Thursday, May 10, 2012

'Dear' Old Aunt Sally

Original image and text from The Boy's Own Paper, Saturday, November 12, 1899, No. 1035. - Vol XXI, page 13

 'The following games will not only cause much amusement to the different players joining therein, but will afford that healthy exercise which is so necessary for the maintenance of health...

... Fig. 1 gives "dear old Aunt Sally," who, no matter how much we may knock her about, still smiles, and keeps it up too, as if in encouragement and invitation to have another shy. Aunt Sally's head should be carved out of a block of wood, and the sculptor's art exhibited need not be of any high order, as the more grotesque the features the better. When the head is carved it must be painted black, in imitation of a neggress* with a sweet smile, bright red lips, and pearly-white teeth**. A hole should be made underneath the head, large enough to insert the end of a broomstick, the other end to sharpened to a point, as seen in the illustration, so that it may be easily pushed into the ground ... A small hole should be drilled in the nose to receive a short clay pipe, a quantity of which may be obtained from the tobacconists' shops for a few pence ... round sticks, as A in fig. 1, about eighteen inches in length, can be made by sawing up broomsticks into the required length.

All is now ready. Stand Sally up, and place a pipe in her nose. Three sticks are to be given to each player, the game being to break the pipe by aiming sticks at it...'

I'm not going to dissect the obvious racism, and violence against women such a game suggests'. Almost one hundred and thirteen years later I think we can all agree this is so many levels of wrong. Additionally, promoting waste and destruction is hardly healthful exercise ... the modern equivalent would be to gather several empty glass bottles together to throw rocks at them, thus 'fostering quickness of sight'. I have put in italic the parts I found especially abhorent and leave it at that. I'll be flippant and say: Good luck finding an intact broom afterwards to clean up all that broken pipe!

*Blogger's dictionary doesn't know what this word is :) Good!
**We know that no one actually looks like this!

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