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NONSENSEORSHIP

BY

HEYWOOD BROWN
GEORGE S. CHAPPELL
RUTH HALE
BEN HECHT
WALLACE IRWIN
ROBERT KEABLE
HELEN BULLITT LOWRY
FREDERICK O'BRIEN
DOROTHY PARKER
FRANK SWINNERTON
H. M. TOMLINSON
CHARLES HANSON TOWNE
JOHN V. A. WEAVER
ALEXANDER WOOLLCOTT
and the AUTHOR of "THE MIRRORS of WASHINGTON"
Edited by G. P. P.


SUNDRY OBSERVATIONS
CONCERNING PROHIBITIONS
INHIBITIONS AND
ILLEGALITIES


Illustrated By
RALPH BARTON



WE HAVE WITH US TODAY

At current bootliquor quotations, Haig & Haig costs twelve dollars a
quart, while any dependable booklegger can unearth a copy of "Jurgen"
for about fifteen dollars. Which indicates, at least, an economic
application of Nonsenseorship.

Its literary, social, and ethical reactions are rather more involved.
To define them somewhat we invited a group of not-too-serious thinkers
to set down their views regarding nonsenseorships in general and any
pet prohibitions in particular.

In introducing those whose gems of protest are to be found in the
setting of this volume, it is but sportsmanlike to state at the start
that admission was offered to none of notable puritanical proclivity.
The prohibitionists and censors are not represented. They require, in
a levititious literary escapade like this, no spokesman. Their
viewpoint already is amply set forth. Moreover, likely they would not
be amusing.... Also, the exponents of Nonsenseorship are victorious;
and at least the agonized cries of the vanquished, their cynical
comment or outraged protest, should be given opportunity for
expression!

Not that we consider HEYWOOD BROUN agonized, cynical, or outraged.
Indeed, masquerading as a stalwart foe of inhibitions, he starts right
out, at the very head of the parade, with a vehement advocacy of
prohibition. His plea (surely, in this setting, traitorous) is to
prohibit liquor to all who are over thirty years of age! He declares
that "rum was designed for youthful days and is the animating
influence which made oats wild." After thirty, presumably, Quaker
Oats....

And at that we have quite brushed by GEORGE S. CHAPPELL. who serves a
tasty appetizer at the very threshold, a bubbling cocktail of verse
defining the authentic story of censorious gloom.

Censorship seems a species of spiritual flagellation to BEN HECHT,
who, as he says, "ten years ago prided himself upon being as
indigestible a type of the incoherent young as the land afforded." And
nonsenseorship in general he regards as a war-born Frankenstein, a
frenzied virtue grown hugely luminous; "a snowball rolling uphill
toward God and gathering furious dimensions, it has escaped the shrewd
janitors of orthodoxy who from age to age were able to keep it within
bounds."

Then RUTH HALE, who visualizes glowing opportunities for feminine
achievement in the functionings of inhibited society. "If the world
outside the home is to become as circumscribed and paternalized as the
world inside it, obviously all the advantage lies with those who have
been living under nonsenseorship long enough to have learned to manage
it."

WALLACE IRWIN is irrepressibly jocose (perhaps because he sailed for
unprohibited England the day his manuscript was delivered), breaking
into quite undisciplined verse anent the rosiness of life since the
red light laws went blue.

"I am not sure, as I write, that this article ever will be printed,"
says ROBERT KEABLE, the English author of "Simon Called Peter." (It
is). Mr. Keable, a minister from Africa, wrote of the war as he saw it
in France, and in a way which offended people with mental blinders. He
declares that the war quite completely knocked humbug on the head and
bashed shams irreparably. "Rebels," says he, meaning those who speak
their mind and write of things as they see them, "must be drowned in a
babble of words."

And then HELEN BULLITT LOWRY, the exponent of the cocktailored young
lady of today, averring that to the pocket-flask, that milepost
between the time that was and the time that is, we owe the single
standard of drinking. She maintains that the debutantalizing flapper,
now driven right out in the open by the reformers, is the real
salvation of our mid-victrolian society.

No palpitating defense of censorship would he expected from FREDERICK
O'BRIEN of the South Seas, who contributes (and deliciously defines) a
precious new word to the vocabulary of Nonsenseorship, "Wowzer." The
nature of a wowzer is hinted in a ditty sung by certain uninhibited
individuals as they lolled and imbibed among the mystic atolls and
white shadows:

"Whack the cymbal! Bang the drum!
Votaries of Bacchus!
Let the popping corks resound,
Pass the flowing goblet round!
May no mournful voice be found,
Though wowzers do attack us!"

DOROTHY PARKER gives vent to a poignant Hymn of Hate, anent reformers,
who "think everything but the Passion Play was written by Avery
Hopwood," and whose dominant desire is to purge the sin from Cinema
even though they die in the effort. "I hope to God they do," adds the
author devoutly.

