WHEREAS, Ambrose Bierce (1842–1914?) was an American journalist and writer, whose works include satirical exposés of public figures, Civil War stories, stories involving the supernatural, and a book intended to “teach precision in writing,” Write It Right: A Handbook of Literary Faults (1909); his most famous works being the short story, “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” (1890) and the Devil’s Dictionary (1906/1911), both of which are enduring classics of American literature; and

WHEREAS, Ambrose Bierce lived in Washington, D.C. from 1899 to 1913, therefore providing a tenuous yet exploitable link between Ambrose Bierce and this blog, the headquarters of which will be relocated to Washington, D.C. in August 2008; and

WHEREAS, Ambrose Bierce displayed in his writings an unsentimental view of humanity; his satirical and insightful writings on the evils of war and the hypocrisies of the powerful are as fresh today as they were at the turn of the twentieth century, to wit:

War is God’s way of teaching Americans geography.


WHEREAS, contemporary satirist Stephen Colbert would not have found his neologism “truthiness” in Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary, yet Bierce’s definition of “truth” anticipates Colbert’s, including the concept of truth as what one desires to be true (note how Bierce’s definition does not mention objectivity or facts); one suspects that Colbert’s writing staff has a copy of the Devil’s Dictionary in the office:

An ingenious compound of desirability and appearance. Discovery of truth is the sole purpose of philosophy, which is the most ancient occupation of the human mind and has a fair prospect of existing with increasing activity to the end of time.


WHEREAS, Kurt Vonnegut, one of the blog writer’s favorite authors, had this to say about Ambrose Bierce:

And I consider anybody a Twerp who hasn’t read the greatest American short story, which is “Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” by Ambrose Bierce. It isn’t remotely political. It is a flawless example of American genius, like “Sophisticated Lady” by Duke Ellington or the Franklin stove.


WHEREAS, there is a link between Ambrose Bierce’s disappearance and death in Mexico and the disappearance of the blog writer’s mother and stepfather in Mexico, although it is true that said family members are currently living in a custom-built house with a koi pond, and the blog writer’s mother is president of the Audubon Society of San Miguel de Allende; the salient point being that innocent family members went down to Mexico for an adventure and they never returned to the United States; and

WHEREAS, the blog, “You, madam, are no Sei Shonagon,” is privately run with no public funding; as such the blog writer may call it whatever she damn well pleases; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that from today the blog “You, madam, are no Sei Shonagon” shall be called “You, madam, are no Ambrose Bierce,” the name change not really affecting anyone but the blog writer and any blog lists that care to include the blog; the URL remaining unchanged as; and, be it further

RESOLVED, that the blog shall officially thank and recognize Janet from “The Chronicles of Tewkesbury” for sending a link to Kim Roberts and Dan Vera’s Web page, “DC Authors’ Houses,” in which the blog writer discovered that Ambrose Bierce once lived in Washington, D.C., thus ending the search for a new blog name; and, be it further

RESOLVED, that, as when the blog’s title referenced Sei Shonagon, the blog writer will not attempt to compose in the style of the chosen author, but does reserve the right to include random quotes and inside jokes relating to his works; instead the blog writer will simply bask in the reflected glory of the famous/dead author’s name while actually writing dilettantish posts about her encounters with bourbon, sake, and other food products; and be it further

RESOLVED, that this resolution be forwarded to The Internet @ The Universe, to the Internet-free members of society, if possible, and to others as appropriate.

Adopted by the Editorial Committee of the Blog
Yokosuka, Japan
July 13, 2008


Madam Chairperson

ETA: In December 2009, I changed the title back to “You, madam, are no Sei Shonagon.”