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I really do love these bits of unusual Americana, something from the early ages of iconic Americans that give a quick glimpse into an average day of a famous-someone way before they became who they became.
[Image from the American Heritage Auction Gallery, where the item is being auctioned, here.]
[Elsewhere in this blog I wrote about what I learned from Johnny Cash's report card (here) from just a year later, in 1949.]
Getting back to Elvis: this is a back-of-the-book-in-a-paper-pocket borrower's card from a library book borrowed by Elvis Presley in 1948. The book--written by Bessie Rowland James (b. 1895)-- was Courageous Heart, a Life of Andrew Jackson for Young Readers, and was published in 1934. I guess it was appropriate reading,as the Presley family had just (September 12) moved from Tupelo into their new small apartment at 578 Poplar Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee--Jackson being a more-or-less Native Son (though other states claim him as well).
To accompany the J.R. Cash report card is Elvis' third grade card:
As near as I can determine, this is 578 Poplar Street today:
[Source: Google Maps]
Elvis was enrolled at Christine School (formerly known as the Market Street School, and also as the Smith School) on Third Street in Memphis to complete 8th grade the next day, September 13, 1948. The school was demolished in 1948. The book evidently survived.
I just happened upon this, but since it is the British Open and all I though to publish it here. The map was composed for the Illustrated London News, 3 July 1920, by W.B. Robinson. It shows the number of links around the city of London--seems like a lot to me, and this data doesn't even include miniature golf, which was very big at this time. The Key: M = a "membership" club; L = Ladies; A = "associate", and the year underneath is the year the course was organized. The game is evidently older in Scotland, but around London golf dates to the time of James I.
I found this in the Alex Cashman's lovely site, Mathematical Fiction (here). The except is from Charles Dicken's Hard Times (1854)1, and in it we see Dickens making another in a long series of assaults on what he thought to be a disturbed social layering of dealing with the underclasses and the working poor.--and this time in the form of an entire novel. In the instance sited below (of interest right now because of its maths connection), Dickens makes a case for the"success" for the government of the fictitious city of Coketown to see a relatively small percentage of people in that city starving to death on its streets to be not a success at all. The character making the complaint is Sissy Jupe, whose fault at school came when asked the percentage of the starving/dying responded by saying it really didn't matter, because people were starving anyway, and whether it was one or a thousand dying from something as fixable as hunger meant all the same thing. She was presented with the "statistics"2 from her teacher, but to Ms. Jupe it came to her ear as "stutterings", which is what Dickens felt the numbers were. Dickens was attempting to make those people suffering in the streets less blank, less hollow, and more than a number.
1. It should be pointed out here that this is Dickens' 10th novel, the 42-year-old already having a enormous success with his writing and an even grater one in his storytelling. To this date, Dickens had already written The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club (Monthly serial, April 1836 to November 1837; The Adventures of Oliver Twist (Monthly serial in Bentley's Miscellany, February 1837 to April 1839); The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (Monthly serial, April 1838 to October 1839); The Old Curiosity Shop (Weekly serial in Master Humphrey's Clock, 25 April 1840, to 6 February 1841); Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of 'Eighty (Weekly serial in Master Humphrey's Clock, 13 February 1841, to 27 November 1841); A Christmas Carol (1843);The Chimes (1844); The Cricket on the Hearth (1845); The Battle of Life (1846);The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain (1848); The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit (Monthly serial, January 1843 to July 1844); Dombey and Son (Monthly serial, October 1846 to April 1848);David Copperfield (Monthly serial, May 1849 to November 1850); and Bleak House (Monthly serial, March 1852 to September 1853). Remarkable.
2. "Statistics" as a word has been in use for a long time, finding air as early as 1787, at least so far as the sense in which it is used here. There are earlier references, but they actually refer to the "state", as in "statecraft" and government and such, and not for interpreting a collection of data.
JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post on Anti-Semitism & Propaganda
Frederick Soddy, Nobel Prize in chemistry (1921) and one of the fathers of nuclear fission, was also an economist. Well, an anti-economist of high order, an anti-economist preaching anti-economics on the order of the altruistic anti-economy, ideal anti-economist, material- and Left- and Nationalist-economics, and so on. He is the author, along with Walter Crick (who happens to be the uncle of Francis Crick of DNA fame), of a clumsily-titled pamplet-y takeoff of his major works on anti-economics, Abolish Private Money, or Drown in Debt (1939) It was published by the Nationalist Press Association (147 E 116th Street, NYC), an arm of the American Nationalist Party, and which also published such works as Are all Jews Liars? (1940), The Jew and Peril and the Catholic Church (1936, also published by the American White Guard), Why are Jews Persecuted for their Religion (1940), and other titles.
