Then and Now
8 hours ago
"Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold" - W.B. Yeats. "We're doomed !" - Private Frazer. "Like scrolling through a decade's worth of Daily Mail editorials in 20 minutes" - TheLoonyFromCatford
It is an admission of defeat. Iraq is turning into one of the world's bloodiest battlefields in which nobody is safe. Blind to this reality, Tony Blair said yesterday that Britain could safely cut its forces in Iraq because the apparatus of the Iraqi government is growing stronger. In fact the civil war is getting worse by the day…
There was a silence; then, clearing his throat, "Once upon a time," the Director began, "while our Ford was still on earth, there was a little boy called Reuben Rabinovitch. Reuben was the child of Polish-speaking parents."
The Director interrupted himself. "You know what Polish is, I suppose?"
"A dead language."
"Like French and German," added another student, officiously showing off his learning.
"And 'parent'?" questioned the D.H.C.
There was an uneasy silence. Several of the boys blushed. They had not yet learned to draw the significant but often very fine distinction between smut and pure science. One, at last, had the courage to raise a hand.
"Human beings used to be …" he hesitated; the blood rushed to his cheeks. "Well, they used to be viviparous."
"Quite right." The Director nodded approvingly.
"And when the babies were decanted …"
"'Born,'" came the correction.
"Well, then they were the parents–I mean, not the babies, of course; the other ones." The poor boy was overwhelmed with confusion.
"In brief," the Director summed up, "the parents were the father and the mother." The smut that was really science fell with a crash into the boys' eye-avoiding silence. "Mother," he repeated loudly rubbing in the science; and, leaning back in his chair, "These," he said gravely, "are unpleasant facts; I know it. But then most historical facts are unpleasant."