Have some teah with your chowdah!
Yeah..I...uh...I..jus...I...uh...SHUT UP! Look, dialects aren’t my forte, ok? I’m more of a spontaneous bad joke type of guy. That’s right. I don’t actually plan my bad jokes. They just appear. Many people wish they wouldn’t, but they do. I can’t help it. I just have to share the bad humor.
Take Sunday morning for instance. A gathering of people whom I am privileged to claim as friends were gathered at out local sportsmans club to partake in another day of shooting at clay pigeons. It’s our winter league, don’tcha know? Anyway, myself and three other gentlemen were chatting before shooting and we were discussing the early spring we’re enjoying. One of the gentlemen mentioned he had been out with his dog the day before hunting for shed antlers and he stated that the ticks were out in full force. Another asked him if they were the common red ticks, or were there deer ticks as well. He stated there were red ticks, deer ticks and even some black leg ticks. I commented that it was lucky he didn’t find any lunas, because they were the really dangerous ones. They all looked at me with confused expressions and one asked, “Lunas?”.
And I said, “Yeah...Luna-ticks. They’re super nasty.”
I have no idea why I interjected that bad joke into the conversation. All I can do is admit to actually telling a joke that bad. I really should be a dad. I mean, my dad joke skill level is like, astronomical!
Take for example the lead picture and opening line. It’s obviously a picture of the tea party from Alice In Wonderland. And the accent is obviously supposed to be New England in general and Boston in particular. And those two things combined makes it a Boston Tea Party.
Maybe I should have had the Mad Hatter saying “Alice, pahk yah cah in tha Hahvad yahd!”
Yeah, I know. Look, I already said I’m terrible with dialects!
Anyway, who here remembers the Boston Tea Party? Well....I don’t mean remember as in you were there. I mean remember as in you learned about it in school, or from TV or from some drunk conservative republican who felt the need to explain how his grass roots political party got it’s name.
To summarize, in December of 1773 the colonists were severely pissed that England was imposing a tax on tea, so they dressed up as Native Americans and boarded a ship in Boston Harbor and threw the cargo of tea overboard in protest.
Yeah! Because not even England can get away messing with.....um.....other English people.*
But here’s the thing. That story about how it happened? The one we all learned in school or elsewhere? It’s a big fat lie! It’s not even close to the truth.
Here’s what really happened:
By 1773 the East India Company was not doing so well. They had lost their monopoly on the spice trade, and they were even losing money shipping tea to all the British colonies around the world. They were, in reality, facing bankruptcy.
To help save the East India Company, the British government introduced the Tea Act. History tells us it was to be a tax on imported tea that pissed off the colonists and sparked the Tea Party. In reality the Tea Act reduced the duty on tea imported by the East India Company.
For anyone that knows simple economics, a reduced duty on imported goods means the merchants can then sell the goods for less while maintaining their profit margins. So, the Tea Act actually made the tea cheaper for the colonists to buy.
So, why the violent reaction?
Well, it seems wealthy colonists, John Hancock in particular, made quite a splendid living by smuggling tea in from Holland. By smuggling the tea, Hancock and others like him didn’t have to pay a duty and could therefore undersell the East India Company and just rake in the profits.
The Tea Party was nothing more than a violent act aimed at the East India Company to protect the commercial interests of a few wealthy colonists engaged in illegal trade. (seems fitting for the modern Tea Party, eh?)
Ben Franklin even thought that the East India Company should be paid for their lost product. He and George Washington felt that this crime would spark retribution from the legal authorities and they felt restitution would quell the anger.
So the Boston Tea Party wasn’t a protest, it was a bunch of rich jerks protecting their smuggling racket. Don Corleone would have been proud to call them ‘Paisanos’.
* Remember how I said earlier this was England messing with other English people? Well, the colonists weren’t Americans until after they gained independence. Up until that point, they were legally English citizens. And they considered themselves to be English. Even the leaders of the independence movement knew they were English and not American. Otherwise they wouldn’t have had to declare independence from England. So Paul Revere never rode through towns crying “The British are coming! The British are coming!”. Revere and the rest of the colonials considered themselves to be British. He would have said “The regulars are coming!”.
And don’t get me started on Paul Revere. That’s another huge lie. Paul and another man, William Dawes, were dispatched from Boston to warn that British regulars were headed to Lexington to arrest Sam Adams and John Hancock, and then moving to Concorde to capture militia weapons. Dawes had left first and taken a longer route to Lexington, but he and Revere met there and had some dinner after warning Adams and Hancock. They left Lexington together and headed to Concord. Shortly after leaving, they met a friend named Dr. Samuel Prescott. The three of them headed out to Concord.
Soon after, Dawes split off to warn some locals in a nearby house when Revere and Prescott were stopped by a British patrol. Dawes saw this and made his escape. The British took Revere and Prescott to a field where the two men, still mounted, made a break for it by separating and riding off. Prescott was from the area and got away. Revere did not. He was recaptured, questioned, had his horse confiscated and let go. He walked back to Lexington on foot.
Prescott, on the other hand, made it to Concord and was able to alert everyone that the regulars were coming.
So, Paul Revere is another lie they told us in school. Not only did Longfellow embellish the story to make a good poem, Revere didn’t even make the ride! He never completed his mission! In fact, if it weren’t for the poem, ‘Paul Revere’s Ride’**, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, chances are no one would have ever heard of him.
** The poem is titled ‘Paul Revere’s Ride’. Many people think it’s titled ‘The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere’, but they’re wrong. That’s the second half of the first line of the poem which goes, “Listen my children and you shall hear of the midnight ride of Paul Revere.”