THE MAINE AND SPAIN
On March 28, 1898, the United States Naval Court of Inquiry found that the American battleship Maine, which had been blown up in February while on an observation visit, was destroyed by a submerged mine.
William Randolph Hearst had already decided the Spanish were to blame and meant to do something about it. He ran a series of articles arousing antiSpanish public fervor and pushing for war with Spain. Headlines proclaimed “Spanish Treachery!” and “Destruction of the War Ship Maine Was the Work of an Enemy!” Hearst’s New York Journal offered a $50,000 award for the “detection of the Perpetrator of the Maine Outrage.”
Several months earlier, Hearst had sent Western artist Frederick Remington to get sketches of the brave Cuban insurgents fighting for independence. When Remington sent a report stating that everything was quiet — rum, conch fritters and siestas — that there would be no war, Hearst famously responded. “Please remain. You furnish the pictures and I will furnish the war.” Conspiracy theorists have even suggested that Hearst was responsible for the explosion.
His hyperbolic and breathless accounts of “atrocities” committed by the Spanish in Cuba and his leading role in inciting the war, earned Hearst the nickname Father of Yellow Journalism (a title not really up there with Father of Quantum Physics or Father of the Bride), yellow journalism being the presentation of news of questionable legitimacy using exaggeration, sensationalism and eye-catching headlines to sell more newspapers. Unless it’s true — then it’s called fake news.
The Nays of Texas
On March 28, 1845, Mexico had a diplomatic temper tantrum over the territory of Texas and broke of relations with the United States. (Either both countries wanted Texas or neither country wanted Texas.) Said the Mexican president: “We’re going to build a big, beautiful wall, and the United States is going to pay for it.”
Wretched Richard’s Little Literary Lessons — No. 5
“So here we are,” said Huey. “stuck on Gilligan’s Island – Chickenshit Crusoe and his faithless companion, Good Friday.”
“I was a Boy Scout for two weeks,” Paul offered.
“What a relief. And to think I was starting to get worried. But you obviously know how to start a fire without matches, forage for food, and carve a comfortable existence out of the cruel jungle.”
“Well I did learn how to tie a square knot.”
“Well there you are. You little rascals are always prepared, aren’t you? And kind and reverent and true and God-fearing and above all helpful. If we only had a little old lady, you could help her back and forth across the beach.”
“Are you through?”
“Probably not.” She sat down next to him.
“Since we may be spending the rest of our lives together, we should probably learn to be cordial.”
“Sure, I know your type, Crusoe,” said Huey. “First you get a girl stranded on an island. Then you want to be cordial. And then – ”