A display of humanity and warmth…

28 Dec

Updates 28/29 December and an expanded final comment.

…not to mention generosity of spirit, humility, and all that marks this fine example to the rest of the human race. Yes, you read it first on the blog that will reform the universe!

And here was I thinking his blog was back on track. I honestly don’t know why he bothered to expose his meanness of spirit quite so nakedly. After all, I haven’t mentioned him lately, not until now. You need not expect further mentions.

Anyone who will mock an actual dying man who has served this country in several capacities is beneath contempt in my book, and I suspect I would not be alone in making that call, not to mention the gracelessness of trivialising other people dear to me whom he has never met. That dying man is an actual example of “the aids victims, etc, all things I thought were worthy of highlighting” — but some people prefer their compassion to be displayed towards groups and abstractions, the further away the better, don’t they, rather than confront the pain in three dimensions in a hospital ward or a hospice? God forbid if a real person with Stage 4 AIDS ever crossed his path.

Yes, this is an angry post, but the anger is not because the ersatz world saviour has little time for my blog. He may think what he will of that; it doesn’t matter. But to write of serious things, real things of which he has little knowledge, in this way, to score cheap “satirical” points in defence of his oh so narrow view of blogging, as he has done, really gets to me. Not to mention that he thereby cheapens himself.

Something quite important is missing over there, that’s all I can say. I am glad I am here.

Mrs. Jellyby, whose face reflected none of the uneasiness which we could not help showing in our own faces as the dear child’s head recorded its passage with a bump on every stair — Richard afterwards said he counted seven, besides one for the landing — received us with perfect equanimity. She was a pretty, very diminutive, plump woman of from forty to fifty, with handsome eyes, though they had a curious habit of seeming to look a long way off. As if — I am quoting Richard again — they could see nothing nearer than Africa!…

“You find me, my dears,” said Mrs. Jellyby, snuffing the two great office candles in tin candlesticks, which made the room taste strongly of hot tallow (the fire had gone out, and there was nothing in the grate but ashes, a bundle of wood, and a poker), “you find me, my dears, as usual, very busy; but that you will excuse. The African project at present employs my whole time. It involves me in correspondence with public bodies and with private individuals anxious for the welfare of their species all over the country. I am happy to say it is advancing. We hope by this time next year to have from a hundred and fifty to two hundred healthy families cultivating coffee and educating the natives of Borrioboola-Gha, on the left bank of the Niger.”…

Peepy (so self-named) was the unfortunate child who had fallen downstairs, who now interrupted the correspondence by presenting himself, with a strip of plaster on his forehead, to exhibit his wounded knees, in which Ada and I did not know which to pity most — the bruises or the dirt. Mrs. Jellyby merely added, with the serene composure with which she said everything, “Go along, you naughty Peepy!” and fixed her fine eyes on Africa again.

However, as she at once proceeded with her dictation, and as I interrupted nothing by doing it, I ventured quietly to stop poor Peepy as he was going out and to take him up to nurse. He looked very much astonished at it and at Ada’s kissing him, but soon fell fast asleep in my arms, sobbing at longer and longer intervals, until he was quiet. I was so occupied with Peepy that I lost the letter in detail, though I derived such a general impression from it of the momentous importance of Africa, and the utter insignificance of all other places and things, that I felt quite ashamed to have thought so little about it…

— Charles Dickens, Bleak House.

The image above right is from William Yang’s Sadness. I know William, and I have seen Sadness. After seeing it I couldn’t speak. It is of course brilliant. William doesn’t have a blog. He doesn’t need one.

Now I must go to Malcolm’s place to water his plants.


I took the time while watering those plants to look at Malcolm’s amazing collection of books, many of them heavy works of history and philosophy, right through to the post-moderns. I also looked at some of the various plaques and honours he has had from various groups relating to AIDS care and his passion, flying, and memorabilia of his former — deceased — partner.

