FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Mr. Dooley on the Charity of the Very Rich

Reading Carl Ginsburg’s acrid piece on the conscience of the billionaires on this site last week, I remembered the sarcastic comments of the Chicago saloon-keeper Mr Dooley on the Carnegie Libraries. Dooley was the creation of the Chicago columnist FINLEY PETER DUNNE, back at the start of the 20th century. Today’s readers may find Dunne’s accurate evocation of Mr Dooley’s Irish brogue accent hard to get into, but it’s worth it. Here are a couple of excerpts. You can find the whole column in Dunne’s “Dissertations” (1906). AC.

“Has Andhrew Carnaygie given ye a libry yet?” asked Mr. Dooley.

“Not that I know iv,” said Mr. Hennessy.

“He will,” said Mr. Dooley. “Ye’ll not escape him. Befure he dies he hopes to crowd a libry on ivry man, woman, an’ child in th’ counthry. He’s given thim to cities, towns, villages, an’ whistlin’ stations. They’re tearin’ down gas-houses an’ poorhouses to put up libries. Befure another year, ivry house in Pittsburg that ain’t a blast-furnace will be a Carnaygie libry. In some places all th’ buildin’s is libries. If ye write him f ‘ r an autygraft he sinds ye a libry. No beggar is iver turned impty-handed fr’m th’ dure. Th’ pan-handler knocks an’ asts f ‘ r a glass iv milk an’ a roll. ‘ No, sir,’ says Andhrew Carnaygie. ‘ I will not pauperize this onworthy man. Nawthin’ is worse f’r a beggar-man thin to make a pauper iv him. Yet it shall not be said iv me that I give nawthin’ to th’ poor. Saunders, give him a libry, an’ if he still insists on a roll tell him to roll th’ libry. F’r I’m humorous as well as wise,’ he says.”

“Does he give th’ books that go with it?” asked Mr. Hennessy.

“Books?” said Mr. Dooley. “What ar-re ye talkin’ about? D’ye know what a libry is? I suppose ye think it’s a place where a man can go, haul down wan iv his fav’rite authors fr’m th’ shelf, an’ take a nap in it. That’s not a Carnaygie libry. A Camaygie libry is a large, brown-stone, impenethrible buildin’ with th’ name iv th’ maker blown on th’ dure. Libry, fr’m th’ Greek wurruds, libus, a book, an’ ary, sildom,—sildom a book. A Carnaygie libry is archytechoor, not lithrachoor. Lithrachoor will be riprisinted. Th’ most cillybrated dead authors will be honored be havin’ their names painted on th’ wall in distinguished comp’ny, as thus: Andhrew Carnaygie, Shakespeare; Andhrew Carnaygie, Byron; Andhrew Carnaygie, Bobby Burns; Andhrew Carnaygie, an’ so on. Ivry author is guaranteed a place next to pure readin’ matther like a bakin’powdher advertisemint, so that whin a man comes along that niver heerd iv Shakespeare he’ll know he was somebody, because there he is on th’ wall. That’s th’ dead authors. Th’ live authors will stand outside an’ wish they were dead…

Libries niver encouraged lithrachoor anny more thin tombstones encourage livin’. No wan iver wrote annythin’ because he was tol’ that a hundherd years fr’m now his books might be taken down f r’m a shelf in a granite sepulcher an’ some wan wud write ‘ Good’ or ‘ This man is crazy’ in th’ margin. What lithrachoor needs is fillin’ food. If Andhrew wud put a kitchen in th’ libries an’ build some bunks or even swing a few hammocks where livin’ authors cud crawl in at night an’ sleep while waitin’ f ‘ r this enlightened nation to wake up an’ discover th’ Shakespeares now on th’ turf, he wud be givin’ a rale boost to lithrachoor. With th’ smoke curlin’ fi^m th’ chimbley, an’ hundherds iv potes settin’ aroun’ a table loaded down with pancakes an’ talkin’ pothry an’ prize-fightin’, with hundherds iv other potes stacked up nately in th’ sleepin’-rooms an’ snorin’ in wan gran’ chorus, with their wives holdin’ down good-pay in’ jobs as library ans or cooks, an’ their happy little childher playin’ through th’ marble corrydors, Andhrew Carnaygie wud not have lived in vain. Maybe that’s th’ on’y way he knows how to live. I don’t believe in libries. They pauperize lithrachoor. I’m f’r helpin’ th’ boys that’s now on th’ job. I know a pote in Halsted Sthreet that wanst wrote a pome beginnin’, ‘ All th’ wealth iv Ind,’ that he sold to a magazine f ‘ r two dollars, payable on publycation. Lithrachoor don’t need advancin’. What it needs is advances f’r th’ lithrachoors. Ye can’t shake down posterity f’r th’ price.

