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May 9, 2024 35 mins

Rising from humble beginnings, Thomas Nast soon became something very much like the conscience of America. His illustrated takedowns of corruption spoke directly to people who were often illiterate, reaching the common man. While Nast could be undoubtedly difficult to work with, he also had a strong (if imperfect) moral code. In the second part of this two-part series, Ben, Noel and Max dive into Nast's personal quest to oust the corrupt Boss Tweed, as well as the legendary cartoonist's late-life career switch: diplomacy in Ecuador.

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Episode Transcript

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

(00:27):
the show Ridiculous Historians. Thank you, as always so much
for tuning in. Let's hear it for our super producer,
mister Max Williams. It's Max, He's coming in hot.

Speaker 2 (00:41):
Oh can I get a belated happy birthday to my mother?

Speaker 3 (00:50):
Recording?

Speaker 2 (00:50):
This is my mother's birthday, and I will tell you
what day we're recording.

Speaker 3 (00:54):
This on, so no one will know what my mom's
actual birthday.

Speaker 4 (00:57):
You can't do you don't want. You don't want to
dock somebody with their birthday.

Speaker 1 (00:59):
That's Williams. Do you listen to the show.

Speaker 2 (01:02):
She really liked our Mule Lads episode. She really liked
that one a lot. I tell her about ones I
think she'd find interesting. It's generally she thinks it's a
little too dumb for her. Oh well, no, sometimes we
get a little too dirty, like I wouldn't give her
the James Joyce one.

Speaker 4 (01:20):
Oh well, geez no, when you listen to that one,
I've been bullet.

Speaker 1 (01:23):
This is mister Noel Brown.

Speaker 4 (01:25):
And we are officially too dumb for Max's mom, which
is totally fine with That's fine.

Speaker 3 (01:29):
I guess part I part of that as well, though, so.

Speaker 1 (01:32):
That doesn't make it right. So this is this is
part two of our continuing series on Thomas Nass. We're
having a heck of a time with it. Before we
get back into the story, please listen to part one.
And Noel Max, I thought you guys might enjoy a

(01:52):
joke from our Facebook group Ridiculous Historians. It's a comment.
Do you remember our early your conversation with Ben from
Badass of the Week? Absolutely, yeah, okay, so we talked
about love pit and uh, Aaron m had the following

(02:12):
to say, quote, it seems like if all these bad
girls were sent to nutneries, nunneries would be pretty fun.

Speaker 4 (02:20):
Oh yeah, okay, Well, I mean they have activities. They
probably do archery and stuff. I'm sure there's plenty of
fun things to do at nunneries, despite getting into uh,
sexual escapades, you.

Speaker 1 (02:32):
Know, sure, you know, gardening, singing, twirling on hilltops. Yeah, probably,
like making fabrics.

Speaker 4 (02:42):
Yeah, weaving and giving penance, which I think is the
most important past time of all.

Speaker 1 (02:49):
Also, we have to uh, we have to do one
more announcement before we get into part two. Everybody seems
super down for Ridiculous History Dungeons and Dragons episode. What
classes are we choosing any character sheets?

Speaker 4 (03:06):
Okay, I'll have to do a little homework.

Speaker 2 (03:09):
My big question is is Strickling going to be the
villain or are we going to do this poorly?

Speaker 4 (03:14):
Oh well, we were talking about potentially having some sort
of historical villain, which I'm not saying Strickland doesn't occupy
that space for us, but maybe someone a little older.
Like here's a pitch.

Speaker 2 (03:26):
Yeah, whoever we picked to be the villain we have
played by as aforementioned person we will not say name
of again and.

Speaker 1 (03:34):
Character because of the rule.

Speaker 4 (03:36):
He could do a resputant kind of situation.

Speaker 3 (03:38):
I think we can have him do boss tweet.

Speaker 1 (03:40):
Anyway, Here is part two of Thomas Nast in eighteen seventy.
Nast decides to go for the boss himself, and he
apparently wins. He wins through the power of I quite

(04:04):
like the way you put it earlier in Noll weaponized Wit.

Speaker 4 (04:09):
Well, and that's the thing I mean again, this is
something I'm struggling with because I've always seen Nast as
this sort of iconoclastic, you know, creator of these images
that get seared into your mind. And maybe I'm more
associating some of the more Gonza stuff that came later
as being a little more unapologetically kind of anti establishment.
But he had an establishment in a way that he

(04:31):
was loyal to, and he had an idea of what
America was that he was loyal to. But then he
had these sort of what he saws as enemies of that,
you know, and Boss Tweed absolutely was that to a tee.

Speaker 2 (04:43):
And I will say one thing about nast is he
was unapologetic in his own beliefs. So in some cases,
like you know, his beliefs were aligning, he was virulently
anti slavery. But he also had a lot of cartoons
about we'll talk about this later that were very.

Speaker 4 (05:00):
Well.

Speaker 2 (05:00):
They were probably bad at the time, and they've aged
even worse because he was just very much He seems
like he might have been a little tricky to work
with just in general, but no way, he was very
much like he had his stance and these are things
he's gonna believe in, and these first couple of cases,
they align a lot of times with the good side
of history.

Speaker 3 (05:20):
But that's not his entire story. Always.

Speaker 1 (05:22):
We should also just say he was not a note taker.
He's Thomas no notes nest, which made him difficult to
work with.

Speaker 4 (05:29):
This is all off the dome, for sure. I mean, like, yeah,
I know that perspective is inherent, but I guess you
could maybe almost call him we might consider a libertarian today,
Like I don't know, Like he's just like he was
staunchly in favor of this idea of the American dream
and of equity and of of you know, fairness and
municipal reform and all this stuff. And Tweed was just

(05:50):
absolutely an antithesis to all of those things, you know,
in terms of his wanting to take from the common
man and woman and just you know, own everything and
you know, achieve his power through the most undemocratic means possible,
you know, from within the system. He's like, that's not
gonna fly in my America.

Speaker 3 (06:07):
Yeah.

Speaker 1 (06:08):
Also, let's uh, let's note that earlier beautiful point about literacy.
So he is nast is aware that many of the
people who I guess we call him constituents, but the
the servants or the public exploited by Tweed, A lot
of those folks cannot read. So you can publish a

(06:31):
written article in the New York Times all day long,
and they're not gonna they're not gonna digest it because
they are not they're not functionally literate. But with a
cartoon with a single panel, Thomas Nast can speak to
these folks directly. And uh and Tweed apparently got so

(06:53):
irritated about this boss Tweed that he gave orders to
I think he's just shouting in a room at this point,
but you know, in like a smoky Chicago back room.
He goes, stop those damn pictures.

Speaker 4 (07:07):
Yeah, exactly. This is obviously before the moving pictures. Uh,
and this would have been those Yeah, that's what they were.
And they were damnable indeed, because to your point, they
depicted exactly the rot that was going on, you know,
in that kind of political machine that was influencing and
affecting and sort of controlling, puppet mastering the democratic process

(07:30):
of what people saw as their rights as citizens. This
guy was actually taking a shortcut to influence that process
that should have been held very near and dear to
folks if they could just understand what was going on.
And so he's I'm trying to we should probably just
describe one of these cartoons and like, what's so effective
about it. First of all, you might remember one of

(07:50):
the very first panels that I described early in the
show of this kind of you know, portly gentleman in
a striped suit with like a medallion, with his hands
it deep in his pockets, and a giant bag of money,
one of those old school kind of cartoony sacks of
money with a dollar sign as a head. And then
you know, he just portrayed Tweed as this sort of

(08:12):
larger than life force of evil. There's another image where
there's a police officer who is depicted as being really
small and Boss Tweed again with the striped suit, jacket
and slacks on and his hands deep in his pockets,
being massive and dwarfing this. And then the policeman has
got like an inmate in his fist who's even smaller

(08:33):
than the policeman, with a ball and chain connected to
his leg. The idea of like Boss Tweed is above
all of this and he can never be reached, and
that's not cool.

Speaker 2 (08:44):
I gotta say what I think is my favorite one.
This is the first one I think I was ever
acquainted with back as a young history nerd. But it
is he reads at the bomb, says who stole the
people's money.

Speaker 3 (08:57):
Do tell.

Speaker 2 (08:58):
And it's a bunch of people pointing to the right.
Is this a circle, a ring of everyone who's like, no, no, no,
I steal the money. He stole the money, And it
just goes around because it's very much that thing where
the truth is they all did.

Speaker 1 (09:12):
Yeah, that is true. Is the issue there, and I
appreciate you pointing that out.

Speaker 3 (09:17):
Max.

