Skip to comments.Prohibition is an Awful Flop, We Like It
Posted on 10/27/2011 1:18:00 PM PDT by PBRCat
[T]he film is beautifully composed. There are seductive inserts of bottling machinery and a perfect whiskey old fashioned cocktail being made. Some sequences border upon being high quality advertising agency pornography produced for a liquor industry client. There are no laborers ordering Boilermakers in the final cut... Burns knows his real audience, his business partners at the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (your tax dollars at work) prefer sophisticated cocktails rather than canned beer and pork rinds.
The documentary praises Frances Willard of the Womens Christian Temperance Union as a feminist heroine while ignoring her bizarre personal lifestyle (cross dressing in masculine attire and conducting numerous lesbian affairs on two continents with her intimates who affectionately called her Frank) which marked her as something of a fanatical crackpot. Willards organization was not above employing racist arguments to promote prohibition. Negroes were supposedly transformed into bestial brutes by the demon rum. Before the Twenties, the corner saloon was decidedly a male institution that was routinely off limits to women. It was also a political gathering place as many taverns were owned by ward politicians, so the W.C.T.U., headquartered in Evanston, Illinois, aligned itself with the suffragettes.
In faulting Protestant evangelicals and others for supporting Prohibition, the documentary sidesteps the significant role of Progressives in the coalition that secured the passage of the 18th Amendment. Woodrow Wilson opposed prohibition, but his veto was overridden. References to Progressives in the dry movement are kept to an absolute minimum. I counted a grand total of two such comments in over five hours. Politically correct orthodoxy demanded no less and Burns did not disappoint his benefactors. After all, the heirs to the Progressive movement want to mandate government healthcare and to outlaw smoking and certain cooking fats.
(Excerpt) Read more at cdobs.com ...
I quit watching because it did seem to have a transparent slant.
What a bizarre lady/laddie. A factoid tailor made for a slam on supposed mainstream Christians. But I guess this picture wasn’t about gays so they left it out. No worry, it’ll probably be in the next one.
Jane Addams is another Progressive icon who was a lavender sister.
The President has no veto power, or any other role in the amendment process. Possibly this is because for Congress to propose an amendment it has to have the 2/3 needed to override a veto anyway.
Wilson did veto the enabling Volstead Act, but Congress overrode his veto in record time.
I thought it was pretty good - the Progressive word was sprinkled non-liberally but it was there.
Watch it online - I think PBS’s site still has it up.
Some are. But then so are some white men, so I'm not sure what their point is.
Mean drunks come in every color.
You are correct.
"Alien illiterates ... rule our cities today; the saloon is their palace, and the toddy stick their sceptre. It is not fair that they should vote, nor is it fair that a plantation Negro, who can neither read nor write, whose ideas are bounded by the fence of his own field and the price of his own mule, should be entrusted with the ballot ... The colored race multiplies like the locusts of Egypt. The grog-shop is their center of power. The safety of women, of childhood, of the home is menaced in a thousand localities at this moment."
Do you think Romney's parents named him "Willard" in honor of her big-government, nanny-state, temperance stance, or to commemorate her views on race?
It did mention Christian temperance supporters more than Progressives, but they were mentioned (e.g., William Jennings Bryant). The 18th Amendment is a perfect example of the stupidity that can come from “bipartisanship”, another example being McCain-Feingold.
Try not to be too stupid. Romney was named after J. Willard Marriott, the founder of the hotel chain. Dr. Willard Richards was an early Mormon leader, and the name was passed down in the Marriott family.
The documentary praises Frances Willard of the Womens Christian Temperance Union as a feminist heroine while ignoring her bizarre personal lifestyle (cross dressing in masculine attire and conducting numerous lesbian affairs on two continents with her intimates who affectionately called her Frank) which marked her as something of a fanatical crackpot.
Times were different then. Women could live together, even address each other in very affectionate terms without having sex. I really doubt Frances Willard actually had "lesbian affairs" in the sense most people would understand today. Ditto for Jane Addams, Willa Cather, and other spinsters of that era.
Willards organization was not above employing racist arguments to promote prohibition.
Pretty common in her day and age all across the political spectrum.
Prohibitionism was a movement backed by two movements in America: progressivism and moralism. In its early days prohibition and temperance was indeed a radical movement often associated with abolition, women's rights, world peace, abolition of child labor, vegetarianism, etc. Both Susan B. Anthony and "Mother" Ella Reeve Bloor (the "grandmother of the Communist Party") started out in the temperance movement. However, not all progressives were supporters. Clarence Darrow is but one example of a progressive who was anti-prohibition.
While progressivism is still with us, the other factor, moralism, has largely been forgotten. The Republican party, as the heir of the Puritan tradition (as opposed to the Episcopalian/freethinking Jeffersonian/Jacksonian Democrat party) was originally very moralistic, as opposed to intemperence, gambling, and "sabbath"-violation as it was to slavery. And just as not all progressives were "dries," not all opponents of slavery were radical freethinkers. Anti-slavery sentiment played a role in the First Great Awakening (though not all the figures of that movement were anti-slavery). Rev. Lyman Beecher (more orthodox than his famous children) was also a promoter of temperance (and anti-Catholicism). As the Republican platform of 1856 made clear, that party regarded slavery and polygamy as "relics of barbarism"--a moralistic comment if there ever was one. For these people, anti-slavery wasn't a "left wing" position but one that fit in well with opposition to gambling, liquor, and prostitution.
Alas, moralism has all but died in American politics. Between the radical anti-moralism of the Left and the radical libertarianism of the contemporary Right, public morals are now universally hated in America. And see what it's gotten us.
The Prohibition Party, the third oldest political party in America, still exists. It is currently split into two factions: this one and this one. As you can see, its traditional animal mascot is the camel.
PS: I have often remarked that the Left-Right spectrum is different in America from most of the rest of the world, and the prohibitionist/temperance movement is an example of this. Another is the American Anti-Masonic movement, which was very different from European Catholic anti-Masonry, and which in fact flourished in anti-Catholic New England and the Middle Atlantic Seaboard. This same anti-Masonry also went from being a right wing "red scare" in the days of President John Adams to a proto-radical movement allied with the progressive causes enumerated above.
You are quite right. It is surprisingly difficult to project today’s political groupings into the past. Things just don’t fit.
You got that right. Just think, in the beginning of the current Constitution Hamiltonian loose construction was conservative and Jeffersonian strict construction was liberal!
I was trolling but god damn, you just broke the line.
I strongly recommend that you read “Ardent Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition” by John Kobler. Willard’s sexual proclivities were abundantly clear at a relatively early age and her relationships do not appear to have been entirely chaste. This book, originally published about forty years ago and reissued twenty years later, includes detailed extracts from her correspondence with several intimate female friends.
“The Prohibition Party, the third oldest political party in America, still exists.”
That is astonishing.
Your post was actually better than the linked article, which could really use some editing.
Like the temperance movement itself, the Prohibition Party was originally on the "Left," advocating women's rights and all manner of progressive reforms, but is now on the "Right." Weird.
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