“Supposing is good, but finding out is better.”
– from Mark Twain’s Autobiography
I have a very strong hunch that Samuel Langhorne Clemens would love the new media. I’m sure he’d be all caught up in the Internet. I can imagine Mark Twain’s blogs. I’m sure he’d have more than one.
Clemens loved the technology of his day. He was one of the first writers to use the typewriter. He gambled on a new sort of printing press. That printing press nearly ruined him financially though. He was enamored with steam railroad engines and of course he was famous for his Mississippi River adventures as a steamboat pilot.
He loved world travel, exploring different cultures and meeting new friends. What would “Innocents Abroad” read like if it had been authored by Twain in the year 2011? Can you imagine his Facebook page? I wonder if he would Tweet. It’s no secret that Clemens is one of the few famous people I look up to as a personal hero. I would hope he would “friend” me on his Facebook page. Better yet, I’d love to be a commenter on his blogs. It would be fine to have him comment in return on my comments.
“Meantime I have made more than 40 sea voyages & numerous land trips, & have gone clear around the globe once. This seems a hard fate. No, not seems–it was a hard fate. I made all those journeys because I could not help myself–made them with rebellion in my heart, & bitterness. Human life is maliciously planned with one principal object in view: to make you do all the different kinds of things you particularly don’t want to do.”
– M.T. April 1909
He didn’t put up with any B.S. from public figures and politicians. He was a progressive thinker through and through. I’ve wondered often what Twain would likely say and write about the current crop of retrograde politicians and their corporate lords. I’m sure he wouldn’t mince words when dealing with tea partiers. In fact, he’d likely have a field day with them.
Twain cared not one bit about demagoguery, self-appointed moralists and zealotry. Bigotry, homophobia, sexism and jingoism would be ridiculed by the man. He would certainly have much to say about American imperial designs just as he did when he criticized such things during his life.
What I’d like to see, is how Clemens would have reacted to a tour through an R&D division of one of the computer manufacturers. I’m sure he would have been invited to tour Google. In as much has Twain had been invited to visit Nikola Tesla’s laboratory, I can just about imagine how he’d be bowled over by a visit to NASA. How he would love to study the images from the Hubble Space telescope.
Best of all, those who knew the man, would tell you of Samuel Clemen’s big heart. He was concerned with the betterment of mankind. He’d likely find ways to advocate in favor of the downtrodden and scorned minorities of the world. Wanton persecution of people by governements and religions would be lampooned mercilessly. He would be in favor of justice and liberty for his fellow human beings.
I’m sure of another thing. Clemens would still be the rascally, curmudgeonly father figure of American culture. I wish he could be here now.
The Blue Jay of Happiness loves this pithy quote, “… life does not consist mainly — or even largely — of facts and happenings. It consists mainly of the storm of thoughts that is forever blowing through one’s head.” – Autobiography of Mark Twain