Carry Nation: Extreme Temperance Advocate
March 7, 2002 1:47 PM   Subscribe

Carry Nation: Extreme Temperance Advocate "A female figure dressed in black appeared on Topeka's streets on January 26, 1901. A dark veil shrouded the woman's face but couldn't disguise her from the city's populace, who immediately recognized her as one of the country's foremost temperance advocates. Carry Nation had arrived in Topeka. For the next three weeks she and her followers smashed saloons in an effort to close all the city's illegal "joints." She was threatened by howling mobs, beaten by wives of saloon owners, and repeatedly arrested and jailed. The violence she initiated quickly spread all over the state, and had a lasting effect that endured for many years."
posted by owillis (15 comments total)
Reminds me, there is a bar in Los Gatos, CA that I used to go to called "Carry Nation's". Quite an amusing name.
posted by Raga at 2:01 PM on March 7, 2002

It's also the name of the all-girl band in the somewhat infamous Russ Meyer flick "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" (screenplay by Roger Ebert).
posted by raysmj at 2:10 PM on March 7, 2002

Was also the name of one of those straight edge hardcore bands from the mid-80s.
posted by glenwood at 2:19 PM on March 7, 2002

Carrie Nation, the temperance advocate, wrote punk rock lyrics.
posted by liam at 2:25 PM on March 7, 2002

Yikes, nice hammer. She's so cool. If you've never read her absolutely insane and incredible autobiography, it's available on Project Gutenberg here.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 2:44 PM on March 7, 2002

Now I have someone to blame for not being able to buy beer on Sundays during my college years at KU.
posted by bingo at 2:44 PM on March 7, 2002

Hmm... and we have her and her "enlightened" point of view to thank for prohibition and the creation of American organized crime as we now know it, and no doubt her "noble" spirit was present when some pol came up with the idea that led to the (frankly) murderous and rights-robbing "War on Drugs"(tm).

Thanks a lot Carrie Nation, we couldn't have done it without ya...
posted by clevershark at 3:29 PM on March 7, 2002

No offense to Kansans, but what is it about Topeka? Carrie Nation, then Fred Phelps.
posted by ltracey at 4:03 PM on March 7, 2002

Self righteous, intolerant, talibanistic...thank you for imposing your deluded moralistic values on us. Lenin and Stalin and Hitler probably heard you speak in Europe, and the rest is history.
posted by Mack Twain at 5:41 PM on March 7, 2002

ltracey: a popular Kansas bumpersticker reads "Phuck Phred." :)
posted by bingo at 5:51 PM on March 7, 2002

Must buy videogame rights. Must buy videogame rights.
posted by electro at 5:59 PM on March 7, 2002

Prohibition is full of awkward facts, and it would be convenient to pretend that it was purely the product of puritanical rubes who temporarily seized power in a moment of American weakness.

If Prohibition was "pinched and parochial," then certainly the same indictment should be applied to other movements that culminated in the progressive era of reform—the movements for industrial safety, electoral reform, world peace, fair labor laws, food regulation, urban planning, good government, and (nearest cousin of all) woman suffrage...Prohibition was very much a progressive women's cause

Speakeasies replaced the saloon, but they were not the same male bastions...In short the role of alcohol was redefined, so that drinking became a social ritual men and women shared. After Prohibition, drinking became much more domestic—most alcohol today is consumed at home—and abuse much less public.
posted by straight at 6:16 AM on March 8, 2002

Yeah, and without slavery, we wouldn't have had the civil rights moment, which ended up benefitting everybody. That doesn't mean the institution was justified to begin with. Why couldn't she have just opened a saloon that allowed women, or started throwing her own parties? Because she wasn't about advancing women's right to be part of the alcohol world, she was about shutting down the alcohol world.
posted by bingo at 8:34 AM on March 8, 2002

Skim the linked article.

Drinking in America was highly gendered, taking place primarily in saloons, where the only women would ordinarily be prostitutes. Alcoholism was a public spectacle—every town had its drunkards—and criminal violence was often linked very closely to the masculine environment of the saloon.

Saloons got all the publicity. Prohibitionists knew that outlawing the saloon and the moneyed industry behind it would not end drinking. After all, local and state prohibition laws had been on the books for 70 years before national Prohibition came in; and everybody knew that alcohol continued to be consumed in dry towns and dry states. In fact, Prohibition did not pretend to end all drinking. The law did not forbid consumption, and was quite ambivalent about alcohol made and consumed at home. ...Prohibition law aimed at the institutions that corrupted men, luring them away from their families and into patterns of iniquity.
posted by straight at 10:21 AM on March 8, 2002

Yes, and it was a stupid law, and in itself spawned plenty of patterns of iniquity, a la Al Capone. She could have crusaded for stricter punishments for brawls, or the opening of saloons that allowed women but not violence. Instead she crusaded against alcohol. I spit on her memory.
posted by bingo at 6:26 PM on March 9, 2002

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