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Category Archives: International understanding

Chicago Tribune, October 9, 1920. Nativist fretting over the “Yellow Peril” was sky-high in the Roaring Twenties, and four years after Helen here spoke her ethnocentric mind, Congress passed the Asian Exclusion Act as part of the comprehensive new Immigration Act of 1924. The borders were reopened to Asians again in 1965.
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Baltimore Sun, December 16, 1897. A century ago, partiality to moo shu pork was a mark of extreme eccentricity, at least among non-“Celestials.”

Kansas City Star, July 7, 1921. Neither beer nor whiskey nor dopey junk–sounds like a breakthrough all right. I’m guessing the formula was bought up and filed away in the same secure facility that holds the pill that turns water into gasoline, the secret of anti-gravity and umpteen whirling perpetual motion machines.

Kansas City Times, March 30, 1921.This Tridon was a Freudian and something of a grand fromage in spreading that gospel in New York. Seems he had some significant racial and dietary bees in his bonnet too. Read More »

afireSalt Lake Telegram, June 3, 1922. Is it because Salt Lake City is a faraway foreign capital that I cannot make heads or tails of what should be a straightforward bit of scandal-mongering? afire2

She fainted while her underwear was on fire. Sheesh, what a mystery are the autonomous functions of the human body! But how odd that her dainties should catch fire and not the rest of her clothing. (Is silk particularly flammable, compared to other pre-synthetic fabrics?)
Then again, perhaps she was wearing only her underwear at the time–that would help explain their exclusive and limited combustion.
Or maybe she wasn’t wearing them at the time: She might have built a symbolic bonfire of her knickers on the hotel room floor before shooting the dude and herself.
The questions multiply the mysteries. . .
Anyway, I’m guessing “hotel attaches” are to house dicks as sanitary engineers are to garbagemen. Or maybe “attache” applies only to house dicks small enough to fit through transoms. But now let’s proceed to the intriguing literary aspects of the story.

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Chicago Tribune, September 16, 1916 (left) and December 24, 1895. Beautiful editorial cartoons from the Trib (click through twice for optimum magnification). The one on the left speaks for itself, I reckon. The one on the right pertains to the boundary dispute between Venezuela and Britain. Britain was preparing to kick some ass when the U.S. forcibly reasserted the Monroe Doctrine (“Nobody fucks about in South America but us”). The Brits initially said “Pshaw!” but then backed down–a watershed moment in global power politics. The profile on the target is of course John Bull. I love it that newspapers once had leeway to depict Uncle Sam as a dissolute old carny, and on Christmas Eve day no less. Imagine the ensuing uproar if it happened today.

wmbNew York Times, February 15, 1899. Here’s some evergreen political doggerel for all you protest cats. Read More »

contestsaDetroit News. April 22, 1931. Beauty contests in the Twenties and Thirties were forthrightly about female nubility and pulchritude and thus had all the respectability of today’s wet t-shirt contests. They subsequently acquired a toehold in the mainstream during WWII, when beauty queens were recruited to sell war bonds and entertain the troops. By the 1950s, pageants had become as wholesome as apple pie and as hypocritical as Elmer Gantry. The conflicted, sanitizing urge to dilute, deny and obscure the fundamental and irreducible boy-I’d-like-to-fuck-her agenda of beauty pageants is what gives rise to agonized weirdness like