Sunday, June 03, 2018

Today -100: June 3, 1918: Of crucifixions, ice, and the music of conquest

Herbert Pratt, VP of Standard Oil of New York, just back from doing something or other for the YMCA in France – ensuring that they had tobacco to sell soldiers I think – says he keeps hearing that German soldiers crucified 2 American soldiers and decapitated a bunch more. He’s sure these stories are true because he heard them several times from soldiers who knew a guy who knew a guy who’d seen the bodies. It’s nice to see fake atrocity stories from early in the war being recycled for gullible Americans.

Herbert Hoover’s Food Administration is doing a survey of ice throughout the country.

The first Pulitzer Prize for drama goes to Jesse Lynch Williams for “Why Marry?

The Los Angeles Board of Education withdraws 3,000 copies of its “Elementary Song Book” because it has too much German music (Brahms, Schubert, Handel’s “Joy to the World,” a Bavarian yodel – you know, pro-German propaganda like that). Superintendent Albert Shiels orders a purge of “any poem, musical selection, illustration, or other reference complimenting the civilization of Germany, the rulers or officials of that country.” The LA Times (June 18th) approves: “German music, as a whole, is dangerous in that it preaches the same philosophy, or, rather sophistry, as most of the German literature. It is the music of conquest, the music of the storm, of disorder and devastation. It is symbolical of neither the sunbeams singing among the daisies nor of grand cathedral bells calling worshipers to prayer. It is rather a combination of the howl of the cave man and the roaring of the north winds.” Well, the yodel maybe.

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