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Aug 29 2016

To Anacreon In Heaven

As you know I think Throwball an exceptionally stupid sport played by brain and steroid damaged people who without their not as remunerative as you might think contracts would find gainful employment as muggers and Mob enforcers. The fans are not much better though marginally more civilized than the typical denizens of the parking lots and infields of Turn Left Bumper Cars.

So I was pleasantly surprised this weekend when Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers Quarterback, refused to stand for the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. … There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.

As The Intercept’s Jon Schwarz points out, what’s strange is that African-American players stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” at all.

Colin Kaepernick Is Righter Than You Know: The National Anthem Is a Celebration of Slavery
by Jon Schwarz, The Intercept
Aug. 28 2016, 3:08 p.m.

“The Star-Spangled Banner,” Americans hazily remember, was written by Francis Scott Key about the Battle of Fort McHenry in Baltimore during the War of 1812. But we don’t ever talk about how the War of 1812 was a war of aggression that began with an attempt by the U.S. to grab Canada from the British Empire.

However, we’d wildly overestimated the strength of the U.S. military. By the time of the Battle of Fort McHenry in 1814, the British had counterattacked and overrun Washington, D.C., setting fire to the White House.

And one of the key tactics behind the British military’s success was its active recruitment of American slaves.

Whole families found their way to the ships of the British, who accepted everyone and pledged no one would be given back to their “owners.” Adult men were trained to create a regiment called the Colonial Marines, who participated in many of the most important battles, including the August 1814 raid on Washington.

So when Key penned “No refuge could save the hireling and slave / From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,” he was taking great satisfaction in the death of slaves who’d freed themselves. His perspective may have been affected by the fact he owned several slaves himself.

The reality is that there were human beings fighting for freedom with incredible bravery during the War of 1812. However, “The Star-Spangled Banner” glorifies America’s “triumph” over them — and then turns that reality completely upside down, transforming their killers into the courageous freedom fighters.

After the U.S. and the British signed a peace treaty at the end of 1814, the U.S. government demanded the return of American “property,” which by that point numbered about 6,000 people. The British refused. Most of the 6,000 eventually settled in Canada, with some going to Trinidad, where their descendants are still known as “Merikins.”

You know, it’s useless to pretend that the United States wasn’t built on a foundation of genocide and slavery. If you venture South or West of New Jersey the venerated symbols of the noble “Lost Cause” (more accurately called the traitorous “Pro-Slavery Rebellion”) are everywhere and denial is a river that is broad, swift, and deep.

And should you point out us Yankees have an equally checkered history I’d not deny it. New England is littered with the sites of “Massacres” where hundreds of Native Americans were cut down by Muskets and Grape and 1 or 2 Colonials had the misfortune to trip over a tree root, get blood poisoning, and die.

It was a harsh time. The ‘New Frontier’ was full of hardship.

Scalping? We invented that (the depraved cruelty of Europeans is unrestricted by conventional morality even when the objects are other Europeans). Indeed among the proximate causes of our “Glorious” Revolution (you know, Washington, Jefferson, those guys) was a desire to avoid interference with our smuggling activities, not just Tea but also the lucrative “Triangle Trade” of selling Black African Slaves to Sugar Plantations in exchange for Rum, selling the Rum in New England in exchange for money and trade goods, then sailing back to Africa for more Slaves (Black ones were best because they were easily segregated).

Another reason was the Proclaimation of 1763 which enforced a limit on Westward Colonial expansion into Native American territory as a payback for their help against the French in the Seven Years War. Connecticut, where we’ll gladly sell you a piece of wood and call it Nutmeg, was deeply invoved in both these enterprises (we had at the time a grant to virtually all of northern Ohio called “The Western Reserve” which was not relinquished until 1800).

Ah, Clio. Did you pay attention in History? I did.

The Yellow-Hair’d God and his nine fusty Maids,
From Helicon’s banks 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.

1 comment

  1. ek hornbeck

    Vent Hole

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