Saturday, February 28, 2015

Quote for the Day

"How horrible it is to have so many people killed! - And what a blessing that one cares for none of them!"

- Jane Austen (1775-1817)

Writing to Cassandra Austen, 1811, on the Battle of Albuera in 1811 in which a mixed British, Spanish and Portuguese corps engaged elements of the French army, resulting in approximately 7,000 dead or wounded on each side.

Pulitzer and World Press Photo of the Year, continued: 1977,Part 1

Between 1942 and 1967 a Pulitzer Prize for Photography was awarded for photojournalism, that is, for photographs telling a news story. In 1968 that award was replaced by awards in two new categories:

  •  the Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography (photography in the nature of breaking news, as it has been called since 2000); and
  • the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography (human interest and matters associated with new items).
From 1955 World Press Photo has awarded prizes for the best photographs in 10 categories, with an overall award for the image that "... is not only the photojournalistic encapsulation of the year, but represents an issue, situation or event of great journalistic importance, and does so in a way that demonstrates an outstanding level of visual perception and creativity".

Award: Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography, 1977

Photographer: Stanley Forman, Boston Herald-American

Photograph: “The Soiling of Old Glory”.

Award: Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography, 1977

Photographer: Neal Ulevich, Associated Press

Photograph: A series of photographs of disorder and brutality in the streets of Bangkok.

The jury couldn’t select a winner for breaking news photography from the two finalists above and awarded both the shared first prize.

The Soiling of Old Glory:

Forman had won in the same category the previous year for his sequence of photographs of a fire escape collapse during a Boston fire.

In 1976, busing, the forced integration of schools by making selected white students attend previously black schools, and selected black students attend previously white schools, remained a divisive and emotive issue in Boston. Covering a political protest at busing outside Boston’s City Hall, Forman snapped the pic that would earn him a second, consecutive Pulitzer.

The photograph depicts white teenager, Joseph Rakes, trying to assault black lawyer and civil-rights activist Ted Landsmark with a flagpole bearing the American flag. According to Landsmark, Rakes was swinging the flag and trying to hit him, not trying to spear him as it appears in the photo, and he narrowly missed. Anti-bussing activist Jim Kelly appears to pin Landsmark's arms behind him but was actually helping Landsmark to his feet, Landsmark having been knocked to the ground and his nopse broken before rakes swung the flag at him. Kelly later positioned himself between Landsmark and the other protestors to protect Landsmark.

That photograph, "The Soiling of Old Glory," soon became one of the most widely known images in modern American history. . . snapped in the historic cradle of American liberty during the bicentennial year, [it] directly challenged America's self-definition as a virtuous country devoted to freedom.”

“The attack on Landsmark happened during America’s bicentennial — and in Boston, of all places, that cradle of liberty, a stone’s throw from where black martyr Crispus Attucks was shot down. Americans fed a steady diet of Selma and Birmingham and Montgomery and Little Rock were forced to acknowledge that a Northern city could be every bit as riven by race.”
-Louis Bayard 

A 2008 book by Louis Masur looked at the photograph, the surrounding issues and the players:

From Masur’s book:

Some two hundred white students assembled for the march to city hall plaza. they attended for every reason, and for no reason at all: they despised forced busing, they hated blacks, they feared change, they followed their parents' lead, they welcomed days off from school, they wanted to hang out with their friends, they felt like they were part of a group. "We all wanted to belong to something big," recalls one teenage protester, "and the feeling of being part of the anti-busing movement along with the rest of southie had been the best feeling in the world." Southie meant more than just the geographic place South Boston. it meant neighborhood and community and ethnic pride. Thinking of the long day ahead, some packed a snack. Some made signs that said "RESIST." One student, before leaving his third-floor South Boston apartment,grabbed the family's American flag. 
From the start, the anti-busing movement identified itself with patriotism. the activists saw themselves as defending their liberty against the tyranny of a judge run amok. The celebration of Bicentennial events in 1975 and 1976 only reinforced the idea that they were carrying on in a tradition of American resistance; one anti-busing group had as its motto "don't tread on me." At rallies and boycotts, protesters carried American flags and frequently sang "God Bless America." Protesters against the Vietnam War had often burned Old Glory, but not here, not among the mainly working-class UIish of Boston.

