tv American Artifacts Puck Magazine Cartoons on Congress CSPAN April 29, 2018 5:57pm-6:30pm EDT
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>> in my world, we have the u.s. not regulating, even when we see pretty bad problems. we see e.u. eu regulating a lot, even more than i think they should. what we haven't had is a good enough imagination of what could be in between. >> this week in primetime on c-span. you are watching american artifacts on american history tv. joining us in the studios is michael alexander khan, the co-author of the book "what fools these mortals be: the story of puck," thank you for being with us. uck was the most important weekly political cartoon and magazine of its time. it was the innovator of political cartoon magazines and was widely read and very influential. about the talk publication, but let me ask about you and your involvement in the book. long ago,u do it? >>
i came to washington for the energy program for ucla. my professor had a cartoon. he pointed at it and said that this cartoon decided the election of 1874. i was hooked. since then, i collected the magazines for over 40 years. >> we are going to talk about the magazine, but first let's talk about the media. what was it like? "what fools these mortals be! ae story of puck --michael: lot of newspapers, but they weren't very colorful, they weren't very fun. when puck came in, it was the first magazine of its kind to have full colored cartoons talking about politics. it really filled the vacuum. famous man said it was more influential than all the newspapers combined. let's begin steve:
with some of the images. from september 1876, we should point out it's in german. what are we looking at? michael: this is the first issue of puck. the founder of puck was german, so for the first 20 years he also published a german version. it was so popular they sold 20,000 copies in issue. if you take a look at the top right-hand corner, you can see other characters from famous european political cartoon magazines, and puck is throwing ,ut these cartoons and saying "i'm going to now join new york and be a part of the new york publishing community." steve: it's a reminder of the immigration in the country. michael: absolutely.
--ler was interestingly he uses the theater motif. steve: we are going to look at another illustration, and these are three men who were responsible for the publication of puck. fellow to the left is kepler, he was a cartoonist read the person standing to the right is schwartzman, he was the printer, and the fellow who was sitting is the editor. , theyn the three of them were the force behind puck for the first 27 years. steve: what was its leadership like? michael: published in new york city. by 1884 they published 120,000 copies in publication. puck magazine was passed around. you can multiply that by 10. the influence was enormous at the time. steve: what we are looking at is
the symbol of puck. who is he or she? was modeled after kepler's daughter, but neither a he or she, it's and it. people refer to puck as a he, or a she. talk is the mascot for the magazine, appears in hundreds of cartoons. and the magazine speaks through the voice of puck. steve: and the subtitle, america's most influential magazine. why was it so influential? michael: i think because of the color. it was innovative at the time. they used a lithographic process, where they used multiple stones, and they produced these beautiful color cartoons. it was the first of its kind in america. weree saw them and they very impressed by the image, the message, and those messages stayed with the people.
steve: first publication in german in march of 1877. thing which version came out. -- the english version came out. and we see a symbol of an a and pug coming out of that -- puck coming out of that egg. michael: the bottom right-hand side, that is a famous cartoonist. over to the left you see frank leslie. presentations,nt the chickens in the chicken house are welcoming the new egg, the new puck that was hatched from the egg. and they are saying, "there's a stir in the roost." kepler like to have allegories in his humor. he would have animals, he would have references to the bible. case, i thinkular
what he was saying is the new york publishing community is like a house of chickens. here today, were would you compare him to a current editorial cartoonist? michael: i would say not necessarily. rangingad a wide interests. he was much more issue focused than he was -- focused. today the cartoons are more specific and i don't think there would be any comparison to anybody currently. steve: there's a building in new york city known as the puck building. where specifically is it? michael: for the first seven or eight years, puck was in 23 different buildings all around southern manhattan. that by theccessful mid-1880's they could afford to build a large lithographic house. that's the largest building in the world for lithographic
printing. talk was so successful financially that it ran -- it used the entire building to publish puck magazine and other magazines. the building is located at lafayette and houston in southern new york. steve: this illustration shows you to roosevelt at the u.s. white house, the u.s. capitol, and building a bridge to puck magazine. michael: puck like to roosevelt at the beginning, and decided roosevelt was too big for his britches. roseendorsed the man who -- man who ran against roosevelt. this is sort of shaking hands and making up. steve: puck's political hunting ground, how he made a game of the politician. michael: this is 1885, and this is right after the election of 1884.