From England, through the eyes of FRANK SWINNERTON, we glimpse
ourselves as others see us, and rather pathetically. In days gone by,
lured by reports of America's lawless free-and-easiness, Swinnerton
says he craved to visit us. But no more. The wish is dead. We have
become hopelessly moral and uninviting. "I see that I shall after all
have to live quietly in England with my pipe and my abstemious bottle
of beer. And yet I should like to visit America, for it has suddenly
become in my imagining an enormous country of 'Don't!' and I want to
know what it is like to have 'Don't' said by somebody who is not a
woman."

Also is raised the British voice of H. M. TOMLINSON, singed with
satire. He writes as from a palely pure tomorrow when mankind shall
have reached such a state of complete uniformity of soul, mind and
body, that "only a particular inquiry will determine a man from a
woman, though it may fail to determine a fool from a man." Tomlinson's
imagined nation of the future is "as loyal and homogeneous, as
contented, as stable, as a reef of actinozoal plasm." And over each
hearth hangs the sacred Symbol--a portrait of a sheep.

Next is the usually jovial face of CHARLES HANSON TOWNE (that face
which has launched a thousand quips) now all stern in his unbattled
struggle with Prohibition, dourly surveying this "land of the spree
and home of the grave."... "My children," says Towne, "as they sip
their light wine and beer..." He is, at least, an optimist! But then,
we are reminded he is also a bachelor.

In his own American language JOHN WEAVER pictures the feelings of an
old-time saloon habitué when his former friend the barkeep, now rich
from bootlegging, with a home "on the Drive" and all that, declares
his socially-climbing daughter quite too good for this particular "Old
Soak's" son. Weaver's retrospect of "Bill's Place" will bring damp
eyes to the unregenerate:

"So neat! And over at the free-lunch counter,
Charlie the coon with a apron white like chalk,
Dishin' out hot-dogs, and them Boston Beans,
And Sad'dy night a great big hot roast ham,
Or roast beef simply yellin' to be et,
And washed down with a seidel of Old Schlitz!"

"The Puritans disliked the theatre because it was jolly. It was a
place where people went in deliberate quest of enjoyment." So says
ALEXANDER WOOLLCOTT, who emerges as a sort of economic champion of
stage morality, though no friend at all of censorship. Despite the
_mot_ "nothing risqué nothing gained," Woollcott emphatically
declares the bed-ridden play is not, as a general thing, successful.
"A blush is not, of course, a bad sign in the box-office," says he,
developing his theme, "but the chuckle of recognition is better. So is
the glow of sentiment, so is the tear of sympathy. The smutty and the
scandalous are less valuable than homely humor, melodramatic
excitement or pretty sentiment."

And last in this variegated and alphabeted company the anonymous
AUTHOR OF "THE MIRRORS OF WASHINGTON" who views the applications of
nonsenseorship from the standpoint of national politics.

G. P. P.




CONTENTS

We Have With Us Today.
G. P. P.


Evolution-Another of Those Outlines.
GEORGE S. CHAPPELL


Nonsenseorship.
HEYWOOD BROUN


Literature and the Bastinado.
BEN HECHT


The Woman's Place.
RUTH HALE


Owed to Volstead.
WALLACE IRWIN


The Censorship of Thought.
ROBERT KEABLE


The Uninhibited Flapper.
HELEN BULLITT LOWRY


The Wowzer in the South Seas.
FREDERICK O'BRIEN


Reformers: A Hymn of Hate.
DOROTHY PARKER


Prohibition.
FRANK SWINNERTON


A Guess at Unwritten History.
H. M. TOMLINSON


In Vino Demi-Tasse.
CHARLES HANSON TOWNE


Bootleg.
JOHN V. A. WEAVER


And the Playwright.
ALEXANDER WOOLLCOTT


The Oracle That Always Says "No".
THE AUTHOR OF "THE MIRRORS OF WASHINGTON"




ILLUSTRATIONS


George S. Chappell demonstrating his Outline of Censorship.

Heywood Broun finds America suffering from a dearth of Folly.

Ben Hecht chopping away at the ever-forgiving and all-condoning Bugaboo
of Puritanism.

Ruth Hale as a XXth Century woman guarding the Home Brew.

Wallace Irwin composing under the influence of synthetic gin and Andrew
Volstead.

Robert Keable urging the Automaton called Citizen to turn on his oppressor.

Helen Bullitt Lowry watching Puritanism set the Flapper free.

Frederick O'Brien finds the South Seas purified and beautified by the
Missionaries.

Dorothy Parker hating Reformers.

Frank Swinnerton contemplating, from the Tight Little Isle, the two classes
of prigs developed by Prohibition; those who accept it and those who rebel.

H. M. Tomlinson regarding, with not too great enthusiasm, the Perfect State
of the Future.

Charles Hanson Towne and the Law.

John V. A. Weaver noticing the bartender who has been thrown out of work
by Prohibition.

Alexander Woollcott rescuing the Playwright from the awful shears of the
Censor.

The Periscope of the Author of the Mirrors of Washington is turned toward
the Great Negative Oracle.




NONSENSEORSHIP




EVOLUTION

_Another of Those Outlines_


[Illustration: George S.



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