Keep Calm & Carry On!

I haven’t written much on my blog this year. The daily nonsense, insanity and idiotic, bumbling evil of Trump’s regime have left me type-tied. What to say about so much crazy? How to parry so many lies?

I’ve left the Trump jokes to the staffs of The Daily Show, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel and Saturday Night Live. They’ve kept up the satiric fight very well without my two cents. Crafting jokes about a man-child whose words and actions are frequently beyond satire is a challenge. Simply holding up the mirror has often been enough. I’ve enjoyed watching our best comedians skewer the Great Orange Gasbag on a nightly basis.

But Trump’s latest dust-up with the Mayor of London, and the breathless, hyperbolic tone of the 24/7 media coverage of recent terrorist attacks has finally riled me enough to put down my remote, get off the couch, and vent.

Vent, that is, via a brief history lesson.

To be sure, the media (other than FOX News) quickly pointed out that Trump’s god-awful Tweet denigrating the Mayor of London for suggesting there was “no reason to be alarmed” about the London Bridge attacks took the mayor’s words out of context. Mayor Sadiq Khan was clearly referring to the increased presence of armed police on the streets of London – where, unlike in militarized America, London “Bobbies” don’t usually carry guns.

The_Home_Front_in_Britain_during_the_Second_World_War_HU44272But that’s not where my mind went. My mind went to London during The Blitz — and the motto “Keep Calm and Carry On”. Had Mayor Kahn actually said there was no reason to be alarmed by the latest cowardly terrorist attack on his magnificent, open city – he’d have been standing proudly in the shoes of Winston Churchill, King George VI, and the millions of Londoners who endured The Blitz with a stiff upper lip.

_96345490_mediaitem96345140And the media need a history lesson as well. London was never “on edge” because of the London Bridge attack, nor was the UK still “reeling” from the bombing in Manchester. And – this very morning – I somehow doubt, despite breathless CNN commentary, that Paris in “on edge” because one man attacked one cop with a hammer. Such lazy, hysterical media tropes amplify the terrorists’ small, desperate, murderous acts into something much large than they are.

Illustrated London News 24 Aug 1940 cHow did Londoners react to The Blitz? And what was The Blitz? Hey, CNN and MSNBC – maybe the past few days have been a missed opportunity to put things in historical perspective? It’s a cinch Trump has no knowledge of history – but he does watch TV.

blitz-milkman-xlarge_trans_NvBQzQNjv4Bqp89yY2HZvOT8bnVoffPh0YbpZ8xvcmIwf8FF2Vl6e84The seven innocent deaths in the London attack and the 22 lives lost in the Manchester bombing cannot be discounted. They must all be mourned. But we do them all dishonor when we lose perspective and help to make their deaths a propaganda victory for the terrorists. The Nazis tried to terrorize England on an infinitely larger scale – and they failed to break the spirit of the British people. What chance does ISIS have if Trump and the ratings-hungry media don’t play into their hands?

Consider this. (Donald, are you listening?)

firmen-during-the-blitzStarting on September 7, 1940, the German air force bombed London for 56 out of the next 57 days and nights. The Nazis continued their night bombing campaign until May 11, 1941, when Hitler called off the raids so he could use his bombers for his invasion of Russia.

More than a million homes in London were destroyed or damaged — and more than 40,000 civilians were killed, nearly half of them were Londoners.

Your_Courage,_Your_Cheerfulness,_Your_Resolution_Will_Bring_Us_Victory.svgAnd what was the British response? “Keep Calm and Carry On.”

Still listening, Donald? (Of course not. You don’t have the attention span.)

Have 70 post-world war years of relative peace left us incapable of processing the difference between individual acts of murder and mayhem – and true existential threats? (Like global climate change?)

In contrast to today’s constant mass media blather about London, Manchester and Paris “reeling” and “on edge” after these latest attacks, historians tell us that the 8 months of bombing during The Blitz failed to demoralize the British or significantly damage their wartime economy. In fact, Britain’s war industries continued to expand. And, hey, New Yorkers made it through the horrors of 9-11 without surrendering to fear. Keep Calm and Carry On. That’s how we face down evil.

You face it like this defiant English lady…DBdieUNXkAA-5Fa

Or this defiant English lady…41192DFD00000578-4572804-But_author_J_K_Rowling_quickly_hit_back_claiming_it_was_playing_-m-1_1496665711302

Or like the Mayor of London.


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6 responses to “Keep Calm & Carry On!

  1. Shelly Goldstein

    Paul – I arrived in London Sat night and had I not been so jet lagged was going to meet friends at Borough Market. I walked from Embankment towards London Bridge yesterday. I cried a bit, but didn’t stop walking. Love what you wrote.

  2. lee van dyke

    Your note very concise and clear and cool. (Well I struggle to have a response beyond alliterative.) I simply wanted to thank you for your note, and offer my sincere here/ here!

  3. Jim Sacco

    Great to have you back. Missed your perspective. I was worried that Don-the-Con might have stymied your posts. Let’s get through this guys term and hopefully still have some clean air and water to enjoy.

  4. Anonymous

    Well said!

  5. Casey Fox

    Wonderful, Paul. Thanks.
    I heard on the BBC when ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ was first proclaimed to the Brits, some were kind of insulted that they were being told to do so…it was sort of in their nature anyway.
    A propos WW II, with ‘Dunkirk’ coming to the silver screen soon, it will be tempting to compare it to the impressive portrayal of it in ‘Atonement’ a few years back. My Dad, although he was in New Guinea for the war, wondered more than once to me why Hitler didn’t bomb Dunkirk with so many hundreds of thousands of soldiers fleeing and cornered, waiting to evacuate. The Russian front is usually the explanation, but Dunkirk was an incredibly opportune target regardless.

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