Saturday, July 7

Conduct Unbecoming A Hobo

His Serene Highness, Prince Robert de Rohan Courtenay:
(Photo by Diane Arbus, November 1961)

From a 1949 issue of Time:
The shifting tides of social acceptance were charted in the 1950 edition of Manhattan's Bowery Social Register (also known as The Almanac de Skid Row), blue book of U.S. hoboes. Blue-penciled out this year by Bowery News Editor Harry Baronian: Crown Prince Bozo, for conduct unbecoming a hobo; Frisco John, for abusing people who turned him down for a handout; Buffalo John, for taking a dental bridge from the mouth of a sleeping companion.

In the book this year: Prince Robert de Rohan Courtenay, for inventing a new poetic medium called Pling Plong; Box-Car Betty, ex-hula dancer and snake
charmer, for research indicating that the flavor of a cigar is enhanced if dipped occasionally in beer; Harvard man ('11) Joe Gould, perennial Greenwich Village
drink-cadger and author of an uncompleted 9,000,000-word book (An Oral History of Our Time), for turning out a new couplet: 'In the winter I'm a Buddhist/In the
summer I'm a nudist.'

Incidentally, Gould was the subject of two classic New Yorker profiles by Joseph Mitchell: Professor Seagull, and the book-length Joe Gould's Secret. The latter is exquisitely moving, and both can be found in Up In The Old Hotel. Recommended about as highly as possible.