"One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture
and, if possible, speak a few reasonable words. " ~Goethe

~ also, if possible, to dwell in "a house where all's accustomed, ceremonious." ~Yeats

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Bastille Day: Is There A World You Long To See?

ACCUSTOMED, CEREMONIOUS
Ready for the Fourth and / or the Fourteenth!
~ at the Venetian / Palazzo, Las Vegas ~

Some Radical Thoughts for Bastille Day

I say, e pluribus unum is motto enough for our currency; take "under God" out of the Pledge of Allegiance (and make kids start saying it again -- oh, and while we're at it, raise the driving age and lower the drinking age so that it all happens along with voting, at age 18); put your hand over your heart when you sing "The Star Spangled Banner"; and edit the Declaration of Independence to read: "We hold these truths to be self - evident, that ALL are created equal." See how easy? ALL ARE CREATED EQUAL. We don't have to add anything; we don't have to say "all men and women" or "all people" -- just plain and simple "all."

For a worthy example of how this can be done, see the above - mentioned "Pledge of Allegiance: "With liberty and justice for ALL."

One of the more dispiriting moments in the early days of the 21st C occurred during my first visit to the new international terminal at the Philadelphia airport to pick up relatives. Sure it was brighter and shinier than the old terminal, but I felt my throat constrict when I read the words written across the ceiling: "We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal." Make no mistake, I have always been and always will be one of those citizens who can't sing "America the Beautiful" without a catch in my voice, but this choking sensation was something different -- it was that loathsome old familiar feeling of exclusion.

However treasonous it might be to edit these time - honored words, it is surely more so to leave them as they are, hurtful reminders of ill - will. Bad diction reflecting bad faith.

I maintain that is not heretical to correct bad faith diction. What point are we trying to prove by retaining it? That the founding fathers were never wrong? Well, they were wrong. Plenty of people knew so at the time, and even more know so now.

Let us boldly go. Let us edit! New words for a New Millennium. The pen is indeed mighty. Just ask those who have been wounded, or saved, by it. Each time we have the courage to replace the word "man" with "all" or "one," we take a step forward for humankind. That's the inclusion I'm waiting for! Out of many, one; not out of half, half. Hasten the day!

Feminist - revisionism!

Treason!

Blasphemy!

Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite, Sororité !

If I Had a Hammer
words and music by Lee Hays and Pete Seeger
sung by Peter, Paul & Mary

If I had a hammer
I'd hammer in the morning
I'd hammer in the evening
All over this land
I'd hammer out danger
I'd hammer out a warning
I'd hammer out love between my brothers and my sisters
All over this land

If I had a bell
I'd ring it in the morning
I'd ring it in the evening
All over this land
I'd ring out danger
I'd ring out a warning
I'd ring out love between my brothers and my sisters
All over this land

If I had a song
I'd sing it in the morning
I'd sing it in the evening
All over this land
I'd sing out danger
I'd sing out a warning
I'd sing out love between my brothers and my sisters
All over this land

Well I've got a hammer
And I've got a bell
And I've got a song to sing
All over this land
It's the hammer of justice
It's the bell of freedom
It's the song about love between my brothers and my sisters
All over this land


©1958, 1962 (renewed), 1986 (renewed)
TRO-Ludlow Music, Inc. (BMI)


Do You Hear the People Sing?!
from the muscial Les Miserables

Enjolras: Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!


Combeferre: Will you join in our crusade?
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Somewhere beyond the barricade
Is there a world you long to see?


Courfeyrac: Then join in the fight
That will give you the right to be free!!


All: Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!


Feuilly: Will you give all you can give
So that our banner may advance
Some will fall and some will live
Will you stand up and take your chance?
The blood of the martyrs
Will water the meadows of France!

All: Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes


Source: MetroLyrics.com

Many years ago, I was teaching Ben and Sam these lyrics and more before we went to see Les Mis at the theatre in Philadelphia. They weren't sure if this was really necessary and asked me if it was going to be a sing - along? I told them, "Well, if I'm in the audience it is!" Haha!

Additional Bastille Day Posts on the Quotidian Kit:

2009


2010


2011


2012


To conclude, I share the call to action of my friend Len, who assures me that he holds "no copyright on these phrases; they belong to the People!":

"To the barricades!"

and

"Maintain your heads!"

3 comments:

  1. http://archiv.eurotopics.net/en/home/presseschau/archiv/magazin/gesellschaft-verteilerseite/frauen-2008-3/remy_frankreich_frauen/

    ReplyDelete
  2. "Words matter. Words that we recite repeatedly matter even more. They shape us and change us in ways we can not fully understand."

    http://darkwoodbrew.org/father-heaven-and-the-limits-of-language/

    ReplyDelete
  3. Katha Pollitt:  "Never mind that women constantly have to write themselves into language that does not specifically mention them—the Constitution, for example—and imagine themselves into stories written by men about men."

    https://www.thenation.com/article/the-womens-march-succeeded-because-it-spoke-to-womens-outrage/

    ReplyDelete