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Jul 04 2015

The Breakfast Club (To Anacreon in Heaven)

Fellow-citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here to-day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? And am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?

I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you this day rejoice are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity, and independence bequeathed by your fathers is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought life and healing to you has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak today?

What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days of the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is a constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy-a thin veil to cover up crimes that would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation of the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of these United States at this very hour.

At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! had I the ability, and could reach the nation’s ear, I would, to-day, pour forth a stream, a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and the crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.

To Anacreon in Heav’n, where he sat in full Glee,

A few Sons of Harmony sent a Petition,

That he their Inspirer and Patron would be;

When this answer arriv’d from the Jolly Old Grecian

Voice, Fiddle, and Flute,

no longer be mute,

I’ll lend you my Name and inspire you to boot,

And, besides I’ll instruct you, like me, to intwine

The Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus’s Vine.

The news through Olympus immediately flew;

When Old Thunder pretended to give himself Airs.

If these Mortals are suffer’d their Scheme to persue,

The Devil a Goddess will stay above Stairs.

Hark! already they cry,

In transports of Joy,

A fig for Parnassus! To Rowley’s we’ll fly.

And there, with good Fellows, we’ll learn to intwine

The Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus’s Vine.

The Yellow-Hair’d God and his nine fusty Maids,

To the hill of old Lud will incontinent flee,

Idalia will boast but of tenantless Shades,

And the bi-forked Hill a mere Desart will be

My Thunder no fear on’t,

Shall soon do it’s Errand,

And dam’me! I’ll swinge the Ringleaders, I warrant.

I’ll trim the young Dogs, for thus daring to twine

The Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus’s Vine.

Apollo rose up, and said, “Pry’thee ne’er quarrel,

Good King of the Gods, with my Vot’ries below:

Your Thunder is useless” – then shewing his Laurel,

Cry’d “Sic evitabile fulmen”, you know!

Then over each head

My Laurels I’ll spread;

So my Sons from your Crackers no Mischief shall dread,

Whilst snug in their Club-Room, they jovially twine

The Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus’s Vine.

Next Momus got up with his risible Phiz,

And swore with Apollo he’d chearfully join –

The full Tide of Harmony still shall be his,

But the Song, and the Catch, and the Laugh shall be mine.

Then, Jove, be not jealous

Of these honest fellows.”

Cry’d Jove, “We relent, since the Truth you now tell us”;

And swear by Old Styx, that they long shall intwine

The Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus’s Vine.

Ye Sons of Anacreon, then join Hand in Hand;

Preserve Unanimity, Friendship, and Love!

‘Tis your’s to support what’s so happily plann’d;

You’ve the sanction of Gods, and the Fiat of Jove.

While thus we agree,

Our Toast let it be.

May our Club flourish happy, united, and free!

And long may the Sons of Anacreon intwine

The Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus’s Vine.

What?  You think I’m showing insufficient piety, deference, and patriotism towards the Defence of Fort McHenry?  Might I point out that it only became the National Anthem in 1931 succeeding Hail Columbia and My Country, ‘Tis of Thee (which doesn’t really count because it’s a cheap knockoff of God Save the Queen).  Oh, and I can still easily handle the one and a fifth octaves provided you start in the right key (I also do White Rabbit, blows them away away at the Karaoke Bar).

I am cursed with a rememberance of history.  I remember that our founders were a motley collection of smugglers, slavers, genocidal murderers, tax cheats, frauds, and rabble.  That we were conceived in Rebellion, violent armed struggle, against tyrany and corporate oligarchy.

We waz thugz, yo.

breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpgI remember Lafayette, which is a good thing because I got pigeonholed for an on camera interview with TV France 3 while visiting the Hermione at South Street Seaport Thursday and while the reporter no doubt expected a typically “exceptionally” dumb response (duh, he was French and served in the Civil War or something like that) I gave him 10 solid minutes of his (and France’s) importance to the Revolution, his relationship with Washington, his bravery at Brandywine, his lobbying the French Court for intervention (downplayed Ben a little for the audience), the strategic French thinking that went into Yorktown rather than New York (Washington’s choice and probably a big bloody mistake if it had happened), and his participation in the French Revolution of 1789.

I have more material but I sense you are sleeping already by the snores.  What about History Major is so hard to understand?  Do I get to talk to Farkle about Belgian Independence or is it Maya and Riley day (silly question, it’s always Maya and Riley day).

Since I’m not quite recovered from the trauma of 12 hours on the road in addition to the week and a half of travel since June 20th and 3 more confronting me (what about busy are we not understanding?) it’s another sucky blogging day!

You’re welcome.

Besides it’s July 4th and nobody will read this except those who are truly desperate to escape the meat, heat, beer, fireworks, and family.  There is no news.  Fortunately my audience shrinks by the day and those who are left don’t expect much.  I’ve been invited to participate in an off Broadway talent revue (in the sense that 400 miles is off Broadway) which I don’t think will come off actually but I can always favor them with Grandfather’s Old Ram.

Obligatories

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

I would never make fun of LaEscapee or blame PhilJD.  And I am highly organized.

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.

Julius Caesar (I, ii, 140-141)

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