Watering Hole – September 1, 2010

A hoax of a hoax. Hucksters did not magically appear when Rupert Murdoch started buying newspapers. They’ve been around a long time. Here’s a hoax with a twist, from the early 20th Century.

The French painter Paul Chabas completed “September Morn” in early 1912. The painting shows a young woman demurely bathing nude by the edge of Lake Annecy in Haute-Savoie, France. When Chabas showed it that year at the Paris Salon, it won a gold medal of honor. Critics praised it. But when copies of the painting made their way to America, it provoked a bitter controversy there about nudity, art, and public morality. Thanks to this controversy, September Morn became one of the most famous and popular paintings of the twentieth century. It sold millions of copies and was reproduced on a wide variety of merchandise including umbrellas, suspenders, postcards, candy boxes, cane heads, and watch fobs. The painting is often cited as an example of “success by scandal.”

But in an ironic twist to the September Morn story, the publicist Harry Reichenbach later claimed to have started the controversy by complaining to moral censors about the indecency of the painting. He didn’t actually feel the painting was indecent. He was cynically manipulating the self-righteous moralists in order to sell copies of the painting. It was an early example of a marketer staging a phony protest for the sake of publicity.

Except that it wasn’t.

According to Reichenbach, he was working for a New York City art dealer in 1913. The dealer had acquired 2000 copies of September Morn and needed to sell them, so he asked Reichenbach to help. Reichenbach hit upon the idea of generating controversy by calling the painting to the attention of Anthony Comstock, a self-proclaimed moral censor and secretary of an organization called the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice.

But the controversy started in Chicago, not in New York and when Anthony Comstock did spot the painting in New York a couple of months later, and demand that it be removed, he never followed through.

Philippe Ortiz, manager of the store, kept “September Morn” in the window for five more days, constantly expecting Comstock to return and charge him with indecency. However, Comstock never returned. Finally, Ortiz removed the picture simply because it had already been up there a week longer than he had originally planned to display it, and the crowds outside the window, gathered to get a peek at the controversial painting, were preventing his regular customers from entering the store. Ortiz wrote an angry letter about his experience with Comstock to the New York Times:

The whole story is here.

This is our Open Thread for Wednesday, September 1.


64 thoughts on “Watering Hole – September 1, 2010

  1. Happy September!

    Excellent post, Gummitch. People don’t change much. This manipulative behavior must be ingrained in our genes. Perhaps, it is this very behavior that kept us alive. There is no devil. Deceit is just a part of our nature.

  2. I could stare at that picture for hours.


    Sam Seder had an interesting chat with a woman at Glenn Beck’s rally. Apparently Obama is a secret Christian Muslim…

    • That is shocking, Wayne. My son was telling me about this last night. Her pretzel logic would be hilarious if it weren’t so destructive.

      She just woke up two years ago? Hmmm, what happened two years ago….? Oh yeah, it started looking like a ni**er was headed for the White House. That’s a hell of a wake up call for racist idiots.

  3. Morning folks. I prefer Rubens’ nudes, given that I am, in the immortal words of Howlin’ Wolf, “Built for comfort, I ain’t built for speed”.
    That woman is insane. I actually do know how Obama could sit in church and not agree with Rev. Wright. Sometimes during the sermon, we churchgoers are paying no attention whatsoever.

  4. Good Morning All,…Lovely art, had seen it many years ago, still looks great…My first thought was the song by Neil Diamond..”September Morn”..All art and music all the time for me..Thanks for the thread.

    Yesterday had it’s good and bad aspects, in the end I got some rest and turned it all to good…

    I had hoped to be on the road by now, not gonna happen for a while longer..After the trial Sept. 29&30.

    Had to go see my guardian angel attorney about the discovery papers I must present to the slum lords attorney by next Monday…When this thing blew up last year I kept all the rent and power bill records for the tenants and resort..The owners didn’t ask for them so I kept them…When we found out they had been charging 10 times the amount for the power I even locked the records up in my storage unit incase the evil ones wanted to do some more funny stuff….

    So far all they have done is ignore the judges orders to bring out water for drinking and for fire prevention along with no garbage pick up, mowing the grounds and pumping out the septic…

    Yesterday I presented all the records and my guy’s staff made 2 set of copies for me, a huge deal since it was close to 50 pages for each set..My guy wanted to know what I needed the second set for and told him I was going to turn over a complete set including the rate schedule from the PUD to the other tenants attorney…He has been terrible at representing them in my opinion along with condecending, over baring and down right rude to me and Keith who is his cliant and my neighbor..

    My guy had a huge grin when I told him I was going to give this set to the other tenants attorney a week ahead of delivering the set to the bad guys attorney….

    My trucks broke down so Sarah drove me and I drug her along as we went to deliver the papers to Mr. Bumble….After the initial shock of recieving my gift he did a complete reversal…No more attitude and asked for a meeting right there and off we went to a conference room…He took notes, asked a few questions and now I must stay for the trial, I am his star witness..Ugh! on the one hand but finelly the fire has been lit….

