Journalism, is this what it has come to?
The right-leaning Daily Caller recently launched an outrageous editorial series by author Patrick Howley. “Cigarette Reviews for the Uninitiated: 18 Brands in 18 Weeks” reads like a parody of tobacco industry talking points, or some pundit idea of an end-of-year joke column. But on close inspection, it appears to be quite real. The expressed purpose of the series is stated clearly: “It is our hope that the research conducted herein by official TheDC cigarette critic Patrick Howley will inform and educate the public, as well as aid tobacco companies in their forthcoming product designs.”
Can you believe it?
Thanks to the Daily Caller, this advertising doesn’t always need to be paid for. Here is Howley’s surprisingly similar description of Marlboro Red.
“We were all American men, with one shared set of values and one clear international enemy” … “the full thickness of the product” … “its macho reputation” … “this moment is most satisfactory, providing a warmth and respiratory presence so lacking from other cigarettes” …. “a thick and thorough brand, to be sure, but very pedestrian in its goals.”
Please, someone tell me it is a joke.
There is something nostalgic with the phrases Howley uses, makes me think of those smoking scenes in the movie All the President’s Men.
[after seeing Carl Bernstein light up a cigarette in an elevator]
Bob Woodward: Is there any place you *don’t* smoke?
There is something about smoking a cigarette while typing away on the typewriter keys…a bit old-fashioned these days. With text messages and twitter statuses in under 140 characters, some things are becoming obsolete. Think about it, something as simple as paper documents…which brings me to this next link I have to share with you today also touches on those newspaper men working at the Washington Post: Noting the History of the Paper Trail
Bob Peterson/Time Life Pictures, via Getty Images
Actually, make that “copy and recopy.” In a chapter of her book in progress about the history of documents Ms. Gitelman describes the way Mr. Ellsberg obsessively made copies of his copies, even enlisting the help of his children in what she describes as an act of radical self-publishing.
“Even though we think of copying now as perfunctorily ripping something off, he was expressing himself by Xeroxing,” she said.
Gitelman is one of the historians of late that are practicing “paperwork studies.”
Ms. Gitelman’s argument may seem like an odd lens on familiar history. But it’s representative of an emerging body of work that might be called “paperwork studies.” True, there are not yet any dedicated journals or conferences. But in history, anthropology, literature and media studies departments and beyond, a group of loosely connected scholars are taking a fresh look at office memos, government documents and corporate records, not just for what they say but also for how they circulate and the sometimes unpredictable things they do.
There is a new book out called “The Demon of Writing” written by Ben Kafka, who has become an expert on “paperwork studies.” Be sure to read the rest of the story at that New York Times Book Review link above.
I love researching the old-fashioned way, it is an art form…at least I think so. Hours spent in libraries, sitting down on well-worn carpets, surrounded by stacks of musty books…how wonderful!
But I guess there are some advantages to technology in the classroom. High-tech classrooms in Australia reviving Aboriginal languages
In a high-school classroom in western Sydney, teacher Noeleen Lumby is asking her pupils to recall the Aboriginal name for animals that indigenous Wiradjuri people have used for hundreds of years.
As she holds up stuffed toys representing some of Australia’s native wildlife, including a kangaroo, an emu and a cockatoo, the class of about 25 — many from Vietnamese and Cambodian backgrounds — come to grips with the ancient tongue.
“I like this because you get to learn new skills and you can speak some indigenous language,” said 12-year-old Tien Nguyen.
Lumby, who oversees the students as they use their new knowledge to create projects on computers and iPads, is passionate about filling a gaping hole in Australian education — the study of Aboriginal languages.
Lumby feels it is best for students to learn Aboriginal culture as well as the language, I think it is marvelous. Lessons we should be taking note of here in this country. But then, obsolete languages along with musty books are things students today don’t appreciate. (I speak from first hand experience…both my kids are allergic to books and reading. Sad isn’t it?)
