Monday, October 03, 2005

The Big Fellows

With indictments raining down like confetti on the Vast Rightwing Conspiracy, surely it seems that things could not get any worse. After all, they still have their bedrock belief that sitting in the White House is the reincarnation of Winston Churchill, George W. Bush. And that's an especially helpful comparison right now, because after all, the British people didn't actually think much of Winston as a domestic policy performer -- dumping him unceremoniously in 1945 after the Global War on Fascism had been won, much as in the way there'll always be the GWOT for the slightly wavering amongst Dubya's true believers.

However, if there's one thing that could break this pillar, it would be an undermining at its source -- the idea that being compared to Churchill is a good thing. Step forward then, Mary Kenny -- the thinking man's Sinead O'Connor -- to bring that one crashing down:

[Sunday Times of London] WINSTON CHURCHILL and Michael Collins are portrayed as enjoying an intense "homosocial" friendship in a new play by Mary Kenny.

At which point right-wingers everywhere exclaim ... "homo-whatnow?" Mary explains:

Allegiance dramatises the events of a night when the British and Irish leaders drank together at Churchill’s London home during the Anglo-Irish treaty negotiations of October 1921. Details of the session were first revealed in The Last Lion, a biography of Churchill by William Manchester.

"My play was triggered by something Manchester wrote about how, despite the political differences, they got drunk together one night," said Kenny. "They were carousing and reciting poetry to each other."

Historians have established that Churchill was not homosexual. "They seemed to love other in a homosocial as opposed to homosexual way," said Kenny.

"I think it was more pronounced on Churchill’s side. He perceived Collins as a young warrior and seemed to be very attracted to that. The homosocial bond is my intuitive interpretation. It’s something that’s coming up in sociology today, this idea of the band of brothers’ bond that men develop."

While Mary emphasises the fraternal-paternal aspects of the relationship, she's already put in enough keywords to get the alarm bells ringing; we see this as being especially tough for the manly men at Powerline, whose anxiety about gays under the bed extends even to comically sub-texted posts such as this one -- we're not gay, really; look -- pictures of Pamela Anderson!

Anyway, this play is consistent with Mary's recent emphasis on a nostalgic nationalism, that there was something worthy and even, God forbid, Tory, about the previous generations of the armed struggle. And there's a serious historical point as well, namely that Churchill's respect for Collins dissuaded him from sending the troops back in during the Civil War:

"In the House of Commons on May 29, Churchill was defending the treaty and amid much heckling he said, over and over again, ‘I trust General Collins. Ireland will come through this’," said Kenny.

Which highlights another Collins arc that is problematic for the GWOT. The terrorist Collins became General Collins, gaining the trust of Churchill. All in all then, this Winston character is really quite a bad role model, negotiating with terrorists and being a drinker and smoker too. Whereas the White House model is that real men don't have curves.

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