Saturday, April 12, 2014

Today -100: April 12, 1914: Not bloody likely


Admiral Mayo has graciously agreed to give the Mexicans another 24 hours to obey his demand for a 21-gun salute to the American flag.

Oklahoma Gov. Lee Cruce says he will call out the militia to stop racing under the auspices of the Tulsa Jockey Club. The club denies that the governor has any legal authority to stop gambling on horse races. The militia will literally occupy the race track.

There is a movement to reform the death penalty in Germany. Not end it, of course, but replace decapitation by sword, still practiced in Prussia and elsewhere, with the more humane guillotine or gallows or electric chair.

Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, which actually premiered in Germany last year, finally opens in London, with Beerbohm Tree as Henry Higgins and Mrs. Patrick Campbell as Eliza Doolittle. Shaw left in the middle; Tree explained in his curtain speech that GBS had been upset by all the applause and laughter (Shaw does not like audiences fucking up his timing). The London Times thinks the play contains the first use of the word “bloody” on the London stage (Eliza’s line “Not bloody likely” was responsible for much of that laughter). The bloody inclusion will be debated in the bloody newspapers and magazines for bleedin’ weeks to come (although most newspapers find themselves unable to print the offending epithet), and luminaries such as the bishop of Woolwich and the Oxford Union will express their opinion, because of course they will. At one point the Daily Express brought an actual Covent Garden flower girl named Eliza to the play to test her reaction, and she was bloody shocked.

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1 comment:

David Chappell said...

Sword or guillotine or gallows or electric chair: the bloody relativity of humaneness.