Outerra forum

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

News:

Outerra Tech Demo download. Help with graphics driver issues

Author Topic: Mawson Is Not Scott: Australia, I Expected Better From You  (Read 2481 times)

RaikoRaufoss

  • Blood may move the wheels of history, but only our cunning keeps the wheels oiled.
  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 374
    • http://www.sabaton.net/
Mawson Is Not Scott: Australia, I Expected Better From You
« on: October 30, 2011, 08:16:00 pm »

http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/cold-days-in-hell-20111024-1mfc5.html

I was excited to hear for the very first time about Mawson, who became a national hero in Australia for his own Antarctic Expedition.  Then I ran across this article, which has excerpts from the new book Mawson.  Seriously, did you have to sugarcoat everything?  The book includes the scene from the Terra Nova expedition when Atkinson's party found Scott's last camp.
Quote
"Yes ... yes ... indeed, it probably is. For, poking about six inches or so out of the snow in front of the mound, he can see the tips of what appear to be two crossed skis. Suddenly feeling that he is in a sacred place, Wright furiously starts to signal for the others to come hither. He does not wish to shout out to them to come quickly, as it would be "a sort of sacrilege to make a noise".

...

"And yes, this looks like ... Silas scratches back the snow covering, revealing light, unbleached drill canvas ... a tent. There is a collective intake of breath at the discovery. Slowly now, as the rest of the party watch, mesmerised, Silas gently, cautiously, pulls the flap of the tent aside as they all peer inside. And there they are, perfectly preserved, just as if they closed their eyes for the last time only a minute earlier. Bill Wilson and Birdie Bowers are in their separate sleeping bags, their faces upturned. Their skin is yellow and glassy from the cold, with many blotches of frostbite.

It is obvious by the way that Wilson's and Bowers's bodies are wrapped up that they died first and that Scott carefully and even lovingly laid them out. Uncle Bill, at least, looks peaceful enough, with his hands crossed on his chest, though he is in a half-sitting position, the prayer book his wife gave him before departure lying open by his side. Oddly, he has an expression on his face that almost seems the faint smile of one who knows that he is about to meet his maker and looks forward to it."

...

Atkinson reads out Scott's "Message to the Public", which includes an account of the noble death of Oates. So moving are the words, so emotional the occasion, Atch must pause every now and then to gather himself:

"We took risks, we knew we took them; things have come out against us, and therefore we have no cause for complaint, but bow to the will of Providence, determined still to do our best to the last ... Had we lived, I should have had a tale to tell of the hardihood, endurance, and courage of my companions which would have stirred the heart of every Englishman."
Here they go by the book in glorifying Scott, a glorification he utterly does not deserve.  Any mention that Bowers might have been the last to die?  Nope, just pump up the Scott myth by making sure that you say that Scott died last.  And don't mention that yellow coloration of the skin is a symptom of scurvy in its late stages, not frostbite in its late stages.

Then they get to Mawson, and talk about how a novice goes down a crevice with the dog team he was working.  The result is:
Quote
There is no question they must turn back - immediately! Without adequate food, clothing and camping equipment, they will be lucky to survive the march home. There is just enough food on this surviving sledge to keep them alive for maybe 11 or 12 days, and judging from the duration of the journey to this point it will take at least 35 days to get back to Winter Quarters.
Mismanagement of the dogs leads to their deterioration:
Quote
Although all the dogs started out well enough, all of them bar Ginger have weakened terribly.

A single shot rings out in the polar morning, its crack rolling across the stark bleakness with nary a single obstacle to raise an echo, and the weakest of the dogs, George, is dispatched. Shortly thereafter, large pieces of George are being fed to the other dogs, while small pieces are being lightly sizzled on the lid of the aluminium cooker being held over the Primus stove, the makeshift tent filling with the sound of the hissing stove and the fragrant aroma of cooking meat.
And we cannot place blame on the dogs.  21 of them had been donated by Roald Amundsen after his successful expedition, so they must have been decent.

As they are forced to man haul, tragedy comes once more:
Quote
Mawson awakens at 2am and notes that Mertz is notably still. He reaches out and tentatively touches his face. It is not just cold, but frozen. Mertz has breathed his last. [It is thought that Mertz, a vegetarian, died of ingesting too much vitamin A, which exists at a dangerously high level in husky liver.] For hours after the death, Mawson lies in his bag, turning everything that has happened over and over in his mind - strangely, the body of Mertz lying beside him offers a curious kind of companionship - as he tries to work out just what his own chances of survival are.

