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Top 10 books Americans tried to ban last year
04.13.2011
09:22 am

Topics:
Books
Literature
Media
They hate us for our freedom

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You’d think that people who actually go to the effort of visiting libraries, taking books from them, and then reading said books, would be a little more enlightened as to the harm posed to society by banning books. Alas no, as yesterday the American Library Association published its list of the ten books library patrons tried to have banned last year, known as the “Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2010”. I’m not familiar with a lot of work on this list, as I don’t tend to read “young adult”-type fiction, but there are some surprising choices on here: 

1. And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
Reasons: Homosexuality, religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group

2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: Offensive language, racism, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence

3. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Reasons: Insensitivity, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit

4. Crank by Ellen Hopkins
Reasons: Drugs, offensive language, sexually explicit

5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence

6. Lush by Natasha Friend
Reasons: Drugs, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

7. What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones
Reasons: Sexism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

8. Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America by Barbara Ehrenreich
Reasons: Drugs, inaccurate, offensive language, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint

9. Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology edited by Amy Sonnie
Reasons: Homosexuality, sexually explicit

10. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Reasons: Religious viewpoint, violence

Brave New World? Are they serious?! A dystopian critique set in a future world where books are banned, and they want to ban the book? Then again maybe the pro-ban lobby are actually really progressive, as surely I am not the only who has though that Huxley’s future of mood controlling drugs and casual sex is actually kind of appealing. But I can think of much heavier dystopian work that would seem more suitable for banning. I guess it’s just the sex that’s offensive.

Barbara Jones of the ALA has made a statement about the banning of books, included here in a section from the Guardian’s article on the list:

There were 348 reports of efforts to remove books from America’s shelves in 2010, down from 460 the previous year. But the ALA believes the majority of challenges go unreported, and called on Americans to “protect one of the most precious of our fundamental rights – the freedom to read”.

“While we firmly support the right of every reader to choose or reject a book for themselves or their families, those objecting to a particular book should not be given the power to restrict other readers’ right to access and read that book,” said Barbara Jones, director of the ALA’s office for intellectual freedom. “As members of a pluralistic and complex society, we must have free access to a diverse range of viewpoints on the human condition in order to foster critical thinking and understanding.”

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Top 10 books Americans tried to ban last year
Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Charles Laufer creator of Tiger Beat magazine R.I.P.
04.12.2011
09:17 pm

Topics:
Media
Music
Pop Culture

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Charles Laufer creator of Tiger Beat magazine has died.

For teenyboppers of the 1960s Tiger Beat magazine spoke to them loud and clearly about the things they loved the most: pop stars, cute boys, fashion and rock and roll. With its colorful covers and bold poster-like graphics, Tiger Beat was a gateway magazine to Creem and Rolling Stone.

Charles Laufer, who as a high school teacher in 1955 despaired that his students had nothing entertaining to read and responded with magazines aimed at teenage girls desperate to know much, much more about the lives of their favorite cute stars, died April 5 in Northridge, Calif. He was 87.

Mr. Laufer’s best-known magazine was Tiger Beat, published monthly. With its spinoff publications and its competitors, of which the most popular was 16 Magazine, Tiger Beat had it all covered — or at least what mattered most to girls from about 8 to 14. The Beach Boys’ loves! Jan and Dean’s comeback! The private lives of the Beatles!”

While The Beatles and Beach Boys sold magazines, it was The Monkees that put Tiger Beat on the map and turned it into a profitable enterprise.

Recognizing the Monkees’ potential, he put them on the cover of Tiger Beat. That put the still-struggling publication in the black, and he signed an exclusive deal for special Monkee magazines, Monkee picture books and Monkee love beads, which added to the bonanza.”

 
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Tiger Beat looked like pop music sounded, fun!
 
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Obituary at the New York Times.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Glenn Beck covers the Beatles: ‘You say you want a revolution?’
04.12.2011
12:48 pm

Topics:
Class War
Hysteria
Kooks
Media
Stupid or Evil?

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Glenn Beck’s farewell cover of “Revolution” by the Beatles, from his new double CD set, the White (Man) Album.
 

 
Via Toon the News

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Glenn Beck’s greatest shits

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Media Matters did the dirty deed. This must’ve been absolutely nauseating to compile!

Divided up into the categories: Violent Rhetoric, Breaches Of Common Decency, Paranoid Conspiracy Theories, Apocalyptic Predictions and Attacks On Obama And Other Progressives

I’m sure you’ll all recall this gem, where Beck described his fantasies of poisoning Nancy Pelosi:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Die Royals
04.04.2011
01:59 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Class War
Media

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From the German magazine Stern.

Photo by Mista Jam, thanks to Lady Munter!

