July 19, 2011

Alternative versions of the Pledge of Allegiance…


THE ORIGINAL PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE:

“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
      
Francis Bellamy (1855-1931) 
       American Baptist minister, Christian Socialist and magazine editor
       This is the
original Pledge of Allegiance, written by Bellamy and published in the September 8, 1892 issue of The Youth’s Companion magazine. The words were changed several times in following decades. In 1923, at the first National Flag Conference in Washington D.C., “my Flag” was changed to “the flag of the United States.” At the following year’s national Flag Conference, the words “of America” were added. In 1942, that version of the Pledge was made official by Congress. In 1954, Congress passed a resolution which added the words “under God” to the Pledge, creating the current version:
      “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands: one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”


THE MAD MAGAZINE FLAG POSTER VERSION:

“I WILL PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND TO THE REPUBLIC FOR WHICH IT STANDS WHEN IT IS ONE NATION UNDER GOD WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL INCLUDING KIKES, WOPS, SPICS, NIGGERS, WASPS, ETC.” 
       From a poster in a 1971 special issue of
MAD magazine (Special Number Five)
       These words are printed in capital letters in the red stripes of the poster’s flag image (shown at left).


THE WHITEST KIDS U’ KNOW VERSION:

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. Thank you very, very much for letting us little kids live here. It really, really was nice of you. You didn’t have to do it. And it’s really not freaky that us little, little kids mindlessly recite this anthem every day and pledge their life to a government before they’re old enough to really think about what they’re saying. This is not a form of brainwashing. This is not a form of brainwashing. This is not a form of brainwashing. This is really the greatest country in the whole world. All the other countries suck. And, if this country ever goes to war, as it often wants to do, I promise to help go and kill all the other countries’ kids. God bless Johnson & Johnson. God bless GE. God bless Citigroup. Amen.”
       From IFC’s
Whitest Kids U' Know comedy series
      
This skit is in Episode 7 of Season 5 (first aired on May 27, 2011).


THE ANIMAL HOUSE VERSION:

“I, state your name, do hereby pledge allegiance to the frat with liberty and fraternity for all. Amen.”
       The Delta House fraternity pledge, in
National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978)


A MATHEMATICIAN’S VERSION:

“I pledge my support for the semiautonomous, evolving, complex dynamical network known as the United States of America and for those principles that maximize the degrees of freedom and independence of its human nodes.”
      
John Allen Paulos
       Professor of Mathematics at Temple University
       One of a number of alternate versions of the Pledge of Allegiance submitted to the Washington Post for
a special section in the July 4, 2005 edition.

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July 7, 2011

“I dream things that never were and say, why not?”


THE ORIGINAL LINES FROM A LITTLE KNOWN PLAY:

“You see things; and you say ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say ‘Why not?’”
       George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
       Familiar
lines from Part I of Shaw’s otherwise forgotten play Back to Methuselah (1921)
       These lines are said by The Serpent to Eve in the Garden of Eden in the play, which is an amazingly odd science fiction fantasy that spans the ages from Adam and Eve to 31,000 A.D. and took three nights to perform in its entirety. Back to Methuselah was published in 1921 and first performed in 1922 at the Garrick Theatre in New York City.


AN INSPIRING POLITICAN’S MORE FAMOUS VERSION:

“Some people see things as they are and say why? I dream things that never were and say, why not?”
      
Robert F. Kennedy (1925-1968)
       American lawyer, civil rights activist and politician
       Lines frequently used by Kennedy at the close of his speeches
       Bobby Kennedy recited this version of what Shaw wrote in Back to Methuselah so often that
many sources credit the words to him with no mention of Shaw, as if Kennedy coined the saying. Kennedy himself usually noted that he was quoting Shaw in his speeches, although his version was actually a paraphrase of Shaw, rather than an exact quote.


THE CROOKED POLITICIAN PRINCIPLE:

“Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others see things that might be and ask: How much?” 
       Carl Hiaasen
       American journalist and novelist
       From his
April 13, 1990 column in the Miami Herald, included in the book Kick Ass: Selected Columns of Carl Hiaasen (2001). This was Hiaasen’s commentary on revelations that the Mayor of Miami Beach had received payments from a corporation that wanted approval for a local beachfront construction project.


A TV LAWYER’S COUNTERQUOTE:

“Some people see things as they are and ask why? Others see things as they never were and claim mad cow.”
      
James Spader, as the character Alan Shore on the TV series Boston Legal
       A comment about our litigious society said to William Shatner (playing Shore’s law partner Denny Crane), in the
“Stick It” episode of Boston Legal (Season 2, Ep. 19; first aired on March 14, 2006)


GEORGE CARLIN’S COUNTERQUOTE:

“Some people see things that are and ask, Why? Some people dream of things that never were and ask, Why not? Some people have to go to work and don’t have time for all that shit.”
      
George Carlin (1937-2008)
       American comic genius
       Carlin used these lines in performances in the 1990s and included it in his book
Brain Droppings (1998). Contrary to what George would have wanted, it’s often quoted in censored form, without the word “shit.”


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