Intl. Notebook Nov 28 2017
DARK MIRROR
This tabloid doesn't reflect well on anyone.


Every tabloid has its focus. NYC based National Mirror dealt in sexual violence. Some sample headers from this issue published today in 1967: Undertaker Sells Human Flesh to Sex Ring, Virgins Tease Plumber to Death, Over-Sexed Lover Bites Off Teen's Nipple, Motorcycle Gang Tortures Co-Ed. You get the gist. To offset the parade of horrors there's also some sports, cheesecake, hollywood gossip, and a bit of the weird. Of the stories fitting the last category, by far the top finisher in the bizarro sweepstakes is the article about a woman who said she laid nine eggs after being overcome by a compulsion to sleep in a hen house. “Doctors reacted cautiously to the claim. There was no reason to doubt [her], but there was no reason to believe her either.”

Huh? No reason to doubt her?


An egg is an egg,” said Justin Case, 51, head of the Silver Sands Medical Association. “How can we tell?


Of course, the story is pure fiction. You know that. The clue to the editors knowing it's fiction is in the good doctor's name—Justin Case. But as always with these tabs, the real question is whether any readers believed it. We don't think so. But we think some readers believed other readers believed it, and laughed about how dumb those people were. Making some people feel good by encouraging them to think others are dumb is a formula similar to that used by many cable news programs. For example, rather than interview a smart person who disagrees with the audience's point of view and would blow it to smithereens, they get a shill who's paid to be baffled and made to look foolish, thus reinforcing viewers' beliefs (and keeping them glued to the telly).


Way back when PSGP lived on Venice Beach in Los Angeles he was approached one morning by a film crew for something called Street Smarts, which was a segment that appeared on some late night talk show. He can't remember which one. The point of the show was to ask questions and watch people get them spectacularly wrong. After being plucked from his morning foot commute precisely because these Hollywood types thought he looked like a jock moron, PSGP answered 38 of 40 questions on camera correctly. He still remembers the two he missed: he failed to identify a photo of Britney Spears, and when asked what capital gains are, replied, “I don't know exactly what they are, but I know they're something I'll never have to worry about.” Laughter all around.


Of the 38 correct answers, getting gestation period right sticks in his mind. Presumed to be a moron, he was expected to answer with something about menstrual cycles, but instead said, “It's the period of time it takes a single cell to develop into an autonomous life form.” Raised eyebrows all around. The producer guy then said, “You were great. You looked great. You're really comfy on camera. You're funny. There's only one problem. We need you get some questions wrong. I'm not supposed to pay you, but I will if you do that.” He then re-asked several questions which PSGP now got wrong. The segment was later put on television for the entire country to point at and say, “Well, you know a guy like that's a fuckin' idiot. Just look at him.” Amazing what you'll do for twenty-five bucks when you're broke.


Anyway, we suspect basically the same thing went on with cheapie tabloids—i.e. that they were mainly designed to reinforce stereotypes for the enjoyment of basically closed-minded people. And today isn't the first time we've noticed the similarity between these old tabloids and today's cable news. Widely circulated magazines like Confidential and Hush-Hush served powerful roles by—it seems to us—nurturing and disseminating various regressive beliefs about smoking (harmless), students (spoiled), feminists (ballbreakers), blacks (the real racists), Europeans (commies), commies (godless), and sex (easily available to everyone except you).


We've had a lot of opportunity to ponder the whole concept of vintage tabloids because we've done more than 350 entries on them over the last nine years. Many of those entries, probably a hundred at least, come with multiple scans from our personal collection. Basically, Pulp Intl. is internet ground zero for vintage tabloids. No other website even comes close. We have some scans from today's issue of National Mirror below, and if you want (or dare) to go down the rabbit hole, you can see aaaaaaall those other tabs at our handy index right here.

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Vintage Pulp Jul 7 2016
A MIRROR DARKLY
Coming together in the name of science.


Above, another provocative cover of the National Mirror, with a little sex, a little lesbianism, and a big slice of race bating front and center as a white doctor allegedly performs sex tests on black girls. We have a full issue of this paper we want to scan, but you know how we are—it has to happen on the publication date. That isn't until November. In the meantime, don't forget that Pulp Intl. is the number one website in the entire world for tabloids, both covers and interior scans, and you can enter that wonderland at this link.

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Vintage Pulp Jun 10 2016
BREAST FEEDING
They say it's healthier but we have our doubts.


Did the dogs-eat-humans headline from last week's National Star Chronicle strike you as unusual? It wasn't. Tabloids and dogs have a long relationship, as this issue of National Mirror published today in 1969 proves by dragging another group of blameless pooches into the messy dealings of human beings. While we're on the subject, let's not forget that humans-eat-dogs headlines also made occasional appearances, such as here. More National Mirror to come later. 

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Vintage Pulp Oct 28 2011
CRACKED MIRROR
And the wiener is…

Above, a cover of Myron Fass’s over-the-top tabloid National Mirror, published today in 1969. Our choice for best story: “Crazed Firemen Put Out Fire Naturally.” How much you wanna bet the phrase “weenie roast” pops up in there somewhere? See more National Mirror here and here

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Vintage Pulp Dec 2 2010
MAN & THE MIRROR
The sixties were largely about sexual liberation, but National Mirror was the other reflection of the times.