Speaker 1 (09:17):
There's also let's go back to this Tweed moment, right,
because Boss Tweed is a very powerful man in charge
of an extremely dangerous organization. At this point, when he
says stop something. When he's doing this Jay Jonah Jamison
hitting the fist on the desk kind of thing. When

(09:40):
he's yelling stop them damn pictures, he's not just speaking
into the void. He actually sends a proxy of his
to Thomas Nast and they try to grifft them. They say, oh,
we are European fans of your artworks, and we will

(10:01):
give you one hundred thousand dollars to study art in Europe. Basically,
they tried to ship him off. They're thinking, surely he'll
find something more interesting than New York, right, just get
out of town, and just so we can inflation, calculate
this one hundred thousand dollars at that time was about

(10:27):
any almost one point eight million dollars today.

Speaker 4 (10:32):
Yeah, I mean, I guess they're thinking, like, let the
Paris Review have him or something. Surely we can appeal
to his ego in some way and offer him this
exorbitant amount of money that he probably won't take as
you know, hush money or get out of town money.
He probably doesn't have any scruples, you know, right, surely.

Speaker 1 (10:49):
Sure, yeah. So he basically does the does this song
and dance with these Tweed representatives, and he says, maybe
maybe maybe I will hang out with you guys in Europe.
Maybe I will engage your offer. But one hundred thousand

(11:10):
dollars that's not quite enough to wet my whistle. So
he increases the offer. They come back to him. They
eventually offer him five hundred thousand dollars just to go
to Europe, and then he turns it down and he
makes a moral decision. He says, look, I get it,

(11:32):
everybody likes money, but I made up my mind a
long time ago to put Tammany Hall behind Mars.

Speaker 4 (11:47):
It's so neat because I mean, this is one of
the rare occasions of the story seems pretty apocryphal, but
this actually definitely happens. And then this is a perfect
example of someone who is more interested in, you know,
following their convictions and doing what's right and getting the
bad guy then money, and that's pretty rare in the history.

(12:07):
It's pretty great.

Speaker 3 (12:08):
I also think it's a pointing out from everything, right.

Speaker 2 (12:10):
I don't know know if this is an actual fact,
but it appears that Nast was doing fiscally pretty well
at this point.

Speaker 4 (12:17):
He had to have been for the time.

Speaker 1 (12:18):
Yeah, at this point he is one of the go
to guys. He's becoming in a very real way, the
voice of America. He has this unique visual style that
in forms many other cartoonists coming after him. So when
people again, when people see his work printed on a page,

(12:39):
to them, it is authoritative. There is credibility, and he
doesn't want to sacrifice that. So Tweed sends his crew
after Harper's itself and they threaten to boycott the Harper's textbooks.

Speaker 4 (12:55):
Yeah, I guess they had like a sort of like
big publishing houses often have a that that provides textbooks,
and that's big money because the schools essentially have contracts
with them and buy every new updated version like forever
in all time. So I could see how that would
be a big deal, a big chunk of their business.
But they don't cave either. They decide that it's more

(13:16):
important to support Nast and take down and I think
maybe they're like kind of putting their hat in the
ring because they're like, I don't know, man, if we
keep doing what we're doing and publishing Nast comics, Tammany
Hall might not be a thing or be in a
position to boycott anything.

Speaker 1 (13:34):
However, you know, the rubber can always hit the road,
and Nast to have very real concerns that there might
be physical harm visited upon him and his family. So
they moved out of New York City to Moorestown, New
Jersey in eighteen seventy one. And they thought, you know,
close enough to commute far and off away, that old

(13:57):
Willie Tweed won't get him. The public response, according to
the Museum of the City of New York, fantastic check
it out. There was this election in eighteen seventy one,
and this election was the beginning of the end for
the Tweed Ring. For Tammany Hall, a lot of the

(14:19):
tammany candidates were voted out of office, and a huge
part of why they were voted out of office is
Nast cartoons that depicted the corruption nakedly and hilariously.

Speaker 4 (14:33):
Well, I mean, you know, speaking of where the rubber
hits the road, I mean, I think there's a real
understanding that this stuff has significant power to change things,
you know, and to expose people. And I think that's
why these publishers were able to continue to support Nast
and not cave to the pressure, because no, I think

(14:53):
we can actually do something here, and in a time
when you know, maybe journalism seems to not have the
teeth that used to have, or it's been sort of
diluted a little bit or a lot of bit by
the Internet and by you know, kind of all the
fake news outlets and whatever and just this kind of
you know, echo chamber. It's pretty inspiring to see this

(15:14):
kind of support for somebody being so incredibly controversial and
you know, speaking truth to power.

