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 Post subject: A Tale of A Tub
PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2021 7:57 pm 
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Some mention was made in another thread of ´Thread Drift.´ The ´Dreaded Thread Drift. . .´. Since this is a Virtual Pub. . .much like Real Pubs, not really available to many of us in this time of Covid-19, I offer to you this ´Tale of a Tub´, dedicated to not much more than Thread Drift.
A Tale of a Tub is much like a ´Cock and Bull Story´ or ´A Shaggy Dog Story´. A bagatelle, a diversion, much like a Dog and Pony Show. The origins of A Tale of A Tub are said to be a Seaman´s Tale, of the sort told between Sea Shanties and Fo´c´sle Ballads. It was said that when a sailing vessel was confronted by a whale, the sailors would often throw a large tub overboard to divert the whale´s attention from attacking their ship, that he might desport himself by pushing it about, to and fro´ and flipping it with it´s flukes. . .
I intend to return here occassionally to survey the damage, offer some of my own random thoughts, and to contribute to the general drift. . .

Stay Safe. Mask Up. Wash Your Hands. :D
Bob

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 Post subject: Re: A Tale of A Tub
PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2021 4:45 pm 
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I've been scratching my head over this topic, so I did a search, and it turns out a "tale of a tub" was 1) overall, a 17-18th cent. term for a cock-and-bull story; 2) the name of a play by Ben Johnson (1633); and 3) the name of an allegorical satire about politico-religious excess, penned by Jonathan Swift (pub. 1704). Of the three, it is Swift's work that presents the tub-and-whale image. The book was enormously popular in its day, yet it's also been called a brilliant failure. It is difficult reading, and some would say his best work, but because it was largely misunderstood, it put him in bad odor with the powers that be.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Tale_of_a_Tub

"Swift's explanation for the title of the book is that the Ship of State was threatened by a whale (specifically, the Leviathan of Thomas Hobbes) and the new political societies (the Rota Club is mentioned). His book is intended to be a tub that the sailors of state (the nobles and ministers) might toss over the side to divert the attention of the beast (those who questioned the government and its right to rule)." (Wiki)

Here's a transcript of the 1889 edition if anyone cares to have a look:

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/4737/4737-h/4737-h.htm

In that edition's preface (page 49!), Swift called his book a "tub" (of nonsense?) to distract the "whale", but in the book the "tub" is also a metaphor for the pulpit, so especially in light of the book already being called a cock-and-bull story, separating the two tubs is probably a fool's errand. What I'm getting out of my first glance is that it suggests this: Troubled by Hobbes and ilk? Throw religion-as-politics at 'em. If nothing else, it'll keep them occupied. Swift's personal "tub" - the book, and his bully pulpit - provides tongue-in-cheek serving suggestions, as it were. But again, this is just at first glance. I'd probably use the book as a shelter-in-place distraction for my own allegorical COVID whale, but I already have C&F to occupy me plenty, especially when, like this, I have to make heads or tails out of things you lot throw at me. :wink:

I did some more searching and I can only conclude that Swift, and Swift alone, cooked up the eccentric notion of sailors reportedly tossing a tub at a whale to distract it, for I find it nowhere else; utterly fanciful stuff was Swift's stock in trade when pointing out what he saw as folly. From the preface:

"To this end, at a grand committee, some days ago, this important discovery was made by a certain curious and refined observer [given all the hyperbole, I lay odds the "refined observer" who made the "important discovery" at a "grand committee" was none other than Swift himself setting it all up :) ], that seamen have a custom when they meet a Whale to fling him out an empty Tub, by way of amusement, to divert him from laying violent hands upon the Ship. This parable was immediately mythologised; the Whale was interpreted to be Hobbes’s “Leviathan,” which tosses and plays with all other schemes of religion and government, whereof a great many are hollow, and dry, and empty, and noisy, and wooden, and given to rotation."

Ouch.

