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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Benjamin Franklin: Unplugged

It's a one man show performed at the Armory in downtown Portland, next door to Powell's. Josh Kornbluth was the one man, and he was very funny. I howled. My wife had to calm me. (Of course she calms me whenever we are out in public. Some people just can't stand any attention.) About half the show was about Josh and his family, and about half was about Franklin. Josh focused on Franklin's relationship with his son William, so it was all kind of related. The anecdotes about his family also provided most of the comedy.

So we have all heard about how great Ben Franklin was, about the kite, the lightning and the electricity, the Franklin stove, bifocals, the Declaration of Independence, his writing and printing. But I had never heard anything about his son. Turns out his son was a traitor. If the Revolutionary War had turned out differently, it would have been the father who was the traitor, and not the son, but it didn't, and it pissed old Ben off to no end.

His son went to law school in London and was appointed Royal Governor of New Jersey. At the end he said he wouldn't have done anything differently. His father said, essentially, that he should have obeyed his father. And that was the end of that. As Al Pacino once said "family is everything" (even if I can't find the exact quote).

One story Josh told was about how Ben was invited by the Privy Council to the cockpit in Whitehall where he could finally make his case for the Colonies. Instead, he was attacked verbally for an hour. The weird thing is I just read about this, and once again, I don't remember where. Could it have been the same magazine where I found the Erica Jong quote?


Rocky Humbert said...

New Jersey!

What else needs to be said.....?

Chuck Pergiel said...

Now, now, Rocky. Let's not be pickin' on the less fortunate...