Flashback Friday March 1, 1913: Curing Drunkenness and Shooting Mexicans. WTF?

What the Frak?

I thought I might take a look at a hundred-year-old newspaper (today’s comes to you from the Charleroi Mail in Charleroi, Pennsylvania) and get a few ads about how women should be baking pies and gratefully (and solely) attending to mens’ needs, when my eyes caught sight of ignorance on a much larger scale.

historic newspapers 1913 drunkenness alcoholism sexism racism Mexican
Today’s WTF moment in history comes to us from the Charleroi Mail. March 1, 1913

While the other newspaper items I pulled out for today’s post are (arguably) funny, here is one that had me sitting, slack-jawed, staring at the page wondering how a joke about shooting someone based on race was ever funny. I normally don’t post anything controversial, and I know with our current climate regarding immigration, this might throw a few rocks at the hornet’s nest, but I don’t think it needs to. Regardless of stance on immigration, I think jokes degrading another person’s gender, race or sexual orientation are best left to the makers of South Park, not a local newspaper.

Can we ever judge history from the perspective of the present?

I can, and I will, if what I’m judging is ignorance, hate, and failure by a community leader (newspaper) to consider a world larger than it’s homogenized cup of whole milk.

All right, all right. I’m off my soap box. Here is some brevity from this 100-year-old rag:

historic newspapers 1913 drunkenness alcoholism sexism racism Mexican
Yes! Because what an alcoholic needs is to distrust those closest to him by having them spike his drink in order to “secretly cure him.” 😉


historic newspapers 1913 drunkenness alcoholism sexism racism Mexican
I had so much to say about this one I put it in callout boxes. Enjoy!


Feel free to argue with me in the comments below. Do you feel it’s fair of me to judge a 100-year-old newspaper for racist and ignorant comments? (Keep in mind that my readers are both conservative and liberal, and while I welcome all arguments, you may end up arguing with each other.) 🙂

Love, Marla

5 thoughts on “Flashback Friday March 1, 1913: Curing Drunkenness and Shooting Mexicans. WTF?

  1. If people hadn’t argued against racism back then, which they did, there would still be slavery. As for sexism, we’d still not have the vote if it hadn’t been for those women who were willing to call out the crap for what it was.

    These days it’s the “gay issue”. Yeah right, because clearly people don’t deserve equal rights if they’re gay. *sigh*

    And it’s the war issue. Yeah, right. Because clearly any country has the right to invade another the moment it suspects that country has “weapons of mass destruction.”

    Truths that future generations hold as self-evident have often been hard fought-for, and those that have fought for them ridiculed, criticized and attacked. Change is never easy. But unless we want a world where people are NOT treated equally, and have safety everywhere from all abuses, the right and moral thing to do is speak out, call the crap for what it is, wherever we see it.

    /my overly long 2c.

  2. I’ve always hated that rule, especially in lit classes. We could never say, “Hey man, this is flat out racist.” The prof would always counter, “Oh, but you see, back then…” Dude, *back then* there *were* non-racists. There were abolitionists; there were both men and women for suffrage, etc. No matter how disgusting an era, during that era there were people who called that shit out, so acting like non-racist ideas just didn’t exist prior to the 1960s is a cop out. Yes, call out that crap.

  3. I interpreted it as the paper saying that the Mexicans didn’t want government controlling them until they needed them (i.e. being shot at….)….am I silly for assuming this? It’s still totally racist and I think you’re fair to judge, but I read it differently at first blush. I’ll save any potentially debatable comments because nothing annoys me more than that, but I know you know me…..you know how I work. 🙂

  4. Hahaha…I think that quote only applies if it is a “surly” Mexican! And yea, what about those stinking Swedes, while we’re at it!!
    While it’s easy to look back and judge, those folks only had limited exposure to the rest of the world, and most of the information they would have had about “other cultures” at the time, came from their (potentially more ignorant) parents.
    Rest assured, no matter how evolved we believe ourselves to be now.

    we too shall be judged someday! 😉

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