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Sol Bloom for President

You know Sol Bloom’s music. It’s the classic Deedeedee-Dee-Dee of snake charmers and Hollywood belly dancers- a tune so archetypical that it’s hard to believe that it didn’t emerge fully formed from the popular hive-mind. Harder still to believe that … Read More

By / March 12, 2007

You know Sol Bloom’s music. It’s the classic Deedeedee-Dee-Dee of snake charmers and Hollywood belly dancers- a tune so archetypical that it’s hard to believe that it didn’t emerge fully formed from the popular hive-mind. Harder still to believe that the man who wrote it was a 23 year old huckster cum theatrical manager from San Francisco, who was on the verge of starting America’s first lust-affair with the Middle East. Sol Bloom (Pekin, Illinois, March 9, 1870–1949), was the son of Polish Jews. He started in show biz at seven, managing theatres by his early teens. At the age of twenty-two, he talked his way into the Midway commission at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. Initially conceived of as an anthropology exhibit, under Bloom’s lead the Midway became a fleshier, more sinful counterpoint to Chicago’s White City. He imported hookahs, African villages, and the belly dancer Little Egypt, who entertained in a special “men only” tent. Bloom composed his most famous tune after Little Egypt complained about not being about to dance to classical waltzes. He never trademarked it, much to his regret.

After making- and losing, several more fortunes (his get-rich on soybeans scheme rotted during a train strike), Bloom got into politics. He served 14 consecutive terms in congress, supporting the New Deal and helping write the charter for the UN.

Bloom died in 1949, but lord do I wish this man would run for president. Sure, his blatant orientalism is enough to make Edward Said spin like a turbine in his grave, but, look at the spirit! Aren’t Americans supposed to be glib and entrepreneurial, requiring only a smart suit and a lack of shame to make our fortunes? I know we’re a nation of wage slaves. I know that you need a degree to work any legit job. But how I pine for days when you could live by your wits. And am I wrong suspecting that a show biz impresario might be more astute- even moral- than three congresses worth of lawyers?

So, Sol Bloom for president. And, while we’re at it, can we have Dita von Teese as his running mate?

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