Everyone’s a Comedian...
Columnist Tex Reynolds, Making Light of An Iranian Tragedy
Staff columnist Tex Reynolds of Wisconsin newspaper The Racine Journal-Times had the enviable position of front page, above-the-fold placement for his writings. One day after the coup in Iran, opposite the headline "Royalists Seize Mossadegh—Shah Prepares to Fly To Iran Without Queen", Reynolds reacted with callous humor (excerpted below).
The guy had a soft side for children, however. In the 1930’s, Tex assumed the presidency of a local charity providing toys and other items for needy families during Christmas. He retired from the Journal-Times in 1969, and died shortly after, in 1972. Today, the "Tex Reynolds’ Toys For Tots" non-profit organization carries on in Racine.
Between the Lines
By Tex Reynolds
Our Interest in Iran
[August 20, 1953]
AMID all the current excitement in Iran, only one thing seems certain—Mohammed is bound to win.
At this writing: Premier Mohammed Mossadegh is in the national dog-house, and now that his enemies have caught him, he’ll be lucky if his cantankerous old carcass doesn’t land in a cemetery forthwith. But Mohammed Reza Pahlevi, who was run out of the country by Mossadegh only a few days ago, [false] is on the way back to resume his job as shah, which is something like being the Queen of England, only on a smaller scale and, of course, a shah is masculine while a queen is feminine. (The depth of this column’s knowledge is amazing!).
But while many Americans may say, “So, what do we care what happens to whom in Iran?” we have a serious interest. Under our Point Four program of aid to poor and hungry areas of the world, $658,000,000 was ear-marked for Iran. We have had economic and military missions there. The idea was to keep that little country (population 18,000,000) out of the Russian orbit. This was important because Iran has a lot of oil and we’d hate to see the Communists get hold of it for military purposes especially. But the one Mohammed (Mossadegh, that is) has been leaning strongly away from our side toward the Russians. He was mainly responsible for Iran’s break with the British that virtually closed down the big oil fields and shut off exports of about 30,000,000 tons annually to western nations. Because we have been recognized as friends of the British (though not reaping any profits from the oil) Mossadegh and his boys have been stirring up a lot of anti-American sentiment lately, and despite all the help we have given to the country, Iranians have been parading around with signs saying, “Yanks go home!” and other inhospitable remarks.
On the other hand, the group backing the other Mohammed (the shah, that is) are inclined to be much more friendly to us and other Western nations. Apparently they think their bread is best buttered on our side. So we should hope that if something bad happens to Mossadegh it isn’t anything trivial.
Of course, though our friends seem to be holding the upper hand right now as result of yesterday’s uprising, we can’t bank too heavily on this being permanent. The Iranians hold riots and revolutions at the drop of a hat, practically, and a month from now it might be the SHAH Mohammed getting shagged out of the country again.
Stewart Alsop: U.S. Must "Choose" Young Shah Over Old Mossadegh — December 10, 1951
"The Reluctant Dragon — U.S. Editorial, August 25, 1953
"Thought on Mossadegh" — The Daily Illini, November 17, 1953
MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”