Gimpel Beynish the Matchmaker
(Gimpl Beynish der Shadkhn)
Yiddish Comics of the early 20th century

Translation and commentary by Jane Peppler
Click here to read about and order the three Gimpel books I've published.

Comics read right to left. Click on any comic strip for larger view.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The U.S. invades Mexico and Gimpel actually notices. 4-22-1914

The April 22, 1914 comic strip is notable for two reasons:
  1. Graphically it's startling: it's the first time Gimpel's been rendered in close-up. I think this was to heighten emotional reaction in the readers. Gimpel is reading (and tearing up) the newspaper because he's actually horrified by this news;

  2. It's the first time Zagat and his editor responded in the cartoon to something happening in the political world. It was a brand-new surprise and I think the editor was startled into revealing some actual emotion.
I hadn't known about this "War with Mexico," the U.S. invasion of Veracruz. It will feature in most of the comics in the following weeks. For info on the war, see the link below.



April 22, 1914: Seems like he's the only opponent of the war with Mexico.
  1. So here you have a war. Fresh and healthy and insane. People have to lust after misery!
  2. What? Young men will have to go to war? This is a regular outrage.
  3. To hell with this swinish paper, with the war that calls young men to her!
  4. If the boys go to war, with whom will I be able to arrange matches?
  5. Na, that puts the kibosh on my upcoming summer. I'll go look for a job in Coney Island.

4-22-1914
ער איז דערװײַל דער אײנציגער געגנער פֿון אַ מלחמה מיט מעקסידאָ.

1
אָט האָסטו דיר אַ מלחמה. פֿריש און געזונד און משוגע. מענשען זאָל זיך גלוסטען צרות!
2
װאָס? יונגע בחורים װעלען דאַרפֿען געהן אין מלחמה? דאָס איז דאָך אַ רעגעלע רציחה.
3
אין דר׳ערד אַרײַן מיט אַזאַ חזיר׳שען פּײפּער, מיט דער מלחמה װאָס מען רופֿט בחורים צו איהר!
4
אַז דיא בחורים װעלען געהן אין מלחמה, מיט װעמען-זשע װעל איך קענען פֿיהרען שידוכים?
5
נאַ, פֿערשפּיעלט דער הײַנטיגער זומער מײַנער. איך׳ל געהן זוכען אַ קזשאַב אין קוני אײַלענד.

From Wikipedia's story on United States occupation of Veracruz, which lasted for seven months: Nine America sailors were arrested in Mexico. They were released, but the U.S. naval commander demanded an apology and a twenty-one gun salute. There was an apology but no salute, so on April 21, 1914 warships invaded Veracruz. There were, ahem, oil fields involved.
As an immediate reaction to the military invasion of Veracruz several anti-American revolts broke out in Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, and Uruguay... The military invasion of Veracruz was also a decisive factor in favor of keeping Mexico neutral in World War I.... Mexico refused to participate with the United States in its military excursion in Europe and granted full-guarantees to the German companies for keeping their operations open, especially in Mexico City... In Mexico, the intervention "is immortalized in Mexico's national memory as one of the ugliest deeds ever inflicted upon the country by its neighbor to the north."

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