Tuesday, January 22, 2013

balls & the turkey trot

100 Years from this day
Will people still feel the same?
Will they say the things
That they're saying right now?

--Gram Parsons, "100 Years"

100 Years ago today, Pres. Taft (pictured) sent a U.S. warship to Veracruz. Mexico was in the midst of revolution and civil war, and Taft wanted to keep an eye on the Standard-Oil-Leased fields at Tampico.

Bill Taft, the outgoing Republican, would remain in office until March when Pres.-elect Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat, would step in. The first January inauguration was still 20 years in the future (FDR).

Wilson was busy planning his coronation, and had already decided to cancel the inaugural ball. At first he claimed that it was because of the enormous expense, but today he let slip the real reason:

There would be no way to prevent couples at the ball from dancing the popular ragtime dances of this day, such as the turkey trot and the bunny hug -- scandalous exhibitions of overt sexuality in which the dancers' bodies touch.

What an insufferable little prig Woodrow the preacher was. I'll bet he cancelled the ball in 1917 too. I've always suspected he had no balls.

Found this item in the good old New Fork Tines by way of this weird and wonderful (mostly) history blog, Whatever It Is, I'm Against It.

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