Jingo Discussion *spoilers*

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Postby MongoGutman » Thu Jan 13, 2011 10:09 pm

Tonyblack wrote:If Fred Colon was a 21st Century American, he'd watch Fox News. If he were a Brit he'd watch Sky and read the Daily Mail. :lol:


No, the Daily Mail would be a little high-brow for Fred, Daily Sport or The Sun would be more his rag.
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Postby CrysaniaMajere » Fri Jan 14, 2011 2:53 pm

So you all really think Jingo is about Patriotism and wars? I thought the whole patriotic-stuff was just an excuse for people to have a good fight.
The war didn't start because a politician decided in cold blood that it'd be useful to him and wanted it so much it was perfectly ok for him to sacrify his own brother: he was thinking of his interests, politicians do that. No, the whole thing started before any politician even knew a thing about it.
It all started with ordinary men who jumped at the occasion to divide the world in two categories: US, the righteous, the brave, and THEM, without honor or courage, them who are not like us. People always embrace this 'fairytale' approach to life, it's easier, it's comforting.
Jingo is not about politics (it plays a relatively small role), is about people and the will to fight people have inside. People have a yearning desire to find a group (a team, a country or whatever) to belong to, to believe in, to fight for, and if they don't have it they create one as soon as the occasion arises. In this case a whole island appeared from beneath of them.
Maybe it is because most people like the easy way, and that is=Us, on one side, good, sometimes victims sometimes heroes, and Them, always evil. That way is easy to know who the enemy is and who you can trust because they are all your friends: as always in real life is the hard-way the true one.
A group can also give people what they don't have alone: courage, means, and most of all reasons, excuses to fight. Jingo is full of them. Nobody really gave a damn about that island, someone just found a good excuse and hang onto it. It happens to everybody, even to the best of people, if they aren't enough careful. Colon jumps to it with all his racist comments, but he represents the ignorant people who like to think they know everything.
Vimes is the good guy in T books, the one who always tries at his best to do things right, and he falls for it too. He dislikes ALL powerful, rich or aristocrats people, in spite of having married one and being now the most rich man himself. After knowing Sybil he should know that you should NEVER generalise, but he always does it anyway.
And Carrot too!
Carrot, the one who is always "kind without thinking of it, who takes an interest, who makes space in his head for other people", the same Carrot who thinks D'Regs like city-gang members are just jolly-good-chaps underneath, at one point he becomes 'one of Us' being in the desert with the D'Regs and the watchmen altogether, and after having make the Klatchian prisoners strip off because "makes them bit of a laughing stock when they return, a blow to their pride", he declares his will to stay there and help them fight "against the bad Klatchians"=Them.

@Tony : I helped myself with a little copy up there :wink:

P.s. is it right to say 'the most rich' or should I have said 'the richest'? I just noticed and was wondering...
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Postby DaveC » Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:01 pm

CrysaniaMajere wrote:P.s. is it right to say 'the most rich' or should I have said 'the richest'? I just noticed and was wondering...


I would say 'the richest'. But your English is way better than my Italian. Although I did know that macchina is Italian for car, my brother was trying to learn Italian when he has little and would keep repeating ti over and over again :D
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:01 pm

So agree - politics is just a euphemism for gang culture on a national level (or religion or gender or ethnicity yadee yadee yada) :wink:
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Postby raisindot » Fri Jan 14, 2011 4:32 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:So agree - politics is just a euphemism for gang culture on a national level (or religion or gender or ethnicity yadee yadee yada) :wink:


Well, sometimes but not all the time. Politics is often used as a tool for creating and sustaining a gang culture or maintaining religious power or attitudes of cultural superiority, but that itself is not the definition of politics or the only way it can be used.

Look at Vetinari. He is the consummate politician, but he plays it as a game strategist. To him, politics is about using diplomacy, manipulation or gamemanship to convince (or trick) others--maybe only a single person--to act in a manner that furthers his personal goals (and keeps him in power). He doesn't need to use politics to create a 'gang mentality,'; in fact, he is strongly against politics being used for these purposes.

And when the political currents are too strong for him to overcome, he wisely steps aside (as he does in Jingo) to let the nationalists rule the day for the short-term, while he uses his Machiavellian political skills on the sly to win the day (aided, of course, by those two non-politicians, Vimes and 71-Hour Ali).

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Postby Tonyblack » Mon Jan 17, 2011 8:59 am

You now have two weeks to read or reread The Last Hero for the discussion starting Monday January 31st. :D
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Postby Willem » Mon Jan 17, 2011 9:26 am

Crys - your post about the dispicable THEM and the noble US reminded me of a Mitchell and Webb skit. I googled it, this should be the youtube link but I can't check to verify.

