JULY 2020

JULY   2020
Everything Old Is New Again!


Saturday, February 23, 2019


I would call it the worst Presidential inaugural speech in history – and just in part because it was also the longest. By my count it ran to 8,424 words (the first sentence was 98 words long!), and it took darn near two hours to deliver. When 68 year old William Henry Harrison started droning on, at around noon on Saturday March 4, 1841, it was barely 48 degrees, in a cold, cutting rain and wind. His audience of 50,000 were in agony, and he just kept talking. And at the end of the sixth paragraph the new President actually delivered his punch line – he would not run for re-election. From that moment he was a lame duck. He had voluntarily surrendered half of his political power, and he wasn't even half way through his inaugural speech. And he just kept talking! In fact it has been alleged that this speech actually killed the President.
“CALLED from a retirement which I had supposed was to continue for the residue of my life to fill the chief executive office of this great and free nation, I appear before you, fellow-citizens, to take the oaths which the Constitution prescribes as a necessary qualification for the performance of its duties; and in obedience to a custom coeval with our Government and what I believe to be your expectations, I proceed to present to you a summary of the principles which will govern me in the discharge of the duties which I shall be called upon to perform.”
William Henry Harrison Inaugural Address
After that it was all anti-climax. Harrison droned on and on about ancient Rome, and why the ancient Greeks had collapsed. He did not get around to discussing what he hoped to achieve while he was in charge until paragraph 17, just four paragraphs from his closing. This was not the speech most people huddled freezing in the bleachers had been expecting from the man his Democratic opponents had dubbed, “General Mum”, because he'd said almost nothing during the campaign. This was the “Tippecanoe and Tyler too” campaign, the log cabin and hard cider campaign of nothing but empty phrases, when Harrison had kept his mouth shut because the only time he had ever been in a log cabin was when he had visited his mistress Dilsia, in her slave quarters. The overly fecund Virginian had fathered six children with the unfortunate lady, and ten more with his legal wife. Did I mention it was snowing during his interminable speech? And raining? And cold? The second time George Washington took the oath, he disposed of his speech in 135 words, wham-ban, thank you, Ladies and Gentleman. But then Harrison had so much more to say about so much less than Washington did. 
“It was the remark of a Roman consul in an early period of that celebrated Republic that a most striking contrast was observable in the conduct of candidates for offices of power and trust before and after obtaining them, they seldom carrying out in the latter case the pledges and promises made in the former. However much the world may have improved in many respects in the lapse of upward of two thousand years since the remark was made by the virtuous and indignant Roman, I fear that a strict examination of the annals of some of the modern elective governments would develop similar instances of violated confidence.”
William Henry Harrison Inaugural Address
William Henry Harrison achieved a number of firsts as President. He was the first President to actively campaign for the office, and the first President to have received one million votes. All-though he won by only 147,000 popular votes his electoral college victory was a landslide. He was the first (and only) President to have been born in the same county as his Vice President (Charles City County, Virginia). He was also the first President to arrive in Washington via a steam locomotive. And he was the first president (that we know of) to have given away four of his own children (by Dilsia), to avoid being embarrassed by their existence. The unlucky youngsters were sold “down the river” to a planter in Georgia. What a nice guy. You know, if Harrison had not been such a lousy human being, I would be a lot sadder that he was also the first President to die while in office; 30 days, 12 hours and 30 minutes after starting his never ending inaugural address.
“Although the fiat of the people has gone forth proclaiming me the Chief Magistrate of this glorious Union, nothing upon their part remaining to be done, it may be thought that a motive may exist to keep up the delusion under which they may be supposed to have acted in relation to my principles and opinions; and perhaps there may be some in this assembly who have come here either prepared to condemn those I shall now deliver, or, approving them, to doubt the sincerity with which they are now uttered...”
William Henry Harrison Inaugural Address
What was wrong with this man? He had been running for President since November of 1811, when he had won the battle of Tippecanoe. But Democratic President James Madison had not even thanked him for removing the Indian threat to the western border on the eve of war with Britain. Yes, Harrison was a Whig, but it took another quarter of a century before his own party was willing to name him as their nominee. What was wrong with this patrician that so few of his contemporaries, of either party, were willing to trust him with power? About the only friend he had in Washington was Daniel Webster. The two men were close enough (thank God) that Harrison had allowed Webster to cut several minutes out of the never-ending speech – Webster claimed later that he had “killed 17 Roman Counsels” in the proccees. Can you imagine how many useless words Harrison would have used without Daniel Webster?
