Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Google changes logo for Samuel Morse birthday

Some of you may have noticed the revised google logo marking the birthday of Samuel Morse on April 27th. Morse is the inventor of the telegraph, for which he is well known. Lesser known are his anti-Catholic conspiracy theories.

He promulgated these in a book, published in 1835, in which he expounded his notion that the Austrian Empire was using Jesuit missionaries to subdue America and subject it to Austrian and Vatican rule.

Richard Hofstadter, in his book The Paranoid Style in American Politics (Vintage),quotes Morse.
"A conspiracy exists,...its plans are already in operation...we are attacked in a vulnerable quarter which cannot be defended by our ships, our forts or our armies....Austria is now acting in this county....She has her Jesuit missionaries travelling through the land;...The serpent has already commenced his coil about our limbs, and the lethargy of his poison is creeping over us....Is not the enemy already organized in the land? Can we not perceive all around us the evidence of his presence?...We must awake, or we are lost."
I came across this in my reading recently, so I thought of it immediately when I saw the google logo.

Hofstadter doesn't tell us what this quote looks like in dots and dashes, though I'm willing to be it is a lot less menacing, especially the coiled serpent and the lethargy of his poison.

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