Thursday, April 28, 2011

Righs (for Rights)

I'm not trying to get a rise out of you, but today's typo turns up five times in OhioLINK and 83 times in WorldCat. And that's just not right. Thomas Paine was born in Thetford, England, in 1737, but moved across the pond in 1774, just in time to play a significant role in the American Revolution. He has been described as "a corsetmaker by trade, a journalist by profession, and a propagandist by inclination." He lived in France for most of the 1790s, where he published Rights of Man, an apologia for the French Revolution and counter-argument to Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France. Paine had a wonderful way with words, calling Napoleon "the completest charlatan that ever existed." Never one to mince them, either, his scathing critique of Christianity and organized religion in general was such that he was ultimately ostracized by most Americans: only six people attended this Founding Father's funeral in 1809.

(Fashion before Ease;—or,—A good Constitution sacrificed for a Fantastick Form. Cartoon showing Britannia clasping trunk of a large oak, while Thomas Paine tugs with both hands at her stay laces, his foot on her posterior. From his coat pocket protrudes a pair of scissors and a tape inscribed: Rights of Man. Behind him is a thatched cottage with the words: Thomas Pain, Staymaker from Thetford. By James Gillray, 1793, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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