Podcast #10–J.Q. Useless Guest Appearance on The Alembic Files: “Poetic Perplexities, Part 4”

English: September Massacres during the French...

English: September Massacres during the French Revolution (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Podcast #10 of Thoughts from a Useless Eater is another guest appearance by J.Q. on The Alembic Files, for Part 4 of the continuing series “Poetic Perplexities: Emerging Visions of Global Empire?” In this segment, J.Q. joins Al and Theo to continue the discussion of the poet Philip Freneau, zooming in on some of the historical highlights of the French Revolution. In examining this historical timeline, the intent is to gain more of a handle on the implications of a figure like Freneau being a supporter of the French Revolution (at least in its early stages), as “hooked in” as he was with highly influential members of the early Democratic Republicans—a single party that is in fact the root of the two-party system in the U.S. today.

As we delve into some of the more astonishing aspects of the French regime under the influence of Robespierre, such as the promotion of The Cult of Reason as a state-sanctioned, atheistic (but with strongly neo-pagan elements) “state religion” to replace Christianity, and the use of fears of terrorism as a justification for the increasing role of the Committee of Public Safety as the primary instrument of state control, are we seeing elements of a vision for the direction of American government and society among at least some of the Democratic Republicans? And are we, perhaps, seeing something almost “prophetic,” in terms of observing elements of a roadmap that in some sense may still be followed by factions within the American power structure today?

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Related texts:

http://thinkorbebeaten.com/frenchrevolutionchronology.rtf

http://thinkorbebeaten.com/prospectrevolution.rtf

Podcast #7: J.Q. Useless Guest Appearance on The Alembic Files

Portrait of en:Philip Freneau

Portrait of en:Philip Freneau (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In this third segment of “Poetic Perplexities: Emerging Visions of Global Empitre?”, a continuing series on The Alembic Files, J.Q. Useless joins A.L. Aric to explore the perplexing life and career of Philip Freneau, the late 18th/early 19th century poet, sea captain, journalist, newspaper editor and friend or associate of many of the founding fathers, including Madison and Jefferson.

Freneau, who is reputed among some literary critics as “the father of American poetry,” is of particular interest to the general subject matter of The Alembic Files because he is also purported to have been “the Anti-Federalist poet.” By examining the content of selected poems of Freneau in the context biographical information and the surrounding historical milieu, A.L. and J.Q. explore the notion that Freneau may have been something quite different.

Is it even accurate to characterize Freneau, an early sympathizer with the French Revolution, as an Anti-Federalist at all? If so, we are arguably looking at a form of Anti-Federalism very different  from what those who study The Anti-Federalist Papers are familiar with–especially given Freneau’s engagement with Jacobinism which, at the peak of the French Revolution, led to a powerful state regime that prefigures many of the characteristics of the totalitarian systems that emerged in the 20th century.

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Reading material:

http://thinkorbeeaten.com/007vyz/freneau.pdf

http://thinkorbeeaten.com/007vyz/departure.rtf

Podcast #5: J.Q. Useless Guest Appearance on The Alembic Files with A.L. Aric

Joel Barlow

Joel Barlow, co-author of The Anarchiad (Photo credit: dbking)

Poetic Perplexities: Visions of Global Empire? Part 2

It is widely understood that artists, including poets and prose writers, possess an acute “cultural radar” that enables them to sense what may lie ahead. How long after the federation of the 13 states did they envision this new country as a possible candidate for empire? Join A.L. Aric as he hosts J.Q. Useless on The Alembic Files, in this second of a multi-part series looking into this question. This segment focuses centrally on The Anarchiad, a long-form satirical poem supporting the Federalist cause and the ratification of the new constitution, published serially in New England newspapers by The Hartford Wits, a group of poets who first began collaborating when they formed a literary society at Yale University. The discussion also touches on other topics of the time such as Shay’s Rebellion and the racist attitude of New England elites toward the American Indian population.

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Literary excerpts to be covered:

http://shaysrebellion.stcc.edu/shaysapp/person.do?shortName=luke_day

http://thinkorbeeaten.com/007vyz/morse_16-18.rtf

http://thinkorbeeaten.com/007vyz/anarchiad_preface.rtf

http://thinkorbeeaten.com/007vyz/anarchiad.rtf

Podcast #4: J.Q. Useless Guest Appearance on The Alembic Files with A.L. Aric

Jedidiah_Morse_by_Samuel_Finley_Breese_Morse

Jedidiah Morse, 18th-Century American minister, geographer, educator, author and–last, but not least–conspiracy theorist, in a portrait painted by his son, Samuel Finley Breese Morse.

Poetic Perplexities: Visions of Global Empire? Part 1

It is widely understood that artists, including poets and prose writers, possess an acute “cultural radar” that enables them to sense what may lie ahead. How long after the federation of the 13 states did they envision this new country as a possible candidate for empire? Join A.L. Aric as he hosts J.Q. Useless on The Alembic Files, in this first of a multi-part series looking into this question.

[PLAY/DOWNLOAD MP3]

Literary excerpts to be covered:

http://thinkorbeeaten.com/007vyz/morse_16-18.rtf

http://thinkorbeeaten.com/007vyz/anarchiad_preface.rtf

http://thinkorbeeaten.com/007vyz/anarchiad.rtf