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October 4th, 2006

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04:26 pm - Another bit o' Benchley
Here's another short piece written by Robert Benchley, one of the greatest humorists of the early 20th century. I include the entire piece intact, with his own disclaimer -- oddly prescient -- tacked to the end.

PAUL REVERE leaped into his saddle.

"Through every Middlesex village and farm, Bess, old girl!" he whispered in his mare's ear, and they were off.

And, as he rode, the dauntless patriot saw as in a vision (in fact, it was a vision) the future of the land to which he was bringing freedom.

He saw a hundred and ten million people, the men in derbies, the women in felt hats with little bows on the top. He saw them pushing one another in and out of trolley-cars on their way to and from work, adding up figures incorrectly and subtracting them incorrectly all afternoon, with time out at 12:30 for frosted chocolates and pimento cheese sandwiches. He saw fifty million of them trying to prevent the other sixty million from doing what they wanted to do, and the sixty million trying to prevent the fifty million from doing what they wanted to do. He saw them all paying taxes to a few hundred of their number for running the government very badly. He saw ten million thin children working and ten thousand fat children playing in the warm sands. And now and again he saw five million youths, cheered on by a hundred million elders with fallen arches, marching out to give their arms and legs and lives for Something to Be Determined Later. And over all he saw the Stars and Stripes fluttering in the artificial breeze of an electric fan operated behind the scenes.

So tugging back at the reins he yelled, "Whoa, Bess! We're going back to the stable."

NOTE: This piece was first published in 1924, when derision was not confused with disloyalty.

(3 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:October 5th, 2006 01:17 am (UTC)
Thankfully we're much more sophisticated now. We know that humor is a sneaky act of hate that cowards use to make themselves feel clever. It's all in John Ashcroft's new book: "Humor Exposed".
[User Picture]
Date:October 5th, 2006 06:59 am (UTC)
Exposed? Quick, someone cover up her tits.
Date:October 5th, 2006 08:35 pm (UTC)
Ouch-y piece.

But remember that Eugene Debs, a man who had millions of Americans vote for him to be president spent time in federal prison for being anti-war in WWI. The past is no panacea, just a good reminder that there have always been assholes like the current Bush administration ready to take control and pervert what this country should stand for.

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