Faking the knee

Amid Dominic Raab’s complete incoherence on ‘taking the knee’ as being something to do with the Game of Thrones – indeed he probably thinks that the programme is his current job spec… Clive Lewis (MP) has suggested that:

I believe “Taking a knee” can be traced back a tad further than Game of Thrones. One of Tony Benn’s distant ancestors – 18th century potter, Josiah Wedgwood – designed one of the first pieces of modern political marketing: The Wedgwood abolition medallions.

Here it is:

Raab seems to be a reasonable legal brain but not, unfortunately a thinker.

I’m tempted to suggest – and probably controversially – that it shows that education is unlikely to boost inherent intelligence; mostly it suppresses it.

Education is supposed to come from ‘educere’ – Latin for to bring out – but mostly I fear it is a battering in…

As they say : having an education is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Having intelligence is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad…

(But I’m actually not sure even that is right – tomatoes have lots of acidity, whereas lots of fruit has too much sweetness – so I am, in due course when, eventually, I have friends who like sweet things, we’ll see – I’m going to – subtley – try it!)


  1. Andrew -

    It is a nice historical echo, but somehow I doubt Colin Kaepernick had Wedgwood’s anti-slavery image immediately in mind when he started to “take a knee” in 2016. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._national_anthem_protests_(2016%E2%80%93present)

    Rather, as I understand it, Kaepernick was trying to find a respectful but demonstrative alternative to standing during the US national anthem, as he didn’t want to just sit.

    Perhaps just as fanciful, but I wonder if there was some unconscious influence from the practice of an American football quarterback “taking a knee” to stop play. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/take-a-knee “It’s a sign of respect and concern to take a knee when a player is hurt”

    Raab’s reference to Game of Thrones was badly informed, disrespectful, and made himself look even more ridiculous (I mean, who knew how important Dover is to the UK’s imports and exports?).

    1. Peter May -

      Thanks – I’m sure you’re right about the American football practice being the real origin…

      1. Andrew -

        Well, Kaepernick should be familiar with the “quarterback kneel” – see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quarterback_kneel – but the official story goes that he started sitting out the national anthem in the 2016 preseason, and then had a conversation with Nate Boyer, who told it would be more respectful to kneel. See https://www.npr.org/2018/09/09/646115651/the-veteran-and-nfl-player-who-advised-kaepernick-to-take-a-knee

        In that NPR transcript, Boyer draws parallels with kneeling to be knighted, or to propose marriage, or to pray, or to pay respects beside a grave.

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