Thursday, October 28, 2021


TABLET essay by Ann Bauer

I have never met Ann Bauer but I know something about caring for people with autism in Minnesota. About misguidance and mistreatment by experts, all she writes in her devastating piece I Have Been Through This Before on Tablet rings true.

My thanks to Jenin Younes, Walter Kirn, and James Lindsay for commending it.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

The Truth About Tyranny

The Truth About Tyranny: Every tyranny in history depended on recruits from within the culture. The desire to cleanse society of enemies compels compliance.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Another Mrs. Tomlinson

Daily Albany Argus - January 4, 1847
 found on

Herman Melville gave one very early copy of his first book to a "Mrs. Tomlinson." Before now, this Mrs. Tomlinson has been identified in Melville scholarship as the wife of Gansevoort Melville's friend and fellow lawyer Theodore Edwin Tomlinson (1817-1887). As Hershel Parker noticed, Mrs. Tomlinson was privileged to receive her signed copy of Typee before close family members and other friends got theirs:
"On 18 March, in the excitement of being an author, Herman inscribed a copy of Typee to the wife of Gansevoort's friend Theodore Tomlinson, rather than saving all the first copies for older acquaintances and family." -- Herman Melville: A Biography Volume 1, 1819-1851 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996) pages 406-7.
In The Melville Log, Jay Leyda cited "Martin" for the gift of Typee to "Mrs. [Theodore E.?] Tomlinson" on March 18, 1846, referencing the "Collection of H. Bradley Martin, Jr, New York." In January 1990 this item was sold at auction by Sotheby's along with other Melville rarities from Martin's extraordinary collection, as Lynn Horth reported in Melville Society Extracts Number 80 (February 1990) pages 10-11. Lot 2141, the first American edition of Typee inscribed to Mrs. Tomlinson, was acquired by the Nineteenth Century Shop.

The full inscription as described in an earlier sale catalog:
... PRESENTATION COPY FROM THE AUTHOR, inscribed on the front end-leaf: "Mrs. Tomlinson from the author March 18, 1846."  -- Sales - Parke-Bernet Galleries

Abby E. Tomlinson (1820-1907)

New York Spectator - December 21, 1844

As a young attorney in New York City during the early 1840's, Gansevoort Melville shared the law office of Albany friends and mentors Alexander W. Bradford and Theodore Edwin Tomlinson. Both Bradford and Tomlinson were committed Whigs, while Gansevoort passionately sided with Democrats and would become a celebrity orator on behalf of Polk in the 1844 presidential campaign. Theodore did not get married until after the election. His new wife was the former Abigail Esther Walden (1820-1907), aka "Abby." Abby E. Walden married Theodore E. Tomlinson on December 11, 1844, just two months after Herman Melville returned home on the frigate United States. (Did Herman Melville or his brother Gansevoort attend their wedding at the Church of the Ascension in NYC?) Abby was the youngest daughter of Thomas Treadwell Walden (1779-1825) and Esther Franklin (1789-1874).

As noted in Gansevoort Melville's 1846 London Journal, edited by Hershel Parker (The New York Public Library, 1966), pages 46 and 53, Gansevoort mailed newspapers to "Mrs Tomlinson" but not (why not?) her husband, Gansevoort's old friend Theodore E. Tomlinson. In 1846 Theodore and his new wife Abby lived in New York City. Gansevoort, age 30, was in London sending letters and newspapers to family and friends in the United States, and by March Herman was autographing copies of his first book. Theodore's wife, being 26 years old in 1846, does not really fit the pattern observed by Hershel Parker regarding Gansevoort's attentiveness to 
"women married to powerful men, women somewhat older than he."
In Lansingburgh, NY Herman Melville did not fail to inscribe and mail one copy of Typee to its distinguished dedicatee, Lemuel Shaw in Boston. Other known recipients of Typee from the author himself in March 1846 lived nearby in Albany and Troy, NY: aunt Susan L. Gansevoort (Albany), cousin Maria Peebles (Troy), and William E. Cramer, assistant editor of the Albany Argus

