Newton on Twain

Maud Newton contributes a column to the American Prospect on the continuing relevance of Mark Twain’s satirical writing. For instance, she argues, King Leopold’s Soliloquy presages

the Bush administration’s doublethink rhetoric about the “progress” being made in Iraq. The king bemoans the “tiresome chatterers” who expose to the world his darkest motivations but don’t balance them with the noble ones; who complain–just substitute “democracy” and “elections” for “religion” and “missionaries”–about “how I am wiping a nation of friendless creatures out of existence by every form of murder, for my private pocket’s sake, and how every shilling I get costs a rape, a mutilation, or a life. But they never say, although they know it, that I have labored in the cause of religion at the same time and all the time, and have sent missionaries there — to teach them the error of their ways and bring them to Him who is all mercy and love, and who is the sleepless guardian and friend of all who suffer.”

You can read a portion of the article here. (The rest is for subscribers, I’m afraid.)