I have made the observation a number of times, that like most comedians, Mathew Franklin Whittier would occasionally return to his own favorite ideas. Often it would have been 10 or 15 years--occasionally, less. I ran across an obvious example, today.
The New York "Yankee Doodle" was, according to one historian I read recently, the first American humor magazine to be patterned after Britain's "Punch" (which in turn was patterned after France's "Le Charivari"). Mathew was heavily involved in this effort, in late 1846-1847--but not so heavily as he was with the "Carpet-Bag" of 1851-1853, in which he was a silent financial partner. So, here is one of Mathew's pieces, which I can clearly and definitely identify as his work, by style. It's a meeting of the apple-women of New York, who, as one sees by their dialect, are chiefly Irish. And here is Mathew's resurrection of the idea, this time featuring a dogs meeting in indignation regarding the leash law.
Now, does anybody question me on this? Does anybody think I am grasping at straws, indulging in magical thinking, and the like? That it's just a coincidence? Or do you believe me that I have done 10 years of serious research into Mathew's style, have read (and typed) over 1,600 of his published works over that period, and that I have very good reasons for assigning these two pieces to his pen?
Lately it has been driven home to me that, literally, no-one believes me. Even my friends and ostensible supporters (few in number as they are). They liked my documentary, but they really don't believe my research results regarding Mathew Franklin Whittier.
This skepticism has nothing whatsoever to do with evidence. I have the evidence. They literally won't look at it. What pack of lies they tell themselves as to why they won't look at it, is their own business. But I was just telling Abby, this evening (and she is quite real, as well) that it hurts not being believed by one's friends. I haven't really acknowledged that to myself until now.
In my world, if a friend asserts something that sounds incredible, and the first assumption that naturally comes to mind is he must have gone crazy--but he says he has evidence--I owe it to him to consider his evidence fairly. That's the least I can do, as his friend. Because friendship means you have assessed a person as worthy of being your friend. If he is crazy, then either something terrible has happened--like a brain tumor is developing--or else you have very badly misjudged him. To call a friend crazy is a very serious charge--but to assume he is crazy, without giving him a chance to explain or defend himself, is disloyal. It's a betrayal of friendship.
Even if I say that in a past life, I co-authored one literary world classic, and outright wrote the other--still, my real friends owe me the loyalty of seeing what I've got in the way of evidence.
It would appear--as I have often read--that true friends are hard to come by in this world.
But let us start with something easy, something simple--something self-evident. These two pieces are by Mathew Franklin Whittier. I could show you, but in the absence of having your full attention for a couple of days, you will either have to take my word for it--as the world expert on Mathew Franklin Whittier--or not. If they are his work, then we have him submitting to a New York humor magazine in 1847. I'm not sure what month this apple-women piece came out, because the pdf of the magazine available online was assembled very poorly. There are gaps, there are redundancies, there are pages out of place. In 1847, you can find the front covers (and hence determine the month)--but they are repeated, as well. I think this particular piece was probably done either while Mathew was still working over the summer months in New Orleans for the "Daily Delta," or shortly after he had wrapped up his stint, there, and had returned to New York City. He began writing to Elizur Wright, editor of the radical Boston "Chronotype," signing as "X.F.W.," as of end July. I have all of this at my fingertips, because, as said, I have digitized all of this work.
Isn't the artwork on these two pieces fantastic, and fantastical? Yesterday, I think it was, I read some critic dissing the artwork for the 1847 volume. These critics are heartless and soulless. They don't respond to the inner quality of the work, at all. They apply some cynical technical criteria and find something to criticize, and they dismiss it as of little historical importance, unless history itself had pronounced it important.
I feel sad, this evening. I have presented enough evidence, and enough proof, and enough fascinating material in this very blog, over the last several years, that I should be famous at this time. I should not have only 3.5 readers per day. I should not be selling approximately one e-book per year. I am not crazy. I have the evidence. And my conclusions are nothing short of astounding. My phone should be ringing off the hook with people wanting to interview me. I shouldn't have to be begging for interviews, getting perhaps one out of ten that I request.
With one possible exception, I would say that while some people are kindly tolerant, or even open-minded, there is not a single person I've communicates with, or whom I personally know, who believes me.
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
Music opening this page: "First Snow" by Skywalk,
from the album "Silent Witness"