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Posts Tagged ‘tabloids’

Robert Stone, Tabloid Writer

August 21, 2014 | by

I think cultural undergrounds develop in the void left by the abdication of the official culture. During the sixties, so many august institutions seemed to have no self-confidence. The universities, corporations, the very fabric of the state. Everything you pushed just seemed to fall over. Everything was up for grabs. For me, the counterculture was like a party that spilled out into the world until one had the odd feeling in society that one was walking around looking at the results of a party that had ended a few years before—a big experiment. But there was no program, everybody wanted different things. I think Kesey wanted a cultural revolution, the nature of which was uncertain; he was just making it up as he went along. Other people were into political reform. Others thought the drugs would fix it all. Peace and love and dope.
—Robert Stone, the Art of Fiction No. 90

Happy birthday to Robert Stone, who turns seventy-seven today. Prime Green, his 2006 memoir, features more of his thoughts on the sixties—and he is very good, and often very funny, on the sixties. In the clip above, he reads an excerpt from the book about his time as a writer at a supermarket tabloid, an unsavory publication he calls the National Funder. Stone worked under a guy called Fat Lou “in the dank basement of hackdom,” at an office not far from the Flatiron Building. His forte: headlines. His compunctions: myriad. But his work as a yellow journalist: impeccable.

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The Idylls of Prison, and Other News

March 4, 2014 | by

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Alyse Emdur, Anonymous Backdrop Painted in State Correctional Facility, Otisville, New York. Image via Beautiful Decay.

  • Who owns the moon? It could be you! (It’s probably not you.)
  • The National Enquirer’s sixties covers show how the language of scandal has evolved—what used to pass as odious is now just sort of quaint. “I’M A SLOB. I Burp & Slurp in Public,” says one headline. The horror.
  • Brian Eno has chosen twenty essential books for saving civilization; I’ve read zero of them.
  • “I thought at the time it was really bad luck to survive. I really wanted to die with them.” An interview with a kamikaze pilot.
  • The surreal world of prison portraiture: “visitation rooms of penitentiaries have backdrops where friends and family can get pictures taken of/with the inmate … Often, these backgrounds are idyllic landscapes that offer the inmate a moment to emotionally escape their sentence.”

 

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Kleist’s Crime Blotter

January 8, 2013 | by

On the afternoon of October 1, 1810, people started gathering in front of Berlin’s Hedwigskirche, where a new paper would be selling its first issue. By evening the crowd had grown so large that guards were posted to maintain order. The whole city, it seemed, had turned out for the launch of the paper, the Berliner Abendblätter. Even the king had asked for a copy.

Officially, the Abendblätter was edited anonymously. Among the city’s literary elite, however, it was widely known that the paper was written almost single-handedly by Heinrich von Kleist, a young writer. Kleist’s plays and novellas were written with exceptional elegance, but were preoccupied with rape, war, and natural disaster. Kleist had once enjoyed the patronage of Goethe, but after a disastrous theatrical collaboration the two writers found it impossible to continue working together. Goethe admitted that his protégé filled him with revulsion and horror, “as though a body nature had intended to be beautiful were afflicted with an incurable disease.”

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