“... In other words, there are certain rights possessed by each individual American citizen which in his compact with the others he has never surrendered. Some of them, indeed, he is unable to surrender, being, in the language of our system, unalienable. The boasted privilege of a Roman citizen was to him a shield only against a petty provincial ruler, whilst the proud democrat of Athens would console himself under a sentence of death for a supposed violation of the national faith—which no one understood and which at times was the subject of the mockery of all—or the banishment from his home, his family, and his country with or without an alleged cause, that it was the act not of a single tyrant or hated aristocracy, but of his assembled countrymen....”
William Henry Harrison Inaugural Address.
He waited to take the oath until he had almost finished his speech. But as soon as he had been sworn in by Chief Justice Taney , he quashed his audiences' frigid hopes by starting to talk again, for two more rambling protracted paragraphs. It seems that William Henry Harrison, saw the anti-climax as his milieu.. Still, he felt fine after his speech. He even stayed around for the entire inaugural parade - the first President to watch the parade as opposed to marching in it. And this was the first inaugural parade with floats, little fake log cabins pulled by horses, sort of mobile homes. That night he attended all three of the inaugural balls – the official one, the Tippecanoe ball, and... and the other one. On Monday morning (March 6th) Harrison felt good enough to meet with his Secretary of the Treasury, Thomas Ewing to discuss the current national financial crises, which he had not mentioned in his endless speech. He mentioned everything else, just not that the banking system had collapsed. But, he seemed perfectly healthy, even after all that, which proves that this loquacious aristocrat was perfectly healthy until he fell under the care of a doctor.
I proceed to state in as summary a manner as I can my opinion of the sources of the evils which have been so extensively complained of and the correctives which may be applied. Some of the former are unquestionably to be found in the defects of the Constitution; others, in my judgment, are attributable to a misconstruction of some of its provisions...”
William Henry Harrison Inaugural Address
His fatal mistake was that on March 27 (three weeks after the endless speech)  he told Dr. Thomas Miller he felt “mildly fatigued and under the weather.” Dr Miller was dean of the George Washington Medical School, and he diagnosed the President as suffering from “bilious pleurisy”. Dr. Miller felt obliged to do something. So he slapped a mustard plaster on Harrison's stomach, and gave him a mild laxative. The next morning, Harrison felt worse. So Dr. Miller bled the President, until his pulse weakened. Then he subjected the 68 year old to another plaster, this time of laudanum, which caused the old man to fall asleep. While he was sleeping, Miller called in another doctor, and over the next few days these two healers gave the President opium, camphor, brandy, wine whey, and some petroleum. Oddly, after these treatments President Harrison felt so bad he was now certain he was dying. The doctors agreed, so they bled him some more. Anyone who inquired was told the President was “feeling better”,  right up until Harrison died, thirty minutes into April 4th, 1841, one week after falling into the hands of two of the most respected doctors in the nation. So it wasn't the endless speech that killed the old man after all, it was modern medicine.  And it was worth every penny of their fee.
“Fellow-citizens, being fully invested with that high office to which the partiality of my countrymen has called me, I now take an affectionate leave of you. You will bear with you to your homes the remembrance of the pledge I have this day given to discharge all the high duties of my exalted station according to the best of my ability, and I shall enter upon their performance with entire confidence in the support of a just and generous people.”
William Henry Harrison Inaugural Address
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Friday, February 22, 2019


“I'm a lady of the evening. And while youth and beauty last, I never worry who will pay my rent. For a while I'll be in clover, And when easy days are over, I know I'll go the way that all, My predecessors went.”
Our poet, Benita Franklin, was born in Joliet, Illinois in 1891. Her father was a strict disciplinarian, and when the young drama queen rebelled, he dispatched her to the Ladies of Loretto Convent School in nearby Wheaton.  Benita was so miserable there she claimed to have tried to commit suicide, but the nuns labeled her behavior as “insubordinate”. So Benita ran away, looking for an audience who would appreciate her performance.  And being young and beautiful,  she found a way to make her way, working as a chorus girl on the nightclub circuit, and using the name, Vivian Gordon.  In Charleston, South Carolina, in 1912 the 21 year old met a dull accountant named Joseph E.C. Bischoff.  Perhaps it was her need for security, or perhaps she really fell in love,  but within a few months they were married. And in 1913 Benita/Vivian gave birth to a girl,  Benita Frederica.
