It’s been a wretched week for the masters of the English language. First we had Alderman Ed Burke butchering Shakespeare and making a mess out of Emerson. And then Governor Blagojevich turned the great Rudyard Kipling upside down.

I happen to like Kipling as much as much as the next guy, so I appreciate Blagojevich giving him some prime-time exposure. But for god’s sake, governor, have you no sense of decency? You made Kipling look like a wimp! His poems are not sniveling sobs of self-pity for wrongdoers who want to escape punishment. They’re proclamations of pride. If Kipling were writing a poem about a governor who had been caught selling off a Senate seat and tax breaks to Sam Zell, he’d say: Yeah, I did it.  And I’d do it again. Not that I give a damn about what any of you thinks!

Or to quote “The Young British Soldier“:

“When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,

And the women come out to cut up what remains,

Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains,

An’ go to your Gawd like a soldier.” 

Now that’s a poem worthy of a great scoundrel.