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 Post subject: Re: A Tale of A Tub
PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2021 12:27 am 
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Setting aside that the ´good Dean´ never publicly claimed authorship, we can be fairly certain he wrote the Original. Along with the ´Tub´ was published an account of ´The Battle of the Books´, wherein both appeals to ´Classics´, the ´Ancients´, and the ´Moderns´ are savagely parodied. It can be fairly said that Swift didn´t like anyone very much. Everyone comes off a lot the worse for wear when viewed through his particularly eschatological view of things. (One of my professors maintained that if ever he found himself ´bound-up, he would retreat to the loo with some of Swift´s writings and quickly resolve his ´situation´.)
Part of the reason Swift couldn´t openly claim this brilliant satiric work, is that the three main Characters of Swift´s ´Tub´,
Peter, Martin, and Jack, representing Catholicism, Lutheranism, and The Church of England are all equally flayed alive for their failings. . .he was after all an Anglican Dean. To be clear, some parts of Swift´s ´Tub´ can be shoe-horned into a reading involving Hobbe´s ´Leviathan´, this is really at its core a Procrustean exercise. Swift was much more concerned with the Moral Condition of mankind.
He lived in a time of great political polarization, and when he wielded his pen on politics he was much more forceful and direct. . .to his own detriment it would seem. . .resulting in his ´banishment´ to the outer darkness of Dublin as the Dean of Trinity Church.
My ´tub´ I would submit is a bit more humble. . .

:D Bob

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 Post subject: Re: A Tale of A Tub
PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2021 12:48 am 
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At the risk of sailing into the troubled Sea of Political Conflict, I would point out that after he was ´banished´, he did manage to advance to the Deanship of St. Patrick´s Cathedral. which he nearly lost through his publication of The Drapier´s Letters attacking a scheme to introduce debased currency into the Irish Economy in the form of Wood´s Ha´Pence. This gave birth to a number of hilarious, and ribald, ballads.

Bob

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 Post subject: Re: A Tale of A Tub
PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2021 4:08 am 
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On another note, and to nudge this ´tub´ in a slightly different direction: Hal Holbrook has died.

Here is Holbrook doing An Evening With Mark Twain https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_rTMNn ... =emb_title

¨Remember Man was the creation at the end of a week´s work!¨
--Mark Twain--

:D Bob

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 Post subject: Re: A Tale of A Tub
PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2021 5:12 pm 
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an seanduine wrote:
Hal Holbrook has died.

Haven't even gotten to the news yet, so I heard it here first. RIP, Hal.

And RIP Captain Tom.

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 Post subject: Re: A Tale of A Tub
PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2021 10:42 pm 
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Captain Tom. Captain (Honorary Colonel) Sir Thomas Moore. Where do I start. The man served in The Burma Campaign, an enormous land conflict against the Imperial Japanese Army almost unknown in America today. Tens of thousands died in this conflict, conducted in six month segments, punctuated by six months of Monsoon inactivity. He enlisted in 1939 and served until 1945. This Yorkshireman first served in the 8th Duke of Wellington´s Regiment, then posted to the 9th Duke of Wellington´s in India, where he was a tanker with the Royal Army Corps. He initally trained motorcycle troops in the RAC and later while serving in the Western Arakan campaign he fought in Churchill tanks. This was intense fighting involving hand-to-hand combat, and in one engagement involving Japanese suicide squads waiting in trenches with explosives to detonate when tanks rolled over their top.
What a strange confluence of events finds us here today. Captain Tom would have served with Aung San, leader of the Burmese (Myanmar) National Army, the father of Aung Sung Suu Kyi currently detained by a military coup.

R.I.P. Captain Tom!
Bob

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 Post subject: Re: A Tale of A Tub
PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2021 4:49 pm 
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an seanduine wrote:
The man served in The Burma Campaign ...

So did an uncle of mine, although I don't know why I'm bringing it up, because I don't think he ever saw much direct action if any: his duty assignment was as a photographer, and I assume he filmed as well. I never heard any stories; we only knew he was there. A few years ago I saw a documentary on the Burma Campaign for the first time, and only then did I come to realize the sheer scope and toll of it. This was soon after my uncle had passed on, as it would happen, and I cursed the timing, because I would have loved the opportunity to know more from him.

It is strange, isn't it, how the Burma Campaign gets treated rather like a footnote.

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 Post subject: Re: A Tale of A Tub
PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2021 1:20 am 
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Nanohedron wrote:
an seanduine wrote:
The man served in The Burma Campaign ...

So did an uncle of mine, although I don't know why I'm bringing it up, because I don't think he ever saw much direct action if any: his duty assignment was as a photographer, and I assume he filmed as well. I never heard any stories; we only knew he was there. A few years ago I saw a documentary on the Burma Campaign for the first time, and only then did I come to realize the sheer scope and toll of it. This was soon after my uncle had passed on, as it would happen, and I cursed the timing, because I would have loved the opportunity to know more from him.