Ted Landsmark was late to a meeting. A lawyer for the Contractors' Association, he was headed to City Hall for discussions on minority hiring in construction jobs. Dressed well on this mild April morning, he was wearing a favorite three-piece suit, and enjoying the brisk walk. 
The protesters spotted Landsmark and turned on him. One went to trip him up. A couple of them yelled "get the nigger." A few of the anti-busing protesters at the front jumped him. He was being kicked and punched. another unidentified black man hurried away from the scene. 
The flag bearer, Joseph Rakes of South Boston, circled around and began to swing the flag at Landsmark.

Age 17, Rakes had loved school but had stopped going entirely a year into the protests against busing. He worked part time to help his parents pay the bills, which now included tuition to send his older siblings to a private academy formed to educate those students who refused to attend South Boston or Charlestown High School. Rakes' anger at a situation beyond his control was never far from the surface. He attended most rallies against busing and, on this day, he rushed into the fracas. Some officers of the police mobile operations patrol and some adults intervened, but too late. The incident lasted maybe fifteen or twenty seconds. Landsmark's glasses were shattered and his nose broken. He was left drifting, bloodied and dazed.

Landsmark told a writer who wondered how this could happen to such a well-educated and well-respected person that "I couldn't put my Yale degree in front of me to protect myself. The thing that is most troubling is that it happened not because I was somebody but because I was anybody. ... I was just a nigger they were trying to kill." To another reporter Landsmark said, "I was just out there walking to City Hall in my three-piece suit. I was anyone." And suddenly, someone tried "to kill me with the American flag."

The Players:

Stephen Forman:

“I saw this black man coming around the corner and a bell went off in my head, and I said, ‘They’re going to get him!’ I didn’t think they would get him with the flag.”

Stephen Forman collected another Pulitzer in 1979.

He wrote his own book, released in 2013, “Before Yellow Tape” (a reference to police tape at crime and accident scenes).

Today, everybody’s got a camera and the access is not good. People ask how I got a photo [inside an ambulance] and I say, “Well, I opened the door and I took the photo.” You’d get shot nowadays. We [used to be] a welcome sight and it was great.
This book reflects a different time where you could be at a murder scene, shooting the body, and the cops would be posing. I don’t want to say we’ve become the enemy but we have. 
It’s scary. How many photographers do you really need when you’ve got millions out there working for you, for nothing? Everybody’s got a camera or a phone. The quality might not be good but [it doesn’t matter]. You can’t win, you can’t be first anymore.

Joseph Rakes

When the busing started, it was, ‘You can’t have half your friends’—that’s the way it was put towards us. They took half the guys and girls I grew up with and said, ‘You’re going to school on the other side of town.’ Nobody understood it at [age] 15.”

Rakes was sentenced to a 2 year suspended sentence for the assault on Landsmark and 2 years probation. In 1983 he fled Boston when he was wanted for beating to death the brother of hios girlfriend. He returned to Boston in 1988, the murder charge was dropped and he worked at menial jobs. He resented the adverse publicity he had been subject to and the tag he had been given, “The Flag Kid”. He subsequently married, had a family and improved his employment situation.

James Kelly:

Kelly, who recently died, devoted his life to serving South Boston, the working-class district of the city that most resisted court-ordered busing. After his election to the City Council in 1983, he gained the respect of other politicians from across the city for his tireless advocacy on behalf of his constituents. Masur contends that Kelly, who never hesitated to voice his suspicions of grand liberal projects, came to support equal rights for all.

Theodore Landsmark:

Landsmark, a Yale-educated lawyer then 29, was late for a meeting on affirmative action in city construction projects. As he walked toward city hall, he was mulling over what he planned to say, when a crowd rounded a corner and suddenly approached him.