On to another article, this one is about movie making…and one of my favorite pictures that was released in 1980. From Vanity Fair: Making Blues Brothers With John Belushi and Dan Akroyd—“We Had a Budget for Cocaine” Written by Ned Zeman and Photos by Annie Leibovitz.
The pitch was simple: “John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Blues Brothers, how about it?” But the film The Blues Brothers became a nightmare for Universal Pictures, wildly off schedule and over budget, its fate hanging on the amount of cocaine Belushi consumed. From the 1973 meeting of two young comic geniuses in a Toronto bar through the careening, madcap production of John Landis’s 1980 movie, Ned Zeman chronicles the triumph of an obsession.
Enjoy that article, it is a long one.
Sigh, now I will give you some links to news stories that are trending this weekend.
BB sent me this link last night, so…another Hindu is mistaken for a muslim: Woman Is Held in Death of Man Pushed Onto Subway Tracks in Queens
Police are charging her with second-degree murder as a hate crime.
A woman has been arrested in connection to the ambush killing of two firefighters in Webster, NY. New York woman arrested in connection with murder of 2 firefighters
Frank Luntz is now a consultant for CBS News, GOP Pollster Frank Luntz: ‘I Don’t Think The NRA Is Listening’ To Americans’ Gun Violence Concerns
Latest on the cliff of doom: Congress leaders huddle in quest for ‘fiscal cliff’ compromise
India’s gang rape victim goes home:
Indian women have made it to the tops of their professions in India. There’s been a female Indian president, women run multi-billion-dollar enterprises and Sonia Gandhi, president of the Congress party, is the most powerful politician in the country.
But on the peripheries of big cities and rural areas of the nation, women continue to fight for equal rights – and this is reflected in how authorities treat rape victims, human-rights groups say.
Human Rights Watch, in a report released Sunday in India, points to the so-called “two-finger test” as evidence of how India had failed to take rape seriously, often blaming women’s behavior for the offense.
In the test, which appears in Indian jurisprudence textbooks and is admissible in court, a doctor inserts two fingers into a women’s vagina to determine its laxity and whether the hymen is broken, signaling previous sexual activity.
The test perpetuates stereotypes of rape survivors as loose women and often is used by defense counsels to achieve acquittals, human-rights groups say.
Awful! I have avoided writing about this horrid case of gang rape and murder.
And here is the latest news out of Newtown: Claim seeks $100 million for child survivor of Connecticut school shooting
Now, just a few video clips of people lighting one up, or in the case of this first clip…lighting two up.
While watching Now Voyager with Bette Davis last night, I thought it is fabulous, those clothes…and those eyebrows on Davis when she is the dowdy spinster aunt.
No other cigarette smoking scene in history is as fabulous as this, except for maybe this one from To Have or Have Not:
Hey, speaking of Blues Brothers, fix the cigarette lighter:
No lighter? How about striking a match like Walter Neff in Double Indemnity:
…or the way De Niro takes a long drag in the film Goodfellas…
A few other scenes are mentioned in this 2005 article from The Guardian: I smoke, therefore I am
Can you think of any good movies without smoking in them? …If you discount historical films such as Barry Lyndon or Ben-Hur, a diet of non-smoking films would be almost unwatchable. But what would be most tragically lost are the great black-and-white smoking films of the 1940s – Casablanca, Now, Voyager, The Big Sleep – where wreaths of smoke are an essential and beautiful part of the cinematography, and where smoking quite clearly stands for sex. The Big Sleep (1946) opens with a title shot of two cigarettes smouldering in an ashtray that suggests more strongly than flesh scenes ever could that Bogart and Bacall are having an affair. And we learn a lot about the intimacy between Paul Henreid and Bette Davis in Now, Voyager from his habit of lighting two cigarettes at once and handing one to her. Cigarettes in movies are about far more than just whether the characters happen to have a nicotine addiction.
A-ha, starting and finishing this post with two articles on cigarettes…Journalism, there you are!
It is the last Sunday of the year, enjoy it and let us know what you are thinking about today…