Anna Staples Tomlinson (1806-1873)

Another, older Mrs. Tomlinson also lived in Albany, New York where she had moved in 1834 with her husband and children. This was Anna Staples Tomlinson (1806-1873), wife of Theodore's cousin Oliver Mead Tomlinson (1796? -1867). Let's restore the question mark that Jay Leyda attached in volume one of The Melville Log, page 207, to his tentative identification of 
"Mrs [Theodore E.?] Tomlinson"
as the person whom Melville generously blessed with a signed copy of Typee on March 18, 1846. 


Done! Now then... was Mrs. Anna S. Tomlinson in Albany the real correspondent of Gansevoort and fortunate recipient of Herman Melville's first book? Anna (age 40) and Oliver M. Tomlinson (about 50?) had been married more than twenty years when Gansevoort was writing to "Mrs. Tomlinson" from London. When Gansevoort was appointed Secretary of Legation, O. M. co-managed the Stanwix Hall Hotel in Albany. Stanwix Hall was the magnificent marble building at Broadway and Maiden Lane, constructed in 1833 by Gansevoort and Herman Melville's Dutch-descended uncles, Herman Gansevoort and Peter Gansevoort.

O. M. and Gansevoort's friend Theodore E. Tomlinson were Connecticut cousins; their fathers were sons of Joseph Tomlinson (1741-1813).

In Albany O. M. Tomlinson previously operated a line of packet boats on the Erie Canal. He owned or co-owned the Western Navigation Company, then an important company of canal "forwarders."
Thu, Nov 3, 1836 – Page 4 · The Weekly Wisconsin (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) ·
In 1844-5 O. M. Tomlinson lived at 24 Dallius according to the Albany City Directory

In March 1845, celebrating St. Patrick's Day at Stanwix Hall, O. M. Tomlinson gave the following toast:

Irishmen, the readiness with which they adapt themselves to the laws of freemen in America, the active lead and steadfast manner in which they maintained the cause of Temperance, the peaceable and orderly manner free discussion has been conducted on political subjects in large assemblages, clearly shows that the Irish people are capable of self-government, and that Ireland of right ought to have a Parliament of her own.

 --Albany Evening Journal, April 1, 1845; reprinted in the Albany Argus on April 7, 1845.

During the fall of 1845, O. M. Tomlinson ran Stanwix Hall in partnership with Daniel Comstock.

Albany Argus - September 30, 1845
 STANWIX HALL.-- This favorite Hotel has recently been still farther improved and enlarged by the annexation of the new four story building in Broadway, adjoining, which gives it forty feet more front on that fine avenue. The addition comprises some twelve parlors, with bed-rooms adjoining, peculiarly well adapted for winter boarding. The present proprietors of Stanwix Hall are Messrs. TOMLINSON and COMSTOCK, who with the energy of new lessees, are constantly making additional efforts to render their fine House more worthy of the patronage of the traveling public.
During the coming winter, Albany will present an array of Public Houses that would do credit to any city in the Union, not even excepting New York.  --Albany Argus, September 30, 1845.
The Schenectady Cabinet - September 30, 1845 via NYS Historic Newspapers

The brief partnership between O. M. Tomlinson and Daniel Comstock was formally dissolved in late November 1845.
THE Copartnership heretofore existing between the subscribers is this day dissolved by mutual consent, all debts of the firm of Tomlinson & Comstock will be paid by the said Comstock, and all debts due the said firm will be paid to the said Comstock, at Stanwix Hall in the city of Albany. Dated Albany, November 26, 1845.


The business of STANWIX HALL will be conducted hereafter by Daniel Comstock and Charles H. Comstock under the firm of D. COMSTOCK 7 SON, who will settle all unsettled business of Tomlinson & Comstock.-- A share of public patronage is respectfully solicited. D. COMSTOCK & SON.

The Albany City Directory for 1845/6 lists Wheeler and Tomlinson as "proprietors of Stanwix Hall." 

