jueves, 12 de julio de 2007

Mark Twain

Como andamos por el tema de las relaciones entre el humor y la Historia se impone un poco de Mark Twain. Les presento una muy breve e interrumpida de biografía de Mark Twain sobre George Washington que desgraciadamente no he podido encontrar en español. A Mark Twain le reventaba que en las escuelas norteamericanas se dijese que Washington era tan honesto que simplemente no sabía mentir e hizo numerosos chistes sobre el tema. Pero la irreverencia de Twain no se limitaba a los próceres. A Fenimore Cooper, considerado uno de los padres de la literatura norteamericana lo destroza en uno de los textos más divertidos que se hayan escrito nunca “Las ofensas literarias de Fenimore Cooper” [en inglés]

This day, many years ago precisely, George Washington was born. How full of significance the thought! Especially to those among us who have had a similar experience, though subsequently; and still more especially to the young, who should take him for a model and faithfully try to be like him, undeterred by the frequency with which the same thing has been attempted by American youths before them and not satisfactorily accomplished. George Washington was the youngest of nine children, eight of whom were the offspring of his uncle and his aunt. As a boy he gave no promise of the greatness he was one day to achieve. He was ignorant of the commonest accomplishments of youth. He could not even lie. But then he never had any of those precious advantages which are within the reach of the humblest of the boys of the present day. Any boy can lie, now. I could lie before I could stand - yet this sort of sprightliness was so common in our family that little notice was taken of it. Young George appears to have had no sagacity whatever. It is related of him that he once chopped down his father's favorite cherry tree, and then didn't know enough to keep dark about it. He came near going to sea, once, as a midshipman; but when his mother represented to him that he must necessarily be absent when he was away from home, and that this must continue to be the case until he got back, the sad truth struck him so forcibly that he ordered his trunk ashore, and quietly but firmly refused to serve in the navy and fight the battles of his king so long as the effect of it would be to discommode his mother. The great rule of his life was, that procrastination was the thief of time, and that we should always do unto others. This is the golden rule. Therefore, he would never discommode his mother.
Young George Washington was actuated in all things, by the highest and purest principles of morality, justice and right. He was a model in every way worthy of the emulation of youth. Young George was always prompt and faithful in the discharge of every duty. It has been said of him, by the historian, that he was always on hand, like a thousand of brick. And well deserved was this noble compliment. The aggregate of the building material specified might have been largely increased - might have been doubled - even without doing full justice to these high qualities in the subject of this sketch. Indeed, it would hardly be possible to express in bricks the exceeding promptness and fidelity of young George Washington. His was a soul whose manifold excellencies were beyond the ken and computation of mathematics, and bricks are, at the least, but an inadequate vehicle for the conveyance of a comprehension of the moral sublimity of a nature so pure as his.
Young George W. was a surveyor in early life - a surveyor of an inland port - a sort of county surveyor; and under a commission from Gov. Dinwiddie, he set out to survey his way four hundred miles through a trackless forest, infested with Indians, to procure the liberation of some English prisoners. The historian says the Indians were the most depraved of their species, and did nothing but lay for white men, whom they killed for the sake of robbing them. Considering that white men only traveled through their country at the rate of one a year, they were probably unable to do what might be termed a land-office business in their line. They did not rob young G. W.; one savage made the attempt, but failed; he fired at the subject of this sketch from behind a tree, but the subject of this sketch immediately snaked him out from behind the tree and took him prisoner.
The long journey failed of success; the French would not give up the prisoners, and Wash went sadly back home again. A regiment was raised to go and make a rescue, and he took command of it. He caught the French out in the rain and tackled them with great intrepidity. He defeated them in ten minutes, and their commander handed in his checks. This was the battle of Great Meadows.
After this, a good while, George Washington became Commander-in-Chief of the American armies, and had an exceedingly dusty time of it all through the Revolution. But every now and then he turned a jack from the bottom and surprised the enemy. He kept up his lick for seven long years, and hazed the British from Harrisburg to Halifax - and America was free! He served two terms as President, and would have been President yet if he had lived - even so did the people honor the Father of his Country. Let the youth of America take his incomparable character for a model and try it one jolt, anyhow. Success is possible - let them remember that - success is possible, though there are chances against it.
I could continue this biography, with profit to the rising generation, but I shall have to drop the subject at present, because of other matters which must be attended to.

2 comentarios:

Anónimo dijo...

entiendo lo que dice, Enrisco, es solo que veo como hay toda una generacion de muchachos jovenes como ud, que escriben y hablan d eu a manera que no permite que nosotros, los de la vieja guardia, nos sintamos parte de esa cuba que dejamos hace tiempo...pienso que es eso que llaman el posmodernismo segun el cual dicen que se cagan en todo, pasan de todo, nada es serio...es que ud cree que no hace falta lo solemne? basta con lo leve? es cierto que lo solemne invita a la broma, a la trompetilla, pero cree ud que eso lo desacredita, que es mejor ser leve en todo? es que ud no se eriza con las cosas patrias?

Asere G dijo...

Lo solemne ha cambiado, como lo ha hecho "lo cubano". Más, cuando la isla se nos ha convertido en un apócrifo de la isla, y lo que ayer nos conmovió hoy nos hiere; y es la risa, el insulto más inteligente que algunos usan para combatir esa capa de dolor, ese anhelo por un porvenir que nos ha vuelto más ávidos y más dúctiles.
La simbología ha cambiado entre nuestras generaciones, lo que antes nos henchía y enorgullecía, para muchos jóvenes de ahora son solo estatuas de viento sobre un pedestal vacío; dos palmas, y una llave de una ciudad que nunca pudo ser tuya.
Como ve, cuando Cuba comience (y fíjese que estuve tentado a decir: cuando esto acabe), no solo vamos a tener que reconstruir los edificios.