Thursday, January 15, 2015

Today -100: January 15, 1915: Look with contempt upon those who are so immoral as to eat cakes


South Carolina Gov. Coleman Blease resigns, five days before his term was due to expire. Just doesn’t want to attend his successor’s inauguration, evidently. (He will also take all his records with him).

The New Jersey auto commissioner, speed demon that he is, wants the state speed limit raised to 30 mph in the country and 15 in the city, up from 25 & 12. He also wants to put drunk drivers in jail – it’s not clear what the punishment is now, if any.

Headline of the Day -100: “King Helps at Avezzano.” If you define “helped” as “stood around giving orders to people who were actually helping those injured by the earthquake.”

Thousands of Armenian refugees are fleeing Turkey into Russia. “They are in a pitiable state,” says the NYT. But not as pitiable as the state of the Armenians who didn’t make it out.

Headline of the Day -100: A matched set: 1) “Germany Alarmed By Famine Menace,” 2) “CAKES AND TARTS TABOOED.; Germans Exhorted to Blush with Shame if Tempted to Eat Them.” Prussian Agriculture Minister Baron von Schorlemer is also said to be “really concerned about pork”. I’ll bet he is, I’ll bet he is. The blush thing comes from a Doctor Professor Harms of the University of Kiel, who adds, “Look with contempt upon those who are so immoral as to eat cakes, and by their greed diminish our supplies of flour.”

At a meeting of the New York State Association Opposed to Woman’s Suffrage, a Mrs Frank Goodwin says 8 of the 11 suffrage states are controlled by Mormons. She says feminism is “not the sweet, easy elevation of womanhood which many suffragists believe, but the demand of restless, discontented, unhappy women for greater economic and social independence and for freedom to interpret the question of motherhood as they see fit.” She says that like it’s a bad thing. The suffragists, she says, “would help this world along on stepping stones for smirched and stained womanhood.” A Miss Minnie Bronson, the Association’s general secretary, says “Woman’s work is the training of the men who will make the laws. The worst grafter had a mother who found something – perhaps bridge whist or woman’s suffrage – more interesting than the training of her child.” Suffragists, she says, teach disobedience to laws they have not helped make. She says that like it’s a bad thing. A Mrs. A.J. George of the Massachusetts anti society tells of friend who asked her how to “cure” a woman of 18 who had joined the suffrage movement. “I said I thought if she would fall desperately in love it would settle the matter.”

Headline of the Day -100 (LA Times): “Screech of the Shells Makes the Hens Lay.” According to a British captain in a letter home. After every fusillade, the men go chasing after the chickens in hope of eggs. “I shall try running a poultry farm on the explosion system when I get home.”

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3 comments:

name99 said...
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name99 said...

“Look with contempt upon those who are so immoral as to eat cakes, and by their greed diminish our supplies of flour.”

Serious question: what exactly is the good professor's complaint here? The eggs, sugar, and, yes, flour going into the cakes are going to be eaten. Their calories are going to nourish the body just as much as they would if the flour went into bread, or the sugar into mugs of tea and coffee. Cake-making is not an enterprise that wastes large amounts of materials, or uses unusually large amounts of heat. So what's the issue?

I have two hypotheses.
One is that the sugar supply is already running low, but the government doesn't want to admit that, with all it implies for when other, more essential items run low. Hence this nonsense --- maybe if you believe you shouldn't eat cake, you won't notice that there aren't many cakes actually available for eating...

Second is that this is the usual sort of magical thinking humans engage in when confronting any problem: if I sacrifice (and even better, if YOU sacrifice) then the gods will look favorably on us and do what we want. You see the same sort of thing today when it comes to environmental issues where people are exhorted to engage in (or abstain from) a random grab-bag of activities, some of which have hundreds or thousands of times the impact of others, but with no weighting as to which are more important; because the point of the exercise is nothing so trivial as counting joules, the point of the exercise is to engage in shared sacrifice.

WIIIAI said...

I seem to have left out the link for that story, which I have now added. Doktor Harms was a "professor of state sciences," whatever that means. The science of nutrition was still fairly undeveloped and a proper understanding of calories, which you mention, didn't come until the 1920s, so I'm not really sure what Harms's meaning was, or his understanding of the nutritional properties of various foodstuffs. He is also quoted as exhorting Germans to waste not a single crumb, to fill up on potatoes, and to eat "war bread" (in which the wheat is adulterated with rye). Germany is beginning to understand that proper allocation of scarce food resources is going to win or lose the war, which some historians think it did, Germany being essentially starved into submission after the British naval blockade put Germany on a collective diet. I once saw somewhere an estimate of how much weight the Germans lost by the end of the war, and it was quite a few tons.