Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of the many facets of Fool Killer lore. FOR PART ONE, INCLUDING THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT, CLICK HERE
PART THIRTY-ONE: Moving on to the July 1921 issue of James Larkin Pearson’s monthly Fool-Killer publication. The Fool Killer’s (I prefer no hyphen) targets this time around were:
*** Politicians and pundits who were still pushing the notion that the World War which ended in November of 1918 really was “The War to End All War” and that the world was poised for an era of peace and tranquility with no more bloodshed.
*** Nations which were still trying to develop ever-deadlier chemical weapons, despite the uproar over the long-term consequences of such weapons in the war from 1914-1918.
*** In particular the Fool Killer targeted jingoistic U.S. War Department scientists and /or officials who spoke of a deadly gas that our country had just developed – a gas which could supposedly “depopulate a whole city in a few minutes.”
Pearson and his Fool Killer wondered if, despite official claims that the government was trying to prevent other nations from getting hold of the formula, the U.S. might wind up using the gas ourselves at some future time and therefore become “the Huns” of a new war.
Here in 2020 we are accustomed to the notion that our own elected officials – from both parties – may be as totalitarian and destructive as any others. That realization came after decades of real-life scandals plus fictional espionage and science fiction stories using (eventually overusing) the “Are we are own worst enemy? theme.
I find it incredibly intriguing to see a contemporary 1921 example of that justifiable suspicion. The image of the Fool Killer – homicidal vigilante though he’s always been – taking down scientists, military men or politicians gambling with such poisonous gasses is wildly ahead of its time.
*** In a REALLY prescient bit, he targeted people who felt that Germany should be forced harder and harder to try to pay war reparations no matter what damage it did to that nation’s economy. We all know where that wound up taking the world.
*** Republican President Warren G Harding for his oft-ridiculed mangling of the English language. The Fool Killer compared it to “a cow trying to play a fiddle.”
*** Henry Ford for his continuing public hostility toward Jews. He was almost as hate-filled as Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib!
*** The Northern Baptists for the way they were on the verge of a schizm over the literal reality of Hell.
*** Impatient drivers for their dangerous ways behind the wheels of their cars. He condemned their “RAGE” in all caps, coming close to our modern term “road rage.”
*** Orthodox religious authorities and their media allies who leaned on the Adventists and the Russellites as “false religions.”
Some of the pithier jokes from the Fool Killer this month centered on High Society:
“High Society is …
” an ugly sore on the hind leg of civilization.”
“the smell that arises from rotten riches.”
“the ashes of burnt-out usefulness.”
“the poison fruit that grows on the tree of Idleness.”
“a collection of fine clothes stuffed with cheap fertilizer material.”
“the remainder after you subtract nothing from nothing.”
As I always say, it’s fascinating to read this old publication and its odd mix of viewpoints – even the ones you disagree with.
FOR THE NEXT PART CLICK HERE
FOR MY LOOK AT JOE MAGARAC, THE STEEL MILL VERSION OF JOHN HENRY AND PAUL BUNYAN, CLICK HERE
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