On occasion, longtime Mercury commenter Todd Mecklem writes in with some constructive criticism regarding how we can continue to improve the Portland Mercury. This is one of those occasions. Todd writes:
I came across this very real historical newspaper (see attached scan) during a search of the Library of Congress database. I must request...nay, DEMAND...that the name of the Portland Mercury be changed, with dispatch, to the Portlandia Weekly Bazoo.
That is all.
There is more information after the jump regarding the Bazoo and its colorful editor—who makes me look like a goddamn chump. BUT! The question has been asked and it must be answered...
From the State Historical Society of Missouri:
“If there was a man standing out on the bleak prairie west of Sedalia last night, kicking himself and making the atmosphere blue, that man was the presiding genius of the Bazoo.” J. West Goodwin, “the presiding genius,” was the distinctive and colorful editor of the Sedalia Weekly Bazoo, known for organizing “execution excursions.” A postponed execution halted his headlines, which Goodwin found particularly distressing (as noted by Eugene Field in the June 24, 1881 issue of the Kansas City Times) since he had already written provocative, if speculative, text on the event. A well-known figure in Missouri’s journalism community, Goodwin had launched the weekly version of the Bazoo on June 1, 1869 and started a daily version later that year. Viewing his paper and city as allies, Goodwin was ever ready to boast about both, frequently advocating for removal of the state capital from Jefferson City to Sedalia. The Weekly Bazoo, long characterized by Goodwin’s lively social commentary and criticism, ceased publication in 1904.