Maria Kalman (update)

Maria Kalman
As I mentioned back in February, illustrator Maria Kalman is continuing her illustrated blogging for the New York Times with her current blog And the Pursuit of Happiness.

In her piece for July 30, 2009, Can Do, she focuses on my favorite of the United States’ “founding fathers” — inventor, raconteur, publisher, writer, ambassador, ladies man and all around interesting fellow, Ben Franklin.

(I’ll take advantage of this article to point out for the benefit of any “Freedom Fries” wingnuts who happen on it, that if Franklin hadn’t convinced the French to jump into opposing the British during the Revolutionary War, thereby pulling our fat out of the fire, we would still be a colony of England. I’ll also mention a favorite quote from Franklin, one that is terribly appropriate for our “war on terror” paranoia-filled times: “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”)

I digress; but then, so does Kalman, delightfully wandering from Franklin to Mellville to Tesla and back again by way of a Jell-o mold competition and a green-eyed man named Fritz; celebrating along the way the inventive spirit that runs through the fabric of U.S. history like a bright fiber-optic thread.

[Via Daring Fireball and]


4 Replies to “Maria Kalman (update)”

  1. I think that a good many “wingnuts,” as you call them, are perfectly aware of the long, sometimes troubled history of Franco-American relations. The fact that French help was probably essential to our success in the Revolutionary War should not exempt the French from criticism from then until the day this planet perishes.

    Your comments suggest righties are not very smart. Yes, yes! Do believe that. Never fail to underestimate the opposition.

  2. Thanks for your comments.

    My enemy is not the right wing, or the left wing (not that we have an actual political left in this country), but “wingnuts”. i.e. ignorance, narrow mindedness, oversimplification, and reactionary, jingoistic nationalism; wherever they raise their beady little heads. So yes, I assume the simpleminded folderol of thinking that calling “French Fries” (actually originating in Belgium and called “pomme frites” in France) “Freedom Fries” is somehow contributing to an intelligent dialog among complex nations about a war policy that affects the lives of millions of people and the stability of an entire region is a marker indicating less than astute thinking (particularly when some of the people doing that were actually elected officials in the U.S. House and Senate).

    I have plenty of criticisms for the French government myself, but their refusal to go along with our insane Iraq policy was not one of them.

  3. Kalman’s piece on Jefferson is terrific as well.

    Her seemingly naive style and terse text does a beguiling job of capturing Jefferson’s complex character as well as his writings, wrtings that were sometimes at odds with his own behavior.

  4. Or the fact that they were selling fighter jets, along with numerous other items, to the Iraqi army could have contributed to “their refusal to go along with our insane Iraq policy.”

    And I wonder what Ole Ben would do if he lived in America today when Congress taxes us all to death… Hmm, he’d probably be thrown in jail for treason.

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