Soddy also quotes from The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and did so five years after The Times ran a blistering and complete denunciation of the rabid anti-Semitic creation that seems resistant to contradictory evidence to its belief. And still he seems to have kept his belief in the document, like any other object demanding of belief and not-critical thinking, kept it alive like millions of others.
I did not know this about Soddy, and I am sorry for it. The cover illustration is disgraceful, though there is no place in the text that I have seen that is actually and outwardly anti-Semitic. The illustrations, however, are.
I really have no idea about what Soddy is talking about in his "scientific" and anti-economic theory that money and banks are the ruin of the way a country (and the world) conducts business. Its structure brings immediately to mind--probably wrongly--the brilliant/odd/goofy contribution of T.E. Lawrence to the Encyclopedia Britannica on guerrilla warfare and his attempt to make a "science" of it. But the overall flavor of the Soddy/Crick thing is not very good (and that leaving out the anti-Semitic part, which is something else, entirely)>.
The Care of the Dead, published by Eyre and Spottiswoode in London in 1916, is a quiet, spare pamphlet, on what was happening to the fallen British soldier in France and Belgium. It is a big topic--physically the little paper-wrapper work seems barely strong enough to support the implications and heaviness of its title--and I'm sure the issue would've been the most important questions in the minds of the families of the hundreds of thousands of dead British soldiers*--the pamphlet really does seem to be feather-light under the solidity of its title.
Reading though this work gave me an insight into the depth of what millions of war dead means--and an insight I think that I've never had before. The anonymous author writes about touring the battlefields of France in 1915 and 1916, driving in an automobile, "the eye of the traveler along the roads is struck by many low crosses sticking out o the ground--in the fields, in cottage gardens, in corners of farm yards and orchards, even on roadside strips of grass."
Where the ground has changed hands a good deal in the course of a war, you may see, within a few hundred yards of each other, the gabled and eaved cross of the Germans, with "Hier ruht in Gott" and a name painted in white on a dark ground, the beaded wire wreath of the French, with its "Requiescat" or "Mort pour la France: and the plain-lined cross of the English, white or brown or just the unpainted wood, "In loving memory" of officers or men..." Now I'm sure I read any number of accounts of the views of battlefields from commanders' line and soldiers' views and the like; but I don't think I've had the perspective of an officer driving around a no-longer-a-contested-battlefield in a car and being struck by the appearance of the little white crosses, well, everywhere. I have a very crisp imagined image in my head, now, with this 92-year-old war memory described from the driver's seat of a car.
"In 1873, when Morse advocated an end to all political rule, Alcott commented about Morse in his journal. 'Once, I might have accepted fully his doctrine of Individual Sovereignty, ignoring all interference from institutions conventions and creeds of all kinds, as during the Fruitlands and non-taxpaying periods of my life. It was putting this logic to its ultimate consequences, and individual issues,—abolishing the social and political order altogether. . . . It left me an outcast and a vagabond.— The sincere victim of a half-truth seen in the light of an idea at last'."--Amos Alcott, friend of Sidney H. Morse (author of the pamphlet below), from the site Alcott.net
I just could not resist this pamphlet, all dressed in white and red, catchy and playful title...I thought it would be a nice catch for my Daily Dose of Dr. Odd series, until I realized straight away that it was a serious publication. Well, the mood of the discourse was a little common and jocular, but the message certainly wasn't.
[The original is available from our blog bookstore, here.]
The author was Sidney H. Morse ("The Red-Hot Striker") and the piece was a rant against big money, monopoly/combinations and The Ruling Class. It was published in "The Radical Review", which was published by the anarchist and free-thinker Benjamin Tucker, in 1878. The executive summary for this short piece is plain--first, there should be no "executive", and second, most of all of this revolves around free Communism and the statement "it takes a great many poor men to make one rich man".