this is puck's idea of breaking. -- of bragging. you can see puck is standing, and he's holding the carcass, and the head of the carcass is james blaine, who ran against cleveland. it see the dog on the left, has a collar that says "satire." what he's trying to say is satire slayed the republican party. this is the first time in many years that the democrats had won an election. puck was proud of himself. steve: was joseph kepler viewed as revolutionary with these images? michael: in the united states, yes. however there were quite a few european magazines that had similar kinds of art. large lithographic cartoons. in the united states, kepler was revolutionary. in europe, not so much. steve: as you look at this today
in the 21st century, what do you think? michael: i rarely open up a park cartoon -- a puck cartoon without seeing -- you will see hundreds of cartoons that you could publish tomorrow and the readership of today would say, i recognize that, that issue is still going on. one of those issues is money in politics. steve: chapter four, you write the following quotes, "pug complained tirelessly about the pernicious effect of money on elections in government. it campaigned against the political interference of millionaire businessman who attended to bend the late -- attempted to minute late the legislative agenda -- to manipulate the legislative agenda. michael: the state legislators elected the senators, not the populace. basically, how money ran all the
politics and puck objected to it. steve: do you find the issues resonate today? same issues of inequality in income, the same issues of the much greater influence of the rich on the electoral process, those issues are exactly the same. steve: let me ask you about the detail of his work and take you to this image, "the monkeys revenge." explain what the symbolizes and how it resonates today. representatives of the republican party in the 1880 period. it was letting apart, as much as it may be is today. president, the garfield, and blaine are in charge. on the right, a fellow is cutting off the limb because the
republicans were fighting among each other. what he was saying is republicans were not able to get along, they were acting like monkeys, and they will destroy the franchise. right,take a look at the the democrats, a senate group of donkeys that have no power. thecould see an analogy to situation today, where the internal fights of the republicans are where the game is, and the democrats are out in the hinterlands, hoping to get in at some point. would they understand immediately what it represented? michael: the average person in 1881, he would recognize -- they would also recognize the president. and recognize the fact that the faces of politicians -- that these are the faces of politicians. these powerful people are depicted as monkeys, a attempted as acting foolishly, they are
depicted as out of control. that's the kind of humor and imagery puck likes. steve: how did you research this book? michael: i have a very large collection of puck cartoons of my own. and i read a lot of history books. took a lot ofi history books and took their references to puck cartoons. and then i took the cartoons that were most dominantly featured and i put them in the book. steve: uncle sam's neglected farm. new and independent party. it about time't you got rid of those quarrelsome fellows and gave the job to me? take a look to the right. michael: the republican party and the democratic party. the republican party was addicted as simians. the democratic party was associated with the irish. and a have references to secession.
