Stomping Upon the Terra

Our people are slow to learn the wisdom of sending character instead of talent to Congress. Again and again they have sent a man of great acuteness, a fine scholar, a fine forensic orator, and some master of the brawls has crunched him up in his hands like a bit of paper.
                       – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I first saw Emil Franzi in a political science class in the early 1970s.  He was a guest speaker, covering for Conrad Joyner.  Dr. Joyner held local office, but his goal was Congress and Emil was the brawler to his scholar.  I don’t know if Dr. Joyner prepared a lesson plan, but it was a waste of time if he did.  The lesson was pure, unalloyed Franzi:  blunt, basking in the moment, bereft of political correctness.  It was the first time I saw Emil “stomp upon the terra,” to use Lord Buckley’s phrasing.  Conrad Joyner was gregarious, effervescent and entertaining.  He also wanted to be liked; that was important to him.  Suffice it to say Emil was less concerned about being liked.  While it’s accurate to describe Emil as a “scholar” because of his impressive intellect, he would have preferred “master of the brawls.”  I can’t say I liked him that first day, but I was damn sure impressed by the stomping.


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