Strikes and gutters, ups and downs.

-Jeffrey The Dude Lebowski

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Rising up, rising down! History shambles on! What are we left with? A few half-shattered Greek stelae; Trotsky's eyeglasses; Gandhi's native-spun cloth, Cortes' pieces of solid gold (extorted from their original owner, Montezuma); a little heap of orange peels left on the table by the late Robespierre; John Brown's lengthily underlined letters; Lenin's bottles of invisible ink; one of Di Giovanni's suitcases, with an iron cylinder of gelignite and two glass tubes of acid inside; the Constitution of the Ku Klux Klan; a bruised ear (Napoleon pinched it with loving condescension)... And dead bodies, of course. (They sing about John Brown's body.) Memoirs, manifestoes, civil codes, trial proceedings, photographs, statues, weapons now aestheticized by that selfsame history - the sword of Frederick the Great, and God knows what else. Then dust blows out of fresh graves, and the orange peels go grey, sink, wither, rot away. Sooner or later, every murder becomes quaint. Charlemagne hanged four and a half thousand "rebels" in a single day, but he has achieved a storybook benevolence. And that's only natural: historiography begins after the orange has been sucked,; the peeler believes in the "great and beautiful things," or wants to believe; easy for us to believe likewise, since dust reduced truth and counterfeit to the same greyness - caveat emptor. But ends remain fresh, and means remain inexplicable. Rising up and rising down! And whom shall I save, and who is my enemy, and who is my neighbor?

-William T.

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