Wednesday, August 14

Boxer Short Story

Image = Covalliscommunity pages
By Art Cashin

On this day in the year 1900, American and European forces broke through Chinese lines around the Imperial City of Peking (now Beijing). They freed hundred of terrified non-Chinese hostages and thus broke the back of the "Boxer Rebellion".

History books will tell you that the original anti-foreign rebellion in China was sanctioned by the Dowager Empress and driven by the secret "Society of the Harmonious Fists" (Boxers - get it!). While those facts are true, the real facts are more ironic.

What is not widely known is that The Boxer Rebellion may have started somewhat by accident in America. According to some reports, about a year or more earlier, a bunch of hard drinking reporters were sitting around exchanging their frustrations that the "event du jour" had failed to appear. How could they meet their deadlines?

Being good journalists, who needed the meager paycheck, they agreed to do the obvious thing - - make up a story. But it had to be a good story. And it also had to be a lulu. But these guys were pros.

So they invented a story that wealthy Americans and Europeans were planning to buy, dismantle and transport the Great Wall of China. What the hay -- it was fun -- it met the deadline -- it sold papers.

But somehow the story, short-lived in America, reached China. There, Nationals were inflamed. Word of mouth spread the story that foreigners wish to rape our heritage and national treasures. Hostility turned to aggression and then became the Boxer Rebellion.

To celebrate stop by the "Front Page" and have a few extras. And try to keep a straight face when one of the regulars tells you that reporters only report the news they don't shape it.


Many thanks to Mr. Cashin and UBS Financial Services who graciously allow his historical musings to be republished on this site. To enjoy more of Art's posts simply click on "Cashin's Comments" in the label section on the sidebar.

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