Koko the Clown drops “St. James Infirmary Blues”

Labor facts: For Thomas Jefferson, a republic could thrive only with a landed middle class; but for mature capitalism, there was no way or need to secure that fantasy for most; and so for some American artists, that meant streaming fever dreams of failure, loss, and nomadic anger. As Leslie Fiedler points out, we have a native genius when it comes to horror. Exhibit A: Eighty years ago, the Betty Boop softcore empire made a good mini-doc (featuring the voice of Cab Calloway) about working conditions that persist today. Sure, the cartoon might just be about heartbreak, but I enjoy going out on interpretive limbs. I’ve got this all theorized and worked out, trust me. Long live the precariat! Happy Thursday, y’all.

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