Youtube linkage
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Postby swreader » Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:43 am

Rob, I agree with most what you said. If polis is "man of the city" and politican is similar (according to Vetinari), politics is not by definition (as you seem to imply Christa) a dirty word. But neither is it positive. It is simply having to do with "the people".

What I think Pratchett is trying to portray here is that just as the two sets of fishermen make stupid claims to a worthless island, which can refer to the Us v. Them mentality, the actions of the two governments are rather different. The Klatchian ruler is perfectly happy to sacrafice a brother (and potential rival?) in order to have a claim or call to unite the tribes in a war against the outsider--i.e. Ank-Morpork. Oddly enough, Klatch seems to be one of the few states that is not seriously indebted to AM. There is no real trace of "jingoism" in the top brass of Klatch; the lower classes,represented by the common soldiers, are equally jingoistic.

Lord Rust and company, like GW Bush, are so blind to reality that they simply ignore anything or anyone that does not fit with their concept of war and statesmenship. Rust would stupidly sacrifice the whole of his army because of his own pride coupled with his total incompetence to command.

The difference can be seen in the interchange between Vetinari and Vimes toward the end when Vimes complains about being "bought and sold". Vetinari acknowledges that some 17 soldiers have died--but that they were not spent needlessly.

Sam. Johnson's Dictionary defines patriotism as the last refuge of scoundrels. And Pratchett illustrates beautifully the risks of beliving someone because it's the patriotic thing to do.
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Postby BaldJean » Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:57 am

I'd like to quote Ambrose Bierce's "Devil's Dictionary" for "politician" and "politics":

POLITICIAN, n.
An eel in the fundamental mud upon which the superstructure of organized society is reared. When he wriggles [sic] he mistakes the agitation of his tail for the trembling of the edifice. As compared with the statesman, he suffers the disadvantage of being alive.

POLITICS, n.
A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:50 pm

Warning - Godwin's Law moment approaching :lol:

I see it more as an issue of scale and orientation. :P

In a certain light, especially a German one, Hitler was a statesman. He pulled a former empire (just that, not evil necessarily in that they fell into far, far worse aggression and ruthlessness when they were no longer an empire) off it's belly in the mire of economic crash, social and moral breakdown and international shame and bankruptcy with war reparations, assisting the destruction and/or destitution of their historical markets and partnerships). He restored their 'pride' as a nation. It was not a laudable pride in any way because it was something that allowed the nazi mentality to get a foothold - but in the short term helped some a lot of people get back on their feet and take their lives by the scruff of the neck and become functional again.

We all know the other view of Hitler and, with judicial (not hysterical) hindsight, he was truly evil for a variety of reasons and so he was totally the wrong sort of leader for a nation as demoralised as Germany was at that point in the 20th century.

Vetinari is, if nothing else, a manipulator however you dress it up and they can make supreme strategists of course. It's just description that can be slanted in any way you please. With him it's the style of his manipulation. Businesslike OR mercenary; calm/cool OR dispassionate/emotionless; intelligent OR calculating; shrewd or cunning; foresighted OR predictively logical; educated/informed OR conniving/'street smart' - I could go on, but it's like Willem's vid, it's all subjective based on your own perspective. Terry more or less showed us that the Klatchians could say all of that, either way about their prince as well.

Vetinari may be better at manipulating than Khadrem, but did it look that way when he surrendered to him on the battlefield? Did AM see him that way when they all got back? No. They wanted to arrest and try him for treason - he insisted on it! :lol: Then Leshp sank and that was that - Khadrem was the idiot and Vetinari once again the political genius. :twisted: Lord Rust remains the same as always - a reactionary, mostly ridiculous (if he wasn't so dangerous), tunnel-visioned arsehole... :lol:

A week is a long time in politics - Harold Wilson (UK Prime Minister) said that back in the 1960s. It was true 1000 years ago and it'll be true in the future although possibly it might be trimmed down to 10 hours, minutes or seconds, but I doubt because we're people not robots. 8)
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Postby raisindot » Fri Jan 21, 2011 5:18 pm

Sorry to continue the Godwin tangent, but as someone who lost family members in the Holocaust I cannot let any statement that attempts to even pin a little bit of benefit to Hitler remain without comment.

Hitler was never a statesman, and the only reason Germany came out of its depression was because Hitler put it on a war economy, which, historically, is the blunt and stupid economic cure that nearly always has disastrous results.

