“The more horrifying the world, the more abstract becomes the art. A happy world, on the other hand, brings forth an art of the here and now.”
Paul Klee, 1915
This evening, I was returning from Hengelo in the far east of the Netherlands, when a report came through on the train’s tannoy. It was to the effect that a suitcase had been found at Hilversum Railway Station, and the police thought to treat it as a bomb threat. (Had they been told to, I wonder?)
,,We zijn superalert op dit moment en nemen dus een melding van een achtergelaten tas in de trein heel serieus.’’ [We are super-alert and so take this incident of a forgotten suitcase very seriously.] Obviously, the Police are in as much of a panic here in the Netherlands as the poor Police of Brussels after someone suggested to them that there was a terrorist threat.
Modern Times, As Seen Through Ship Design, Part 4.
Well, Idid say that nothing much would happen in ship design until the advent of iron; even so, the nature of a warship in those days was to be seen. Being seen was as much a weapon as its power to punch holes in enemy ships. Scaring off the opposition was a reasonable strategy in those days. That the Dutch, the most serious contender of the English Channel at the time – were so scared as to call it the “Gouden Deuvel”, the Golden Devil, should be enough to tell you that its impressive form spoke as much as its ability to sink them in fair combat. But then, the British, like all Anglo-Saxons, do not consider fighting fairly as an option if they can first win by fighting unfairly.