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Welcome to the Roaring 20s

You are all a lost generation...
-- Gertrud Stein, as quoted by Ernest Hemingway. [1]

The "War to End all Wars" has killed off millions of men of marriageable age, leaving young women wondering whether there is a point to life anymore. After all, marriage is the ultimate goal. Isn't it? But this is a brave new world. The only life worth living brings excitement, novelty and escape.... not children. Scantily-clad women are wearing Coco's latest perfume: Chanel No. 5. They are smoking, drinking and engaging in sex simply because they can. Concerned fathers discover condoms and empty beer bottles on the backseat of the family sedan. The unruly teens respond, "Oh Daddy, you are so old-fashioned!" A new generation of writers has appeared such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and his latest book "The Beautiful and Damned," which has struck a nerve with young girls called "flappers". Fitzgerald's wife, Zelda, is considered the first flapper, and she is angry. Somehow her diary has been turned into her husband's best seller! Not to worry. A drink will fix that. Maybe more than one. Definitely more than one. Alcoholism will consume Fitzgerald's career, his marriage and his health. By the age of 44 he will be dead. And yes. The video game "The Legend of Zelda" will be named after Mrs. Fitzgerald. Her name means "Lucky", and by outward appearances she seems so... but no. Zelda's path will lead to insanity and a fiery death. [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The generation of that time was dark and cynical, so they tended to fall to drink. They had a better life than any previous generation, but their optimistic vision had been crushed by World War 1. All those dead people left a heck of a hole in a lot of people's future. It is easy to blame various authors for misleading the public into immoral and unwise acts, but those authors seemed to reflect their generation rather than lead it. This reminds me of the popular radio talk show host, Rush Limbaugh. The Establishment claims that he is programming mind-numbed robots to do his bidding, but people tune in because he puts into words what they are already thinking. So it was with the flappers of the 1920s and the "Lost Generation" authors. They became the model of young social rebellion for generations to come. Some say they broke the mold, but the mold was already broken by World War 1. What emerged was angry, defiant and ungovernable. [7] [8]

Corruption at the Highest Levels!

Or is it business as usual? Responsibility for maintaining the strategic fuel reserve for the Navy has been transferred to the Secretary of the Interior, Albert Fall. Two of those reserves are named Tea Pot Dome and Elk Hills. They are leased to two oil companies owned by Hall's friends. These leases are secret, no-bid contracts to people so friendly with Secretary Hall that they make regular gifts to him of cattle and satchels filled with money... lots of money... because that is what friends do. Right? (Sure, Wilbur.) These oil companies are supposed to pump out the oil and sell it. They will then use that money to build large tanks to hold oil for the Navy and to build an oil pipeline. For those not familiar with this process... this is called graft, kickbacks, and collusion. When the truth comes out, the stuff really hits the fan. Secretary Fall is one of President Harding's old poker buddies, so Harding is made part of the scandal. Law suits and a Senate investigation will uncover the corruption... mostly. Secretary Fall will become the first cabinet Secretary to go to prison for his actions while in office.

I have no trouble with my enemies. I can take care of my enemies all right. But my damn friends...
--President Warren Harding commenting on Secretary Fall and the Tea Pot Dome scandal. [9]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
President Harding died of a cerebral hemorrhage before the official investigation could get rolling. Coolidge took office and appointed two special prosecutors because no one trusted the Justice Department. (Imagine that.) The oil companies lost their leases, but otherwise didn't suffer too much. There was some justification for pumping the oil into large tanks because private oil wells nearby were already pulling the oil out of those so-called reserves. It was all the kickbacks and outright bribes that did in Secretary Fall. Of course, today a lot of Senators and Congressmen go to Washington as paupers and return as millionaires.... not because of bribery, but because they take advantage of real good deals that happen to come their way. They are amazingly lucky. [10] [11] [12]

