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May 7, 2024 32 mins

Tons of people have a soft spot for their favorite cartoon or comic strip -- yet few have attained the social status of the legendary artist Thomas Nast, the caricaturist often referred to as the "Father of the American Cartoon." In the first part of this two-part series, Ben, Noel and Max explore Nast's early childhood, the beginnings of his career, and the path that led him to become, in a very real way, the conscience of America.

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
Ridiculous History is a production of iHeartRadio. Welcome back to

the show, Ridiculous Historians. Thank you, as always so much
for tuning in. Let's hear it for the Man, the Myth,
the Legend. Super producer, mister Max Williams.

Speaker 2 (00:37):
I am Max Williams.

Speaker 3 (00:39):
Oh Man, yours was so much better than mine. I
just said that was okay, though I've never done that.

Speaker 1 (00:43):
I think we've established the character though. I think we
got that part, oh for sure.

Speaker 3 (00:48):
Have you guys noticed that when we, like, you're doing
the intro BN, I start like acting like I'm a
boxer getting ready for like I'm in the ring, you know,
throwing ghost punches and stuff. I'm just trying to hide
myself up get excited about about history that hard.

Speaker 4 (01:00):
We like his Save Save You're an old brown.

Speaker 1 (01:03):
I am bed Bull, and we are fellow Ridiculous Historians.
We are all unanimously fans of cartoons. Do you guys
ever check out the New Yorker cartoons? Do you remember
the Far Side, those kind of one panel shots.

Speaker 3 (01:19):
Yeah, well that's sort of the New Yorker style, right,
the like one panel where there's lots of little Easter
eggs or there's like a couple of different reads on it,
and it's very you know, the art style is very
just so I had never thought about that. It was
the is it Far Side? Was that connected to the
New Yorker?

Speaker 4 (01:34):
I didn't know that.

Speaker 1 (01:34):
No, No, it's just the similar form for sure.

Speaker 5 (01:38):
Now that makes sense. Also, have you guys ever seen
the show documentary?

Speaker 2 (01:42):
Now? Of course they have that episode about the guy
who's trying to meet the Far.

Speaker 4 (01:46):
Side Far Side Gary Lars.

Speaker 5 (01:50):
Yeah, he's trying to meet Gary Lars and he's like,
it's Fred Armison is playing the fictional character who's trying
to do that going around with his dad, and he's
like basically stalking Garylar.

Speaker 4 (02:01):
That's not cool. We don't not for Gary.

Speaker 3 (02:04):
We don't stalk our favorite cartoonist. I guess some people
maybe do. I wonder if Thomas Nast ever had a stalker.

Speaker 1 (02:11):
Ah, there we go. So recently, on our episode about PEZ,
we talked about some of the most expensive PEZ dispensers,
which were political gifts or political swag, you know, the
Republican Elephant, Democratic donkey. This launched conversation on and off

air about how those came to be because, as we know,
Benjamin Franklin originally wanted I think a turkey as a
political symbol because you were like, he was like, those
are right bastards. He was correct, for sure.

Speaker 3 (02:46):
I mean turkey also seems like maybe more of a
it's still kind of a seasonal national bird. You know,
around Thanksgiving time, it seems like it temporarily replaces the eagle,
and then we go back to, you know, just worshiping
the eagle for the rest of the year.

Speaker 1 (02:59):
You know, I wanted to do a turkey partning episode.
The story is relatively straightforward, but it's kind of sad anyway.
If you're looking back throughout US history or wondering why
did the GOP the Grand Old Party get associated with
the elephant and why did the Democrats get associated with

the donkey, Well, the answer is one guy, Thomas Nast. Well,
the answer is sort of one guy.

Speaker 4 (03:32):

Speaker 1 (03:33):
It's ridiculous history. We owe a lot of today's story
to the Massachusetts Historical Society. You know, if you are
an animator, a visual artist, a cartoonist, you probably already
know what we're gonna say about Thomas Nast. He is

considered the father of the American cartoon.

Speaker 4 (03:59):
Oh, yeah.

