Tuesday, 15 March 2016

We Could Be Heroes

And no fucks were given about his North Korean sense of style.

Two men that Old Knudsen has admired throughout the years has been Theodore Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. Both men did come from privileged families but over came obstacles in their youth that many of us face to go on to become Iconic leaders. 
Products of their time maybe, they were bigger than life and a tad racist no doubt. Churchill believed in eugenics and thought the genocide of the Native Americans and the Australian Aborigines was social Darwinian hierarchy taking over like with a superior and advanced race taking the place of a people that couldn't stand against them.

Yes he was for gassing the Kurds and Afghans but that gas was to be tear gas. He was in favour of gassing the Turks with mustard gas in WWI but everyone else was using it then so whatever.

The famine in Bengal in 1943 that killed 3 million gets laid at Churchill's feet too as he got the region to continue to export rice for the war effort. Remember how he blew up the French fleet killing all those servicemen to avoid the fleet getting into German hands? Tough choices on who has to die have to be made especially during a war.

Most of his books were about the outdoor's life.  

Roosevelt didn't like Native Americans and said that the amount of black men in the US was a "terrible problem." He also in contradiction said that a man should be judged on his merit than his skin colour. He didn't like the hyphenated Irish-American or African-American, he said they should all be Americans.

How can Old Knudsen admire these two? From the Star Trek episode Space Seed, Kirk tells Spock "We can be against him and admire him at the same time."          

Theodore never liked Churchill but Winston had a life long admiration for him. Alice Roosevelt Longworth, Roosevelt's daughter said it was because "they were so much alike."

Roosevelt also disliked Lord Randolph, Winston's father so maybe that dislike just got passed down to his son.
Both had tattoos, Roosevelt had the family crest on his chest and Churchill had an anchor on his arm. Both changed party allegiance, both were prolific writers, Roosevelt wrote 18 books while Churchill wrote 51 and both wrote about the war of 1812.
Roosevelt did praise Churchill on his serialized publication in Strand magazine titled My African Journey as both were big game hunters. Churchill heard that he liked it and sent him a copy of the book to which Roosevelt begrudgingly said how he supposes that he must write to him then.

 Roosevelt called him an ugly redheaded fellow.

Both were famed for acts of daring during war. Roosevelt was the hero of the Spanish-American war in Cuba and Churchill took part in the last major cavalry charge in British history at the Battle of Omdurman and also escaped from the Boers in South Africa. 

Both liked to be naked. Roosevelt took to skinny dipping in rivers and Churchill just like to let it all hang out.

Both begged to be let in on the action in WWI. After numerous set backs Churchill was demoted and placed in a lower position, he resigned and became a lieutenant colonel of the Royal Scot Fusiliers on the Western Front.   

At 58 Roosevelt begged to be let into WWI to lead 200,000 troops in France but was told no. His son Quentin was a pilot and was killed in action in 1918, he was aged 20.      

Both Roosevelt and Churchill both claimed to have seen Lincoln's ghost at the White House. 

Roosevelt  was born a sickly child with serious asthma problems but undertook strenuous exercise and became fit and strong enough to enjoy boxing though it left him almost blind in his left eye. He saw heroes of the civil war and even admired his own father so that he knew he wanted to be that sort of man.

 "My father, Theodore Roosevelt, was the best man I ever knew. He combined strength and courage with gentleness, tenderness, and great unselfishness. He would not tolerate in us children selfishness or cruelty, idleness, cowardice, or untruthfulness."

Doctors told Teddy that he had a weak heart and to not exert himself, so he did the opposite and even climbed the Matterhorn.   
                               Both Roosevelt and Churchill were Nobel Peace prize winners.
Churchill under achieved academically and had to over come a stutter and a lisp. He never achieved his father's approval though went from jeers to cheers at the House of Commons so fuck the haters huh. He suffered depression and named it his "black dog" which really affected him in his last 10 years of life when his physical health was failing.   

Churchill's Ma hated him smoking and said how silly he looked with one in his mouth. She bet him a pony that he couldn't give it up for 6 months, he did and as soon as he won the bet he started smoking again.

So Roosevelt fought poor physical health issues, the former New York City Police Commissioner and war hero survived an assassination attempt in 1912 while out campaigning, with a bullet in his chest he gave a speech for 90 minutes, he didn't win but still .... fucking awesome. That stopped some of his active lifestyle and he became obese afterwards.

He never got over the loss of his son Quintin and died a year after his son in his sleep from a blood clot aged 60.
After a stroke that left Churchill ill he died aged 90, seventy years to the day that his father had died. 

Both men succeeded through force of will and strength of character to become living legends. While they had their faults as everyone does they both believed in the welfare state which looks after the vulnerable of society so they couldn't have been that bad. 

I could have worse heroes.


k said...

I am quite fond of these two gentlemen myself. Certainly, when I consider the lives they led, I feel that we modern creatures suffer by comparison. They personify the idea of the "self-made" individual. Perhaps not materially, both were fortunately born, but definitely self-made in terms of their magnificent characters forged under duress which continue to inspire.

Old Knudsen said...

These days the rich or moderately well off folk just seem to want to get more and more money, they lack the character of these two men who I feel were more motivated by making their mark on the world and if they had money then fine, it certainly helps but is not their god.