Tear Gas and Salesmanship: Adventures in Research

From the NYT of September 25, 1936. “Tear Gas War on Bootleg Miners.”  During this period, the coal mines in Pennsylvania, racked with strikes, had incursions by bootleggers—miners illegally harvesting coal to sell, generating an income they would otherwise have lacked in the midst of the Depression. The mine owners hatched a plan to smoke them out with tear gas. The Lafollette Subcommittee held hearings on Civil Liberties violations. A. S. Ailes, Vice President of the Chemical Co. of Cleveland, testified that he had gassed himself 1000 times, as to indicate the harmless nature of his company’s product.  He stated, “I am sorry we have strikes.  I am sorry we have Communists in the country.”

Rival chemical firms aggressively  promoted their products to corporations as a means of arming themselves pre-emptively.  Ignatius H. McCarty, a Chemical Co. salesman had himself appointed as a special officer to the San Francisco police, so that he could demonstrate the use of his company’s gas equipment. This quote from the article is best left un-paraphrased:

“He said he had demonstrated much of it during the San Francisco waterfront strike, largely to overcome the sales efforts of his competitor representing the Federal Laboratories.”

 

Theft and Trousers

 


Congratulations! You’ve found a bonus poem!

the buddha face adapted by spook purveyorseasil with painting in progress to illustrate poem the culture

The Culture

 

 

We are important

Our three-letter alphabet

Constructs our limited language

The gravitational center

Draws our attention-seeking message

The message is

I am important

Yet you don’t know me

 

On an oxbow

The current passes

A fallen tree, submerged

At a cross-angle, green murky-brown

Depths, hot from the sun

The surface still, gnats rise

Kingfishers, blackbirds, bank swallows

The river has right-of-way

 

Its current carved the land

Many more miles long

Than the eye can see

Landholders, granted degrees

On the bank, exchanged in principle

The ornamental alloy

Gold

 

Leaf, sharp, continuing, under-hand

Wheeling gears, dying in prison

The message

Is a low-rate postcard

Issued by the government

One follows, the other is drawn behind

 

A fuse, a wreck

The weight of gold

The magnitude of moral conduct

Floods the bank and leaves behind

Slippery oil, combustible

Where is your confident belief?

Your commitment and your care?

You have competition

You have been consumed by fire

You have not lived five hundred years

You have not risen from ruin

 

But you have bought a tract of land

You have enclosed the grounds

Unlawful, inhumane

Spoiling by ineptitude

 

Every act and every choice

Must be a contest

Nothing you know

Bends to accommodate

Your love is a word

The word is nothing

The word is the deed

And love is nothing

 

Copyright 2014 Stephanie Foster

 

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