Opposite Poles

A light and half-hearted defense of Hillary’s determination to get to the Pole ahead of Fuchs, despite his dissembling on his motives. The title emphasizes the conflict. McKenzie, a NZ journalist drove one of the Ferguson tractors enroute to the S.P. between depot 450 and 700.

p. 117: Since the preoccupation of men is sex and money, and since money has small importance in Antarctica, sex captures most of the field left to idle dreaming. The Americans are less inhibited than New Zealanders about giving some sort of practical expression to this dreaming, and they had one room at Hut Point which was art photography in dementia. This room had a montage of pictures on the wall—on each of the four walls—and on the ceiling as well. The room was a complete canopy and cloak of women: a reeling vicariousness of women in every attitude and expression, snipped from the liberal American magazine press; in the main partly, and occasionally wholly, as naked as a penguin. This was a sitting-room in which, judging from the indifference of the Americans to their surroundings, surfeit had led to satiety.

Scott Base had its art, too, but more privately, and less over-whelmingly: less frankly, perhaps. Usually, however, the New Zealanders preferred to be seen in public, as it were, with their sex where it could be met with jolly laughter. Thus, a picture borrowed from the Americans and put up on the notice-board, unconcernedly and almost totally bare to the waist, was a scream.

After a year in Antarctica men were likely to have fused from the ready diet of pin-ups an image of female beauty and accommodation which was disconcertedly unrelated to real life.” [Goes on to say they needed time to readjust.]