OLD NEWS: Colleagues teased reporter beaten by Arkansas Gazette cops over his bid for constable in 1922

The more I think about our old July 11 news, the more I want to share everything the Arkansas Gazette had to say about the candidacy of its famous reporter who was beaten by cops in 1922.

Luckily, that means writing about the same topic for several weeks in a row, maybe a whole month of Mondays, if I do it right.

Last week (see arkansasonline.com/718joe), we learned that this crime reporter, Joe Wirges, was so associated with his work that people called him “Joe Gazette.” He worked 80 hours a week for a pitiful wage, which made him almost a colleague to the people he covered – police officers, criminals and jailers.

But for some reason, in July 1922, he pretended to join them: he ran as a candidate for Big Rock Township Constable.

His colleague Heinie Loesch was invited or nominated himself or pretended to be Wirges’ campaign manager. There was also a putative advertising executive, but we don’t know who.

Loesch was the sports editor of the Gazette, which means he wrote about sports. His style of prose is so lively and comedic that I could confidently say I heard his voice in most of what the newspaper wrote about Wirges’ run, but I can’t. Other writers on this staff were also imbued with King James and could also cut entire cloth.

Here’s a bit of what Loesch or anyone else wrote on July 12, 1922. He or they staged a scene in which Wirges shows up at a baseball game and his co-workers cheer and stamp their feet so that the grandstand shakes as ‘he climbs. Gazette editor Claire Ritter shouts, “Speech! Speech!” So what:

“Mr. Wirges raised his hand and eyes in contempt, indicating that despite the notoriety he has achieved and the additional notoriety he hopes to achieve, there is still one greater than him. But he refused to make his speech.”

Did you imagine all this? Good. Until I say otherwise, what follows below is verbatim from this July 12 Gazette, except for vintage typos, which I will correct. (“Darb” is not a typo; it means something superlative, according to the full Merriam-Webster I pay to use online.)


Heinie Loesch, campaign manager for Mr Wirges, said yesterday that unless Joe gets a few outside speaking dates there will be no candidate from the Gazette office. Mr. Loesch, ably aided by advertising executive Wirges, wrote a campaign speech that is a darb. It’s about 100-degree Americanism, the constitutional privilege of a scorching sun to operate on fermenting grapes, and all that kind of stuff.

Joe learned the speech with gestures and all, but he refuses to repeat it to anyone but Heinie. This, after a few dozen repetitions, began to weigh heavily on Heine’s disposition, and Heinie released it yesterday as management’s official pronunciation that this is an equal pause as to whether August 8th the Big Rock Township voters are going to be voting for Joe or seeing his remains.


A question which now engages the attention of Mr. Wirges’ headquarters staff is whether Joe, after his election, will be entitled to wear his police reporter badge in addition to the police reporter badge. policeman.

The constable’s badge is a soft nickel-plated affair no larger than an inch and a half in diameter, while Joe’s police badge is an entirely different contraption. His police badge is the most lavishly colossal piece of personal adornment ever made, with the single exception of the cavalry cuirass of the Maharaja of Rajaputana. It conforms in size to the cover of a sewer manhole and is lettered as prominently as a jumble sale banner. Plus, it’s gold-plated, and when Joe smiles his familiar golden-toothed grin on the rim, the whole thing looks like a bold strike on the Yukon. In short, Joe’s police badge is a dude, let alone a knockout.

Joe’s strategic council withholds any opinion on the issue of the two badges until after the election, lest Joe question the police badge. If that police badge gets into Joe’s platform, there won’t be room for anything else.

* * *

Period, paragraph, three asterisks and we are back in 2022.

For your next glimpse of the humor lavished on Joe Gazette by his colleagues, here’s an excerpt from the article from July 19, 1922. I couldn’t find out if “ka-tish” was a typo, so I’ll left.


Divisions have arisen in the camp of Joe Gazette Wirges, a police reporter for the Gazette and candidate for constable of Big Rock Township, with Mr. Wirges in seemingly hopeless outings with his entire headquarters staff. …

The dissension arose out of a difference of opinion between Heinie and Joe as to the job of Constable in general. According to Joe, pretty much all a constable has to do is wear a badge and a slouch hat, along with other clothing of course, and stick around the justice of the peace courts. Heinie has different ideas.

Heinie usually goes back to basics on a given proposition. In addition, he is an antiquities researcher. He can take the cue ball from any pool table in town and tell if the ivory is from the skull of an infielder or an outfielder and which bush league was the original producer. So when Heinie got into the possibilities of the constable thing, he went deep.

According to Heinie, the Lord High Constable of England, from whom the present work derives, was a very intelligent individual, and the original status of the office should be restored.

Joe answered yes: he agreed that the police officer is a person of dignity and authority, outside his home; tasting wine at all the royal hunt dinners and officiating as a knight of the bath to all the kings and other sovereign monarchs visiting his bailiwick – then the conversation turned to clothes.

According to Heinie, the constable’s uniform should be considerably more ka-tish than this baggy hat badge costume. Mr. Loesch’s idea of ​​classic, traditional attire is a livorno hat armed with a heron plume and diamond clasp, a silk doublet laced with velvet in contrasting colors, a furragere of cord of gold, epaulettes, a silk hose, a silver buckle, pumps and knee-length trousers. Heinie had the picture and everything to prove her layout was the right drug.

The contestant admitted that knee-length trousers might be quite jaded for a Lord High Constable of England 300 years ago, but not for Joe. And besides, he asked, what are you going to do in the winter when you have to wear the long kind that clumps around your legs anyway? And so on and so not.

The nicest thing either side said was Mr. Loesch’s statement that Joe doesn’t have knee-length pants because he has knobby knees.

Headquarters staff drag their bets with Heinie; the consensus of thought being that we can only elect a constable once every two years, and when we do, do we get a nice one, not to say a gnarled one. Joe, excited to have received six letters yesterday, threatens to launch his own campaign and announces that if his publicity officer publishes this article in the newspaper, there will be no publicity officer.

Yet, as Heinie said, Joe is beginning to see the light. He was spotted in front of the mirror yesterday with his pants pulled up to his knees. Heinie is now looking for the question of what kind of garters Lord High Constable wears. Heinie says he hasn’t found any drugs yet, but he knows just by looking at Joe that they don’t carry the Boston or Paris brands.

* * *

Next week: Candidate Wirges is ready to speak.


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