Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Hawaii Five-O Episode Leads To Purchase Of Thoreau’s Walden

In college, I was turned-off when studying Henry David Thoreau. While I, like all people, have many conflicting impulses, maybe my strongest impulse is against someone separating himself from the whole.

I feel this way despite a strong wariness of the will of the political majority, however it may be defined at any given moment, and despite the atomistic bent of my solid 1980’s Midwestern hardcore punk rock credentials. 

Last week I watched an episode of Hawaii Five-O for the first time in many years. In this episode, top cop Steve McGarrett was asked to test some sort of telephone snooping device. McGarrett said into the phone, “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.”

This spoke to me. I’d heard it before—But for whatever reason it resonated with me very much on this one particular afternoon. I knew the quote was from Thoreau’s Walden.

So I went out a few days ago and bought a copy of Thoreau. We’ll see if he reaches me or if my Andrew Jackson “of the people” impulses exert too strong a pull. 

May 21, 2007 - Posted by | Best Posts Jan.-June 2007, Books, Things Watching Tv Made Me Think About


  1. For me Thoreau is still hard to engage with in large part because his poems are too ponderous for my taste.
    The thing with Thoreau I like though is that reading him is like scouring over a yard with a metal detector and, after finding nothing, I take a break and discover a diamond glistening at my feet.

    Comment by carsick | May 21, 2007

  2. Steve McGarrett never solved a crime of investigation it was always solved as he sat and said to himself there was murder it was at night there was a gun it must have been ….. he was either psychic or jesus was telling him the answers or it was just a poorly written show? my guess is

    Comment by bill brady | May 23, 2007

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