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Mr. Dooley's philosophy

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Dooley would become famous for his commentary on national affairs, the columns of the first years were generally more local in scope. Through the lips of Dooley, Dunne built a detailed view of Bridgeport, a vibrant community with its own idiosyncrasies and with important local figures. According to historian Charles Fanning , this made Bridgeport "the most solidly realized ethnic neighborhood in nineteenth-century American literature".

Commerce from the Columbian Exposition had helped shield Chicago from the gloom of the economic Panic of , which enveloped much of the rest of the nation, but after the exposition closed, the winter of —94 saw much unemployment, suffering and starvation. As Irish immigrants were disproportionately employed as laborers, and had less education than other ethnic groups, Bridgeport was hit especially hard by the depression, and this was reflected in the columns. Dunne's anger especially focused on George Pullman , whose wage cuts for his workers while not cutting the rents of their houses, which his company owned helped provoke the Pullman Strike of Dooley swabbed the bar in a melancholy manner and turned again with the remark, "But what's it all to Pullman?

When God quarried his heart a happy man was made. He cares no more for them little matters of life or death than I do for O'Connor's [bar] tab. What the hell, what the hell, what the hell'. But," said Mr. Dooley, once more swabbing the bar, "what the hell. Dunne brought this column into the Post 's composing room to be set in type. When he returned later to check the proof, the typesetters began to drum their sticks on their cases, and then burst into lengthy applause, an experience Dunne described as the most moving of his life.

Dooley would become known for his humor, which was present in many of the Bridgeport columns, but the Pullman pieces were not the only ones to be serious. Dooley accompanies her home, and tries to beat some decency into the sodden Grady. Another, with Dooley's recollections of a long-ago Christmas in Roscommon, caused Dunne to be brought to tears by his own writing. Go an' starve no more.

Why don't they get the poor up in a cage in Lincoln Park and hand them food on the end of a window pole, if they're afraid they'll bite[? Among the comic themes during the Chicago years was that of courtship and marriage, with much humor made from the supposed aversion of many Irish males to the altar. The local plumber, Dacey, does not fall to matrimony until he enters the wrong city building and comes out with a marriage license rather than one for a dog.

The fireman Hannigan's courting of Dolan's daughter is broken off after fifteen years when he is embarrassed by her giving him a wig as a Christmas present to cover his bald head; but for that she would be courted still. With Danny Duggan too shy to propose, Father Kelly acts on his behalf, resulting in "the dear little colleen trembling and crying, but holding on to him like a pair of ice tongs".

By , the Mr.

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Dooley columns had attracted a large following in Chicago, though because he did not sign them, few knew the name of the author outside the newspaper trade. Scott, and the Times , which like the Post was owned by Walsh. In early , Scott bought Walsh's two papers, and merged the Times and Herald. The new Times-Herald promised to be a powerful progressive force, with the Post its afternoon auxiliary; but Scott almost immediately died. Both the Post and the merged paper were bought by H.

One of the main supporters of the campaign of Ohio Governor William McKinley , a Republican, for the presidency, Kohlsaat soon announced a new editorial policy: the papers would be strictly nonpartisan, except that they would be for McKinley, for protectionism which McKinley supported , "and for anything he wants". Dooley pieces as well. Dooley's wit about equally, and the bartender noted with regret the partisan anger that filled the nation.

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That rancor led to the effective end of McKenna's role in the column, as he a Silver Republican differed with McKinley over the gold standard , and as its opponent would not let his name be used in a paper that backed it. The fictional Malachi Hennessy, more typical of Bridgeport than McKenna as a rolling mill worker with a large family McKenna was a bachelor , became his replacement. McKenna regretted his decision, but was infrequently mentioned thereafter.

Dooley noted that while the sun never set on her domains, the original owners did not get to "set" [sit] there either, "bein' kept movin' be the polis [police]". Dooley began to comment at his new venue in early At the Journal , where the journalism was yellow and shrill appeals for war the norm, Dunne labored under no such inhibitions.

