Bad News From the Past

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Final Cut

Posted By on 11.25.10 at 11:45 AM

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New York Tribune, November 20, 1921. Yet another iteration of the left-over turkey gag from Clare Briggs. Note that nobody ever seems to have complained about leftover mince pie.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

It's Not You, It's Me

Posted By on 11.24.10 at 11:58 AM

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Wisconsin State Journal, September 9, 1880. That "D.T." stands for the Dakota Territory, which in 1889 would be split in twain and admitted to the Union as North and South Dakota. We're looking at a dandy Deadwood subplot here. A bagnio (for those of you who dognio) is a slightly classier name for a brothel, a bordello, a bawdy house, a house of ill repute, a place of vile resort, a whorehouse. The fact that Mrs. Healy preferred employment in the red-light district of a frontier gold-rush town to living with her lawyer husband strikes me as pretty impressive evidence that she just wasn't that into him. As to Mr. Healy's deal, I am reminded of lines from a Leonard Cohen song: "A man never got a woman back / Not by begging on his knees."

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Shell Game

Posted By on 11.23.10 at 01:46 PM

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Wisconsin State Journal, September 9, 1880. An oyster train was a fast-moving west-bound freight job loaded with ice and fresh-caught crustaceans, probably from Maryland, which was to oysters as California is now to medical marijuana. With a bit of luck, a skilled team of oyster-train engineers could get their still-living cargo to the oyster-crazed riffraff of Chicago in just 36 hours. But this particular team did not have a bit of luck.

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Clerical Terror

Posted By on 11.22.10 at 11:17 AM

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Wisconsin State Journal, September 14, 1880. It was extremely subtle, but if you knew how to read between the lines, the Wisconsin State Journal had something of an anti-Catholic bias. It is reflected again here, in this item from the same issue:

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Child Labor

Posted By on 11.19.10 at 03:16 PM

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Chicago Tribune, November 23, 1920. The oppressed youngster in this Clare Briggs cartoon is applying a multi-bladed chopping device to a piece of boiled beef which, once minced, will be combined with the above-mentioned apples and raisins and a whole lot of other stuff, then baked into a gooey mince pie, which dish at the time enjoyed equal billing with roast turkey on the Thanksgiving menu.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thou Anointeth My Head With Acid

Posted By on 11.18.10 at 10:45 AM

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New York Times, June 23, 1907. Armed with “squirt guns” full of acid, the bourgeoisie of Alliance, Ohio, terrorizes a camp meeting of glossolaliac holy rollers. Why? Who the hell knows? It’s all part of life’s rich pageantry.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Feast on the Beast

Posted By on 11.17.10 at 01:13 PM

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Atlanta Constitution, December 1, 1919. What would Thanksgiving be without jokes about turkey leftovers? Personally, mind you, I've never seen such a thing as too much turkey: As long as it lasts, I'm happy to re-purpose the surplus as turkey sandwiches, turkey pot pie, turkey noodle soup, turkey sorbet, whatevs.
This sweet cartoon is fairly representative of the work of Clare Briggs, who's up there with H.T. Webster and John T. McCutcheon as an early comix genius ripe for rediscovery. I love the face on that little dude in the baby dress.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Eating Ass

Posted By on 11.16.10 at 04:00 PM

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Atlanta Constitution November 24 1919. The fatty rump of the turkey is no longer prized as a delicacy so much I think. Back in the day, it was variously known as the Pope's nose (among Protestants) and the parson's nose (among Catholics). The scientific term for this fatty protuberance is pygostyle.

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Was He Colored Red, By Any Chance?

Posted By on 11.16.10 at 11:41 AM

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New York Times, October 27, 1851. Matadors don't square off against their opponents until the latter have been significantly worked over by the picador, whose job it is to fuck up the bull's neck muscles. This makes it significantly easier to dodge and eventually murder the poor critter, whose range of vision is thereby sharply limited. It's a sordid spectacle, but there are good reasons why those cape-waving cowards in their tight pantaloons don't care to take on a hale and healthy beast.

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Unless You Wanna Cross the River Styx

Posted By on 11.15.10 at 04:34 PM

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New York Times, October 20, 1851. From what little I know of her, Miss Hayes strikes me as a girl chock-full of moxie, but the point still stands: Don't jump after the ferry-boats.

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