Speaker 3 (03:59):
I mean if you look at his work, you can
see his style in so much other stuff, especially satire.
Like if anyone's ever seen the Pink Floyd film The Wall,
there are a lot of animated bits in it by
Gerald Scarf, and it really captures this sort of grotesque
kind of fat cat character quality, you know, of like

the wealthy and like politicians and people in power and
judges and stuff that Nast really kind of created.

Speaker 4 (04:28):
Like a very you know, famous image of his is like.

Speaker 3 (04:32):
A very portly dude in a suit with a bag
of money for a head, and he's called the Brains.
You know. It's like that stuff really bled into a
lot of like sixties kind of like counterculture, you know,
like our crumb even and things like that.

Speaker 1 (04:47):
And we can see the descendants of that kind of
satirical visual art in things like the infamous Saturday Night
Live Who Can Trolls the Media sketch? Do you guys
remember that car.

Speaker 4 (05:02):
I don't remember that one, but I mean I don't
doubt it was.

Speaker 2 (05:05):
Just like it's the one they got like basically polled too.

Speaker 4 (05:09):

Speaker 1 (05:10):
Yeah, they'll tell you it did not get banned, but
it was only aired one time. You can still find
it on YouTube and it's got you know, it's like
a schoolhouse rock kind of thing. That's exactly right, and
that's the style. It's an explanation of how few companies
actually own the media. Uh and it gets conspiratorial, I

dare say very quickly.

Speaker 5 (05:33):
I mean, was that ge who owned NBC at the time,
because they obviously go after the owner of NBC as well.
But it's like in the same vein, like you know,
Samuel L. Jackson is definitely not banned from SNL. He's
not banned from dropping an f wort on SNL.

Speaker 1 (05:46):
Rach against the Machine is still going to play again.

Speaker 4 (05:49):
Right, Well, yeah, what do they do? Like they burned
a flag or something like that.

Speaker 3 (05:53):
But we're talking about all of this like kind of
counterculture sort of protesting, you know, anti establishment stuf, because
that's what Nas kind of put forth, Like he used
hit the medium of cartooning to really stick it to
the man, like in a very very fundamental way that
could be understood by everybody, because a really stark black

and white cartoon one or two panels that kind of
lampoons a politician or somebody in a humorous way, but
also communicates a message.

Speaker 4 (06:23):
This is a bad dude that resonates.

Speaker 3 (06:26):
Sometimes more than like the really hard to sift through
rhetoric of politics.

Speaker 1 (06:31):
You know, sure, yeah, yeah, and we'll see shadows of
doctor Seuss or soyce he pronounced it. Let's see, let's
get into it all right. Cast your memory back, folks.
It's late September eighteen forty. There's a baby born in Germany.

His name Thomas Nast. He could have been no offense, noal,
a young German boy.

Speaker 4 (06:59):
See, I would say, you qual a fight as a
young German boy.

Speaker 1 (07:01):
Okay, so I guess you're right. He was a young
German boy until about the age of six, at which
point his parents immigrated.

Speaker 4 (07:11):
To New York.

Speaker 3 (07:12):
Honestly, this is very much my same story. I was
born in Wurtzburg, Germany, as a young German boy, lived
there till the age of six, and then immigrated. I
didn't actually immigrate. He had an American Oh, I had American
parents that you know. I was born like associated with
American citizens abroad or whatever. But still me and Thomas
are we that different here? I moved to Georgia, by

the way, so maybe a little different. But he arrived
in New York at the age of six, where he
had access to all of this cool culture he wouldn't
have had in his little German village. He studied art
at the National Academy of Design, and then when he
turned fifteen, he got a kind of apprentice type job
as a draftsman for Frank Leslie's Illustrated newspaper.

Speaker 4 (07:57):
I guess if he's an actual draftsman.

Speaker 3 (07:58):
He's not an apprentice, but this feels sort of like
an entry level position, that is the Frank Leslie's Illustrated newspaper.
And then eighteen he moved on to Harper's Weekly, which
is a you know, obviously continues to loom large in
the world of like literary kind of periodicals.

