“But Rhode Island Is Still Asleep”
Heavy metal/punk rocker Henry Rollins used to (and may still) do free-form monologue shows — sort of a cross between stand-up comedy and academic lecture. As you might imagine, his commentary was often sordid and aggressive, but in my youth, I found there to be an underlying goodness, even wisdom, in his talks.
One skit that illustrates my description well began with him speaking against hating people — as opposed to abstractions, like weakness. But he confessed that he couldn’t shake his hatred of folk-pop singer Edie Brickell (she of New Bohemians fame), and he described a work of performance art by which he imagines expressing his feelings. Essentially, he would go through bouts of torturing himself, after which a voice would come on the PA system and say, “But she’s still alive.”
That’s the voice I heard when Richard DiDomenico, of North Providence, ended a recent letter to the Providence Journal (no longer online) as follows, after scorning RI Speaker of the House Gordon Fox (D., Providence) for his heavy-handed opposition to e-Verify:
The U.S. in general seems to be awakening, but Rhode Island is still asleep!
I’m already hearing the echo of that line every time I hear of the contentious actions of New Jersey’s new Republican Governor Chris Christie. Perhaps it should haunt Rhode Islanders’ dreams until such time as we begin electing people who might attempt something more ambitious than preserving as much of the status quo as possible.