from attack. Above all, the urban humoristsnwere characterized by a sophisticatednsense of literary form which only a cosmopolitan,neducated culture could support.nOften their comic method was displayednin extravagant parody or burlesque,nas in this version of “Jack and Jill”nin the manner of Whitman: “Jack, broadshouldered,ndeep-chested, and merry/nlike the rocks prehistoric—gigantic….”nOr Mike Royko’s modem version of CarlnSandburg’s poem about Oiicago: “Chic^o/nHi-Rise for the World… Dapper, slender,nfilter-tipped/City of the Big Credit Card.”nMore usual was a subtle, Yankee understatement,nin which a low-key irony, likena pistol with a silencer, was the mainnweapon.nJLhe earlier humor, however, wasnrarely deadly. Except for a brief periodnsurrounding the Civil War, Americannhumor remained largely in the jovial,nribbing manner of Horace, rather thannthe bitter satire of Juvenal. The persistentnmyth of America as the New Eden andnChosen Nation fueled the optimism of anbuoyant commercial republic. On onenlevel this was expressed in the expansivenmysticism of Whitman. Among thencomic writers P. T. Bamum triumphednas a self-proclaimed humbug thanks tonhis inventiveness in making bogus entertainmentnand his gleeftil lack of con­nIn the Mailnscience in taking people’s money. FewnAmerican humorists possessed Bamum’snvulgarity, but many shared his confidentnindividualism. Almost alone amongnAmerican humor writers of this eranstands Mark Twain, whose essentiallynSwiftian despair about the human conditionngave a barely suppressed anarchicnimpulse to his fiction. What enablednTwain to avert nihilism and attain lastingnart was the strength of his own federalistnvision of order which, entwined with hisnJuvenalian bitterness, produced a highlyncreative tension.nIn addition to the upheaval broughtnabout by changing economic circumstances,nthe other pressing urban problemnat the turn of the century was Europeannimmigration. This was the time ofnthe xenophobic, unfimny ethnic joke,nbut the best humorists dissolved thengrovraig paranoia. Perhaps the most impressivenachievement of the Americannurban wits represented in these collectionsnis their sheer linguistic energy,ntheir ear for dialect and colloquial speech,nand their ability to utilize dialect fornseriocomic purposes. At a time whennanti-immigrant feeling was high, comicnwriters created immensely popular ethnicncharacters, such as the German “CarlnPretzel” in Chicago, and his counterpartnin New York, “Hans Breitmann.” Tonmodem ears, this dialect is difiicult, butnRabbit in the Moon: Haiku by Raymond Roseliep; Alembic Press; Plainfield, IN; much ofnthi&’is rather/pathetic.nWater Rights: Scarce Resource Allocation, Bureaucracy, and the Environment editednby Terry L. Anderson; Pacific Institute for Public Policy Research; San Francisco, CA.nSoon, agricultural and industrial concerns in certain locales may find themselves “As idle as anpainted ship/Upon a painted ocean.”nInternational lending and the IMF edited by Allan H. Meltzer; The Heritage Foundation;nWashington, DC. The selection of aims is shown to be more important than the proliferationnof aid.nCrime and Justice: A Conservative Strategy by Frank Canington; The Heritage Foundation;nWashington, DC. Liberals have long formulated and executed policy in the area of criminalnjustice; the consequences are obvious (e.g., “Stick ’em up!”). Here’s an answer. Dn36MHHMHBHHMnChronicles of Culturennnfor contemporaries it had an immediatenrelevance to common experience. Byncreating dialectal characters, humoristsncould make immigrants appealing andnhuman, while using their foreign backgroundnand naivete to help them satirizenand comment on local and national issues.nThe most enduring of the ethnic charactersnwas Chic^o’s “Mr. Dooley,” thenIrish tavern proprietor from the Southsidencommunity of Bridgeport, writtennby Finley Peter Duime. Mr. Dooley, likenhis fellow Irish, was a great talker, and innthe tavern setting Dunne provides annambience of leisure and reflection innwhich Dooley can utter his hard-nosed,ncommonsense wisdom. Some criticsnhave noted that the Irish communitynrepresented by Dunne (along with thenother ethnic groups) was breaking apartnunder the pressure of economic mobilityneven as the first Dooley columns werenappearing. Even if Durme wrote about anworld that no longer existed, Mr. Dooleynspoke with the authority of a communitynin time. It is one of the continuing Americannparadoxes that the ethnic communities,nwhich at one time were perceivednas inimical, have become objects of celebrationnand nostalgia (a fiinction of thendiversity in unity which the social scientistsnrather dubiously call “pluralism”).nAt a time when community was breakingndown, Mr. Dooley spoke with the voicenof a shared heritage, one fully committednto the American experiment.nLJ nlike the collection of Northeasternnhumor, Chicago’s Public Wits continuesnthrough the 20th century. Unfortunatelynits editors do not adequately explainnmany of the social and intellectualnchanges which caused a metamorphosisnin American urban humor. With the risenof trade unions, and later with the inceptionnof the welfare state, the modernnAmerican city has become increasinglynsegmented. A growing alienation of theneducated class (due to ideology) causednhumorists to lose their confident “voice.”nAs the editors of Chicago’s Public Witsnadmit, the 20th-century comic writersnspoke with a “superior” voice, eschew-n