The Art of Tetman Callis

Some mature content; some puerile

The Art of Tetman Callis header image 1

And some more than that

August 4th, 2015 · No Comments

“Headquarters was moved 50 miles north of Mandalay to Shwebo, where the Japanese planes pursued. Among the staffs a sense was rising not only of military disaster but of personal danger. Some self-reportedly were in ‘a state of funk,’ others relapsed into passivity, not knowing what to do. The railroad was the worst problem. Stillwell was determined to get troop trains down to bring out the 22nd Division but Chinese organization was lax or nonfunctioning. Because none of his staff was technically authorized to issue orders to the Chinese he went back to Mandalay himself to try to stir up action. He returned over the bridge among the stream of retiring troops while below in the river others were crossing in ferry boats. On the road to Shwebo, clogged with trucks and caissons and the piled carts of refugees, the mass of retreats moved in dust and heat and the sour smell of fear. Once-proud Sikhs were dirty and disheveled in ragged turbans. Chinese soldiers marched with frightened eyes in a strange land where they could not shed uniforms and slip away into the countryside. Yellow-robed bodies of Buddhist monks lay on the ground, shot by the Chinese who believed them to be spies in disguise. Japanese Zeros flew over, strafing the road with machine-gun fire. Chinese generals in their cars, and British officers conscious of the ‘natives,’ were concerned not to lose face, but everyone was conscious that all had lost face.” – Barbara Tuchman, Stillwell and the American Experience in China

→ No CommentsTags: Barbara Tuchman · Joseph Stillwell · The Second World War

It seems the sensible thing

August 3rd, 2015 · No Comments

“anyone with
sense wants
madness to end wants
Canada to invade the
United States of
the Americas
bring us to our knees
dissolve our military
imprison our leaders
distribute our wealth
insist we live in peace”

– Caconrad, “the nerve for honey must prevail”

→ No CommentsTags: Economics · Lit & Crit · Politics & Law · Verandah

Ballsy

August 2nd, 2015 · No Comments

“Government bureaus had departed for upper Burma, Indians of the police and clerical staffs were fleeing, Burmese employees melted into the population. Fires and looting, fifth-column groups and night-roaming marauders took over. All that remained of the civil administration were demolition squads awaiting the Governor-General’s last-minute order to blow up the docks. On the last night at Government House, the Governor, Sir Reginald Dorman-Smith, and a residue of his staff dined in lonely finality with only the cook and the butler left out of 110 servants. The halls were emptied of the tall Chaprassis, Indian attendants in long white coats and scarlet and gold waistcoats whose only duty was to stand and wait as silent statues of imperial rule. After dinner the Governor and his aide and one or two others played billiards under the portraits of past Governors of Burma. The portraits’ clam, indifferent gaze seemed to irritate the aide, who took up a billiard ball saying, ‘Don’t you think, Sir, that we ought to deny them also to the Japs?’ and let fly. The others joined in, hurling balls wildly into ripping canvas, perhaps in frustration, perhaps in some dim recognition that their rule was passing. ‘It was a massacre,’ the Governor said afterwards, meaning the portraits, but the Empire, too, which had ruled by prestige, was in tatters.” – Barbara Tuchman, Stillwell and the American Experience in China

→ No CommentsTags: Barbara Tuchman · Joseph Stillwell · The Second World War

Such as a happy childhood

August 1st, 2015 · No Comments

“All trauma will eventually become nostalgia for that which never existed.” – Lance Olsen, “An Arsonist’s Guide to the Empire”

→ No CommentsTags: Lance Olsen · Lit & Crit

Pearl of greatest price

July 31st, 2015 · No Comments

“To have met a true heart. Is there anything more precious than that? Never to be found or bargained for in the Grand Bazaar.” – Sharon Dolin, “Istanbul Diary”

→ No CommentsTags: Lit & Crit · Sharon Dolin

Shut my mouth

July 30th, 2015 · No Comments

“For so many, vows—even promises—are not sacred. As though words were not the coinage of the heart and soul but some counterfeit token carelessly given.” – Sharon Dolin, “Istanbul Diary”

→ No CommentsTags: Lit & Crit · Sharon Dolin

‘Ers and ‘ees

July 29th, 2015 · No Comments

“How much of life comes down to the one who enters and the one being entered.” – Sharon Dolin, “Istanbul Diary”

