Who was it who observed that Bugs Bunny is the guy we all hope we are, but Daffy Duck is the guy we fear we really are?
Bugs Bunny is 74 today, having debuted this day in 1940. Read more here, from last year’s commemoration.
Who was it who observed that Bugs Bunny is the guy we all hope we are, but Daffy Duck is the guy we fear we really are?
Bugs Bunny is 74 today, having debuted this day in 1940. Read more here, from last year’s commemoration.
Interesting tribute to old soldiers, quite touching — and thought provoking.
As with too much other good stuff on the internet, the attribution to the creator or creators has been stripped away in a thousand repostings.
Who created this image? Do they have other thought-provoking stuff we should know about?
This is the cartoon:
One of my old high school classmates, Shaun McCausland, ran for the U.S. Senate in Utah in 2012, on the Constitution Party ticket. Nice kid, I felt an obligation to pay attention to what he was trying to do, even with his running against my old boss, Orrin Hatch.
I was surprised to find in his campaign materials he e-mailed me, a call for the repeal of the 17th Amendment.
What? That’s the amendment that gives us direct election of U.S. senators, instead of letting the state legislatures select them. Why repeal?
Shaun sent along an explanation, from Constitution Party materials, as I recall, claiming that the 17th Amendment was a “power grab” by industry and other oligarchist groups, to take power from the states. It was a move towards corruption, the material explained.
Seriously? People think that today?
History takes a different view.
Prior to the 17th Amendment, state legislatures selected the U.S. senators. Big corporate interests — the monopolists — figured this out in spades, and proceeded to buy state legislatures, thereby getting the right to name their friends to the U.S. Senate, in the perfect picture of a corrupt bargain (the charge originally aimed at the supposed deal between John Quincy Adams and Daniel Webster, in which it was alleged Webster got the House of Representatives to name Adams president, and Webster was in turn appointed Secretary of State, the president-in-waiting post of that day).
Look at the cartoon. You’ll see the fat “bosses” sitting around the back of the senate chamber labeled, “Copper Trust,” “Steel Trust,” “Oil Trust,” and so on.
Consider Montana, Utah and Arizona. In each of those states, huge copper mines were among the leading businesses. The domes of the Arizona and Utah capitol buildings are capped with copper, in honor of the leading role the ore and mineral played in early state history.
Who got elected to the state legislatures in those states? Copper company-approved and -supported candidates won.
So, who was elected to the U.S. Senate, by the state legislatures? Copper company-approved senators.
In 1913, when Arizona joined the union, one could make a case that copper controlled at least 6 senators out of 96.
And so it was for other trusts, in other states — or a mixture of trusts in some states. Think of the trusts of the time — the copper trust, the steel trust, the steel beam trust, the nail trust, the coal trust, and many others.
The rich guys ruled.
While this system technically violated no laws in those campaign-contribution-limit-free days, it clearly affected legislation. The Progressive Movement arose as a grassroots movement, from farmers and laborers, from downtrodden immigrants, from the prairies, mines and mills. When enough people got involved, they could out vote the trusts in a few things — but it still took more than a quarter century to change the election process for the U.S. Senate, to keep the corruption out.
Politics of the 1900 to 1920 were complex, and can be oversimplified easily. Running that risk, let us note that by the time Woodrow Wilson took over the White House, reformers were maneuvering to fix problems in lots of areas, sometimes with great overreaches like the 18th Amendment and Prohibition, but also with long-needed reforms, and reforms headed in the right direction but not strongly or fast enough, like the creation of the Federal Reserve.
The 17th Amendment was intended to get corruption out of the U.S. Senate, especially the senator selection process. Instead of leaving the selection in the hands of corporation-captive state legislatures, the 17th Amendment expanded democracy, making the selection of U.S. senators a choice of the people of the state, at the ballot box.
Keppler’s cartoon, originally published in Punch Magazine, tells the story in one panel. It shows the U.S. Senate — very astute historians may be able to pick out and identify particular senators — with the chief door labeled “Monopolists’ Entrance.” Coming through the door, and lining the back of the Senate, are the “Bosses of the Senate,” moneybags with legs, or in one case an oil barrel with legs, and with the name of the trust written across the front of their nattily-dressed girths.
