I have to share with you something in the program for a concert I attended last week. Read the quotation first:
We have pacified some thousands of the islanders and buried them, destroyed their fields, burned their villages, and turned their widows and orphans out-of-doors; furnished heartbreak by exile to some dozens of disagreeable patriots; subjugated the remaining ten millions by Benevolent Assimilation, which is the pious new name of the musket; we have acquired property . . . and hoisted our protecting flag over that swag. And so, by these Providences of God — and the phrase is the government’s, not mine — we are a World Power.
The writer was Mark Twain, from his many writings satirizing the self-righteous imperialism of the Philippine War. It was set to music — voices and gamelan — by Lou Harrison, and performed by the Donald Brinegar Singers and the Harvey Mudd College American Gamelan at the Pasadena Presbyterian Church as part of the Southern California MicroFest now going on at several locales. I’ll write more about these concerts next week, but the Mark Twain quotation struck me as too good to delay.