Saturday, May 26, 2018

Hält die Klappe und Geh Raus!

Sprechenback Saturday continues last week's discussion of the push in the U.S. to repress all things German during World War I. I got somewhat distracted toward the end of last Saturday's post, so I'm going to get the distraction out of the way right off the bat today with a cartoon about Prohibition.
"Not a Drum Was Heard" by Burt Thomas in Detroit News, May, 1918
Indiana approved state-wide prohibition of alcohol on April 2, 1918, followed by Michigan on April 30. While Burt Thomas's cartoon features ward heelers lamenting the loss of their occupation and restaurateurs fretting that they must now provide quality food, what I want to point out is that John Barleycorn's casket is adorned with a beer stein and pretzel. And I suppose that's a bottle of liebfraumilch.

Before the war, cartoonists tended to portray the evils of liquor using Demon Rum or Wicked Whisky. Associating booze with the hated Hun, however, would soon facilitate passage of the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. (Increasing voting rights for women and shifting revenues from alcohol excise taxes to federal income taxes were also significant, but our topic today is animus toward German-Americans.)
"No Compromise" by Archibald Chapin in St. Louis Republic, ca. May, 1918
Even in German enclaves such as St. Louis and Cincinnati, there were drives to force German language out of the public sphere. Streets, hospitals and entire cities changed their names: Germantown, Nebraska, for example, being renamed Garland, for a local soldier killed in the war. There were contests to find a more Amurikin word for sauerkraut, although the name "liberty cabbage" didn't last as long as actual sauerkraut does. A Massachusetts doctor tried to get German measles renamed "liberty measles" ... but it didn't catch on.
Detail of "Saluting 'Cincy, the Queen City of the West'" by Manuel Rosenberg in Cartoons Magazine, July, 1918
It is a shame that neither the Milwaukee Journal nor Milwaukee Sentinel employed editorial cartoonists of their own at this point in history, because I would have liked to see the sort of reaction they would have drawn to all this Germanophobia. The Journal played up Teddy Roosevelt's May 29 visit on Page 1, at which the former president called for an end to "all societies, social, political, or any other" based on European heritage. That included ethnic churches (the norm for American Lutherans, Catholics, and some smaller denominations) and, of course, newspapers.
"I wish we could provide by law so that within a reasonable space of time, a space of time that will avoid unnecessary hardship, there shall be no newspaper published in the land except in English. ... If... treasonable or semi-treasonable matter is published in a newspaper in another tongue, people do not know that the poison is being instilled at all."
"Beware the Snake" by J.E. Murphy in San Francisco Call-Post, May 13, 1918
Of course, if Milwaukee had paid any heed to Mr. Roosevelt's "campaign against the hyphen," its summers would not be anywhere near as fun.

Roosevelt's advice appealed to Sidney Greene, possibly one of the most strident Germanophobes to sling ink; his cartoon drawn after Roosevelt delivered much the same speech in New York appeared here last week.
"Marooned" by Sidney Greene in New York Evening Evening Telegram, June 2, 1918
Suspicion of foreigners from whatever country one is at war with has always been fairly commonplace, and the Great War was no exception. And certain spectacular acts of German espionage had gotten cartoonists' attention. Greene seems to have been particularly anxious for the censorship of German-language media, returning to the topic again and again.

