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I Hate Henry David Thoreau - Huck Finn on Estradiol — ЖЖ

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Апрель 17, 2007


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12:00 pm - I Hate Henry David Thoreau
(I composed this a few weeks ago, but ended up just ranting it around the house and not posting here. Then Bill McKibben wrote fundamentally the same thing on his blog and now I hafta join in.)

I hate Henry David Thoreau. Fuck him. Henry David Thoreau invented the suburb. Henry David Thoreau taught us that the way to be a real American was to move two miles outside of town and build a big house to live alone in. Small by today's standards? Sure, but compare it to his proportional share of a contemporary family house in Concord would have been. He worked odd jobs in town. He hung out in town when he felt like socializing. Then went back to his little cabin in the woods. Sound familiar? Henry David Thoreau was an American narcissist. He invented bad American memoirs. He wrote an entire book about how much cooler he was than anybody else because of what products he consumed and how. He talked about how beautiful the parts of his woods that hadn't been recently chopped down looked. Then he chopped some more down to enjoy it all better. Henry David Thoreau invented bullshit autonomy. He told everyone he walked into the woods with nothing but an axe, then he borrowed everybody else's tools to do the stuff you can't do with an axe, which is like, everything. Stupid Henry David Thoreau. What else did he do, refuse to pay his taxes? Great one there, Henry David Thoreau. Why don't you refuse to pay for your beer, too, be a real revolutionary. Henry David Thoreau invented the self-aggrandizing martyr activist. He wrote that the only place for a just man in an unjust society is in jail. Then he left the next morning, but not before composing a whiny essay on how noble he was for undergoing the whole experience. What, did the just man run out of ink? The guy who didn't pay for beer, he stayed a bit longer. Henry David Thoreau, he opposed slavery. Big whoop- that's like opposing capital punishment. The only thing Henry David Thoreau did that I respect is write nice things about John Brown, but only after that actual American hero was dead.

Shut up, Henry David Thoreau. You are an asshole.

(5 комментариев | Оставить комментарий)

Comments:


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From:abcission
Date:Апрель 17, 2007 04:13 pm
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I vouch for the fact that anne was talking about this a few weeks ago. she is smart.
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From:marconiplein
Date:Апрель 17, 2007 04:51 pm
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thoreau is one of my heroes. but yeah. i guess you have a point.

i kind of view it the same way i view georgia o. keefe. she painted all those cattle skulls and flowers that looked like vaginas, but it was the people that came after her that made southwest art into "that crap you hang on the wall at the best western." it's not her fault that a million bad painters copied her.

you know, i imagine thoreau didn't think anyone would pay attention to what he wrote, not in the longterm. how could he know, and how could he imagine america without a frontier? it is very, very hard to think outside your own generation.

which is kind of comforting. 200 years from now we will look barely as evolved as hagar the horrible. that is, if we can make it past the next 50.

the bees, anne! the bees!
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From:ductile
Date:Апрель 17, 2007 07:58 pm
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making me laugh through my delirium.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:Апрель 18, 2007 05:56 pm

from stefanie

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when i lived in my off-the-grid homestead squat in southwest philly for all those years, people used to tell me i was 'just like thoreau", like it was the highest compliment. and i'd say, "yeah, in the sense that i live a mile from all of my friends and any amenities and sit around the public square in town every afternoon, when i'm bored or lonely. but at least i don't get my mom or my best friend's wife to cook me dinner, every night!"
i miss you. can i pull birthday-girl-privelege to get a piece of your time?? xox
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From:phlat
Date:Апрель 21, 2007 01:36 am
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i know i'm a couple days late, but this is awesome.

they're gonna build an astroturf soccer field for the rich suburban school next to walden woods by chopping down a few more acres of it. a lady who walks her dog in the woods is real upset about it. they had a news segment on the radio the other day about it.

i just didn't realize how complete of a tribute to henry david thoreau it all was.

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