Jack “Cowboy” Kelly?

April 20, 2010 3:10 pm Published by

So via Cracked.com turns out our favorite Batman wasn’t the one who stopped the papes.

Kid Blink Stops Spreading the News

There was once a time when people were so lazy that they couldn’t bother walking their fat cat bodies to a newsstand to purchase their daily papers. It was like their legs didn’t even work or something. Fortunately for these slothful bastards there were small, homeless children who bought the papers, then sold them at an infinitesimal profit on every street corner, which also happened to double as the closest these kids had to a home. Those children were called “newsies.”

Unfortunately for the ragamuffins doing the selling, the only thing standing between their typical near-starvation and actual bloated-stomach-it’s-time-to-die-starvation was how sensational the headlines were reading, and how greedy the soulless richies at the top were feeling. Because at the end of the day, the newsies had to eat their unsold papers (literally, if they were hungry enough).

Finally in 1899, Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst got just hoggish enough to stoke some newsboy wrath. They raised the prices of the papers during the Spanish-American War, but unlike their competitors, didn’t lower them once the war was over. That means more costs for the newsies, and bigger losses when the papers didn’t sell. At that point 5,000 newsies of New York City let out a collective, “AW HELL NAW’ and got organized.

Which brings us to Kid Blink.

According to several accounts, Kid Blink was the charismatic, one-eyed kid in charge. Journalists guessed he was about 13 or 14, and they quoted him directly when he spit out tweet-worthy gold like this:

“Friens and feller workers. Dis is a time which tries de hearts of men. Dis is de time when we’se got to stick together like glue…. We know wot we wants and we’ll git it even if we is blind.”

So How Powerful Was This Kid, Exactly?

Kid Blink shut down the news to all of New York City.

Blink and his thousands of guttersnipe buddies went on strike, which meant that the two major newspapers in one of the world’s biggest cities lost their distributors. And we’re talking about 1899, a time when the newspaper was the ONLY media. Period. So knocking out the two biggest sources of information in the city would be like taking out New York’s Internet, radio and TV access, then just leaving residents with smoke signals and tin can phones in their place.

Not that Verizon subscribers would notice. Oh snap!

He wasn’t done.

Not only did the newsie strike put a serious dent in the dissemination of information in NYC, Kid Blink also brought the city to a literal standstill by staging several rallies on the Brooklyn Bridge. And he organized it with resources available to homeless kids, so we’re guessing twine and gumption. No rapid texting of meet-up times for these boys. Just the old fashioned telephone game, except without telephones, because they didn’t really have access to those.

Of course, Hearst and Pulitzer were titans of industry, and weren’t going to back down from a bunch of ragamuffins. They sent thugs to harass the strikers and prove that they couldn’t be bullied around by a bunch of smelly children. Only, the children stood their ground. In the end, the titans backed down and finally agreed to buy back their damned unsold newspapers.

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This post was written by kevin