It seems that Mr. Morse (fl. 1870-1900) might have left many of his radical thinkers behind (like Mr, Alcott, above) when he went free-range and advocated no government or controlling system whatsoever, every person their own entity. I'm not sure so that most people could get away with that thinking even left to themselves in a themself universe, every person in their own Utopian-solitary-anarchy. Seems as though the expectations of whatever this was, (no expectation or all-expectation) , was just too expectant.
There is something terribly American, full of hope, and trust, and celebration in this anniversary celebration pamphlet for the city of Mound Bayou, Mississippi. (I talked to someone in town administration this morning and the "Mound Bayou" is pronounced as one, quick, word: "Moundbayou", with equal pronunciation emphasis.) The Souvenir Program for the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the town (July 11-17, 1937) is filled with town history, and advertisements, and photographs.
Isaiah T. Montgomery was one of the founders of Mound Bayou, clearing out the bottomlands in the wilderness of northwest Mississippi, the town populated by Freedmen. But here at the time of the anniversary, in 1937, with the failure of cotton prices and the Depression being at its height or depth, the majority of the people living in Mound Bayou were sharecroppers, with most property lost.
But that didn't matter too much to the people of Mound Bayou. As is stated on page 47 of the pamphlet:
"The real significance of Mound Bayou...cannot be measured by the number of acres we own, neither by the size and number of businesses we operate, the strength of our financial institutions, nor by the eminence of or native sons and daughters. But the true significance of Mound Bayou lies in the fact that we are able to demonstrate to the world that the Negro can and does live as a law abiding citizen under the authority of the "bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh". The reading continues: "We have no jail because we don't need one. Int he entire community dwell 8,000 Negroes and we have not had a capital crime in thirteen years. Petty crimes are infrequent."
The original document is available at our blog bookstore, here.
The long-spirit anarchist (and "Unterrified Jeffersonian") Benjamin R. Tucker (1854-1939) wrote "The Attitude of Anarchism toward Industrial Combination" in 1926, but we see it here printed in Detroit (by Lawrence Labadie) in 1933. It is interesting to see on the inside of this tiny pamphlet that the anarchist Tucker's work was sent to H.L. Mencken, as a gift from the printer. It wouldn't stay long in Mr. Mencken's possession, as he sent it (along with a number of other works by Tucker that I can't lay my hands on at the moment) to the Library of Congress in July 1934 (and coming into my possession as part of a purchase of "the Pamphlet Collection" 65 years later.). I'm not so sure about what Mr. Mencken would have thought of most of it, only that he didn't keep it for long, I think, despite what might seem to be his "Tory Anarchism" and general oppositionist stances. left and right, whatever they might have meant at the time.
The full text of the pamphlet is found here, and the original found for sale at our blog bookstore, here.
"There is work that profits children, and there is work that brings profit only to employers. The object of employing children is not to train them, but to get high profits from their work." --Lewis Hine, 1908
This is an appraisal of the working conditions of children in 1934--a third of the way through the century, thirty years before the 'sixties, not horribly long ago, not of a Dickensian era, not even a Sinclair-Lewis-ian one. Recent. The author, Dorothy Kenyon--1888-1972, a feminist, civil rights lawyer, judge, maverick, speaker, activist, and all around force of nature who stood strong and firm and tall while being accused of Commie blather by Joe McCarthy--made a very strong case for people to take a close look at the still-dismal conditions of child labor in the U.S.
Exposing the conditions of children, young child, hard at work in 40-75 hour a week jobs may belong to the documentarian photographer Lewis Hine (1874-1940), whose long series of images made between 1908-1917 (and working for the National Child Labor Committee) depicted the varied working conditions of some of the 2 million kids under the age of 16 working in the U.S. He made photographs, and photographs to this generation of American newspaper and magazine reader were still relatively new-ish, half-tones coming into wide use only in the 1890's, making short work of speculation.
Hine--who gives us the quote to lead this short post--was a school teacher and sociologist who was extremely aware of the plight of the children around him--well, children, and immigrants, and laborers; people without voices, or representation, poor working people. He was a pioneering photographer whose images of these classes of people were revolutionary, a tremendously important documentarian of a societal symptom that was pretty much misdiagnosed, or at least was chosen as something to not be seen. That was hard to do when you had actual photographs of the grim situation.