The new family moved to the Philadelphia suburb of Audubon, New Jersey, and Joseph went to work for the United States Marshal service, as an office manager.  Benita/Vivian was left at home with little Benita Frederica .  But Benita/Vivian's search for drama reasserted itself after Joseph secured a promotion to the D.C. Woman’s Reformatory, in Lorton, Virginia.  The money was good, but Joseph was away from home for weeks at a time.  Eventually Benita/Vivian sought out the attention of Al Marks, a lingerie salesman, from Long Branch, New Jersey.  And in 1923, while the naughty couple was having a dramatic tryst in the seedy Langwell Hotel (above), on West 44th street, just above Manhattan’s Time Square, Vice Patrolman Andrew J. McLaughlin dramatically burst in on them. Under pressure Al Marks confessed he had paid Benita/Vivian for the sex, so she could be charged with prostitution.
Shuffled abruptly through the Brooklyn night court of Magistrate H. Stanley Renaud,   Benita/Vivian came to the realization she had been set up. Of the 219 women the Brooklyn night court convicted of prostitution in 1923,  72% were first time offenders, like Vivian, and one in ten was pregnant – which should have told officials they were not really prostitutes, but inconvenient wives and girlfriends. But judge Renaud never asked such questions.  Benita/Vivian was convicted of prostitution on the statements signed by Al and detective McLaughlin, and even though she was a first time offender (at least in New York City), she was sentenced to three years at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women, in Westchester County.  Even before she left Brooklyn , Benita/Vivian was served divorce papers, filed by her husband Joseph, who was seeking custody of Benita Frederica.  That quickly the previous decade of her life was simply wiped out.
“I'm a lady of the evening, With a morning glory's beauty. The payment for my raiment, I get in devious ways. When some big and wealthy brute, Wants to love me 'cause I'm cute, I admit that I submit, Because it pays.”
Bedford Hills had been built by well intentioned do-gooders, who had designed the facility to be communal, and to emphasize reform.  The 3-400 prisoners, each between 16 and  30 years old, some along with their infants and newborns, were housed in two story cottages, each with their own kitchens. Mornings everyone worked on the 300 acre farm, but in the afternoon there were classes in secretarial work and sewing. However, time had converted Bedford Hills into an understaffed prison devoid of much good. Inmates were isolated and allowed only one letter a month. And the last note Benita/Vivian received from her daughter read, “Dear mama. I am very sorry you are sick. I hope you will be better soon. I miss you very much.”  The pressure on her to be dramatic must have been overwhelming, but dramatic prisoners were reclassified as Mentally Defective, and chained to beds in what had once been the infirmary.  Their sentences were now indeterminate, meaning the doctors decided when and if to release them. Under this threat, Benita/Vivian quickly became just another dull inmate. Her father would have been proud.
The woman who came out of Bedford in 1926 had a single goal, to get her daughter back. And a single name, Vivian Gordon (above). She went into the only profession now open to her, and as she noted in her poem, she was good at it. She was still beautiful and looked far younger than her age. Vivian was a "high class" hooker, and quickly branched out to blackmailing her wealthier customers. As the roaring twenties approached their end, Vivian Gordon was often seen at Manhattan speakeasies with Jack “Legs” Diamond, the gangster who ran the New York City.
Vivian “loaned” Jack (above) thousands of dollars, to enlist his help.  On his advice she hired crooked lawyer John Radeloff, to get her conviction overturned.  Radeloff took her money, but all three of his attempts to nail McLaughlin, failed.  On Radeloff's advice she even hired a dope named Sam “Chowder-head” Harris to kidnap her daughter in New Jersey and bring her to New York, where the judges could be bribed.  All “Chowder-head” managed to do was to terrify the 15 year old Benita. Vivian began to suspect that Radeloff was only interested in sucking her dry.  And then Vivian saw another way to get back at the crooked cop, and get her daughter back..
In August of 1930 State Supreme Court Justice Joseph Force Crater disappeared on West 45th street. Press reports about the mob connections of  “the missingest man in New York” were so explosive that New York Governor Franklin Roosevelt was able to pressure Mayor Jimmy Walker to accept an independent and wide ranging investigation of graft in city government.  The man Roosevelt pushed on Walker to lead the committee was above suspicion, retired judge Samuel Seabury.  He was so honest he could barely get elected. Early in February of 1931 Vivian wrote to the committee (below), saying she had “some information in connection with a 'frame up' by a police officer and others which . . . will be of great aid to your committee.” 
