Monday, March 10, 2008


Google "Spitzer own petard" and you get all kinds of hits. Where would we be without this handy Shakespearian phrasing? So useful that it has survived the atrophying of the original meaning of petard (a small bomb used against fortifications). I spent a few minutes wondering if it really applied to Gov. Spitzer, but then I figured the petard in this case would be wiretapping.

It's the wisdom of Shakespeare: "For 'tis the sport to have the enginer Hoist with his owne petar..." (Hamlet, Act III, Scene 4). A popular sport indeed. Spitzer later may take the time-tested tactic of blaming the media for his problems, but they're just pursuing a story people want to hear about.

I saw Spitzer referred to as the 58th governor of New York, and I wondered if that included royal governors of the colony. It doesn't. George Clinton, later Fourth Vice President of the United States, counts as the first governor of the State of New York, taking in office in 1777 -- while there still was a competing royal governor, the forgotten William Tryon. (Then again, how many people even in New York know George Clinton as anyone other than the boss of P-Funk?)


At 11:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Governor Tryon's memory is preserved in a number of place names, however, notably the very attractive Ft. Tryon Park near the northern tip of Manhattan Island. The park has a fine view of the Palisades across the Hudson in New Jersey and it's the situs of The Cloisters, well worth going to see if you're in NYC. ANK


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