Afterwards Mrs. Tomlinson was associated by that name with the operation of a hotel or boarding house at 21 Hamilton street in Albany. State legislators reported to be staying in Albany with "Mrs. Tomlinson" in January 1847 were Senators Thomas J. Wheeler, Enoch B. Talcott, and Henry J. Sedgwick.  

Daily Albany Argus - January 4, 1847

As announced in the Albany Evening Journal, proprietorship of the boarding house at 21 Hamilton street "lately occupied by O. M. Tomlinson, Esq." was assumed by a "Miss Ball" in May 1848. 

Albany Evening Journal - May 2, 1848
"BOARDING. Miss Ball has taken House No. 21 Hamilton street, lately occupied by O. M. Tomlinson, Esq., where she will be pleased to accommodate a select number of Boarders from the 1st of May...."

Bill Poray gives an entertaining account of "The Amazing Life and Times of Oliver Mead Tomlinson" in the Perinton Historical Society Historigram, Vol. 44 No. 8, May 2012.

"In the spring of 1825, Mr. Tomlinson married Ann Staples, daughter of Olney and Susannah Staples, the proprietors of Staples Tavern in Egypt. The Tomlinsons had three children, Ann Eliza, born in 1828, a son, Victory, born in 1830, and a second daughter, Statira, born in 1834. Not long after the birth of Statira, her father's business pursuits took him to Albany, and later, to the western frontier."

In 1854, the Tomlinsons' daughter Statira Tomlinson (1834-1925) married New Yorker William Maltman in Nevada City, California. William died there in 1870. 

O. M. Tomlinson is the subject of another article by Bill Poray, "The ingenuity and incarceration of a Perinton Pioneer" in the May 2019 Historigram

After his adventures out west, Oliver Mead Tomlinson left California and returned to Albany NY where in 1863 he lectured at Tweddle Hall on "How to Silence Southern Guns."

Albany Evening Journal - March 14, 1863
via Genealogy Bank

O. M. Tomlinson died in Cheektowaga, Erie County, New York on September 30, 1867.

A letter was received yesterday by William Mattman, notifying him of the death of his father in law, Oliver M. Tomlinson. He died near Buffalo, on the 30th of September, aged seventy years. Mr. Tomlinson resided in Nevada for Many years, and carried on an extenstive mining operation at Mansanita Hill. He returned East in 1862, and has since resided near Buffalo.  --Marysville CA Daily Appeal, October 26, 1867.
Oliver's widow Anna Staples Tomlinson died in Fairport, New York on November 20, 1873 according to her obituary in the Buffalo Express. The "late Mrs. A. R. Cobb" refers to Mrs. Tomlinson's daughter Ann Eliza or Eliza Anna Tomlinson (1828-1862) who married Ansel R. Cobb (1806-1884) in Buffalo, NY on September 19. 1849.

25 Nov 1873, Tue Buffalo Morning Express and Illustrated Buffalo Express (Buffalo, New York)

Mrs. Oliver Tomlinson, 

a very estimable lady, who had many friends in this city, died at her residence in Fairport, Monroe County, on the evening of the 20th inst. We speak of Mrs. Anna S. Tomlinson, who has been suffering from severe illness for many months past, and who formerly resided in Buffalo. She was the mother of the late Mrs. A. R. Cobb, of this city, and had arrived at the advanced age of 67 years. Her remains were brought to this city yesterday morning and deposited in the vault of St. Paul's Cathedral.  
--Buffalo Express, November 25, 1873.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Adding Neill's notice of THE WHALE for Liverpool ALBION to census of favorable reviews

Melvilliana: THE WHALE in Liverpool: Past the wrecks of Woke academia, Melvilliana sails on... 

The updated tally for contemporary reviews of Moby-Dick now has 82 positive; 21 negative; and 17 mixed. So what? So don't believe fake news about the early reception of Melville's great American novel. In a fair election Moby-Dick won, by a lot. 