Speaker 1 (15:20):
Yeah, he also is becoming increasingly dangerous, right or you know,
now this guy is no longer just a cartoonist. Now
he is kind of a John Stewart character. Now he's
like the daily Show, but in one panel at a
time cartoons and his commentary has real effect, as you

(15:42):
were saying, after that election in eighteen seventy one, which
was disastrous for Tammany Hall, there are legal charges brought
against Boss Tweed and his allies, and we talked about
this in a previous episode, things like forgery, fraud, large
and the cavalcade, a cavalcade of not good stuff and

(16:07):
a lot of the guys end up getting shipped off
to prison. As we know. In eighteen seventy five, Boss
Tweed escaped prison and set sail to Spain, and it
would have gotten away with it too, except a Spanish
officer recognized him from wait for it, a cartoon by
Thomas Nast.

Speaker 4 (16:27):
And it's really interesting if you actually look at some
portraits that you can find of what Boss Tweed, you know,
looked like those again, those like stock still with the
weird background, oftentimes oval framed portraits. There's a handful of those,
and he really is doing a caricature Nast, because he's
got this very specific kind of nose, you know, and
these very specific kind of jowls and certain things that

(16:50):
he sort of exaggerates just enough. It's not over the top.
It's actually somewhat at times subtle. But as it progresses,
it gets more and more grown Tesk and he gets
fatter and fatter, and by the end when he does
get the ring gets toppled. There's a fabulous image that
Nasted of a sort of like Caesar dressed Boss Tweed

(17:14):
in like a surrounded by boots and hats, and it
says the Tammany boys whipped out of their boots and
Tammany rings smashed, and it's all kind of on these
like plaques in the background like it's carved into stone.
But he looks like a sad Caesar holding a broken
sword and again just monstrously fat, with these really dark

(17:35):
circles under his eyes. He's got progressively more and more
kind of grotesque.

Speaker 1 (17:40):
As they went on, the eyes become increasingly sunken. There
are also there are also pictures or depictions of Tweed
and his cronies as vultures, which are kind of haunting.
And this what's nuts about this is if you look
at an actual photograph of Tweed, you see what Nast

(18:05):
used for reference. He is clearly talking about this guy. Also,
I'm just gonna say it Billy Tweed looks kind of
like a jerk, you know what I mean. He looks
like he takes the last slice of cake. I think
that speaks the last doughnut, you know, I mean, I
think he takes the last slice of cake. Is a

(18:26):
very large slice of cake too, that he takes.

Speaker 4 (18:27):
True, he doesn't.

Speaker 3 (18:28):
Feel very bad at all about it.

Speaker 1 (18:30):
He looks, you know what it is in every in
the actual photographs I've seen in the guy, he looks
like he's hiding candy in his mouth. It's like, which
I know is a very specific, weird insult. I don't
even know, like he's courting it like a squirrels and cheeks.

Speaker 4 (18:48):
He does have a bit of a tight lipped appearance.
It just seems like the guy liked accumulating stuff, you know,
whether there's money or power or whatever. But he does
get recognized by that Spanish officer from the cartoon, which
at this point had international acclaim, you know, and he
goes back to prison, the New York jail in fact,
where he remains until his death in eighteen seventy eight.

(19:10):
And Ben, me and you were actually going to New
York this week, and I was thinking it'd be fun
to check out the Museum of the City of New
York is. This is the first time I've heard of this,
and I bet you. I mean, New York has such
a fantastically rich history. I'd love to go to a
museum just dedicated to New York in New York. That
might be fun.

Speaker 3 (19:27):
Yeah.

Speaker 1 (19:28):
They also we're going to be hanging out at one
of the oldest public houses in New York, Francis Tavern.

Speaker 4 (19:35):
I've been there before. I know exactly where that place is. Yep,
that's exactly totally forgot that's where it was.

Speaker 3 (19:40):
It is.

Speaker 4 (19:40):
It looks like you're in this era. It's in the
Financial District, and that's going to be so fun. Oh,
I totally forgot. It was at France's the.

Speaker 1 (19:48):
Now we're talking about air so now we actually have
to do it. Oh definitely, man, all right, let's do it.
We're back, so no holding back, right Verry Thomas nast
of Us. After the fall of Tammany Hall, Thomas moves
on to new targets and he is taking shots at everyone.

