Tag Archives: Joseph Keppler

PUCK: ROBBER BARONS THEN AND SILICON VALLEY ROBBER BARONS NOW

puck cartoon robber barons tying up uncle samPuck magazine (1871-1918), the well-known political humor magazine, was at its height under original founder and creative director cartoonist Joseph Keppler. Here is a February 23rd, 1881 Keppler political cartoon depicting Jay Gould, the telegraph monopolist, and Cornelius Vanderbilt the railroad baron.

The point of the cartoon is the way those two Robber Barons – allied with like-minded newspaper tycoons – abused their wealth and political influence to bind the United States (represented here by Uncle Sam) to their will.

Joseph Keppler was outraged at the power so unethically wielded by such figures to cloak themselves in righteous, philanthropic public images while in reality they – in Keppler’s words – clutched “the United States and all its institutions by the throat.”

Creepy LineThis is similar to the way the Silicon Valley and Social Media Robber Barons of today cloak themselves in “socially conscious” public images while in reality clutching the United States and all its institutions by the throat.

The Robber Barons criticized by Puck magazine exerted their ugly influence on behalf of right-wing politicians. The Robber Barons of the 21st Century tend to exert their ugly influence on behalf of left-wing politicians. The end results are equally totalitarian. Continue reading

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Filed under LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES, Neglected History, opinion, Puck Magazine

PUCK: BOSS PLATT, FATHER KNICKERBOCKER AND EUGEN SANDOW

puck father knickerbockerBalladeer’s Blog takes another look at a political cartoon from Puck magazine (1871-1918), the famous humor magazine. For more Puck click HERE 

This time around it’s the cover illustration from June 9th, 1897. The cartoon depicts a furious Father Knickerbocker breaking chains labeled “Raines Law” and “Hayseed Legislation” while the caption reads “Let Boss Platt beware: Father Knickerbocker is in training for this Sandow Act.”

Father Knickerbocker, then as now, was the symbol of New York. The figure was based on Washington Irving’s Diedrich Knickerbocker, the pseudonym under which he wrote his History of New York in 1809. That history was told from the alleged perspective of the old-line Dutch families who had settled New York before it was taken by the British.

There had actually been a Knickerbocker family in New York since the 1600s and the name appealed to Irving as being quintessentially Dutch-American. 

Boss Platt was Thomas C Platt, successor to the corrupt Roscoe Conkling as the head of New York’s Republican Party Machine. (Tammany Hall, synonymous with political corruption, was still the name used for the state’s Democrat Party Machine)

Joseph Keppler at Puck magazine disdained Platt and the New York machine as much as he disdained Tammany Hall. The Raines Law chain being broken by Father Knickerbocker symbolized the Blue Law banning the sale of alcohol in New York on Sundays. Keppler held Boss Platt responsible for Raines Law and other parochial legislation known as Hayseed Legislation, the other chain being broken by Father Knickerbocker. Continue reading

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Filed under Puck Magazine

PUCK: ROBBER BARONS THEN AND SILICON VALLEY ROBBER BARONS NOW

puck cartoon robber barons tying up uncle samPuck magazine (1871-1918), the well-known political humor magazine, was at its height under original founder and creative director cartoonist Joseph Keppler. Here is a February 23rd, 1881 Keppler political cartoon depicting Jay Gould, the telegraph monopolist, and Cornelius Vanderbilt the railroad baron.

The point of the cartoon is the way those two Robber Barons – allied with like-minded newspaper tycoons – abused their wealth and political influence to bind the United States (represented here by Uncle Sam) to their will.

Joseph Keppler was outraged at the power so unethically wielded by such figures to cloak themselves in righteous, philanthropic public images while in reality they – in Keppler’s words – clutched “the United States and all its institutions by the throat.”

Creepy LineThis is similar to the way the Silicon Valley and Social Media Robber Barons of today cloak themselves in “socially conscious” public images while in reality clutching the United States and all its institutions by the throat.

The Robber Barons criticized by Puck magazine exerted their ugly influence on behalf of right-wing politicians. The Robber Barons of the 21st Century tend to exert their ugly influence on behalf of left-wing politicians. The end results are equally totalitarian. Continue reading

24 Comments

Filed under LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES, Neglected History, opinion, Puck Magazine