A Powerful Image of a Complicated Historical Disaster
An image that stuck in my mad as a child was a picture of Britannia mourning the death of General Gordon: “Too Late.” she cried.
The siege of Khartoum is a complicated historical topic with General Gordon the man who lost his command just before help arrived even harder to understand: sinner, saint, holy fool, genius, devil, hero. Who can be sure?
General Gordon thought he was saving Egypt from Islamic extremists and helping British colonial interests.
We know this much: salvation for Gordon came too late, two days too late. Blame? There is plenty to go around. Gordon could not save his army, help came too late. I thought of this . . . Watching Gordon Ramsay.
Help Too Late: Mad General Gordon
When I get restaurant food now, I look down and think “bleep, bleep, bleep.” This is the result of watching too much of celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. Knowing nothing about food, I cannot judge his taste in food, though I assume earning a Michelin Star means something. On Hotel Hell and Kitchen Nightmares, the made for video former soccer player turned food Yoda tries to save some of the worst restaurants and hotels in the United States. This is reality television, so my assumption is that some is real, some is not. Who can be sure?
The nearly universal common feature in the failed hotels and restaurants is denial: the owners believe they are good when they are not. Oddly, having called a world class chef because the business is failing, they often argue with his opinions about their failing business. This is incomprehensible, until one looks at one’s own life.
Too often, we, or maybe just I, do not want to admit that we are the problem even when we are obviously the problem. The folks that Gordon Ramsay meets do not like what he says, because often the things they like about their business are the very things that are killing the business. In one episode, a woman insists on singing in her restaurant and it is. . . Bad. Nobody can tell her, until Gordon tells her: too late.
The business is improved, but too late. Gordon eats the food, beeps (the British version gives us his favorite f-word that is not food straight up) and beeps some more. He asks for changes.
Almost always the owners quibble, quaver, quit. They might pretend to make changes, especially ones that General Gordon pays to make, but after he leaves they go back to bad ways. They close. Why? He tells them what the customers are saying: the food is bad, but they do not listen, because the food is their food.
And so I thought about all I have seen: colleges that refused to admit problems, schools that have hustled donors, and failure that like a Gordon Ramsay kitchen nightmare deals with problems . . .