Fantasyland - Chapter 22, webpage 2, continued

Quack Nation: Magical but Modern

The marvels of science and technology didn’t just reinforce supernatural beliefs by analogy or as omens – they inspired sham science and sham marvels.  Especially when it came to medicine.
In the 1800s small and large businesses started selling all sorts of elixers, tonics, salves, oils, powders and pills.  The principal ingredient
of many so-called patent medicines was sugar or alcohol; some contained opium or cocaine. (Dr. Thomas’ Electric Oil contained alcohol, opium, and cocaine, although it probably did not, as claimed, cure "deafness in 2 days.”) But were mostly sold as secret potions of exotic ingredients collected from nature - literally root of hemlock and slips of yew, if not eye of newt and toe of frog.

"There is no sore it will not heal," the sellers of Hamlin's Wizard Oil promised, "no pain it will not subdue. Pleasant to take, magical in its effects." There was Swaim's Celebrated Panacea, Dr. Dix Tonic Tablets ("Make Sick People Well"), and Dr. Worden's Female Pills for Weak Women, prescribed to cure "hunchbacks," "acquired deformities," and "early decay" as well as menstrual cramps. To cure "asthma, diabetes, epilepsy and cancer," patients were to wear the Electro-Chemical Ring on a finger.

One typical small-time nineteenth-century medicine-seller was a man from upstate New York who traveled the country selling nostrums. "Dr. William A. Rockefeller, the Celebrated Cancer Specialist," his sign announced. "Here for One Day Only. All cases of cancer cured unless too far gone and then can be greatly benefited." (His sons John D. and William Jr. became businessmen of a different kind, founding the Standard Oil Company.) Another of the elder Rockefeller's medicines, dried berries picked from a bush in his mother's yard, was prescribed to women; the berries important contraindication - not to be taken during pregnancy - appears to be a perfect con man’s way to market fake abortifacients.

Rockefeller was a typical small-time grifter. On the other hand, Microbe Killer, a mass-marketed pink elixir, which came in large jugs and consisted almost entirely of water, sounded plausibly scientific, the way mesmerism and phrenology and homeopathy had science-y backstories: germ theory was new science, and microbe a new coinage. Microbe Killer's claims were extreme, simple, ridiculous: "Cures All Diseases." The inventor built Microbe Killer factories around the world and became rich.

Benjamin Brandreth got even richer. At twenty-five, as soon as he'd inherited his English family's patent medicine business, he moved it and his family - of course - to America. Brandreth's Vegetable Universal Pills were supposed to eliminate "blood impurities" and were advertised as a cure for practically everything: colds, coughs, fevers, flu, pleurisy, "and especially sudden attacks of severe sickness, often resulting in death." One ad describes "a young lady" who'd been ill for years, "her beauty departed," but after two weeks of swallowing Brandreth's Pills, "her health and good looks recovered."

The author of another book of the era, Quackery Unmasked, nailed patent medicines as that industry headed towards its peak: The American people are great lovers of nostrums. They devour whatever in that line is new, with insatiable voracity. Staid Englishmen look on in astonishment. They call us pill eaters and syrup drinkers, and wonder at our fickleness and easy credulity, so that we have become a laughing stock in the eyes of the world.” What does the world think now of our neurorealities?

Fantasy Industrialized

In his book about the living off the grid stunt, which he wrote after moving back to town, Thoreau declared that he was choosing "not to live in this restless, nervous, bustling, trivial Nineteenth Century." From his high ground, he looked down on all the American clamor and vulgarity. "What are men celebrating?"

He had a point. At that Walden moment, modern media and advertising and show business, all interdependent, were busy being born in America. The second quarter of the nineteenth century was when Americans began using the phrases show business, celebrities, ad, brand, and salesmanship. It suddenly seemed possible and irresistible to advertise and sell almost anything, to make fictions seem real, to spread entertainment into other parts of American life.

Consider the selling of the president 1840. William Henry Harrison was the first fully merchandised candidate. He had grown up rich and was the nominee of the elites' Whig Party. But his spin doctors sold him to voters the opposite - a common man, a rough regular guy, with on-message campaign

songs and chants, one about his "homespun coat" and "no ruffled shirt”. They branded him with lifesize and miniature log cabins, and they gave out whiskey in bottles shaped like log cabins and shaving soap called Log-Cabin Emollient. Harrison had fought Indians in the West forty years earlier, so his handlers had the candidate perform Indian war cries at campaign events. His opponent's upbringing really had been humble, but he was the incumbent president and thus could be framed as an elitist. Harrison won by a landslide.

What was working for patent medicines also worked for a political candidate. And essential to both were the new, large-circulation newspapers and magazines that much faster, bigger, steam-powered presses had made possible. These cheap daily papers didn't scruple about the advertising they published, and they had loose standards of accuracy and truth in their news reports as well. They were beacons of a new American audacity about blurring and erasing the lines between factual truth and entertaining make-believe.

The New York Sun was the great pioneer penny paper, and in 1835 it published an extraordinary six-part, sixteen-thousand-word series. Every day for a week, a battalion of newsboys - also an invention of the two-year-old Sun - shouted the extraordinary news on the streets of America's largest city: famous astronomers at a new superpowerful telescope in South Africa had discovered life on the moon!

The moon had forests, oceans, lakes, rivers, birds, tiny bison and zebras, blue unicorns, giant shellfish, beavers walking upright and carrying young in their paws. It had a magnificent seventy-foot-high temple of polished blue stone with a golden roof. It was inhabited by winged, hairy humanoids, "man- bats," evidently "rational beings," happy vegetarians who "appeared impassioned and emphatic" and "capable of producing works of art." There were dark man-bats and others of larger stature . . . less dark in color, and in every respect an improved variety of the race."

The Sun sold a hundred thousand copies that week in a city of three hundred thousand people. "The credulity was general," the editor of another paper recalled. 'All New York rang with the wonderful discoveries. . . . There were, indeed, a few, sceptics; but to venture to express a doubt of the genuineness of the great lunar discoveries, was considered almost as heinous a sin as to question the truth of revelation." The news was believed not just by the rabble. "The promulgation of these discoveries," wrote Horace Greeley, "creates a new era in astronomy and science generally." Up at Yale, a writer noted, the campus "was alive with staunch supporters . . . Students and professors, doctors in divinity and law-and all the rest of the reading community, looked daily for the arrival of the New York mail with unexampled avidity and implicit faith….Nobody expressed or entertained a doubt about the story. These are gullible neurorealities.

During the six years it took for his new vocation to achieve momentum, the first American advertising agency opened, and Barnum also worked as an ad copywriter. In 1841 he opened his American Museum, a big, multistory, multimedia entertainment complex in the center of Manhattan. Among its most notorious and popular early attractions was the corpse of what he called the Feejee Mermaid. It was a taxidermied construction combining a primate and a fish that Barnum had acquired. Before he put it on exhibit, he recalled in his autobiography, the naturalist he employed said he knew of no ape with such teeth or arms and no fish with such fins. "'Then why do you suppose it is manufactured?' I inquired. 'Because I don't believe in mermaids,' replied the naturalist. 'That is no reason at all,' said I, 'and therefore I'll believe in the mermaid, and hire it."'

P. T. Barnum was the great early American merchandiser of exciting secular fantasies and half-truths. His extremely successful precircus career derived from and fed a fundamental Fantasyland mindset: If some imaginary proposition is exciting, and nobody can prove it's untrue, then it's my right as an American to believe it's true. Barnum's response to his naturalist was a perfect perversion of Enlightenment empiricism and logic: Disbelieving in mermaids isn't proof that this creature isn't a mermaid. The exhibits and performances at his American Museum freely mixed and confused the authentic with the fake artifact, the didactic with the imaginary, the real with the dubious with the totally counterfeit. "lf I have exhibited a questionable dead mermaid in my Museum," Barnum wrote, "I should hope that a little 'clap-trap' occasionally . . . might find an offset [from] the wonderful, instructive, and amusing realities.

But the American Museum's combination of fake and real was more pernicious than if he'd exhibited sideshow humbug exclusively. For decades, it was at the respectable center of the new popular culture, reflecting and reinforcing Americans' appetite for entertaining fibs and a disregard for clear distinctions between make-believe and authentic. And as Neal Gabler notes in Life: The Movie, "by the mid-nineteenth century the popular culture here was much vaster than in Europe and had permeated society much more deeply." Barnum's humbuggery was influential.

After the American Museum, P.T. Barnum then created a traveling circus, that then merged with James Bailey’s circus and then became Barnum and Bailey’s Greatest Show on Earth. Barnum and Bailey then merged with Ringling Brothers to become the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus.  With weakening attendance and high operating costs, Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus closed on May 21, 2017 after 146 years.  But the Barnum marketing concept that began 146 years ago, the real, with the dubious and completely fake, is still alive and well in present culture today. Note that the term ”bread and circus” comes from ancient Rome when the emperor kept the masses happy by distributing free food (bread) and providing huge spectacles and various forms of entertainment in the Roman Colosseum (circus).


The pseudopharmaceutical industry, already booming, took Barnum’s pop cultural big idea and made it both narrower and broader. Each traveling medicine show was devoted to selling a particular manufacturer's patent medicines, but the shows appeared all over the country, especially, in small towns. Whereas Barnum's business model was straightforward and traditional - buy

a ticket, be entertained - the innovation of the medicine show was closer to that of the advertising-dependent penny press: pay nothing to be entertained by musicians, magicians, comedians, and flea circuses in exchange for watching and listening to interstitial live advertisements for dubious medical products. This was the precursor to TV commercials and many forms of media advertising.

Entrepreneurialism had become the default American mode. What succeeded in business succeeded in religion and vice versa, charismatic visionaries persuading people to believe golden dreams. Medicine shows were revivalist camp meetings selling a different form of instant salvation. Both were conducted by itinerant showmen appealing to Americans' hunger for magic and drama. In fact, when the Hamlin's Wizard Oil medicine show arrived in a new town, it always offered donations to local churches.

Probably the grandest patent medicine shows were those staged by the Kickapoo Indian Medicine Company, a company in the Northeast that appropriated the name of an actual southwestern tribe. Why Indians? White Americans had just begun the last chapter of their three-hundred-year war against them. This time, instead of literally demonizing natives, the European-Americans turned to the noble savage idea. More and more popular books and paintings depicted the natives as the doomed but beautiful losers in the inevitable modern sprawl from sea to shining sea, the romantic collateral damage of American manifest destiny.

The Kickapoo Indian Medicine Company's marketing concept went way beyond brand names. As the final Indian wars took place - the Battle of Little Bighorn, Geronimo's War, the Wounded Knee Massacre - corporate headquarters sent out traveling encampments of tents and teepees with as many as a dozen acts in each show - and medicine salesmen - appearing on a twenty-foot stage. They sold a fictional cure-all called Sagwa, as well as Kickapoo Indian Oil, Kickapoo Buffalo Salve, Kickapoo Indian Cough Cure, and Kickapoo Indian Worm Killer. A whole genre of Indian-themed medicine shows emerged, impersonations of the original impersonation.

The Kickapoo company arranged to have its fictional Indian backstory for its Sagwa brand - a "blood, liver and kidney renovator" consisting mainly of water and alcohol - endorsed by someone who knew Indians, William F. Cody, stage name Buffalo Bill. “An Indian,” he agreed to be quoted in ads,

"would as soon be without his horse, gun or blanket as without Sagwa."  Celebrities as we know them were a new breed and celebrity product endorsements even newer.

Barnum was America's first great commercial blurrer of truth and make-believe, the founder of infotainment, but the second was Cody. (They were acquaintances.) The true story of Cody's life is like a work of fiction. For a dozen years, from boyhood into young manhood, he was a scout, soldier, buffalo hunter, and Pony Express rider on the Plains and in the West. Then at twenty-three, he featured as the title character in a highly fictionalized "true" story, "Buffalo Bill King of the Border Men,'' published ln a New York newspaper. And starting at twenty-six, the year he won the Congressional Medal of Horror for leading a squad of cavalry against some Sioux, Cody became a theatrical performer: he played himself in a play called “Scouts on the Prairie,” written by the author of the earlier newspaper story, who also published dime novels about Cody. Buffalo Bill had become a star. In his late twenties, he started publishing his own dime novels starring himself, and he toured the East ln more theatrical productions playing Buffalo Bill - even as he continued working off and on in the far West as an Indian fighter.

In the summer of 1876, three weeks after General George Custer's catastrophic defeat, Cody was riding the Plains with the army a few hundred miles to the southeast of Little Bighorn. One day, wearing his Buffalo Bill stage outfit - black velvet, red and lace trim, silver buttons - he killed and scalped a Cheyenne warrior called Yellow Hair. Within a few months, Cody was back east, touring a new play based on that event, The Red Right Hand; or Buffalo Bill's First Scalp for Custer. Yellow Hair's weapons and scalp were exhibited in each town where the show played. According to Cody, the show provided "ample opportunity to give a noisy, rattling, gunpowder entertainment, and to present a succession of scenes in the late Indian war." Buffalo Bill was thirty, and from then on, for forty more years, he devoted himself exclusively to live-action cartoon portrayals of the "settlement" of the West.

Cody's own extraordinarily successful traveling pageant, Buffalo Bill's Wild West, featured Indians playing Indians and white performers playing soldiers and settlers. Each reenactment of Custer's Last Stand was immediately followed by Buffalo Bill - the actual person - riding in to reenact his killing of a particular Indian, played by an Indian. The show started in Omaha, in eastern Nebraska, in 1883; in the western part of the state, the Indian wars continued. Cody, enlisted the Lakota Sioux chief Sitting Bull, who’d been one of the commanders of the forces at Little Bighorn, to be his

co-star. Buffalo Bill became the most famous personality in America and probably the world. Barnum advised him to take the show to Europe, to "astonish the Old World," and he did.

His Wild West was the prototype from which movie westerns evolved. But the shows were even more importantly peculiar and unprecedented, a key milestone in our national evolution. Practically in real time, Cody - no, Buffalo Bill! - turned news and history into entertainment, turned real-life figures of historic consequence (himself, his pal Wild Bill Hickok. his enemy sitting Bull) into simulated versions of themselves, riding real horses and firing real guns outdoors.

Until the twentieth century, nostalgia still had a specific quasi-medical meaning - extreme personal homesickness, the melancholy of soldiers and exiles missing their towns and countries and old friends. But during the nineteenth century, a new form of nostalgia emerged as an important tic in Americans' psychology, an imaginary homesickness for places and times the nostalgists had never experienced and that had in some cases never existed.

In politics, just when Americans started using the phrase olden times, Democrats were driven by nostalgia for the America of their youth, before large-scale capitalism. Then Southerners were driven by nostalgia for the time before slavery started becoming untenable. The overriding theme of the first great popular songwriter, Stephen Foster, was nostalgia for a South that he imagined from up north in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Fenimore Cooper, the first famous American novelist, specialized in nostalgia for the earlier American wilderness, and Twain wrote his greatest books about the bygone America of his antebellum youth.

So by the time Buffalo Bill became a professional fabulist in the 1870s, Americans were completely ready to accept the virtual reality of his Wild West tableaus. The nostalgia he stoked and served was new in several ways. It was jolly, giddy. It was instantaneous, the day before yesterday made heroic and larger than life. And it was also anticipatory, nostalgia for the end of a western frontier that hadn't yet ended - like the nostalgia of Southerners years before the Old South passed away. Buffalo Bill distilled the previous half-century of the Old West into a montage using actual participants and artifacts, for audiences who had mostly never been west of the Mississippi. Forever and everywhere in the world, the popular imagination tends to blur reality and fantasy over time, but now the two were being immediately and systematically fused.


The Business of America is Show Business

The foundations laid in the 1800s by impresarios and hucksters of thrills and bliss were fully built out during the 1900s into a far-flung fantasy-industrial complex. Entertainments that had been for most people a rare and occasional diversion - the odd play, a medicine show, a visit to Barnum's American Museum, Buffalo Bill's Wild West, a world's fair - were now presented perpetually, in myriad forms. Starting in the 1900s, from coast to coast and seven


days a week, Americans more than anyone on Earth could immerse in the virtuosic fantasies created and sold by show business and the media. This was a new condition. As we spent more and more fabulous hours engaged in the knowing and willing suspension of disbelief, experiencing the unreal as real, we became more habituated to suspending disbelief, unconsciously and involuntarily as well." 

"The chief business of the American people is business," President Calvin Coolidge, freshly reelected, told a convention of newspaper editors in 1925, as business boomed on every front. But in a larger sense the business of Americans had become the business of fantasy, in all its iterations. And then the stock market crash, when fantasy met reality.

America went world's-fair crazy, mounting a new, giant, year long extravaganza, a new city every few years. The two big Christian religious holidays had acquired their own official, nondenominational supernatural (and highly commercial) fantasy figures, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. Magicians entered their golden age, with a half-dozen American superstars and dozens more who were merely well known. Houdini was one of the most famous people on Earth during the first quarter of the century, his shows a seamless intermingling of true and false - one day he escaped from manacles by sheer tenacity, the next he appeared to make a five-ton elephant vanish from a giant Broadway stage, his audiences believing or half-believing the fake as well as the real. (lf you could now communicate wirelessly, then why not mind reading and giant beasts dematerializing?) Between 1910 and 1930, nearly all of today's Broadway theaters were built, and Coney Island, reachable by the new subway, suddenly had three big amusement parks.

For a century, people had been dumbfounded again and again by amazing new devices. But when an advanced technology came along that was indistinguishable from magic and dedicated to making the pretend seem real and the basis of a big business - that is, movies - a kind of quantum change occurred in the culture. The difference between fantasy and reality, as perceived in one’s neuroreality, narrowed suddenly, viscerally, profoundly. Movies made it easy for almost anyone anywhere, literate or not, imaginative or not, to enter a magical realm where they were teleported everywhere to see anything - not paintings of exotic places or descriptions of imaginary characters but actual people in actual places, alive and moving. No previous medium seemed so powerfully and uncannily

real. Watching a movie, the suspension of disbelief was easier than watching a play; It was simply more astounding than watching flesh-and-blood people pretend on a stage. Going to the movies wasn't like reading a novel at home, privately imagining a fictional world, but more like going to church - quietly gathering for an hour or two in a special hall every week with a crowd of neighbors to experience a magical, dreamlike virtual reality simultaneously.

In 1915, when the movies became a culture-shaping art and industry - the year Charlie Chaplin became a huge celebrity, the year of Birth of a Nation - Scientific American published a three-volume encyclopedia called The Book of Progress, about movies, its writer (who later became a science fiction author) was agog.

“Wonderful as is the magic of the prestidigitator . . . it is as nothing to the magic which we see upon the screen when we watch a motion picture. . . . Here, at last, is the magic of childhood-appearances, disappearances, apparitions . . . objects possessed of the power of movement and of intelligence. . .For the motion picture does for us what no other thing can do save a drug. . . . It eliminates the time between happenings and brings two events separated actually by hours of time and makes them seem to us as following each other with no interval between them.”

A Harvard psychology professor who worked under William James loved this new means of confusing the fantastic and authentic. "The close-up," he wrote the following year in The Photoplay: A Psychological Study, "far transcends the power of any theater stage," and movies produce "hallucinations and illusions" as "vivid as realities." Indeed, watching movies makes it seem "as if reality has lost its own emphasis," that the "outer world . . . has been freed from space, time and causality."

Moviemaking was not exclusively American, of course, but America quickly became its headquarters, with a sunny new city devoted to it. The people creating the movie industry had utilitarian reasons for moving from the east coast to L.A. in the 1910s - it had just become a big city, land was cheap, and the sun shone six days out of seven. In 1907 there were five thou- sand U.S. movie theaters; seven years later there were eighteen thousand. In 1911 only two American feature-length films were released; in 1919 there were 646. After the World War, 90 percent of movies were American movies.

When talkies arrived at the end of 1927, the viewers' suspension of

disbelief became still easier, the simulated reality of cinema even more intensely and unprecedentedly persuasive. In a 1929 book called The Film Finds lts Tongue, the author was gobsmacked by the first sound film he'd seen: it was "like watching a man flying without wings. It was uncanny. . . . No wonder the next day a scientist called it: 'the nearest thing to a resurrection.’" Color film made the fantasy still more realistic, which was what people, especially American people, wanted.


The stock market crash of 1929 followed a speculative boom that had taken hold in the late 1920s. During the later half of the 1920s, steel production, building construction, retail turnover, automobiles registered, even railway receipts advanced from record to record. The combined net profits of 536 manufacturing and trading companies showed an increase, in fact for the first six months of 1929, of 36.6% over 1928, itself a record half-year. The value of US stocks tripled in the latter half of the 20s. Such figures set up a crescendo of stock-exchange speculation which had led hundreds of thousands of Americans to invest heavily in the stock market. A significant number of them were borrowing money to buy more stocks. By August 1929, brokers were routinely lending small investors more than two-thirds of the face value of the stocks they were buying. Over $8.5 billion was out on loan,[21] more than the entire amount of currency circulating in the U.S. at the time.[16][22] The rising share prices encouraged more people to invest; people hoped the share prices would rise further. Speculation thus fueled further rises and created an economic bubble.

Stock prices began to decline in September and early October 1929, and on October 18 the fall began. Panic set in, and on October 24, Black Thursday, a record 12,894,650 shares were traded. Investment companies and leading bankers attempted to stabilize the market by buying up great blocks of stock, producing a moderate rally on Friday. On Monday, however, the storm broke anew, and the market went into free fall. Black Monday was followed by Black Tuesday (October 29), in which stock prices collapsed completely and 16,410,030 shares were traded on the New York Stock Exchange in a single day. Billions of dollars were lost, wiping out hundreds of thousands of investors, and was primarily caused by the period of rampant speculation - those who had bought stocks on margin not only lost the value of their investment, they also owed money to the entities that had granted the loans for the stock purchases.


This rampant speculation, this wishful thinking, led to the market no longer being able to sustain itself, so reality struck and the stock market crashed. Fiscal neurorealities at that time were quite far from true reality.


Above info from:



The 1950s Seemed So Normal

The Soviets tested their first atomic bomb. The anti-communist hysteria quickened and spread. “Loyalty” boards were set up in every federal department. And thousands of US government employees were fired or forced out. In 1950, after just 3 years in office, the junior senator from Wisconsin made the Communist conspiracy his issue. ”Karl Marx dismissed God as a

hoax," McCarthy explained in a speech. "Today we are engaged in a final
all-out battle between communist atheism and Christianity" He said he had a list of dozens of State Department employees who were "members of the Communist Party," “names . . . known to the Secretary of State." His list, he variously, claimed, consisted of 57 or 81 or 205 officials. It was not true. But the press continued covering the allegation - he was a U.S. senator! - and it became the most consequential piece of fake news in American history.

McCarthy’s fantasy grew more elaborate and absurd. A year later, during the Korean War, in which 36,000 U.S. soldiers and Marines would die, he gave a speech on the Senate floor explaining that President Harry Truman was the puppet and "captive" of some of his Communist cabinet members, "the executioners " of "a conspiracy on a scale so immense as to dwarf any pervious such venture in the history of man . . . a larger conspiracy, the worldwide web of which has been spun from Moscow."  Preposterous, for sure, but Americans believed. Before long a Gallup Poll found that 50 percent had a favorable opinion of Joseph McCarthy.

Here is the renowned interaction between Senator McCarthy of Wisconsin and Special Counsel for the Army
Joseph Welch, delivered 9 June 1954 during the Army-McCarthy Hearings in Washington, D.C.

Senator McCarthy:  May -- may I say that Mr. Welch talks about this being cruel and reckless. He was just baiting -- He has been baiting Mr. Cohn here for hours, requesting that Mr. Cohn, before sundown, get out of any department of the government anyone who is serving the Communist cause. Now, I just give this man's record and I want to say, Mr. Welch, that it has been labeled long before he became a member, as early as 1944 -- ....

Mr. Welch: Senator --

Senator McCarthy:  Let -- let me finish.

Mr. Welch: -- may we not drop this? 

Senator McCarthy:  Let me finish.

Mr. Welch: We know he belonged to the Lawyers' Guild. 

Senator McCarthy: No, let me finish --

Mr. Welch: And Mr. Cohn nods his head at me. I did you, I think, no personal injury, Mr. Cohn?

Mr. Cohn: No, sir.

Mr. Welch: I meant to do you no personal injury.

Mr. Cohn: No, sir.

Mr. Welch: And if I did --

Senator McCarthy: No --

Mr. Welch: -- I beg your pardon. Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator.

Senator McCarthy: Let's, let's --

Mr. Welch: You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?

After five years of such recklessness, the public and the Establishment finally had enough. McCarthy’s fantasies were no longer just geopolitical: he was hospitalized for alcoholism, and at a social gathering in Wisconsin, he hallucinated that he was being attacked by snakes. The Senate officially condemned him by a vote of 67 to 22.

McCarthy’s neuroreality was far from true reality.

Fantasyland - Chapter 22, continued...