As a postscript to the series on America in 1939: the anatomy of change. Ogden Nash was a specialist in what could be called light verse Americana that fir squarely into the canon of the The New Yorker with his slice-of-life liberal stabs and the prevailing conditions, the social injustices, and the ostensible promises of the New Deal and those ambiguous kernels of progressive humanism. Decades later, men were still reciting Ogden Nash as a sort of cruising ticket into the female heart, later to be blotted from memory with the Beat poetry of Ginsberg et al.
Anger at banks is a long standing American tradition that in the 1930′s had the famous Pecora Commission when retrospectively, banking was staid and conservative. This is an excerpt from “Bankers Are Just Like Anybody Else Except Richer” which never goes out of style:
This is a song to celebrate banks,
Because they are full of money and you go into them and all
you hear is clinks and clanks,
Or maybe a sound like the wind in the trees on the hills,
Which is the rustling of the thousand dollar bills.
Most bankers dwell in marble halls,
Which they get to dwell in because they encourage deposits
and discourage withdrawals,
And particularly because they all observe one rule which woe
betides the banker who fails to heed it,
Which is you must never lend any money to anybody unless
they don’t need it.
And, somewhat more directly; it’s hard to know what inspired this, perhaps it was FDR’s problems of getting an anti-lynching bill through Congress in 1939. Give em’ enough rope…
The Terrible People
People who have what they want are very fond of telling people who haven’t what they want that they really don’t want it,
And I wish I could afford to gather all such people into a gloomy castle on the Danube and hire half a dozen capable Draculas to haunt it.
I don’t mind their having a lot of money, and I don’t care how they employ it,
But I do think that they damn well ought to admit they enjoy it.
But no, they insist on being stealthy
About the pleasures of being wealthy,
And the possession of a handsome annuity
Makes them think that to say how hard it is to make both ends meet is their bounden duity.
You cannot conceive of an occasion
Which will find them without some suitable evasion.
Yes indeed, with arguments they are very fecund;
Their first point is that money isn’t everything, and that they have no money anyhow is their second.
Some people’s money is merited,
And other people’s is inherited,
But wherever it comes from,
They talk about it as if it were something you got pink gums from.
Perhaps indeed the possession of wealth is constantly distressing,
But I should be quite willing to assume every curse of wealth if I could at the same time assume every blessing.
The only incurable troubles of the rich are the troubles that money can’t cure,
Which is a kind of trouble that is even more troublesome if you are poor.
Certainly there are lots of things in life that money won’t buy, but it’s very funny –
Have you ever tried to buy them without money?