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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I'm not entirely sure what to make of this ad - is it a joke? Is is a code? Whatever it is, it's certainly amusing.

H.T.W. - Those young ladies that were advertising for the nice young man of New York about the years 1870 and 1873: I simply cling to thee; thou art so near and yet so far: Harper's Magazine.  I constantly dream of you; Liberty enlightening the world.  Address M.B., box 342, Trenton, N.J.

I was about to write, "The interesting thing about this is..." when I realized that there are multiple interesting things about this!  What an odd ad!  Now first and foremost, it's important to know that this ad was published in...1884.  So more than ten years after the dates he mentions.  It's funny because it starts out sounding like a joke missed connection, like these two, which are amongst my favorite ads, like, ever.

But then it gets weirder.  Harper's Magazine?  What's that got to do with anything?  (I took the extra step of looking at the issue of Harper's for the month this ad came out, but didn't immediately see an article that stood out as a possible connection and as much as I love you guys, no way am I reading the entire issue to see if I can find a link!)  And "Liberty enlightening the world"?  WTF is that all about?  I have no earthly idea, frankly.

I do think it has to be a code of some sort.  I don't like falling back on the code idea every time an ad doesn't make sense to me, or is too weird.  But in cases like this, I don't know what else it could be.  So, any theories behind the meaning of this bizarre ad?  Because me: I got nothin'!

Having trouble reading the ads? Click one to enlarge!

©2010 Pam Epstein


Unknown March 9, 2010 at 11:01 AM  

Hmmm... I'm wondering whether the Liberty reference has anything to do with the Statue of Liberty, but the only link I can see is that the statue was completed in France in July 1884. There wasn't anything in Harpers about the statue that you noticed on your quick flick through, perchance?

Doogie March 9, 2010 at 3:38 PM  

Maybe he was writing a research paper about the type of people who use personal ads and finding out if, 10 years later, they received that happiness they were hoping for?

I'm assuming it was NOT an article for Harper's.

Pam March 9, 2010 at 7:39 PM  

Liz - no, but I didn't look too closely. I thought of the Statue too, because of the "enlightening the world," but if it wasn't in the States yet it seems unlikely that too many people would have been familiar with it yet.

Doogie - And that would be awesome.

Bianca C March 9, 2010 at 10:17 PM  

I can only imagine what sorts of things historians might be trying to make sense of as they edit a blog about Facebook a hundred years from now.

"American Idol appeared to be a pop culture show at the time, but the reference 'Doing a Lambert' is completely lost on me, perhaps it was a code". LOLOLOL!!

Ok, onto todays ad....

Maybe some guy is reminiscing about picking up hookers in the good old days through the paper? The other bits must be inside references that we couldn't possibly hope to make any sense out of. Sheesh - Who is he writing to?

Bianca C March 9, 2010 at 10:20 PM  

Oooh another thought, maybe is he referring to an older article about a prostitution ring being taken down. The very one he used to answer ads for the in the paper. And he keeps the issue of Harpers Magazine to remember them by. And, and - they are going to be released soon! Liberty indeed!!


Pam March 9, 2010 at 11:25 PM  

Bianca - given the dates, that "prostitution ring" could almost be Sadda and Lalla Rang!!

Bianca C March 11, 2010 at 12:34 PM  

Meta! LOL. Love it.

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