Victorian news flash

Victoria vows to publish Zululand dossier.
July 1, 1879

British Queen and Empress of India Victoria Regina vowed to publish within the next few days a dossier revealing intelligence on Zulu king Chaka.

The Queen, speaking at a press conference in her beloved Balmoral castle, informed the citizens of the British Empire, ?That horrible little man is a menace to Civilization. We Are Not Amused that some doubt his possession of Weapons Of Mass Destruction.? Continued the Queen, ?An asegahai is a weapon of destruction, and five million Zulu warriors are pretty darn massive?.

Victoria scoffed at those who wish for UN weapons inspection. ?Chaka has repeatedly refused the lawfull attentions of the United Nations?, intoned the Empress of India shaking her walking stick at various MPs and the Earl of Beaconsfield, ?besides, the bloody organization doesn?t exist yet.?

Drugs are bad, mmm-key? :slight_smile:

For some strange reason I feel like T. Herman Zweibel is behind this.

Away with the iron lung!
Away with the urine jars!
Standish bring me young maidens in waiting!

Just a few points.

At the height of the independent Zulu nation there were no more than 80,000 warriors fit to take the field.

All the Zulu kings were utterly brutal tyrants by anybody’s standards including their own subjects’, who’s attitude can perhaps best be summed up by, “sure he’s a bloodthirsty monster but he’s our bloodthirsty monster and don’t we kick some ass!”

The Zulu were far less of a threat to and did far less damage to British interests than they did to other tribes whom they slaughtered and terrorized unmercifully.

The dismemberment of the Zulu state initially caused great confusion and political chaos but most of the Zulu did not want it back after it was gone.

I don’t know if three are any historical parallels in my experience things only happen once in history. If history seems to repeat itself it’s because you’re not listening closely.

Damned odd, given that Shaka was killed by his mad half-brother in 1828. Did you mean Cetshwayo ?

Also, by July of 1879 the Zulus were essentially already beaten. They had lost heavily at Ishandlwana and Rorke’s Drift, and also at Gingindlovu, where they lost a further 1,000 as against 13 British casualties.

Their worst defeat came on July 4th, at Ulundi, where some 1,500 Zulu warriors were shot down by massed Martini-Henry rifle fire and Gatling machine guns. The British lost 12 men in the battle, which Cetshwayo watched. Realizing that his armies had finally met their match, he torched his royal kraal and went into hiding (although he was later captured and wound up going to Britain, and being presented to Queen Victoria).

I ask for comedians, they send me historians!
Thanks, Cetshwayo it should have been. Now that you mention it, I remember the presentation to Victoria.

Rodd Hill

Yes, a lot of people don’t seem to know much about the Zulu except the name and what they’ve seen on old Michael Caine movies.

The Zulu Kingdom was forged by Shaka or Chaka, a military genius of the first order out of the fragmented Bantu chiefdoms and the remnants of the previous Bantu hegemony of Dingiswayo less than 100 years before it was destroyed by the British. It was forged at an incredible price in blood and suffering. The Bantu were relatively new to that part of Africa having only begun to enter what is now South Africa in the 15th century. The original inhabitants, the Hottentots and the Bushmen were not much more closely related to the Bantu than Europeans are and were mostly exterminated by the culturally and technologically superior Bantu and European disease. By the time the Dutch had established the colony which was to become the ancestors of the Boers the furthest Bantu expansion was about to Natal province, hundreds of miles away. The two cultures met on the Great Fish river in the 1770’s. One of the most horrendous effects of the rise of the Zulu was a displacement of tribes which ultimately snowballed into an ecological and social catastrophe known as ‘The Crushing’ in which perhaps a million people died, the whole Transval plateau was depopulated.

Did you have a question to ask, or did you want to make a speech?

Actually, I have to confess that I am a recovering Anglo-Zulu war geek. I collected the British campaign medal to the 1877-79 South African campaign for a while (until they became insanely expensive the the late 1980s). I had mostly run-of-the mill ones, named to soldiers mostly in the post-January 1879 period, but I had a couple of interesting gongs:

  • an “earwitness” to Islandlwana/Rorke’s Drift: a Private in the 1st Battn 24th foot, who left Islandlwana with Chelmsford’s column the morning of the 22nd January. He would have heard the field arty firing (as did Chelmsford) when the camp was attacked, and would have spend a cold lonely night among the dead when they returned to Islandlwana. He also would have seen the glow of the burning hospital at Rorke’s Drift, and marched down the following day to “relieve” the successful defenders;

  • a Lieut.'s medal for a small locally-raised unit (24 men & 6 officers), if I remember correctly, it was Baker’s Horse or somesuch;

  • a medal to a soldier in the 90th foot who was later wounded in the first Boer War of 1881, at Majuba.

