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Sunday, October 07, 2012

Defoe, Gay, and Snoop Dogg

Having read a internet news story about how Snoop Dogg has endorsed Obama, Estase will, as usual, relate it back to the eighteenth century.  John Gay's The Beggar's Opera is the origin of what may be called hip hop Whiggery, along with that remarkable Daniel Defoe novel Moll Flanders.  These two works are a celebration of criminality, where the thieving Moll Flanders (we never learn her actual name) describes her life of thievery.  The Beggar's Opera celebrates a whole society on the take, from the simply corrupt lawyer to the king of the thieves, Bob Bluff (Walpole).  Are these works designed to turn morality inside out?  Or is the point simply that people who cannot profit in legitimate ways will find other ways to profit?  Estase tends to believe the second explanation, particularly in the case of his fave Daniel Defoe, champion of the tradesman.  Unlike Jonathan Swift, who held shopkeepers and tradesmen in low esteem, Defoe exalted this new commercial middle class.  So when Defoe explored the criminal underbelly of Britain, it was perhaps with an eye towards what might happen when the legitimate commerce of a nation becomes impossible.

On a totally unrelated note, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State has sent out a threatening note discouraging churches from participation in the 2012 election, which would have absolutely nothing to do with the current president's obsession with gay marriage and abortion.  The letter promises that any church that involves itself with politics will lose non-profit status with the IRS.

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