Monday, November 29, 2010

Thomas Morton

"America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between."

- Oscar Wilde

"Many threatening speeches were given out both against his person and his habitation, which they divulged should be consumed by fire."

- Thomas Morton

Thomas Morton was not exactly an outspoken proponent of decadence, but he was an avid practitioner of it. In the view of Oscar Wilde, a man like Morton might have been that all too important dividing line in between America’s barbarism and decadence, but in the eyes of the pilgrims, he was the rising tide that loomed over their precious little lives, and represented everything that was wrong, and bad and evil. He was so reviled that they framed him as a traitor to the crown, and had him sent to prison … overseas! Morton was a victim of the Puritan’s intolerance on several occasions, and had to dodge their legal actions upon him many times, twice being sent to prison. On the second time, they burnt his plantation to the ground while he was gone, as if to drive home the point that he was not welcome. To me, however, this only symbolized a massive hypocrisy on the parts of the pilgrims, since they themselves fled to the new world in a desperate vie for religious tolerance. It really is too bad they learned nothing at all from that experience. Alas, they did not, and as a result, an intellect as alive as Morton's was not allowed to thrive, let alone survive, in the shadow of the crushing reality of colonial America. If Tom had lived a mere three centuries later, he could have possibly seen the decadent world that Oscar Wilde foresaw, and embraced. Since I enjoy the concept of novel crossovers, I can’t help but imagine what it might have been like if these two could have rubbed shoulders. Who would be the master, and who would be the mentor? I imagine a grizzled Thomas Morton taking young Oscar Wilde under his wing, and imparting all his knowledge of life worth living unto him, and as young Wilde grows and matures, taking the concept and totally running with it. I have no idea why this amuses me so.

1 comment:

  1. 30/30 You should write some full-scale papers about Morton, Evan. You have a great "ear" for this author.