Baltimore Evening Sun (27 December 1911): 6.
Only 1,238 days more! And then—the waters of Lethe—nothingness—Nirvana!
From a protest against militant virtue in the London Standard:
Tolerance of harmless forms of amusement cannot be too strongly commanded to the fervent disciples of the new Puritanism.
But are any forms of amusement harmless? Isn’t it a fact that the theatre is a cesspool of vice, that dancing is a form of debauchery, that card-playing is the devil’s game, that the man who drinks a bottle of beer now and then is a scoundrel, an anarchist and a hog? Certainly the Standard man must be ignorant of the higher virtue. Certainly he has never listened to a baltimoralist.
News reaches me that the United Railway Company during the few days before Christmas prohibited the transportation of Christmas trees on the platforms of its combination passenger and freight cars. At all events a number of conductors refused carriage to tree-laden papas. An exquisite example of corporation sapience. At the one time of the year when the transportation of freight was sentimentally defensible it issued its ban—and against the one form of freight to which no man with a sound liver in him would object!
Meanwhile the hauling of fish baskets, of plumbers’ furnaces and of other such filthy things goes on. A correspondent tells me that he saw the other day “a whole vacuum cleaning outfit” on a car platform. Well, well—why not? Last Tuesday morning, when a niggero carrying a bag of lime stood beside me on a Gay street car, I would have given 10 cents for the use of a vacuum cleaning outfit. As it was, I gave the 10 cents to a Greek brush boy in a shoe-shining parlor. He earned it.
The United Railways’ remedy for this nuisance is the pay-as-you-enter car. In other words, it proposes to relieve platform smokers of annoyance and damage by caging them and forbidding them to smoke. A highly humane and moral corporation! Militant moralists, peevish old maids and other such pests have been objecting to platform smokers for fifty years—and all in vain. But now the chemical purists in the Continental Building, by simple fiat, abolish and obliterate the vice. Some of us, unluckily, prefer to lap up our virtue from a less turbid pool.
More insoluble problems of life in this, our town:
1. What could be less appetizing than Maryland cooking?
2. What could be more beautiful than the Katzenjammer Tower?
3. What could be gloomier than a Baltimore Sunday?
My spies bring me news of an interesting scene at a recent meeting of the Public Service Commission, that exquisite sanhedrin. The United Railways, it appearsm had applied for permission to withdraw its through cars from a certain suburban line and to put jerk-water cars in their place. Upon getting news of this the residents of the suburb entered a vigorous protest, and for two whole days the commission heard their evidence. Citizen after citizen went upon the stand and testified that the through cars were desirable and necessary and that the substitution of jerk-water cars would lay him open to delays and annoyance. Toward the end of the second day, after the whole matter had been discussed in detail forty times, one of the learned Commissioners halted a witness to ask this astounding question: “What sort of service have you now?”
The witness, staggered, managed to answer feebly that through cars were in service. “And what does the company propose to give you?” asked the learned Commissioner.
So the whole thing had to be explained again—after two days of hot debate!
This Public Service Commission costs the people of Maryland $1,000 a week in salaries alone, of which sum the people of Baltimore pay about $800. The chairman gets $6,000 a year and the other two Commissioners $5,000 each. Two of the members of the commission are lawyers and one of them is now mentioned for a place on the bench, but all the same they have a counsel to advise them, at $6,000 a year, and another counsel to advise them, at $5,000. In addition, they have a lot of other employes. Laugh, taxpayers, laugh!
The estimable Maryland Anti-Vivisection Society is once more after my scalp. In yesterday’s Evening Sunpaper appeared the first installment of an interminable communication over its great seal, accusing me of all sorts of high crimes and misdemeanors. In this serial letter, if you care to read it to the bitter end, you will find a very clear statement of the anti-vivisectionist philosophy. In reply to my protest against the society’s ingenious “editing” of Dr. Henry J. Berkley’s famous report upon his Bayview paupers, it answers, in substance, that the passages it cut out of the report did not coincide with its private (and eccentric) notions of the truth. In answer to my protest against its summoning of horse doctors, fourth-rate novelists, bad actors, vegetarians, New Thoughters and other such mountebanks as “medical experts,” it replies with another list of manufactured “experts.” In answer to my request that it explain how the diphtheria antitoxin could be manufactured without the use of animals, it boldly denies that the diphtheria antitoxin to worth a darn—and brings various ignoramuses as witnesses. Furthermore, it cites evidence that the antitoxin will not prevent diphtheria as proof that it will not cure diphtheria—a piece of Impudence recalling the familiar anti-vivisectionist proof that the hydrophobia vaccine of Pasteur will not cure rabies.
With the ostensible purpose of the Maryland Anti-Vivisection Society I have no quarrel. When it protests that its only demand is for the Open Door, then I reply that I am with it and that I have never said a word against it. But when it comes into court with its mangled statistics, its bold “editing” of evidence, its stale repetitions of theosophical and Christian Science balderdash and its childish attacks upon those great men of science who strive, and with such success, to combat human suffering and lengthen the span of human life, then I reward its efforts with the loud hoots they deserve.
Every year Baltimore is robbed of $1,100,000 by the outrageous tax laws of Maryland. That sum, paid into the city treasury, would reduce the tax rate nearly 35 cents. Laugh, suckers, laugh!
Boil your drinking water! Swat the lingering, palsied flies! Cover your garbage can! Thank God that the super-Mahon reigns! Save your pennies, to pay the freight!