[boom] uses flag as ragbag

kahroba

Senior Member
Persian
Dear all
As you know Dos Passos employs a special technic in his "Newsreels" in USA trilogy. He jumbles newspaper headlines and article fragments and deletes punctuation in these Newsreels.
Having said that I would like to know what's meant by "boom" in the third headline in the following passage: boom uses flag as ragbag
say circus animals only eat Chicago horsemeat Taxsale of Indiana lots marks finale of World's Fair boom uses flag as ragbag killed on cannibal isle keeper falls into water and sealions attack him.
 
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  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I can't get very far with this. However, it seems to me that it is more likely that boom goes with the previous phrase, and "uses flag as ragbags" stands alone.

    Taxsale of Indiana lots marks finale of World's Fair boom
    uses flag as ragbag

    [(Could the plural 'ragbags' be a typo? I found the singular ragbag in online versions. That would make more sense.)]
     
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    kahroba

    Senior Member
    Persian
    I can't get very far with this. However, it seems to me that it is more likely that boom goes with the previous phrase, and "uses flag as ragbags" stands alone.
    Taxsale of Indiana lots marks finale of World's Fair boom uses flag as ragbag

    You are right about that dear Cagey. "boom" goes with the previous phrase. I've just found the proof in: U.S.A., A Dramatic Revue by Paul Shyre and Dos Passos himself. In this book we read: Player D. Used flag as ragbag.
     
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    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I suspect it's right to start the new headline with Uses.

    There remains the problem of Uses for Used. All the versions I've see have Uses.

    It strikes me that s and d are alongside each other on the qwerty keyboard. Maybe Dos Passos made a typo and was either happy to keep it or didn't notice.

    There's evidence that Dos Passos used a typewriter later in life. Did he do so at this stage of his career?
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    The headline conventions may be different in BE, but the present tense is exactly the tense I expect in a headline, especially for a story that was supposed to shock or astound the readers:

    Toddler Drives to San Diego
    Billionaire uses Flag for Ragbag.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    (I see that I mistakenly wrote uses for when I should have written uses as.)

    The first one doesn't have a subject either: say circus animals only eat Chicago horsemeat.

    The subject may have been similarly omitted in "uses Flag as Ragbag", or it may have been omitted in the original heading. This is possible, especially in scandal sheets: Says Mistook Hat for Wife.

    In any case, I am not certain that the past tense would solve that problem: Used Flag as Ragbag.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I thought it might be a past participle used attributively. An ill-favoured thing, sir, but mine own - I wouldn't go to the block for it.

    It's a strange game guessing where those headlines start and stop: I'm not sure about the circus animals. This, leaving out the song, is what goes before:

    district battle ends with polygamy, according to an investigation by Salt Lake ministers, still practiced by Mormons clubwomen gasp say circus animals only eat Chicago horsemeat

    I read the gasp say as Gasp! Say! ie. reaction from the popcorn eating public - aren't we in the cinema?

    I think it may be anyone's guess. The guessing game is part of the fun of this collage technique of writing.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Here we go. This is from the online archives of the Chicago Tribune:
    USES FLAG AS RAGBAG: FINED
    Boston, Mass., Garbage Picker Arrested for "Contemptuous Use" of the National Emblem

    Chicago Daily Tribune, Chicago, Ill. (Feb. 15, 1902)

    They charge for a PDF of the article itself.

    Added:
    Here is another one from the 15th. Dos Passos seems to have varied it slightly. (Of course, he may have read a different version.)
    TAX SALE OF INDIANA LOTS MARKS FINALE OF 1893 BOOM
    Tracts in Swamps, Under Rivers, and in Fictitious Centers of Industry Disposed Of in Lake County


    Another from the same source on the same day:
    SAY CIRCUS ANIMALS ONLY EAT CHICAGO HORSE MEAT
    Health Department Officials Reply to the Statements of Assistant Food Commissioner Patterson

    From the same source, on Feb. 17, 1902. (Two days later.)
    KLLLED IN CANNIBAL ISLE
    DETAILS OF MASSACRE OF PARTY IN NEW GUINEA. Survivor of the Attack on Paris Scientific Expedition on the Night of Jan. 1 Writes the Story--Visitors Welcomed by Natives, but When Sleeping Camp Is Attacked by Hundreds of Men--Baron Villars, Count de Saint Romy, and 27 Others Killed.

    Another one from the 17th:
    KEEPER FALLS INTO WATER AND SEA LIONS ATTACK HIM
    Man Feeding Animals at Philadelphia Zoo Escapes After Struggle in Pond with Slight Bruises
     
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    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    That's brilliant Cagey. Well done!

    I wonder about

    CLUBWOMEN GASP AS APOLLO CAPERS from June 12, 1914.

    Maybe the clubwomen gasped quite a lot.

    I couldn't find the one about polygamy and mormons.

    I'm also wondering about Say Circus. The abstract reads Health Department Officials Reply to the Statements of Assistant Food Commissioner Patterson.

    Is the suggestion that what the officials say is that circus animals only eat Chicago meat, or do you think that a Mr Say had a circus?
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I believe that only the animals [animals only] ate the horse meat. From the fact that it was a hearing, I infer that there was some sort of scandal about feeding horse meat to humans. I imagine that "say" refers to whoever was giving testimony.

    Here are the clubwomen in full: ;)
    CLUBWOMEN GASP AS APOLLO CAPERS

    Pageant of the Ancients at Art Institute Stirs Up Delegates to Biennial. SOME APPROVE; SOME NOT. Low Necked Gowns in Audience Share in Storm of Comments by Spectators. (page. 3, Chicago Tribune, Jun 12, 1914)
    Abstract: There were gasps and exclamations last night at the Art institute. Delegates to the biennial of the General federation were shocked, fascinated, and thrilled. A few of them were disgusted.

    There is a lot about the Mormons and polygamy, but I couldn't find that exact text in the part visible to me. As I'm not paying for the full view, I couldn't check the articles I did find.

    [Note: Utah became a state in 1898 on the condition that polygamy be banned. There was controversy later -- which appears in the newspaper articles -- as to whether or not it was still being practiced. For more information, see the history section of the Wiki article on Utah.]
     
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