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BringthePaine - Page 1 of 7 Bring the Paine Screw fat old...

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Bring the Paine! Screw fat old Ben Franklin and his 300th birthday. This city should be celebrating a real revolutionary, the man without whom there'd be no America. by Steven Wells In Philadelphia," babbles the radio, "everyone is reading about Benjamin Franklin . .. " The madness has been going on for months already, since the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation first started shilling Franklin's 300th-birthday festivities last year. The greatest event in this nation's history has been reduced to a yearlong birthday party for a jolly, jocular cartoon Unka Ben. A kinda insurrectionary Kris Kringle. An avuncular saint, inventor and bootstrap capitalist-a PG-friendly, George Bush-approved, sanitized, shrink-wrapped, deboned and prechewed establishment revolutionary for the whole family to enjoy. We say bollocks to that. It's time for some Common Sense . It's time this city celebrated working-class Philadelphia's real revolutionary hero. Thomas Paine was a founder of both the U.S.A. and the French Republic, the ideological father of democracy, the coiner of the phrase "United States of America," the author of not one but two pamphlets that saved the United States, probably the original author of the Declaration of Independence and-on top of that-he was the original zinester, the first blogger and (according to Wired magazine) the moral father of the Internet. Paine was Philadelphia's first and greatest hero. Rocky in a periwig. His life was a swashbuckling Hollywood epic that makes Pirates of the Caribbean look like On Golden Pond on Valium. As a teenager Paine narrowly avoided sailing on a ship called Terrible with a Capt. William Death, who was promptly slaughtered along with 150 of his crew. He did, however, serve on a privateer (a state- sanctioned pirate ship) called (you won't believe this) The King of Prussia . In 1781-after he, according to George Washington, twice singlehandedly saved the American revolution-Paine even had an Errol Flynn-style sword duel with a British naval captain. Later, when he was imprisoned during the French revolution, he escaped the guillotine only because an X was scrawled on the wrong side of his death-cell door. It's Paine we should be celebrating when we name our schools, bridges and roads. Benjamin Franklin might have invented the lightning rod and the frigging glass armonica, but Tom Paine invented democracy. It's no contest. Without Tom Paine there would've been no American revolution-and no America. Yet Page 1 of 7 12/29/2006 http://www.philadelphiaweekly.com/print_friendly.php?id=11539
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there are only five statues of Paine in the entire world-and not one of them is in Philadelphia. And that is nothing short of a disgrace. Thomas Paine arrived in Philadelphia on Oct. 30, 1744, sick to his guts
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BringthePaine - Page 1 of 7 Bring the Paine Screw fat old...

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