The senators turn to their bosses, awaiting instruction.
Inscribed on the wall at the back of the chamber is a twisted rendition of Lincoln’s stirring description of the government intended by the Constitution: “This is the Senate of the Monopolists by the Monopolists and for the Monopolists!”
There is a door to the galleries of the Senate, labeled “The Peoples’ Entrance.” It is barred, bolted and nailed shut, keeping out the American people.
Keppler’s cartoon was published January 23, 1889. Earlier reform attempts failed, in 1828, 1829 and 1855. Progressives including William Jennings Bryan, George Frisbie Hoar and Elihu Root pushed for reform in the 1890s. By 1910, some 31 states had passed resolutions asking for reform; some of them initiated direct primary elections, though that didn’t generally affect the selections by the legislatures. Partly to avoid a states-led convention to amend the Constitution, which could easily run rogue, critics feared, Congress took up the issue. Congress passed the amendment, submitting it to the states on May 13, 1912. By April 18, 1913, three-fourths of the states had ratified the proposal, and it was declared the 17th Amendment. Ironically, by that time Bryan had assumed the office of Secretary of State, and it fell to him to proclaim the amendment adopted on May 31, 2013.
The fat cats lost.
Please remember that.
Another cartoon, by Spencer, for the Omaha (Nebraska) World, poking fun at the time required to get the 17th Amendment; from the U.S. National Archives, collected by Robert C. Byrd, Senate Majority Leader:
Cartoon from Tom Toles at the Washington Post, April 2, 2014:
Why you need to know a little history to get good jokes:
Yogi Berra is famous for his sayings, some of which sound foolish at first, but which generally pack a lot of wisdom or sharp observation.
Berra grew up in St. Louis, which has many famous restaurants. On some occasion, someone suggested the group should go eat at Ruggeri’s, and Yogi’s reply became famous:
On why he no longer went to Ruggeri’s, a St. Louis restaurant: “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”
How do Labor and Capital differ? They differ in two key ways: First, in the burden they carry; and second, in the way they carry that burden.
Illustrations from a book I would definitely like: Monash University Publishing, Drawing the Line, Chapter 6. ‘All the World Over’ The Transnational World of Australian Radical and Labour Cartoonists:
This view of Capital and Labor was not unique to the anonymous source; from the same year:
Capitalists appear to have all eaten well, well enough in the eye of the public that a fat man with a vest was quick, cartoonist shorthand for “capitalist.” If it did not apply in every case — see John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, and the younger Cornelius Vanderbilt, for example — it applied often enough that “the fat guy” was instantly recognized as the capitalist, the factory owner, the boss.
Click over to that Monash University site; there are a score of great cartoons in that one chapter.
Brilliant work from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.
This cartoon is witty and funny — and it is a wonderful illustration of how people need to know enough to see the humor, or cheat.
Don’t catch the gags? See here.
You may discuss the cartoon at the SMBC blog:
August 26, 2011
Well, this record may stand for a while. 57 panels, baby.
Or discuss it here at the Bathtub.
The cartoon reminds me of so many lazy or not-up-to-par students who would stay up late inventing ways to cheat on an exam, when a bit of study would have paid so many more dividends.
It’s harder to cheat, most of the time, that to be honest and learn the stuff.
The murky waters of history from Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub soak even our most cherished ideas and traditions.
But isn’t that part of the fun of history?
Yes, Virginia (and California, too)! Thomas Nast created the image of Santa Claus most of us in the U.S. know today. Perhaps even more significant than his campaign against the graft of Boss Tweed, Nast’s popularization of a fat, jolly elf who delivers good things to people for Christmas makes one of the great stories in commercial illustration. Nast’s cartoons, mostly for the popular news publication Harper’s Weekly, created many of the conventions of modern political cartooning and modeled the way in which an illustrator could campaign for good, with his campaign against the graft of Tammany Hall and Tweed. But Nast’s popular vision of Santa Claus can be said to be the foundation for the modern mercantile flurry around Christmas.