→ No CommentsTags: Lit & Crit · Sharon Dolin

We’re full of it

July 28th, 2015 · No Comments

“The difference between the philosopher and the poet is that the former seeks to understand our world through the ladder of reason; the latter, through the seemingly random irrational cascade of images, which have a reason all their own. Both seek truth, but only poets model themselves after the Creator who imaged the world before speaking it into being.” – Sharon Dolin, “Istanbul Diary”

→ No CommentsTags: Lit & Crit · Sharon Dolin

Hogfeed, all of us

July 27th, 2015 · No Comments

“There may be no progress in art, but if the artist does not metamorphose within each work, the art will die and be scattered for hogs like ears of unripened corn. This too is true of the soul of each of us.” – Sharon Dolin, “Istanbul Diary”

→ No CommentsTags: Lit & Crit · Sharon Dolin

It’s magickal

July 26th, 2015 · No Comments

“In love play, the one holding down is really the one being held down.” – Sharon Dolin, “Istanbul Diary”

→ No CommentsTags: Lit & Crit · Sharon Dolin

But what does it mean?

July 25th, 2015 · No Comments

“Saying No is always more erotic than saying Yes.” – Sharon Dolin, “Istanbul Diary”

→ No CommentsTags: Lit & Crit · Sharon Dolin

Zip then unzip

July 24th, 2015 · No Comments

“If the lyric poem’s motto is still Show don’t tell, the lover’s request is Take me, don’t ask.” – Sharon Dolin, “Istanbul Diary”

→ No CommentsTags: Lit & Crit · Sharon Dolin

A sponge on the end of a pole

July 23rd, 2015 · No Comments

“In the end, it all comes down to thirst.” – Sharon Dolin, “Istanbul Diary”

→ No CommentsTags: Economics · Lit & Crit · Sharon Dolin

And how sounds ‘you’re welcome’?

July 22nd, 2015 · No Comments

To shake her and dare him: what ‘Thank you’ sounds like in Turkish.” – Sharon Dolin, “Istanbul Diary”

→ No CommentsTags: Lit & Crit · Sharon Dolin

Forever stoned

July 21st, 2015 · No Comments

“Some of the marble from the Great Temple of Artemis built the Blue Mosque, some St. John’s Basilica. From the walls of Allah to the walls of Jesus: the goddess.” – Sharon Dolin, “Istanbul Diary”

→ No CommentsTags: Economics · Lit & Crit · Sharon Dolin

The Great East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere

July 20th, 2015 · No Comments

“Determined to make an example of the capital that would bring the war to an end, the Japanese achieved a climax to the carnage already wrought in the delta below. Fifty thousand soldiers hacked, burned, bayoneted, raped and murdered until they had killed, by hand, according to the evidence witnessed and collected by missionaries and other foreigners of the International Relief Committee, a total of 42,000 civilians in Nanking. Groups of men and women were lined up and machine-gunned or used alive for bayonet practice or tied up, doused with kerosene and set afire while officers looked on. Reports by missionary doctors and other dazed with horror and helplessness filled church publications in America. Much of the photographic evidence that later reached newspapers abroad came from snapshots taken by the Japanese themselves which they gave for developing to ordinary camera shops in Shanghai, whence copies made their way to the correspondents. In the Yangtze delta whole towns were devastated with acres of houses left in smoldering ruins or in rubble from bombing. In deserted streets the only living creatures were dogs unnaturally fattened by feasting on corpses or a few starving humans wandering like ghosts among the debris. The population that survived disappeared from the area in a mass migration. Rice crops rotted in the fields. Along the roads past blackened ruins and burned-out farms, Japanese troops moved, driving stolen donkeys and water buffaloes, artillery wagons tied with pigs and chickens, and carts loaded with loot pulled by peasants lashed between the shafts.” – Barbara Tuchman, Stillwell and the American Experience in China

→ No CommentsTags: Barbara Tuchman · Economics · Joseph Stillwell · The Second World War

