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Category Archives: Acid attacks

San Antonio Daily Express, July 7, 1873. Here is a singularly pitiable instance of FBAS (False Bender Arrest Syndrome). In the headline of the post that inaugurated this thread I made a casual comparison between FBAS and contemporary hysteria over blue gum negroes. The resemblance actually runs deeper than I’d deeply thought about: Both are basically semi-secularized versions of witchcraft panic. In this case, we have a bit of an overlap with the whole rural wild woman phenomenon too. Everything that plummets must converge, see? Read More »

Okay, so I’ve roughed out a provisional draft of alternate lyrics to “My Favorite Things” for our own Jackie of Finland to record, per our contractually-binding exchange in this comment thread. I’m also in negotiations to get the two surviving Seidlitz Brothers to dub some backing vocals, though according to their agent, Shlomo’s voice box is pretty much shot from three packs of Chesterfields a day since the McKinley administration. No matter: that’s why God made Pro Tools and the electrolarynx.

I’m kind of going back and forth on the first verse here, as it lacks the 100% concrete historicity that the other verses have. Though maybe I could fix that by nailing down concrete references to back it all up.

Barrel-clad hobos and window-ledge pastries
Irish patrolman and drunks with the DTs
Blackguards and maidens and oncoming trains
These are a few of my favorite thangs

Phials of acid in ex-lovers’ faces
Naked wild women in desolate places
Negroes with blue gums who kill when they bite
This is a load of my favorite shite

Mince pies for breakfast, and luncheon, and dinner
Corpses injected to make their eyes glimmer
Med school students defiling the dead
This sort of thing tends to fuck with my head

Cuckqueaned wives killing spinster cult leaders
Cats sold as rabbits to unwitting eaters
Show-offs igniting their cee-gars with bills
These are symptoms of society’s ills

When the dog brings
Dynamite back

When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I feel truly bad

Jackie: Far be it from me to impinge on your creative process, but I was thinking this would work best Lento assai and in a minor key.

Philadelphia Inquirer, June 19, 1893. It’s been a while since we’ve heard from the pH-imbalanced contingent. I don’t think I’ve run into a serial acid-thrower before.

blindNew York Times, September 12, 1925. This was too early for his favorite radio show to have been NBC’s The Court of Human Relations.

race baseNew York Times, August 14, 1907. Tawana Brawley surely made stuff up, but she invented nothing. I’d say it was a lucky break for hostler William Engels that Bridget Dwyer flaked on her court appearance.

sfc 9 23 21San Francisco Chronicle, September 23, 1921. So like a woman: having married the slob, she sets about to change him.

flogsflog2Chicago Defender, September 15, 1928. Even more than most dudes, Dr. Martin here should not have been stepping out on his wife. flog3He’s the last word in gallant cavaliers, our Dr. Martin. flog4My theory is that Dr. and Mrs. Martin were actually S&M buffs acting out some creepy, well-rehearsed power-exchange ritual. They probably went through a couple of school marms every year.

lynching acidSan Francisco Chronicle, July 28, 1918. I thought I could go cold turkey with the acid-throwing, but after 48 hours I’m seriously jonesing for a phial. But I’m not sure this actually is an acid-throwing incident. It makes no sense on any level, and the reporter’s use of the passive voice certainly doesn’t help. Assuming, for the sake of argument, that some sort of attack actually took place, how the hell was it determined that the assailant mistook the “poisonous acid” for some non-existent hybrid of roofies and eau de cologne? Was this testimony carefully coaxed out of poor Jim Brown before the mob strung him up? The fact that the alleged assault victim wasn’t “seriously injured” seems dodgy too. But that’s all par for course during the golden age of Southern-fried race lynchings.

The Texas town of Benhur seems to have acquired its name from the bestselling 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. A deeply religious community, ostensibly.

fanaticsNew York Times, June 23, 1907. Armed with “squirt guns” full of acid, the bourgeoisie of Alliance, Ohio, terrorizes a camp meeting of glossolaliac holy rollers. Why? Who the hell knows? It’s all part of life’s rich pageantry.

chiropodistAtlanta Constitution, February 16, 1905. An inter-racial acid-toss from down Georgia way. I’m thinking that a chiropodist on a chain gang would have plenty of opportunity for pro bono service, but since this is the foot doctor’s second stretch in stripes and manacles, I guess he wasn’t extracting much spiritual growth from the experience. It’s interesting that the reporter for once took pains to explain why the perp was in possession of acid in the first place. Everybody else in America just happened to have a tumbler or bottle of acid at hand, but chiropodists pack it for a reason. Medical men, by the way, seem to have been exceptionally prone to throwing acid, as we shall see.