talking to scorning men

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Senior Member
Dear friends
Please kindly tell me what's meant by "talking at streetcorners to scorning men" in the following context (from a statement made by Bartolemeo Vanzetti after being sentenced to death in April 9,1927), taken from "Camera Eye (50)" (on trial and electrocution of Nicola Sacco and Bartolemeo Vanzetti) in "The Big Money" by Dos Passos:
If it had not been for these things, I might have lived out my life talking at streetcorners to scorning men. I might have died unknown, unmarked, a failure. This is our career and our triumph. Never in our full life can we hope to do such work for tolerance, for justice, for man's understanding of man as how we do by an accident.
I understand it to mean if such events (their trial and all) hadn't happened, he might have lived out his life uselessly, talking idly at street corners scorning other people (or talking to men who were scorning other people?)
  • Franzi

    Senior Member
    (San Francisco) English
    He might have spent his entire life trying to give public speeches to passersby who weren't interested in his political message. Instead, he got to become a very public martyr.
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