Defeat themselves is what they did

July 19th, 2015 · No Comments

“On September 24 [1937] the Japanese took Paoting, Sung Che-yuan’s headquarters on the Peking-Hankow Railway. The fever of savagery bred by their own campaigns burst out in a week’s rampage of murder, rape and pillage, by 30,000 soldiers. A self-defeating ferocity accompanied them like a hyena of conquest, growing more ravenous by what it fed on. The Japanese knew that a hostile China must ultimately defeat their aim to become leader of Asia. Throughout their years on the mainland nothing so maddened them as the constant reappearance of ‘anti-Japanese’ sentiment. Annually they insisted on the necessity of forcing China to be ‘sincerely’ cooperative. Intending to attach China, they found themselves forced to conquer, arousing increasing hatred with each advance and employing increasing brutality in response. At Paoting in addition to physical terrorism they burned all the schoolbooks in week-long bonfires as well as the library and laboratory equipment of the Hopei Medical College. A decade’s records of crop statistics at the Agriculture Institute, the basis of its program for improved farming methods, were also deliberately destroyed.” – Barbara Tuchman, Stillwell and the American Experience in China

→ No CommentsTags: Barbara Tuchman · Joseph Stillwell · The Second World War

Worn like a slicker in a storm

July 18th, 2015 · No Comments

“Familiar with the plight of the Chinese peasant and unfamiliar with Marxism, Stillwell regarded the Communists as a local phenomenon and a natural outcome of oppression. ‘Carrying their burdens of famine and drought, heavy rent and interest, squeezed by middlemen, absentee landlordism,’ he wrote of the farmers, ‘naturally they agitated for a readjustment of land ownership and this made them communists—at least that is the label put on them. Their leaders adopted the methods and slogans of communism but what they were really after was land ownership under reasonable conditions. It is not in the nature of Chinese to be communists.’ “ – Barbara Tuchman, Stillwell and the American Experience in China

→ No CommentsTags: Barbara Tuchman · Economics · Joseph Stillwell · Politics & Law · The Second World War

Lines in the sands of their times

July 17th, 2015 · No Comments

“The international horizon was darkening in 1936, with Fascism emboldened and the democracies infirm. In February extremist Japanese officers attempted a coup d’etat by multiple murder of elder statesmen which, though it failed, had a subduing effect on opponents of militarism. In March Hitler occupied the Rhineland unopposed. In May Mussolini annexed Ethiopia; the League’s empty sanctions against Italy were called off and the British fleet, not to be provocative, withdrew from the eastern Mediterranean. . . . In July rebellion of the right, supported by the dictators, brought civil war to Spain. Here resistance, abetted by the Communists, began. The passion of the world’s anti-Fascists focused on Spain, the ‘united front’ became an active force, and though the democracies behind a screen of ‘nonintervention’ tried not to look, sides were being drawn for the coming struggle.” – Barbara Tuchman, Stillwell and the American Experience in China

→ No CommentsTags: Barbara Tuchman · Joseph Stillwell · The Second World War

Do something? Anything? Even if it’s the wrong thing?

July 16th, 2015 · No Comments

“[Stillwell] had been struck by the Taoist motto on the virtues on inaction which he had copied down from an example in the Great Audience Hall of the Forbidden City. Only the first two characters for Wu Wei, or ‘Do nothing,’ were given there, leaving the Chinese viewer to add mentally, ‘and all things will be done.’ Deciding that ‘Do nothing’ exemplified the Chinese character, Stillwell concluded, ‘They are constitutionally averse to influencing events.’ Though there were increasing exceptions to this proposition, his finding represented a fact of life in the Orient that made for infinite impatience among Westerners, as Kipling noted when he wrote the epitaph, ‘A fool lies here who tried to hustle the East.’ By contrast, Europeans and their American descendants had been driven by the impulse to change the unsatisfactory, to act, to move away from oppression, to find the frontier, to cross the sea. They were optimists who believed in the efficacy of action. The people of China, on the other hand, had stayed in one place, enclosed by a series of walls, around house and village or city. Tied to the soil, living under the authority of the family, growing their food among the graves of their ancestors, they were perpetuators of a system in which harmony was more important than struggle.” – Barbara Tuchman, Stillwell and the American Experience in China

→ No CommentsTags: Barbara Tuchman · Economics · Joseph Stillwell · Politics & Law · The Second World War

