Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Tom Paine lives

Holy god, I'm reading Rights of Man and I'm ready to run out and shoot a King.

Picked it up awhile a go for a couple of bucks at a Barnes and Noble, one of those books that B&N reprints for cheap as part of their "Barnes and Noble Library of Essential Reading" aka "Stuff in the Public Domain We Can Print Up For Nothing and Sell to You" series.

How's this?

"When it shall be said in any country in the world, my poor are happy; neither ignorance nor distress is to be found among them; my jails are empty of prisoners, my streets of beggars; the aged are not in want, the taxes are not oppressive; the rational world is my friend, because I am the friend of its happiness; when these things can be said, then may that country boast its constitution and government."

Clear-sighted, passionate and the lover of a good phrase, Tom was. I believe he coined the term "The United States of America".

That one stuck.

I think he was also the only guy, with the exception maybe of Lafayette, who was present at both Revolutions, the American and the French.

And he died unheralded. Stayed radical and after awhile his old friends, who were by that time running the government, stepped away from him.

Tone that shit down, Tom. You're right, but come on. We've got a government to run here.

And Tom was saying stuff like:

"Toleration is not the opposite of Intolerance but is the counterfeit of it."


"A vast mass of mankind are degradedly thrown into the background of the human picture, to bring forward with greater glare, the puppet-show of state and aristocracy."

All his old buddies in their powdered wigs staring silently at the floor, avoiding each other's eyes, wishing they had walked into another tavern.

Stay wild, Tom.

Damn Ann was close with her MMMQ guess, but the correct spelling of the Tantric release-breath joy-inducing wail contained in The Bangles Walk Like an Egyptian is:



Say it a few times, you'll see I'm right.

Now let's go burn down the Bastille.


Ann said...

You know, that actually does look right-er than my answer. Now for gob's sake, let Susanna out so she can get on with a reunion tour...

John said...

You're a very gracious loser, Ann.

Ms. Hoff and I are at a very delicate stage in our...


I just don't think it would be wise to-

What was that?

Are those sirens?

Gotta run.

Ann said...

'Gracious loser' - one of those fabulous compliments that really isn't, sort of like "You don't sweat much for a fat girl!"

Anyway, I was faking gracious (Excellent all girl punk band name: Faking Gracious!)I have been seething and roiled all damn day over your capricious judgement call, and I am mulling over legal action.