Lead counsel Irving Cooper met with Vivian at committee offices at 80 Center Street, on Friday, 20 February,  1931.  He was impressed, and thought Vivian would make a good witness, beautiful and articulate.  She was an intimate of Jack Diamond's.  Her story was filled with the names of her male customers,  from Mayor Jimmy Walker to dozens of judges and city officials who were  "on the  take".  But Cooper wanted more.  He asked Vivian to come back with corroboration, paperwork, photos and letters, the kind of thing she used in her blackmail. And Vivian agreed to return with “the goods”.
Shortly after eleven on the night of Wednesday,  25 February, 1931,  Vivian Gordon (above) was seen leaving her three room apartment at 156 East 37th Street in Manhattan. She was wearing a black evening dress with white lace trim and a matching handbag, which was covered by an ankle-length mink coat and topped off with a black straw hat. On her left wrist she wore a platinum watch and on her right hand a two caret diamond ring.  Vivian Gordon then got into a waiting Cadillac and disappeared into the night.
Nine hours later on Thursday morning an oil company employee on his way to work spotted her body in a ditch (above) beside a lonely section of the Mosholu Parkway, adjacent to the golf course in the Bronx's Van Courtland Park 
 Vivian (above) had been beaten about the head, but the cause of death was the clothesline knotted about her throat.  Her hat and one of her sued shoes were found not far away. Her coat, her watch and her pocketbook were all missing.
The New York papers lit up like the Fourth of July. A beautiful prostitute, a witness for the Seabury Commission, had been murdered just six months after Judge Crater had gone missing. And it turned out Vivian and Crater knew many of the same people, including Jack "Legs" Diamond and Mayor Jimmy Walker. All of that made her murder front page news, even in the papers out in the sticks (above).. The reporters noted the autopsy of the “Queen of the Courtesans” (as they now called her) revealed that about one Thursday morning Vivian had eaten sauerkraut, raisins and some egg whites – a “working girl's” dinner, heavy on the protein.  And over the course of the evening Vivian had consumed five or six stiff drinks. But that was as far as the facts could take them.  Still having a paper to fill, the reporters switch to speculation.
The cops searched Vivian's apartment (above) for the corroboration she had promised the Seabury Committee. They reported finding no little black book, or photos, or hotel receipts or love letters, not even any business cards. They may have found them, they just didn't report them. What they did find and report was $50,000 in cash and Vivian Gordon's dramatic diary.  In it she railed against Detective McLaughlin, her ex-husband and all the men who had cheated her. There were also the names of 200 of New York's rich and dishonest. The most telling passage in her diary was when she dramatically called her own lawyer, John Radeloff,  “the only man I fear...who, if he wanted, could get (Chowder-head) Cohen and a couple of his henchmen to do away with me.”
Those with something to hide waited for the story to fade. But just six days later, at about 4:30 pm on Tuesday 3 March, 1931, 16 year old Benita Frederica was discovered by her stepmother, near death on the kitchen floor. The previous weekend, members of Benita's prep school hockey team had refused to practice with the daughter of the now infamous Vivian Gordon. The newspapers turned that into the headline, “Squeeler's Daughter Unable to Face Schoolmates.” According to her own diary, that was why Benita had turned on the gas. She died a few hours later in a Camden hospital. The story, which had been hot the week before, was white hot now. A Daily News editorial screamed, “The rope that jerked tight about Vivian Gordon's neck to keep her from talking, is about to jerk the lid off a sizzling pot of scandals, frame ups, charges and counter-charges in New York's city government.”
The Seabury investigation focused on Detective McLaughlin. He had an iron clad alibi, being aboard the Cunard liner S.S. California, on a six-day cruise to Bermuda.  He was 800 miles out in the Atlantic on the night Vivian was murdered.  But investigators also discovered that over the last three years the $60 a week detective had managed to accumulate $35,800 in savings.  Andrew McLaughlin would be indited, and although not convicted,  he was through as a New York City cop.
