Thursday, February 23, 2006

Same Stories, Different Decade

“News is old things happening to new people.”

Newspaperman Malcolm Muggeridge penned this warning to self-assured newsmakers who ignore history and believe they are unique for their times.

A friend of mine offered evidence of this in a flat box of yellowed newsprint she found in her grandfather’s attic, proof there’s nothing new on our favorite planet.

Inside were Puck tabloids, named for Shakespeare’s meddling sprite in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Joseph Keppler in 1871 converted mischief into cartoons and stories in his national weekly, inventing the first political humor magazine.

I realized the genius of Muggeridge while working my way through this pile of musty mirth. They had terrorist bombers, assassins, religious and political fanatics and legions of officious folks trying to tell everybody how to think, disguised as special interests.

Politicians were bought with “campaign contributions,” responded to accusations with “lies of convenience” and created political parties threatening “free thinking among an endangered species — the voter.”

Americans were worried sick about their jobs going overseas. Instead of Microsoft and Wal-Mart, the monopolists of the telegraph and railroads were the fat cats draining us poor citizens of scarce dollars. So were usurious credit companies. So was religion.

“Kissing pastors who make love to the funds of the church have palled upon our taste.”

Sound familiar?

The only difference was the Democrats were conservative leg draggers and the Republicans were liberal buffoons, roles reversed today. Puck lambasted both sides with words mightier than swords.
read the entire article by Jim Hillibish in the Canton Repository (February 18, 2006)

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