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-THREE: This latest look at the Fool Killer centers on the February of 1910 issue of James Larkin Pearson’s Fool-Killer. That month’s targets of the Fool Killer (I prefer no hyphen) included:
*** Crooked businessman Charles Wyman Morse, infamous for assorted financial crimes including fraud and corrupt business practices. The previous month Morse had begun his prison term in the Atlanta penitentiary, where one of his fellow prisoners was THE Charles Ponzi, originator of Ponzi Schemes.
*** Three fools in Swain County, NC who used a radiator in the courthouse building to “thaw” a stick of dynamite for blast-fishing. The dynamite “thawed” so well it exploded, destroying the courthouse.
*** News outlets in the pockets of the wealthy, who used those outlets to downplay their plutocratic abuses. (Some things never change.)
*** People who were pushing locations in Pennsylvania, Virginia and North Carolina as “the official birth-place of Daniel Boone.”
*** The people involved in high-stakes card games in Saint Louis.
*** Children who smoked cigarettes and cursed.
*** George M Jackson and J Harvey Nolan for donating nearly 5,000 acres of land in Missouri for the purpose of teaching drifting hoboes how to farm. Pearson himself was a self-proclaimed socialist, like Nolan, but as Balladeer’s Blog covered with the 1917 Mak Fool Killer, socialists of back then held a low opinion of hoboes. They viewed them as lazy people who were simply unwilling to work. This Missouri farming project was being ridiculed on the assumption that it was doomed to failure.
Some of the pithier comments from the Fool Killer this time around:
** “Some fools are born that way and others are self-made. The natural-born fool is to be pitied. It’s the self-made kind that I despise.” (That could pass for a sentiment from a hard-boiled detective of later decades.)
** “A dude is an empty place with clothes on.”
** “The penitentiary is a mighty popular resort for the millionaires this winter.” (Not just Morse above in Atlanta, but THIRTY bankers were currently serving time in Leavenworth.)
** “A deck of cards is nothing but a bundle of admission tickets to Hell.” (As covered in the past, Pearson’s writing reflected his odd mix of socialism with religious zeal. In this month’s issue he also condemned women who ran bingo for churches since bingo is a form of gambling. I’m not joking.)
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
© Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.