(20:10):
According to Our White House, which you can find online
our white House dot org. According to Our White House
and many other sources, this one guy is credited with
perpetuating the donkey and elephant symbols for the Democratic and

(20:31):
Republican parties. He didn't originate these necessarily, but he did
popularize them and cement them in American culture because again,
he's kind of a John Stewart at this point. He's
that's one of the best comparisons I can imagine. He
is a John Stewart via cartoons in the eighteen hundreds.

Speaker 4 (20:54):
I've always thought it was interesting that the both parties
sort of willingly used these symbols because they sort of
seem like kind of potshots, you know, that he's putting
out like kind of mocking them for being either you know,
penny pinching, I guess, the elephant, the idea never forgets
are being too pedantic, and then the others being I
guess kind of jackasses. I've always wondered, like, I don't know,

(21:17):
it does not seem very complimentary, and maybe that's the point.
It's the idea of like, you know, keeping these as
symbols sort of like represents this idea that the parties
don't take themselves too seriously.

Speaker 3 (21:28):
But we all know that's not true.

Speaker 1 (21:31):
Yeah, the we know the donkey itself was associated with
Democrats as early as eighteen thirty seven. But Thomas Jackass himself,
Andrew Jackson, Yeah yeah, but Thomas Nice, no do it
Max with the facts on that one.

Speaker 4 (21:47):
Oh, here it goes.

Speaker 1 (22:09):
We know that Nast popularized the donkey, popularized the elephant.
To your point, Nol, I think about this a lot,
like how they chose the how they chose these symbolic mascots.
I wonder what other animals would be useful. It's strange

(22:30):
that the bald eagle has become just a general America
symbol and no one party can control it. Right. Also,
elephants are really cool, man.

Speaker 4 (22:42):
They're super cool, you know, jack. Donkeys are cool. They
can carry lots of stuff. But again, it's not a
particularly complimentary and I have noticed. I guess maybe I'm wrong, right,
I'm not watching the right shows. But it does feel
like the parties have sort of lead away from using
these images as much as maybe they want. I don't know,
what do you think, Max? Do you still see images

(23:05):
of the donkey and the elephant associated with the parties?

Speaker 2 (23:08):
I mean, I feel like it might be more like
outside people using it. I mean, I still can't believe
the Republican Party calls themself the Grand Old Party, which
is which is hilarious because the Democratic Party is actually
much older than them.

Speaker 4 (23:21):
Well.

Speaker 1 (23:22):
Also also this is very confusing for any of our
ridiculous historians not from the United States, and so it's
confusing for US Americans too. The Democratic Party now is
not the Democratic Party from earlier. We got the turn,
we got the turn, we got we got Shyamalans somewhere

(23:42):
throughout the course of history. Also, you will, to your question,
you will see you will see symbolism of donkeys and
elephants in a lot of a lot of political wonk stuff,
you know, like when you're getting candidates for electoral colleges

(24:03):
and stuff like that. They still have the swag, they
still have the merchandise. However, they are not you know,
to your point, You're not going to see a Republican
or Democratic president wearing a donkey or an elephant pin
when they're making a speech, you know.

Speaker 4 (24:22):
And it was once again a particularly iconic cartoon that
solidified these images in history. In eighteen seventy four, Harper's
published a cartoon by Nas called Third Term Panic around
President Ulysses Grants potential bid for a third term, which
is a little on the dictatorial side, right, you know

(24:44):
that's not really you.

Speaker 1 (24:45):
Don't like FDR.

Speaker 4 (24:47):
I don't like. I mean, I'm not obviously wasn't around
during this time, but I think like it wasn't illegal,
but it was sort of in bad form, right, right.

Speaker 1 (24:57):
It wasn't illegal until after World War Two?

Speaker 2 (25:02):
Probably smart, yeah, because it wasn't until after FDR actually
did it. I mean, I know some people had thrown
around the idea and Drew Jackson had actually thought about
the idea of running for a third term, despite the
fact that he was barely alive. But Grant was let's see,
I'm looking at it up on the flyer around. Grand
was in his fifties at this point.

Speaker 3 (25:21):
He was young.

Speaker 1 (25:22):
That's super young and sexy for president at this point.

Speaker 4 (25:25):
But in any case, it was definitely kind of considered
a little bit of a ooh, and this might be
a slippery slope kind of situation.

Speaker 2 (25:32):
It was an implied rule that you would only go
two terms because as a Washington did.