Grand Total = 120

😍     82
😠     21

👍👎 17

Thursday, October 14, 2021

THE WHALE in Liverpool

Past the wrecks of Woke academia, Melvilliana sails on. As previously announced in the post on 
Communism defined in 1849

the Liverpool Albion published generous excerpts from Melville's fourth book Redburn in October and November 1849. Herein are more wonderful finds in the same Liverpool weekly, discovered in the ever-expanding collection of The British Newspaper Archive

First off, the London correspondent of the Liverpool Albion contributed one early and ultra-favorable notice of The Whale, as the first British edition of Moby-Dick was titled, in his regular column of "Metropolitan Gossip." Transcribed below, this item is not collected in Herman Melville: The Contemporary Reviews, edited by Brian Higgins and Hershel Parker (Cambridge University Press, 1995; paperback 2009).

Highlights of the Liverpool notice include praise for the author of Moby-Dick as "that nautical Prospero," likening Melville's mastery of narrative prose to the theatrical magic practiced by Duke Prospero in Shakespeare's The Tempest. Also gratifying is the news that Liverpudlians loved Melville. Especially after his fourth book. Lavish use of familiar scenes in Redburn, as the Albion correspondent explicitly confirms, made Melville 
"so great a favourite in Liverpool that everything of his is there seized on with acclamation."
After providing a long excerpt from The Whiteness of the Whale (chapter 41, the last in volume 1 of the British edition; chapter 42 in the first American edition) the Albion correspondent concludes by linking Melville with "the author of the White Squall." What this reference means is not immediately obvious, at least to me. For some contemporary readers, the title White Squall might have evoked a popular sea-song with that title by Richard Johns, set to music by George Barker. But the allusion specifies plural writings by an unnamed yet surely prestigious author who presumably has written prose, too, like Melville. Otherwise the comparison would not seem fair to either party. I guess then that the Albion correspondent wished to connect, by way of a compliment to both, Melville's blend of "vivid imagination, profound feeling, and subtle fancy" with the highly accomplished style of William Makepeace Thackeray. In addition to successful fictions like Vanity Fair and Pendennis, Thackeray had written an awful ballad called The White Squall, depicting his experience of a storm on the Mediterranean. "The White Squall" is chapter 9 in Notes of a Journey from Cornhill to Grand Cairo (London, 1846). Rank with anti-Semitism, Thackeray's poem was nonetheless regarded by 19th century critics as "droll and admirably versified" (New York Evening Post, August 30, 1848). Unbothered by bigotry (being himself extremely free in the fabrication of ethnic stereotypes, however gross and insulting), the London correspondent often praised Thackeray in his letters of "Metropolitan Gossip" for the Liverpool Albion. Evidently he was a fan from way back. On 20 December 1847, for example, the Albion correspondent looked forward to a then forthcoming article in the Edinburgh Review on “the writings of Thackeray, in which, it may be confidently be presumed, that full justice will be done, for the first time, in a leading periodical, to that best and most varied of all periodical contributors since the days of Maginn." Who's Maginn? For more on him, get William Maginn and the British Press (Routledge, 2013) by David E. Latané.