“All th’ same, I like Andhrew Carnaygie. Him an’ me ar-re agreed on that point. I like him because he ain’t shamed to give publicly. Ye don’t find him puttin’ on false whiskers an’ turnin’ up his coat-collar whin he goes out to be benivolent. No, sir. Ivry time he dhrops a dollar it makes a noise like a waither fallin’ down-stairs with a tray iv dishes. He’s givin’ th’ way we’d all like to give. I niver put annything in th’ poor-box, but I wud if Father Kelly wud rig up like wan iv thim slotmachines, so that whin I stuck in a nickel me name wud appear over th’ altar in red letthers. But whin I put a dollar in th’ plate I get back about two yards an’ hurl it so hard that th’ good man turns around to see who done it.”

 

WORDS THAT STICK
?

 

More articles by:

December 17, 2018
Susan Abulhawa
Marc Lamont Hill’s Detractors are the True Anti-Semites
Jake Palmer
Viktor Orban, Trump and the Populist Battle Over Public Space
Martha Rosenberg
Big Pharma Fights Proposal to Keep It From Looting Medicare
David Rosen
December 17th: International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers
Binoy Kampmark
The Case that Dare Not Speak Its Name: the Conviction of Cardinal Pell
Dave Lindorff
Making Trump and Other Climate Criminals Pay
Bill Martin
Seeing Yellow
Julian Vigo
The World Google Controls and Surveillance Capitalism
ANIS SHIVANI
What is Neoliberalism?
James Haught
Evangelicals Vote, “Nones” Falter
Martin Billheimer
Late Year’s Hits for the Hanging Sock
Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
A Tale of Two Cities
Peter Linebaugh
The Significance of The Common Wind
Bruce E. Levine
The Ketamine Chorus: NYT Trumpets New Anti-Suicide Drug
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens
Kathy Deacon
Coffee, Social Stratification and the Retail Sector in a Small Maritime Village
Nick Pemberton
Praise For America’s Second Leading Intellectual
Robert Hunziker
The Yellow Vest Insurgency – What’s Next?
Patrick Cockburn
The Yemeni Dead: Six Times Higher Than Previously Reported
Nick Alexandrov
George H. W. Bush: Another Eulogy
Brian Cloughley
Principles and Morality Versus Cash and Profit? No Contest
Michael F. Duggan
Climate Change and the Limits of Reason
Victor Grossman
Sighs of Relief in Germany
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Robert Fantina
What Does Beto Have Against the Palestinians?
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Sartre, Said, Chomsky and the Meaning of the Public Intellectual
Andrew Glikson
Crimes Against the Earth
Robert Fisk
The Parasitic Relationship Between Power and the American Media
Stephen Cooper
When Will Journalism Grapple With the Ethics of Interviewing Mentally Ill Arrestees?
Jill Richardson
A War on Science, Morals and Law
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Evaggelos Vallianatos
It’s Not Easy Being Greek
Nomi Prins 
The Inequality Gap on a Planet Growing More Extreme
John W. Whitehead
Know Your Rights or You Will Lose Them
David Swanson
The Abolition of War Requires New Thoughts, Words, and Actions
J.P. Linstroth
Primates Are Us
Bill Willers
The War Against Cash
Jonah Raskin
Doris Lessing: What’s There to Celebrate?
Ralph Nader
Are the New Congressional Progressives Real? Use These Yardsticks to Find Out
Binoy Kampmark
William Blum: Anti-Imperial Advocate
Medea Benjamin – Alice Slater
Green New Deal Advocates Should Address Militarism
John Feffer
Review: Season 2 of Trump Presidency
Rich Whitney
General Motors’ Factories Should Not Be Closed. They Should Be Turned Over to the Workers
Christopher Brauchli
Deported for Christmas
Kerri Kennedy
This Holiday Season, I’m Standing With Migrants
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail