Uncle Garabed’s Notebook (July 8, 2017)

Newspaper Headline

Crack in Toilet Bowl Leads to Three Arrests

Our Fascist Dime
(By Robert R. Van Ryzin)

Among the many false rumors spread about U.S. coins over the years was that the appearance of the “fasces,” an ancient Roman symbol of authority, on the Mercury dime (1916-1945) was linked to a secret support of fascism in this country.
Why? Well, even though the Mercury dime went into circulation prior to the rise of fascism in Italy under Benito Mussolini, by the 1920s, some began to notice that the fasces, which was by then being used as a symbol of fascism, also appeared on the back of the U.S. dime.
“Anyone who denounces Mussolini for the adoption of a battle-ax as the symbol of the Fascisti, says Representative Sol Bloomsays, better take a look at our dime,” wrote the Chicago Evening Post in 1926.
In 1936, a letter sent to the chairman of the House Committee on Coinage, Weights and Measures (reproduced in the October 1936 issue of The Numcm1916A.jpgismatist, the monthly publication of the American Numismatic Association), warned that:
“The fasces, which is the emblem of Fascism, the present form of government in Italy, strangely enough appears on the reverse of our dime. Although it appears on this coinage as early as 1916, and although it was not adopted by Mussolini and his followers until 1919, future world historians delving into the past through numismatics, as is often the custom, are liable to draw the conclusion that the United States and not Italy was the birthplace of fascism.”

For the artist’s part, Adolph Weinman, whose coinage designs reflected the mood of the nation as it faced the possibility of entry into World War I, the fasces on the dime’s reverse were “to symbolize the strength which lies in unity, while the battle-ax stands for preparedness to defend the Union. The branch of olive is symbolical of our love of peace.”

Over the Top

Edo: Sumpad the scholar is sometimes just a little too much.
Bedo: How do you mean?
Edo: Well, let me put it this way: he’s the kind of guy who, if you ask him the time, will build you a watch.

What’s in a Name?

Khalatian: Arabic in derivation, identified as a descriptive term, khalat is defined as gift bestowed by a king

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CK Garabed

C.K. Garabed (a.k.a. Charles Kasbarian) has been active in the Armenian Church and Armenian community organizations all his life. As a writer and editor, he has been a keen observer of, and outspoken commentator on, political and social matters affecting Armenian Americans. He has been a regular contributor to the Armenian Reporter and the AGBU Literary Quarterly, “ARARAT.” For 20 years, Garabed has been a regular contributor to the Armenian Weekly. He produces a weekly column called “Uncle Garabed's Notebook,” in which he presents an assortment of tales, anecdotes, poems, riddles, and trivia; for the past 10 years, each column has contained a deconstruction of an Armenian surname. He believes his greatest accomplishment in life, and his contribution to the Armenian nation, has been the espousing of Aghavni, and the begetting of Antranig and Lucine.

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