The local cops meanwhile zeroed in on Vivian's diaries, which showed she was no madam. The diary said attorney John Radeloff had been her pimp, while his brother Joe Radeloff had been her boyfriend and partner in a stock scam, funded by Vivian's various skills.  But the year before Vivian had turned on Joe, testifying against him in front of a grand jury.  For some reason, the records of that grand jury had disappeared, but reporters suspected hard feelings remained between Vivian and Joe.  Reporters also discovered that Vivian had been the owner of record for gambling houses in Queens and Brooklyn. Were they actually owned by Jack Diamond and other mobsters?  Or maybe even Mayor Walker? .Vivian Gordon it seemed, had been the Donald Trump of the roaring twenties underworld.  And just when it seemed the publicity would bring down the whole rotten structure of New York city politics, the cops came up with a trio of the usual suspects who shut down all other investigations.
Harry Stein was a small time crook and occasional partner in Vivian's scams. He had also once been accused of strangling a woman. But the primary justification for his arrest was that he sold Vivian's mink coat and ring the day after her murder, or so the police said. A few days after his arrest, his tailor Sam Greenhauser was indicted. And for a topper, the cops arrested the small time hood Harry Schlitten. In exchange for immunity, he confessed to driving the Ford coupe (above) in which Vivian had been beaten and strangled, or so said the cops.
But Stein and Greenhauser had alibi's. And the front seat of the coupe looked too small to fit more than two people, which meant the killer would have to drive and strangle Vivian at the same time. There was no back seat in that car. And that did not even consider the effort to beat Vivian's head in. How could you do that to the person sitting beside you, with a escape right behind them?   The trial began on 18 June,  1931, just 16 weeks after Vivian's murder, and it ended two weeks later, on July 1st .  After just three hours of deliberation, the jury declared all the defendants “not guilty”.  And that was that.  
Nobody would ever be convicted of Vivian's brutal murder. As corrupt mayor Jimmy Walker (above) would observe, when he returned from his California vacation, “There were more frames than there were pictures”. But the ultimate judgment on Vivian, may have been delivered by Polly Adler, the most infamous "Vice Entrepreneuse" in New York City. Vivian Gordon, the infamous madam said, was “just another woman out to feather her nest quickly.”
“I'm a lady of the evening, Just like Cleopatra was. The Queen of Sheba also played my game. Though by inches I am dying, There's not any use in crying. I stay and play 'cause I'm that way, A moth that loves the flame.”
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Thursday, February 21, 2019


I recently came across an old English music hall joke. A young Irish lad was warmly welcomed into an English pub , but after a few drinks the boy got a sad look about him. He explained he appreciated the comradeship, but missed his corner pub back home. “The first time you set foot in the place”, he explained , “they'd buy you a drink, then another, all the drinks you like. Then when you've finally had enough, they'd take you upstairs and make sure you get laid.” The English patrons were skeptical, and the barkeep asked how many times the Irish lad had experienced this welcome. “Never”, he admitted.“But it happened to my sister quite a few times.” Now I have to ask you, do you think that a racist joke? Sexist, yes. But racist?
After almost thirty years of successful publishing in Glasgow, Scotland, Belfast, Ireland, and Manchester and London, England, James Henderson finally hit the mother lode in a penny tabloid weekly magazine, “Our Young Folks Weekly Budget”. Its 16 pages of action art work and adventure fiction dominated the youth market through various incarnations for 26 years.( Henderson paid Robert Louis Stevens a pound per column for “Treasure Island”, which he serialized it in “Young Folks”). And each noon, the savvy capitalist would meet with his editors, issuing detailed instructions for the flurry of newspapers and magazines – even a line of picture post cards - that cascaded from 169 Red Lion Court, Fleet street, each seeking to replicate “Young Folks” profits. Henderson had stumbled upon the concept of a speciality market.
A London Bobby asks two drunks for their names and addresses. The first answers, “I'm Paddy O'Day, of no fixed address.” And the second replies, “I'm Seamus O'Toole, and I live in the flat above Paddy.”
Beginning in 1831 royal taxes on newspapers were lowered by three-fourths. The response was instantaneous. New papers popped up like mushrooms after a rain. The industrial revolution was bringing people into the cities, and putting coins in their pockets. For the first time in history, that created consumers, which made advertising profitable (i.e. capitalism). More papers encouraged more people to read. By 1854, out of a population of 28 million, weekly newspaper sales in England had topped 122 million a year. In 1857 the last newspaper taxes were finally eliminated, triggering yet another wave – daily newspapers. It was this new customer vox populi that James Henderson and Sons were riding to success.