    Special Thanks go out to BnF and many others for all the help during these dreadful times…I was able to accomplish a lot of good for truth & justice on 1 hour of sleep during a 36 hour mess of madness..I was able to get a good nights sleep last night finelly…As always I ask forgiveness for the long post….Hope this finds everyone here including 5thstate doing well…Now since I am Bear and my 3 cats housekeeping staff I must get busy for the day…Peace, Blessings & Joy to you all.

  5. Witch1 – May I commend you for your perseverance and courage. The lying thieves often think that people won’t confront them. You showed them. Good luck in court. I’ll be taking a client that is refusing to pay their bill to small claims court sometime in September. I think that I have a good chance in winning. The problem might be in collecting.

  6. Wayne – thanks for video. So she woke up two years ago when the n* r got elected. She must have been thinking, damn, we don’t want n* rs in our white house. It’s really sad that these beckerheads, palinistas and jesustanis don’t even realize that they contradict themselves. The Republican plan is to keep them stupid and undereducated because only a dumbf**k would vote for a Repub.

  7. Lists like that always drive me nuts, Cats. Asheville, NC appears to be the most successful at self-promotion recently. Prior to that, I’d never heard of them, and none of my beer geeks friends had either.

    My own list is very different, oddly enough. As you know, Phillie is a great beer town. So are Seattle, Chicago and a number of other American cities. Prague, yes, Dublin, hell no. Mexico City? Are you frickin’ kidding me?

    I do hear good things about Montreal, but bah to most of the others. Grrr. I need a beer.

  8. Any city I’m in, drinking a beer, is a good beer city.

    Here’s a map of the wet and dry counties of Alabama. I’m in the blue one at the top, Madison County. Notice how many ‘bad beer counties’ surround us here. The drinkers in those counties all work in Huntsville, and buy it here, but vote against alcohol sales at home, because then their Baptist friends could see them coming out of the package stores carrying suspicious looking sacks.

  9. The Constitution — the last line in Article VI — reads: “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

    I were a journalist/reporter assigned to hang around with a bunch of wingnuts in this day and age, I’d surely have that quote ready to dish out as needed, if for no other reason than to keep the record straight that religious belief does not matter in the most basic of ways.

    Speaking for myself, I abandoned organized religion decades ago. Not because I have no sense of spirituality, but because I have zero tolerance for mandated hatred and fear of all who believe other than any given religious entity believes.

    Religion is a private issue: to each his own. Why is that concept so unbelievably tricky for so many?

  10. Religion is a private issue: to each his own. Why is that concept so unbelievably tricky for so many?

    The constitution is a matter of convenience for these folks. They follow the parts they like and ignore the rest. Just like the bible.

  11. Lovely picture and interesting story as well.

    Witch1–I hope this is truly the light at the end of the tunnel for you. You have the patience of a saint!

    Again, I’m going to have to wait to watch the video, but honestly, the idiocy of these people never ceases to amaze me. And I can’t stand the ones that love them some Constitution when it protects their guns and THEIR freedom of speech and then suddenly find a huge blind spot when some ‘other’ asks for a bit of equality or freedom of religion, or some such. I think it was on the other rally vid where people were saying Muslims can’t be president. WTF?? This whole situation just gets uglier by the day. I didn’t things could get much worse after 9/11 and two wars, but ever since Obama was elected, the discourse and mood have gotten downright poisonous.

    I need a beer. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • The RVs had already begun arriving when I left today. I swear, if there’s a car-sized space between two RVs in my lot tomorrow, I’m parking there. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      I may have an attitude problem.

  12. Lordy, lordy, folks.

    I think Michelle Malkin and Patrick both exploded all over TP due to the environmentalist that was shot today.

    • Hi, Purple State!! Nice to see you again. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Sorry, but I’m heading for about an hour. Gary might still be around.

  13. It’s cool. Just be aware that Patrick is near borderline hysteria over there, and there’s nothing we can do about it.

  14. It’s just crazy over there.

    Someone really does have to have something wrong with them to spend all day causing trouble for others.

  15. I’m more worried about Patrick’s psyche. Joke or not, he’s ranting incoherently about Muslims, and it just scares me that he could either directly or indirectly inflict violence.

  16. So the 9/11 anti-Muslim rally is asking that no one bring signs, only flags.

    They just want a perfect made-for-Fox b-roll tape.

    • The teabagger wranglers finally figured out that their submissive authoritarian minions are too ignorant for prime time.

        • What is this trend toward declaring kidnappers and murderers “conservative” or “liberal,” unless there is clear evidence of that fact? Gruesome crime is now held up for political points, which is disgusting and astonishing.

          Doing this kind of crap just distracts from the REAL political ugliness out there. Bread and circuses, anyone?

  17. Crazy people have political orientations, too, you know. Its just that theirs is the politics fed every morning on a double helping of crazy flakes.