Speaker 1 (25:36):
It was a gentleman's agreement.

Speaker 4 (25:38):
Like so much stuff, say we've realized now is in politics,
you know, the idea of so many things that a
president does or can or can't do. The reason historical
events we've discovered we're all kind of based on decorum
rather than the law. And when you have someone that
just doesn't give a crap about decorum, then you start
to really realize how many holes can be poked in

(26:01):
this very tenuous arrangement. And I think that Nass knew
that and knew that this could potentially be a slippery
slope into something that he used the term Caesarism to
describe in this cartoon where a cartoon donkey wearing a

(26:22):
lion's mass kind of skin with the word Caesarism, which
is this idea of kind of like the power grabbing right,
and the elephant is being scared away by the donkey
in the lion's clothing, the elephant bearing the words Republican votes. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (26:37):
So the idea then is, and we'll see this later
in a lot of different propaganda, the idea is what
we call like a paper tiger, you know, the opposite
of a wolf in sheep's clothing. This is a he
is arguing that Grant is pretending to be something more

(26:58):
than it is right as a as a political force.
It also reminds us symbolically of the old trope of
the elephant being scared or frightened by a mouse, you
know what I mean, and say, the Republican vote is
running away from this thing that that could be a
threat but is not really a threat. And then eventually,

(27:22):
as the Great Game of Telephone continues, people stop thinking
of the original propaganda, they stop thinking the word vote,
and they just think Republican. Oh I saw a cartoon
and they were elephants in the cartoon.

Speaker 4 (27:39):
That's cool, That's what I like.

Speaker 1 (27:42):
How Uh that poor kid from TLC her name is
not honey booboo, but that's a cash phrase and so
now they just started calling her that.

Speaker 4 (27:52):
Yeah, one hundred percent. And sometimes you're you can't really
control the way these things go. And because Nas' reach
was so vast and his influence so deep, he influenced
things that he didn't even realize or maybe wasn't even
attempting to. They are all these byproducts from his cartoons
that just sort of like embed themselves in history and

(28:13):
like in a really interesting way.

Speaker 1 (28:15):
But he is still kind of a pill to work with.
Very he's very powerful. I know what to be careful
here because I just said, he's still a pill. He
reminds me a little bit of dear friends of mine
who are tattoo artists. You know, they make their decision,
they get their mind made up, they stride confidently forward,

(28:37):
you know, and they don't take notes.

Speaker 4 (28:40):
That's right, no notes. So by the eighteen eighties, I
would say that Nast's influence or his era was sort of,
you know, waning a little bit, right, and Britannica characterizes
this period of Nast as being particularly cantankerous. By eighteen
eighty five, they say he was constantly having disagreements with

(29:01):
the editor of Harper's Weekly and it was just becoming
an untenable situation. His final Harper's cartoon came out in
eighteen eighty six, and then he sort of kind of
became a freelancer. I mean, he's obviously still a big name,
even if you know, maybe things were changing a little
bit and he wasn't didn't have quite the influence that
he once did. So he was working for other publications,

(29:24):
you know, kind of like on a case by case basis.
But then he ran into some pretty serious financial problems.

Speaker 1 (29:30):
Yeah, he's not great at working with people, so it
might surprise you folks to learn that he eventually lands
a job in Ecuador, not as a cartoonist, as the
console general in nineteen oho. K, yeah.

Speaker 4 (29:45):
Okay, why I'd never really thought of him having these
sort of aspirations, but I guess it makes sense that
he is this political force and he does have experience
covering politics of you know, so maybe he makes perfect sense.

Speaker 3 (30:00):
And maybe it was the only job he made me.

Speaker 1 (30:03):
That's also.

Speaker 2 (30:05):
And a minor diplomat is how I saw it written somewhere. Yeah,
a friend of his felt really bad for him.

Speaker 1 (30:12):
It was patronage, if we're being honest, which is kind
of the It's like a boss Tweed move. Bussweed gave
people bs jobs all the time, so so Tweet does
get It is true that he went to Ecuador. He
didn't stay long. He accepted the position on July one,

(30:36):
nineteen o two, and he did try to do the job.
By the way, he wasn't just taking, you know, mailbox money.
He wasn't just sitting around getting in check. But he
was guilty of bad timing because a yellow fever outbreak
rocked Ecuador. He was still helping, or he was attempting

(30:58):
to address the pandemic. It really was a plague, and
he gets yellow fever himself. On December seventh of nineteen
oh two, he dies in Ecuador. He is sixty two
years old. His body is returned to the United States.

