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Tuesday, September 13, 2005


...dust to dust

So, England have won the Ashes.

For the benefit of any Americans who may have wandered in here tonight, this is a trophy in a game called cricket: think baseball on Quaaludes. I don't understand it either; I'm Scottish. But it seems like a big deal in these parts. I recall one of my lecturers at undergraduate used to put the cricket scores up on the chalkboard, although as the Test series progressed he stopped doing this and instead wrote "Don't mention the cricket!"

The Ashes is also close to the English heart, because it is a contest between England (the Mother Country) and Australia (the MoFos). It speaks to the unique origins of the Australian nation: every other nation-state on Earth is either A: dominated by a culture that evolved from a big ol' tribe that settled there at Time Immemorial (eg Korea, Thailand; B: dominated by a culture that evolved from some mixture of fusion, cooperation, cooption and conflict between various big ol' tribes that settled there between Time Immemorial and 1492AD, inclusive (eg the UK, Germany, and Italy - especially Italy); C: dominated by a culture that evolved from voluntary emigrants from places that fall under categories A and B (the USA, Brazil, New Zealand, Canada - true, some of these places have significant minorities that are (Canada: the former Hong Kongese) or are descended from (USA, and of course Brazil: African-Americans, and -Brazilians, respectively) invountary emigrants; but the majority, and hence the dominant theme of the dominant culture, evolved from voluntary emigrants - which probably accounts for the subtly different style of these cultures, as compared to the Old World)...

Australia, however, is the only place on Earth to fall under Category D: dominated by a culture that evolved from involuntary emigrants from a place that falls under category B (viz, England). (Brits like to say that time was when criminal degenerates were deported from England to Australia, but nowadays it's the reverse: Rupert Murdoch, Richard Neville (in the 1960s, anyway), Kylie Minogue, etc...)

Plus, there is a reason the trophy is called the Ashes. And that reason is that the first time the Aussies defeated the England team, in England (back in 1882, when the population of Australia was about 17,000, including the sheep), some Aussie girls burnt part of a cricket stump to symbolize the death of English cricket, and presented the Whinging Pommie Team with the resultant Ashes. (The Americans who have wandered in will note, with delight, a Genuine Quaint Tradition from Little Old England).

So you can imagine how humiliating it is for the English to be beaten in the Ashes, which they are, almost always. (This is part of the reason the English do not observe the holiday of Thanksgiving: WTF do the English have to be thankful for?)

Still, it's not totally unheard of for the English to win the Ashes. Wikipedia tells me it has happened at least once in my lifetime. To hear the British MSM talk, you would think it was unprecedented - eschatological.

It isn't. No, it's that whole Redsox thing that scares me. A Redsox World Series victory is like a Portent from the Book of Revelation; I believe you'll find it somewhere between the horse-shaped locusts with gold crowns and human faces(9:vii), and the unclean frog-like spirits emerging from the mouths of various unlikely characters(16:xiii). (And to continue the eschatological theme, at least one former Redsox player is going to rise from the dead - at least if there's anything to this whole notion of cryonics.)

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