“There wasn’t anything for me to do at that point other than to walk straight,”

Landsmark stayed in Boston, fighting racism and bigotry in whatever ways he could. In the late 1980s and through the 1990s, he worked for various to improve race relations in the city. Today Landsmark is president of the Boston Architectural College, and though he knows he is a public symbol of the battle over busing, he wants Bostonians to focus on the possibilities of the present and the future. 

Though Landsmark acknowledges that Forman’s photograph led him to a “leadership role” on issues of race and economics, he also says he’s tired of being asked about it. “What I find somewhat annoying, after all this time is that that single photograph sometimes overshadows many of the actual accomplishments that I’ve been involved with.”

Friday, February 27, 2015

Quote for the Day

Before my death I expel the former Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering and deprive him of all the rights he may enjoy by virtue of the decree of June 29, 1941, and also by virtue of my statement in the Reichstag on September 1, 1939. I appoint in his place Grossadmiral Doenitz as President of the Reich and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. 
Before my death I expel the former Reichsfuehrer-SS and Minister of the Interior Heinrich Himmler from the Party and all offices of state. In his place I appoint Gauleiter Karl Hanke as Reichsfuehrer-SS and Chief of the German Police and Gauleiter Paul Giesler as Reich Minister of the Interior. 
Goering and Himmler, by their secret negotiations with the enemy, without my knowledge or approval, and by their illegal attempts to seize power in the state, quite apart from their treachery to my person, have brought irreparable shame to the country and the whole people. 
In order to give the German people a government composed of honorable men, who will fulfil their duty of continuing the war by all available means, I, as the Fuehrer of the nation, nominate the following members of the new Cabinet. . ."

- Adolf Hitler (1889-1945), 

from his last Will and Testament, dictated by Hitler to his secretary in his Berlin bunker a day before committing suicide with his new bride Eva Braun. 

 It was prompted by:
· Hitler’s receipt of a telegram from Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring asking for confirmation of Göring's succession;
· receipt of news of Heinrich Himmler's attempted negotiations of surrender with the Western Allies; and 
· reports that Red Army troops were within a block or two of the Reich Chancellery. 

Hitler committed suicide on 30 April,945, 2 days before the surrender of Berlin and a week before the end of WW2 in Europe.

Hitler and party faithful on election, 1933

Hiter with Goering and Himmler at a Nremburg Rally

Funny Friday

Today a mixed bag of word humour, well okay, one visual. . .

A few mates and I went to try out this place where people get together in a room with candles, chanting in Latin and one man tries to talk to dead people and then other people join in and try talk to the dead people as well. 

I tink it was called Church!

Last Christmas I got some toy soldiers,
To play with when I'm in bed,
But I got bored with my sergeants and majors,
So I played with my privates instead.

An old George Bush joke:

George Bush is being giving his daily briefing. He is told that yesterday three Brazilian soldiers were killed.

"OH NO!" the President exclaims. "That's terrible!"

His staff sit stunned at this display of emotion, nervously watching as the President sits, head in hands.

Finally he looks up with a devastated expression on his face and he asks, "How many is a brazillion?'

A bakery in Maine hires a new shop assistant. She's a very attractive young woman who tends to wear her skirts rather short. The men of the town hear about her and line up at the bakery the next morning. Each one asks for raisin bread, knowing she'd have to climb a ladder to reach it. After hours of climbing up and down the ladder, she finally asks the last man, "Is your’s a raisin, too?" He answers, "No, but it's a twitterin'!" 

An old Lady Di/Princess Margaret joke: 

Lady Diana and the Queen are being driven back to Buckingham Palace one night when their car is forced off the road by masked thieves. "Out of the car and hand over your jewels" the thieves demand, then take off with their loot and the Rolls Royce. After the thieves leave, Diana begins to put her earrings, necklace, and rings back on. "Wherever did you hide those," asked the Queen. "In my special place” said Diana. "It’s a pity Margaret wasn't here," said the Queen. "We could have saved the Roller."