"How Long Must We Stand for This?" by Sidney Greene in New York Evening Telegram, June, 1918
On May 16, 1918, Congress passed the Sedition Act as an amendment to the 1917 Espionage Act, criminalizing "insulting or abusing the U.S. government, the flag, the Constitution or the military" by speech or publication. (Since I discussed Teddy Roosevelt above, I should mention that he opposed passage of the Sedition Act.) Although the government used the law to go after International Workers of the World union leaders and a few German-American businessmen, it never used the law to prosecute any German-language American publication for collusion with the enemy.
"Drop It Now" by Sidney Greene in New York Evening Telegram, June, 1918
But what, you may ask (go ahead, I'll wait), about the other side of the coin?
"Time to Abolish Everything That Is Foreign" by C.F. Naughton in Duluth Evening Herald, May 25, 1918
I have not been able to locate Kaiser Wilhelm's speech about abolishing everything foreign, although I did find a satiric poem about it in the American Punch magazine. Whether the quotation is accurate or not, I have no doubt that it was reported in the American press (along with the reports of German soldiers tossing Belgian babies into ovens and infecting Red Cross blankets with pathogens), and it does seem to reflect the Kaiser's policy throughout his reign of promoting German cultural identity in his empire.
"Una Colazione Andata a Male" by Sirti in Il 420, Florence, May 12, 1918
"No other language permitted except German" proclaims the sign on the wall in this Italian cartoon. France, Italy, England and the U.S. present gold to the German at the table, whose feet rest on "International Law" and a "Directory of Mankind"; neutrals, Serbia, Montenegro and Belgium hunt for scraps in the foreground amid torn-up treaties and the skulls of Justice and Liberty.

Monday is Memorial Day, which did not escape cartoonists' notice in 1918, and it won't escape mine now. At roughly this time, Cartoons Magazine noted the death in action of Boston cartoonist Herbert Wolf, known for his cartoons of military camp life, and that of pilot Gordon Levy, son of cartoonist Bert Levy.
"When a Feller Needs a Friend" by Clare Briggs for Red Cross, May, 1918
American newspapers observed a week of emphasis on the Red Cross in late May, and the Committee on Public Education's Bureau of Cartoons must have promoted the image of a soldier tangled in barbed wire, because a number of cartoonists used it. "When a Feller Needs a Friend" was a regular feature of Clare Briggs's usually light-hearted, folksy cartoons for the New York Tribune.

(A bit of cartoonist-military trivia: Briggs's math professor at the University of Nebraska was John J. Pershing, later U.S. commander of the Western Front in the war. " I believe he will testify that it was easier to conquer Germany than to teach me math," Briggs said later. "One day he ordered me to the blackboard to demonstrate a theorem, and while I was giving the problem a hard but losing battle, he remarked: 'Briggs, sit down, you don't know anything.' Right then and there, I decided to become a newspaper man.")

The Chicago Tribune's John McCutcheon was inspired to draw the cartoon below upon the death of  Major Gervais Raoul Lufbery, 33, a famous French-American flying ace in the Lafayette Flying Corps with a reputation for coolness and daring. "Luff," as he was known throughout the U.S. Army and French Air Service, was a recipient of the Croix de Guerre, Legion of Honor, Ten Palms, and Médaille Militaire, plus four British medals and one from Montenegro.  He was shot down over France on May 19, 1918.
"The Fallen Ace" by John McCutcheon in Chicago Tribune, May 21, 1918
According to newspaper reports,
"It was after six American aviators had attacked in vain yesterday that Maj. Raoul Lufbery took the air back of the American sector north of Toul against an enormous enemy biplane, a few seconds later to leap from his machine as it burst into flame and drop to the Earth.
"This type of  'flying tank,' it became known here today, is practically invulnerable to the bullets and machine guns now used by American flyers.
"So it was in a hopeless struggle that America's foremost ace lost his life, after his bullets had rattled harmlessly off the armored German machine."
Lufbery was buried with full military honors with high-ranking French and American officers in attendance. After the war, Lufbery's remains were moved to the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial near Versailles as a permanent monument to the 68 American pilots and their French officers who lost their lives during the war.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Q Toon: PSA, Not PDA, for Trump

The more you know...

Microsoft founder Bill Gates revealed last week that on two separate occasions, Donald Joffrey Trump asked him whether there was a difference between HIV and HPV.

