Sunday, October 03, 2010

Today -100: October 3, 1910: Of cops, censorship and queues

Governor Austin Crothers of Maryland is prosecuting two Baltimore police commissioners for incompetence and misconduct and trying to oust various other police officials, including the chief. But for two days the cops have been guarding police hq and the commissioner’s offices to prevent the temporary commissioners appointed by the governor taking over. Will he send the militia in?

18 leading British playwrights have penned a protest against the banning of Laurence Housman’s play about the attempt by George IV in 1820 to divorce Queen Caroline, Pains and Penalties, and a demand that there be a right of appeal against such bans. Bernard Shaw noted in the preface to his Plays Unpleasant that in 1737 Henry Fielding had “devoted his genius to the task of exposing and destroying parliamentary corruption, then at its height. Walpole, unable to govern without corruption, promptly gagged the stage by a censorship which is in full force at the present moment. Fielding, driven out of the trade of Molière and Aristophanes, took to that of Cervantes; and since then the English novel has been one of the glories of literature, whilst the English drama has been its disgrace.” The reason given by the Lord Chamberlain for the ban on Housman’s play was that it was about “a sad historical episode of comparatively recent date in the life of an unhappy lady.” Too soon? Queen Caroline had been dead for 90 years.

The former Chinese ambassador to the US is presenting the emperor with a memorial on behalf of Chinese living in the Americas asking to be allowed to stop wearing Chinese clothing and the queue (the long braid of hair).

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