Will's Coffee House

John Dryden, Dramatist, Critic, Poet Laureate, and my ancestor, frequented a coffee house called Will's almost daily, where he would hold forth on sundry subjects with great wit and aplomb. Same deal here, only without the wit or aplomb.

Location: Large Midwestern City, Midwestern State, United States

I am a stranger in a sane land...

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Quotation Rather Than Originality

What I think will be my--well, not really my--last thought on the Schiavo fiasco, and really not so much on her and the moral implications of what letting her life end meant and blah blah blah, but instead the eerie decision of officials to attempt to override the laws and the courts--not to initiate reform, but to ignore the rule of law--not to change what they perceived to be an unjust judicial process, but to deny the authority of that process altogether. That way chaos lies, and I was reminded of Robert Bolt's A Man for All Seasons, in which Thomas More ('Saint' or 'Sir,' depending on your Christian orientation) has to keep chiding his empty-headed son-in-law, Will Roper, who perpetually adopts radical (and polar) religious and political positions. A new law is being discussed--an oath which all prominent Englishmen must take, recognizing Anne Boleyn as Henry VIII's lawful wife, certifying his divorce from Catherine of Aragon. This oath (which effectively created the Church of England) obviously demands that practicing Catholics renounce their belief in Catholic dogma, and this More refuses to do (which, of course, is why he ends up nine inches shorter by the end of the play/film.) But More concedes that if he can find some way to reconcile his conscience to the wording of the law, he will take it. With typical stupidity, Will dismisses this decision as inadequate and urges him to flout what he calls the Devil's law--to ignore it--and More responds with uncharacteristic--and thus quite deeply felt--harshness:

Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!

More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!

Amen, Sir Thomas. Senator Delay would do well to consider it--when, of course, he's not busy "murdering" his own brain-dead father in the name of compassion. Oh, wait, that was different--Delay's father needed kidney dialysis and a feeding tube. Completely unrelated situations. Right.

Oh, and can someone out there get off the g*ddamned dime and recognize that we're now well beyond an agricultural age--hell, we're beyond an industrial age and now well into a digital one--and put an end to the archaic nonsense of daylight savings time? So it gets dark sooner/later, so f*cking what?! I had to spend the whole morning fixing all the clocks--you notice how everything has a clock in it these days?--and I just feel as if my time could have been better spent...


Blogger Lisa said...

Um, why did Thomas More have a son-in-law? Wasn't he an archbishop and all?

1:22 PM  
Blogger Yr. Hmbl. & Obdt. said...

Nope. He succeeded Cardinal Wolsey as Lord Chancellor, and was a publicly practicing Catholic, but he was a lawyer, not a priest. Married, kid, the whole nuclear family deal.

2:53 PM  

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