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Because of the dialect, the Dooley columns were more difficult for him than writing editorials and columns in plain English. Fanning wrote of Mr. Dooley's subsequent howls for war: "[A]bandoning his usual stance as a cool and neutral ironist, Mr. Dooley becomes one more loud, irrational voice expressing cruelly simplified hatred of Spain and anger at President McKinley.

These new pieces mark the low point in the Dooley canon, for in them Dunne shatters the persona that he has built up so consistently. By the time war was declared in late April , Mr. Dooley had moderated his position, even if the Journal had not. That a battle had taken place was known, but as the American commander, Admiral George Dewey , was believed to have severed the cable lines, no word came to the United States, and the nation waited in suspense, fearing defeat. Then, news that Dewey had destroyed the dilapidated Spanish fleet arrived, but the details, and the fate of Dewey and his ships and men, were unknown.

Before word came from Dewey that he had not lost a ship or man appeared the May 7 Mr.

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That's what'll happen. Mark my word. The columns had not been copyrighted; the Journal quickly acted to protect new essays, and thereafter collected reprint fees. Anecdotes poured in; a recitation of the column had calmed a savage meeting of the Texas Bar Association; another brought down the house at a meeting of California's Bohemian Club ; the U.

Dooley even reached the seats of power; Dunne's June 25, piece imagining a chaotic meeting of the president's cabinet was read to that body by Treasury Secretary Lyman Gage , a Chicagoan. Dunne struck a chord with his columns as people came to realize how badly bungled were many aspects of the war effort. A repeated target of Dunne's wit was commanding general Nelson A. Miles , noted for having designed his own uniforms, which arrived at the embarkation point in Tampa "mounted on a superb specyal ca-ar", and "his uniforms are coming down in special steel-protected bullion trains from the mine, where they've been kept for a year.

He has ordered out the gold reserve for to equip his staff, numbering eight thousand men, many of whom are clubmen; [f] and, as soon as he can have his pictures took, he will crush the Spanish with one blow". Dooley reported on the general's experience of combat: "He has been in great peril from a withering fire of bouquets, and he has met and overpowered some of the most savage orators in Puerto Rico; but, when I last heard of him, he had pitched his tents and ice-cream freezers near the enemy's wall, and was gradually silencing them with proclamations".

The Journal supported the retention of the Spanish colonies taken during the war, including the Philippines , but Mr. Dooley dissented, anticipating that there would be far more advantage for Americans who would exploit the islands than for the Filipinos whose lot imperialists said they were anxious to improve.


So come to our arms,' says we". Friends had long urged Dunne to collect the Dooley pieces in book form, but he was reluctant, considering them lightweight. With the barkeeper now nationally known, Dunne finally agreed, and Mr. Dooley in Peace and in War appeared in November The book's preface was signed "F.

It was an immediate bestseller, gaining favorable reviews from the critics. Dunne had selected almost all of the wartime pieces for the second half of the book in War. At the time, he could not get copies of his columns from before , and may have felt that non-Chicagoans would not appreciate Bridgeport; thus, just 5 of the 31 "peace" essays dealt only with the affairs of that neighborhood.

He did include a piece that featured Molly Donahue, the new woman of the neighborhood, and also a moving tribute to a heroic local fireman. When Dooley reached Britain in , first in pirated editions and then in an official one, the reception was again warm. England doubtless misses a good deal of the humor in Mr. Dunne's dialogue, but she finds enough to make her laugh. And she takes the whole thing more seriously and treats his achievement as a more dignified one than America found it.

For America at moments almost forgot the real depth of thought and the political sagacity which lay behind the satire in sheer delight at the excruciating humor of the way in which it was expressed. Dunne travelled to New York and to London in , taking leave from the Journal. He was treated as a celebrity in both places. Even as he was feted for Mr. Dooley, he privately gave his creation little worth, telling the publisher of the second Dooley collection, Mr. Dooley in the Hearts of His Countrymen that he was free to make changes, or even exclude one of the pure Bridgeport stories.

Dunne had been able to secure copies of most or all of his work, and the second volume contains "The Irishman Abroad", the fifth Dooley piece published; more than half are stories of Bridgeport, including some of Dunne's character studies of its denizens. The volume was well received by critics. In , Dunne moved to New York. In January , just before he left the Journal , he wrote a Bridgeport piece, in which many of the earlier ones were recalled. This was the last Dooley piece written for a newspaper not to be syndicated; it appeared exclusively in the Journal.

Dunne had hoped that by moving to New York to write full-time, he would be able to greatly expand his output, and he signed to do several projects, including a play featuring Mr. Dooley, and for a series of third-person stories featuring Molly Donahue, Bridgeport's resident suffragist.

But Dunne found that he could not increase his production, and that some of the Dooley projects were ill-suited to the character: the play went unwritten and the Molly Donahue stories were abandoned after four pieces. Dooley appears as a character in some of them. Fanning found them unsatisfactory, with a misplaced Dooley, deprived of his bar and control of the dialogue. Dunne was not happy with them either: a note from the author appeared in the Ladies' Home Journal after the fourth piece was published there, alleging ill-health and dissatisfaction with the product.

A third Dooley collection, Mr. Dooley's Philosophy , appeared in The lead story was "A Book Review", that is, Mr. In Mr.

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Dooley's version, Roosevelt wins the whole war by himself, a role slightly greater than that in his actual book. Dooley's conclusion: "No man that bears a grudge against himself'll ever be governor of a state. And if Teddy done it all he ought to say so and relieve the suspense. But if I were him I'd call the book Alone in Cuba. If he ain't, it'll age him. Dunne also supported Roosevelt in late when the president invited Booker T. Washington , an African American, to the White House for a meal—the president's action caused outrage among white Southerners, who overwhelmingly voted for the Democratic Party.

Dooley described Washington's visit as "going to be the ruination of President Teddy's chances in the South. Thousands of men who wouldn't have voted for him under any circumstances has now declared that under no circumstances would they now vote for him. Another piece led to one of Mr. Dooley's most famous quotations. A number of lawsuits brought in the wake of the war dealt with the issue of whether the Constitution applied with full force in the former Spanish colonies annexed by the United States, none of which had been granted an organized government by Congress.

This question was known as whether the Constitution follows the flag. The justices' written opinions were difficult to understand, and the court deeply divided, but the net effect was to hold that the Constitution did not follow the flag. The decisions gave Mr. Dooley an opportunity to puncture the court's ivory-tower reputation, "no matter whether the constitution follows the flag or not, the Supreme Court follows the election returns".

The year saw a steady stream of high-quality Dooley pieces written by Dunne, with the barkeeper philosopher commenting on the events of the day, including King Edward's coronation , Arthur Conan Doyle 's tales of Sherlock Holmes , and Arctic exploration. But most were on American politics. That Dunne was often a guest of Roosevelt at the White House did not spare the president from being skewered by Dooley, nor was the former Rough Rider's aggressive foreign policy spared.

Dunne disliked imperialism, and was outraged by the actions of U. Everywhere, happiness, content, love of the step-mother country, except in places where there are people. The presidential campaign of , as Roosevelt sought election in his own right, brought Mr. Dooley ample opportunity to comment. The bartender mocked those who wished to be vice presidential candidate on Roosevelt's ticket, alleging that the Republicans "found a man from Wisconsin who was in drink and almost nominated him when his wife came in and dragged him away.

They got Senator Fairbanks to accept Dooley's attention: "And when Theodore Roosevelt kisses a baby thousands of mothers in all corners of the land hear the report and the baby knows it's been kissed and bears the honorable scar through life. Twenty years from now the country will be full of young fellows looking as though they'd graduated from a German college. Dunne had never found the actual writing of the Dooley pieces difficult, once he got started—it was finding that initial inspiration, and putting himself in a suitable frame of mind to compose, that he found increasingly hard after Aware that the columns were reaching an audience of millions and would be reviewed by critics when placed in book form, Dunne was reluctant to release pieces he considered substandard, and defended his position strongly in correspondence with the syndicators.

