Thursday, July 25, 2013

Mark Twain, Patriot 1.5

h/t Jim Sinclair
Excerpt from Mark Twain’s Relevance Today by Gary Scharnhorst (University of New Mexico):

No one these days dares to impugn Mark Twain’s patriotism. On the contrary, I believe he set an example of patriotic dissent in his condemnation of military imperialism, a reminder that, despite the protests of spin doctors, political dissent is one of the highest forms of service to the nation. The “true citizenship,” the true patriotism, he insisted, “is to protect the flag from dishonor—to make it the emblem of a nation that is known to all nations as true and honest and honorable.”

In short, in the life and writings of Mark Twain we may discern some lessons for our own time: we should ridicule greed and hypocrisy, resist racial stereotypes, decry imperialism or interference in the affairs of other nations with every available tool, including humor. As Twain once wrote, “Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.”

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Hal Holbrook plays Mark Twain, expounding upon Man, "the reasoning animal."

The words in this scene come mostly from Twain's 1903 essay, "The Damned Human Race" and other essays, such as "Papers of the Adam Family".