It seemed like a good idea at the time

July 15th, 2015 · No Comments

“After the seizure of Mukden the Japanese Army, regardless of divided councils at home, pushed ahead to attack Chinchow, Chang Hsueh-liang’s provincial capital just north of the Great Wall. They captured the city in January 1932, driving the Young Marshal out of Manchuria. The ‘independence’ of the new state of ‘Manchukuo’ was proclaimed in February and Henry Pu-yi, last relic of the Manchu dynasty, was installed as Regent in March. The Japanese Government, under the necessity of accommodating to the stranglehold of the Army and Navy ministers, was dragged forward by faits accomplis and by the blackmail of violent nationalism. Because it was anxious not to give the League of Nations or the signatories of the Nine-Power Treaty a reason to declare that a state of war existed between Japan and China, Tokyo attempted to legalize each forward move on the mainland as ‘self-defense’ and ‘self-determination’ by the people of Manchuria.” – Barbara Tuchman, Stillwell and the American Experience in China

→ No CommentsTags: Barbara Tuchman · Joseph Stillwell · The Second World War

Bop ‘im on ‘is nose, slap ‘er on ‘er cheek

July 14th, 2015 · No Comments

“Successful aggression is rarely self-terminated.” – Barbara Tuchman, Stillwell and the American Experience in China

→ No CommentsTags: Barbara Tuchman · Joseph Stillwell · The Second World War

Xenophobia reaps its harvest

July 13th, 2015 · No Comments

“Stillwell decided to give the crowd no time to test its intentions. As the train pulled into P’u Kow, on the Yangtze opposite Nanking, he and Chao jumped off before it came to a stop, and pushing past astonished people, ran for the river feeling pursuit at their heels but not daring to look behind them. They scrambled aboard a ferry and on the other side walked slowly past suspicious glances in search of lodging. Money persuaded a fearful innkeeper to give them a room where, exhausted and dehydrated, they drank teapot after teapot. Stillwell was embarrassed to find his hand trembling when he held out his cup for more. Tension did not let down, for word of the foreign devil’s presence brought a crowd gathering in the street and Stillwell once more imagined capturing or lynching. Worry, bedbugs and fleas allowed him little sleep. In the morning came another trial of the streets, but without interference they reached the station and boarded the train for Shanghai. The journey was hot and tense. On arriving, their eyes met a huge poster on the wall showing a fat and repulsive foreigner prone on the ground with Chinese soldiers sticking bayonets into him, blood spurting out and a caption exhorting all patriots to kill the foreign swine.” – Barbara Tuchman, Stillwell and the American Experience in China

→ No CommentsTags: Barbara Tuchman · Joseph Stillwell · The Second World War

Fighting through the time-warp

July 12th, 2015 · No Comments

“Consider the battles of Magdhaba and Rafa, in which the British defeated the Turks. In each case the British commander made the decision to break off the fight. In each case before the order could reach the front line the victory was won. At Magdhaba it appears that a large portion of the credit should go to General Cox, who commanded the 1st Australian Light Horse. When he received the order to retire he turned on the staff officer who brought it and shouted, ‘Take that damned thing away and let me see it for the first time in half an hour.’ Half an hour later victory was assured.” – George C. Marshall, Infantry in Battle

→ No CommentsTags: George Marshall · Verandah

All else being equal

July 11th, 2015 · No Comments

“Time and again, numbers have been overcome by courage and resolution. Sudden changes in a situation, so startling as to appear miraculous, have frequently been brought about by the action of small parties. There is an excellent reason for this. The trials of battle are severe; troops are strained to the breaking point. At the crisis, any small incident may prove enough to turn the tide one way or the other. The enemy invariably has difficulties of which we are ignorant; to us, his situation may appear favorable while to him it may seem desperate. Only a slight extra effort on our part may be decisive. Armies are not composed of map-problem units, but of human beings with all the hopes and fears that flesh is heir to. Some are natural leaders who can be relied upon to the limit. Some will become conveniently lost in battle. A large proportion will go with the majority, wherever the majority happens to be going, whether it be to the front or to the rear. Men in battle respond readily to any external stimulus—strong leadership or demoralizing influences. Thus we sometimes see companies of 170 or 180 men reduced to fifty or sixty a few minutes after battle has begun. Such a company has not been reduced two-thirds by casualties; it has suffered, perhaps, but not in such heroic proportions. Every army contains men who will straggle at the first chance and at the first alarm flee to the rear, sowing disorder, and sometimes panic, in their wake. They tell harrowing tales of being the only survivors of actions in which they were not present, of lacking ammunition when they have not squeezed a trigger, and of having had no food for days. A unit can be seriously weakened by the loss of a few strong characters. Such a unit, worn down by the ordeals of battle, is often not a match for a smaller but more determined force. We then have a battlefield miracle. It is not the physical loss inflicted by the smaller force, although this may be appreciable, but the moral effect, which is decisive.” – George C. Marshall, Infantry in Battle