Speaker 1 (08:15):
I have a subscription and I make sure to tell
everybody about it the minute we meet.

Speaker 3 (08:20):
Well, this is the first I've heard of it, So
glad to be included. So isn't Harper's another one of it?
It's like a very kind of you know, smarty pants,
kind of mad.

Speaker 1 (08:30):
It's like Harper's Vanity Fair, the New Yorker, et cetera,
et cetera sort.

Speaker 3 (08:37):
Of high minded, academic, sort of New Yorky sort of ideals, right,
it's it's for the Americans.

Speaker 1 (08:44):
It's very uh, we have Paris Review at home, got
it kind of kind of vibes, But no, it is
a great it is a great literary resource. And to
get a job at eighteen work for Harper's, that's nothing
to sneeze at.

Speaker 4 (09:02):
You know. He also he would have been doing layouts
at this point.

Speaker 3 (09:06):
I imagine, right, if he's a draftsman and then he
gets a job and he's initially kind of probably helping
lay out the publication and doing art direction kind of stuff.

Speaker 1 (09:16):
Yeah, unclear exactly what the nature of his job was
at that point. He may have you know, he obviously
wasn't the editor of the of the outfit. I almost
called it a rag. But you know, he also probably
by eighteen, he didn't have his iconic facial hair quite imposition.

It's sort of like, you know, when you see a
picture a Lincoln without his beard, or when you see
a picture of Salvador Dali without his weird mustache. He's
he's not quite evolved into the vital form of.

Speaker 3 (09:57):
Nast which which will resemble pretty closely sort of a
Russian dignitary, you know, very clean cut hair on top,
but then like a crazy mustache and pointy beard.

Speaker 1 (10:09):
Yeah, he eventually evolves into like a brunette Colonel Sanders.
So to do that, to reach that final form, he
has to cross the pond again. The New York Illustrated

News sends him to England when he is twenty years old.
It's eighteen sixty, and that same year he goes to
Italy to cover It's kind of like he's a freelancer.
There's this revolt led by a guy named Giuseppe Garibaldi,
and he covers this for the London News, the Illustrated

London News, but he also goes and sells the same
reporting to American publications. He's still working for Harper's the
entire time. He's kind of like, picture him like a
a hired hitman of the pen, you know what I mean.
So he's drawing pictures left and right.

Speaker 4 (11:13):
Yeah, So that's I guess that's what I was trying
to wrap my head around.

Speaker 3 (11:15):
And maybe it sounded like a dum dumb when I
was asking about whether he was, you know, sort of
an art director or whatever, like the job would be,
you know, an or for an early stage in one's
career as an artist, like out of publication like this,
but he was illustrating news. It wasn't exactly cartoons yet,
but it was sort of these pieces that would go
along with you know, coverage of like sporting events and

even you know, like big political moments mm hmm.

Speaker 1 (11:41):
Yeah, big political moments indeed. And just to draw this
out a little bit more, when he went to England,
originally he was drawing pictures of one of the big
prize fights of the time, an American named John c.
Heenan and an Englishman named Thomas Sayers. So it's kind

of like they hired him to travel on site and
draw a boxing match, which is kind of a cool gig,
you know what I mean, what do you do?

Speaker 4 (12:14):

Speaker 1 (12:15):
I draw cartoons of boxers. That's that's an interesting thing
to say on a first date. But as we know,
the Harper's Weekly this is the employer that gives him
his early fame. And if you look back at books
like The Lifetimes and Legacy of Thomas Nast by John Adler,

you'll see you'll see that people consider him not just
a cartoonist, but a journalist in his own right.

Speaker 3 (12:46):
Yeah, I guess it's sort of an editorial journalist because
he is imparting so much of his own viewpoint, you know,
like politically into his work, which does kind of start
to evolve into these very pointed political cartoons.

Speaker 4 (13:01):

Speaker 1 (13:02):
Yeah, Atler says on his website. For the book, he says,
quote Nast was the first journalist who didn't own his
paper to play a major role in shaping public opinion. However,
he could not have done so without the quality, consistency,
financial strength, and resultant reach and dominance of Harper's Weekly,

the country's leading illustrated newspaper. To unpack that, what it
means is that he was shaping public opinion in the
way that a publisher would at this time.