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Top Fox exec admits to lying on-air about Obama being a ‘socialist’
03.31.2011
01:00 pm

Topics:
Media
They hate us for our freedom

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Fox News Washington managing editor Bill Sammon was caught bragging on tape during a conservative cruise ship retreat that he flat-out lied when he speculated on-air “about whether Barack Obama really advocated socialism.” Sammon goes on to add that this allegation he personally—and *ahem* privately—found “rather far-fetched.” He calls it “mischievious” but wouldn’t an honest person call it what it is: LYING? He’s the VP of the top TV news outlet in America and he publicly admits to lying on-camera??? Where the fuck is James O’Keefe?

The funny sad thing is, I’m one of those people who desperately wanted Obama to be a socialist! Talk about your delusional and dashed hopes… Anyone who says Obama is a socialist, is either an idiot or like Bill Sammon, a lying liar. (And dig the subtext: Sammon is basically saying “Hey, I’m not dumb enough to actually believe the shit I say on TV”! Hilarious).

If an NPR executive or a CNN VP said something like this against a conservative politician, or even made a generic comment disparaging the right, they’d be forced out of their job within a matter of days. Sammon—AN ADMITTED LIAR, WHO LIED ON FOX NEWS, WHERE HE IS EMPLOYED—should be repudiated and fired by Fox immediately. There is no nuance to what he said. He admitted to lying. That is what he did. The man has no credibility professionally—as an admitted liar, as a supposed newsman—moving forward.

You can help put some heat on Sammon and Fox News by sharing this video on FB and Twitter.

PS: It’s amusing to read some of the comments about this video on YouTube and elsewhere. One teabagger wrote “You Media Matters-types should all be in jail!” What does someone think they mean when they make a statement like that in this kind of context, you know? Exposing liars is a bad thing, I guess, when someone happens to agree with the lies?
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Jeffrey Martin’s Amazing 360-Panorama inside Prague’s Off-limits Monastery Library
03.29.2011
06:27 pm

Topics:
Media

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Photographer Jeffery Martin has created the “world’s largest indoor photograph: a 40-gigapixel, 360-degree image of the hall that weighs in at 283 GB.”

But that’s not all, for the photograph is of Prague’s Philosophical Hall, a rarely seen, Baroque reading room in the city’s 868-year-old Strahov monastery library.

As reported in Wired Martin has taken nearly 3,000 pictures to create the one giant panoramic view of the Strahov library, which is released today on Martin’s website. The finished image is a

...a zoomable, high-resolution peek inside one of Prague’s most beautiful halls, a repository of rare books that is usually off-limits to tourists (a few of whom can be seen standing behind the velvet rope at the room’s normal viewing station).
Martin’s panorama lets you examine the spines of the works in the Philosophical Hall’s 42,000 volumes, part of the monastery’s stunning collection of just about every important book available in central Europe at the end of the 18th century — more or less the sum total of human knowledge at the time.

Martin got special permission from the library to pursue the project. He didn’t, however, get permission to wear his street shoes indoors. He’s complemented his fingerless gloves and down vest — it’s cold in here — with a pair of oversize, felt-soled slippers for the sake of the polished parquet floor.

To capture the images, the German-made GigaPanBot sends the camera on a pattern that starts at the very top of the library, going back and forth in rows, working its way downward over five days of shooting.

“I started from the ceiling, and by the time they kicked me out at 5 p.m. the first day, I had done maybe 20 percent of the hall,” Martin says. “So I hit pause and left everything right where it was until the next morning. That’s one advantage of shooting in an 18th-century library — my camera is the least valuable thing in the room.”

The next step: turning 2,947 individual shots into a single picture. It’ll take a day of mostly automated post-processing to correct colors and exposures from RAW image files.

“That dark corner and the bright ceiling are shot at the same exposure,” Martin says. “My goal is to get something that doesn’t have dark spots and bright spots — and also something that looks natural.”

During assembly of the massive panorama, Martin’s program will take more than 111 hours to stitch everything together.

“When you give it 10 pictures, it fits them together no problem,” Martin says. “But when you give it 3,000 images, there’s bound to be some issues.” After the initial layout, Martin will spend another 20 hours fixing a misaligned bookshelf, a few holes in the floor and other errors.

From inside the library, you can see why historians, scholars and travelers would flock here. A giant, four-volume set marked Musée Français, contained in a standalone, statue-topped wooden case, is believed to be one of only four extant copies. It’s a gift from Marie Louise, the second wife of Emperor Napoleon. (The French emperor is said to have had the rest of the print run destroyed because it contained evidence that certain Louvre treasures had been plundered from Italy.)

The room’s walnut paneling, gilt laurels and Escher-like inlaid marquetry make quite an impression. Beyond the rare tomes, guests who look carefully at the bookshelves might spot two hidden doors, masked with fake book spines, that lead to secret stairways — something you probably won’t catch in Martin’s panorama.

In other regards, viewing Martin’s web-based panorama might actually be better than an actual visit, especially when it comes to exploring the fresco high above the books. Completed in 1794, Franz Anton Maulbertsch’s trompe l’oeil ceiling depicts dozens of historical and religious figures, ranging from Noah and Moses to the French encyclopedists.

In real life, from 45 feet down, you might wish you could hit Shift to zoom.

Click here to see Jeffrey’s giant photograph.

The full article from Wired with photos can be found here.

A selection of Jeffrey’s 360-panoramic QuickTimes can be found on his site.
 
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With thanks to Tara McGinley
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Hitler headlines from vintage tabloids
03.23.2011
05:34 pm

Topics:
History
Media

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The Police Gazette was a legendary publication that started out as a small 16 page magazine in 1845 and by the 1950s had morphed into a fullblown tabloid with a focus on scandal, gossip, movie stars and every form of sensationalism that would move copies off the newstands. Hitler was a big seller and The Police Gazette didn’t hesitate to exploit the Fuhrer’s sales appeal. Readers were particularly attracted by headlines claiming Hitler was still alive.

From Pulp International:

You’ll notice that Gazette editors didn’t feel the need to think of clever headers—three times they went simply with “Hitler Is Alive”, which makes sense, because for readers of the time what could have been more frightening and mesmerizing than those three words? But posting these covers also made us think about how often Hitler’s name is invoked today, especially on cable news shows and wacko talk radio, while his image is rarely seen. Perhaps that indicates some sort of transition from actual monstrosity into ethereal boogeyman, but we think turning his name into an invocation is an insult to those who actually fought him and, needless to say, it trivializes his crimes and the indelible scar he burned across the face of humanity. Secondarily, it makes people vulnerable to all sorts of ad hominem arguments involving Nazis, arguments we can’t help noticing are often put forth by people who seem to have no actual emotion regarding the Holocaust, and no concept of its historical significance. Basically, we’re believers in Godwin’s Law. Adhering to those rules, Hitler retains his full, horrible meaning. And crazy as it sounds, that’s a good thing.”

In today’s world these Hitler headlines seem absolutely absurd until you consider the kind of alternate history being trafficked by the likes of Glenn Beck. I can imagine researchers at Glenn Beck University diligently poring over battered copies of The Police Gazette in hopes of uncovering repressed and forgotten bits of history’s shadow world.  And if you’re unclear as to what Godwin’s Law’s is, the preceding two sentences qualify as an example.
 
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More Hitler headlines from The Police Gazette after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Charlie Brooker on the Media’s Japan coverage
03.22.2011
03:08 pm

Topics:
Current Events
Media

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In 1992 I attended a lecture by Noam Chomsky at a high school auditorium in Los Angeles. During the Q&A Professor Chomsky was asked what televised news sources he recommended and he said said none of them. He had particularly biting comments to make about how CNN “packaged” the (first) Gulf War as infotainment with clips of military jets taking off, waving American flags and footage of targets being hit that looked like video-games with a martial beat soundtrack. How can you expect the public to have an objective view of the country’s foreign policy and military actions, he asked the audience, when they’re fed images from the military itself via a tightly controlled press pool designed to foster an “us vs. them” mindset by a for profit news outlet who find their highest ratings in the midst of war, scandal and crisis? And NBC was at this time owned by General Electric, the #1 company in the world to make money from war. Who could you trust?

I used to be an absolute TV news junkie, but after his words sank in, I found the more and more I drifted away from it. I did most certainly feel manipulated whenever I was watching CNN. It became really fucking annoying to me once it had been pointed out so bluntly what they were up to and how far up the White House’s asshole they’d climbed. It’s worth mentioning that it was four years prior to the launch of Fox News when Noam Chomsky made these observations. To satiate my infomania, I was soon subscribing to five daily papers and 70 monthly magazines that ranged from far-right and far-left conspiracy theory zines, to Vanity Fair and everything in between. In addition to things like In These Times or Z magazine, I also subscribed to The National Review (before it became absolutely worthless on every level) and Free American and various libertarian publications. I picked up anarchist monthlies, eco warrior magazines and just basically everything. Extreme perhaps, but at least my information sources did not have an emotionally leading soundtrack and ludicrous music video montages of saluting soldiers, missiles being fired to slaughter people at a distance and red, white and blue flags flying in the wind.

Much of the time, TV news just felt like I was being shouted at by idiots. It was infuriating. By 1996—the year Fox News launched although I was barely aware of it at the time—I cancelled cable because I never ever watched it and it was just a waste of $70 bucks a month. If it wasn’t for my wife, I’d have never had it since (and I still never watch TV news unless there’s something really significant happening).

The brilliant and sardonic British writer and TV presenter, Charlie Brooker performs a parallel service for BBC viewers that Professor Chomsky once did for me, to illustrate a similar point he made recently—with well-chosen clips—about the despicable way the news media is treating the crisis in Japan. Watch this, it’s really good.
 

 
(via Cynical-C)

Previously on DM:
Charlie Brooker’s How TV Ruined Your Life.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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