Disrepecting Henry Bergh

Henry BerghOn this day in 1632, the father of classical liberalism, John Locke was born. He had a lot of good ideas, but many of his very bad (and wrong) economic ideas are still with us today. But I suppose that he can be forgiven. After all, conservatives would make up the ideas if they had to. And there was nothing in Locke’s own time to indicate just how wrong he was. That’s the thing about history. Locke really was liberal at the time he was working. But that was 350 years ago when we knew a lot less. Now conservatives hang onto 350 year old ideas that have been shown to be wrong. Yet they think that they are the ones who think outside the box.

The staggeringly great neoclassical painter Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres was born in 1780. He was very much a traditionalist and he fought hard against the Romantic movement. His great adversary in this fight was the equally great Eugene Delacroix. The funny thing is that Ingress still shows lots of Romantic influences. These philosophical fights always seem so minor from a distance. Here he is basically doing Mannerism:

Grande Odalisque

Poet Edward Carpenter was born in 1844. Inventor of the electric starter and (unfortunately) leaded gas, Charles Kettering was born in 1876. The film writer and director Preston Sturges was born in 1898. Here is a bit from my favorite of his films The Great McGinty:

The great heart surgeon Vivien Thomas was born in 1910. Actor Ingrid Bergman was born in 1915. Here she is in Casablanca:

Queen Bitch Richard Blackwell was born in 1922. The great singer Dinah Washington was born in 1924. Here she is doing Bessie Smith’s “Send Me to the Electric Chair”:

And Michael Jackson was born in 1958. He is terribly overrated. Just the same he was an incredible talent. I still like this stuff best:

Cinematographer Wolfgang Suschitzky (who did one of my favorites Theatre of Blood) is 101 today. Director Richard Attenborough is 90. Not at all maverick John McCain is 77. Actor Elliott Gould is 75. Strong dollar idiot Robert Rubin is also 75. Really bad director Joel Schumacher is 74. Here’s an example of his work:

And Jack Lew is 58. I only mention it so I can show you this:

Jack Lew's Signature

The day, however, belongs to the great founder of the ASPCA, Henry Bergh who was born on this day in 1811. Three years ago, I compared him very favorably to Don Quixote, “Bergh spent the next twenty-two years of his life daily going about New York personally stopping animal cruelty—even arresting people and taking them to jail. If he saw a horse-pulled train that was over-crowed, he would stop it and force the riders to get off. Henry Bergh was a Victorian Don Quixote, in the sense of one man out to right wrongs, no matter what the odds.”

Unfortunately, Bergh is nothing but an icon to the ASPCA today. What the group now does is kill animals by the millions. And this is what it has become:

All of this should not stop you from giving to pet shelters. But please help a no kill shelter. Otherwise, you are just buying lawyers and lethal injections. I can assure you that that is what Henry Bergh would have wanted.

Happy birthday Henry Bergh!

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