Artists Television Access, 992 Valencia St., San Francisco, CA
Friday, February 3rd, 8:00pm
Short films by/about: Brian Belott • Gregory Kaplowitz • David King • Francis Faye • Jacuzzi Gals • Gilbert & George • Darrin Martin • Peter McGough • Heri Mkocha • M.O.V. • Jessica Plumb • Peter Rose • Alayne Patur Salahuddeen • Scott Treleaven
"The strength and power of despotism consists wholly in the fear of resistance."
"I prefer peace. But if trouble must come, let it come in my time, so that my children can live in peace."
"Is it not a species of blasphemy to call the New Testament revealed religion, when we see in it such contradictions and absurdities."
"It is not a God, just and good, but a devil, under the name of God, that the Bible describes."
"All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit."
"That God cannot lie, is no advantage to your argument, because it is no proof that priests can not, or that the Bible does not."
"Of all the tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst."
"My mind is my own church."
"My country is the world, and my religion is to do good."
"Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it."
"Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice."
"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead."
"Lead, follow, or get out of the way."
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
"We have it in our power to begin the world over again."
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As I went out one morning To breathe the air around Tom Paine's, I spied the fairest damsel That ever did walk in chains. I offer'd her my hand, She took me by the arm. I knew that very instant, She meant to do me harm.
"Depart from me this moment," I told her with my voice. Said she, "But I don't wish to," Said I, "But you have no choice." "I beg you, sir," she pleaded From the corners of her mouth, "I will secretly accept you And together we'll fly south."
Just then Tom Paine, himself, Came running from across the field, Shouting at this lovely girl And commanding her to yield. And as she was letting go her grip, Up Tom Paine did run, "I'm sorry, sir," he said to me, "I'm sorry for what she's done."
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Footnote: To counter the sanitized story of the American Revolution being promulgated by the governing elite at the "Buy-centennial" of 1976, Jeremy Rifkin and others formed the People's Bicentennial Commission. "Although modern-day Tories will attempt to present themselves and the institutions they control - the corporations, the White House - as the true heirs and defenders of the struggle waged by the first American revolutionaries," the commission declared, "we will be celebrating radical heroes like Thomas Paine."
"... the standing army is used not so much against the external enemy as against the internal enemy. Everywhere the standing army has become the weapon of reaction, the servant of capital in its struggle against labour..."
Pictured above are 1940s American schoolchildren saluting the flag. The resemblance to the Nazi salute is uncanny; but actually both are derived from the same ancient Roman gesture. The American version was called "the Bellamy Salute", named after Francis Bellamy, who wrote the Pledge of Allegiance as part of a Columbus Day flag-selling promotion for a magazine. Bellamy, a Baptist minister, was part of a movement to put flags in every school. The placement of flags and the pledge continue to this day, and you can draw whatever conclusions you like from the practice. But during WW2, Americans became uncomfortable with the similarity to the Nazi practice and President Franklin D. Roosevelt rewrote the code and replaced it with the hand-over-the-heart gesture that is common today. Then there's the "under God" part in the wording of the pledge, which is a whole other kettle of crosses. But even leaving "God" out of it, the basic problem with the Pledge of Allegiance and other loyalty oaths is that democracies are founded on the principle that the government owes allegiance to the people, not the other way around.