May 29, 2006
An Interesting Hypothesis
Older readers may recall Nevil Shute as the author of On The Beach, or perhaps less famously, No Highway. Both books were eventually translated into films, starring Gregory Peck and Jimmy Stewart respectively. At the peak of his writing career he was a fairly well known man of letters. But much earlier in his career, back when his name was still Nevil Norway, he spent many years as a pilot and aeronautical engineer. As such, he was intimately involved in the construction of the R100 airship. His autobiography, Slide Rule, details his experiences with that enterprise as well as his thoughts on the doomed R101. Slide Rule is a wonderful little book, full of unpredictable observations, and the following passages are as good an example as any.
A man’s own experiences determine his opinions, of necessity. I was thirty-one years old at the time of the R.101 disaster, and my first close contact with senior civil servants and politicians at work was in the field of airships, where I watched them produce disaster. That experience still colours much of my thinking. I am very willing to recognize the good in many men of these two classes, but a politician or a civil servant is still to me an arrogant fool till he is proved otherwise…
It's an interesting hypothesis, and I'm afraid I'm predisposed towards finding it plausible. Nevertheless, off the top of my head I can think of at least one contradictory datum. How are we to account for Ted Kennedy?
posted by Justin on 05.29.06 at 10:42 AM
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