I was recently informed that the Twentieth-Century is nearly at an end, which astonishes me, because it seems like just yesterday that I was toasting its genesis in New-York's Winter Garden with Harry Houdini, Stanford White, the Floradora Girls, and Mutt & Jeff. Well, I hope you bastards all had fun this century, because I spent the latter half of it confined to a dank, fetid bed-chamber while having my urethra scraped.
My rotten son M. Prescott, who pretends to "edit" The Onion, but instead whiles away his hours in an opium-den in the Limehouse district, has recommended that I occasionally republish a favorite Message of particular historic importance, as a way to commemorate the passing century.
It is like that wit-less oaf to suggest such a ludicrous thing. How am I to select a handful of favorite columns when each practically pisses brilliance? Also, I hate to repeat my-self. I like to think that I vary the subject-matter of my columns enough to keep them interesting. For example, I assiduously restrict my-self to writing about my enormous goiters no more than three times a year.
But I am thinking I would like to take a nap now, so perhaps I will reprint an excerpt from a past column to-day. Standish has been kind enough to retrieve it from my vast archives, and although I can't recall ever having written it, I must admit it's pretty damn impressive. It's from 1926, and it's titled "Give Fascism A Chance":
Imagine a country where a man can be his own boss and, more importantly, the boss of others. Where a man can design his own paramilitary out-fit, wear tall leather boots, and goose-step down city streets with nary a word of complaint or public ridicule. A place where "fear" is the watch-word, where the press is a mouth-piece for certain political and oligarchal interests, and strident nationalism is force-fed to the populace with a giant iron eye-dropper.
I know what you are thinking: "It sounds too good to be true. The fanciful fairy-land of which Zweibel speaks can be found only in nursery rhymes and children's story-books." But I am happy to say that not only does such a utopia exist; it can be found in the modern Italy of Benito Mussolini.
O, I was such a coltish day-dreamer back then. Always imagining castles in the sky and what-not. I would sigh wistfully, if I still had my lungs.
T. Herman Zweibel, the great grandson of Onion founder Friedrich Siegfried Zweibel, was born in 1868, became editor of The Onion at age 20, and persisted in various editorial posts until his launching into space in 2001. Zweibel's name became synonymous with American business success in the 20th century. Many consider him the “Father Of American Journalism,” also the title of his well-known 1943 biography, written by Norman Rombauer.