Upon Hearing Of The Arrest Of A Kent Man For Burning A Poppy

Effluvia

In Churchill's realm the weaklings grow
They report mean words, blow by blow

to the police; and in the sky
The cameras, for their safety, spy
Scarce cared of by the men below.

They are the Hurt. Short years ago
They fought, sought truth, and bravely strove,
Spoke out their mind, but now they whine
In Churchill's realm.

Take up their quarrel with the foe:
No hurtful words disturb their soul
The torch; be yours to hold it high:
With feelings must the law comply
Make careful speech, when weaklings grow
In Churchill's realm.

Last 5 posts by Ken White

37 Comments

37 Comments

  1. rmv  •  Nov 11, 2012 @7:24 pm

    Had to do some googlin' to figure out why burning a poppy would cause offense.

    Not impressed.

  2. Tarrou  •  Nov 11, 2012 @7:25 pm

    Well, any of the hundreds of thousands of lads who fought in 1916 was worth a million jackass dipshits like this 7CBA, but still, part of the whole reason we fight is so jackass dipshits can be publicly wrong. I support wholeheartedly his right to burn poppies, and I support wholeheartedly my ability to punch him in the goddamn face should I catch him at it. Call it uncivil disobedience:P

  3. wgering  •  Nov 11, 2012 @7:27 pm

    I'm with Tim Minchin.

  4. Tali McPike  •  Nov 11, 2012 @7:29 pm

    wgering and Tarrou,
    As an American who celebrates Armistice Day over Veterans Day, I totally agree! It is sad that someone would do something like that, but it is even sadder that he would be arrested for it

  5. C. S. P. Schofield  •  Nov 11, 2012 @9:02 pm

    There was a time when the bobbies would have had to take him into protective custody to prevent his being scragged by random passersby…..

    Not sure which is better.

  6. Rob  •  Nov 11, 2012 @9:10 pm

    For some reason I read the title as "Upon Hearing Of the Arrest of a Kent Man for Burning a Puppy" and couldn't figure out what the poem had to do with it…

  7. Maggie McNeill  •  Nov 11, 2012 @10:41 pm

    Ken, I am seriously impressed with your skill as a poet. And you may consider that a professional opinion, since I did make a living teaching the stuff for a little while.

  8. Maggie McNeill  •  Nov 11, 2012 @10:45 pm

    Might I also add that few people even remember "In Flanders Fields", much less have the skill to write a satire in its rhyme scheme and metrical pattern. Well done, sir.

  9. Ariel  •  Nov 11, 2012 @11:40 pm

    I had to first go to London and not mourn a child's death by fire before realizing I had to cross the Channel. I had forgotten those fields myself, much to my shame.

    The guy's a dick. Those arresting him are bigger dicks (that's not a good thing). Both dishonor the memories of the fallen, just in different ways.

    Ken, your poem and point were both outstanding. And thank you for forcing me to read both poems again.

  10. Craig  •  Nov 12, 2012 @2:36 am

    Any chance of your stopping posting this stuff as "Britain f*cking up"? When you post stuff from your own country you don't do it as "America f*cking up" you talk about specific problems with specific groups, individuals or interpretations of the law so why are we getting the broad brush approach for the lunacy of the few?

  11. Craig  •  Nov 12, 2012 @3:01 am

    And yes: I know it's your website and you can write whatever you damn well please :) I'm just asking that you have another look at how you deal with issues regarding countries other than your own.

  12. John  •  Nov 12, 2012 @4:11 am

    Yeah, this is every bit as stupid and censorious as it sounds. Sorry our government are such fuckups…

  13. pedr  •  Nov 12, 2012 @4:54 am

    I'm not at all convinced by the operation of the various malicious communications laws in the UK, but it is worth noting that there were offensive words attached to the post, as well as the photograph, and Kent Police have just confirmed that it is investigating the words, not (or not just) the picture (http://twitter.com/DavidAllenGreen/status/267956478034448384 and find more on Twitter). Whether that makes any difference to the analysis, I'm not sure – I think there's serious over-use of the law to suppress inappropriate but not threatening or targeted speech – but it adds a little more context to the police decision.

  14. En Passant  •  Nov 12, 2012 @5:30 am

    To the courtesan's concupiscent curds of encomium for Ken's contumacious caricature, add this amateur exegesis. John McRae's well wrought elegy is but the hilt protruding from the posterior of politically correct prosecution. The buried blade is here.

  15. Colin  •  Nov 12, 2012 @5:57 am

    Thought this had something to do with drug use. Read TFA. Nope, "malicious communications". From dumb to dumber.

  16. nathan  •  Nov 12, 2012 @6:01 am

    I heard this and thought 'hm, that sounds like art'.

  17. What  •  Nov 12, 2012 @6:20 am

    Hmm, better stick to prose.

  18. RogBoy  •  Nov 12, 2012 @6:35 am

    Sadly, the only legal insult in the UK is insult to one's intelligence.

    It beggars belief that one individual bothered to grass up another, for a post on a "social network". The involvement of the law has given the idiot in question a massive publicity boost. Still, makes a nice easy detection for the cops, I suppose.

  19. Lizard  •  Nov 12, 2012 @7:29 am

    So, I guess you can ignore the email I just sent you, then. Should have looked here first.

    Sort of reminds me of this: http://www.theonion.com/articles/man-who-fought-for-americans-rights-demands-americ,528/

  20. Liberaltarian  •  Nov 12, 2012 @10:20 am

    I came here as soon as I heard of this story, to see how Popehat would be ridiculing it.

    I was not disappointed.

    Great is my contempt for those who disrespect the millions who have died in wasteful wars. Greater by far is my contempt for those who started those wars and sent those millions to die. But greatest of all is my contempt for those who twist and abuse the law to try to make a crime of the kind of harmless speech that many of those millions thought they were fighting to protect.

