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Religion & Politics -- in US and Australia. Also, Cockney expressions

Reader comment on item: MEF's Surprising Straw Poll on Trump
in response to reader comment: response to "Politics, Religion, and HIstory

Submitted by Michael S (United States), May 1, 2016 at 12:09

Hi, Anne.

My head is spinning, trying to keep track of Australia's leaders.

I was 18-19 when I lived there; and I didn't get a good sampling of fair dinkum Aussies. One was a lippy bully, who used to stand around doing nothing while he taunted me for being lazy; another was a hard worker who drank his lunch at the pub; and when he read the inch-thick Sydney Morning Herald, he used to summarily throw the bulk away and just read the racing page. I lived in a boarding house of mostly Englishmen plus my two Scottish roommates, an Irishman and a New Zealander. We used to frequent the saloon bar, paying a cent more per drink, while the Aussies kept to the pub. Outside of my two workmates, the only Aussies I got to know on a daily basis were the cook/housekeeper, who was a good, friendly mum.

Aussie politics was as foreign to me then, as it is now. A list of Australian politicians convicted of crimes can be found at:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Australian_politicians_convicted_of_crimes

In the US, one's "dukes" are his fists. The origin can be found at:

http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/put-up-your-dukes.html

"The use of 'dukes' meaning 'hands' is first referred to in print in the mid 19th century, in both England and the USA. The American soldier Samuel E. Chamberlain used it in his memoir My Confession, Recollections of a Rogue, circa 1859:

" I landed a stinger on his "potatoe trap" with my left "duke," drawing the "Claret" and "sending him to grass.""

It comes from those doubly-derived Cockney rhymes:

"The most commonly repeated suggestion as to how 'dukes' came to mean 'fists' is that it derives from the Cockney rhyming slang - Duke of Yorks = forks = fingers/hands.

This is a rare instance, where an English cultural artifact made it to the US but not to Australia. Moving on, you said,

"Maybe think of me as a God-fearing atheist?

Ha ha ha :-) That's a good one. I'll trust a God-fearing atheist more than a paid Christian preacher any day. You went on,

"I guess by "religious" - in your (US) context - I'd be referring to people displaying at least some religious zeal as against attending church as a formality of decent citizenship. So a lot of those you mention might be a tad too rational for the category."

I grew up in a thickly Roman Catholic neighborhood. On average, there was a tavern on every street corner and a church every five blocks (My wife and I walked the neighborhood and counted them). Indeed, we went to church as a formality of "decent citizenship", as did some 80% of our neighbors. The church was only a few blocks away; but sometimes my parents were raising voices and arguing before we made it back to the house. I also "lapsed", just three weeks after landing in Australia; but a few years later, back in the US, I fell in with some genuine Christians who lived communally. We used to visit the community churches on Sundays; but to us, our religious practice was our everyday lives together. I haven't been "religious" since I was 18; but I do need to run now, so I can make it to church with my wife.

Shalom shalom :-)

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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