You probably know the quotation, “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!” It was said by that great lover of liberty Patrick Henry who was born on this day in 1736. I mean, that great lover of white man’s liberty. You see, he was a slave owner all his adult life. He didn’t grow up with slavery; he married into the business. According to Wikipedia, he used the possibility of slave revolts to promote war with Britain. He’s a real charmer. Yet we hear a lot about him in grammar school and almost nothing about the true believer in liberty Thomas Paine. I understand that when Virginian evangelicals wanted to start a college in 2000, they wouldn’t pick Paine who was neither a Virginian nor a Christian. But did they really have to pick someone as offensive as Patrick Henry?
The day, however, belongs to Bob Hope, who was born on this day back in 1903. When I was a kid, I thought he was hilarious. Later, I had no idea what I found so funny. He does have a great arrogant delivery. But the material?! Oh my! I look through a lot of clips of his stand-up routines, but I couldn’t find anything acceptable. I could deal with the vaguely racist and homophobic material. But it was all so dated. I just isn’t fun to watch. But there is no doubt that he was a great comedian. Here is a long 20 second set-up to a 2 second punch line. But it’s pretty funny:
Happy birthday Bob Hope! This one is for you: