Bug off, Manicheans

from the Byzantine Madrid codex

The phrase “bug off,” to my ears, is a dated colloquialism, a mild expletive, synonymous with “leave me alone” or “go away” in the sense of a pesky kid underfoot keeping me from reading the newspaper. I would probably use “buzz off” before “bug off,” but I hear “buzz” as a variant of “bug” in that context.

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Epistle To Quakers

Thomas Paine is very entertaining to read, even more than two hundred years on.  In his “Epistle to Quakers” (sometimes appended to Common Sense), Paine excoriates the Quakers for, first, mixing religion and politics; then for not supporting the cause of independence from England; and, finally, for claiming biblical authority for their passive stance towards the Crown.  “What a slap in the face!” he says.  Literally — that’s exactly what he says: “What a slap in the face is here!”

And then, at the very of the pamphlet, this little gem:

And here, without anger or resentment I bid you farewell. Sincerely wishing, that as men and Christians, ye may always fully and uninterruptedly enjoy every civil and religious right; and be, in your turn, the means of securing it to others; but that the example which ye have unwisely set, of mingling religion with politics, may be disavowed and reprobated by every inhabitant of America.

And that emphasis is in the original.  Good stuff.