and the republican party as being involved with corruption, there were very backed scandals -- very bad scandals. new political party." and of course the wonderful image of the farmer who's looking at uncle sam and saying, look at this terrible problem, we should have a third party. steve: agriculture was dominant in this time period. michael: absolutely. steve: we are going to move onto the next cartoon, this is from 1887, which shows a tariff monster in congress. what are tariffs? michael: tariffs are taxes that tariffs are taxes that are added to imported goods in the united states. you at eight chair -- at a tariff and the chair costs $40. the united states had no income tax. the major income source was
tariffs. the united states was very good at it. a the mid-80's, there was huge surplus, mid-1880's, there was a huge surplus in the american budget. yet america was running a huge surplus because of the tariffs. and the surplus was viewed as a problem. puck publishes this cartoon in this way, because puck was against the tariffs. see they are making the point that surpluses are a terrible problem. steve: we now have a $20 trillion debt in this country. roughly back in the 1890's, what was the u.s. federal budget? and what was the surplus? lowael: it was in the hundreds of millions. and the surplus was less than $100 million. steve: let's look at the speaker of the house from this time
period. not a very complementary look at the house speaker. why? michael: puck was a democratic magazine. this is a series of republican speakers. starting from far left, a guy named james blaine. he was a guy involved in a lot of scandals. so you have him tied up in the scandals, the red tape has the name of the scandals. the guy above him was also involved in scandals. and the guy on the right was thought to be a bit of a fool. the person at the bottom is a gentleman named reid. he was a very powerful and imperious person. pug's point was that every one of these republican speakers was immoral and their leadership was corrupt. steve: how long would it taken to come up with these editorial him to come upke with these editorial cartoons? michael: he would come up with
ideas, they would have a staff meeting, they would decide which ones to use, he would then draw them, then they would be put on stone. steve: what was he like? michael: he was very energetic, very entrepreneurial. he was a terrific businessman and he had many projects. -- excuse me, 1889, he worked himself to death. i think he was in his mid-50's. image, "theyext hate the light, but they cannot escape it." what are we looking at? michael: we are looking at what could be yesterday. yesterday somebody was interviewed by the united states congress, and none of us know what happened because it was in private. this is what happened 100 years ago. they hold hearings and private. -- hearings in private. what they were
complaining about. the press in the 1880's and 1890's was adamantly suggesting the senate should not be private. he was trying to shine light on the behavior. here, of course, the application is that sinister, terrible things are happening in congress behind closed doors. thee: you are referring to president's communications director. we began this network because we want to show the process as it unfolds. michael: you would be the gentleman -- the ladies shining light in this cartoon. steve: this next one is -- explain this. legislative named activity of the republican party was the tariff. -- by they the named name william mckinley was a was ace men from -- congressman from ohio.
is suggesting is the tariffs are a terrible thing, but mckinley is causing them to happen. mckinley is the pharaoh, he's on the left, portrayed as the pharaoh's right -- he's on the left. portrayed as the pharaoh's wife is speaker reid. steve: he would go on to become president. michael: he would. steve: let's look at this, which is a familiar theme in the 21st century, throwing the bums out. the hoped for puck was that people of the democratic whoy and republican party had been treated to bad policies that puck didn't like would be shifted -- had been attributed to bad policies that puck didn't like would be shifted. speaker,plain why the
in this case, mr. reid, became such a target. time the speaker of the house decided who would be on the committee's. this is an illustration of the fact that speaker reid runs the congress, but he is in fact the congress. were a whole series of speakers that were very powerful. steve: i mentioned the budget deficit, because that became an issue in 1897. billion debt growing today. michael: in 1892, the democrats run -- democrats won. in 96.ublicans came back
the terrorist did not have the effect they wanted -- the tariff did not have the effect they wanted. all of a sudden congress is faced with a huge deficit. the deficit was $44 million, maybe as much as eight big paid baseball player today -- as a big paid pace ballplayer today -- as a big paid baseball player today. steve: was andrew carnegie the bill gates of his time? michael: i think so. he wasn't the richest man. rockefeller was richer. but i think carnegie was more philanthropic. you couldning here, publish this cartoon in january of this year. saying, the policies of the american
government are making the richest people in the country even richer. on the right you have activities by congress, on the left you have the workers, and they are filling the pockets of people like carnegie. ironically, mr. buffett announced the tax cut. you could put mr. buffett right there were mr. carnegie is. steve: the influence of money and politics. is one of the most famous puck cartoons ever. if you take a look at the top left, it says "people's entrance closed." , and this is a famous cartoon, that the senators are really the senators from the steel trust, the copper trust, and all the senators are representatives of special interest, and all our government
is is a government of the special interest for the special interest. time -- that's who they represented. from: our final image is september 1819. michael: sadly this is the final issue. it's self-evident. we look at all those powerful cartoons. by september 1918, pop converted itself. of art, it wasne much less political, it featured pictures of pretty women. i, andstill in world war this is a representative of a way. -- a representative. is "what fools these mortals be! the story of puck."
