Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of the many facets of Fool Killer lore. FOR PART ONE, INCLUDING THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT, CLICK HERE
As always part of the fun comes from the way the Fool Killer – in this case James Larkin Pearson’s version in his monthly publication – took aim at politicians from both parties and at other “fools” of the day. March of 1921’s targets:
** Newly-elected Republican President Warren G Harding, who was inaugurated this month. (The change to January inaugurations did not happen until Franklin Roosevelt) Pearson and his Fool Killer referred to Harding as “a steer that the (political) bosses have broke to faithfully pull Big Business’ yoke.”
** Outgoing Democrat President Woodrow Wilson, whom they referred to as a “mule who never did nothing but act like a fool.”
** Big Businesses from around the world. The Fool Killer blamed them for large-scale unemployment and starvation.
** The way boxers could earn $100,000.00 for a prize fight but Nobel Prize winners only got (back then) $40,000.00
** The series of Russian generals that the Allies supported as the leaders of the “official” Russian government against Lenin and the Bolsheviks. (The White – as in Tsarist – Russians against the Red – as in Communist – Russians) Four generals had been so designated and all four in a row soon went down to defeat as the Russian Civil War (1920-1922) still raged. (Sadly, Pearson’s anti-plutocrat sympathies made him support the Bolsheviks for a time.)
** American newspapers, as always lying on behalf of their moneyed owners, as they kept falsely claiming the Communists in Russia were “on the verge of collapse.” As we know, their dictatorship unfortunately lasted several decades.
** The U.S. Supreme Court, for refusing to help Eugene Debs like they did in their recent Berger vs the United States ruling.
** The clergymen involved in trying the 1920s “Union of the Churches” to blend several denominations in unified action. Despite Pearson’s odd religious zeal, he and his Fool Killer always ridiculed organized religion. In this case the Fool Killer quipped that this Union of Churches was like mixing a hundred and fifty different dirts and expecting to thereby make soap.
** Preachers trying to censor silent movies and stage plays for jokes about religion.
** Dr Edwin H Richards, for his recent remarks that black people must have been descended from one of Adam’s unmentioned brothers rather than from Ham.
** Kennesaw Mountain Landis, the former judge who recently became the first Commissioner of Baseball. The Fool Killer targeted him because the Supreme Court had overruled Landis’ decision (From when he was still a judge) on the Berger case. This was just one of many times the careless and haphazard Judge Landis was overruled in his checkered career.
** An unnamed silent film actress who publicly lamented that she could not live on just “$50,000.00 a year.” Even then the shallow fools of Hollywood had no self-awareness.
** British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, for saying the world was quieting down, despite the ongoing tumult.
** An unnamed man in New York who built an “absolutely fireproof building.” The Fool Killer compared it to how the Titanic was supposedly unsinkable.
** The Ku Klux Klan. This was a nice callback to Charles Napoleon Bonaparte Evans’ original Fool Killer from the pre and post Civil War period. Evans and his Fool Killer targeted the Klan when it was very dangerous to do so. The Klan even burned a cross on his lawn in the 1800s.
** The numerous towns claiming to be the birthplace of Daniel Boone.
** Corrupt businessmen who had profiteered with their World War One contracts from the government by having a large number of nonexistent workers on their fraudulent payrolls.
As I always say, it’s fascinating to read this old publication and its odd mix of viewpoints – even the ones you disagree with.
I WILL EXAMINE MORE FOOL KILLER LORE SOON. KEEP CHECKING BACK FOR UPDATES.
FOR MY LOOK AT JOE MAGARAC, THE STEEL MILL VERSION OF JOHN HENRY AND PAUL BUNYAN, CLICK HERE
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