Dad’s Army

Autumn Fundraiser 2015, Day Three

We’re rolling on into the middle of our fundraising week here at Gates of Vienna.

To everyone who has chipped in so far: Thank you!

To those who have yet to give: It’s time to turn your pockets inside out and see if you can find anything besides lint!

What’s notable about the week’s effort up to this point is the modest level of individual donations — times are tough for everyone. However, the increase in the number of donations (quite a few of them from first-time donors) has made up for it. That’s the great thing about crowdfunding.

Tip jarDymphna’s excellent fundraising post last night (if you missed it, go here) reminded me of the days when she and I used to collaborate from time to time on posts. Nine or ten years ago, before I moved my office up here to the Eyrie at Schloss Bodissey, we would sit together in front of the computer with one of us typing (usually me) while we put together a post on something that interested us both. Each of us would throw out suggestions and phrases as we went along, revising and reworking until we were both satisfied. The final result was an amalgam, and even though we have distinct writing styles, when I look back at those old pieces, I can’t tell which portion was Dymphna’s and which was mine.

We were no spring chickens even then, and now we’re definitely Geezer Warriors of the Counterjihad. However, the most significant aspect of the current conflict is the Information War, and unlike a regular war, it’s not just a young man’s game. If your brain can still function — which mine can, at least some of the time — depth and breadth of experience can count for as much as youthful vigor in the propaganda trenches.

I suppose that makes us part of the 21st-century equivalent of Dad’s Army.

Which brings us around to the theme of this week’s fundraiser, which is “Home”.

“Dad’s Army” was a popular nickname for what was more properly known as the Home Guard. During the Second World War the institution functioned as a backup military auxiliary in Britain. The photo above is from a popular television comedy series called Dad’s Army that ran on the BBC while I was living in England in the 1960s.

British comedy programs (or, more precisely, programmes) that became popular at home were often adapted for the American market and shipped across the Atlantic. Two of the most famous ones from that period were Steptoe and Son, which became Sanford and Son in its stateside version, and Till Death Us Do Part, which became All in the Family.

But the same thing didn’t happen with Dad’s Army. The most likely explanation is that there was no equivalent American experience that could replicate the wartime context of the series. Since the War of 1812 (which was a small piece of the Napoleonic Wars), there has never been any real threat of a mass invasion of the Continental United States. During WW2 we had Japanese and German subs off our coasts, and spies and provocateurs who infiltrated our cities, but no one ever thought it likely that the massed forces of Hitler or Tojo would land on our shores.

The situation was quite different in Britain. After Dunkirk there was a very real possibility — considered by many a likelihood — that the Wehrmacht would launch a cross-Channel invasion onto the southern shores of England. With most of the regular army tied up abroad, the Home Guard was formed in an attempt to provide a buffer that could help hold off the Germans until regular military forces could be redeployed to Britain.

Dad’s Army included not just those who were too old for military service, but also young men who failed to meet the medical requirements for service, or were deemed unfit in other ways.

Initially the Home Guard was woefully short of modern firearms. Some units were equipped with halberds, hastily fashioned pikes, and other makeshift weapons. You can see visual gags based on those weapons in the following video, which features the intro and theme song for Dad’s Army:

Some of the older men in the Home Guard would have been veterans of the Western Front during the Great War, which ended a scant twenty-two years before Hitler stood on the cliffs of Normandy and stared across the Channel, pondering his chances. Roughly the same interval elapsed between the deployment of the Home Guard and the time Dad’s Army appeared on television. Just two generations had passed, the first one covering the period between Passchendaele and D-Day, and the second taking Britain into the post-Empire Socialist doldrums of the 1960s.

By then it was possible to laugh at all those old men and misfits who had been facing the horribly real possibility of street fighting and guerilla warfare. And in the 1940s the English, as always, had been ready to laugh at their predicament, even in the darkest days. That’s just one of the ways they coped with the dire events that engulfed them in times of crisis.

Another fifty years — two more generations — have passed since Dad’s Army convulsed television audiences. I’ve been away from England too long to know what makes Britons laugh nowadays. Possibly nothing — there are so many things that are now forbidden to make jokes about. A police charge and fine may await the unfortunate wag who utters an ill-considered politically incorrect quip.

But all that may change fairly soon. Britain, like the rest of the West, will soon be facing a new crisis, one whose grisly magnitude may match or exceed the horrors of two world wars. Britons will need to regain their sense of humor to face what’s coming. So let’s hope they can overthrow the suffocating PC regime and laugh like free men again.