As a public service, on the off chance that Mr. Trump happens to read my blog, this week's cartoon includes a few basic distinctions between the two viruses (viri?). There are more, which you can read about on the Department of Health and Human Services web site, Don, at least until you and Secretary Azar decide to scrub fact-based information from the site in favor of abstinence-only sermons or faith healing or whatever snake oil your Faith Initiative Board is selling you that day.

Wait — you'd better bookmark some other government's web page instead.

Then, next time you run into Mr. Gates, you can stick to topics that genuinely interest you. Like how hot you think his daughter is.

Or perhaps you can ask him what it's like to become a billionaire by producing innovative and creative new products instead of just slapping your name on crap.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

This Week's Sneak Peek

Your humble blogger got a nice link from The Daily Cartoonist over the weekend (thank you kindly, D.D. Degg) to Saturday's post here. It prompted me to go back and add a link to a facsimile of the Frederick Boyd Stevenson column which I had quoted extensively.

Then I couldn't stop myself from adding another anti-German language cartoon.

I've blogged here in relative obscurity, but now I'm starting to worry that I might have given Hereby-Demander-in-Chief Donald Joffrey Trump ideas with this cartoon from the previous Saturday's cartoon from the archives:

Monday, May 21, 2018

Enviro-Stewardship: The Grass Is Always Greener

Once a month, I turn the blog over to my Dad's "Environmental Stewardship" column, which he writes for local church newsletters. John Berge is a retired physical chemist, a current member of the local Board of Health, and past president of the area chapter of the Sierra Club.

It has been said that you should never ask your barber whether you need a haircut. Likewise, you should never ask your lawn service whether you need more fertilizer and other chemicals.

Numerous studies have shown that urban and suburban lawns receive more fertilizer per acre than agricultural land, and more of it washes off and down the drains to our creeks, streams and rivers. From there, it ends up in Lake Michigan for most of us where I live, or going down the Mississippi River. The latter ends up in the Gulf of Mexico and its “dead zone” faster than Lake Michigan will drain it through the downstream Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River and the Atlantic Ocean. It takes about 100 years for a complete change of water in Lake Michigan, so what washes in will stay around for quite a while!

So where should you go for analysis of your lawn, garden and their fertilizer needs? The University of Wisconsin Soils Laboratory will do an unbiased analysis for $15. It can also check for elevated lead levels if you are adjacent to a major highway, in an older home that may have received lead paints, or otherwise concerned about lead contamination, especially in a garden of edibles. The Turfgrass Diagnostic Laboratory can also help with other turf problems probably better than a lawn service with its own agenda and products for sale. Another source for soil testing is the Milwaukee Health Department Laboratory. Their fee is also $15.

If you must add fertilizer to your lawn, take care so that as little as possible ends up on the sidewalk, driveway or street. A quick trip with a broom can send this wasted and polluting run-off back where you want it, not adding to the algae blooms.

Consider carefully whether you want to include pesticides of any kind with the fertilizer. I don’t use any weed killer since I want to save the spring beauties and other natural plants within our grassy areas and I don’t want any spraying or leaching into the garden beds. Insecticides will not only kill off what you are bothered by, but also butterflies, moths, bees, lady bugs and other beneficial insects. Broadcast spreading of pesticides does not appear to be good environmental stewardship.


In a whimsical extension of the “never ask” section of the first paragraph, may I suggest: Never ask an ex-senator from an oil producing state to establish automobile and truck efficiency standards (mpg). Never ask a lobbyist for a coal producers association to establish guide lines for power plant emissions. Never ask a climate change denier what our environmental policies and international accords should be. Possibly you have your own “never ask”; I ‘d like to hear them.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Fake News, 1918 Edition