Dad needs to rebuild his outhouse and dig out his pit. Some of his mates tell him he can save a lot of time by using dynamite. "That way, you destroy the dunny and clean out the pit at the same time!" they say. So Dad sets up the dynamite under the outdoor toilet and runs a wire out to the barn. As he pushes the plunger, he sees Dave running to the toilet and going in. He runs after him but it is too late. Everything goes sky high. Miraculously, Dave survives. He asks him "Are you all right, Dave?" Dave replies "Yeah, but I'm sure glad I didn't let that one go in the house!" 

The Captain called the Sergeant in. “Sergeant, I just received a telegram that Private Jones’s father died yesterday. Better go tell him and send him in to see me.” 

So the Sergeant calls for his morning formation and lines up all the troops. “Listen up, men,” says the Sergeant. “Johnson, report to the mess hall for KP. Smith, report to Personnel to sign some papers. The rest of you men report to the Motor Pool for maintenance. Jones, your father’s dead, report to the Commander.” Jones buckles at the knees and has to go to the infirmary.

A few days later the Captain called the Sergeant into his office. “Sergeant, that was a pretty cold way to inform Jones his father died. We’ve just received a telegram that Private Jones’s mother has now died. You’d better go tell him and send him in to see me. This time, be more tactful.” 

So the Sergeant calls for his morning formation. “Ok, men, fall in and listen up. Everybody with a mother still alive, take two steps forward. JONES, WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU’RE GOING???”

A crusty old Marine Sergeant Major found himself at a gala event hosted by a local liberal arts college. There was no shortage of extremely young idealistic ladies in attendance, one of whom approached the Sergeant Major for conversation.

"Excuse me, Sergeant Major, but you seem to be a very serious man. Is something bothering you?"

"Negative, ma'am. Just serious by nature."

The young lady looked at his awards and decorations and said, "It looks like you have seen a lot of action."

"Yes, ma'am, a lot of action."

The young lady, tiring of trying to start up a conversation, said, "You know, you should lighten up a little. Relax and enjoy yourself."

The Sergeant Major just stared at her in his serious manner. Finally the young lady said, "You know, I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but when is the last time you had sex?"

"1995, ma'am."

"Well, there you are. You really need to chill out and quit taking everything so seriously! I mean, no sex since 1995! She took his hand and led him to a private room where she proceeded to "relax" him several times.

Afterwards, panting for breath, she leaned against his bare chest and said, "Wow, you sure didn't forget much since 1995!"

The Sergeant Major, glancing at his watch, said in his serious voice, "I should hope not ma'am, it's only 2130 now."

I went to the store the other day, I was only in there for about 5 minutes. When I came out there was a policeman writing a parking ticket. So I went up to him and said, 'Come on buddy, how about giving a guy a break?' 

He ignored me and continued writing the ticket. So I called him a pencil necked jerk off. He glared at me and started writing another ticket for having bald tyres! 

So I called him a horse's arse, he finished the second ticket and put it on the car with the first. Then he started writing a third ticket!! 

This went on for about 20 minutes, the more I abused him, the more tickets he wrote. 

I could only imagine what the owner of the car will think when he sees all the tickets.

Corn Corner:

I have an EpiPen. My friend gave it to me while he was dying. It seemed really important to him that I have it.

There was a prison break and I saw a midget climb up the fence. As he jumped down her sneered at me and I thought, well that’s a little condescending.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Quote for the Day

During the making of the film Lifeboat in 1944, Mary Anderson asked Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980) what he thought her 'best side' for photpography was. Hitchcock replied:

"My dear, you're sitting on it."

William Bendix and Mary Anderson in a scene from Lifeboat.
The fat man in the newspaper ad is Hitchcock, making his traditional early cameo as he did in all his films (done early so that audiences did not get distracted from the movie).

Why Women Live Longer

Byter Paul Y sent me an email entitled Why Women Live Longer, with a number of photographs of men vying for Darwin Awards. They evidence the accuracy of Einstein’s observation that "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."