Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Today -100: June 4, 1914: Of bloody brats, crassness, antillas, morning canters, dunkards, and wet wobblies

Bernard Shaw got away with including the line “not bloody likely” in Pygmalion, but the Lord Chamberlain bans an entire play, “The Supplanters” by Irish unknown J. B. McCarthy, for including the phrase “bloody brats.”

The NYT finds the depiction of Red Indians in movies to be insulting to civilized Native Americans (who are now the majority of Native Americans, it says), although it praises “Hiawatha” (which the Internet Movie Database says was the first film with an all-Native American cast)(but as usual doesn’t say whether it’s one of the many silent films which have been lost, which would be useful information to include, IMDb) for its accurate depiction of Indian culture. That film and “L’inferno,” the first and quite possibly only film with an all Dante-scholar cast, prove that “The period of crassness in this new art is near its close.”

Although it was understood that no arms would be shipped from the US to either side in Mexico while the Niagara Falls talks were going on, the liner Antilla leaves New York for Tampico with 3 million rounds of ammunition (and two airplanes) for the rebels. William Jennings Bryan claims to know nothing about it, saying that orders to prevent such sailings were sent to Southern ports first and may not have reached NY yet. Totally believable.

A suffragette attacks an attendant who tries to stop her hacking at paintings with a hatchet at the Doré Gallery in London, evidently not having gotten the message about harming only property. Elsewhere, two suffragettes attack Dr. Forward, the medical officer of Holloway Gaol with a horse whip (or dogwhip, according to the London Times). And another cricket pavilion goes up in flames, as was the custom.

The British government is thinking about charging every contributor to Women’s Social and Political Union funds with conspiracy. The theory is that most of the arson and picketing and whatnot is performed these days by women on the WSPU payroll rather than volunteers as in the glory days, making the WSPU vulnerable to an attack on its finances. Also, it allows the government to portray the militants as well-paid mercenaries (they are, of course, neither).

Sylvia Pankhurst is threatening to hunger-strike on the steps of the House of Commons unless Prime Minister Asquith receives a deputation. This is potentially a significant escalation in tactics: all previous hunger strikes have taken place in prison.

That article on various suffragette doings ends with the Sentence of The Day -100: “The King has discontinued his morning canter in Rotten Row.”

Czar Nicholas is thinking about responding to the decline in foreign investments by gradually removing the restrictions on Jews participating in joint-stock companies.

The national conference of the German Baptist Church (“Dunkards”) in Frankfort, Indiana votes to discourage its members owning automobiles, “at least until such time as they become in general use or until we get more light on the subject.”

Headline of the Day -100: “500 Wait to Duck I.W.W. Men in River.” (The LA Times’s typically dickish headline for the same story: “They Despise Clean Water.”) To prevent the Wobblies holding a free speech demonstration in the Tarrytown, NY, Fountain Square, the locals have laid down a layer of tar one inch deep. The 500 Tarrytonians waited at the train station to give any arriving activists the traditional Tarrytown welcome of a bath in the Hudson, but none came.

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