London 2016: 'We must love one another or die'

Image of The British Museum in London, England

All I have is a voice/To undo the folded lie—W.H. Auden

This will be my final post from London this particular academic trip, and I thought I might remark briefly on how three seemingly disparate moments here this week created one larger narrative for me of the present relationship between the United States and England.

The first moment was my presentation in which I discussed and heavily criticized the historical British empire in relationship to Ireland. Although I did discuss the colonization of India and other countries in Africa by the British and so many other western countries, my overall focus was mostly on pre-World War II England and it’s relationship to Ireland.

I won’t bore everyone with too much academic jargon related to issue, but my presentation did include this general sentence about colonization:

. . . once someone is exposed to the brutalities inflicted by the British, Spanish, Belgians, Portuguese, French, the Dutch (the list goes on) upon the native people of their colonies and territories or in their exploitive adventures during and beyond the Age of Discovery, it consumes interpretations under the rubric of postcolonial theory.

The key word here for the point I’m going to try to make is “brutalities.” This sentence was read at the University of London to a group of academics that included British citizens, and not only did no one even dispute the conclusion, most everyone probably agreed with it entirely, just like I do, as just common knowledge. But does the casual acceptance of the point breed a complacency that is dangerous? I wonder.

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The Oklahoman Throws In With Trump Nonsense

Image of rainbow flag

As I posted Monday, I’m at an academic conference in London, England this week. I will get back to regular posting next week.

Usually when I travel overseas, as anyone knows who follows this blog, I try to post about the conference itself in general terms and about the cities where I’m visiting. I do this mainly to keep a personal record of my travels and academic work, but I know a fair amount of people like the accompanying photographs I upload on the blog and especially on Facebook.

But the mass shooting at Pulse, a LGBTQ-friendly nightclub in Orlando, which I’m pretty sure was also frequented by heterosexuals, makes it impossible for me to publish much about London or especially the conference itself right now. The conference and my traveling seem so insignificant given the enormity of the tragedy, and my heart goes out to all the family and friends of the victims. I also don’t have the time to fully digest and write about the shooting because of the narrow focus of my academic literary conference and my time constraints.

I will say this: A Tuesday editorial in The Oklahoman criticizing President Barack Obama for not mentioning the “Islamic State” in one of his first extended comments on the shooting is one of the worst commentaries the newspaper has published in last 30 years or so. The newspaper didn’t hesitate to politicize the shooting in order to obviously support the presidential nominee Donald Trump’s blatant falsehoods and distortions about the shooting. Trump actually implied Obama was somehow involved in the shooting in some personal manner.

The editorial also made it clear that any discussion of gun control laws given the tragedy was, well, it was off limits. Here’s the main gist from this ridiculous and, frankly, dangerous, nearly fanatical argument from The Oklahoman:

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Stop The Violence: We Need Stricter Gun Control Laws

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I’m in London, England at an academic conference this week so my posts will be sporadic until next Monday.

I was going to post a short piece today about London’s transportation system—I was able to take the Tube from Heathrow Airport to a station right across from my hotel for 3.80 pounds or $5 or so yesterday—and accompany the post with some photographs, but then I started reading about the tragedy in Orlando, Fla.

As you know, a gunman killed at least 50 people at a LGBT nightclub, the Pulse Club, in Orlando early Sunday morning. Here’s The Guardian story on the tragedy. I won’t rehash it, and, as usual in any mass shooting in the United States, the motive and other details are emerging as politicians weigh in and everyone makes points or tries to make points.

So here’s mine:

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