I also made the pilgrimage to Brecon, in Wales, to visit the regimental museum of the South Wales Borderers. Incredible; chairs from the hospital at Rorke’s drift (all carved around the bentwood after the battle), Cetshwayo’s ostrich headdress, ammunition boxes recovered from the battlefield at Isandlwana, etc. etc. The curator kindly left me in a back room with some sketchbooks an officer had kept through the campaign.

carnivorousplant appears to be “not amused”.

Umm… I don’t recall that it was the Zulus who “lost heavly at Ishandlwana”.

This is the worst sorta semi-related hijack I’ve ever seen. I feel almost embarassed for you CP! :smiley:

The point of this information which you seem to have not gotten or are willfully ignoring (a wit like you surely should have picked it up) is that historical analogies are suspect at best and when coupled with ignorance can actually imply the opposite of what’s intended.

To a knowledgeable person your implication that the war on terror is as indefensible as the war against the Zulu makes about as much sense as saying the war on terror is as indefensible as the war against Nazism.

If you are looking for an unjustifiable, brutal oppression by a modern western power of a weak, morally superior non-western one you will have to look very hard if you keep your facts straight because it didn’t happen often (unless you include rouge states like the Nazis, Fascist Italy or the Soviet Union as western powers). This is because (and you might want to cover your ears) for all their faults (and they are far far from perfect) the western powers are the most morally upright regimes ever to grace the face of the earth.

Rouge states?

I keep seeing Mussolini with a little L’Oreal. “When I’m out brutally suppressing civil liberties, I like to keep my cheekbones looking high. That’s why I wear Le Boucher from L’Oreal.”

Who said the Zulu war was indefensible?
It is a satire on CNN rather than whatever you were offended by.

It is a difficult concept.


And the winner is…

Thank you.
THank you all very much.

Sorry that don’t cut it either.

A successful satire requires more than the simple juxtaposition of words, the situation must become ridiculous, ideally it should include a moral insinuation, ‘A Modest Proposal’, by Jonathan Swift is the model of satire. In it he takes the British attitude towards the Irish to a ridiculous but logical conclusion by suggesting the English relieve Irish poverty by buying their babies and eating them.

The only thing even mildly ridiculous in your parody, which is perhaps the more appropriate term as you are copying, not constructing the form, is the comment about the United Nations. Anachronism alone may be amusing but it is not satire without additional implications.

The logic (satire requires it I’m afraid) in your piece hinges on the idea of the ‘war on terror’ being ridiculous because it is like the war against the Zulu which was, by implication, an agreed moral travesty.

“I like a joke as much as the next man,… Well perhaps not as much as the next man, or my wife, or some of her friends. Come to think of it most people enjoy a joke more than I do, but that’s beside the point.”

Now that IS a speech.


Kipper, I didn’t mean to suggest that the Zulus didn’t “win” at Isandlwana–they were, after all was said and done, in possession of the field at the end of the battle, having killed most of the British and Native troops, and driven the remainder off in panic.

But by Zulu standards, it was a very costly victory: approximately 850 British had been killed, along with about 475 Native troops serving with the British; the Zulus lost something like 3,000 warriors–more than they had ever lost in any fighting with other tribes. IIRC Cetshwayo, when informed of the numbers, said something to the effect that the flower of Zululand had died that day.

Humor is indeed a difficult concept. Fortunately I am a difficult person.

To recap, and clarify.

Mockery is when you jeer at a slip-up, mistake, pretension or fault of some kind real or supposed. Matt_mci’s amusement at my typo could be considered mockery but more likely he just found the absurdity of the image my mistake invoked funny.

Parody is when you imitate something but make it ridiculous by exaggeration, anachronism, or some other mechanism. It doesn’t have to have an argument but if it includes the implication of a transgression of morals or standards of taste it becomes satire.

Satire doesn’t have to include parody or mockery but it must include the idea of wrongdoing.

Satire is powerful stuff, it is usually written to agitate for reform of policy, morals or manners. It is an argument and so I treated it like one even though it was in the MPSIMS.

Now you say what you meant was a parody, so I say, uh, OK, never mind.

Don’t you have some small, furry animal you can torture instead of hijacking my thread?