From the Liverpool Albion of October 20, 1851; found with recently digitized pages on The British Newspaper Archive:
Liverpool Albion - October 20, 1851
...Wholesale perverts you will now look for as a matter of course; and whatever sort they are, they can't be much more worthless than one that has been trying to make a considerable noise in advertisements this last day or two, namely, Cecile, the Pervert—a polemical novel in one volume, by the author of Rockingham, who was generally supposed to know which way the cat jumped, till, having turned Puseyite, he has unfortunately ceased to be up to trap, and has now been caught napping like a dormousy old tabby, fit only for the amusement of evangelical rats. There has been a loud bookseller's caterwauling about the wonderful array of real names and incidents it was to have contained; but there is nothing of the kind in it:— the whole thing is a take in; and of such a catch every one instinctively exclaims— 
"Very like a whale!" 
Apropos to that, thereby hangs a tale—a tale of a whale, a real whale—"hugest of living creatures that, in the deep, stretched like a promontory, sleeps or swims, and seems a moving land." This particular fish, an exceedingly odd one, is the most fascinating of leviathans, being the property of that nautical Prospero, Herman Melville, whose Typee, Omoo, Mardi, and especially Redburn, have rendered him so great a favourite in Liverpool that everything of his is there seized on with acclamation. His present work, the Whale, in 3 vols., is by far his most perfectly constructed story, and the plot of it the most continuously exciting. It is of course impossible here to give any details, but a single extract is appended just to show the marvellous genius of the man in the art of word painting. The following is a mere fragment of a whole chapter on the single word white:
"It was the whiteness of the whale that above all things appalled me. But how can I hope to explain myself here and, yet, in some dim, random way, explain myself I must, else all these chapters might be nought. Though in many natural objects whiteness refiningly enhances beauty, as if imparting some special virtue of its own, as in marbles, japonicas, and pearls; and though various nations have in some way recognized a certain royal pre-eminence in this hue; even the barbaric, grand old kings of Pegu placing the title 'Lord of the White Elephants' above all their other magniloquent ascriptions of dominion; and the modern kings of Siam unfurling the same snow-white quadruped in the royal standard; and the Hanoverian flag bearing the one figure of a snow-white charger; and the great Austrian Empire, Cæsarian heir to overlording Rome, having for the [imperial colour the same] imperial hue; and though this pre-eminence in it applies to the human race itself, giving the white man ideal mastership over every dusky tribe; and though, besides all this, whiteness has been even made significant of gladness, for among the Romans a white stone marked a joyful day; and though in other mortal sympathies and symbolizings this same hue is made the emblem of many touching, noble things, the innocence of brides, the benignity of age; though among the red men of America the giving of the white belt of wampum was the deepest pledge of honour; though in many climes whiteness typifies the majesty of justice in the ermine of the judge, and contributes to the daily state of kings and queens drawn by milk-white steeds; though even in the higher mysteries of the most august religions it has been made the symbol of the Divine spotlessness and power; by the Persian fire worshippers, the white forked flame being held the holiest on the altar; and in the Greek mythologies Great Jove himself being made incarnate in a snow-white bull; and though to the noble Iroquois, the midwinter sacrifice of the sacred white dog was by far the holiest festival of their theology, that spotless, faithful creature being held the purest envoy they could send to the Great Spirit with the annual tidings of their own fidelity; and though directly from the Latin word for white, all Christian priests derive the name of one part of their sacred vesture, the alb or tunic, worn beneath the cassock; and though among the holy pomps of the Romish faith, white is specially employed in the celebration of the Passion of our Lord; though in the vision of St. John, white robes are given to the redeemed, and the four-and-twenty elders stand clothed in white before the great white throne, and the Holy One that sitteth there white like wool; yet for all these accumulated associations, with whatever is sweet, and honourable, and sublime, there yet lurks an elusive something in the innermost idea of this hue which strikes more of panic to the soul than that redness which affrights in blood."
And so he proceeds through many consecutive pages, in which curious learning is combined with vivid imagination, profound feeling, and subtle fancy, in a manner to be found only in the writings of the author of the White Squall

 -- The Liverpool Albion, 20 October 1851.

The longtime London correspondent of the Liverpool Albion is identified in the Dictionary of National Biography as E. B. Neill near the end of the entry for his brother-in-law, the journalist Michael James Whitty. So identified also in Reminiscences of a Country Journalist by Thomas Frost who recalls his first meeting with the overworked journalist:

RETURNING to my lodging in Westminster from the dingy old house in the City, after the incident with which my last chapter closes, I found a letter awaiting me from Mr. E. B. Neill, who combined the duties of consul-general of the republic of Uruguay with those of London correspondent of the Birmingham Journal, the Liverpool Albion, and the Bengal Hurkaru, and had been an occasional contributor to the Magazine of Art. It contained an invitation to me to give him a call, and I immediately proceeded to his residence in New Palace Yard, hoping that something might come of the interview that would at least enable me to float over the breadth of broken water that seemed to separate me from fortune.
I found him at his desk, up to his eyes in newspapers, magazines, pamphlets, proof-sheets, and Parliamentary papers, and wound up by the constantly growing demands upon his brain and pen to a high pitch of mental excitement....