Seditionback Saturday hearkens once again to the thrilling days of yestercentury, where we find the First Amendment under fire... from the press.
"A Convenient Perch" by Ted Brown in Chicago Daily News, ca. May, 1918
Now that The Masses had been shut down, there were few publications willing to tolerate any dissent about United States participation in Europe's Great War. German peace overtures had to be dismissed out of hand lest one's patriotism be called into question. And hanging onto one's cultural heritage had become suspect; who knew whether the fellows babbling in some foreign tongue might be plotting to blow up the town armory? (Or forcing Aaron  Schlossberg to pay for their welfare 100 years later?)
"Have You a Little Gas Mask" by Cy Hungerford in Pittsburgh Sun, c. May, 1918
This next cartoon of a row of Deutsche Zeitung readers was drawn to illustrate a column by Frederick Boyd Stevenson for the Brooklyn Eagle headlined "Who Has Kept Kaiserism in German Newspapers?: ...
"Is This Somewhere in Germany or Somewhere in America?" by Beaumont Fairbank in Brooklyn Daily Eagle, May 5, 1918 
"... How the American Defense Society Took Up the Task of Getting the Patriotic Proprietors of Newsstands to Ban All Newspapers and Periodicals Printed in the German Language and How the Spirit of America Is Doing the Rest — Twelve German Language Newspapers In This Country Quit Publications in Two Weeks and More Are Ready to Follow."

(I've omitted half of the subhead, but you get the idea.)
"Torpedoed" by Sidney Greene in New York Evening Telegram, May 27, 1918
Stevenson's column started out praising German-Americans who served the Union in the Civil War, but then launched into a paragraph of leading questions suspicious of the German-language press in America. "Do you or anyone else know how many of these German-language newspapers printed in this country denounced the crime of Germany? Do any of you know how many of these German-language newspapers defended the sinking of the Lusitania?" And so on.

Well, of course you didn't, if you didn't read German. And, in true Fox News style, Stevenson never quite got around to telling you, either.

"Breath of the Hun" by W.A. Rogers in New York World, ca. May, 1918
Stevenson continued:
"Today many [German-Americans] are still reading in German, talking in German, thinking in German. Many of them have made themselves obnoxious to Americans in their public organizations and their private clubs.
"And who is responsible for this un-Americanism?
"The German-language press of America."
Stevenson praised the efforts of the American Defense Society and other citizens "chafing under sight of German-language newspapers waving before them like the flag of Germany" to push for official censorship of German-language newspapers as well as to pressure newspaper vendors not to sell them and publishing companies not to print them.
"The Kaiser's Shadow" by Harry Tuthill in St. Louis Star, May or June, 1918
The ADS, Stevenson reported, had backed an amendment to the 1917 Espionage Act by Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge (R-MA) stating, "The use of the mails should not be permitted to any newspaper, magazine, periodical, circulars or pamphlets which are printed in whole or in part in the German language." While that amendment had failed to be included in the final bill, the the ADS had claimed victory in getting local officials to ban German-language newspapers in several cities in New Jersey and Long Island.

The twelve German-language papers cited in the column's subhead included "the formerly very influential" Texas Deutsche Zeitung of Houston, and the 77-year-old Deutsche Korrespondent of Baltimore. The Socialist New Yorker Volkszeitung also planned to suspend publication and repurpose itself as an English-only newspaper.

