There's an obituary in today's Guardian of explorer, author, and
photographer Sir Wilfred Thesiger (b. 1910):
They also provide some extracts from his autobiography:
Reading some of these comments and quotes will no doubt remind all of
us of Tolkien. For example:
"He reserved the word 'abomination' for cars and aeroplanes, and all
his life resented the intrusion of any innovation post-dating the steam
"He resented the juggernaut of western 'civilisation' and its
inexorable movement to squash what he believed was the colour and
diversity of the earth's peoples."
"... [Thesiger] told me, the wild world of mountains, deserts, starlit
skies and fierce tribes people he adored was all but dead."
"In July 1969, I [Thesiger] happened to be in Kenya, on the shore of
Lake Rudolf, when I heard with incredulity from a naked Turkana
fisherman that the 'Wazungu' - as he called Europeans, including
Americans - had landed on the moon. He had heard the news at a distant
mission station. To him this achievement, being incomprehensible, was
without significance; it filled me, however, with a sense of
desecration, and of despair at the deadly technical ingenuity of modern
Even as a boy I recognised that motor transport and aeroplanes must
increasingly shrink the world and irrevocably destroy its fascinating
diversity. My forebodings have been amply fulfilled. Package tours now
invade the privacy of the remotest villages; the transistor, blaring
pop music, has usurped the place of the tribal bard."
Carl F. Hostetter Aelfwine@... http://www.elvish.org
ho bios brachys, he de techne makre.
Ars longa, vita brevis.
The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne.
"I wish life was not so short," he thought. "Languages take such
a time, and so do all the things one wants to know about."