Speaker 4 (13:37):
But he was just a guy that they had hired.

Speaker 1 (13:40):
And when he comes back from the prize fight and
from his partnerships in Italy, he starts to cover the
American Civil War for New York Illustrated News.

Speaker 3 (13:54):
Yeah, and some of these pieces really are just kind
of these tableaus of things that he likely witnessed, you know.
I mean, this is a stand in for let's call
it like embedded war photographers. I don't know if you've
seen it yet, but I watched Civil War the other day,
and I thought it was great and really really well
sound designed, like one of the loudest, most kind of

arresting war moves I've ever seen. But you know, the
idea of capturing what you see kind of unapologetically, you know,
being there in the moment to show what war is
actually like.

Speaker 4 (14:25):
He was doing that, you know, with pen and ink.

Speaker 1 (14:28):
Yeah, and this is kind of a precedent for gonzo journalism.
I would argue in that there is not a He's
not making claims of objectivity.

Speaker 4 (14:41):
That's exactly what I was trying to say.

Speaker 1 (14:43):
And let's go to our friends at the Britannica who
say the following. They say that his cartoons after the
Battle eighteen sixty two attacking Northerners opposed to energetic prosecution
of the war, and his other cartoon Emancipation for Mateen
sixty three, showed the evils of slavery and the benefits

of abolishing slavery. These two cartoons, in particular, the ones
that are telling the Northerners to get into the war
and the ones that are saying, hey, by the way,
enslaving people is evil. Apparently these two cartoons were so
effective that President Abraham Lincoln called Thomas Nest our best

recruiting sergeant.

Speaker 3 (15:31):
Yeah, after the battle almost looks like a kind of
Goya painting or something, you know, depicting the evils of
war or like just a classic these you know, tons
of action going on in the foreground in the background,
and less a political cartoon more than sort of an
amalgamation of like various aspects that he likely witnessed, all
kind of squished into this one insane scene where people

are being thrown, bodies are being thrown into pits, and
you know, you've got workers with shovels like covering the
body he's in the background. There's things on fire, and
you've got you know, soldiers on horseback, and it's just
absolute chaos and.

Speaker 4 (16:07):
Hell on earth.

Speaker 1 (16:08):
Yeah, and that's what the American public needed at that point.

Speaker 4 (16:12):
You know.

Speaker 1 (16:13):
He does a lot of other stuff too. Spoiler Thomas
Nast survives the Civil War, which is something not everyone
at that time could say. Sure, And on January third,
eighteen sixty three, in his old standby now Harper's Weekly.
Still he's a very young dude. He's like, what twenty

three at this point, so twenty two, he hasn't yet
seen his twenty third birthday, but he shows America his
interpretation of Santa Claus.

Speaker 3 (16:47):
I mean, you know, Madison Avenue would have loved to
have him. Yeah, isn't that funny the way like he
basically accidentally invented one of the most ubiquitous brands in
the universe, like out of spite, kind of like as
a part of a really you know, clever joke.

Speaker 1 (17:05):
Yeah, it's a civil it's civil war propaganda. And look
again we've said it on stuff that'll want you to know,
just to say it here. Clearly, not all propaganda is bad,
you know, like anti smoking campaigns are propaganda, but they're
also right. So he he is not trying to he's

not trying to cement the image of Santa Claus and
pop culture. He is attempting to, as you said, Noel,
he's attempting to make a clever repost, a bit of
satirical commentary about the Civil War.

Speaker 6 (17:44):
But it could also be used by the powers that
be as a look, everyone's really stoked and happy and
hanging out with Fanta Claus on the front lines, like
this is the beauty of art.

Speaker 3 (17:55):
Kind of in these times where someone needed a benefactor
where you almost had to like hide your little barb
kind of buried somewhere deep within the piece that was
being paid for and funded by, you know, some sort
of powerful person. And I know he was working for
an independent magazine, but there, you know, there had to
have been some pressures.