Your Eugenics Update

Forced sterilization laws in 7 states have been struck down by the Supreme Court because they only apply to institutionalized members of society such as prisoners, and mental patients. The laws also lack a means of appeal. Nevertheless, doctors are sterilizing people on their own authority, believing that criminality, alcoholism and promiscuity are hereditary in nature. In many cases, the patients believe that they are having an appendectomy or whatever vague lie the doctor can think of. Last year, Congress passed a new law limiting the immigration of Italians, Russians, Jews, and Poles. Immigration has dropped to a third of what it was last year. Dr. Harry Laughlin of the Eugenics Record Office has testified to Congress that recent immigrants are of inborn stock of poor quality. Dr. Laughlin will soon be given access to the US Census records, so there is plenty more to come from the Eugenics Record Office. Stay tuned. [13]

If America doesn't keep out the queer, alien, mongrelized people of Southern and Eastern Europe, her crop of citizens will eventually be dwarfed and mongrelized in turn.
--The Saturday Evening Post, 1923, in support of Dr. Laughlin. [14]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Regarding surgeons performing operations without the full and knowledgeable consent of the patient, I have no proof, but I strongly suspect that my internist removed my appendix at the same time he was removing my gall bladder. We had a brief discussion about it prior to putting me under. The discussion seemed to have no point except that he wanted to get a sense of what I might think of a double operation. I recall telling him that it made a lot of sense since he would already have me open. Only later did I realize that he might have been fishing for permission to go ahead and do it on the sly. Honestly, I have no idea if he removed my appendix, but I still wonder.

Notable Births

  • Charles M. Schulz (Of the comic strip "Peanuts") [15]
  • Golden Girls: Betty White and Bea Arthur [16] [17]
  • Doris Day (Big Band singer, and romantic comedy actress.) [18]
  • Jack Kerouac (The "Beat Generation" author) [19] [20]
  • Norman Lear (Producer of "All in the Family" and founder of "People for the American Way".) [21]
  • Lyndon LaRouche (Political activist.) [22] [23]
  • George McGovern (During McGovern's run for President, Nixon operatives will be caught breaking into the DNC offices at the Watergate.) [24]