→ No CommentsTags: George Marshall · The Second World War

Play him like a violin

July 10th, 2015 · No Comments

“In war, the soldier is the instrument with which leaders must work. They must learn to play on his emotions—his loyalty, his courage, his vanity, his sense of humor, his esprit de corps, his weakness, his strength, his confidence, his trust. Although in the heat of battle there is no longer time to prepare soldiers for the violent impressions of war, there are, however, two simple means by which a leader may lessen tension: He can do something himself that will give the men a feeling of security; or he can order his men to do something that requires activity and attention.” – George C. Marshall, Infantry in Battle

→ No CommentsTags: George Marshall

One could even argue that it’s true

July 9th, 2015 · No Comments

“Dislike or outright hatred of insurance companies is not a recent phenomenon. In may ways, this industry could qualify as the business most people love to hate. Statutes governing the insurance industry have existed since the 1800s, but the second half of the twentieth century saw the largest growth in insurance legislation. Much of the early insurance regulation was a direct response to outright corruption on the part of some insurance companies. For instance, a company might collect life insurance premium payments from an insured for years and then refuse to pay when she dies, leaving her spouse and children in financial straits. Part of this resentment of insurance companies was based on the perception that these large, faceless corporations cared more for profits than their responsibilities to their insured customers. One could argue that this sentiment is still prevalent.” – Neal R. Bevans, Tort Law for Paralegals

→ No CommentsTags: Economics · Politics & Law

Madame est servie

July 8th, 2015 · No Comments

“One evening [Stillwell] dined at the mess of Colonel Cantau, a bald, fat officer of sixty who wore enlisted man’s cap, rows of decorations, hazed the servants, ate well and ‘doesn’t give a damn.’ It being a meatless Friday, the meal consisted of two kinds of omelet, fish and rice, vegetable salad, white and red wine, champagne, two cordials and cheese. The orderly was made to salute and announce, ‘Madame est servie.’ When Stillwell asked why Madame, the Colonel asked in turn, ‘Are you married?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Where is your wife?’ ‘In the United States.’ ‘No, she is in your heart; therefore she is here. That is why I have him announce, “Madame est servie.” ’ ” – Barbara Tuchman, Stillwell and the American Experience in China

→ No CommentsTags: Barbara Tuchman · Joseph Stillwell · The Great War · The Second World War

He can shoot you some style

July 7th, 2015 · No Comments

“The Frenchman is the ideal soldier. Not only can he fight, but he can tell you about it.” – Heywood Broun (as quoted by Barbara Tuchman in Stillwell and the American Experience in China)

→ No CommentsTags: Barbara Tuchman · Joseph Stillwell · Lit & Crit · The Great War · The Second World War

Not quite chess with Death, but in the spirit

July 6th, 2015 · No Comments

“One of the German companies, led by its Austrian guide, moved forward under cover of darkness and eventually reached a large shed. Here it was halted and the men slept until morning. When dawn broke the company commander found that this shed was located about 200 meters from an Austrian battery and therefore was very likely to suffer from Russian artillery fire. He had just sized up this situation when he looked up and saw a Russian observation balloon hovering to his front. In spite of the all-too-apparent danger, he felt that the situation as a whole demanded that the presence of the Germans remain a secret. He therefore decided to keep his men hidden in the shed until the balloon went down. Almost immediately the Russians began to shell the Austrian battery. One out of every three or four rounds fell short, striking near the shed. The company commander noticed that his men were becoming increasingly nervous. Some of them on excuses of one sort or another, tried to obtain permission to leave the shed. When the captain did not allow this, the men lapsed into a sullen silence; not a word was spoken. Minute by minute the tension grew. The company commander saw that action of some sort was necessary. Therefore, he called the company barber, sat down with his back to the Russian fire, and directed the barber to cut his hair. He had the most unpleasant haircut of his life, but the effect on the men, however, was splendid. They felt that if their company commander could sit down quietly and let his hair be cut the situation could not be as bad as they had imagined. Conversation started up; soon a few jokes were  cracked and before long some of the men began to play cards.” – George C. Marshall, Infantry in Battle

→ No CommentsTags: George Marshall · The Great War