A statesman is a diplomat who can use means other than military might to achieve his aims. Hitler could not do that. Without the established military and his group of brown shirt thugs supporting him he never would have gotten into power. The only people who believed in him were the Germans, who, having a long history of xenophobia, anti-semitism, and inherent racism to fall back on, easily swallowed his hatred and became his willing accomplices in the mass executions of tens of millions of innocent people.

He was never right for Germany or its people on either a long term or short term basis.

He was never right for any place where human beings lived.

There is no "evil side' of Hitler because that implies there was a good side to him. There was nothing at all good or redeemable about that man at all. If there has ever been a 100% pure evil person in the history of the world, Hitler was it. That the Germans let this monster rule them and the majority of them happily embraced his racist dogma is something that never be forgiven.

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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Fri Jan 21, 2011 5:53 pm

Apologies for annoying you Jeff - :oops: this was just for debate and not intended to wound as such.

Which is why I clarified with this
I wrote:We all know the other view of Hitler and, with judicial (not hysterical) hindsight, he was truly evil for a variety of reasons and so he was totally the wrong sort of leader for a nation as demoralised as Germany was at that point in the 20th century.

Shouldn't have used him to illustrate the point and ought perhaps to have stressed that he should not be seen as a statesman at all, although that was inferred. He's just the example people know best in an international sense, aside from Saddam Hussein perhaps, and I didn't want to bring Bush beating into the equation particularly, although that's at least got something to do with desert wars I suppose. :roll: Too recent for casual debate I thought and off I went. Sorry. :(
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Postby Tonyblack » Fri Jan 21, 2011 6:08 pm

I think that one of the messages of Jingo is that unless we change we are doomed to continue making the same mistakes. History will keep on repeating itself until we learn by it.

It seems that on previous appearances of the island, it had been claimed by various other nations - including the historical versions A-M and Klatch - hence the buildings on the island that had so many different styles.

What Vetinari did that was different, was to find out why the island appeared and disappeared and consequently discovered that it was worthless and not worth fighting for. He broke the cycle of conquest and destruction that had been going on for maybe thousands of years by asking questions rather than reacting.

This is an important point of the book. Human nature is doomed to keep on making the same mistakes unless we are prepared to learn by those mistakes.
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Postby BaldJean » Fri Jan 21, 2011 7:55 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:Apologies for annoying you Jeff - :oops: this was just for debate and not intended to wound as such.

Which is why I clarified with this
I wrote:We all know the other view of Hitler and, with judicial (not hysterical) hindsight, he was truly evil for a variety of reasons and so he was totally the wrong sort of leader for a nation as demoralised as Germany was at that point in the 20th century.

Shouldn't have used him to illustrate the point and ought perhaps to have stressed that he should not be seen as a statesman at all, although that was inferred. He's just the example people know best in an international sense, aside from Saddam Hussein perhaps, and I didn't want to bring Bush beating into the equation particularly, although that's at least got something to do with desert wars I suppose. :roll: Too recent for casual debate I thought and off I went. Sorry. :(

Being an historian myself I would like to point out that history is always the history of the winners. Had the Gerrmans won World War II (which they fortunately did not) everyone would call Hitler a statesman today. The Romans did not say "Vae victis" for nothing.
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Fri Jan 21, 2011 8:54 pm

That is really what I'm saying - that Vetinari's efforts were seen in a different light by his own 'side' in differents ways before and after the event. Conversely, if Prince Khadrem's nasty little plan had worked and Leshp had not sunk back into the Circle Sea, then his own people view of him would have been far more favourable instead of getting him dethroned. :lol:

Vetinari's skills as a politician are exemplary but he will always be unappreciated as a statesman apart from people 'in the know' - like Vimes and perhaps William de Worde and Moist Van Lipwig (much as I disapprove of that young man's attitude!) because his art is so pragmatic and he generally works around the problem or through other people which is where his true skills as a manipulator/strategist come into their own.

Leonard of Quirm is his principle tool this time, in that he is the one who knows the true secret of Leshp. The relationship between these 2 men is unique in Discworld as Vetinari is not so much Leonard's jailer although he effectively has him under house arrest in the Palace. Leonard accepts the arrangement as he's left to his own devices and can design wicked and wonderful machines in peace without some other genius of political strategy swooping in to make more unscrupulous use of his unique skills. For him Vetinari is both patron and protector and this is in fact how the Patrician treats him - he's far too valuable to be left to wander around at liberty. because he is in fact a danger to himself and to the public at large! :twisted:
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