Sunday, December 02, 2012

Cue A Chorus of "Battle Hymn Of The Eristocracy" For This One...

OK, like MILLIONS of people of my generation, I thought the phrase "ZOOT SUIT RIOT" was just a line in a song by the Cherry Poppin' Daddies.  LITTLE DID I SUSPECT that it referred to an actual series of riots in June of 1943, in (where else?) Los Angeles, California.  I just got through reading about what happened in this book: 

It was the last thing I expected, people.  You hear that phrase and you picture a bunch of BERSERK HEPCATS turning over city buses and beating up police officers.  ON THE CONTRARY.  From June 3rd through June 8th, 1943, American sailors on leave from their training camp went out to hunt down anyone they could find wearing a zoot suit, so they could strip them of their threads and BURN THEIR CLOTHES.  Oh, and they beat the shit out of the suits' owners.  UNBELIEVABLE. 
The riots were finally quelled when EVERYONE GOT THEIR LEAVE CANCELLED.  I guess the top brass decided that the zoot suiters had finally had enough.  Now listen with cringeing ears as I burst again into song:
Onward Christian Soldiers,
Onward, Buddhist priests,
Onward, Fruits of Islam,
Fight 'til you're deceased!
Join your little battles,
Join in thickest fray,
For the greater glory
Of Discor-dye-aye!!!