Your RDA of Irony

The Latest in the Eugene Anthology

Contrary to our cultural impressions, the refrigerator did not spring forth–practical, functioning and fully equiped–from the brow of Betty Furness during a 1950s television commercial. The earliest prototype was a French invention of 1911; it was nearly the size of a kitchen and had the sole purpose of chilling wine at a consistent temperature. How very French!

You can read my history of the refrigerator in the current issue of Boss Magazine. In the same issue, you will find my history of the Flu Pandemic of 1918. Fifty million died within four months of the virus; by contrast, ten million people were killed in the four years of World War I. The World War did spread the disease. Indeed, the Americans were inadvertently responsible for germ warfare. More than a third of our Doughboys went over there with the Flu. “Lafayette, We Are Here and So Are Our Germs.” Of course, the American public suspected that the Germans actually had created the disease. Having pioneered poisoned gas and submarine warfare, as well as subsidizing the Bolshevik Revolutions, the Germans certainly had not distinguished themselves for scruples. But they really did not have technology for creating viruses.

However, Americans were so suspicious of the Hun that they actually shunned one of the few remedies of the time that alleviated some of the flu’s discomfort. Patriotic Americans boycotted aspirin. After all, Bayer was a German company.

Here is a link to my articles.

The Influenza history is on page 20. The refrigerator history is on page 34.

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