In Other News

  • The Lincoln Memorial is dedicated. [25]
  • The California Grizzly (the one on the state flag) is now extinct. Shot with a gun... not a camera. [26]
  • Eskimo Pies are introduced. This year 1 million a day are sold. The song "I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream" refers to the Eskimo Pie. [27]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1922, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Hemingway, Ernest. Sun also Rises, The. C. Scribner's Sons. 
  2. Zeitz, Joshua. Flapper: Madcap Story of Sex, Style, Celebrity, and the Women Who Made America Modern. Broadway Books. ISBN 9780307523822. “Zelda wasn't exaggerating. Scott had lifted portions of her letters and diary for some of his work. She was pointing out what many people already assumed: that she was Scott's artistic muse and, by extension, the first American flapper. She recommended The Beautiful and Damned to readers, because "if enough people buy it ... there is a platinum ring with a complete circlet" that she had her eye on.” 
  3. (1922) Beautiful and Damned, The. Retrieved on 22 December 2016. “
        "...I don't like being twenty-two. I hate it more than anything in the world."
        "Being twenty-two?"
        "No. Getting old and everything. Getting married."
        "Don't you ever want to marry?"
        "I don't want to have responsibility and a lot of children to take care of."”
  4. Zelda Fitzgerald - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 1 January 2017. “While the public still believed the Fitzgeralds to live a life of glamor, friends noted that the couple's partying had somewhere gone from fashionable to self-destructive—both had become unpleasant company.”
  5. Princess Zelda - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 1 January 2017. “According to Shigeru Miyamoto, co-creator of the The Legend of Zelda series, Princess Zelda's name was inspired by that of Zelda Fitzgerald, an American novelist, dancer, and socialite, as well as the wife of fellow novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald. Miyamoto explains, '[Fitzgerald] was a famous and beautiful woman from all accounts, and I liked the sound of her name. So I took the liberty of using her name for the very first Zelda title.'”
  6. Alex Shrugged notes: 1. The Gertrud Stein quote is the epigram in Hemingway's book "The Sun Also Rises". 2. Willa Cather said, "The world broke in two in 1922 or thereabouts..." which is the epigram for the book "Flapper: Madcap Story of Sex, Style, Celebrity, and the Women Who Made America Modern" and of course, 3. "Brave New World" is the title of the book by Aldous Huxley, one of the Lost Generation authors. 4. I removed a reference to Fatty Arbukle because it didn't seem to flow with the narrative. He was the comedian, acquitted in 1922 of raping and murdering an actress at a party.
  7. Alex Shrugged notes: My remarks on alcoholism come from my reading of William James' book, Varieties of Religious Experience.
  8. Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature, The. gutenberg.org (1902). Retrieved on 1 January 2017. “Although up to that moment my soul had been filled with indescribable gloom, I felt the glorious brightness of the noonday sun shine into my heart. I felt I was a free man. Oh, the precious feeling of safety, of freedom, of resting on Jesus! I felt that Christ with all his brightness and power had come into my life; that, indeed, old things had passed away and all things had become new. “From that moment till now I have never wanted a drink of whiskey, and I have never seen money enough to make me take one. I promised God that night that if he would take away the appetite for strong drink, I would work for him all my life. He has done his part, and I have been trying to do mine.”
  9. Teapot Dome Scandal. u-s-history.com (2017). Retrieved on 1 January 2017. “I have no trouble with my enemies. I can take care of my enemies all right. But my damn friends, my god-damned friends,”
  10. Graft and Oil: How Teapot Dome Became the Greatest Political Scandal of Its Time - The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. gilderlehrman.org (2017). Retrieved on 2 January 2017. “Fall argued that his actions were perfectly reasonable and beneficial to the Navy, since the reserves were threatened by privately owned oil wells that were draining the Navy’s oil. Granting a single lease to pump the reserved oil, Fall reasoned, was the most efficient means of saving it. The leases required Sinclair and Doheny to calculate royalties for the oil they pumped from the naval reserves, and use the royalties to construct and fill fuel storage facilities for the Navy in California, Pearl Harbor (Hawaii), and elsewhere. Sinclair was also to construct a pipeline from Wyoming to Kansas City, which would be available for other oil producers as well. Fall claimed that secrecy, and hence no competitive bidding, was necessary because the storage facilities could be targets in a war.”
  11. Harry Reid's Long, Steady Accretion of Power & Wealth - RealClearPolitics (2014). Retrieved on 2 January 2017. “In 1998, Reid invested $400,000 in an undeveloped residential property located on the outskirts of Las Vegas. Reid’s partner in the deal was attorney Jay Brown, whom Ralston describes as a 'master manipulator.' Reid transferred his share of the property to a company Brown controlled in 2001. By transferring the land to Brown’s firm, Reid avoided legal liability and some taxes. But Reid didn’t note the transfer -- or that he had any stake in the company -- in his financial disclosure forms, despite rules requiring such transfers to be reported. By 2004, Brown’s company sold the land, which had been rezoned for a shopping center, and Reid received $1.1 million. He reported the sale as if he had always had control of the property.”