Nast is probably ensconced in a cartoonists’ hall of fame. Perhaps he should be in a business or sales hall of fame, too. [See also Bill Casselman's page, "The Man Who Designed Santa Claus.]
Nast’s drawings probably drew some inspiration from the poem, “Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas,” traditionally attributed to Clement C. Moore, a New York City lawyer, published in 1822. The poem is among the earliest to describe the elf dressed in fur, and magically coming down a chimney to leave toys for children; the poem invented the reindeer-pulled sleigh.
Modern analysis suggests the poem was not the work of Moore, and many critics and historians now attribute it to Major Henry Livingston, Jr. (1748-1828) following sleuthing by Vassar College Prof. Don Foster in 2000. Fortunately for us, we do not need to be partisans in such a query to enjoy the poem (a complete copy of which is below the fold).
The Library of Congress still gives Moore the credit. When disputes arise over who wrote about the night before Christmas, is it any wonder more controversial topics produce bigger and louder disputes among historians?
Moore was not known for being a poet. The popular story is that he wrote it on the spur of the moment:
Moore is thought to have composed the tale, now popularly known as “The Night Before Christmas,” on December 24, 1822, while traveling home from Greenwich Village, where he had bought a turkey for his family’s Christmas dinner.
Inspired by the plump, bearded Dutchman who took him by sleigh on his errand through the snow-covered streets of New York City, Moore penned A Visit from St. Nicholas for the amusement of his six children, with whom he shared the poem that evening. His vision of St. Nicholas draws upon Dutch-American and Norwegian traditions of a magical, gift-giving figure who appears at Christmas time, as well as the German legend of a visitor who enters homes through chimneys.
Again from the Library of Congress, we get information that suggests that Moore was a minor celebrity from a well-known family with historical ties that would make a good “connections” exercise in a high school history class, perhaps (”the link from Aaron Burr’s treason to Santa Claus?”): (read more, below the fold)
Clement Moore was born in 1779 into a prominent New York family. His father, Benjamin Moore, president of Columbia University, in his role as Episcopal Bishop of New York participated in the inauguration of George Washington as the nation’s first president. The elder Moore also administered last rites to Alexander Hamilton after he was mortally wounded in a tragic duel with Aaron Burr.
A graduate of Columbia, Clement Moore was a scholar of Hebrew and a professor of Oriental and Greek literature at the General Theological Seminary in Manhattan. [See comment from Pam Bumsted below for more on Moore.] He is said to have been embarrassed by the light-hearted verse, which was made public without his knowledge in December 1823. Moore did not publish it under his name until 1844.
Tonight, American children will be tucked in under their blankets and quilts and read this beloved poem as a last “sugarplum” before slipping into dreamland. Before they drift off, treat them to a message from Santa, recorded by the Thomas Edison Company in 1922.
“Santa Claus Hides in Your Phonograph“
By Arthur A. Penn, Performed by Harry E. Humphrey.
Coupling date: 6/20/1922. Cutout date: 10/31/1929.
Inventing Entertainment: The Motion Pictures and Sound Recordings of the Edison Companies
Listen to this recording (RealAudio Format)
Listen to this recording (wav Format, 8,471 Kb)
But Henry Livingston was no less noble or historic. He hailed from the Livingstons of the Hudson Valley (one of whose farms is now occupied by Camp Rising Sun of the Louis August Jonas Foundation, a place where I spent four amazing summers teaching swimming and lifesaving). Livingston’s biography at the University of Toronto site offers another path for a connections exercise (”What connects the Declaration of Independence, the American invasion of Canada, the famous poem about a visit from St. Nick, and George W. Bush?”):
Henry Livingston Jr. was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, on Oct. 13, 1748. The Livingston family was one of the important colonial and revolutionary families of New York. The Poughkeepsie branch, descended from Gilbert, the youngest son of Robert Livingston, 1st Lord of Livingston Manor, was not as well off as the more well-known branches, descended from sons Robert and Philip. Two other descendants of Gilbert Livingston, President George Walker Herbert Bush and his son, President-Elect George W. Bush, though, have done their share to bring attention to this line. Henry’s brother, Rev. John Henry Livingston, entered Yale at the age of 12, and was able to unite the Dutch and American branches of the Dutch Reformed Church. At the time of his death, Rev. Livingston was president of Rutgers University. Henry’s father and brother Gilbert were involved in New York politics, and Henry’s granduncle was New York’s first Lt. Governor. But the law was the natural home for many of Henry’s family. His brother-in-law, Judge Jonas Platt, was an unsuccessful candidate for governor, as was his daughter Elizabeth’s husband, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Smith Thompson. Henry’s grandson, Sidney Breese, was Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court.
