Jesse Jarnow

and now a word from p.t. barnum

Apropos of absolutely nothing, a quote from Struggles and Triumphs, the 1869 autobiography of P.T. Barnum. Here, Barnum describes the burning of his second American Museum, where mermaid bones were displayed side by side with genuine artifacts:

The cold was so intense that the water froze almost as soon as it left the house of the fire engines; and when at last everything was destroyed, except the front granite wall of the Museum building, that and the ladder, signs, and lamp-posts in front, were covered in a gorgeous framework of transparent ice, which made it altogether one of the most picturesque scenes imaginable. Thousands of persons congregated daily in that locality in order to get a view of the magnificent ruins. By moonlight, the ice-coated ruins were still more sublime, and for many days and nights the old Museum was ‘the observed of all observers,’ and photographs were taken by several artists.

3 Comments

  1. Eppy says: - reply

    That’s awesome–almost Trump-like in its aggrandizing defeat tendencies.

  2. Jesse says: - reply

    Huh. I’d never equated Trump with Barnum, but there’s probably some validity to that. They probably occupy similar spaces in the public mind, each involved in various dealings (real estate, circuses and museums) while establishing his name as more important than the product. Not that I know shit about Trump, really, other than that his brain was once transplanted into the body of a dead cat.

  3. Randy says: - reply

    Apparently, the cat woke up and immediately asked for a comb over.