It is strange, isn't it, how the Burma Campaign gets treated rather like a footnote.

My father received the Burma Star. You can't believe the incompetence of those in charge on the British side. It's amazing that we won the war. My father was a dispatch rider. He was sent, along with a whole lot of other people, complete with their motor bikes to be dispatch riders. Think about that a minute. They were sent with their motor bikes to the Burmese jungle. Those bikes had to be stored for the whole time British troops were in Burma, taking up valuable room, and wasting time and focus, as they had to be guarded.

Now, clearly, my father couldn't ride his motor bike in the jungle. So, he was expected to run between camps with dispatches. Fortunately, he had been a fairly successful cross-country runner. He said that he would often get to the destination camp and only then realise that he had just run the entire distance under heavy shell fire. His brain had simply blocked it out.

For the whole of the rest of his life, he was terrified of loud bangs. As children, we were allowed fireworks in our garden every 5th November. But we weren't allowed bangers or any other firework that made a loud noise. Catherine wheels were OK, for some reason. Mind you, the ones we had didn't have the shriek that some catherine wheels have.

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 Post subject: Re: A Tale of A Tub
PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2021 1:54 am 
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The marks of that conflict lasted a long time. My youngest maternal uncle flew as a tail-gunner in the Pacific in B-17´s. He arrived in Hawaii shortly after the Pearl Harbor attack. I was vaguely aware of this as a small child, but didn´t see him for a long period of time, and went to see him in the early 1970´s. I was proudly driving my new Toyota sedan.

He wouldn´t speak to me for several hours. My aunt explained to me that as a tail-gunner in the Pacific he had engaged with Mitsubishi A-6 ´Zeros´ in gun battles at ranges where he could see and count the freckles and sweat drops of the opposing fighter pilots.

After a few hours he thawed out a little bit, and I was able to re-establish a connection I had had as a small child with my Mother´s baby brother. He never spoke directly with me about his war experience. I did know from some faded and yellowed newspaper accounts that he had been credited with 1 and a half ´kills´. . .to receive such credit required two separate confirmations of an observed crash. . .

Smoking and high-altitude flying gave him TB. He spent several years in a sanitarium after the war recuperating.

War is a scourge on Humanity.

Bob

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 Post subject: Re: A Tale of A Tub
PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2021 2:12 am 
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Hal Holbrook reciting Mark Twain´s War Prayer:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzGu69C2wqc

Bob

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 Post subject: Re: A Tale of A Tub
PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2021 4:03 pm 
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benhall.1 wrote:
You can't believe the incompetence of those in charge on the British side. It's amazing that we won the war.

As I understand it, command was epically incompetent on both sides of the Burma Campaign, and the eventual outcome was pretty much a matter of sheer dumb happenstance. Perhaps embarrassment is why it gets treated as a footnote.

an seanduine wrote:
War is a scourge on Humanity.

You'd think that after all this time we'd have learned something...

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 Post subject: Re: A Tale of A Tub
PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2021 8:38 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
benhall.1 wrote:
You can't believe the incompetence of those in charge on the British side. It's amazing that we won the war.

As I understand it, command was epically incompetent on both sides of the Burma Campaign, and the eventual outcome was pretty much a matter of sheer dumb happenstance. Perhaps embarrassment is why it gets treated as a footnote.

an seanduine wrote:
War is a scourge on Humanity.

You'd think that after all this time we'd have learned something...


Civilization doesn't come without extreme effort, education and more than a little thought. We are checking up shorter, it seems, much of the time.

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 Post subject: Re: A Tale of A Tub
PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2021 3:17 pm 
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I am going to push this ´Tub´ in a slightly different direction.

Has anyone heard anything from ´An Draighean´, a piper posting on the Board. He lives in Texas. . .

Cell and internet communication right now can charitably be described as ´spotty´. Most people I know of are complaining of only intermittent texting being available.

He was building an earth-bermed retirement home with some off grid capabilities, but I´m still concerned. The world needs more pipers, not fewer.

Any word would be well received.

Bob

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 Post subject: Re: A Tale of A Tub
PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2021 6:55 pm 
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I hope he's okay. Things are crazy tough there. The southern US wasn't prepared for storms like that; up to now they'd never had need to be.

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