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“Avoidance Is Not Purity”: An Ode on the Pence Rule

May 7th, 2018 | 4 min read

By E. J. Hutchinson

By Eric Hutchinson

Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?”–King Solomon

“We should be friends,” quoth Potiphar’s wife;
but Joseph turned, and ran for his life.
“Avoidance is not purity!,”
she cried; but he ignored her plea.

King Solomon, on the other hand,
was less obsessed with his wedding band.
“Self-centered codes are deeply flawed–
Thy commandment’s, um, exceeding broad!”

Now: which of them is more in line
with the spirit of our urbane time?
Old Joseph the neanderthal,
Or Solomon (around nightfall)?

Joseph, he’s so dull and boring;
Solomon is clearly soaring.
Joseph, self-protecting–tired;
Solomon, enlightened–wired.

Joseph, writing Pence fan fiction;
Solomon, anti-restriction:
“Time to join the modern age!
Increase the minimum wage!

Down with the patriarchy!
Its manners are indeed beastly!
My advice: make lots of pals,
a polyphonic friend chorale!”

And so, dear readers, you can see
the choice in front of you and me.
To be like Joseph? That’s a shame.
But Solomon? Well, he’s got game–

his dad was rich, sent him to Yale,
while rustic Joseph went to jail.

Eric Hutchinson is Assistant Professor of Classics at Hillsdale College.

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