Speaker 4 (18:13):
We even know, like Walt Disney.

Speaker 3 (18:15):
Company made like war propaganda at the best of Uncle Sam.
I imagine there was, you know, this was perhaps requested
or something.

Speaker 4 (18:22):
I don't know. It's very interesting.

Speaker 1 (18:24):
Well, also this leads to the common misconception that he
is the creator of the image of Uncle Sam.

Speaker 4 (18:34):
You know what I mean that that.

Speaker 1 (18:35):
You know, the stars and stripes dude, who also kind
of looks like Thomas Nast pointye and say, you know,
I want you for the US Army. If you look
at these early drawings, this eighteen sixty three drawing of Santa,
you'll see that it is clearly propaganda.

Speaker 4 (18:55):
To your point.

Speaker 1 (18:57):
Santa here is wearing a jacket with stars and pants
colored in stripes, very Uncle Sam like, right, and in
his hands he has a puppet toy with a rope
around its neck. He's hanging a little effigy of Confederate
President Jefferson Davis not too subtle.

Speaker 3 (19:18):
Yeah, but am I am I completely overreading into it
that maybe in his mind there was also a little
bit of sarcasm in there where it's like a Santa
Claus on the front lines.

Speaker 4 (19:28):
It's almost like too rich to be, you know what
I mean. I don't know. I mean because because.

Speaker 1 (19:33):
He's like giving a gift to the Union, you know,
and here's the gift I give you. It is the
president of the Confederacy dying by hanging.

Speaker 3 (19:47):
So then there's a second illustration that we found that
shows kind of like a sad Union soldier sort of
like missing his uh I guess, missing his wife sort
of These two circular frames in this other circle to
the left, which I guess you could consider a panel,
is his wife praying for his safe return, and there's

a big block of text at the top saying Christmas Eve,
and the upper left you can kind of see Santa
Claus about to come down the chimney to presumably bring
presents to the two sleeping children behind the wife of
the soldier who was far far away and missing his family.
So man almost a little bit overly sentimental, But I

guess that was the idea that was what was needed
to kind of get people's emotions stirred up.

Speaker 1 (20:35):
Yeah, and I think it is about stirring up emotions
at this point.

Speaker 3 (20:40):
Oh and see, there's so much stuff going on in these,
like we were mentioning, there really is almost this gooya
ass quality in another panel at the bottom, and these
are all kind of rained with sort of Christmas wreaths
and then their American flag sort of buried in the ground.
There's a very subtle small image of tombstones and like kind.

Speaker 4 (20:57):
Of grave plots. The freshly dug graves looks like so.

Speaker 5 (21:00):
If you go up to the top of it, there
is a cemetery gate right upove a red below Christmas
Eve the upper right.

Speaker 2 (21:07):
It's just like in the upper left you have like
kind of like the very.

Speaker 5 (21:11):
Santa Christmas quintessential stand out on the rooftop on the
right side. Flip across the other side of you have
like this pretty much destroyed looking battlefield.

Speaker 1 (21:21):
And this is this is all to weaponize the concept
of Christmas, in that it is meant to give the
North the moral high ground. So Adam Gopnik writes the
following in a nineteen ninety seven issue of The New Yorker.
He says, in these two drawings that we're talking about now,

Christmas became a Union holiday and Santa a Union local deity.
It gave Christmas to the North, gave to the Union
cause an aura of domestic sentiment and even sentimentality.

Speaker 4 (22:00):

Speaker 1 (22:00):
So here we are in the North, we're the good guys.
We celebrate Christmas. You folks like Christmas? Right, you aren't
you kind of all on board with the Union exactly?

Speaker 3 (22:13):
Yeah, as I said, Madison, Avenue would have been happy
to have him. It's interesting, right, because I'm sort of
struggling with this idea of him being sort of a propagandist.
And again, these are like positive propaganda campaigns. The Union
obviously was on the right side of history, and this

stuff is sort of weaponizing his wit and his ability
to like stir up people's emotions. But there is part
of me that's like, oh, but he's doing it for
the government, you know.

