Friday, February 19, 2010

Monkey and the Inkpot

Slate this morning has an article about the poisons the US government mandated in industrial alcohol during Prohibition, knowing full well that the result would be the deaths of the (primarily poorer) people who chose to drink alcohol.

It's a terrible part of our country's history.

Two things drew me into this article. First, it's forgotten history, something relatively recent, and yet little known. With all the romanticism behind bootleggers and speakeasies, I'd never heard any glimmer of this sad aspect of the era.

Second, it seems an odd sort of not-quite reflection of the conceit in the serial fiction project I've been working on, on and off, for almost two years. In that, there's an infection targeted at the city's poor, one that may or may not have its source in the city government, but at the least has the knowing support of parts of the council. Its effect, though, does not quite match what its inventor had hoped.

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