SA1088 | "A Stuffed Club" T-shirt
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During the research for the Underworld Amusements edition of The Gospel According to Malfew Seklew, Trevor Blake and I noticed an advertisement: "DO YOU KNOW WHAT A STUFFED CLUB IS". No question mark, and wall of text endorsements including one from our man Malfew Seklew. I thought it was interesting enough to follow up on later, but low priority. The journal was part of the Little Journeys series published by Elbert Hubbard. The journal stated “In these pages the reader will find medical advice on everything from dropsy to tuberculosis. This Club aims to train people into such good health they will be normal.” Tilden was a skeptic of pharmaceuticals and believed people would be healthy by lifestyle changes and "eliminating toxins." All modern medical associations rank him as a "medical quack" and a "food crank".
But what is a "stuffed club"? Would you believe Dr. Tilden explains it very clearly in the back of a book titled The Etiology of Cholera Infantum: With the Hygienic and Dietetic Treatment (1909)?
"When people failed to use good judgment — held to erroneous opinions — practiced fanaticism — allowed others to think for them — refused to progress — were inveigled into schemes and impossible dreams and were separated from their money — in fact, when unwise in any way, it was said of them, "They need a stuffed club— someone should take pity and use a stuffed club on them — a stuffed club would help the fools a little.''Indeed, a "stuffed club" used to be a phrase people used, and no longer do. It is a club meant to startle and "WAKE UP!" its victim, rather than to do lasting harm. And regardless of how right or wrong or quirky Dr. Tilden's opinions on medicine and health may have been, I really find his use of the phrase charming. In the Egoist sense, a "stuffed club" was used to swat at phantasms, fixed ideas.
In the course of research, I obtained some letters and in it was a 1902 letter on A Stuffed Club letterhead. Imagine my surprise to see it was from Georgia Replogle, co-editor of the journal Egoism! The journal is most notable for first serializing Walker’s The Philosophy of Egoism book, but it also contained writings from and about the anarchist and individualist discussion of the day. It is in the Stand Alone issue Egoism: The First Two Volumes 1890-1892 where you can find the only known biographical sketch of Georgia and Henry Replogle.