Tag Archives: Teddy Roosevelt

Citizenship in a Republic

Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 9.21.27 AMI’m not generally one to moon over motivational quotes, uplifting “you can do it!!” memes, or any of their ilk. But I came across this excerpt from a speech delivered by Teddy Roosevelt at the Sarbonne in Paris on April 23, 1910 called Citizenship in a Republic, and it has sort of stuck with me today. It’s a thirty-five page speech that really strikes a chord on page seven…and makes TR seem all the Bull Moosier. I think I shall memorize the short passage…and dust it off whenever I hear anyone (including….um….myself) complain about how the other guy is holding them back:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

If anything, maybe I will just start reciting this aloud in public places…and if I do not get arrested for disturbing the peace, I might inspire someone, with TR’s help, of course.

With compliments,

Keith

 

Portrait of a Badlands Dandy

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 8.06.56 PMI have just recently set aside a little time to have a look at Ken Burns’s latest effort: The Roosevelts: An Intimate History. Visually, it’s exactly what I expected – period film clips conjoined with vintage photographs presented in Burnsian fashion (pan right…pan left…cue Ashokon Farewell, et cetera). Though I find it hard to imagine that Burns will ever duplicate his epic 1990 nine-part documentary masterpiece, The Civil War in either innovation or public acclamation, The Roosevelts is nevertheless worthy of recognition. I particularly appreciated the film’s take on the remarkable transformation of a young Theodore Roosevelt from ninety-eight pound asthmatic to robust outdoorsy American icon – the blue-blooded sheltered wimp to Bull Moose narrative. The juxtaposition of New York patrician and rugged Dakota Badlandian is especially absorbing…right down to the custom tailored hinterland garb and Tiffany silver-plated Bowie knife. I suppose in one sense, you can take the boy out of the posh but not the posh out of the boy. But what’s most intriguing is that frontier fopism notwithstanding, TR had the goods to tough it out with the best of them…earning the respect of the Badlands rough and tumble. And Burns does a lovely job telling that story. Bully!

With compliments,

Keith