E. B. Neill was Edward Bernard Neill (c. 1813-1886). Although his name was not generally known in the United States, this widely acclaimed London correspondent of the Liverpool Albion reached many American readers through newspapers and magazines that quoted from his clever and spicy, and frequently offensive columns. In 1850 the New York Literary World regularly paraphrased metropolitan letters from "the gossiping London correspondent of the Liverpool Albion" including demeaning depictions of " 'the Black Malibran,' an ebony contralto-soprano, from Cuba, with half a dozen names ending in Martinez" (August 3, 1850) and table manners of Irish MP's (September 28, 1850). 

One month before publication of The Whale in England, the Literary World for September 27, 1851 cited "the lively London correspondent of the Liverpool Albion" as an entertaining authority on literary trends like the aversion of modern English writers to lecturing outside of London. Thackeray, for one, 

"has declined all overtures for the rural ventilation of his Hanover-square comicalities."

This bit on Thackeray was satirized along with the whole tribe of provincial correspondents, in a London humor magazine called The Month edited by Albert Smith and John Leech. Neill had just skewered the new journal and its editors, who replied in kind to the "facetious party": 

Oh, poor Mr. Neale !
Or, perhaps it's Neil,
If we had you on the “Month,"
How wretched we should feel.

One month after publication of The Whale in England, The Literary World of November 15, 1851 quoted the same writer's riff on the odd title of a book issued by "the most aristocratic of bibliophiles, John Murray" (coincidentally Melville's first British publisher).

Prompted by Murray's ad for All My Eye! this item of  E. B. Neill's "Metropolitan Gossip" had appeared in the Liverpool Albion on October 6, 1851. Let's work it out: published in Liverpool on Monday October 6th, repackaged in New York on Saturday November 15th. In theory then, Melville's good friends Evert A. and George L. Duyckinck could have reported within six or eight weeks the high praise bestowed on Pittsfield's "nautical Prospero" by their esteemed and repeatedly acknowledged British informant, the "lively London correspondent of the Liverpool Albion." In fact, however, the editors of the Literary World either missed the laudatory notice of The Whale on October 20, 1851, or saw but never mentioned it in print. 

Surveying Journalism in Great Britain and America in 1855 the New York Quarterly opined:
The ablest literary and general news-journal of Liverpool is the Albion. "The London Correspondent of the Liverpool Albion," is probably better known as a letter-writer, than any newspaper correspondent in the kingdom. His contributions have given the Albion a high rank.
After Neill's notice of THE WHALE, transcribed above, numerous passages from Melville's newest novel were excerpted in subsequent issues of the Liverpool Albion

On November 3, 1851 the Liverpool Albion gave long excerpts from chapter 8 The Pulpit and chapter 9 The Sermon, including the text of Melville's rewritten Calvinist hymn, under the heading "FATHER MAPPLE / FROM THE WHALE BY HERMAN MELVILLE." 

The following week, on November 10, 1851, the Albion gave the rest of chapter 9 The Sermon under the heading "FATHER MAPPLE'S SERMON." Crediting "HERMAN MELVILLE'S THE WHALE," the editor introduced the long excerpt as follows:

We published in our last a description of Father Mapple, the whaling chaplain, and concluded by giving the text, “And God had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah,” upon which he founded the following sermon:-- “Shipmates, this book, containing only four chapters, four yarns, is one of the smallest strands in the might cable of the Scriptures. Yet, what depths of the soul does Jonah’s deep sea-line sound; what a pregnant lesson to us is this prophet!… He said no more, but slowly waving a benediction, covered his face with his hands, and so remained kneeling, till all the people had departed, and he was left alone in the place.”