And what about us, the Home Guard of the Counterjihad, the Geezer Army of 2015?

Will the next generation laugh about our antics with our virtual halberds and digital pikes? At our snapping at each other and doing pratfalls down the front steps of Islamophobia Hall?

Come 2040, will a series based on our silly exploits air on television (or in the holo-tank, or the feelies, or whatever they have then)?

Maybe by then everything will be in Arabic and Turkish.

Or Chinese.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Yesterday’s generosity flowed in from:

Stateside: California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, and Washington

Near Abroad: Canada

Far Abroad: Australia, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, and the UK

Dymphna will see you here tomorrow.

The tip jar in the text above is just for decoration. To donate, click the tin cup (or the donate button) on the sidebar of our main page. If you prefer a monthly subscription, click the “subscribe” button.

27 thoughts on “Dad’s Army

  1. “That rifle on the wall of the labourer’s cottage or working class flat is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there.”

    — George Orwell, who was wounded in the Spanish Civil War and served in “Dad’s Army” during Big Two.

  2. Dad’s Army is still hugely popular in Britain. It was a great show, but there is another reason so many people go back to it–it affectionately portrays the England that the English have so stupidly thrown away. It helps too that there are no token blacks or other ethnics in it, or any other intelligence-insulting grovels to the PC cult. Ethnic in Dad’s Army means Scottish or Welsh.

    • I agree.

      I am watching an eight-part tv adaptation of Bernard Cornwell’s historical novels series The Saxon Stories, which are set in the late ninth century in what was to become England but which then was made up of several separate kingdoms, all of which, with the exception of the Kingdom of Wessex, were ruled by Danes.

      It begins with the death of the King of Northumbria and the kidnap of his son Uhtred by Vikings and what follows is the story of Uhtred’s fight to regain what belonged to his father and what was now rightly his – then Bebbanburg castle, now Bamburgh, still standing magnificent on the Northumberland coast. I guess the Baron must know it.

      If the other seven parts are as good as the first it will be a great success. However, it’s a BBC production so maybe somewhere in the content to come an intrusion of pc may serve to spoil it. I hope not.

      • We are Bernard Cornwell fans, not just the Baron!

        Your concern re the Beeb’s p.c.intrusion into everything is one we share also…I “hope” with you that it will keep hands off but that kind of editorial tyranny is one reason I quit watching television in the 70s. The “news” reporting was increasingly entertainment, sports events and their endless commercials and sideshows were beginning to dominate the “airwaves”. The only alternative to sports was the formulaic situation comedy with its chronic/reflexive disparagement of men, particularly men in their roles as fathers or providers.

        Your comment brought to mind the famous “television is a vast wasteland” quote. I looked it up: this was the considered opinion of the then-new FCC chairman, Newton Minow, made in 1961 when the only options were the channels that answered to him. Since then, things have revolutionized – at least in America. Are there alternatives in Europe to state-run television? I checked Amazon UK and streaming video does seem to be available.

        But in both cases, even though the boundaries have widened, has the content improved? This essay from last year enthusiastically promotes the freedom of HBO and the revolution it has wrought:

        The shows it praises appear to feature violence, graphic sex and even more graphic language. This dystopian state of affairs would be funny were it not so sad. Television isn’t a vast wasteland anymore. It’s Dante’s Inferno right in your face; the writer of that essay appears to be oblivious to the human need the Greeks understood so well: once our basic needs for food, shelter, etc., are met we restlessly search for meaning. If the ‘meaning’ described by the writer is all that’s available on the new “airwaves” then we are truly lost.

  3. The real Dad’s Army has been mocked, ridiculed and poked fun at, but what all those who have lowered themselves in doing so do not realize, the old guys were there to do a job and they bloody well did that job and with much distinction. You can take that to the Bank Baron and feel proud to carry on that tradition!

    • Quite right Nemesis,
      when the Home Guard was first set up, it was called, The Local Defence Volunteers.
      They used to wear an armband with LDV on it.
      Pretty soon there was a joke going around that it stood for, Look, Duck and Vanish.
      It was very quickly changed !

  4. Dad’s Army is still shown on TV in the UK on a weekly basis. The repeated episodes still make us older Brits laugh. I suppose it’s a sort of nostalgia for the days when Muslims were not a deadly problem for our western civilisation.

  5. Wonderful series; I have them all on DVD. Sadly much of what makes some Brits laugh these days is based on personal attacks and put downs; like game shows which humiliate people, I don’t find this entertaining.