Speaker 4 (22:46):
But again, this is a time where he was really
needed for that.

Speaker 3 (22:49):
He moved on towards being much more of a sort
of self directed, it seems, kind of political activist where
he could actually create whole movements single handed. You know,
with his pen that could topple massive organizations.

Speaker 1 (23:05):
And his timing is amazing because at this point Christmas
is starting to evolve in the United States into the
established traditions we have today, but it wasn't quite at
that level yet. You can look at things like the
eighteen twenty three poem A Visit from Saint Nicholas by

Clement Clark Moore, you know, plus the Night before.

Speaker 4 (23:29):
Christmas, of course, and all through the house.

Speaker 1 (23:32):
Yeah, exactly exactly apparently then I have a lot of
questions about that poem. Anyway, then of course we know
Charles Dickens Christmas Carol eighteen forty three, you know what
I mean, buy me the Finest Goose in all of London, right, And.

Speaker 3 (23:50):
In that poem and in those stories and all of
the kind of Santa lore that had started to really
you know, take hold at this point were descriptions of
old Saint Nick and that's what he was working from.
And this is a big deal because it kind of gave,
you know, a physical visual representation to something that people
had only kind of imagined thus far, and that ended

up becoming, like I was saying, like the thing that
sort of served as the template for like all kind
of future Santa imagery from that point on, at least in.

Speaker 4 (24:19):
Like popular culture in America.

Speaker 1 (24:22):
Yeah, yeah, yeah, And this reminds me of conversations we've
had with our pal, Nick Benson. You can check out
Nick Turbo Benson's art on Instagram. He illustrated our book
for us. He is, He's a fantastic guy, and I
love I love talking with him about just the process

that he uses when he is creating art. Nick is
like Thomas Nast in that he loves a reference image.
And one time he broke down for me how reference
images work. And you remember, we went and we went
to a photo shoot where he took pictures of us
so we could have visual references. Apparently Nast did the

same thing. He based his vision of Santa kind of
on himself, and then he used his wife and his
kids as references for other characters. So I suspect that
any elves he draws are basically his kids, right.

Speaker 4 (25:24):
Would I wouldn't doubt it. It's easy to do that.
You don't need any CGI or anything.

Speaker 3 (25:27):
You just draw them a bunch of times, and you know,
put them in different clothes and with different expressions.

Speaker 4 (25:32):
No one would be the wiser.

Speaker 3 (25:33):
Yeah, it's really neat the way Nick does use you know,
tons of different references and sometimes he'll combine like the
features of a couple of different characters into one by
like sort of using parts from different source images and.

Speaker 4 (25:45):
Correct me if I'm wrong.

Speaker 3 (25:46):
I mean, there was there was no kind of ability
to capture photographic images of like moving subjects or of
you know, fast paced action. So that's why they needed
an illustrator because I believe at this point you still
had to kind of sit for portraits and you know,
exposures would take a long time and you couldn't move
and things like that. So this ability to kind of

give shape to so many of these events and even
kind of imaginary concepts well sorry sorry kids, Santa's imaginary,
but was a huge deal and it really kind of
caught the imagination of the country.

Speaker 1 (26:22):
Yeah, and at this point, as you said, Noel, there
are things like modern photographs, but they're very they're still
very ted talking, you know what I mean, Like the
Dea Gera type comes around in the eighteen thirties, so
this is it is much more common to have a

good illustrator just drawing week to week for a publication.
Nast would go on to create thirty three different depictions
of Santa Claus, and often these were, as we said, weaponized.
These were political pieces, right, these were propaganda. One that

I think drew the attention of our research associate, Max
Williams is this one from eighteen eighty one, which does
look very much like a modern Santa Claus and is
a political cartoon that is entirely aimed at getting better
paid for soldiers.

Speaker 4 (27:30):
And if you look at.

Speaker 1 (27:31):
Him, you know, he's a he's a fun guy, right,
he's got toys, he's got a weird pipe. I think
they did nix the pipe later, right.

