John Adams: This is a revolution, dammit! We’re going to have to offend SOMEbody!
Yesterday, a troll at Shakespeare’s Sister called me insecure and said I had terrible taste in music. I know! My face still hurts from laughing, especially since we were talking about the Dixie Chicks’ recent album, which is solid musically and lyrically. You can take my word for it or take my opinion for what it is: the thoughts and experiences of a person who is not you, and whose feeling are not yours, whether or not our hearts skip beats when we think back to that hot-and-heavy weekend we didn’t answer the phone and couldn’t tell whose body parts were whose after a while and we took turns shouting, “Ride ’em, cowgirl!” and, “The workers control the means of production!” and man, I hope Dad’s not reading this.
Hi, Dad. How’s…um…stuff?
I grew up with musicians, though I am not one myself. This means that when my stepfather Tom played John Adams in 1776 in some giant Bicentennial Central Jersey Plays in the Park jazz, Daria, Todd, Anya, Corinne and I learned the dialog, sang every word, knew every bit of blocking, read the play’s book-form notes by the authors. In 1976, I’m not sure I uttered a single unscripted word. A lot of what I’m reading online at CNN sounds familiar. Where have I heard it before?
John Adams: I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is called a disgrace; that two are called a law firm, and that three or more become a Congress! And by God, I have had this Congress! For ten years, King George and his Parliament have gulled, cullied, and diddled these colonies with their illegal taxes! Stamp Acts, Townshend Acts, Sugar Acts, Tea Acts! And when we dared stand up like men, they have stopped our trade, seized our ships, blockaded our ports, burned our towns, and spilled our BLOOD! And still, this Congress refuses to grant ANY of my proposals on independence, even so much as the courtesty of open debate! Good God, what in hell are you waiting for?
I have a crappy memory, but this is ridiculous.
[John Adams volunteers to visit New Brunswick after a report is given of Washington’s soldiers being afflicted with venereal disease and alcoholism]
John Adams: Wake up, Franklin, you’re going to New Brunswick!
Dr. Benjamin Franklin: [Half asleep] Like hell I am. What for?
Hopkins: The whoring and the drinking!
[Franklin gets up and marches off right behind Adams]
It was already a college town when they arrived, but it took another 194 years to get here –
Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States, who are 18 years of age or older, to vote, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of age.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
– and who knows what lit this fire –
No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.
Last night, I had dinner with Lala. I used to appear with her art band, and by appear, I mean I was completely visible. We managed to never get arrested, even when the cops were already in the audience. We’re free speech fans but we also graduated high school before Ronald Reagan started bringing on the full-blown Eeeeeeeevil. The other day, she was in a big-name gallery in New York and went to its store for an artist’s book. At the register, she took out cash.
Clueless: We don’t take cash.
Clueless: We don’t take cash, only credit cards.
Lala: That’s illegal.
Clueless: It’s what?
Lala: It’s illegal for you to refuse U.S. legal tender. I have a credit card but you have to accept cash.
At the dinner table, I laugh so hard the restaurant goes silent. When I can think again, I’m grateful I wasn’t chewing or sipping anything and for the rest of the meal, each time she inhales to speak I swallow fast and put down my fork.
Lala: How can you not know that? I grew up knowing that. I learned it in civics class.
Tata: Credit cards haven’t been around for all that long. Most people, if you ask them, don’t know where credit cards came from. That’s why Congress is still re-writing the laws about bankruptcy to favor credit card companies. I mean, think about it. When I was in my twenties, everyone didn’t have credit cards. People who owned houses had credit cards. I sure didn’t.
Lala: …That’s right!
Tata: School districts that decided to include personal finance into required classes would be doing America a huge favor.
Actually, school districts that decided to teach fucking American history would be doing America a huge favor in a time when the Founding Fathers, in all their courageous, violent, surly glory are reduced to faces on diner placemats. If I had a handful of teenagers who could hold a tune, I’d be producing 1776 anywhere I wouldn’t be arrested trespassing. I might start with men’s prisons and juvenile facilities, where boys caught holding are incarcerated with men who killed children. But why fuss?
Well, this week, we’ve reached a new low. A documentary about free speech in America won’t be advertised on NBC. Why? Possibly because NBC is owned by General Electric, your basic weapons contractor to the stars.
NEW YORK — The Dixie Chicks are again at the center of a controversy over the limits of opinionated talk. A film company said Friday that NBC wouldn’t accept an advertisement for Shut Up & Sing, a movie about the fuss created by Dixie Chick Natalie Maines’ comment that she was ashamed President Bush was a fellow Texan. The network suggested the complaint may be a publicity stunt.
The problem arose when the Weinstein Co. began conversations with networks about buying ads to be shown nationally, in anticipation of later wider release of the film. The ad includes footage of the Iraq War, gives a brief background on Maines’ 2003 comment made onstage in London, and shows Maines dismissing as “dumb” a comment made by Bush about the Dixie Chicks. CBS has agreed to air the ad, a spokeswoman for the Weinstein Co. said. ABC and Fox have not given an answer while the CW and NBC rejected it. The film distributors said NBC explained it was because the ad disparaged President Bush.
I was surprised to read this because I’ve seen the ad a bunch of times, possibly during the ten minutes of Oprah I watch every day before my nap. That’s ABC. What the hell is NBC thinking?
Let’s go back to our Founding Fathers and 1776 again:
Hopkins: Well, in all my years I ain’t never heard, seen nor smelled an issue that was so dangerous it couldn’t be talked about. Hell yeah! I’m for debating anything. Rhode Island says yea!
The freer the speech, the freer the people. I too am for debating anything, and I will never be convinced otherwise. I mean, unless you’d prefer to sing.