The Octopus Speaks

The following is from: Los Angeles herald. (Los Angeles [Calif.]) October 27, 1910, p. 6 I am afraid there is no cartoon with this one. But, I thought it important for giving more context to who Standard Oil is, or was seen as, and why it was considered an octopus. Can’t you just hear the […]

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John T. McCrutcheon “Mr. La Follette’s Strongest Card”, Chicago Daily Tribune on December 29, 1911 La Follette served as Governor of Wisconsin (1901-1906) and senator (1906-1925), and championed railroad reforms. (Also, I have seen photos, that is an accurate representation of his wonderful hair.)

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Kraken Rising: How the Cephalopod Became Our Zeitgeist Mascot | h+ Magazine

Kraken Rising: How the Cephalopod Became Our Zeitgeist Mascot | h+ Magazine

Kraken Rising: How the Cephalopod Became Our Zeitgeist Mascot | h+ Magazine “Almost exactly a century later, in the first flush of the Digital Revolution (©Wired magazine), the cephalopod archetype resurfaced. This time, however, the semiotic polarities were reversed: the mythic image that gave shape to fears of Homo cyberneticus deformed by his overreliance on […]

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The Curse of California

“The Curse of California” by G. Frederick Keller, published in The Wasp, 19th of August 1882, vol 9, No 316, pp. 520-521. Photo by Rick MacPherson of poster in Oakland Museum, California. This is only a quick overview for now. The Curse of California, Southern Pacific Railway. “Somewhere from within the blank mugs of those railroad barons (or […]

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[I]n late nineteenth-century America the octopus seemed, metaphorically, to be everywhere. Of course, this octopus was not the sort you might snag while deep-sea fishing. It was decidedly a land creature, malevolent, imbued with rationality, purpose, and unbridled appetite. Why did this image resonate so deeply within the popular imagination of the era? It was due to the growing awareness of the extent to which large, centralized, interlocking networks of distribution, organization, and administration—from railroads, to power grids, to corporate hierarchies, to political machines—were shaping American life. Trapped in such systems, American sensed a lessening of control in nearly every sphere. For our purposes the specific local conditions to which these images refer are irrelevant. What matters is their interpretation of power and powerlessness.

[I]n late nineteenth-century America the octopus seemed, metaphorically, to be everywhere. Of course, this octopus was not the sort you might snag while deep-sea fishing. It was decidedly a land creature, malevolent, imbued with rationality, purpose, and unbridled appetite. Why did this image resonate so deeply within the popular imagination of the era? It was […]

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The railroad company builds for the future. These men with prophetic vision now that the traffic will eventually warrant the expenditure, even if it does not now.
They set their stakes and the world comes to them.
Thus does the Octopus do for civilization what your detached and individual citizens never can do for themselves.
The Uganda railroad has done more to civilize Africa than all the work of all the missionaries in two thousand years. It gives a new environment. “You change me only as you change their environment,” says Darwin.
Elbert Hubbard’s Selected Writings Vol. 2 : Olympians, p 139. (previously on Vulgar Army: The Standard Oil Company pamphlet published by Roycroft)

The railroad company builds for the future. These men with prophetic vision now that the traffic will eventually warrant the expenditure, even if it does not now. They set their stakes and the world comes to them. Thus does the Octopus do for civilization what your detached and individual citizens never can do for themselves. […]

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The Eye of the Octopus. Through a System of “Peeping Toms” the Standard Oil Company Sees the Operations of Its Competitors. By Merwin Worcester. WHAT do you think of the Standard Oil company and its methods? It may be a revelation to you to learn that the Standard Oil company already knows exactly what your […]

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“The Monster Monopoly” 1884 The following quote by Richard Cobden in a speech in London (8 February, 1844; Source Wikiquote, accessed 5th June 2010). It has nothing to do with Standard Oil and even less with the cartoon above, but the Corn Laws in the UK. Well, our forefathers abolished this system [of monopolies]; at […]

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Cartoon shows the devil (shown as half man, half goat) using a trident to fish an octopus labled “Curtis Lie” out of a “Pool of Deparavity.” A basket full of octopuses, one labled “Gaston B. Means Lie,” sit on the bank behind him. The devil, disgusted, cries out, “Faugh!” The sensational event of 1932 was […]

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Still breathing (or pretending to, fewer questions that way). One post in the works that has taken longer to do than I initially though it would (I should know better by now). Also plans to do a bit of Real Physical Research next month when I am in the UK. Scary. I already have a […]

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