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Nonsenseorship   By: (1884-1982)

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Steve Schulze, Charles Franks and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team. This file was produced from images generously made available by the CWRU Preservation Department Digital Library

NONSENSEORSHIP

BY

HEYWOOD BROWN GEORGE S. CHAPPELL RUTH HALE BEN HECHT WALLACE IRWIN ROBERT KEABLE HELEN BULLITT LOWRY FREDERICK O'BRIEN DOROTHY PARKER FRANK SWINNERTON H. M. TOMLINSON CHARLES HANSON TOWNE JOHN V. A. WEAVER ALEXANDER WOOLLCOTT and the AUTHOR of "THE MIRRORS of WASHINGTON" Edited by G. P. P.

SUNDRY OBSERVATIONS CONCERNING PROHIBITIONS INHIBITIONS AND ILLEGALITIES

Illustrated By RALPH BARTON

WE HAVE WITH US TODAY

At current bootliquor quotations, Haig & Haig costs twelve dollars a quart, while any dependable booklegger can unearth a copy of "Jurgen" for about fifteen dollars. Which indicates, at least, an economic application of Nonsenseorship.

Its literary, social, and ethical reactions are rather more involved. To define them somewhat we invited a group of not too serious thinkers to set down their views regarding nonsenseorships in general and any pet prohibitions in particular.

In introducing those whose gems of protest are to be found in the setting of this volume, it is but sportsmanlike to state at the start that admission was offered to none of notable puritanical proclivity. The prohibitionists and censors are not represented. They require, in a levititious literary escapade like this, no spokesman. Their viewpoint already is amply set forth. Moreover, likely they would not be amusing.... Also, the exponents of Nonsenseorship are victorious; and at least the agonized cries of the vanquished, their cynical comment or outraged protest, should be given opportunity for expression!

Not that we consider HEYWOOD BROUN agonized, cynical, or outraged. Indeed, masquerading as a stalwart foe of inhibitions, he starts right out, at the very head of the parade, with a vehement advocacy of prohibition. His plea (surely, in this setting, traitorous) is to prohibit liquor to all who are over thirty years of age! He declares that "rum was designed for youthful days and is the animating influence which made oats wild." After thirty, presumably, Quaker Oats....

And at that we have quite brushed by GEORGE S. CHAPPELL. who serves a tasty appetizer at the very threshold, a bubbling cocktail of verse defining the authentic story of censorious gloom.

Censorship seems a species of spiritual flagellation to BEN HECHT, who, as he says, "ten years ago prided himself upon being as indigestible a type of the incoherent young as the land afforded." And nonsenseorship in general he regards as a war born Frankenstein, a frenzied virtue grown hugely luminous; "a snowball rolling uphill toward God and gathering furious dimensions, it has escaped the shrewd janitors of orthodoxy who from age to age were able to keep it within bounds."

Then RUTH HALE, who visualizes glowing opportunities for feminine achievement in the functionings of inhibited society. "If the world outside the home is to become as circumscribed and paternalized as the world inside it, obviously all the advantage lies with those who have been living under nonsenseorship long enough to have learned to manage it."

WALLACE IRWIN is irrepressibly jocose (perhaps because he sailed for unprohibited England the day his manuscript was delivered), breaking into quite undisciplined verse anent the rosiness of life since the red light laws went blue.

"I am not sure, as I write, that this article ever will be printed," says ROBERT KEABLE, the English author of "Simon Called Peter." (It is). Mr. Keable, a minister from Africa, wrote of the war as he saw it in France, and in a way which offended people with mental blinders. He declares that the war quite completely knocked humbug on the head and bashed shams irreparably. "Rebels," says he, meaning those who speak their mind and write of things as they see them, "must be drowned in a babble of words."

And then HELEN BULLITT LOWRY, the exponent of the cocktailored young lady of today, averring that to the pocket flask, that milepost between the time that was and the time that is, we owe the single standard of drinking... Continue reading book >>




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