purplish normalcy

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Senior Member
Dear guys
Please tell me what "purplish" means in the following context, taken from biography of Randolph Bourne in "1919" by Dos Passos:
Bourne was cartooned, shadowed by the espionage service and counter-espionage service; taking a walk with two girl friends at Wood's Hole he was arrested. (Force to the utmost, thundered Schoolmaster Wilson)
He didn't live to see the big circus of the Peace of Versailles or the purplish normalcy of the Ohio Gang.
  • Lis48

    Senior Member
    English - British
    In the 1920´s the Purple Gang ruled Detroit and ran all the rackets selling drink illegally during the Prohibition. On the other hand, the Ohio Gang were the politicians behind President Harding who were thought at the time to be corrupt. My suggestion would be that it is inferring that the Ohio Gang was almost as bad as the Purple Gang by saying purplish while at the same time using normalcy, so meaning they were gangsters under a cloak of respectability. But over to someone better versed in US politics!
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