Sunday Reads: The Weeping TimePosted: December 27, 2015
I thought about a few things this Christmas…nothing like getting together with people you care about to make you think about things. I am so glad this fucking holiday is over.
The links today are varied…starting with several sent to me by Boston Boomer.
Something big is going on…Free Press? No more…of course this has been questionable for years but now there is a “journalist” in Connecticut:
A week ago, no one had ever heard of Edward Clarkin. Today he has inspired multiple parody Twitter accounts, prompted one journalist to quit his job after 22 years and has been the subject of intense speculation in elite media circles.
This is how Edward Clarkin went from an unknown to the center of the world of journalism.
Who Is Edward Clarkin?
Edward Clarkin holds himself out to be a reporter for the New Britain Herald, a small paper in Connecticut with a circulation of about 7500. Prior to this month, Clarkin’s only articles for the New Britain Herald were four effusive restaurant reviews published in 2011. “If A Taste of Poland is anything like Warsaw or Krakow, I’m buying an airplane ticket tomorrow,” Clarkin wrote.
Then, on December 1, Clarkin published a nearly 2,000 word article on the performance of business courts, which specialize in corporate issues. Oddly, the article not only covered Connecticut business courts but included ten paragraphs criticizing Elizabeth Gonzalez, a state judge in Nevada. Clarkin wrote that Gonzalez’s rulings “appear inconsistent and even contradictory” and her conduct “undermines the rationale for the creation of such courts in the first place.”
Is Edward Clarkin A Good Reporter?
It does not appear so.
Several of the sources quoted in his business courts article say they were never contacted by Clarkin or anyone from the New Britain Herald, according to the Hartford Courant.
The Courant also revealed that other passages in the piece were blatantly plagarized from other sources.
Is Edward Clarkin A Real Person?
All signs point to no.
There is talk that this is tied to Sheldon Adelson. You may remember…Adelson and his recent purchase of a Vegas newspaper….which was kept secret from the public as well as the paper’s editors and staff…he also paid way over the asking price for the newspaper. (Makes me think of Hearst and his empire of Newspapers.)
th a reporting staff that numbers in the single digits, the New Britain Herald still fills its pages seven days a week with city politics, police news, local sports and a variety of community topics from teen pregnancy to Christmas caroling.
Given its lean resources and hyperlocal focus, the Herald surprised some earlier this month by devoting an entire page to a lengthy exposition on business courts, including a 10-paragraph section criticizing the actions of a little-known judge three time zones away in Las Vegas.
That article, tucked on Page 12 of a Tuesday paper, is now shining an uncomfortable spotlight on the man who saved the Herald from extinction — publisher Michael Schroeder, who has a business relationship with Sheldon Adelson, a prominent casino operator who has clashed with the Las Vegas judge scrutinized in the Herald article.
Schroeder now finds himself caught up in a complex mystery at the intersection of politics, media and business — a mystery with a litany of unanswered questions, among them: Why would a local paper in New Britain devote so much space to dissecting the rulings of a county judge 2,288 miles away? And who is the mysterious “Edward Clarkin” whose name appears as the author of the Herald story?
Those questions have been swirling for days in journalistic circles, but they will not be answered by Schroeder. “I have no comment on our newsgathering, story selection or writers, as always,” Schroeder said in an email to The Courant.
Read the continuing story….
More on Adelson purchase of the paper:
On to other links.
Abolitionists saw it as an opportunity to “change hearts and show what was happening to enslaved people,” said Leslie Harris, an Emory University professor who has written extensively about the U.S. slave trade. “The connection between slaves and masters was an economic one. The fact remains that they were property that was vulnerable to the economic whims and needs of their owners.”
Even now, Thomson’s account, written under the pen name Q.K. Philander Doesticks, is chilling in its depiction of what happened at the Ten Broeck Race Course grandstand. The sale began on March 2 in a driving rain.
“The wind howled outside, and through the open side of the building the driving rain came pouring in; the bar down stairs ceased for a short time its brisk trade; the buyers lit fresh cigars, got ready their catalogues and pencils, and the first lot of human chattels was led up the stand,” Thomson wrote.
The constant rain and the tears of the slaves eventually led to the name, “the Weeping Time.”
In most cases the slaves were sold as families, including a mother and her 15-day-old baby. Extended families and whatever community they had on the Butler plantations were destroyed. The 436 people sold over those two days went to plantations throughout the South. There’s little trace of what became of them.
From that to this: Illuminating the History of West African Portrait Photography
The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s In and Out of the Studio: Photographic Portraits from West Africa, which draws its 80 works solely from the Met’s collection, fleshes out a longer and more varied history of West African photo portraiture, including amateur and popular commercial practices that acted as precursors to the more acclaimed works of later decades.
In discussion with Hyperallergic, Dr. Giulia Paoletti, curator of In and Out of the Studio together with Yaëlle Biro, associate curator in the Met’s Department of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, offered insight into the research process:
Some of the best findings emerged as I was studying the Visual Resource Archive (VRA), which is part of the Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas. The VRA features an incredibly diverse collection — from fieldwork photographs to images of African art objects, from postcards to personal albums. Yet most of its holdings have not been fully digitized and are little known to the larger public. … While working within the little-known, yet large, VRA collection, we were able to make a very tight selection of eighty works — the majority of which had never been seen.
In and Out of the Studio is organized both chronologically and by theme. The exhibition’s earliest works hail from photography studios that served the most well-to-do citizens of local communities. Sitters commissioned portraits to capture their social standing, using dress, setting, pose, and accessories as socioeconomic indicators. A picture by George A. G. and Albert George Lutterodt, “Five Men” (c. 1880–85), presents a serious group of subjects against a studio backdrop. Two of the men do not look at the camera, appearing completely absorbed in perfecting their poses. The photo suggests that the goal here was the finished product, not a spontaneous give-and-take between sitter and camera. Many of the exhibition’s early photographs, whether taken in studios or by amateurs, demonstrate this priority of subject over instrument; the camera is used to capture an intimate verity, not to manipulate reality.
Unknown artist (Senegal), “Two Girls, Indoors” (c. 1915), gelatin silver print from glass negative, 2015, 2 x 3 in (5.7 x 7.6 cm), Visual Resource Archive, Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas (click to enlarge)
These early works, from the 1800s and early 1900s, include studio portraits, shots by amateur photographers, postcards, and negatives. Despite the range of mediums, they come together to create an aesthetic and cultural history with more continuity than one might expect. “When we ‘rediscovered’ the Lutterodt’s original print in the archives, we could not have imagined that the author was the first of the many generations of photographers who had opened some of the earliest studios along the Gold Coast in the 1870s,” Dr. Paoletti commented.
Look at those beautiful images plus many more at the link.
Just a couple more links, it is a bit difficult. Dr. Zhivago is on TCM and I am very distracted.
And end it on a pretty picture.
The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has been observing the Moon close-up for over five years, but all science aside, this picture is one heck of an achievement on its own. Looking just about as fake and alien as any other picture taken on the giant space rock that flies around our heads and stabilizes our planet, this is the Earth over the Moon’s horizon.
However, it’s not the Earth rising or setting over the horizon. It’s just the Earth sitting there, because that’s what it does over any given location on the Moon—except for where it’s not visible at all, ever. If you’ll remember, the same side of the Moon faces the Earth at all times. While the Moon appears at different locations in our sky, we stay at the same spot in its sky, where it gets a full view of us spinning through space.
Here’s the full image with side-by-side comparisons showing how it was brightened and then colored after it was taken…
Look at the link for the other images.
This is an open thread.