Friday, October 14, 2005



By Elaine Meinel Supkis

My family had ancestors on both sides at the Battle of Hastings. We resolved our remaining differences by intermarriage over the centuries but in the beginning it was all pretty difficult because no one could really talk to each other, the Normans having handed over their Viking babies to French nurses and mothers, their form of Norse completely contaminated by this, meanwhile, the Anglo-Saxon language was hardly impacted by the Vikings since both grew from the same linguistic bush, so to speak.

The Norman invasion would have failed miserably since they were pretty alien if the Norse hadn't invaded the same month in the northern borders of England. Thus, poor Harold had to first defeat them which he did, handily, and then force marched his weary troops all the way to the south coasts to battle the fresh troops marshalled by William the Bastard. Also, the Norman army had horses and used the novelty, the couched spear, in attacking. This is what really defeated the standing army of Harold. On a bridge, they might have stood their ground but on foot, on the ground, no.

The arms revolution of the couched spear was sweeping Europe and after the Normans took over vast tracts of land using this method of fighting, they roared off to the Middle East to continue pushing footsoldiers around. There, the clash between the couched spear method of fighting and the Asian plains style of horseback archery was played out, usually to the advantage of the archer/horsemen, for a thousand years until guns made both temporarily moot.

Imposing an alien tongue and taste on a resistant and angry population took years and years in England. To this day, the upper classes still use language and intonation that is very distinctive and well developed, this is the secret code that distinguishes members of the old Norman ruling elite vis a vis ordinary people. Many lower class people take lessons in this style of talking but those of us who grew up within it, it comes automatically. My mother, for example, speaks still with that perfect fluted voiced stiff upper lip appropriate for her class. She and the Queen are indistinguishable if you heard them talk on the phone.

A lot of people died violent deaths as the Normans and the English people contested each other on every front. The Normans were ravening wolves seeking some flock of sheep to fleece but the fierce tenacity of the English subjects forced the rulers to remold themselves until they could no longer talk to their cousins across the Channel which enabled them to recruit English longbowmen to join them in ravaging the former estates of their own kind in France. In other words, by the time of Edward I, the ability to rally the English troops by talking to them in English propelled forwards the affairs of the great Kings of England. Whoopee. This was enthusiastically cheered by the lower classes who gave their hearts finally to the monarchy.

BREAKING NEWS: The Dutch just surrounded the castle holding their government because of a terror alert.

This is rather amusing to me for we are doing the Medieval Crusades all over again with the same results! Namely, we are wearing full armor in the hot sun and charging in, hard, scattering them. As again and again in the past, they melt away, regroup in the dark and come flitting in, lobbing arrows at us from a safe distance or sending in assassins. We howl with rage and repeat.

Talk about never learning anything!

As we try to force a "constitution" on Iraq, we rip up our ancient documents, disregarding all lessons from the bloody past. Since kings often imprison those nearest to them, the ruling elite saw the wisdom of clipping his wings via various things like the Magna Carta which was resolved at the point of a sword. Indeed, the Constitution of the USA was written only after a very bloody struggle with the British Royals and then a second bloody struggle in the Civil War, all these things get resolved violently, not peacably. Any Constitution written without a battle is thin stuff that doesn't stand the test of time. The meaningless constitutions of various countries stand as mute testament to this truth. Iraq won't keep this dumb constitution because the issues are not being resolved, they are being papered over.

And the battles are so intense, they have to have walls and barbed wire pens set up to have people vote. As if this is a functional democracy! The archer-horsemen will undo all this in a split second, the minute the efforts of the ruling elites in America falter and they are faltering badly now.

Bush's comical "chat" with "soldiers" who were really trained operatives with canned responses, has failed as the media tells the truth...for once. All his "chats" were fake but the media played along. But now, they don't. Because they lost their own audiences who overwhelmingly are against this stupid invasion and this stupid attempt at integrating an alien nation and a thorny religion which thrives on adversity, refuse to accept any more propaganda.

So what awaits us?

Remember, after the Battle of Hastings came the Crusades and in the middle of that, the revolt at home due to financial problems connected with the Crusades which led to the signing of the Magna Carta. One followed the other for a reason.

And our moronic Crusade is crumbling rapidly. Longbows, anyone?

PS: This great day is also my birthday. Heh. Big 55 this year. On the downslope now, whoopee.

From Wimpling Wings:
Thanks to the Normans we have centralized government and the Domesday Book, a census, the first ever taken in England, and it is an invaluable record for genealogists and historians. According to Henry Adams in his book Mont Saint Michael and Chartres, if you have English blood, you have Norman blood. (I may have Norman ancestry via my Tindall, Copper and Purdy antecedents, but absolute proof is impossible.) Henry was an unapologetic aristocrat back when it was OK to claim one’s inherited superiority loudly. The Normans, despite the distasteful displays of arrogance and snobbery by some of their descendants (and Henry Adams was indeed a remarkable person and a superior intellect), were resolute, strong, shrewd, smart and civilized. But William’s foray was the very last successful raid upon English soil. May the record stand another 1000 years.
Yeah, go with it, Facti!

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