  21. Dave Cannon  •  Nov 12, 2012 @10:43 am

    @Maggie: I guess when you write "[m]ight I also add that few people even remember "In Flanders Fields," you must only be referring to the United States?

    I guess some people think that means 'everyone,' but here in Canada, I'd wager $20 on the chance that a random stranger in a pub could recite it to you from memory (I could do it myself, and then I'd drop the cash in the poppy fund collection box for the Legion).

    McRae's poem is actually written on the obverse of every current-issue $10 bill in circulation here in Canada, as can be seen (barely, it's small) in the image found here. Here's some youtube for you as well.

    I'm curious whether it's still part of British Remembrance Day ceremonies, but my hunch is that it is.

    Can't recite it out loud nor hear it recited and not choke up a bit.

  22. M.  •  Nov 12, 2012 @12:17 pm

    @Dave Cannon: The U.S. is the only country in the world, you know! Well, the only one that matters, anyway.

  23. Tali McPike  •  Nov 12, 2012 @12:38 pm

    @Dave, there is a reason that I, as an American, share that poem with everyone I can on Veterans Day (I even posted it in the comments of Ken's Veterans Day post). Most Americans couldn't even tell you why Veterans Day is celebrated on November 11. Sadly I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that very few Americans care about the First World War (I mean, we were barely involved, so I guess, as sad at it is, it makes sense). Canadians, Irish, and the rest of the Commonwealth actually had real involvement in the war, so they remember and care about "the Great War" and the countless lives that were lost on the Somme, Ypres, and the rest of the Western Front. America doesn't. So yeah "everyone" who is American, probably have no idea what "Flanders Field" is or the significance of the Poppy, but that is only because of our arrogance and our lack of interest in world history. (And as someone with a degree in 19/20th Century European History, it saddens me)

  24. Tarrou  •  Nov 12, 2012 @1:45 pm

    I have a special connection to WW1, because of the final season of Blackadder>.>

  25. Tali McPike  •  Nov 12, 2012 @2:02 pm

    @Tarrou
    YES! That is my favorite season of Blackadder. When I was in college it became tradition to celebrate passing my exams covering WW1 by watching that season marathon style.

  26. Mordant C.  •  Nov 12, 2012 @7:38 pm

    Well said. I mean, yes, the bloke's a prat for doing this; but arresting him is outrageous. He gets to have his petty little moment, we all get to call him a pillock, end of story. Arrests like this are the thin end of the wedge over here in the UK, you mark my words.

  27. Pharmamom  •  Nov 12, 2012 @7:41 pm

    Actually, many of us know and love "In Flanders Fields." And read it more than once a year. Maybe it's only Americans on the coasts who are so poorly educated.

  28. Michael  •  Nov 13, 2012 @4:46 am
  29. Derpus  •  Nov 13, 2012 @7:31 am

    http://i.imgur.com/aSLSs.jpg

    I am reminded of that line from Apocalypse Now:

    "We train young men to drop fire on people, but their commanders won't allow them to write "Fuck" on the side of their planes because it's obscene."

  30. Rich  •  Nov 13, 2012 @8:12 am

    Guess this is what being a humble servant of the queen means. Wasn't WW 1 about protecting the interests of the British empire so that they could have a monopoly on the rape and exploitation of the third world without those pesky Germans getting any brown people to exploit. Perhaps if free speech were allowed back then, in America, it wasn't, and we had not involved ourselves in the petty bickering of Royal families, we did, we had that revolution separating ourselves from those inbred twits for a reason. . WE would not have had to distribute Millions of more poppies to honor the dead of ww 2.
    This does not mean that I do not respect the dead fallen heroes who thought they were doing good. The Truth does not make the truth they thought they died for or a less noble act. Asking WHY we fight, is not allowed its taboo. Its offensive speech. The government and its army always has our best interests at heart, the men who fight for the government are Always heroes. No matter what. FREE open speech, and not blind loyalty . would have left us with a different poem about poppies.

  31. naught_for_naught  •  Nov 13, 2012 @10:55 am

    There once was a copper from Kent.
    Something he saw him quite bent.
    Seems a post on facebook
    showed the deeds of schnook,
    so off to the hooskow he went.

  32. naught_for_naught  •  Nov 13, 2012 @10:59 am

    [REVISE]
    There once was a copper from Kent.
    Something he saw got him quite bent.
    Seems a post on facebook
    showed the deeds of schnook,
    so off to the hooskow he went.

  33. JMJ  •  Nov 13, 2012 @1:21 pm

    I came on here to commend Ken on his poetic skills especially how it is very similar to In Flanders Fields . But Maggie McNeill said it much better than I.

    I had to memorize In Flanders Fields in grade school. (I grew up in Canada.)

  34. bja009  •  Nov 14, 2012 @10:04 am

    @Rich

    Read "The Long Fuse" by Laurence Lafore. Buy it through Popehat's Amazon affiliate link. Become learned and understand the nuance of history.

    Also, proof your posts.

  35. AlphaCentauri  •  Nov 14, 2012 @3:02 pm

    It still sounds just as silly as getting upset over drawings of Muhammed when it's not your ox being gored.

  36. Trebuchet  •  Nov 15, 2012 @10:19 am

    Slightly off topic, but just to point out that censorious actions are NOT limited to the UK, here, in a post by Ed Brayton, is a LONG list of actions by US universities and governments very similar to the Mohammed Pineapple incident:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/dispatches/2012/11/15/volokh-on-muslims-and-civil-liberties/

  37. Ken  •  Nov 15, 2012 @10:46 am

    That was worthy of its own post, so I gave it one. Thanks.