[Snippets of news and commentary, some of it even weeks old -- if you already know the news, please forgive the redundancy; perhaps I'll add a new twist, however.]
Ansel Adams, True or False Department
Most of you probably already know of the recently-reported find of a trove of supposed Ansel Adams glass negatives, purchased ten years ago at a garage sale by a California painter. Adams’s heirs are claiming they are fraudulent and counterfeit. Potential for all sorts of lawsuits.
You may see some of the negatives at the painter’s site.
Mr. Spock Has An Unfair Advantage
For those of us struggling in the slums of photographic sales, some people are naturally more talented, and others simply luckier. Alec Soth would be among the former; Leonard Nimoy would be among the latter. Unfortunately for this theory, he’s also talented. If you can draw attention to yourself by notoriety, and then keep it by actually measuring up to standards, good for you! Nimoy has actually done a fair number of nudes, but I leave it to you to seek out the relevant web sources. (For the NYT article, check out the slideshow.)
Journalistic Ethics vs. Truth Department
The reaction was swift when Lavender Magazine, a biweekly for Minneapolis’s gay and lesbian community, reported in its current issue that an outspokenly anti-homosexual local pastor attended a support group for people who want to remain chaste despite same-sex attraction.
The pastor, Tom Brock, was put on leave from North Minneapolis’ Hope Lutheran, pending an investigation. The magazine, meanwhile is embroiled in a journalism ethics debate for sending its reporter undercover into the confidential support group.
From The NY Times, “Article on Anti-Gay Pastor Provokes Ethical Concerns.”
Now, I’m not overly concerned with the ethics issues here, since I accept Lavender Magazine‘s explanation. Its editor’s comment:
Mr. Rocheford said the magazine, with about 130,000 readers, has a policy against “outing” homosexuals. “One exception to the rule is a public figure who makes public pronouncements against the gay community and is in fact a homosexual,” he said, noting that this was the only time he had invoked that exception.
He said he debated whether to use information from the support group, but decided that “I don’t consider it a legitimate 12-step group. Those are there to help people with addictions and since when is homosexuality an addiction?”
I agree with that last paragraph, as witness some of my own past postings. Fortunately for publications like Lavender and for me, there seems to be a never-ending supply of anti-gay hypocrisy. However, the remainder of the article is worth reading for the contrary ethical opinions. And a whole bunch more here.
Funny If It Weren’t So True Department
I have stories on all of you, photos on many, … And I know a Rolling Stone reporter.
Stanley McChrystal’s retirement address delivered to five hundred friends and colleagues. (The NY Times, “McChrystal Ends Service With Regret and a Laugh“)
Historians have called it one of the greatest speeches ever delivered in English, and surely one of the greatest ever delivered by an Englishman, at a moment of national peril unparalleled in modern times.
Seventy years ago, on June 18, 1940, Winston Churchill, barely six weeks in office as Britain’s prime minister and confronted with the threat of invasion from Nazi-occupied France, rose in the House of Commons and, in 36 minutes of soaring oratory, sought to rally his countrymen with what has gone down in history as his “finest hour” speech.
So begins The NY Times‘s article on the speech’s seventieth anniversary, including a dip into the original, edited manuscript. (The article provides a reproduction of one original typescript page, with Churchill’s annotations.)
Churchill … was already an iconic, if controversial, figure when he took office, and has long since taken his place in history’s pantheon. In a poll of more than one million television viewers in 2002, he was voted the greatest Englishman or woman who ever lived (outranking, among the first 10 finishers, Isaac Newton; Admiral Lord Nelson, Diana, Princess of Wales; and John Lennon).
Ancient History Department
The Beat Generation was, like, so very long, long, LONG ago. I mean, I was far short of even being a teenager when much of it happened, and you all know how very old I am. Yet its impact reverberates today. Irreverence born in the fifties yielded Flower Power in the Sixties, which gave way to Vietnam War protests, which eventually if indirectly unseated a President, which changed the way politics is done, which ultimately meant that George W. Bush was inevitable, which paved the way for the voter passions that elected Obama.
Yet youth still read Jack Kerouac, and Ginsberg’s Howl is still controversial — the poem still could not be read on the air at the time of the 50th Anniversary of the court decision declaring it non-obscene, even on NPR or PBS.
So, if the Beats interest you, consider two new books: Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg: The Letters, edited by Bill Morgan and David Stanford; and The Typewriter Is Holy: The Complete, Uncensored History of the Beat Generation, by Bill Morgan. Review of both in The NY Times. Of Letters:
[T]his book’s emphasis is on the intensity and passion of two writers’ long conversation. That such a paper trail exists is never taken for granted. Amazingly, they wrote expansive, soul-searching letters even when in close proximity, let alone during the lengthy periods spent (as one of them put it) on the road. And the arc of the friendship is fully preserved here, from the hot-air excesses of college days to the chillier, fame-ravaged exchanges of later years. Each was an important critic of the other’s work. Each read as voraciously as he wrote. What Ginsberg called “the secret knowledge of reciprocal depths” helped bind them.
The Typewriter Is Holy is “a helpful, even necessary, companion piece to the letters, which are only minimally annotated. It’s also a book that tries to put the far-reaching Beat tentacles and vast Beat cultural legacy into perspective.”
Meg wore this dress like no other.