Speaker 4 (31:18):
Yeah, two months after I yeah, that's so sad. I mean,
I you know, I didn't think about that, Max. That
makes perfect sense that, you know he would have been.
He alienated so many people. I mean, honestly, if you
think about it, he was kind of a professional alienator.
It's just he had to be pointed at something. He
had to, like, all that negative energy that he had,
it kind of had to be aimed at something. Thankfully

(31:40):
for us, he focused it at a lot of important causes.
I guess you could call him kind of a you know,
a righteous ahole. He did, as you mentioned, Max, have
some political and racial views that did not age well.
He was very anti Irish and depicted them off and
as like brawling drunks and you know, not making apologies

(32:01):
for that, but you see problematic things enrolled all books
and some Doctor SEUs stuff that he did outside of
his children's era that would a little bit I believe
anti semitic.

Speaker 2 (32:13):
So there's some troublesome stuff in some of his Doctor
SEUs children's book stuff as well.

Speaker 1 (32:17):
They played the way Theodoric Eisel. You mean the guy
who uh, the guy who cheated on his terminally ill wife.

Speaker 3 (32:27):
Did you know that part?

Speaker 4 (32:28):
Yeah?

Speaker 3 (32:29):
I did not know that one. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (32:31):
I mean granted, the Doctor Seuss group whatever it's called,
they pulled the books themselves and then everyone lost their
minds over it. One thing I do want to jump into,
who Knowle's righteous a whole thing? Like I've always heard
it put this way that like professional athletes, to become
a professional athlete, you have to be a certain level
of egotistical to get that high. And I think to

(32:52):
be as great, uh what he was, this he had
to be a certain level of an a whole Oh yeah.

Speaker 1 (32:58):
Well sure you have to, you know, like the good
surgeons have a higher incident of sociopathy, right, Like there
are there are things that tie in to this. Thomas
dask was indeed a man with righteous cause, and he
was indignant about bad things. He also yet, as we said,

(33:20):
he's opinionated. He's a no notes guy. He is trying
to do his best, and in doing so he changed history.
As we know it, right, like shout out to the elephants,
shout out to the donkeys, shout out to Santa Claus.
Come on, man, this guy's pretty cool. I think also,

(33:41):
you know, to the point of our mission, he's ridiculous.

Speaker 4 (33:45):
Oh boy, is the that mustache alone qualifies some for
ridiculous status? But man, I think this is a This
has made it into a two parter. Yeah, yes, Max,
can we get a like a game show? Sound perfect?

Speaker 1 (34:00):
Uh? No, you are the winner, sir. You have guessed correctly.
This is a two parter.

Speaker 4 (34:06):
But we already know that at this point because you're
listening to this second part right. This is only us
just now realizing in the moment that we're going to
make this a two parter. But thankfully it is a
perfect candidate for a two parter because this guy did
a lot of stuff and had a lot of eras
so hoarded.

Speaker 1 (34:21):
Live is what we say live, which is kind of
a fatuous term, sort of like saying, uh, like when
you go to a grocery store and you see stuff
advertised as handmade, you.

Speaker 4 (34:35):
Know, artisanal. This is an artist artistical, this is organic.

Speaker 1 (34:38):
This is our organic two parter.

Speaker 4 (34:40):
Uh thanks organic, But it's got lots of gluten full of.

Speaker 1 (34:44):
Thanks so much for tuning in, Folks, We hope you
enjoyed this exploration as much as we did. Big big
thanks to our super producer, mister Max Williams. Big big
thanks to A. J. Bahamas Jacobs aka the Puzzler. Big
thanks to our own boss tweet Jonathan Strickland aka the Quiztor.

Speaker 4 (35:03):
M hm, he's Jeff Coast. Christoph Fraciota is here in spirit,
Alex Williams, who composed this theme. Max to you, of course,
as our research associate. If Ben already thanks you. I'm
thinking you again, buddy, because you deserve it.

Speaker 1 (35:15):
Oh, and our own Thomas Nest Nick Benson. Thanks Nick, Yeah.

Speaker 4 (35:19):
Oh he made it an the episode twice. Well jeez,
I guess we'll see you next time, folks. For more
podcasts from iHeartRadio, visit the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or
wherever you listen to your favorite shows

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