The Golden Age Of Zweibel RevisitedCommentary • ISSUE 34•02 • Aug 12, 1998 By T. Herman Zweibel, Publisher Emeritus (photo circa 1911) As every student knows, the period of American history spanning the years 1896 to 1913 is known as the Golden Age Of Zweibel. It was a time when gentle-men were not ashamed to wear mutton-chop whiskers, when women kept their genitals in small safes in the parlor, and when children were seldom seen and heard only distantly from the bottom of narrow, dank mine-shafts. And it was a time when the world was at my feet. How I long for those days! The Onion news-paper was enjoying its first great national success, regularly scooping our arch-rival, The Brickton Atlas-Trumpet. Walking down News-paper Row, I would occasionally encounter its editor, P. Oliver Gummidge, and could not resist addressing him with a witty and good-natured barb, usually something like, "Ahoy there, Gummidge! Did you hear The Onion's latest scoop? I'm engaging in rough sexual congress with your wife! But of course you haven't heard, as you are the editor of the worst news-paper in the Republic!" He would invariably respond by turning crimson in the face, but he couldn't do any-thing to me, because I was heavily protected by a phalanx of boot-lickers and sycophants. Ah, for the Golden Age Of Zweibel! But, as with every golden age, it lasts but a brief time before fading into the mists of history. Once, I sported the irresistibly manly scent of shaving-soap and hair-pomade; now, I just reek of urine, disinfectant and bed-sore pus. Once, I wore custom-made frock-coats, fashionable gabardine trousers and natty homburg hats; now, I am clothed only in a thin muslin night-dress and cap, and my gout-ridden legs are swathed in yards of bandages. O cruel Fate! O Destiny! But what pains me most is that the news-paper trade has gone into a steep decline. I am sickened, sickened, by the purple prose that is mistaken for news-writing to-day. Why, in my day, we came straight to the point, and if that meant cutting out conjunctions, prepositions, even vowels, well then, so be it! Give me a man who can type with his fore-head over 20 Shakespeares any day. Back when I was editor, I held fast to a single tenet: "The Public Can't Tell The Difference Anyway, Because They Are A Bunch Of Monkeys." Wise words then, and they still ring true today!