Fresh from a short post on Richard Wagner writing and publishing an interesting piece on the future of music, and then months later writing a diabolically-bad and ruthlessly hateful pamphlet on Jewish people, I came to this--a pair of books with illustrations of another sort of ruthless control, this one mental, legal and physical.
Moses Roper's1(b. 1815-1891) A Narrative of the Adventures and Escape of Moses Roper, from American Slavery, (Philadelphia: Merrihew & Gunn, 1838) details a life-long series of vast mistreatment, punishment and torture while a slave. He was a mulatto, and of very fine and fair skin, and so endured a particularly hard treatment from a number of different masters, changing masters 17 times. But he escaped, finally (after more than a dozen attempts) and made his way from Florida to New York, and then ultimately to England. His book has few illustrations, but those that are there are unforgettable.
[Source: New York Public Library Digital Collections, here.]
This piece of propaganda and racial attack appeared in Los Angeles in 1889. The National Bakers Union called for a boycott of The Original Coffee House for purchasing their baked goods from a "scab" bakery identified as Brown's Restaurant and Bakery. Their crime was magnified by using Chinese people instead of making use of "hundreds of capable and deserving White People" were seeking employment. The union also made a connection between the next-door undertakers (and the possibility of the seepage of vermin and such) with the use of the Chinese workers.
Source: I originally found this post at the Bay Radical website, here, though the image above is a high resolution download from he Library of Congress, here, from their Chinese in California collection.
The undertakers seem to have survived whatever it was that the Bakers Union threw at them, advertising themselves in 1889 (following), and telling folks to call, day or night, by ringing Number 61:
"PECK & McCOY, Undertakers and Embalmers, No. 40 NORTH MAIN STREET. Telephone 61. Day or Night, from Los Angeles Herald, Volume 31, Number 145, 25 February 1889 — Page 6 Advertisements Column 1 [ADVERTISEMENT], California Digital Newspaper Collection, here. "
The Chinese population in L.A. had grown markedly since 1850, and by the mid-80's there were some 3,000 living in Chinatown in a city of about 50,000 people. There was a notorious riot and massacre of Chinese people there, in Chinatown, a result of a white man killed accidentally int he crossfire of a gunfight between two rival Tanns. The establishment went crazy and exacted a gross revenge, burnign amd looting, and killing 19 men and boys.
Here's a slathering piece of propaganda published by the Militant Christian Patriots (of London) on how the British government was dealing with the Nazi/Seudeten problem in September 1938. In their gunsights was Anthony Eden, who was seen by this group as a Bolshevist supporter, and who as the Foreign Minister of the United Kingdom under Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain was against the appeasement policy of the government towards Nazi territorial acquisitions, particularly in this case with Czechoslovakia. Eden. identified here as "backed by the Zionists, Fabian_Scoailists and "pacifist" League of Nations enthusiasts" was a multiple threat, and seen to be capable of directing national policy towards a confrontation with Germany over the looming Czech problem. [The original is available from our blog bookstore.] On the other hand, Neville Chamberlain, who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom at this time (and from May 1938-May 1940), was seen as a better ideological fit with his issues and policies of appeasement of the German nationalist needs and territorial rape. Chamberlain certainly gave what Christian Militants wanted--a free hand to Hitler in Czechoslovakia (and more), and perhaps an acknowledgement of defeat to the Nazi nation. Winston Churchill certainly thought so:
"We have suffered a total and unmitigated defeat... you will find that in a period of time which may be measured by years, but may be measured by months, Czechoslovakia will be engulfed in the Nazi régime. We are in the presence of a disaster of the first magnitude...we have sustained a defeat without a war, the consequences of which will travel far with us along our road...we have passed an awful milestone in our history, when the whole equilibrium of Europe has been deranged..." Winston Churchill, MP, 1938
The Christian Militants saw it all differently, tending to agree with Hitler on the Czech matter, and seeking to keep the U.K. out of confrontation and thus away from war by giving Hitler (and then Mussolini) what they demanded to satisfy their growing national needs.
