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Old 03-22-2004, 09:14 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Discussion of Mark Twain quote

I dunno if this has been posted before. Anyways I was wathing an interview of Hal Holbrook by Bill Moyer yesterday and since Holbrook has been playing Twain in a one man show for about 50 years now the interview was intercut with his performance and this little gem popped out
Quote:
For in a Republic, who is “the country”? Is it the Government which is for the moment in the saddle? Why, the Government is merely a servant—merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn’t. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them. - Mark Twain
Anyways I'd like to hear people's thoughts on this. Personally the quote had such an impact on me it was like a gunshot.It's my new sig too.
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Old 03-22-2004, 09:50 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Mark Twain was obviously a traitor and certainly no patriot.....He should be dig up and his remains placed in guantanimo, with the rest of the commie liberal....uh......doo doo heads.

Didnt he write that 1984 book too?
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Old 03-22-2004, 10:01 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Yup...that's from A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. I love Mark Twain's "sagisms". It's like reading the place mat, at a truck stop diner.
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Old 03-22-2004, 11:53 AM   #4 (permalink)
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i wholeheartedly agree with twain.

period

great stuff
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Old 03-22-2004, 05:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Nice quote. Here are two more:

"Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism , will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar."
-- Julius Caesar

"The point of public relations slogans like 'Support our troops' is that they don't mean anything... That's the whole point of good propaganda. You want to create a slogan that nobody's going to be against, and everybody's going to be for. Nobody knows what it means, because it doesn't mean anything. Its crucial value is that it diverts your attention from a question that does mean something: Do you support our policy? That's the one you're not allowed to talk about."
-- Noam Chomsky
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Old 03-22-2004, 06:53 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Excellent... thanx Hammer.
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Old 03-22-2004, 09:41 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Mark Twain's anti-imperialist writings are fun stuff to read.

oh, and, uh....Chomsky rules.
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Old 03-23-2004, 11:39 AM   #8 (permalink)
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It amazes me that some in the world still don't consider Twain's work as part of the Literary "canon". He was one of the great (and opinionated) writers of America, and while he was willing to step into some heated topics, he was also never one to point a figure without including himself in the blame. I like that guy!
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Old 03-23-2004, 01:59 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I refer you to the Quote of the Day - 24 March 2004 (on General Discussion board).

Quote:
Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.

Sir Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965)
British politician

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Old 03-23-2004, 06:16 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I agree with Tomservo, Twain sometimes is nothing more than an American Lit. footnote. A shame.
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Old 03-23-2004, 06:38 PM   #11 (permalink)
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When Chamberlain returned from signing them Munich pact with Hitler, Winston Churchill remarked, "You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor, and you will have war."
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Old 03-23-2004, 06:41 PM   #12 (permalink)
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If you dare, read Twain's :"Concerning the Jews," Harper's Monthly Magazine, September 1899
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Old 03-23-2004, 07:22 PM   #13 (permalink)
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The reason Twain isn't a bigger figure outside of American literature is his style is very distinctly American (and even then many have problems) and to be honest, much of what is said only one who lives here would know.
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Old 03-23-2004, 07:59 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by hammer4all
"Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism , will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar."
-- Julius Caesar
This quote is a fake.

http://urbanlegends.about.com/librar...esar-quote.htm
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Old 03-24-2004, 12:53 PM   #15 (permalink)
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josobot - I read the article in question, here's a link:

http://classiclit.about.com/library/...erningjews.htm

I found it interesting and enlightening, and I wonder whether I was meant to be offended by it or not? I wasn't, and I found that Twain was as thoughtful and reasonable as could be, even to the point of pointing out his own errors. He makes points, and some are inelegant... that others may avoid, as has always been the way of Twain.

I recommend others read this article and keep in mind the state of the world at the time. Interesting.

Edit: More info about Twain as pro-Jew:
http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/US-Israel/twain.html

Last edited by Tomservo; 03-24-2004 at 12:55 PM..
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Old 03-26-2004, 09:17 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Thank you for your comment and link. I consider Twain as about America's best because of his open personal honesty and willingness to refresh his thoughts. Within the month, I met an elderly gentleman whose Uncle ( or at least a relative ) was a Doctor to Mr. Clemens. For me, this was a living connection to Mark Twain. No personal offense was meant by my comments. I miss the world of generalizations. They are merely that and should never be seen as absolutes referring to every member of a group. Mentioning certain things may prompt a charge of anti-semitism, but mentioning behaviors can also prompt one to wonder about anti-gentilism.
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Old 03-27-2004, 02:20 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by hammer4all
"Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism , will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar."
-- One very smart person
fixed.
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Old 04-05-2004, 03:46 AM   #18 (permalink)
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This might be a little off topic, but I thought people would be interested in this anyway.

I just read through "Concerning the Jews" by Mark Twain, and, as a Jew myself, I found a couple things very interesting.

First is that, if you read his comments about Germany and Austria, the events of the Holocaust, in hindsight, seem very predictable. The hatred of the Jews and desire to "evict" them from the country seemed already well seeded. However, not even Twain saw it coming, as he stated that Jews had a foothold in Austria and would never leave (or something to this effect).

The second thing I found interesting was that even though Jews serve in war as much or more often than other "patriots," many people believe that they do not serve in war at all. This comes to a suprising revelation when many Jews gave their lives for Germany in World War I, and then were enemy #1 during World War II.

The third thing I found interesting was his prediction that Palestine would be a force to be reckoned with, and Jews would find their own strength. Israel is certaintly a world power, and has yet to have a military defeat, though numerous countries have tested it.

One thing I found interesting is that Jews were able to fend off persecution and survive when they had little or no representation in government. Twain mentioned that they were "granted" rights, rather than that they fought for these rights. I'm not sure if I agree with Twain or not in the matter, but let's say that he's right. Finally, then, Jews have met their match in America. The current problem plaguing the Jewish population of America is not persecution, but mass acceptence. This is causing an amazing rate of assimilation into American society, and a majority of Jews no longer practice their faith, nor do they learn about it. There is certaintly still a deep sense of Jewish community, but the rigorous learning and practice of the faith can no longer help Jews gain the "advantage" over others as they once could.

This sort of en mass assimilation has never before plauged the Jews, and I think the reason for this is that, in the past, they have not been accepted and respected so widely. Thus, by accepting the Jews, Americans (and most of the modern world) have solved the "problem" of Jews overtaking commerce.
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