A bright shiny new Gold Star for Mark Twain:
When an entirely new and untried political project is sprung upon the people, they are startled, anxious, timid, and for a time they are mute, reserved, noncommittal. The great majority of them are not studying the new doctrine and making up their minds about it, they are waiting to see which is going to be the popular side.
It is desire to be in the swim that makes political parties.
Paul Auster reads from the essay at NPR:
Mark Twain died almost a hundred years ago, but this week The New Yorker will publish one of his essays for the first time. It is titled "The Privilege of the Grave," and it speaks of how freedom of speech is exercised better by the dead than the living. Brooklyn-based author Paul Auster reads some excerpts — and those are today's parting words.
(Unfortunately for non-subscribers this essay is currently behind the paywall.)
The Privilege of the Grave