Humor goes rotten faster than eggs, as Will Rogers (or someone, might possibly have) said (or not), but nothing ages with the speed of editorial cartoons. Yesteryear's op/ed jabs are now oblique. Why is the President showing a diplomat his pocket watch? Why is that Asian man drinking from a teacup? Why is that ear of corn angry? I'm sure these cartoons brought readers of the day a wry smile or a sage nod of the head, but now they might as well be hieroglyphs.

But history doth repeat, and the themes in the cartoon below, from the October 6, 1906 Press Democrat, need only to be slightly updated to be timely today. The original context was the run-up to the Bank Panic of 1907, when major banks were at risk of failure unless the government provided bailout money. Oh, and there was also a wave of high-profile bankruptcies, a credit crisis, a real estate bubble, and greedy Wall St. speculators. Does any of this sound familiar?


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