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THE SENIOR WRANGLER
NEWSPAPER "SOCIETY” In an amusing paper on "The society you read about,” Harrison Rhodes wonders why it is that, according to the newspapers, all the blessings and misfortunes of life fall only on people who are “in society.” The woman who is divorced, run over, kidnapped, or dismembered and sewed up in a bag, is, from the newspaper account, always “in society.” Let any spinster of Centerville be injured in a railway accident, and she is immediately described as a leader in Centerville “society.” “Is it true,” he asks, "that the only fact which interests us in our citizens is that they are “in society'?" And he becomes severe, and wants to know why in Heaven's name they print such “arrant nonsense.” Finally he asks, “If we are not all snobs, why try so hard to make us so ?”
It is not at all like Mr. Rhodes, whom I know in private life for an amiable and easygoing person, to wind up with these fierce and heated inquiries. Can it be that he has been edited by an uplifter? Of course our country is full of climbers. No one here is content with that station in life to which it has pleased God to call him; and if he were, some female relative would surely shove him along. And since we are all trying to "get on," with a pretty fair chance of it, for mediocrity is always at the top, it is not strange that we should value all the little symbols of on-getting, and being “in society" is one of them. What if “society" does stretch as far as two plumbers at one luncheon ? What if the term itself fades into a mere newspaper gesture or habit and a society reporter at a scene of South African carnage would probably, by mere reflex action, write, "Hottentot Society Girl Spears Five" ? That does not turn readers into snobs. On the contrary, it confuses the snobbery they had before, and leaves them without a social chart or compass. A snob cannot tell from an American newspaper what to be snobbish about. The acreage of our newspaper snobbery is of course enormous. Even England, the Sinai of top-hat commandments, land of Turveydrop, George Osborne, and Sir Willoughby Patterne, England herself shows not so wide and foolish an expanse of newspaper snobbery. But the true measure of snobbery is not in area, but in depth. At the bottom of a true snob his snobbery is united with his religion. Respectable British papers do not, like our own, mix up all sorts of people under "society" and chatter about them every day; to them it is a real thing and holy. Our papers confound snobbery; theirs treat it with respect. Try as we will, we cannot really tell who 's who; we know that we are guessing. At the root of American snobbery is thecruel canker of distrust.
"Society," as a newspaper concept, includes any member of the Caucasian race not
necessarily rich or even well-to-do, but better off than somebody else somewhere. If interest in it is snobbish, it is one of the broadest, least invidious forms of snobbishness ever known, approximating, one might say, a pretty general brotherly love; for it draws the mind to a Harlem sociable and attracts the human soul to the strange, wild doings of Aldermen's wives, possibly clad in goatskins, at their tea-tables in Brooklyn. Is it not, in this aspect of the thing, almost hopeful?
" AND WHEN MUSIC AROSE WITH ITS VOLUPTUOUS SWELL"
pliments, sir. He says that everybody is waiting for you to sing your French songs, sir."
disappoint him, but tell him I'm really – er— tell him I'm really not in voice to-night."
THE PROMISED EXTINCTION OF D’ANNUNZIO IN N a recent (and much quoted and wane, he would employ a novel and here
discussed) interview with Gabriele tofore undreamed-of means of suicide. d'Annunzio, the pale Italian apostle of He admitted that, as far as originality passion admitted that for him there was goes, his contemplated means of self-debut one life, the life of violent, turbulent, struction leaves nothing to be desired. It volcanic feeling. The secret of happiness, differs from poison, gas, and pistols in so he said, was to overdo, to push sensation far as it leaves no visible trace of a body to its remotest limits. No philosophical whatever - no hair, no waxed mustaches, calm for him, no Nirvana, no rest upon the no feet, no personal jewelry. He said crimson bosom of the poppies. D'Annun- that the moment to employ his invention zio went on to say that he had long ago would arrive in two years' time. decided that, when his ability to feel vol- "Lighter Vein" has nothing but apcanically, to erupt emotionally, to strug- proval for the novelty and potency of his gle and to love desperately had begun to invention, but why this terrible delay?
But even now, and it is some time after Christmas, I cannot account for
the fact that the pretty little
poor Mrs. Higgins.
FIVE O'CLOCK TANGO TEAS
WITH A DRAWING
BY BOARDMAN ROBINSON
“Why did the boss fire you, Maudie?”
“He said he had n't
the heart to keep me woikin' after five
o'clock. He noticed
it interfered somethin'
turrible with me toikey trottin'!”
[ Drawing by Held]
THE DE VINNE PRESS, NEW YORK