Speaker 3 (27:42):
Yeah, And I mean, honestly, it kind of looks like
the type of pipe that Gandalf smokes that halfling weed in,
you know that he's always going on about. Sin's a
very long, narrow or stem kind of in a little bowl.
Like it looks much more like something you can smoke
drug out of then you know, a jolly you know,

bit of cherry tobacco or something. And he looks like
totally stone, not gonna lie. Yeah, they face that part out. Yeah,
modern modern Santa vapes. Can you imagine there's this amazing
YouTube clip or I guess it's like a gift for
like a like a whatever where it's a scene from
the Lord of the Rings the Hobbit actually where basically

Bilbo lights up his pipe and the smoke kind of
bilows off and then all of a sudden, you see.

Speaker 4 (28:32):
Gandalf just pop out from behind the tree.

Speaker 3 (28:35):
And the heading is like the moment you light up
your boy, the moment you light up.

Speaker 1 (28:39):
That bowl or like Snoop Dogg and half Bait.

Speaker 3 (28:41):
It's like it's like the dude coming around from behind
the tree kind of rubbing his hands together, like let
me hit that.

Speaker 1 (28:47):
I haven't even hit it yet.

Speaker 4 (28:48):

Speaker 1 (28:49):
So uh so this continues, right, Coca Cola will take
nasty ideas later and they will they will pop further
popular this image. Uh but Nas doesn't know this at
the time.

Speaker 4 (29:04):
He's not going to get paid for that either.

Speaker 1 (29:06):
He's just making his cartoons.

Speaker 3 (29:09):
You know.

Speaker 1 (29:09):
It's it's tough to work in creative field. And so
he uh he again survives the Civil War. He keeps
pursuing this career, and now he's got a new favorite
guy to hate. Uh, give me some booze here, Max
Andrew Johnson boo so, uh yeah, double booze uh So, Noel,

how did uh how did Nast portray our buddy Andrew Johnson?

Speaker 4 (29:42):
Boo yeah.

Speaker 3 (29:43):
And this is when he really starts to kind of
come into that sort of fat cat, grotesque politician caricature
that became such a staple of Nast style in the
way he portrays Andrew Johnson as this kind of iron fisted,
repressive dictator type figure, as well as Southerners, you know,
not really being able to kind of give up entirely

on their racist attitudes despite slavery, you know, being illegal.

Speaker 4 (30:10):
M hmm. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (30:11):
And this is also where he becomes even more weaponized.

Speaker 4 (30:17):
We could say.

Speaker 1 (30:18):
He starts targeting corrupt political reprobates. He swings for the King,
he goes for Tammany ring Hold the phote everyone. It
turns out this is a two parter. This is going
to be the first half of our series on Thomas
Nest And when you tune in two Part two, you'll
learn about adventures in Ecuador, You'll learn about the nature

of elephants and donkeys, and spoiler no, folks will also
hear us be surprised that this.

Speaker 3 (30:50):
Was a two parter Oh yeah, yeah, spoiler for that
moment of realization.

Speaker 5 (30:55):
It's either a two part or probably the longest Ridiculous
History episode in the history of ridiculous hit.

Speaker 1 (31:00):
Oh so far, big big thanks to our super producer,
the Man, myth, the Legend, mister Max Williams, Big big
thanks to aj Bahamas Jacobs. I used my earlier reference
for Jonathan Strickland already but strict if you're listening, Thanks
man of course.

Speaker 3 (31:19):
Alex Williams who composed our theme, Chris Fhrascios, and Eves
Chef Coates here in spirit, Max U with the facts
Williams research associated shordinaire and super producer on both the
Ones and the twos.

Speaker 4 (31:31):
And Ben thank you for you know, being your own.

Speaker 3 (31:35):
Kind of version of Thomas Nast carrying that stick it
to the man ness, uh you know, with you throughout
throughout thisiness life.

Speaker 4 (31:43):
I'm kidab a pill, yeah pill, a weaponized pill. We'll
see you next time, folks.

Speaker 3 (31:56):
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Ben Bowlin

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