I’ve been reading several instances lately where a person gets some measure of attention for work they’ve done or what they’ve written or said. Then, someone else determines they are not deserving of the attention and should be called out on it. They, in turn, find themselves being overrun by people more than happy to drag them down.
Alas, women are often the targets of these types of attacks. That’s what they are, after all, attacks. It is nearly impossible to defend against them without drawing more.
Sadly, this is not a new phenomenon. I recall hearing of things like that. My grandmother used to say that people like that were to be pitied, because they were so unsure of themselves and felt so bad about themselves and their abilities that they must attack others they perceive as being better in some way.
Alas, Grandma Smith did not live to see the era of 24 hour news channels and everything that came of it – including the nonsense of people calling insults about those they disagree with. Then, there was the tabloid/yellow-journalism where anyone who has a different view is berated and insulted on air. Where personal affront replaces debate and discussion – appaling
Now, instead of people being insulting, they’ve turned to threatening physical violence and death. Its appaling.
As I was reading another one of these sad accounts when I was struck by the similarity to another account.
There was a coal-miner from Scotland in the late 1800’s. He had a habit of singing while the lift (elevator) lowered them down into the mine. So much so that his mates suggested he try his hand at the music hall. So he did – and the results went well. People rather liked it. One supporter suggested he try it at a larger venue. He did – and was paid the princely sum of 5 shillings. This was the first time Harry Lauder was paid to sing.
Harry Lauder? Born in Edinbugh in 1870, he went to work early to support his mother and siblings after his father died. He sang funny songs from Scotland and Ireland, and began writing his own songs. Songs that people today at Scottish gatherings sing and write them off as “traditional.” Songs like “I Love a Lassie” and “A Wee Deoch an’ Doris” and “Roamin’ in the Gloamin'” and others that were sentimental stuff – remembering homes and ways of life that were fading even then.
He gave a “Command Performance” in 1912, after touring America, for King Edward VII. When World War I (the Great War) broke out, he gave concerts and engaged in recruiting tours – and later began singing to entertain the troops. He sang to keep spirits up and engaged in various efforts to keep them well.
His efforts came to poignant focus when his only child, his son was killed at the front. Captain John Lauder, 8th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, was killed on December 28, 1916.
Rumors began to circulate that his own men had killed him. The investigation concluded that he had been shot by a German sniper while he was investigating unexploded ordinance in no-mans-land. Somehow though, “witnesses” were quoted in tabloids and rumor-based papers that he had been hated by his troops.
Instead, it is likely that the people spreading rumors of the sort were acting out against Harry Lauder – the coal miner turned singer who performed for the King and was the toast of London – and these same people were striking out at the time of his greatest grief.
Harry responded to the news of the death of his son by locking himself in his room and writing. The result was his song “Keep Right On to the End of the Road.” The day was January 1, 1917.
He kept on performing for troops and talking with them in the street and in hospital. He did his best to carry on and do what he did for others, through his grief.
He started a fund and gave a series of concerts to help servicemen returning from war, to heal in body and spirit and return to civilian life. He raised £1,000,000 through his work and was knighted for his efforts by King George V.
Still the rumors persisted. He worked through them. He carried on –
to the end of the Road.
Ev’ry road thro’ life is a long, long road,
Fill’d with joys and sorrows too,
As you journey on how your heart will yearn
For the things most dear to you.
With wealth and love ’tis so,
But onward we must go.
Keep right on to the end of the road,
Keep right on to the end,
Tho’ the way be long, let your heart be strong,
Keep right on round the bend.
Tho’ you’re tired and weary still journey on,
Till you come to your happy abode,
Where all the love you’ve been dreaming of
Will be there at the end of the road.
With a big stout heart to a long steep hill,
We may get there with a smile,
With a good kind thought and an end in view,
We may cut short many a mile.
So let courage ev’ry day
Be your guiding star alway.