michael alexander kahn, thank you for being with us. michael: thank you. >> american history tv is on c-span3 every weekend, featuring archival films and programs on the presidency. the civil war and more. here's a clip from a recent program. >> 38th parallel runs right here . for those of you reviewing in the united states, charlottesville virginia, just north of the 38th parallel runs along the 38th parallel. how gives you an idea of this fits in geographically on a map of the united states. the north koreans attacked southward. here's the north korean capital of pyongyang. china is here, japan is barely
on the map right here. they attacked southward and very quickly pushed the south koreans , with american reinforcements, into a perimeter. an area here 100 miles long and 50 miles wide. they control 50% of the korean peninsula by august 1950, just six weeks after it starts. one of the greatest defensive stance in the united states army , assisted by the south koreans hold off all north korean attacks and hold the perimeter. 15, 1950.september in some cases they are down to their last reserves. absolutely incredible, incredible stand by the americans. meanwhile douglas macarthur has some reinforcements coming from the united states. he has troops in japan trying to figure out what to do.
he looks at the map and realizes he could just advance a little bit, cut the north korean supply line and he will have a good chance to destroy the north korean army. the problem is he has some of the highest tides the world. it can only be landed on by couple of days and months. the next day coming up a september 15. joint chiefs of staff, the war department are convinced this is not a good idea. the fact north koreans would not expect it, this is a crazy place to land because of the tide, means it is a great idea. the first marine division and the u.s. seventh division land here september 15, 1950. meanwhile a breakout and they destroyed north korean army right here. pushed back to the 38th parallel by october 1. the un security council had said
you liberate south korea and it passes a new resolution. mac arthur, as the failed unfettered -- as he felt unfettered, pushed further north. china, which have gone communist , andthe year before doesn't have to relations with a lot of countries, sends a notice through india. if we approach the river we will be forced to act. mac arthur meets with truman at wake island. discounts warnings of chinese intervention. core operating in this area over here. macarthur discounts them, launches an attack to be home by christmas.
at this point 300,000 chinese attack. usa army fights a very desperate battle here. u.s. marines at the reservoir are surrounded by the chinese and begin to fight their way down to the coast. the u.s. seventh division, which actually reaches the river here, turns around. and 105,000 americans and koreans pullout. this is an important moment in korea and history. korean refugees that have lived in the north and don't want to stay. the commander here -- i have to say this for him.
spaceer spare shipping there is, i want you to take refugees. 98,000 people get out and evacuate. five children are born at sea. this has such an impact on the korean psyche. there are a lot of people that say this cemented our relationship. there for just ourselves, we were there for the korean people. this remains a big moment. that doesn't disguise the fact that the chinese had pushed these forces south. and the longest retreat in the history of the united states army back down to the vicinity of soul. new year's eve the chinese would launch another attack.
fights his way back. mac arthur and truman have been going back and forth about policy. there is no substitute for victory. we go north and go really after the chinese and start bombing china. the union has a mutual defense package and that probably brings -- that probably means doubling up on world war iii. wrong war, wrong time, wrong place. public.pute becomes on april 11, 1951 truman relieved macarthur. summer, negotiations opened for an armistice, to figures to hammer out an agreement field that allies don't move
significantly from where they stop in the summer of 1951. in the 1953 the armistice takes effect. this and otherh american history programs on our .ebsite that c-span.org/history. we continue our series, 1968, america and turmoil, with a look back at the media's role 50 years ago. america's were eyewitnesses to a war in vietnam, astronauts orbiting the moon, chaos on their city streets, and assassinations. magazines and news captured america at its most volatile, vulnerable and vibrant , while shooting the stories they covered. mag --n 1968, cbs news news man walter concrete delivered his assessment that the bloody series