10/18/2004: "For Democracy's sake, it's time to melt down the Liberty Bell."
I dragged my sleepy ass outta my nice warm bed on Saturday morning and hauled
it on over to Independence Mall (The corner of 5th and Market, to be
precise.) in order to catch a Green Party of PA rally that featured three
candidates for state offices: Paul Teese who is running for State
Treasurer, Ben Price who is running for Auditor General, and Marakay
Rogers who is running for Attorney General.
Just a little over a dozen people showed up to hear what three people who
are running for some of the most important positions in state government
had to say. Well, I kinda expected that. Being a Green means getting used
to small crowds at rallies - hey, at least no one made me sign a loyalty
oath. The best analogy I can give is that the best movies often have the
smallest audiences. Summer Blockbusters almost always suck.
What did surprise me was the reaction of passersby to the event. While
these three candidates came across as highly intelligent and articulate
people, and none of them were wearing tinfoil hats or demanded that every
first born male be put to death, people walking past were regarding them
as if they were from the Let's Shove Tire-Irons Way Up Our Butts and
Attempt to Contact the Venusians Party.
Sure there were the usual encounters with old women who walk up and say
"I support the Greens, but I just can't vote for Ralph Nader" (Then are
left with that "I've fallen and I can't get up" look when they're informed
that the Party's candidate is David Cobb), but, for the most part, the
people who chanced upon the rally just shook their heads in confusion and
moved on. The Green volunteers at the event attempted to distribute
information to nearby pedestrians, but the folks on the sidewalk acted as
if they were being handed used syringes outside the Haitian Embassy.
Meanwhile, a few yards away, people were standing in line to see the
Liberty Bell, which really started to piss me off because … well, let me
tell you something about the Liberty Bell…
Now, you've probably been told that the Liberty Bell was rung on July 4th,
1776 to announce the signing of the Declaration of Independence. That's a
lie. Some of you may also have heard that the bell cracked on July 8th,
1776 when it was rung to announce the reading of the Declaration of
Independence. Well, that's also a lie.
The bell (which had nothing to do with the American Revolution) came to
Philly from London in 1752 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of
Pennsylvania's Charter of Privileges. By the way, Pennsylvania is
misspelled as "Pensylvania" on the bell.
The Liberty Bell developed its crack habit (er, habit of cracking) the
fist time it was used. The bell was recast and didn't crack again until
1836, when it was being tolled to announce the death of Chief Justice John
Marshal. The crack widened on the bell's fortieth and final official
tolling in 1846. After that, the state took a "don't pick at it, or it'll
get infected" approach to the bell.
So how did this defective hunk of metal come to be known as "The Liberty
Bell"? You see, staring in the 1830's, abolitionists inspired by the
inscription on the bell - "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land, unto
all the inhabitants thereof" - seized upon it as a fitting symbol for
their cause (The New York Anti-Slavery Society used the bell on the
frontispiece to an 1837 edition of their publication, Liberty) and
gave it the name by which it is known today.
OK, then how in the name of Hubbard did a symbol of the abolitionist
movement become associated with Revolutionary War? Well, you have George
Lippard to thank for that.
Lippard is one of my all-time favorite Philadelphians and my sole all-time
favorite quitter. George quit studying for the ministry due to
"contradiction between theory and practice". Next, he quit studying law
because of "injustice". He then quit journalism when he found newspaper
reporting to be "uninteresting and constrained in its pursuit of the
truth." Finally, Lippard quit quitting altogether and went on to found a
secret organization (The Brotherhood of the Union) and pen one of the
trashiest novels in American literary history - The Monks of Monk
Hall (AKA The Quaker City )
I could go on about Lippard for days (The riot he inspired, his sword-cane
- trust me, it's a long list), but, for our purposes, it's just important
to know that in 1847 Lippard inked a fictional tale which appeared
in The Saturday Currier under the title of The Fourth of July,
1776 (but which was popularly known as - I shit thee not - "Ring,
Grandfather! Ring!"). The story was about an old man who rings the bell to
announce the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
Now, to be honest, I don't really wanna melt down the Liberty Bell.
I was just going for shock value. Besides, despite all of the untruths
surrounding it, I love the Liberty Bell. In fact, I keep a miniature
Liberty Bell on my desk. Here is a bell that failed at the relatively easy
task of clanging, yet succeeded at becoming a symbol for Freedom. A true
American success story.
No, what I don't love is that none of the hundreds of folks who were lined
up to see the Liberty Bell seemed to be interested in the live
demonstration of Democracy in action that was taking place right in front
of them. It was almost (and I stress almost) enough to make me
scream "Hey, fucktards, patriotism is about more than slapping some flags
on your SUV and heading off to look at America's faux artifacts. And it's
certainly about more than voting because P Diddy says it's the right
thing to do. Patriotism is about keeping ourselves as best informed as we
possibly can so that we can make intelligent decisions"
If the Liberty Bell knew what these folks were ignoring, it would crack in half.
Sunday Halloween turns many into nine-year-old girls
Speaking of fucktards, a whole bunch o' 'em seem to be soiling themselves
over the fact that Halloween falls on a Sunday this year. The few news
articles that I've seen about this have been ripe with hilarious Fundy
quotes, including the following from Sandra Hulsey of Greenville, GA: "You
just don't do it on Sunday," said "That's Christ's day. You go to church
on Sunday; you don't go out and celebrate the devil. That'll confuse a
Yeah, that and shiny objects.
Bring out your dead…
And while we're on the subject of Halloween, it's time for another DVD
rental suggestion - and this time it's a double feature!
For the first time in the history of mankind, Tombs of the Blind
Dead and Return of the Blind Dead have been released on one
DVD. For the benefit of the uninitiated among you, the Blind Dead are a
band of eyeless Templar vampire/zombies whose hobbies include mutilation
and roaming the Portuguese countryside.
True, Return is a somewhat lackluster sequel, but it does contain a
few truly inspired moments. Tomb however, is 100% baaadass, and
includes lots of blood, a creepy mortician and gratuitous lesbianism (I
know that the Vice President and Mrs. Cheney love their daughter…) 666
stars. Rent or die!
apoteixizw - to wall off
If the above word looks like ipposshit to you,
then you need to go here
and download the SPIONIC font for either MAC or PC. Dude.