...

Mawson managed to trudge the final 100 miles back to the safety of Cape Denison alone, surviving a fall down a crevasse on the way. There, he discovered the Aurora had left just hours earlier; it would be unable to return because of encroaching sea ice. He and the six men who'd been left behind to look for him had to endure another winter on the ice. He finally left Antarctica on Christmas Eve, 1914, and was hailed a national hero on his return to Australia.
Thus lack of experience killed one man, lack of knowledge killed another, mismanagement of the dogs contributed most of all, and Mawson and half a dozen others were stuck in Antarctica for the winter.  The British are trying hard to resurrect Scott, and resorting to attacks on Amundsen or flat out lies.  Trying to make Mawson as a "hero" in Scott's mold is unoriginal and sad.  There's a reason that Norway is prosecuting the skipper of the yacht Berserk right now: it's because the Norwegians expect you to know what you are doing.  At the end of the day, there's something to be said for that.  Scott, Mawson, and the more recent example of the Berserk show what happens when amateurs take on Antarctica: Antarctica usually wins.

Australia, I expected better from you.
Logged
Far from the fame
Far away from the fame
But we still remember your name
Karel Janoušek
We mourn the day that you died
So be our guide
CZECHOSLOVAKIA'S PRIDE!!!!!!

RaikoRaufoss

  • Blood may move the wheels of history, but only our cunning keeps the wheels oiled.
  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 374
    • http://www.sabaton.net/
Re: Mawson Is Not Scott: Australia, I Expected Better From You
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2011, 12:12:27 pm »

http://www.smh.com.au/national/quiet-courage-of-a-roundhead-hero-still-resonates-20111101-1mtzp.html
If the Australians keep this up, I'm going to start hating Mawson:
Quote
''When news of Mawson's survival came out, it was pretty much overshadowed by the tragedy of the Scott expedition. Then, very quickly, we got World War I. So the story of the success of the Mawson expedition, and his own historic trek, tended to get lost.

''It is only since the 1960s and '70s that people have re-examined Mawson and his contribution. And they are finding that it was one of the most successful, if not the most successful, scientific expeditions in the heroic age.''
Compared to any of the three Fram expeditions, it's peanuts.  The first did something that most people regarded as suicidal-getting frozen in the Arctic ice-and made it.  The second charted as much of the Canadian Arctic as all the preceding expeditions there combined, and showed that Europeans could learn how to drive dog teams.  Of course, we'll be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the success of the third expedition this December 14th, and it also did the first ever oceanographic survey of the South Atlantic.

Then it makes a pseudo-plausible link between Mawson and today, much like what has been done with Scott:
Quote
Coming in the sunset of the British Empire, Mawson and the two expeditions he led came to symbolise Australia's growing independence - something Martin believes is clearer in hindsight, ''which is why Mawson's stocks are rising''. But it is more than petty nationalism. Martin says the subjects that most interested Mawson - geology and the environment of the icy continent - are more in step with the concerns of our generation than they were with his fellow explorers.

''Mawson was the torchbearer. Since the 1990s, the information coming out of Antarctica has added to our understanding of the changes in oceanography and the global environment. More than any other continent, it has revealed meaningful lessons about the science of the globe. In a sense, Antarctica is the laboratory of climate science.

''It provides data about global warming, the disappearance of the ozone layer, changes in ocean temperature.'' The work Mawson did bears a close relationship to what we are doing now, he says.
Then it takes a swing at everyone else:
Quote
Was Mawson less propelled by ego than other polar explorers? ''Yes. The heroic age was ego-driven to some extent. The Scotts and Shackletons were desperate to be compared alongside [Sir Richard] Burton of Africa or [Charles Montagu] Doughty of Arabia.

''So was Amundsen, of course. He did very little science on his expedition. His aims were to be first to the pole and to come back alive - both of which he achieved very successfully.''
After which it goes into the story I've already torn apart.
Quote
''It's a classic tale that will be told as long as people talk about adventures,'' Martin says.
Hopefully not.
Logged
Far from the fame
Far away from the fame
But we still remember your name
Karel Janoušek
We mourn the day that you died
So be our guide
CZECHOSLOVAKIA'S PRIDE!!!!!!