History Two Things about Google
posted by July 30 at 10:21 AMon
1) Google was a well known word back in the 1920s: Barney Google was a popular comic strip. *
2) It works on my cell phone’s predictive text without any futzing and editing. It just comes right up.
The book was written in 1931 by a sarcastic, casually intellectual Harvard grad named Frederick Lewis Allen. (He was a staffer at the Atlantic Monthly and editor in chief at Harper’s.)
President Warren G. Harding was the original G.W. Bush. Allen trashes the aww-gee-shucks Harding for his habit of butchering the English language (“Normalcy” is the most famous example, but there’s also “brigadier generalcy,” “non-involvment” in European affairs, “adhesion” to a treaty, and “betrothment” for betrothal).
More noteworthy are Harding’s endless, nearly incomprehensible string of corruption scandals: Secret, no-bid government oil contracts for pay offs to Harding’s GOP etc.
And my God, check this (eerily familiar) passage on Harding’s corrupt AG, Harry Daugherty:
Could there be more deliberate implication that Harding’s Attorney General could not tell the truth for fear of blackening the reputation of [the President.] Call Daugherty’s silence, if you wish, the silence of loyalty.
Allen’s sophisticated account (he knowingly condemns the plagues of racism, anti-Semitism, sexism, and the Red Scare’s attack on the First Amendment as if he were a 1990s grad student ), makes it clear that our modern world (mass culture; fashion as a commodity; aggressive advertising; chain stores; buying on credit; abstract Wall Street capitalism; tabloid sex scandals; prepared food; do-me feminism; teenagers; sexual liberation; movie stars; pop psychology; car culture; and reactionary moralism) emerged in the 1920s in an unprecedented jump cut from the previous, provincial and comparatively static decades of U.S. history.
I used to think contemporary culture began in the mid-1960s, but the radio is the Internet and the 1920s are the template where we still live like mice.