Author: Sarah Vowell

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Ah, the original lily white occupiers…ladies and gentlemen: The Puritans!  Now, this book covers the Puritan's experience "that fall between the cracks of 1620 Plymouth and 1692 Salem."  The liberal, tolerant era, relatively speaking, of course.  LOL!  One of the main characters of this "in-between" era was John Winthrop, and he died more than forty years before the insane Salem Witch Trials of 1692.  Winthrop's era was that of the Great Migration from England.  But that was not a comfy existence by any means.  A minor infraction got a man's ears cut off and banishment from the town.  I just love how felons like Dinesh D'Souza can write that the sheer number of witches killed in Salem was miniscule when considering the bigger picture of religion as a whole.  Of course, he leaves out, among other things, "minor" punishments like ear removal.  Idiot.  Anyway, "Between 1629, when King Charles I dissolves the Puritan-friendly English Parliament, and 1640, when the English Civil War begins and the Puritans under Oliver Cromwell eventually behead Charles and run the country, more than 20,000 English men, women, and children settled in New England."  These chaps were ultra anal about writing everything down.  And, according to Ms. Vowell, they were extremely accomplished at it.  "The Puritans had barely nailed together their rickety cabins when they founded Harvard."  They based their whole lives--their very being--on the written words found in the Bible.  Specifically, the Protestant/English Bible.  

"[One of the Protestant's heroes was] William Tyndale, who had exiled himself to Germany in 1524 in order to commit the crime of translating the Bible into English.  Captured at Henry's request, Tyndale was strangled, then burned at the stake in 1536; his reported last words were, 'Lord open the King of England's eyes!'  This prayer was answered two years later when Henry commissioned the so-called Great Bible, the first official Bible in English--based largely on the translations of, guess who, William Tyndale."

It's not hard for me to imagine Henry saying, "oops," in arrogant, lug-nut Rick "The Prick" Perry style.  Speaking of modern day wankers, Vowell sprinkles in current affairs and personalities throughout the book.  Vowell even humorously ranks on TV sitcoms' turkey day episodes from "The Brady Bunch" to the Fonz saying, "Greetamundo."  Heh, heh.  What a goofy world we live in.  But the real goofiness about the fowl holiday is the seriousness and piety we display on what Ice-T appropriately refers to as “Bullshit Thanksgiving.” "Remember Squanto, the legendary English-speaking Indian, hero of the First Thanksgiving?  He spoke English because he had learned it in Europe after he was kidnapped by sailors.  By the time he made his way back to America, everyone he knew was dead."  Amen and pass the biscuits, eh?

"The United States is often called a Puritan nation.  Well, here is one way it emphatically is not: Puritan lives were overwhelmingly, fanatically literary.  Their single-minded obsession with one book, the Bible, made words the center of their lives--not land, not money, not power, not fun."

"The seventeenth-century Puritans are seen as the ancestors of today's anti-intellectual Protestant sects--probably because of high school productions of Arthur Miller's "The Crucible," a fictionalization of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692."

"In fact today's evangelicals owe more to the Great Awakening revival movement of eighteenth-century, in which a believer's passion and feeling came to trump book learning."

"There wasn't any speaking of tongues going on in Massachusetts Bay, unless you count classical Greek."

These Puritans were deeply devoted to higher education.

Back to that some more of that not-so-comfy existence stuff I mentioned before.  Remember, the Puritans were, indeed, Christians.  Therefore they had a side that was sickeningly barbaric and bloody.  Surprised?

D'Souza conveniently left out the dishonorable, yet thoroughly neocon war pig, Indian massacre stuff in his books about god too.  Take the wonderful Mystic massacre, for instance--

From Wikipedia:

"The Mystic massacre took place on May 26, 1637, during the Pequot war, when English settlers under Captain John Mason, and Narragansett and Mohegan allies set fire to a fortified Pequot village near Mystic River.  They shot any people who tried to escape the wooden palisade fortress and killed the entire village, consisting mostly women and children, in retaliation for previous Pequot attacks.  The only Pequot survivors were warriors who had been with their sachem Sassacus in a raiding party outside the village."

Obviously, the Indians were dickweeds too, but they lacked that holier-than thou, "intellectual" piety puke.

Note, that the brave Puritan soldiers used their trusty swords to skewer women, children, and infants that the women were carrying.  The air was filled burnt human hair and sizzling roasted pork.  

One William Bradford was told by a participant that "it was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fire, and the streams of blood quenching the same, and horrible was the stink and scent thereof."

Captain John Underhill about the Pequot trying to escape the blaze: "our soldiers entertained [them] with the point of the sword; down fell men, women, and children."

Captain John Mason: "And thus... in little more than an hour's space was their impregnable fort with themselves utterly destroyed, to the number of six or seven hundred."

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"From his earliest days as a public speaker to his final days in the public eye, [Ronny Raygun] never made a speech that didn't invoke America's greatness. Often anecdotal, the speeches covered any number of topics -- the economy and the Soviets were two favorites -- but no matter the subject, the message remained consistent: America was 'a shining city on a hill,' and its promise, as well as its people's, was boundless."

Ronny's thieved his "shinning city" from John Winthrop's sermon "A Model of Christian Charity," in which he characterized New England to be "as a city upon a hill."  Sometime stupidity swerves into truth.  Good 'ol Ronny said: "The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help."  Well, President Gump had no idea it was his own government that he was talking about.  The people he stole his much admired "shinning city" from created a seal just for him and his insane chickenhawk, warmonger buddies.

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The caption for the Indian garbed in only a fig leaf says: "Come on over and help us."

PERFECT!  Ronny Raygun's disease addled mind sure got that connection right--accidentally, of course.

I can't help but visualize an Indian family standing on that "shinning hill," waving as they're visage is consumed by a wretched white fog.

Vowell writes great.  She's very funny.  This lil' book is wonderfully jam-packed with great information.  She was also the voice of Violet in the animated film The Incredibles.  Too cool!

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We're here to help, destroy, and slaughter!

There's a sequel to this book: "Unfamiliar Fishes."  I'll be back!

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