Downtown, the New York Evening Telegram, which regularly printed full pages in Italian for its espatriati readership, repeatedly ran the following box editorial demanding that German newspapers be shut down:
Box editorial appearing in New York Evening Telegram, May, 1918
But there was more to worry about than those sneaky Deutschsprechenders.
"Know Them?" by Nelson Harding in Brooklyn Daily Eagle, May 13, 1918
In Congress, there remained criticism of the Wilson administration, alleging that the U.S. was still unprepared for the war, and that Secretary of War Newton Baker was not up to the task. It hadn't helped that Baker's first statement to reporters upon his appointment in 1916 was "I am an innocent. I do not know anything about this job."
"Synchronizer" by Jay "Ding" Darling in Des Moines Register, ca. May 7, 1918
There was plenty of ammunition for critics of American readiness. The Aircraft Board was forced to admit that plans for an air fleet were still being designed and re-designed on the drawing board — it was, after all, a fledgling industry.
"End of the First Chapter" by Milton Halladay in Providence Journal, ca. May, 1918
In more established industries, the American outlook was more positive.
"Catching Up" by Archibald Chapin in St. Louis Republic, ca. May, 1918
On the other side of the trenches, German cartoonists worked to reassure their readers that worrisome talk of America's entry into the war with all its fresh materiel wasn't really so serious a threat to the Vaterland.
"Mister Barnums Hilfe" by E. Schilling in Simplicissimus, Munich, May 21, 1918
Speaking of enemies the Germans weren't supposed to worry about, and as long as we happened to discuss Nicaragua last week: Gustav Brandt here offered his view of "the latest war announcements." Guatemala and Nicaragua declared war against Germany on April 23 and May 18 respectively.
"Guatemala and Nicaragua" by Gustav Brandt in Kladderadatsch, Berlin, May 26, 1918
I've given a literal translation of the dialogue below the cartoon, which is a near-quotation from Friedrich Schiller's Don Carlos. An English translation by R. D. Boyan paraphrases the original passage as
"Thus, arm-in-arm with thee, I dare defy
   The universal world into the lists."
...which is hardly any clearer. The line comes at the end of Act I, as the Marquis of Posa and young Don Carlos, Prince of Spain, profess their undying love for each other, as equals. Clearly, Brandt sees the relationship between Uncle Sam and the centroamericanos differently. U.S. marines had occupied Nicaragua since 1912, and the Guatemalan government was more or less a subsidiary of United Fruit Company.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Q Toon: Fulsome Prison Blues

In his never-ending quest to erase all traces of the Obama presidency, Donald Joffrey Trump last week issued an executive order reversing provisions of the Prison Rape Elimination Act geared to protect transgender persons in the prison system.
The Bureau of Prisons now “will use biological sex” to make initial determinations in the type of housing transgender inmates are assigned, according to a notice posted Friday evening that modifies the previous policy.
The shift comes after four evangelical Christian women in a Texas prison sued in US District Court to challenge the Obama-era guidelines, and claimed sharing quarters with transgender women subjected them to dangerous conditions.

Their complaint alleged housing transgender women — whom it calls “men” — along with the general female population ”creates a situation that incessantly violates the privacy of female inmates; endangers the physical and mental health of the female Plaintiffs and others, including prison staff; [and] increases the potential for rape.”

Their lawsuit took aim at regulations established in 2012 to protect transgender inmates from violence under the Prison Rape Elimination Act and a guidance memo — issued days before Obama left office — on how to handle transgender inmates. The memo noted that transgender prisoners face an "increased risk of suicide, mental health issues and victimization."

The rules said officials must give “serious consideration” to the wishes of transgender and intersex inmates when assigning facilities, while also instructing prison staff to “consider on a case-by-case basis whether a placement would ensure the inmate’s health and safety, and whether the placement would present management or security problems.”
Without entirely dismissing the concerns of incarcerated women out of hand, the record is very clear that the Corrupt Trump Administration is extremely biased against transgender Americans. Trump, Pence and their henchmen have moved to kick transgender service members out of the military, to force transgender students into the lavatory of the government's choice, and declared that transgender people aren’t protected under federal civil rights law barring discrimination on the basis of sex.

Frankly, I don't think Trump is at all worried about what conditions Cohen, Junior or Jared would find in jail; he's not concerned with anyone but himself. Besides, unless one of his co-conspirators squeals to the feds first, Trump will surely issue pardons like confetti.

But you never know. He might forget to sign them.

Monday, May 14, 2018

This Week's Sneak Peek

Here's a rough pencil sketch of this week's impending cartoon.

Thank you to Mike Peterson for his appreciation on Comic Strip of the Day of Saturday's post here over the weekend! My 20-something self would have been so freaked out.

Once I explained the World Wide Web to him.