    But it is like the body count standard of victory in Vietnam: if your side has more insane people than our side, then WE WIN!!


    A not crazy person might suppose that crazy people aren’t in a good position to evaluate political ideas because, y’ know, they’re crazy. But no doubt I only think such silly thoughts because my imagination is limited and my reason badly maimed with inconsequential things like logic, principles, evidence and facts.

    (Sorry to preach to the choir. But I like the above, so I’m going to copy and paste it over at TP.)

    • Yes, I know crazy people have political orientations, Gary. In a case like today’s nutcase, it’s just not clear what his political leanings were, like they were with someone like Scott Roeder.

      It’s just a big game, and it’s really stupid.

  18. I suspect we got started with the labels for criminals stuff when we started calling criminals terrorists. Now we have to decide what ideaology provoked the crime. Sometimes a crazy person is just a crazy person.
    I’ve spent an hour and a half (1 x 1) + (5 x 0.1) trying to teach my son expanded form. Now, I’m a crazy person.

  19. Boxer – Fiorina debate.
    My computer crashed and this loaner isn’t the best – I’ll try to follow and report.

    Let’s see if this worked.
    Boxer Fiorina debate

  20. Oh god, the meeting went forever.

    Was it a productive meeting or just time you’ll never recover?!

    • Ebb, it was the first meeting regarding my internship. You know, the one you leave thinking, “What the hell have I gotten myself into?”

  21. Witch1 – glad to see a positive turn of events your way!

    Something tells me Bear (not your dog) had something to do with it. I continue to give thanks to those who answered the call to help you. (Zooey, you might have an idea of what I’m talking about)

    • Just catching up on the comments of the day.

      Great Lady, I’m glad things are looking up — they couldn’t go down much further, huh? I join BnF in thanks for those who answered your call for help. They are more numerous than we know.

  22. Zooey,

    Last time I had that thought (โ€œWhat the hell have I gotten myself into?โ€) was on my wedding night.

    Last time my spouse had that thought was when she started labor with our first child….

  23. Zooey, you know.

    You can help in the same way, if you choose. email me for more, if you like.

  24. Good Morning all, a huge Thank you for all your behind the scenes work, comments and well wishes…It has made a huge difference and I never forget where the help is coming from, ever…

    Rich fixed the truck steering arms and parked it back by my space late yesterday..I was having a mental melt down, just hours before he told me it could not be fixed because it had the original rivets from 1968 manufacture….Am having lots of over whelmed moments these days.Each day seems to have huge anchors and major problems attached…Finely I just surrendered, fed the critters, gave thanks and crashed…Hung a sign on my door “unless there is a fire, Do Not Disturbe”. My Bear barked a couple of times but I ignored everything…

    I am a week behind in getting major things done, hauling a truck load to the dump, getting water, propane and stuff for the yard sale this week end as well as cleaning out and packing stuff to leave…Had to make the choice to not do the yard sale again this week end….It’s just to time consuming and the return to small.May load everything up and haul it to good will as I get closer to the leave time…

    All the neighbors seem to think they are going to get some pie in the sky pay off even they though they know the track record of these evil slum lords..The slum lord’s will spend a bundle to fight doing what is right and just like Exxon all would be lucky to live long enough to get a dime…I keep reminding them when I can that they must start looking for another place to live, don’t count on any help from the bad guys and get ready to move on to a better place but no one listens or do’s anything for themselves…With my prodding 2 of them have done the yard sale thing but 4 have done nothing at all…

    In reading your post Lady Cats was reminded of that very fact for the rest of the residents…

    I can only hope The Bumble do’s not drop the ball for the other resident’s…He asked me in the conference if I was going to call any witnesses since I am pro sie and I told him no, everything I was going to do was facts backed up on paper and I would not be inconvencing (sp) any of my contacts and informers with 2 days of a trial….Names, dates, phone numbers and results would have to do….Thats when he said he intended to call on me, I would be his star witness since I knew more about the workings of the resort then the 2 previous absent owners..Indeed that part is true, I know where every divet in the ground is from mowing it for years and every thing to keep it going..It is dreadful living here now with all the neglect and intended abuse by the evil owners…

    Well, Dear ones, again I am sorry for the length..If the truck will do her job today I will be doing catch up and hurry work..Plan B or C or what ever comes at me and my little band of critters…Trusting you all will have a great day as I send you Peace, Blessings & Joy…

  25. Witch1,

    I hope that old truck is showing you what to fix ahead of getting on the road, so you can have a smooth trip east.

    I’m hearing about an oil rig explosion 80 miles south of Louisiana on KPOJ.

    This was on Twitter.

  26. Witch1, I know little of your story, but wish you peace and prosperity however it winds up. It’s good you’re tough enough to fight and smart enough to have a contingency plan.

    HouseofRoberts, if there’s another oil spill in the gulf I swear I’m going to get all Pat Robertson and believe that God really is trying to stop us from drilling.

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