  6. Dymphna, I’m glad I went back to look at yesterday’s work — there were a couple more comments and they were all interesting. Often I do wonder when I meet people, just how many of them had dreadful or at least suffering childhoods.

    But there were moments of joy, too. At boarding school, my bed was right by the window, so I could sneakily keep reading until there was no more light available.

    Reading is what saved me. I loved reading (still do). But. . . I forgot to send the check yesterday — and I will now go do it. Promise!

  7. My dad was a U.S. Army Infantry combat veteran of WWII in North Africa,
    Italy, & Germany. If not for the A-bomb; as a hardened soldier, he would
    have had to sail on to the shores of Japan to invade. – I was not born until
    after the war. I do not second-guess President Truman for the decision to
    use the atomic bomb. I’m thankful he had to guts to do so. – My father did
    not endure what he did in the war so that I could drop the ball now. – So, we’re
    cleaning the old weapons and rising with the cry of “Maranatha” in the ears
    of the Muslim jihadists!

    • Your website is uncomfortable with the truth and prefers to hear the lies that say how wonderful the British, Americans and their Bolshevik allies of the Soviet Union were, so you delete any evidence that exposes the lies of these three.

      • So you print this isolated comment but delete the comments with the evidence exposing the lies you repeat.

        • I deleted your comments because they violated one or more of our rules. If you’re not familiar with our rules, see this post.

          I’m not stupid. I can see the agenda behind many of your remarks, even if you don’t care to expose it directly.

          For example: Why do you enclose the name “Hitler” in quotes? Was that not Der Fuehrer’s given name? Do you think he should be called Schickelgruber instead? What is your point?

          The Breivik massacre back in 2011 burned the last of the patience out of me. I don’t have to put up with agenda-driven rants, and I won’t. I don’t care if you don’t like it.

          Deal with it.

          • We appear to have a duality of identities. I have always posted under my own Christian name and, with the Baron’s permission, will continue to do so. I do not know who the perpetrator of the above two posts is, only that he is not me. Presumably the Baron has his ip address as, indeed he has mine.

            Those who are familiar with my posts will realise that I did not provide these worthless pieces of disinformation and disregard them.

          • He is indeed a different Peter. You may want to add some sort of suffix to your name as displayed here, to avoid confusion.

          • I wonder what you think my agenda is? I think you would like to characterize it as something other than what it is. I want to expose as many people as possible to the outrageous lies that have been exposed by historians, but thru omission of facts, distortion and outright lying people continue to repeat and believe these lies that were exposed many years ago already.

            [material redacted]

          • You obviously didn’t read the rules closely, or you would have known what you said here (and earlier) was off-topic for this post, especially given that it is one of our fundraising posts.

            When we have posts that concern the events and issues you touched upon, what you said here might be acceptable in a comment, at least parts of it.

  8. How do I *not* pay with Pay Pal? It will not give me the option just pay with a card. Is Pay Pal the best way to donate?

    • Typo: I meant the site will not give me to option to pay with just a card, outside of Pay Pal.

      • I have suggested that people use the Amazon option – i.e., gift cards. I use them for necessities like vitamins and food and gardening supplies, etc. Amazon is the non-driver’s Walmart. I gave up my license when my fibromyalgia prevented me from being a safe driver.

        In addition, each time anyone clicks on one of our Amazon books on the sidebar and purchases something for themselves, we get a small percentage of that.

        There is also a way to give to a favorite charity.

        • I was at work once, years ago now. One of the guys was a german, an agency guy over to earn a quick buck. Anyhow, it was quiet and on the tv in the corner of the room, dads army came on. We were all ending ourselves, laughing at the old boys. And theres this german dude, didnt have a clue what was going on, sitting there straight faced, thinking to himself, these are the people who kicked our asses … WTF man! He looked as if he’d been sucking a lemon. Naturally, we all found this almost as funny as the programme.

  9. A song for PEGIDA, with apologies to Flanagan and Allan.

    Who do you think you are kidding Mrs. Merkel, if you think we’re on the run ?
    We are the boys who will stop your little game,
    we are the boy’s who’ll make Germans proud again.
    Who do you think you are kidding Mrs. Merkel, if you think we’re on the run ?

    Mr. Braun goes off to town on the eight – twenty nine,
    he comes home each evening, and gets ready with his sign.
    Who do you think you are kidding Mrs. Merkel, if you think the German’s done.

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