Friday, February 16, 2018

Today -100: February 16, 1918: Camarade république


Russian Foreign Minister Leon Trotsky says that Russia has indeed withdrawn from the war, and from its alliance with the Entente. Trotsky’s idea seems to be No War, No Peace, in which there is no fighting but also no humiliating peace treaty. But will Germany abide by that?

Spoiler Alert: No.

Russia has blocked news reports to London (and presumably elsewhere) for a week, except for official announcements. No one’s sure exactly why.

A mob in Mount Olive, Illinois, rounds up alleged pro-Germans, beats them up, and forces one of them to kiss every star in the flag. If that doesn’t teach them to love America, I don’t know what will.

France is smuggling instructions on how to surrender to German soldiers – in sausages. The codeword is “camarade république.”

Vernon Castle, the dancer played by Fred Astaire in The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle (1939), dies in an aviation accident; he was a captain in the Royal Flying Corps killed while training another pilot in Fort Worth, where there have been a bunch of crashes recently.

The Canadian government says women’s suffrage will be in place by the next election.

Headline of the Day -100: Lunatic right-wing Member of Parliament Noel Pemberton Billing publishes an article in his journal Vigilante implying that dancer Maud Allan, currently appearing in a private production of Oscar Wilde’s Salome (private because Wilde’s plays are still banned in Britain), is a lesbian who is associated with pro-German homosexual conspirators or something. The article is titled “The Cult of the Clitoris,” because of course it is. Pemberton Billing has previously claimed that there are 47,000 perverts in Britain being blackmailed by German agents. This article says that if the police seize the names of ticket-holders, they’ll have identified many of the 47,000. He says the wives of many men in high office (he implies former prime minister Asquith’s wife Margot is one) reveal state secrets in a state of lesbian ecstasy. Allan will sue Billing for libel but will lose. Allan’s lawyers will say that the term “cult of the clitoris” could only mean lesbian, while Pemberton Billing will claim that only a lesbian would even know the word. An expert medical witness Dr. Serrell Cooke will say that clitoris is a Greek term which “has nothing to do with ordinary language; nobody but a medical man, or people interested in that kind of thing would understand the term”. You know, perverts. When “unduly excited or overdeveloped, [the clitoris] possessed the most dreadful influence on any woman.” Pemberton Billing says the public could not be corrupted by his use of the term because the word was known only to doctors – and people who were already corrupted. I’m barely scratching the surface of the craziness of the trial: Bosie! sex murders!

The case will be the first ever discussion of lesbianism in the British popular press (the judge, who is called Justice Darling because of course he is, begged the press, in vain, not to report the details) and the first appearance of the word clitoris in the London Times.

Oh, and Maud Allan actually was totally a lesbian.


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1 comment:

Susan said...

This very good news, that they find peace, no war, Hopefully for the better and peaceful in each country. I have no idea that Maud Allan actually was totally a lesbian. but thanks for this informations, Thanks a lot, More updates of this.