Season XVII – Alphaday 2

Hi Alphas,

Welcome to Alphaday 2, Season XVII. We’re moving on into the season and gradually winding up the machinery until we reach full power. It isn’t far off; already next Alphaday our agenda will be complete with everything we’ve come to expect dished up lavishly for all to enjoy.

For today we’ll be satisfied with the following treats that are not to be sneezed at. As usual they’ve been put together by the combined efforts of all Alphas as we’ve responded to the calls for contributions with the help of those who offered to be in charge.

Alphaday 2, Season XVII agenda:

  • This Bulletin from me
  • The collated entries for the ‘Waking up’ challenge from Phil
  • The brief for Challenge 2 from Jackie
  • Your news in Alpha Log 1 from Phil

If that looks a bit lean, it’s because you haven’t yet checked out what’s behind these item headings. Some of us are already impatient to get our teeth into it. Newbies will be pleasantly surprised, we hope.

There’s no particular Alpha news for me to pass on. I’ll leave the interesting parts for Phil to reveal in his Log.

General news

I usually try to pick out a point that’s vaguely related to the creative arts and/or to our Alpha experiences. I’m always hoping to trigger a reaction from other Alphas to my crooked way of thinking.

These thoughts started with the Proms crisis, caused by the sudden discovery that the much-loved sing-along of ‘Rule, Britannia’ on the final night was a racist, colonial gesture and insulting to the BAME population and the BLM cause.

This brought back memories of last season’s challenge where we re-wrote ‘God Save the Queen’ in words that sung the praise of Great Britain for positive reasons like beautiful scenery, democratic principles, ‘love thy neighbour’ etc.

‘A pity we didn’t choose ‘Rule, Britannia’ for our rewrite,’ I thought.

I looked up the lyrics to see how objectionable they were. Clearly the refrain extols Britain as the supreme power, but then it would do, being a patriotic song, and with that same fervent enthusiasm for being on the winning side that you’d find at a football match. (Here I must confess to a strong distaste for the flag-waving at football matches where opposite sides whip up aggression. Still, not being a football fan I can’t make judgments.)

The ‘Rule Britannia’ spat, however, slotted into the sudden mania for getting rid of works of art that reveal unpalatable episodes in history. Paintings, statues, music, street names, rice, restoration comedies and more. Bernard Shaw was more or less kicked out of the London school of drama for his eugenics attitude. He had a big mouth, he did, and enjoyed being provocative.

The Russians excelled at rewriting history about the tsar and Stalin. They had auto-da-fés and persecutions. They’re not the only ones and Britain is learning fast. It’s probably a peer pressure thing. You should ban or erase everything to do with e.g. the stately home and restoration comedy era’s addiction to coffee, sugar and tobacco. All that was run by cartels that piled up their fortunes with a total disregard for the human lives they destroyed. Whistleblower William Wilberforce received death threats.

Perhaps we shouldn’t have rewritten ‘God Save the Queen’. It’s probably better to leave history to reveal its secrets through the works of art – good and bad – that it spawned.

Christine

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