In , he joined with Ida Tarbell and Lincoln Steffens in forming The American Magazine , a project that occupied time and energy, especially since his regular column, "In the Interpreter's House", contained musings like Mr. Dooley's but without brogue or barroom. This allowed Dunne to make his points without tedious dialect. Thus, the Dooley columns continued only irregularly, occupying parts of each year from to When Mr. Dooley could be found behind his bar, his sayings remained at a high standard.

Roosevelt remained a target, friend, and White House host, one who took seriously what Mr. Dooley said and corresponded with Dunne about it. In , after the publication of Upton Sinclair 's muckraking The Jungle , about the unsanitary horrors of the meatpacking trade, Dooley summed up the objections of the packers to the book, "if they had a blind man in the Health Department, a few competent friends on the Federal Bench, and [corrupt Illinois senator] Farmer Bill Lorimer to protect the cattle interests of the Great West, they cared not who made the novels of our country. Dooley stated that were he an ex-president, the publican would try to do something really hard and likely to take up the remainder of his days, "I'd thry to be President again".

None of the columns after Dunne joined The American Magazine attracted the attention the earlier ones had, but Mr. Dooley continued to comment on the issues of the day. Andrew Carnegie was a repeated target, as was John D. Rockefeller , whom Dooley summed up with "he never done anything wrong, save in the way of business" [r] [64] In , during the debates over the Payne—Aldrich Tariff , Dunne examined the bill and came out of it with an exotic item called "divvy-divvy", which Mr.

Dooley allowed, "was let in as a compliment to [Finance Committee chairman] Senator Aldrich. It's his motto.

Although Dunne was a strong supporter of Roosevelt in the contentious presidential election, Mr. Dooley retained his customary above-the-fray attitude, mocking Roosevelt's excited oratory with Dooley feeling there was a large fire somewhere, a mystery solved when he opens the newspaper and learns "much to my relief, that it was not my pants but the Republic that was on fire".

Sickened by the carnage of World War I, and by the growing suspicion and intolerance with which Americans regarded each other, Dunne ended the Dooley series in He was urged by many to resurrect the Dooley series, but was reluctant, as the publication of the eighth Dooley collection that year, Mr. It was not until that Dunne, driven by financial need, began to work on Dooley again, first by shortening old columns for re-syndication, and then, during the presidential campaign, writing new ones for the newspapers, with Mr. Dooley's tavern transformed by Prohibition into a speakeasy.

Beginning early in the year, these appeared on a weekly basis but ended in the final days of the campaign, and conflict with the syndicator when Dunne was unable to produce expected columns put an end to original Mr. Dooley in newspapers.

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Although prominently featured, these new columns did not generate a great deal of interest. Nevertheless, Dunne was encouraged enough to agree, in , to do a regular Dooley piece for the weekly Liberty magazine. In an Irish-American dialect as thick as the foam on a pint of stout, Mr.

Dooley and his friends discuss the military "sthrateejy" for American action in Cuba, "iliction" day shenanigans, Queen Victoria's jubilee, the "new woman," and the strange American sport of football, in which a player puts "a pair iv matthresses on his legs, a pillow behind, [and] a mask over his nose" and tries to kill his fellow men. Through his tall tales and speculations, Mr.

Dooley reveals the pleasure and pain of being Irish in Chicago at the turn of the twentieth century. Clothed in the charming hyperbole and mislocution of the unflappable Mr. Dooley, Dunne's incisive social criticism flies unerringly to the target, exposing prejudice, hypocrisy, insensitivity, and plain old-fashioned humbug.

University of Illinois Press. Shopping Cart. Close Preview x. No Star is Lost James T. Farrell, with an Introduction by Charles Fanning. Rusch and Donald Pizer.