Paddy: Is your family in business? Seamus; Yes, iron and steel. My mother irons and my father steals
In December of 1874, Henderson created the first humor magazine in England, a sort of Victorian Daily Show in print, called “Funny Folks, The Comic Companion to the Newspaper”. The cover art for the first issue was drawn by John Proctor, who signed his work, “Puck”. “Funny Folks” proved so successful that Henderson released an entire line of humor magazines - “Big Comic”, “Lot-O-Fun” “Comic Life”, “Scraps and Sparks”. In 1892 came Henderson's most popular humor magazine, “Nuggets”
Bobby: “Madam, I could cite you for indecent exposure, walking down the street with your breast exposed like that.” Irish lass: “Holy Mary and Joseph, I left the baby on the bus.”
Like “Funny Folks”, Nuggets had its own featured artist, T.S. Baker, and his most popular creation was an Irish family living “in contented poverty” in South London - the Hooligans. The father, P. Hooligan, was a would-be entrepreneur, and shades of the 1950's Honeymooners TV show, a member of the Shamrock Lodge.  And his every scheme in some way involved his wheelbarrow, and the family goat. Mrs. Hooligan was fashion conscious, but always copying far above her economic station. And there were, of course, a hoard of unnamed ginger haired children about. It seems impossible to believe that the term hooligans, as in violent law breakers, practitioners of practical anarchy, began as the name of a gentle Irish family imitating proper Victorian society. In the nine year run of a cartoon Irish family, drawn by an artist of ingenious and subtle talents. In person the Hooligans don't make an obvious racist image. But what did the intended audience see in this cartoon, that a hundred plus years later, we might not? And how is being called a Paddy in 1890, different from being hit with the “N” word, today? Time and distance, I suspect.
Whats the first thing an Irish lass does in the morning? She walks home
The bigotry towards Ireland seems to have started about a thousand years ago, with Gerald of Wales, the ultra-orthodox chaplain to the English King Henry II, who joined his monarch in the church endorsed invasion of Ireland, and with his observation of the locals. “This is a filthy people, wallowing in vice. They indulge in incest, for example in marrying – or rather debauching – the wives of their dead brothers.” One would think a clergyman who had studied logic in Paris would have remembered Deuteronomy 25:5 - “...her husband's brother shall go in to her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of a husband's brother to her.” I guess it's easier to butcher people, if you can manage to despise them for whatever reason.
What do you call an Irishman with half a brain? Gifted
Illogically the English originally justified their oppression of the Irish because they were bringing them Catholicism. Then after their own Protestant reformation, the English used Catholicism to denigrate the Irish, calling them “cat licks” and “mackerel snappers” who ate fish on Fridays. With time the insults came to include local terrain (bog trotters) physical characteristics (carrot top), perceived laziness (narrow backs) and diet (potato heads, spud fuckers and tater tots for the children). Irish jokes (read insults) were standard fare in English music halls from the 1850's on, and always good for a laugh. And it was from this racism that the sophisticated simplicity of the Hooligans achieved something approaching an art form.
“What's the difference between an Irish wedding and an Irish wake? One drink.”
James Henderson, and his son Nelson, may have been racists. History has failed to record their opinions outside of the business decisions they made. And it may be valid to label them with the black mark because of the Hooligans. And they did publish worse. But then they were publishers, not social activists. And like a music hall comic who told Irish jokes, they provided the public what the public wanted, or else they could not remain in business. Morality is an affect, not an effect. So were these purveyors of racist anti-Irish humor racists, or were they merely businessmen? And did the Hooligans transcend racism because it was so well done? You might as well ask Norman Lear if Archie Bunker made life easier for African Americans by calling them “jungle bunnies” on national television. In fact that question has been asked
“Paddy, he said you weren't fit to associate with pigs, but I stuck up for you. I said you most certainly were.”
Its hard for me to dismiss the Hooligans because they make me smile, and because they were a loving respectful family, and because they were always striving. But mostly because they make me smile. Why I laugh at them, tells a story about me, not them. It is a lesson every artist must learn at some point, the sooner the better. What is put on the page, is rarely what is seen there. It is the job of the artist to limit confusion. But you can never be completely understood. The most you can consistently hope to achieve is to entertain. Enlightenment is the responsibility of the reader, not the writer.
Bobby; "Where were you born?" Paddy; "Dublin". Bobby; "What part?"   Paddy; "All of me."
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