The male lead in the A Different World TV show (a Cosby Show spin-off) used that line in White Men Can’t Jump. I think he was quoting the poet, John Keats, but whatever. His delivery of that line is what came to mind after reading this press release from Freestar Media.
Let me preface this by saying, I know nothing about Freestar Media. I followed a link to their release from the Boing Boing blog. Freestar could be a bunch of loony, partisan shills. They could be genuinely passionate about preserving civil liberties. They may just have a predilection for eating strawberry pies made by midget grandmothers on the Ivory Coast. I don’t know and in this particular case I don’t care. Because this is art. It’s Picasso. A thing of beauty that will be a joy forever, or at least the next twenty minutes.
I’m sure most of you are aware that last week the Supreme Court, in a split decision, ruled that it was permissible for the state to take away privately held property from its citizens for use by commercial industry if they felt it was in the best interests of the community. We’re not talking about building bypasses on Arthur Dent’s lawn. We’re talking about the idea that its okay for Roland Emmerich and Michael Bay to knock down your house in the name of making Independence Day 2 if they promise to create some jobs and maybe leave behind a museum dedicated to the making of the film. (Okay, I’m extrapolating and in pure ignorance of the fine details of the ruling, but wasn’t that a fun line to read?)
Enter Freestar Media, who are using this ruling as the basis for taking land away from a certain homeowner in Weare, New Hampshire so they can build a hotel. Ordinarily, not too funny. But the land is owned by Supreme Court Justice David Souter (who was in the majority in the Supreme Court’s ruling). In the press release it says:
The proposed development, called “The Lost Liberty Hotel” will feature the “Just Desserts Café” and include a museum, open to the public, featuring a permanent exhibit on the loss of freedom in America. Instead of a Gideon’s Bible each guest will receive a free copy of Ayn Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged.”
“This is not a prank” said Clements, “The Towne of Weare has five people on the Board of Selectmen. If three of them vote to use the power of eminent domain to take this land from Mr. Souter we can begin our hotel development.”
Whether this actually happens or not (and I’m sure its doubtful), you have to admit it would be poetic justice if the “Selectmen” in Weare approve the measure and Justice Souter found himself without legal recourse to stop it. I can see Justice Souter in my head, lying down in the mud in front of a bright yellow bulldozer only to be pulled away by his good buddy Ford Prefect. Hopefully he doesn’t forget to bring a towel.
Note: If the towel reference and the names Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect mean nothing to you, then you are beyond my help. Google them and don’t forget that the answer to your real question is 42.