Tuesday, September 7, 2010

New Oval Office Rug: No, This isn't Political

"Oval Office rug gets history wrong"
Washington Post (September 4, 2010)

"A mistake has been made in the Oval Office makeover that goes beyond the beige.

"President Obama's new presidential rug seemed beyond reproach, with quotations from Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. woven along its curved edge.

" 'The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.' According media reports, this quote keeping Obama company on his wheat-colored carpet is from King.

"Except it's not a King quote. The words belong to a long-gone Bostonian champion of social progress. His roots in the republic ran so deep that his grandfather commanded the Minutemen at the Battle of Lexington.

"For the record, Theodore Parker is your man, President Obama. Unless you're fascinated by antebellum American reformers, you may not know of the lyrically gifted Parker, an abolitionist, Unitarian minister and Transcendentalist thinker who foresaw the end of slavery, though he did not live to see emancipation. He died at age 49 in 1860, on the eve of the Civil War.

"A century later, during the civil rights movement, King, an admirer of Parker, quoted the Bostonian's lofty prophecy during marches and speeches. Often he'd ask in a refrain, 'How long? Not long.' He would finish in a flourish: 'Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.'

"King made no secret of the author of this idea. As a Baptist preacher on the front lines of racial justice, he regarded Parker, a religious leader, as a kindred spirit...."

The Lemming doesn't generally do long excerpts like that - but I didn't want to edit out the article's discussion of (1) who actually made the "moral arc" remark; and (2) that Martin Luther King acknowledged the source.

I don't blame "media" for getting it wrong: most of America's reporters, and many editors, are younger than I am. I've gotten the impression that most of them went to America's government schools. That's another topic. The point is, this is the sort of thing I've gotten used to seeing in America's news media. And that's yet another topic.

Here's the "King" quote, done strictly for laughs, in another blog:
"Snug as a flub in a rug?"
Oddly Enough, Reuters blog (September 7, 2010)

"Blog Guy, did you read about the problem with that brand-new rug in the Oval Office, with the great American quotes woven along the edge?

" 'The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,' is attributed to Martin Luther King, Jr. on the rug, but it turns out King was quoting Theodore Parker, a 19th century abolitionist and Unitarian minister...."

The payoff in that post is at the end:

"...Very inspirational. Hey Blog Guy, can you list ALL of the rug’s great American quotes?

"Sure, here they are, a rug-full of Americana:..."

They're funnier, if you're familiar with recent American history - and aren't particularly brittle when it comes to some of our recent presidents.

No comments:

Unique, innovative candles

Visit us online:
Spiral Light CandleFind a Retailer
Spiral Light Candle online store

Pinterest: From the Man Behind the Lemming

Top 10 Most-Viewed Posts

Today's News! Some of it, anyway

Actually, some of yesterday's news may be here. Or maybe last week's.
The software and science stuff might still be interesting, though. Or not.
The Lemming thinks it's interesting: Your experience may vary.
("Following" list moved here, after Blogger changed formats)

Who Follows the Lemming?


Family Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory