Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Face-to-face with an original tweeder

From the Newtown Pentacle:

While wandering through Calvary Cemetery recently, I came upon a curious monument whose sculptural elements included a life sized portrait, and whose dedication was meant to honor a man named Florence Scannell. The stone additionally bore a curious screed- “The Abbot”. “Dedicated to the memory of Florence Scannell by his brother John J.” is displayed prominently on its face. This stirred a sleeping memory, and I tried to remember why the name Scanell is so important. I said it out loud- John J. Scannell?

Wait a minute… John J. Scannell was the first chief of the NYFD, grand sachem of Tammany Hall, and a notorious turn of the century raconteur who became “king of the hill” in the often violent political world of 19th century New York City politics.


Anonymous said...

I still have no idea what a "tweeder" is, or how this 19th century dead white guy is one. You guys are way to hip and inside for an old Queens guy like me.

Detective McNutty said...

Enter the words Boss Tweed, Tammany Hall and machine politics into Google and you might get an idea what QueensCrapper defines a Tweeder. Someone may be able to give you a condensed version but it is too early to think clearly.

Patrick Sweeney said...

(from William Magear Tweed, political leader in New York City 1823-1878) over-development, unnecessary development, or development out of character with the neighborhood, facilitated by corrupt zoning changes, tax abatements, or incentives by politicians to benefit politically connected developers. In short: private gain at public expense.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you only got 10% of it.

'To tweed' means to suck up to immigrants as they come off the boat, giving them everything from free soup to a job, so they will mindlessly vote for you.

Also, (since more than likely), they are from cultures that unquestionly follow a boss-man, they will not only follow you around like little pets, but never question you.

You are a 'tweeder' they are the 'tweeded.'

This is the basis for control by the local political machine.

Now you can get in office, do just about whatever you wish, and the vast majority of the people in your district will quietly obliviously accept whatever you hand them.

The development defiiniton is the frosting on the cake - mere sideshow.

'Tweeding' is the basis for the realtionship between the machine and the immigrant.

It upends everything from the rights of citizens and taxpayers to the health of the community and body politic.

Gangs of New York said...

Definition of Tweeding:
From Gangs of New York

Boss Tweed: That's the building of our country right there, Mr. Cutting. Americans aborning.
Bill the Butcher: I don't see no Americans. I see trespassers, Irish harps. Do a job for a nickel what a nigger does for a dime and a white man used to get a quarter for. What have they done? Name one thing they've contributed.
Boss Tweed: Votes.

Boss Tweed: The appearance of law must be upheld, especially when it's being broken.

Boss Tweed: We're burying a lot of votes tonight.

Boss Tweed: Remember the first rule of politics. The ballots don't make the results, the counters make the results. The counters. Keep counting

Boss Tweed: You may or may not know, Bill, that everyday I go down to the waterfront with hot soup for the Irish as they come ashore. Its part of building a political base.

Killoran: Monk's already won by three thousand more votes than there are voters.
Boss Tweed: Only three? Make it twenty, thirty. We don't nee a victory. We need a Roman triumph.

[as Monk McGinn runs for Sheriff]
Boss Tweed: That man was right born for this.
Amsterdam Vallon: He's killed 44 men, and laid low a couple hundred more.
Boss Tweed: Is that right? We should have run him for mayor.

Boss Tweed: Bill, I can't get a days work done for all the good citizens coming in here to harass me about crime in the Points. Some even go so far as to accuse Tammany of connivance in this so-called rampant criminality. What am I to do? I can't have this. Something has to be done.
Bill: What do you have in mind?
Boss Tweed: I don't know. I think maybe we should hang someone.

Boss Tweed: You're a good one for the fighting, Bill. But you can't fight forever.
Bill: I can go down doing it.
Boss Tweed: And you will!
Bill: What did you say?
Boss Tweed: I said, you're turning your back on the future.
Bill: Its not our future.

Detective McNutty said...

On second thought I don't think anyone can you give an easy explanation. If you read enough about Boss tweed and our political history , you can recognize what is tweeding. Someone can even include the relationship between special interest groups (unions, acorn, christian fundamentalists, etc) and political parties as a form of tweeding. Instead of promoting a working government, political parties would rather pander to these groups so they can stay in power.

Queens Crapper said...

Pandering is a big part of it. Honest graft is another. (See Ackerman post.)

Patrick Sweeney said...

Getting legal immigrants rights denied to them by racism or ethnocentrism, ending discrimination, getting new Americans to adopt traditional American political ideals and civic responsibilities.

If you want to call that "tweeding", then I must be part of it. Call the good part "empowerment" and call the bad part "ethnic pandering".

Detective McNutty said...

Wow Sweeney relax, I simply told anonymous to do some reading because Tweeding is not so simple as a wiki type definition. Tammany Hall politics isn't just about immigrants or urban development. Even the Romans practiced political pandering. In fact both major political parties are guilty of catering to whatever interest group or "cause of the day" will get them elected. How is it good for the country when they have to payback the support with bad legislation instead of good government.

Too bad the press has abandoned it's role in protecting us from bad government. You did come up something but I'll edit it a bit.

In short: political gain at the public's expense.

Newtown Pentacle said...

On the one hand, Tammany Hall and the tweeders BUILT this city... bridges, buildings- all of "heroic modern new york". On the other hand, power and money becomes concentrated in the hands of a few and if you're the wrong color or speak with the wrong accent- you're out in the cold.
Think croneyism. Think about Cheney giving government contracts to his former colleagues or Giuliani and his pal Bernie Kerik.

Anonymous said...

i read that the Boss Tweed group made the former carriage house on 18 street at Irving Place ,their headquarters.

it is south of Gramercy Park. you know the location as
Pete's Tavern.

O. Henry was a regular customer. a n.y.c. archives researcher told me that it was a myth that the "Gift of the Magi" was composed at the bar.

it is a very popular pub. good calamari. NOT said...

The previous poster seems to be a mod of

off topic from something unpleasant and on to the trivial.