  12. Senator Harry Reid's Ethical Scandals. discoverthenetworks.org (2011). Retrieved on 2 January 2017. “In a $286 billion federal transportation bill passed by Congress in 2005, Reid secured $300 million in earmarks for projects in his home state, including $18 million to fund the construction of a bridge spanning the Colorado River. On the Arizona side of that bridge, Reid owned 160 acres of undeveloped land around which many new housing units were being built.”
  13. Alex Shrugged notes: I've known about the eugenics movement for years so my opinions reflect my general reading on the subject and my recent reading of "Imbeciles" by Adam Cohen.
  14. Cohen, Adam. Imbeciles: The Supreme Court, American Eugenics, and the Sterilization of Carrie Buck. Penguin Press. “The Saturday Evening Post, whose weekly circulation of over two million made it one of the nation's most popular magazines, concurred. In a 1923 article, the journalistic voice of middle America, famous for its homespun Norman Rockwell covers, endorsed Laughlin's biological approach to immigration. "If America doesn't keep out the queer, alien, mongrelized people of Southern and Eastern Europe, her crop of citizens will eventually be dwarfed and mongrelized in turn," the article insisted.” 
  15. Charles M. Schulz - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 22 December 2016. “Charles Monroe Schulz (November 26, 1922 – February 12, 2000), nicknamed Sparky, was an American cartoonist best known for the comic strip Peanuts (which featured the characters Charlie Brown and Snoopy, among others).”
  16. Betty White - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 1 December 2016. “Betty White Ludden (born Betty Marion White; January 17, 1922) is an American actress, animal rights activist, author, comedian, radio host, singer, and television personality. Regarded as a pioneer of television, White was one of the first women to have control both in front of and behind the camera; and is recognized as the first woman to produce a sitcom, which contributed to her receiving the honorary title as the Mayor of Hollywood in 1955.”
  17. Bea Arthur - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 22 December 2016. “rthur achieved fame as the character Maude Findlay on the 1970s sitcoms All in the Family (1971–72) and Maude (1972–78), and as Dorothy Zbornak on the 1980s sitcom The Golden Girls (1985–92), winning Emmy Awards for both roles.”
  18. Please Don't Eat the Daisies (film) - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 22 December 2016. “Please Don't Eat the Daisies is a 1960 Metrocolor comedy film in CinemaScope starring Doris Day and David Niven, made by Euterpe Inc., and distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The movie was directed by Charles Walters and produced by Joe Pasternak, with Martin Melcher (Day's husband) as associate producer.”
  19. Jack Kerouac - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 22 December 2016. “The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow Roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars, and in the middle, you see the blue center-light pop, and everybody goes ahh...”
  20. Beat Generation - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 2 January 2017. “Allen Ginsberg's Howl (1956), William S. Burroughs's Naked Lunch (1959) and Jack Kerouac's On the Road (1957) are among the best known examples of Beat literature.”
  21. Norman Lear - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 22 December 2016. “Norman Milton Lear (born July 27, 1922)[1] is an American television writer and producer who produced such 1970s sitcoms as All in the Family, Sanford and Son, One Day at a Time, The Jeffersons, Good Times, and Maude. As a political activist, he founded the advocacy organization People for the American Way in 1981 and has supported First Amendment rights and progressive causes.”
  22. Gadfly - definition of gadfly (2016). Retrieved on 22 December 2016. “One that acts as a provocative stimulus; a goad.”
  23. Lyndon LaRouche - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 22 December 2016. “LaRouche was a presidential candidate in each election from 1976 to 2004, running once for his own U.S. Labor Party and seven times for the Democratic Party nomination.”
  24. United States presidential election, 1972 - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 22 December 2016. “On June 17, 1972, five months before election day, five men broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate hotel in Washington, D.C.; the resulting investigation led to the revelation of attempted cover-ups within the Nixon administration. Known as the Watergate scandal, the exposed corruption cost Nixon public and political support, and he resigned on August 9, 1974, in the face of probable impeachment by the House of Representatives and removal from office by the Senate.”
  25. Lincoln Memorial - Wikipedia (2014). Retrieved on 12 November 2014.
  26. California grizzly bear - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 22 December 2016. “Less than 75 years after the discovery of gold in 1848, almost every grizzly bear in California had been tracked down and killed. The last hunted California grizzly was shot in Tulare County, California, in August 1922, although no body, skeleton or pelt was ever produced. Two years later in 1924, what was thought to be a grizzly was spotted in Sequoia National Park for the last time, and thereafter, grizzlies were never seen again in California.”
  27. What the history of Eskimo Pies says about software patents today.. slate.com (October 20, 2015). Retrieved on 22 December 2016. “The ice cream bar, now renamed the Eskimo Pie, was an instant success. Newspapers (perhaps exaggerating) called Nelson a millionaire and reported that he was making royalties of $30,000 a week. In 1925, the song 'I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream' glorified the novelty confection. Nelson and the Eskimo Pie were well on their way to success and fame.”

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