Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I Long for the Past of Violence and Malnourishment

Photo: jamesfischer, Flickr Creative Commons

I came across a link to an article about mug shots from 1904 for people charged for being drunk and disorderly. At first I was just shocked at the realness of the faces. It's easy to forget that people a long time ago were basically just like us, just harrier, dirtier, stupider, and oddly dressed. Those Europeans who were burning witches at the stake and being shocked by claims that the world wasn't flat hundreds of years ago could very well be the same people who make up a significant portion of the Texas school board.

What struck me next was just how freaking short these people were. If I ever managed to come into possession of a time machine, I think I'd gather up a group of my taller friends and travel back into the 1800s where we'd perform impromptu slam dunk competitions with 8-foot goals that we constructed from local materials. True, we'd be showing off basketball skills to people who'd never heard of basketball, but slam dunks are one of the universal languages like love and that sign that means you're choking.

After sufficiently astonishing the locals, I'd convince them that we were from a lost island of giants and then challenge their biggest and strongest to a fight. I'm sure even the malnourished midgets of the past could kick my ass in a fair fight. After all, not only were they short and stupid, they were also more violent on average. They had practice in kicking ass. I've only thrown a single punch my entire life and that was over a french fry in middle school. I'd be neither practiced nor motivated enough to be able to compete. Instead, I'd pull out a stun gun, electrocute the primitive bully and demand tithings of gold from the locals to keep me from doing the same to the rest of them.

In the past, I'd be a god.


Courtney said...

Ha. I like the guy who appears to be asleep in both the front and side shots. You're pretty drunk when you can't even stay awake for your mug shot.

Julie said...

I'm surprised they took photos of drunks. Seems like it would have been too expensive for such a minor offense.

Jacob said...

I think it was a product of the time. Wealthiest city in a wealthy empire and the British HATED poor people.

Also, my local paper publishes the photo of repeat offenders for DUI. The 1904 people looked healthier than most of the people in that slot in my local paper.

Chris said...

I bet not a lot of women today would put down "woodchopper and prostitute" as their occupation. Insert your own jokes here _____.

Barely related, but I came across this really interesting transcript of a lawyer's take on our modern drunk driving justice system, and the unconstitutionality thereof.

When you have a little spare time:

Jacob said...

I think more women should put down their professions as woodchopper and prostitute.