Known for his encyclopedic knowledge and his love of literature, Henry Livingston was a farmer, surveyor and Justice of the Peace, a judicial position dealing with financially limited criminal and civil cases. One of the first New Yorkers to enlist in the Revolutionary Army in 1775, Major Henry Livingston accompanied his cousin’s husband, General Montgomery, in his campaign up the Hudson River to invade Canada, leaving behind his new wife, Sarah Welles, and their week-old baby, on his Poughkeepsie property, Locust Grove. Baby Catherine was the subject of the first poem currently known by Major Livingston. Following this campaign, Livingston was involved in the War as a Commissioner of Sequestration, appropriating lands owned by British loyalists and selling them for the revolutionary cause. It was in the period following Sarah’s early death in 1783, that Major Livingston published most of his poems and prose, anonymously or under the pseudonym of R. Ten years after the death of Sarah, Henry married Jane Patterson, the daughter of a Dutchess County politician and sister of his next-door neighbor. Between both wives, Henry fathered twelve children. He published his good-natured, often occasional verse from 1787 in many journals, including Political Barometer, Poughkeepsie Journal, and New-York Magazine. His most famous poem, “Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas,” was until 2000 thought to have been the work of Clement Clarke Moore (1779-1863), who published it with his collected poems in 1844. Livingston died Feb. 29, 1828.
Our views of Santa Claus owe a great deal also to the Coca-Cola advertising campaign. Coca-Cola first noted Santa’s use of the drink in a 1922 campaign to suggest Coke was a year-round drink (100 years after the publication of Livingston’s poem). The company’s on-line archives gives details:
In 1930, artist Fred Mizen painted a department store Santa in a crowd drinking a bottle of Coke. The ad featured the world’s largest soda fountain, which was located in the department store of Famous Barr Co. in St. Louis, Mo. Mizen’s painting was used in print ads that Christmas season, appearing in The Saturday Evening Post in December 1930.
- 1936 Coca-Cola Santa cardboard store display
Archie Lee, the D’Arcy Advertising Agency executive working with The Coca-Cola Company, wanted the next campaign to show a wholesome Santa as both realistic and symbolic. In 1931, The Coca-Cola Company commissioned Michigan-born illustrator Haddon Sundblom to develop advertising images using Santa Claus — showing Santa himself, not a man dressed as Santa, as Mizen’s work had portrayed him.
- 1942 original oil painting – ‘They Remembered Me’
For inspiration, Sundblom turned to Clement Clark Moore’s 1822 poem “A Visit From St. Nicholas” (commonly called “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”). Moore’s description of St. Nick led to an image of Santa that was warm, friendly, pleasantly plump and human. For the next 33 years, Sundblom painted portraits of Santa that helped to create the modern image of Santa — an interpretation that today lives on in the minds of people of all ages, all over the world.
Santa Claus is a controversial figure. Debates still rage among parents about the wisdom of allowing the elf into the family’s home, and under what conditions. Theologians worry that the celebration of Christmas is diluted by the imagery. Other faiths worry that the secular, cultural impact of Santa Claus damages their own faiths (few other faiths have such a popular figure, and even atheists generally give gifts and participate in Christmas rituals such as putting up a decorated tree).
