auntie’s mothers, mother’s aunties

The Auntie Warhol Institute was pleased to have been recently provided with an obscure recording of a New York radio interview with the legendary Gene Autry, in which he discussed his recording of the labor anthem “The Death of Mother Jones“.

The following excerpt was of particular interest to the Institute:

WEAF: We understand that the origins of the song “The Death of Mother Jones” are — well, no one seems to say “anonymous”, more often people say things like “obscure“. Can you tell us anything you might know on the subject?

GA: Well, I’ll tell ya, every story I hear is just a little bit different from the last. But the gist seems to be, there was this gal at the burial, no one knew her, and she just sat alone under a nearby tree looking sad. That night a bunch of the miners got together for sort of a memorial celebration, this girl shows up and teaches everyone the words and shows the musicians how to play it. No one actually knows if she wrote it, but that’s what everyone figures. Nobody got her name, she just said she was Mary[Harris Jones, a.k.a Mother Jones]’s auntie. Of course that didn’t make a lick of sense ’cause Mother Jones was like a hundred years old, and she sure didn’t have no living aunt.

Now, Auntie Warhol is known to have lived in Nashville, Tennessee during the early 1930s, where she worked with labor organizers at the Radnor Rail Yards. But she is also rumored to have spent some time in Chicago during that same period, having some business with Al Capone’s organization (whom she is quoted as having called “a necessary evil in the face of the greater tyranny of Prohibition”). So it is certainly conceivable, indeed highly probable that she would have swung through Mount Olive for the funeral, perhaps on the road between the cities.

Mother Jones herself is reported to have met Auntie once late in her life. Molly Field Parton recounted the following in a Harper’s Magazine interview following the publication of the The Autobiography of Mother Jones:

It was the queerest thing. Mary and I were working at my place one afternoon when there was a knock on the door. I opened it to reveal this oddly dressed woman who stood there, with admiration and gratitude in her eyes, clutching a magazine with the name “Mother Jones” on the masthead. “I just want to thank Ms. Jones and give her a hug”, she said. Mary asked her about the magazine, but she was weirdly secretive about it. Said it was better for Mary not to read it, saying something I didn’t quite grasp about a time continuum. Anyway, the really strange part was as she was leaving. She looked at Mary, smiled, and said, “I will tell you this much. One day, you are going to be a real thorn in the side of a union-busting robber baron named Mitt. And if you can take him down, you just might save the damn world.

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future perfect past progressive

Little to nothing is known as to when the phenomena we know as Auntie Warhol was born — if she was “born”. But for those who discount more supernatural explanations, recent reports from the Auntie Warhol Institute may shed new light on how it came to be that she walks among us.

According to the new theory, Auntie may be a creature of paradox, conceived in and emerging from a tear in the space-time continuum, which was ripped open when Campbell’s Soup channeled Andy Warhol for new cans:

The world’s biggest soup maker plans to introduce special edition cans of its condensed tomato soup bearing labels reminiscent of the pop artist’s paintings at Target stores starting Sunday.

Researchers at the Institute — a consortium of physicists, historians, and potheads committed to understanding and preserving Auntie’s life, work, and legacy — suggest that this event created a sort of feedback loop, from which the only escape was to produce an equal and opposite cultural-temporal anomaly. Thus the theory states that Auntie Warhol simply came to be, forged from space-time itself, as a matter of mathematical necessity.

The authors however are careful to note that although they believe this 2012 event to have been the point of Ms. Warhol’s conception, it is still not known at what point in our timeline did she first appear — what one might think of as her actual “birthday”. Her known work dates her well into the previous century, while reported sightings and apparent influence, to say nothing of the legends, would place her well before that.

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