Again crediting Melville's The Whale, the Liverpool Albion on November 24, 1851 reprinted part of chapter 14 Nantucket under the heading "NANTUCKET." On the same page, but mixed in with "Varieties" of texts from other new books, more passages "From Herman Melville's The Whale" appeared in the Liverpool Albion. These excerpts came from chapter 6 The Street; chapter 4 The Counterpane; chapter 13 Wheelbarrow; and chapter 3 The Spouter-Inn and were respectively headed





Minus Melville's footnotes, the Liverpool Albion on December 1, 1851 reprinted all of chapter 87 The Grand Armada under the heading "AN ARMADA OF WHALES." Among other "Varieties" the Albion also gave most of chapter 88 Schools and Schoolmasters under the heading, "DOMESTIC FELICITY OF THE WHALE." 

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Slowhand & Van - The Rebels (Eric Clapton, Van Morrison)

Slowhand & Van - This Has Gotta Stop (Eric Clapton, Van Morrison)

Eric Clapton and Jimmie Vaughan

"Eric Clapton has done more good for his fellow humans, addicts and alcoholics in particular, than most of us could in a hundred lifetimes. The Rolling Stone takedown is despicable. They have picked up their stone and decided to throw it, from the porch of their glass house." 

"Don’t think I’ve ever had more conspicuous & vicious bots come after me as quickly as when I said a good word about Clapton this morning."

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Welcome back masked, vaccinated theatergoers

Something like Melville's semi-fictional Temple First, only this time much closer to home than Mercury Lounge in NYC, here's another cool place where I'm not welcome anymore:

"... performers and masked, vaccinated theatergoers finally can see one another again at the Guthrie." -- Chris Hewitt, Minneapolis Star Tribune, October 9, 2021. 

What sort of play did our august Guthrie choose for the entertainment of properly masked (get outta here with your redneck bandannas and neck gaiters) patrons with valid vax papers?  One that trashes the United States Constitution. More generously, one that deconstructs the Constitution:

Of course! God I wish this was satire.

Nonetheless, many of the comments on Hewitt's predictable take give me hope--for instance these wise words from "pastrysnob":

Ms Schreck and Ms Beck haven't taken this play far enough on the road if "playing to the Guthrie choir" is as far as they get. More appropriate, it would seem, would be to go back out to current American Legion posts in, say, Greater Minnesota and see how the audience and critics in Willmar and Elbow Lake react. The walls in those outposts are also plastered with photos of past post commanders, until very recently all white males. To get your mug on those walls and be elected commander, you had to do the Constitution's dirty work - serving in a combat capacity, as often as not in ill-conceived wars like Iraq and Viet Nam, dating back to the more noble WW's 1 and 2. Some benefit eh, from being privileged white males. But today, thanks to the very same Constitution and its adaptability, some of those more recent post commanders look a bit different. The Legion, it would seem, has left the playwright and her message behind....

The living document known as the US Constitution sets forth the rights framework within which enables the likes of Mizzus Schreck and Beck to concoct this self evident, virtue shaming discourse and then take it to Broadway and on the road to make a bundle pandering to the smug, condescending, self-important Guthrie crowd.

Related posts:

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Melvilliana: Destiny: A Poem by John C. Hoadley

Melvilliana: Destiny: A Poem by John C. Hoadley: Engineer-poet John Chipman Hoadley (1818-1886) made a strong and lasting impression on the good townspeople of Pittsfield, Massachusetts. D...

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Masks: Before and After They Became Political

Masks: Before and After They Became Political: If one actually takes the time to consider the preponderance of evidence regarding universal masking, it becomes extremely difficult to conclude that it has had, or was ever expected to have, a significant effect on the course of the pandemic. The evidence certainly doesn’t come even close to matching the quasi-religious fervor exhibited by the popular media, mask-mandating helicopter politicians, or your judgy virtue-signaling neighbor.