For over 100 years, Santa Claus has been a popular part of commercial, cultural and religious life in America. Has any other icon endured so long, or so well?
From the University of Toronto Library’s Representative Poetry Online
Major Henry Livingston, Jr. (1748-1828)
Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas
1 ‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the house,
2 Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
3 The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
4 In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
5 The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
6 While visions of sugar plums danc’d in their heads,
7 And Mama in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
8 Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap –
9 When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
10 I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
11 Away to the window I flew like a flash,
12 Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash.
13 The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow,
14 Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below;
15 When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
16 But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny rein-deer,
17 With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
18 I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
19 More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
20 And he whistled, and shouted, and call’d them by name:
21 “Now! Dasher, now! Dancer, now! Prancer, and Vixen,
22 “On! Comet, on! Cupid, on! Dunder and Blixem;
23 “To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
24 “Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
25 As dry leaves before the wild hurricane fly,
26 When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
27 So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
28 With the sleigh full of Toys — and St. Nicholas too:
29 And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
30 The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
31 As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
32 Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound:
33 He was dress’d all in fur, from his head to his foot,
34 And his clothes were all tarnish’d with ashes and soot;
35 A bundle of toys was flung on his back,
36 And he look’d like a peddler just opening his pack:
37 His eyes — how they twinkled! his dimples how merry,
38 His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry;
39 His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow.
40 And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
41 The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
42 And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
43 He had a broad face, and a little round belly
44 That shook when he laugh’d, like a bowl full of jelly:
45 He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
46 And I laugh’d when I saw him in spite of myself;
47 A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
48 Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
49 He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
50 And fill’d all the stockings; then turn’d with a jerk,
51 And laying his finger aside of his nose
52 And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.
53 He sprung to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
54 And away they all flew, like the down of a thistle:
55 But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight –
56 Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.
Online text copyright © 2005, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto. Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries. Be sure to visit this site for more information on this poem, on Maj. Livingston, and on poetry in general.
Genius from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal:
I was thinking this cartoon shades a great deal toward the too brutal side; but then I pondered just what Cruz proposes, which is to finish the work Osama bin Laden couldn’t finish himself.
Then someone referred this article to me today; one might wonder if Sen. Cruz’s idea is, indeed, to bring down our nation, or at least, to plunder the government and those Cruz considers “beneath” him.
What do you think? Too brutal, or too close to the truth?
Jeff Danziger drew cartoons for the Christian Science Monitor when I discovered him. He’s moved from there (as has a lot of the good stuff that used to show up in the print editions, especially since it’s gone to electronic daily publication). But his style is cool, to me, and he’s spot on here.
Is this right? He’s been nominated for a Pulitzer, but never got the award?
Another cartoon on climate change denialism, and the bizarre logic some denialists use — no apologies made to Niemoller at XKCD’s site:
[It appears that the word "denialism" triggers WordPress software to suggest "Fox News" as a topic.]
On July 27, 1940, Bugs Bunny burst onto screens across the nation in his first Warner Bros. cartoon, “A Wild Hare.”
Still wondering who was it said this. Can you help me pin down the source?
Bugs Bunny is who we hope to be, but Daffy Duck is who we secretly fear we are.
Happy birthday, Bugs!
I don’t know. It seems a little extreme.
But I don’t see anybody trying to stop Bugs. Bugs Bunny, Florida, Zimmerman Trial, Stand Your Ground
Brilliant piece from Grant Snider — history teachers, this should be a poster in your classroom, no? Art teachers?
In the course of a junior-level, high school U.S. history class, students should experience each of these works, and many others. This is one whimsical way to work with serious and uplifting material, no?
Mr. Snider has a short essay — inspiring — and the information on each of the works he portrays, at the Modern Art site (I’ve added links below, here).
Since that formative vacation, the art museum is always one my of first stops in visiting a new city. In the comic above, I’ve curated my ideal collection of 20th-century American art. Here’s a list of works in order of appearance:
What are your favorite American art works, and what do they portray or demonstrate that you like?