Season XVIII – Alphaday 11

Hi Alphas,

Welcome to Alphaday 11, Season XVIII. This is the last full Alphaday agenda before our annual break; the three remaining Alphadays will be spent winding up ‘matters in hand’ and assessing the season to see how we should plan the way ahead.

Right now, however, we have plenty of writerly treats prepared for us by the busy hands (and heads) of this Alphaday’s team – as they dish out all the goodies provided by everyone, including a full workload of the type we enjoy. No holidays for Alphas just yet with an agenda like this:

  • This bulletin from me
  • A call for contributions for the Open Page 3rd edition from Ros
  • The collated entries for the ‘Thank you letter’ challenge from Morgen
  • The results and feedback for the ‘Fill the gap’ challenge from Cat
  • A call for contributions for this season’s final Alpha Log from Phil

No particular Alpha News. As far as I can see Gmail has stopped interfering with my emails, so that’s good news … However

the general news is dominated by the brutalities of war, and our civilised society is not well equipped to deal with that. We can turn our backs on the perpetrators, exclude them from our society, help the survivors, but we can’t stop the destruction.

Here’s an anecdote. A long time ago I was proudly showing off the rockery to my – then – mother-in-law. When we got to the corner by some steps, she pointed a condemning finger and said, “That’s a weed.”  

To me the periwinkle was perfect: evergreen groundcover and full of pretty blue flowers from the earliest days of spring. It stayed on as a much-loved part of the rockery community.

Those with authority and condemning powers have already done far too much weeding in our culture. The latest I heard was that a university weeded out ‘colonialist’ Jane Austen and replaced her with Toni Morrison. Shouldn’t they both be on the syllabus?

Russian literature, music and art have an important place in our world’s culture. Wouldn’t it be wrong to rip all that out for political reasons?

Wagner was dead long before Hitler was born. Yet his music was maligned because Hitler liked it. Wagner has since been ‘forgiven’ (more or less), but his name has now again been smeared by an army of brutal, Russian mercenaries.

Oscar Wilde was for a while classed as a dangerous weed – along with many others. Milton wrote political propaganda for the Puritan Roundheads without serious consequences, whereas Solzhenitsyn spent nine years in a Gulag labour camp for criticising Stalin in a private letter.

What would Christmas be like without the Nutcracker Suite? As for Putin, I suppose , “He’s a real fruit and nut case, tra-la-la” and I admire ‘Crime and Punishment’ immensely.

Let’s look after our cultural treasures.


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