Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Satisfaction of Having Been Heard

"Try to raise a voice that shall be heard from here to Albany and watch what it is that comes forward to shut off the sound. It is not a German sergeant, nor a Russian officer of the precinct. It is a note from a friend of your father’s offering you a place in his office. This is your warning from the secret police. Why, if any of you young gentlemen have a mind to get heard a mile off, you must make a bonfire of your reputation, and a close enemy of most men who wish you well. And what will you get in return? Well, if I must for the benefit of the economists, charge you up with some selfish gain, I will say that you get the satisfaction of having been heard, and that this is the whole possible scope of human ambition." -- John Jay Chapman, in an address to the Hobart College Phi Beta Kappa society in 1900.

Critic John Jay Chapman, who waged war on the plutocracy and materialistic morality of the Gilded Age, was born on this day 1862 in New York City. He died November 4, 1933 in Poughkeepsie, New York.


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