Saturday, May 1, 2010

May Day May Day May Day

I must say I can never read history the same again after going over to Randal's blog. I was looking for an idea of what to write about for May 1 also known as May Day to some. There are two basic images one comes upon with the google. Either you get a pleasant serene scene of children holding ribbons dancing around the may pole or some burly iron worker holding the heavy hammer of labor. Thought I'd check out the worker aspects of this day and what do I get?

The May Day Riots of 1919 were a series of violent demonstrations that occurred throughout Cleveland, Ohio on May 1 (May Day), 1919. The riots began when Socialist leader, Charles Ruthenberg organized a May Day parade of local trade unionists, socialists, communists, and anarchists to protest the jailing of Eugene V. Debs.

Digging deeper into labor history I find that there were strikes, clashes and arrests in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Seattle. Oh great more of the us against them rich against poor battles. And they say history doesn't repeat itself. Okay so I'll go back and see what all the dancing around the may pole is all about. Sounds tame enough. What could go wrong there?
Now I swear if I didn't know any better I'd think that Randal had lived for a thousand years and had a hand in history. Who else can find and write about the most obscure asepects of debauchery over the centuries. He's evil I tell you. He's of that Librarianist cult and you know that spells trouble. All that book learnin isn't good for you, but I digress. Upon researching the innocent symbol of the day the inocuous pole I find yet more perverse goings on and here's the history, hide your eyes or look away if you're faint of heart:

The earliest use of the Maypole in America occurred in 1628, where William Bradford, governor of New Plymouth, wrote of an incident where a number of servants, together with the aid of an agent, broke free from their indentured service to create their own colony, setting up a maypole in the center of the settlement, and behaving in such a way as to receive the scorn and disapproval of the nearby colonies, as well as an official officer of the king, bearing patent for the state of Massachusetts:
"They set up a Maypole, drinking and dancing about it for several days at a time, inviting the Indian women for their consorts, dancing and frisking together like so many fairies, – or furies rather, – to say nothing of worse practices. It was as if they had revived the celebrated feasts of the Roman goddess Flora, or the beastly practices of the mad Bacchanalians. Morton, to show his poetry, composed sundry verses and rhymes, some tending to lasciviousness and others to the detraction and scandal of some persons, affixing them to his idle, or idol, Maypole. They changed the name of the place, and instead of calling it Mount Wollaston, they called it Merry Mount, as if the jollity would last forever. But it did not continue long, for, shortly after, Morton was sent back to England, as will appear. In the meantime that worthy gentleman, Mr. John Endicott, arrived from England, bringing over a patent under the broad seal, for the government of Massachusetts. Visiting their neighborhood, he had the Maypole cut down, and reprimanded them for their profaneness, admonishing them to improve their way of living. In consequence, others changed the name of the place again, and called it Mount Dragon!"

So I guess this holiday is just perfect for any and every American. What could be finer than having a choice of celebrating either sex or violence?

Update: Got tied up yesterday and forgot the bank failures so here goes. We had another seven banks down the tubes in Puerto Rico3, Michigan 1 MO 2 and Wa 1.

8 comments:

The Blog Fodder said...

Interesting history of the all-American sports on May 1.

Hey, go easy on librarianists. My youngest just became one. When she finds a job.

Tim said...

Sex or Violence? Can't I have both?
Good old fashioned debauchery...

an average patriot said...

You know I grew up in Salem, Massachusetts on Gallows hill. Right at the top we had a maypole and use to use it. Funny, until I saw the rallies today I forgot about the May day riots.

Demeur said...

Oh BF his librarianist cult is secondary to his occupation I'm sure.

Tim of course you can just not at the same time.

Jim I'm surprised maypoles haven't been outlawed in Mass. since that happened.

BBC said...

Whatever....

The Blog Fodder said...

I just realized, Demeur that you and I posted our blogs within minutes of each other and used the same title. Too funny.

Ranch Chimp said...

What an excellent posting Mr.Demeur! It was a lil history lesson of sort for me, cause I didnt know much about this.At least something to inspire me to browse over. It dont matter to me who your tough on, I dont have a party anywayz, I just vote democrat, as the lesser of two evil's only, I mean ... no one else is going to be in power at this point in time except one of these two, and their mostly hand selected by the money. As far as the battle's between the have's and have not's .... their endless, I have alway's had a simply approach to it all .... "Screw them, who would screw me" .... or whatever else I can do.

Thank You Sir!

an average patriot said...

Actually that pole is no longer used but is still there overlooking Salem the Harbor and Islands and Marblehead. Use to be quite nice there!