Speaking of the horrors of the 20th century’s two world wars, I’ve recently scanned this card, and I’ll be getting some others up soon, I hope, in this same correspondence. But this was the one in the the series that first drew my attention. Although it’s hard to make out that second stamp with the strange pen squiggle (I think it’s an initial), it’s the approval of the office of the censor, giving permission for delivery. I’ve tried to to improve the image in the inset between the front of the card and the obverse. Apparently, Steve was working at an Anti-Aircraft Training center located near Pacific Beach. And one of the forth-coming cards indicates that there was a Naval Command Headquarters in Yosemite. I sort of wanted to see If I could do a little bit of research into the locations before I posted the cards.
By the way, It’s not that I find wartime* monitoring of military (or even civilian) communications ironic or hypocritical or anything like that. I had just never seen a stamp like that in person before.
*I do mean actual wars between nations or alliances of nations, and not propaganda wars against vaguely defined problems like a war on drugs (if we were really at war with drugs, would the Big Pharm Lobby be so powerful; and who wants to be at war against say, aspirin, or…um…valium)? And don’t even get me started on the still more difficult to pin down war on “terror”. What inflicts more “terror”? Actual acts of violence,or opportunistic demagogues harping on the threats in order to more easily manipulate the electorate?
According to Lew Irwin, writing for the LA Times back in 2010, “Bombing of The Times in 1910 set labor back a generation.
On Oct. 1, 1910, a bomb at the Times building killed 20 employees. What came out at the trial, and others involving union-backed violence, appalled Americans and set labor’s cause back a generation.
Shortly after 1 a.m. on Oct. 1, 1910, 100 years ago Friday, a time bomb constructed of 16 sticks of 80% dynamite connected to a cheap windup alarm clock exploded in an alley next to the Los Angeles Times. It detonated with such violence that for blocks around, people ran panic-stricken into the streets, believing that an intense earthquake had hit the city.
The explosion destroyed the Times building, taking the lives of 20 employees, including the night city editor and the principal telegraph operator, and maiming dozens of others. Two other time bombs — intended to kill Gen. Harrison Gray Otis, the publisher of the newspaper, and Felix J. Zeehandelaar, the head of a Los Angeles business organization — were discovered later that morning hidden in the bushes next to their homes. Their mechanisms had jammed.
Eventually, two brothers, J.B. McNamara, who planted the bombs, and J.J. McNamara, an official of the International Assn. of Bridge and Structural Iron Workers union who ordered the attacks, were arrested, convicted and imprisoned.”
What I love about this Postcard is that although the all the papers touted this as “the crime of the century,” (I mean sure, the century was less than a decade old and would eventually seen genocide and atomic bombs being deployed, and, in fact, the mind numbing horrific crimes of the supposed war to end all wars, including civilian devastation on a scale un dreamt of, and the use of chemical weapons like mustard gas, was less than half a decade away, and the forshadowing of the modern methods of slaughter had been plain for many to see for at least a decade before the nineteenth century came to a close, but, after all, I’m sure they felt, in their opinions, this was the crime of the century so far), somehow our correspondent, Rose, felt this was the right card, a scant month plus after the event, to tell her brother thanks for a letter, and that she’d write more soon. And perhaps I’m no judge, but to follow the closing of “love” with “+ best wishes” doesn’t just speak to Edwardian (yes, even for the US, it’s a conventient cultural/historical referent) formality, but a bit of a chill blowing from LA to Wisconsin, rather than vice/versa. Perhaps, since the kind of immediacy and intensity with which media sink their teeth into national tragic headline opportunities was just beginning to gain traction with wire services and twice a day printings of some papers, Rose’s brother didn’t express the proper amount of concern in his letter for someone who had been in the same city as the blast. Perhaps Rose felt a letter wasn’t even warranted, when a telegram of worry and concern could have been sent.
While I can only, wildly speculate about these folks, and that from some scant evidence indeed (as an erstwhile playwright with a tendency to drift into the flights of imagination, that is my habit), I can’t help but think of our current situation, so early in a new century, listening to lunatics who would gladly push us into a nuclear war (oh, plus a few Krazies in North Korea, as well; yeah I’m talking about you, Li’l Kim). But rather than give minimal attention to international affairs, since we’ve already had a few crises, crimes, storms, wars, etc., of the “century,” many of us seemed more concerned with our fav “reality” television game shows, or more importantly, the clandestine cellphone footage participants post to the web, in order to expose the “real” reality behind the reality of the “making of” documentaries of our favorite reality tv competitions.
I used to hear the phrase “blown to kingdom come” in reference to explosions like the one that leveled the LA Times Building a century ago. But now, I understand there are folks who take it literally. If we can just provoke a big enough explosion, they seem to hope, their idea of the pending “heavenly” kingdom, will actually come to earth.
“How would you like a position like this?”
A high Position
GREETINGS FROM THE CITY OF NEW YORK
Curatorial Talk and Slide Show
TONIGHT, Saturday, April 13, 7:30 to 10:00 PM
(Slide Show at 8:00)
Brooklyn Brewery beers available for donation
at The City Reliquary
370 Metropolitan Ave.
Brooklyn, New York 11211
Join curator Lon Black for a visit to pre-1907 New York City with a slide show, lecture and tour of “Greetings From the City of New York,” the current exhibit at The City Reliquary.
The exhibit features New York City postcards from an era when, by law, you were only allowed to write messages on the image side of a postcard. It focuses on New York City view postcards that were mailed and bear messages about the City.
Hear what New York City residents and visitors had to say about our city over 100 years ago and see an urban landscape that is very different from today’s.
I don’t know who I still know in NYC, but I’m tempted to grab a supersonic flight my ownself.
Reblogging this because it is so incredibly relevant.
Success is more about persistence than any other attribute.
Does anyone know if “Silent Cal” really said this? It’s an awful lot of words for him to use at one time. When Dorothy Parker was told Cal had died, she said, “How can they tell?” I’m not trying to knock Cal, here, I just want to know, because quote misattributions are so common. I really think a lot of Coolidge. My favorite quote from him is, “Four-fifths of our problems would disappear if we would just sit down and keep still.” That seems a bit at odds with the quote above. However, I a)don’t doubt that people, especially politicians, make contradictory quotes constantly, and 2) love the quote regardless of who said it.