Eugene Debs was the Socialist Party candidate for president four times, eventually ending up with about 4% of the vote in the 1920 election. Neat thing about that? He was in prison at the time and stripped of his citizenship.
Now look, Debs seems like a nice guy. His speeches, of which one is the point of this post, are really good. He wasn’t an abstract idea guy like so many socialists of his time and today (and other fringe political movements like libertarians). He saw problems, read some ideas, found them persuasive, and used his personal charm to grow his cause in very simple and direct ways.
Another new find, this one a pamphlet by the Paris Chamber of Commerce with an update on the Great War in May of 1916. This is a good little snapshot of Wilson’s “Stop or I will say stop again!” foreign policy. In a few months he would be reelected with the catchphrase “He kept us out of war!”. A couple months after that, we would be sending under-trained troops to be slaughtered in that war we were kept out of. Worst president ever.
A photography buddy of mine (Oh, and do go look at his things as he is one of those people who really capture his area. It doesn’t hurt that Minnesota is stunningly beautiful.) ended up with a bunch of old negatives that he didn’t have time to deal with. It seems newborns take an excessive amount of time out of one’s schedule. (Lifehack: Children are like bananas. Buy them fully ripened. If the stork brings them when they are green, they are nothing but waiting and outgassing.) So he sent them to me. The negatives, not the child.
We live in a time of obsessive safety. Every item for sale in this great land is scrutinized from front to back, top to bottom, for any possible injury causing attribute. Designers rework their products endlessly attempting to prevent even the most advanced ignoramus from successfully modifying their product into an efficient eye removal tool. Parents clothe their offspring in enough protective layers that a fall from a supersonic jet would merely result in a severely dented Earth and a child confused because he had never been left outside before.
The Times relayed to us this week the tale of new findings from space nonsense. NASA scientists, apparently having nothing better to do with their barrels of taxpayer money, decided to run a spectacularly expensive flying object into the debris of a comet. This sort of tomfoolery, most resembling a horde of teenagers driving too close, too fast down gravel roads, is apparently what passes for science in this debauched age. However, to explain away the damage to the paint of their expensive spacecraft, these joyriding scientists have now said that they have found amino acids in the scratches.
There seems to be a new divide forming in this nation. Fashion is working its ugly ways, forcing itself upon our collective norms. Again. This insidiousness goes on almost imperceptibly until we are firmly in its grasp, left unawares as to how we arrived in this sorry state. Upon realizing the scale of this degeneracy, your humble narrator thought he may have been too terribly behind the fashion curve to do much to head off this abomination. However upon further reflection I have come to the conclusion that we citizens together can triumph over this peril.
Years ago, in a place not too far removed from where I now sit, existed place of intrigue. A place so magical that words can just start to describe the outline of its wonder. But that is what I shall endeavor to do.