Sunday, 29 September 2013

Page Three Poems

A Time And a Place

Men look at them to let off steam;
they're really rather fun!
It’s fine inside a magazine,
just not inside The Sun.


With men in suits on every page
it’s rather sad to see:
This ‘equal’, modern day and age
still tolerates Page Three.

The Threat of Terrophobia

Many governments, despite how democratic and just they claim to be, want their citizens to be ‘scared’. Governments have used fear as a method of control for hundreds of years, and it is, and has proved to be, extremely successful.

In February 1933 a communist, Marinus van der Lubbe, was convicted of burning down the Reichstag, the Parliament building of Weimay Germany. Adolf Hitler used this fire to pass the ‘Decree for the Protection of the People and the State’. This took away the basic rights of the German people, allowing Hitler’s police to search houses and make arrests freely.

The people supported Hitler for one reason: fear. They were scared of the Communist party, who were seen as enemies of the state. Why? One of them had just burnt down The Reichstag! (Or so they were told). Propaganda was used to increase this hatred, and so the citizens granted Adolf Hitler more and more power, and gave him more support, helping him to set up his dictatorship

And almost 70 years later, on September the 11th, two planes hit the Twin Towers. The American Government blamed al-Quaeda and their leader Osama bin Laden, who took credit for the atrocities.

However this has raised much speculation and a number of conspiracy theories have emerged. Why did the towers fall from the bottom? Why were traces of explosives found in the foundations? Why did WTC7 blow up, even though no plane or debris hit it? If it was due to explosives, how did these ‘terrorists’ plant explosives in a building, which housed part of the United States Secret Service? And why did Barry Jennings, a witness, claim he heard explosions when inside the building? It just doesn’t add up.

And just as Hitler used the Reichstag fire to destroy the Communist Party and take full control, Bush used 9/11 to instigate his War on Terror with the full support of the American people. Now I don’t know whether 9/11 was a government scheme so that they could invade Iraq, but there is strong evidence to support this claim.

The citizens of America now live in fear of the false threat of Terrorism, and this is known as Terrophobia, a method of control. They feel threatened, and so look to a figure of authority to look after them, and so giving them yet more authority.

Of course the 9/11 attacks changed the world forever as we entered into the new ‘age of terror’. However that was not the first time the American government instilled fear into it’s people to gain power and support against a certain enemy. Propaganda was used to increase fear of the Japanese who were described as ‘un-human’, and the threat they imposed was exaggerated. Is this not again reminiscent of Hitler’s treatment of the Jews? This eventually led to the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan, which were supported by the majority of the American people – they wanted the false threat to be destroyed.

And of course during the Cold War the danger of the spread of Communism was greatly amplified by Reagan and other Presidents. They inspired fear of Communism in order to not only gain support for the Cold War, but they also hoped that it would destroy Communist movement in North America at the time.

There is a danger that Terrophobia will grow more and more prominent in the UK and other parts of Europe. After the murder of Lee Rigby there was a huge rise in membership of the EDL (the English Defence League). Just because two Muslim men murdered one man, does this mean all Muslims ought to leave the country? No. There are religions, and there are religious extremists – I urge you to make the distinction between the two.

It is not terrorism we need to worry about, it's terrophobia. 

Saturday, 28 September 2013

"'The Watsons' is a puzzle"

The Watsons was written by Jane Austen circa 1804, and was described as ‘a puzzle’ by Professor Sutherland of St. Anne’s College. The English Fellow of Oxford referred to it thus because of the muddle it has caused: we cannot be certain if it really is an unfinished novel, or if in fact it was written as a short story/novella, as Professor Sutherland believes. In my opinion it is doubtful that Austen’s intention was a novella, chiefly because she had barely introduced the plot before it was cut short.

The 18000-word story relates Emma Watson's adventures at a ball – Austen territory. However the tale is not at all typical of her writing, and in fact it is the longest account of a ball that Austen ever wrote. The remainder of the words tell about the preparation for the ball, and then the usual gossip that tends to take place on the proceeding days. This is a very compelling reason for readers to conclude that it was intended to be a novella – otherwise, it would have been a very long book indeed (considering she used almost 18,000 words to describe such a short period).

As I mentioned before, the plot gradually becomes more gripping throughout the story when it ends unexpectedly. What came of Emma’s affairs with Mr Howard? Is Tom Musgrave really falling for Emma? And will Lord Osborne gain Emma’s affection? These are just a few of the questions that I believe are left unanswered – it is true that perhaps Austen intended this, and decided to cut it short on a cliff-hanger, but somehow it seems a slight waste of such a riveting plot. However, it is not necessarily true that it was wasted: it is believed that many ideas were taken from The Watsons and were used in later novels (for example there is an obvious correlation between the character of Fanny Price from Mansfield Park, and Emma Watson). Many who have studied Austen in depth have also concluded that it was unfinished simply because she didn’t like it. Perhaps she thought that her heroin, Emma, was too boring – she was no Marianne Dashwood or Elizabeth Bennet. Maybe she did not believe that Emma Watson would also become one of the most well known protagonists of English Literature.

Finally, perhaps the most compelling reason to believe it is an unfinished novel is her father’s death. We believe that Jane Austen stopped writing The Watsons in 1805, coinciding with George Austen’s death. Furthermore, there is a strongly recurring theme of ailment and death in the plot, implying that her father’s steadily decreasing health intensely played on her mind. Emma’s uncle dies, and she returns to her family to find that her father is steadily growing ill – clearly death is a common topic for her at that time. For me, this is the most convincing evidence to suggest that it is an unfinished novel, rather than a finished novella. Despite the extended account of the ball, and the lack of a title or proper paragraph breaks, I believe that there are too many reasons that indicate an unfinished novel.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

A Tale of History

I painted pictures on a shadowed wall,
To show a bout or tell a tale of war,
Display a yarn in words a man recalls,
Recording what has happened long before.
A painting shown on ancient cuts of leaf,
I shed my skin upon a manuscript,
I gave a voice to those who couldn’t speak,
Now they express themselves without their lips.
With slaves of God I carved the prodigy,
My skull is moved by hands of famous men,
I told the past with brutal honesty,
Then from my body flows the ink again.
A path of love I poured upon a page,
To hopeless music, writ and sold today.