"I am asking neither that Germany be allowed to oppress three and a half million Frenchmen, nor am I asking that three and a half million Englishmen be placed at our mercy. Rather I am simply demanding that the oppression of three and a half million Germans in Czechoslovakia cease and that the inalienable right to self-determination take its place." -Adolf Hitler's speech at the NSDAP Congress 1938
Eden resigned his position earlier in the year, in March 1938, but stayed in the fray. As everyone knows things went badly at the end of the month of September, 1938, with Chamberlain letting everything go and appeasing Hitler in the Munich Conference (known to the Czechs as the "Munich Dictates" and worse) in which bits of Czechoslovakia were given to Germany in a series of meetings in which that country was not invited.
And so the P.M. returned to the home country having done nothing in Germany but give away a part of someone else's country, all in a feeble attempt at maintaining peace for Europe's key players. He landed at Heston Aerodrome and held a piece of flimsy paper in his hand, which was battered by a tiny wind, and declared that there would be "peace in our time" because Hitler's signature said it would be so, all of which was a "prelude to peace" in Europe as a whole:
"My good friends, this is the second time there has come back from Germany to Downing Street peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Now I recommend you go home, and sleep quietly in your beds."
Less than a year later it would all come crashing down, the appeasement policy (such as it was) a shambles, and the world plunged into war. Chamberlain would last as P.M. for a little longer, until May 1940, when he was at last replaced--by Winston Churchill.
On Evacuees, Excludees, and "Segregees": Closing an Ugly Chapter in U.S. History--the Japanese Internment Camps, 1942-1945
As of April 30, 1945, the U.S. government allocated a total of $39 million to relocate 120,000 or so Japanese "evacuees" from "evacuation centers" back to their "normal homes". That comes to about $275.00 per person: but that is mostly allocated to payment for personnel, because, really, all that was happening was that these people were being sent back home somewhere, or if their homes/farms had been undersold from under them, to somewhere not-their-home. Of course the figure is slightly inflated, because of all of those Japanese interred during this time nearly 10% of them volunteered to fight in the U.S. Armed Forces, so for those who survived after serving in some of America's most highly-decorated units of all time, Uncle Sam was paying the bill to send those young men home. But offsetting the Americans of Japanese decent who fought in the war were about another 10,000 babies born in the "segregation centers", so the numbers stay fairly-well the same. (I cannot offhand find any numbers on the numbers of people who died in the camps, or for that matter what happened to their remains after the camps (and camp cemeteries) were closed. I do not know if that was a government expense--to move the coffin and pay for reburial--or if that expense became a private affair.)
Dillon Myer, who was the director of the War Relocation Authority, testified in Congress on 30 April 1945 that it was time for the "relocation centers" to be closed, and for the "evacuees" to go home. And to go home on schedule.
"Not later than 15 months, after revocation of the general exclusion orders, all evacuee property services to persons other than excludees (including segregees) will terminate, and all evacuee property warehouses not utilized for the property of such persons will be emptied..."
I expect that few of the American Japanese wanted to linger.
The "working poor" of England may have been half of that--working, that is, and hard at work, though not being paid even enough to be considered poor. Their story has been told in many ways, of course, the backbone of the Industrial Revolution succeeding on their bones, observed and recorded and shared by Charles Dickens and others, and on and on, told elsewhere in brevity and quick detail better than I can do so here.
I did want to make a quick comment about a very small detail in the state of those poor people, found in Charles Kingsley's Cheap Clothes and Nasty, printed in 1850. It is quite a documentarian's tour of the plight of the poor, written by a very able observer. (Kingsley is a very interesting person--an historian, priest in the Church of England, social commentator, and novelist. As a matter of fact he was exceptionally prolific, producing during his lifetime (1819-1875) a fine long list of accomplishment, three of which have survived to this day as sorts of minor classics. But what he did with great regularity was publish books--34 of them in 25 years between 1850 and 1875, including 15 during the decade of the 1850's, 11 in the 1860's, and 8 in the 1870's to his death in 1875. Perhaps as important as all of that was the role he played in the arrival of C. Darwin's On the Origin of Species..., as Kingsley wrote one of the earliest reviews of the book and defended it strongly.)
