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Thursday, March 2, 2006

Big Damn History

As we have noted in an earlier article, history is a curious thing. What is accepted during one time period can change radically as more evidence is uncovered.

After much painstaking research and archeological digging (all of which was performed within my head), BDF is proud to bring to light some historical truths that have been unknown until this point.

On June 15th 1914, Sean McGuinness had about four too many drinks. While this ordinarily wouldn't be a big deal, on this particular occasion it drove him to make the mistake of turning to Tommy O'Oleary and calling his wife a "dirty French whore". Calling a man's wife a whore is often times an incredibly bad idea. Taking it a step further and calling her a French whore is bound to lead to fisticuffs...which it did.

Tommy hit Sean. Sean swung back. A bar fight ensued. As these things are apt to do, the fight spread. Exponentially.

People took sides. Some thought Tommy was overreacting. Other's backed Tommy and claimed that Sean should have never appended French to his wifely insult. Nobody was riding the fence. You were a Seanite or a Tommite.

A few weeks later, Archduke Franz Ferdinand was shot. The man responsible, Gavrilo Princip, happened to be a Tommite...and a wildly unbalanced one at that. This, of course, simply escalated things further.

We now call this "World War I".

Censorship has taken many forms throughout history. One such case had an important impact on United States law, but the reasons were actually an interesting misunderstanding.

In 1872, Patrick Schmidt inherited a printing press from an uncle whose existence he was completely unaware of. Not the type to look a gifthorse in the mouth, Patrick decided to create a periodical for distribution.

Patrick spent weeks trying to decide what his magazine should be about. He knew very little about fashion. He had no working knowledge of entertainment. His sense of humor was woefully lacking.

In the end, it was his predilection for falling into bleak periods of depression that gave him the subject he needed: he would write maudlin poetry.

While his poetry wasn't what anyone would term good, the true problem was in the title of his magazine. Basing much of his poetry upon his miserable childhood with a specific emphasis upon his childhood love of following the family's rooster around, Patrick chose the unfortunate title Cock Stalkings.

With a title like that, his readers were justifiably confused. Having desired to read hardcore pornography they were instead met with treacly poems about kids chasing farm animals...and not having sex with them.

The public's desire being noted, five men jumped into the fray with material to suit these feelings. Within weeks, the streets were littered with titles like Pig Fuckers, Horse Buggery, and the like.

One such periodical, Tits, Ass, and Pudding fell into the clutched of Michael Comstock. Unfortunately, his father, Anthony Comstock very much disapproved. Anthony spearheaded an anti-pornography campaign the likes of which had never been seen.

In March 1873, the Comstock Law was passed making it illegal to send anything of a obscene, lewd, or lascivious nature through the mail.

Ironically, Anthony Comstock very much enjoyed the later poetry of Patrick Schmidt published under the title Pomes About My Cock.

In further installments of this series, we will examine many more unknown truths like how three rubber chickens and a midget were responsible for The Canadian Parliament to create the North West Mounted Police (which later morphed into the Royal Canadian Mounted Police) and how the January Uprising (which broke out in Poland, Lithuania and Belarus) was accelerated by a very angry leprechaun and various other circus folk.

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