Sultans for Sale; Two Para a Pail
Kalem's issue number 5, from October 1, 1908, sought to abuse the sultans and their court in particular. The first image shows the uniforms of elite Ottoman officials, close to the sultan, on sale in a storefront. The sale includes their medals, and the shopkeepers are shown ushering the viewer into their store. The three uniforms are marked (in French only) as having been sold. This display of bargain basement Ottoman elite symbols is indicative of the decay and irrelevance of Ottoman officials already by this time period.
The second image is more direct and to the point. An Ottoman official dances carefully around pieces of cake––or are they shards of glass?––marked with the names of prominent politically-oriented publications of the Ottoman Empire. The dainty, effeminate dance of the official––calling his masculinity, and as a result, his effectiveness as a leader and politician into question––as well as the notion that Ottoman officials could be dancing their cares away while dining on sweets, are called to mind by this image.