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Support peace or I’ll kill you

03/05/2012

Fair enough, the fact that it refers to President Clinton means that it’s either quite old or has been magically beamed here from a dystopic future (in fact, it’s from 1997), but the headline of this objet trouvé struck a chord:“Support peace or I’ll kill you” was a slogan of the Yippies, the Youth International Party, whose playful, iconoclastic anarchism has always appealed to me; frequently a bit too obviously, some might say. They were sometimes called the Groucho Marxists, although I can’t discover who coined the phrase: the Yippies themselves, the press or Jean-Luc Godard during the 1968 Événements.

They were led, if that’s the right word, by Jerry Rubin (among others). When Rubin died too young – hit by a car while jaywalking – in 1994 his attorney from the days of protest, William Kunstler, chose the first line of Rafael Sabatini’s Scaramouche to serve as an epitaph: “He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad”. I couldn’t wish for anyone to say anything nicer about me, if the time ever comes.

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