He is of course still with us, not quite as bad yet as the man in William Yang’s picture, but not far off. I also must add that my role in helping Malcolm is quite small, merely friendship really. There is the entire team at St Vincents and the Hospice, various agencies, and quite a number of friends: Andy, Sirdan, and The Empress just to name three. So don’t think I am attributing anything special to myself.

And since Daniel now tells us he has “authored” several books, without telling us what they are, I took an educated guess and found this, which really is amusing: I do recommend it. Except I am sure Daniel and Robert Crawford are not one and the same.

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5 responses to “A display of humanity and warmth…

  1. Jim Belshaw

    December 28, 2006 at 11:48 am

    Oh dear, Neil, Daniel’s post was very mean spirited. As you say, forget it.

    Among the reasons I like your blog is that you mix the personal with the professional. Another is the wide range of topics, so that I never quite know what to expect. I also like your courtesy.

  2. Gay Erasmus

    December 28, 2006 at 12:32 pm

    Hmm, Daniel’s post seems to contravene numbers 7, 9, and especially 10 of the things he claims to oppose.

    Like Jim I appreciate the way you mix your wide interest in current affairs with a personal interest in your family and friends. It’s all bound together by your tolerance, your conviction in social justice, and your genuine interest in people.

    Daniel could learn from your example: you don’t need to tread on the little people en route to tackling big issues.

  3. ninglun

    December 28, 2006 at 1:08 pm

    I just checked what numbers 7, 9, and especially 10 actually are. I couldn’t remember. 😉

  4. The Artist

    December 29, 2006 at 8:11 am

    I am also respectful of the depth, courtesy and fair mindedness of your comment.

    Am calling in to wish you a new and wonderful year, best wishes, The Artist

  5. ninglun

    December 29, 2006 at 8:55 am

    Thanks for the supportive comments. Another point one could make about Daniel’s parody of this blog (The Chaser team do this sort of thing better) is that he does not enable his readers to compare his jaundiced version with its original. This is typical of him. I leave it to you to consider the ethics involved.

    I might add that the comments published so far are the only ones I have so far received. No-one has yet sprung to Daniel’s defence, but of course the unsaved can’t comment on his post. When he briefly had comments open a litle while ago I saw a long comment pointing out Daniel’s inadequate knowledge of the extreme branch of Judaism that rejects the secular (oh that this really were the case!) state of Israel. That comment was accurate. It lasted maybe five minutes. The commenter was no doubt being “quarrelsome”.

    A side issue on Daniel’s post is his contemptuous dismissal of Gay Erasmus’s blog, which he has probably never read. A real writer and journalist in London, Dave Hill, who is neither gay nor religious as far as I can tell, would not share Daniel’s view.

    …more food for thought comes from the always eloquent Gay Erasmus, “20-something in Sydney, Australia”, in what turns out to be his final post in that guise. He says he’s found that his blog has:“…increasingly become a personal journal which demonstrates my interest in queer politics, religion, and faith as only one aspect of my life. Family is another important aspect; rethinking my place within my family since my dad died has transformed – and begun to heal – a part of myself that has struggled for expression and understanding in the past couple of years. Friendship is of course another aspect….In addition, the word ‘gay’, incorporated as it is into my blog title, seems to me now more reductive than representative of my personal identity.” It’s a typically thoughtful post, well worth reading in full…

    Indeed it is. Hence my respect.

    And yes, I have views on Iraq and Israel and whatever other issues Daniel is such a guru on. Check my links on the right and you will not be surprised to learn I think the Bush regime sent the US and the world down a very bad path. But anything I say is ignorant compared with Juan Cole (see links on the right) and bathos compared with Baghdad Burning (see links on the right). So I have tended lately to confine myself to what I can speak of with a degree of authority. However, do a search here or on my Blogspot sites and you will see I have had plenty to say.

    Friday evening

    This little note on Daniel’s sidebar, pompous and oracular as it is, may perhaps be a response to this post and comments. The SHOUT is the author’s:


    Yeah, right. But was it a mirror or a window?

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