boradly spaking agree with zhaos charactrisation of britain although why he thinks it should be him redressing historical wrongs im not sure.....
    well if talking about subjects which interest me happen to amount to "redressing historical wrongs" then so be it.

    edit: and it's not just about "redressing history" is it? i'm talking about the very contemporary phenomenon of a large part of the British population feeling pride with regard to their imperialist past. large enough for BBC to give someone like Fergusson a 4 part mini series to spread his bullshit.

    been enjoying the conversations and reading most of the linked articles, even though i have neither too much time or things to add at the moment.

    Quote Originally Posted by craner View Post
    There's a lot of narrow-minded, blinkered, knee-jerk prejudice on this forum, I find.
    at times i might agree with this, but from the exact opposite side of the room.
    Last edited by zhao; 14-11-2011 at 11:15 AM.

  11. #41
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    Asian Ancestors Had Sex with Mysterious Human Cousins

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by luka View Post
    Asian Ancestors Had Sex with Mysterious Human Cousins
    How many letters? And have you got any of them already?
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  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by luka View Post
    Asian Ancestors Had Sex with Mysterious Human Cousins
    so you saw that i read this article on facebook, but i don't understand why you felt it necessary to bring it up here, since it is entirely unrelated to this thread.

  14. #44
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    yeah but its a funny headline and this conversation is going nowhere cos no one really disagrees with your initial assertion, or ta last not to the extent that they can be bothered getting indignant about it so i thought it might be time for a digression, thats all.

  15. #45
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    thanks for the digression, Luka. what can we expect next? lol-cats? how about some funny gifs just for the hell of it. and i'll remember to return the favor next time you start a thread.

    are disagreements necessary for a good conversation? like i said i've enjoyed the banter between tea and droid, various small contributions by others, and also the articles which got linked.

    as far as disagreements go, i would like to hear Craner's take on the Empire book, why he thinks it is good, and how he feels about the general outlook of "yes there were blunders and problems, but british imperialism was mostly a good thing, for keeping a lid on "ethnic tensions" in the colonies (which erupted as soon as we left), and for bringing trade and Western Civilization to various primitive armpits of the world"

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