But getting back to the poor, Kingsley made a very strong case for the poor being less so than that, as we see here:
"Folks are getting somewhat tired of the old rodomontade that a slave is free the moment he sets foot on British soil! Stuff! - are these tailors free? Put any conceivable sense you will on the word, and then say - are they free? We have, thank God, emancipated the black slaves; it would seem a not inconsistent sequel to that act to set about emancipating these white ones.Oh! we forgot; there is an infinite difference between the two cases - the black slaves worked for our colonies; the white slaves work for us. But, indeed, if, as some preach, self interest is the mainspring of all human action, it is difficult to see who will step forward to emancipate the said white slaves; for all classes seem to consider it equally their interest to keep them as they are; all classes, though by their own confession they are ashamed, are yet not afraid to profit by the system which keeps them down..."--Charles Kingsley, Clothes, Cheap and Nasty, 1850
Kingsley continues on with the stuff of research, uncommonly sharing the lot of what a vast section of English society experienced daily though mostly in silence.
Another excruciating and interesting report was made by George Godwin in his London Shadows, a glance at the "homes" of the thousands of 1854 (the whole work found on the wonderful Victorian London blog, here and about which I posted about here).
Godwin--an influential architect and editor of the very influential The Builder as well as a social reformer, who lived from 1813-1888) wrote an expose of how so many Londoners lived at the middle of the century. It is also illustrated with woodcuts of the places in which people lives--artwork in wood and ink that have a very definite quality of the unforgiving cameras of Life magazine a century later. The images are awakening and abrupt--all the bitter observation of George Orwell, only told much more quickly, like a person trying to describe a raging house fire before the thing burned itself out. Its a powerful work, and I can't help but think that those reading it in 1854 must have been appalled not only by the deep visualization of the state of the working poor, but also by its scope, and the possible revelation of England's basic bedrock.
Here is an example of Godwin's work, which includes observations on not only housing the poor, but clothing them as well, and published in the editorial pages of journal The Builder. He presents one aspect of their lot by discussing their clothing and its purchasing, bought for what the polite reading circles who would find The Builder to be almost for no money at all, though the few pennies spent on a pair of shoes or shirt were a major factor in the weekly ration of the working poor., particularly if they were making 5 or 10 pounds per year. It was an interesting way for Godwin to present to the non-poor what the other-half really had to live like, and perhaps by reaching out to the population that did the building-of-London he probably hoped to affect some sort of reform in the way in which the poor had to live and work. An example of the Godwin work:
"One of the London missionaries (a body whose valuable services can only be properly appreciated by those who understand the nature and extent of the evil to which we are directing attention) says:- "Persons who are accustomed to run up heavy bills at fashionable tailors' and milliners', will scarcely believe the sums for which the classes we are describing are able to purchase the same articles for their own rank in life." A missionary who recently explored Rag-fair, reported that a man and his wife might be clothed from head to foot for from 10s. to 15s. Another missionary stated that 8s. would buy every article of clothing required by either a man or a woman, singly. In Pennant's time it was less. He says (speaking of the other Rag-fair), that the dealer pointed out a man to him, and said: "Look at him. I have clothed him for fourteen-pence. A third missionary reported : "There is as great a variety of articles in pattern, and shape, and size, as I think could be found in any draper's shop in London." The mother may go to "Rag-fair" with the whole of her family, both boys and girls,- yes, and her husband, too, and for a very few shillings deck them out from top to toe. I have no doubt that for a man and his wife, and five or six children, £1 at their disposal, judiciously laid out, would purchase them all an entire change. This may appear to some an exaggeration: but I actually overheard a conversation in which two women were trying to bargain for a child's frock; the sum asked for it was 1½d. and the sum offered was a penny, and they parted on the difference..."
This is what printing looked like, once upon a time, a great and giant mass, tended by works, massive sheets of paper flying this way and that, smoke from a steam engine drive (somewhere)--heavy, loud. Accurate. A temple of texts (apologies to William Gass). The illustration is from Robert Hoe's A Short History of the Printing Press and of Improvements in Printing Machinery from the Time of Gutenberg up to the Present Day (1902) and exhibits a ten cylinder rotary type-revolving press
In addition to being a state-of-the-art (and above that, really) printing press it is in image a generator of metaphors--there's certainly plenty to go around, even on just a surface investigation of the woodcut. You can easily see a feeding-the-beast scenario in there--for news or for technology or steam or motion or whatever else), as well as darker interpretations, making the printing press into a spider as well; also, there's humans being subservient to the god of technology from whom all good things come, and so on. I'd really just like to feel one of those gigantic newspapers in my hands, fresh off the press...