Monday, May 18, 2015


From Chesterton's Orthodoxy:

When I had looked at the lights of Broadway by night, I made to my American friends an innocent remark that seemed for some reason to amuse them. I had looked, not without joy, at that long kaleidoscope of colored lights arranged in large letters in sprawling trademarks, advertising everything, from pork to pianos, through the agency of the two most vivid and most mystical of the gifts of God; color and fire. I said to them, in my simplicity, "What a glorious garden of wonders this would be, to anyone who was lucky enough to be unable to read."

Here it is but a text for a further suggestion. But let us suppose that there does walk down this flaming avenue a peasant, of the sort called scornfully an illiterate peasant... He would please himself by guessing what great proclamation or principle of the Republic hung in the sky like a constellation or rippled across the street like a comment. He would be shrewd enough to guess that the three festoons fringed with fiery words of somewhat similar patterns for "Government of the People, For the People, By the People"; for it must obviously be that, unless it were "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity." His shrewdness would perhaps be a little shaken if he knew that the triad stood for "Tang Tonic Today; Tang Tonic Tomorrow; Tang Tonic All the Time." He will soon identify a restless ribbon of red lettering, red-hot and rebellious, as the saying, "Give me liberty or give me death." He will fail to identify it as the equally famous saying, "Skyoline has Gout Beaten to a Frazzle." Therefore it was that I desired the peasant to walk down that grove of fiery trees, under all that golden foliage and fruits like monstrous jewels, as innocent as Adam before the fall. He would see sights almost as fine as the flaming sword or the purple and peacock plumage of the seraphim; so long as he did not go near the Tree of Knowledge.

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