Monday, June 13, 2011

There Once Was A Congressman Named Weiner...

Who Learned That There's Nobody Meaner
After He Photographed His Schlong
While Wearing A Thong
And Changed His Name To Peter.

It's a good thing that Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY) doesn't represent Nantucket. If this is (fair & balanced) doggerel, so be it.

[x This Modern World]
The Politician's Penis
By Tom Tomorrow (Dan Perkins)

Click on image to enlarge. Ω

Tom Tomorrow/Dan Perkins

[Dan Perkins is an editorial cartoonist better known by the pen name "Tom Tomorrow". His weekly comic strip, "This Modern World," which comments on current events from a strong liberal perspective, appears regularly in approximately 150 papers across the U.S., as well as on Salon and Working for Change. The strip debuted in 1990 in SF Weekly.

Perkins, a long time resident of Brooklyn, New York, currently lives in Connecticut. He received the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Excellence in Journalism in both 1998 and 2002.

When he is not working on projects related to his comic strip, Perkins writes a daily political weblog, also entitled "This Modern World," which he began in December 2001.]

Copyright © 2011 Tom Tomorrow (Dan Perkins)

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Sapper's (Fair & Balanced) Rants & Raves by Neil Sapper is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Based on a work at Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available here.

Copyright © 2011 Sapper's (Fair & Balanced) Rants & Raves

Worrying The Scab Known As Sarah Palin

The Palinistas still wage hyperwar on the Wikipedia article on Paul Revere. The Palinistas are attempting to rewrite "The Ride of Paul Revere" to conform to the babble of the Alaskan Evita who was asked a Gotcha Question by a reporter who asked -Evita- (The Bitch of the Great White North) what she had seen and learned on her visit to the Old North Church in Boston during her bus-tour of New England in early June. After her beauty-pageant-contestant response, all hell has broken loose over the accuracy of the babble. If this is (fair & balanced) hyperstupidity, so be it.

[x New Yorker]
The Hyperlore Of Paul Revere
By Jill Lepore

Tag Cloud of the following article

created at
Click on image to enlarge

Folklore used to be passed by word of mouth, from one generation to the next; that’s what makes it folklore, as opposed to, say, history, which is written down and stored in an archive. Stories can be true and documents can lie, of course, but there’s still a difference between them. Anyway, lately they both seem quaint, because now there’s hyperlore, which passes from one computer to the next, along a path best called hyperbolic.

Take Paul Revere’s heroic ride. Here’s a quick look at some of what you can find in the archives. Sometime, likely in 1775, and at the request of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, Paul Revere prepared a deposition about what happened that night. This is a legal document. In draft, it’s full of strikeouts and corrections. It begins:

Paul Revere of Boston, in the Colony of the Massachusetts Bay in N. England of Lawfull age doth testifye and Say: that he I was in Boston on the Evening of the 18th of April 1775, that I was sent for by Docr. Joseph Warren about 10 oClock that evening, and desired, “to go to Lexington and inform Mr. Samuel Adams, & the Hon. John Hancock Esqr. that there was a number of Soldiers composed of the Light troops and Grenadiers marching to the bottom of the common, where was a number Boats to receive them, and it was supposed, that they were going to Lexington, by the way of Watertown to take them, Mess. Adams and Hancock or to Concord.” I proceeded imeaditly & was put across Charles River in -a private- Boat, and Landed at Charlestown Battery. Went into the Town and their got a Horse.

More than two decades later, when Revere was in his sixties, he replied to a request, by the Massachusetts Historical Society, with a letter describing that night. That document is a stylized memoir; it reads like this:

On Tuesday evening, the 18th, it was observed that a number of soldiers were marching towards the bottom of the Common. About 10 o’clock, Dr. Warren sent in great haste for me and begged that I immediately set off for Lexington, where Messrs. Hancock and Adams were, and acquaint them of the movement, and that it was thought they were the objects.

In October, 1832, that letter, sent by Revere to the Massachusetts Historical Society in about 1798, was published in New England Magazine. In the same issue of that magazine there happened also to appear an early poem—that had nothing to do with Revere—by a young man named Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. In 1837, Longfellow became a professor of literature at Harvard. He could speak eight languages and read more than a dozen. In 1842, Longfellow wrote, at the request of his dear and intimate friend, the abolitionist Charles Sumner, a book called “Poems on Slavery.” This brought Longfellow so much trouble that he decided not to write about slavery any more; he decided to leave that to Sumner. Instead, Longfellow used some of the money he made writing other poems to buy slaves their freedom. Entries in his account book (which is in the Houghton Library at Harvard) include for, say, 1854, the following:

Jan. 25—For Slaves 3.00
Feb. 16—Slaves in Canada 5.00
March 29—Negro Church Buffalo
June 23—Mr. Spence Negro School 3.00

Still, he wished he had the courage to write something about slavery. In 1857, after the Dred Scott decision, Longfellow wrote to Sumner, “I groan with you over the iniquity of the times. It is deplorable; it is heart-breaking; and I long to say some vibrant word, that should have vitality in it, and force. Be sure if it comes to me I will not be slow in uttering it.” It came to him in 1860. In April of that year, Longfellow went on a trip to visit Old North Church in Boston with Sumner’s younger brother, George (the older Sumner was, at the time, in Washington). Longfellow wrote in his diary about how he and Thomas Sumner climbed “the tower to the chime of bells, now the home of innumerable pigeons. From this tower were hung the lanterns as a signal that the British troops had left Boston for Concord.” About that time, Longfellow started writing a poem about Paul Revere’s ride. I believe that Longfellow, who had once written to Sumner of his speech “The Crime Against Kansas” that “at last the spirit of the North is aroused,” wrote “Paul Revere’s Ride” to rouse northerners from their slumber.

In writing the poem, Longfellow relied, to some extent, on Revere’s 1798 letter, but he certainly never meant to write anything that could be read as history. He was a poet and a spinner of tales; he loved legends: he loved folklore. This, after all, is the man who brought you “The Song of Hiawatha” and “The Courtship of Miles Standish.” As Longfellow once put it, “Nor let the Historian blame the Poet here, / If he perchance misdate the day or year.”

“Paul Revere’s Ride,” in other words, is a poem written in 1860 based on a memory recorded in 1798 about something that happened in 1775. Its fairy-tale quality was wonderfully captured by Grant Wood, in his 1931 painting, “The Midnight Ride,” where Revere rides what looks like a rocking horse around a tiny toy town.

Nevertheless, the poem proved so enormously popular that it came to be read not as poetry but as history. Longfellow’s own politics—and the fact that the poem was about slavery and the coming of the Civil War—were long forgotten. Meanwhile, the poem-turned-history proved remarkably useful to later generations of politicians. As I wrote in a recent essay in American Scholar, in which I interpret Longfellow as an abolitionist writer, few American political leaders have missed the chance to ride the Revere hobbyhorse:

In 1967, at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Atlanta, Martin Luther King Jr. said, “We still need some Paul Revere of conscience to alert every hamlet and every village of America that revolution is still at hand.” In 1975, during the Bicentennial, Gerald Ford went to Boston and gave a speech at the Old North Church, calling for renewed pride in America: he quoted Longfellow. Edward Kennedy who, like all the Kennedy children, was required by his mother to memorize “Paul Revere’s Ride,” once recited it in its entirety during a meeting of the Senate Appropriations Committee, after which the committee’s chairman, Robert Byrd, recited it back to him….

Last year, on the anniversary of Paul Revere’s ride, George Pataki turned up in Boston. Pataki, the former Republican governor of New York, was thinking about running for president; in this, the age of the Tea Party, Pataki was in need of a Founding Father. In the North End, he positioned himself in front of an equestrian statue of Paul Revere. He was there to launch “Revere America,” a nonprofit “dedicated to advancing common sense public policies rooted in our traditions of freedom and free markets, and that will once again make America secure and prosperous for generations to come.” Its goal was “to harness and amplify the voices of the American people to give them a greater say in fighting back against the threats to freedom posed by Washington liberals.” Mainly, though, Pataki wanted to gather signatures on a petition “to repeal and replace Obamacare,” which you could sign at the Revere America website by clicking on an icon of a quill and inkwell on a piece of parchment. “We’re standing near where Paul Revere, on this day, 235 years ago, began a ride,” Pataki said. “He was looking to tell patriotic Americans, ‘Our freedom was in danger.’ We’re here today to tell the people of America that once again our freedom is in danger.” From health care.

Which gets us down to Sarah Palin, who went to Old North Church last week and climbed those steps that so very many Americans have climbed before her. And the rest, as they say, is hyperlore. Ω

[Jill Lepore is the David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History and chair of the History and Literature Program at Harvard University. She received her Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale in 1995, an M.A. in American Culture from the University of Michigan in 1990 and a B.A. in English from Tufts University in 1987. She is an elected member of the Society of American Historians and a Distinguished Lecturer of the Organization of American Historians. A co-founder of the magazine, Common-place, she is currently working on a biography of Benjamin Franklin and his sister, Jane Mecom. She is also a staff writer at The New Yorker. Her books include New York Burning (2005), a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in History and winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Award for the best non-fiction book about race; A is for American (2002); and The Name of War (1998), winner of the Bancroft Prize and the Ralph Waldo Emerson Award and a finalist for the J. Anthony Lukas Award. Her New Yorker essay about Noah Webster's dictionary appears as the introduction to Websterisms (2008). Blindspot, her first novel, written jointly with Jane Kamensky, was published in 2008. Lepore put her biography of Benjamin Franklin and Jane Mecom aside for The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party’s Revolution and the Battle Over American History (2010).]

Copyright © 2011 Condé Nast Digital

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Sapper's (Fair & Balanced) Rants & Raves by Neil Sapper is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Based on a work at Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available here.

Copyright © 2011 Sapper's (Fair & Balanced) Rants & Raves