dimarts, 20 de desembre de 2011

About Ambrose Bierce

Rhoda Koenig / Los Angeles Times, 20 de diciembre de 2011

Bierce, by contrast, was mischievous rather than cruel (he once proposed that the epitaph of a San Francisco politician should read: "Here lies Frank Pixley, as usual), and he hit hardest where hypocrisy was greatest, at the cruelty and complacency of wealth and power. "Labor" he defined as "one of the processes by which A acquires property for B," and "air" as "a nutritious substance supplied by a bountiful Providence for the fattening of the poor." His own word for the American system of government was "plutocracy: a republican form of government deriving its powers from the conceit of the governed — in thinking they govern."

Bierce also did more than sit back and satirize. He railed against the exploitation and discrimination suffered by the Chinese, who had created so much of the wealth of California. He denounced the corruption of the railroad in the state, and at one point became so incensed at a proposal to forgive the company $75 million in tax that he traveled to Washington to campaign against it. He was offered a large bribe to go home; he refused it; the railroad lost and paid up.

In October 1913, at age 71, Bierce set off for Mexico to observe the revolution there. "Good-bye," he wrote to his niece. "If you should hear of my being stood up against a Mexican stone wall and being shot to rags, please know that I think it is a pretty good way to depart this life. It beats old age, disease, or falling down the cellar stairs. To be a Gringo in Mexico — oh, that is euthanasia!" He was never heard from again.

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