Stretched more thinly than most, here is my attempt for day one. As always, a bit of googling uncovered yet another disturbing revelation (to me, at least) about corporate greed and industrialised warmongering that has been so popular in this part of the world.
It turns out that on 4th November 1939, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the last of the so-called Neutrality Acts, soon to be repealed after things went a bit pear-shaped in Hawaii, but it seems that once the US’s hand was forced, they decided not to bother with any of that tiresome neutrality anymore and they have been perpetrating major war-based fuck-ups around the world ever since.
The earlier neutrality acts were drawn up after a self-realisation that the US had been drawn into the First World War for reasons of good business rather than the policing of the world that they have claimed in more recent years. That moment of ethical clarity soon passed.
The 1939 Neutrality Act was more of a trade agreement rather than anything to do with neutrality. It allowed US government-licensed manufacturers to sell arms to “belligerents” in other countries on a “cash-and-carry” basis. So, despite being originally intended to prevent the US from entering into wars for profit, it sanctioned the fuelling of other wars as long as the foreign powers didn’t ask Daddy Warbucks for credit. We all know how a refusal often offends, but as long as you still had some Aztec gold left, you could buy whatever you needed for razing western Europe, the then “theatre of war”, to the ground.
A little more searching throws up the carnival that was the “42nd Street Special”, a seven carriage train carrying Warner Brother executives and movie stars that accompanied the inauguration of FDR in 1933. History repeats itself over and over again as the US Presidential showbiz schmoozing followed by a slide into worldwide and homeland warmongering.
Anyway, I also found the offending skinful of sin, pictured above, that belongs to a UK-based brand called “42nd Street”. This particular approximation of food boasts “50% pork” and is the kind commonly available in fish and chip shops in the UK, although it’s not really discernible as meat at all from the photo. I can’t deny having eaten a chip-shop battered sausage on occasion, and enjoyed it, but these days I prefer a more favourable ratio than 50/50 meat/mystery. One online cash-and-carry outlet lists them at £11.20 for a case of 6×60. About three pence each.
Rather like the dwindling efficacy of the US neutrality acts and how their reduction and repeal signalled the end to the US’s unilateral rejection of conflict, there is a threshold below which a sausage ceases to be more than a symbolic rhetoric for a once-loved contingency, originally inspired by necessity that becomes more of a liability than a reliable sustenance.
Whilst there is no doubt in my mind that the involvement of the US in WWII ended that conflict earlier than would have otherwise been possible, and also prevented me and my descendants from growing up in a Nazi Britain, that was not until 1941, and that cynical takeaway arms trade is also the norm in Britain, now that we generally shit in other people’s back yards rather than our own.
So I’m calling this one The Threepenny Opera of War. Phew!