Here’s yet another mid-century tabloid, the low-rent National Mirror. This one was published today in 1969, and the paper as a whole was part of the Myron Fass stable, running from 1965 to 1973. Its editorial niche was forced sex, which is to say we’ve never seen a cover that didn’t feature the words “rape,” “molest,” or “assault.” There’s even a well-known cover about an actress being raped by a gorilla. If every good outcome accidentally creates an opposite consequence, then it's easy to see how the long overdue sexual liberation of the sixties that freed women to make their own choices unleashed a backlash of male resentment personified by the audience for these tabloids. If women couldn’t be kept in their place in the real world, at least they could be controlled—indeed abused—in print. Is that assumption about Mirror readers too big of a leap to make? It might seem so, looking at just one cover. But if we posted fifteen, and you saw the rape theme repeated on each one, you’d probably say, “Ah, okay, they’ve got a point there.” The good news is these types of tabloids have all disappeared, which gives us the freedom to enjoy them as historical curiosities. The bad news is today’s sales figures for violent porn teach us that only the medium has changed, not the message. That said, we’re well aware that many people see any reproduction of female nudity as a form of sexual violence, but that’s overreaching, in our opinion. Our rule is simple: Nudity and sex good, nonconsensual nudity and sex bad. Unless you’re crazy, it’s impossible to get confused. 

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Intl. Notebook Jul 15 2010
THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS
Subjects in Mirror are stranger than they appear.
We’ve heard of the hooker with a heart of gold, but this header on the National Mirror from today in 1969 is the first time we’ve heard of a priest with the heart of a prostitute. The priesthood has really taken a beating in the last few years, so we don’t need to offer up any cheap jokes about how a prostie’s heart might be considered an upgrade. Instead, let’s just imagine how much more fun confession would be.

Sinner: “Forgive me father, for I have sinned.”
Priest: “Well I knew that. Why else would you be here?”
Sinner: “Um, well anyway, last week after work I—”
Priest: “Slow down there, soldier—around here, it’s pay before you play.”
Sinner: “Er, excuse me?”
Priest: “Sweetie, you must tithe before we writhe. Am I being clear?”
Sinner: “Um… all I have is five dollars.”
Priest: “Oh, hell no. You know what you get for five dollars?”
Sinner: “No.”
Priest: “Last rites.”
Sinner: “But I don’t need last rites.”
Priest: “You will after my business manager Bobo gets done with you.”
 
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Vintage Pulp Feb 9 2010
LIVING THE HUSH LIFE
Hush-Hush News publisher Myron Fass was the king of sleaze.

Hush-Hush News is a fresh addition to the Pulp Intl. tabloid collection, and though it’s an obscure imprint, it was owned by Myron Fass, who was one of the kings of American sleaze publishing during the sixties and seventies. He started as a comic book artist in 1946, and worked in that field until the mid 1950s. The satire magazine Lunatickle was his first publishing venture, and he moved into tabloid publishing soon afterward. Fass specialized in one-offs—editions meant to be printed only once. During the height of his empire he published fifty titles a month, covering any subject matter he thought would sell—wrestling, UFOs, punk music, horror movies, conspiracy, psychic phenomena, and so forth. His celebrity mags included Cockeyed, Exposed, The National Mirror, and Pic, all of which we’ll show you later. The above paper hit the streets today in 1971, and it features the usual combination of sexual teasing and race-baiting, but the most interesting thing to us is the shift we see inside from old to new school Hollywood. People like Stacy Keach, Patty Duke, and Steve McQueen are featured, while Hollywood gods like Frank Sinatra and Cary Grant have virtually faded from the scene. But the new school stars perhaps didn’t capture imaginations like the old guard, because in a few more years, a market that had once been glutted with tabloids would feature only a few. We’ll have more issues of Hush-Hush News in the future. 

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
February 24
1920—The Nazi Party Is Founded
The small German Workers' Party, or DAP, which was under the direction of Adolf Hitler, changes its name to the National Socialist German Workers' Party. Though Hitler adopted the socialist label to attract working class Germans, his party in fact embraced mainly anti-socialist ideas. The group became known in English as the Nazi Party, and within the next fifteen years expanded to become the most powerful force in German politics.
1942—Battle of Los Angeles Takes Place
A object flying over wartime Los Angeles triggers a massive anti-aircraft barrage, ultimately killing 3 civilians. Initially the target of the aerial barrage is thought to be an attacking force from Japan, but it is later suggested to be imaginary and a case of "war nerves", a lost weather balloon, a blimp, a Japanese fire balloon, or even an extraterrestrial craft. The true nature of the object or objects remains unknown to this day, but the event is known as the Battle of Los Angeles.
February 23
1945—Flag Raised on Iwo Jima
Four days after landing on the Japanese-held island of Iwo Jima, American soldiers of the 28th Regiment, 5th Marine Division take Mount Suribachi and raise an American flag. A photograph of the moment shot by Joe Rosenthal becomes one of the most famous images of WWII, and wins him the Pulitzer Prize later that year.
February 22
1987—Andy Warhol Dies
American pop artist Andy Warhol, whose creations have sold for as much as 100 million dollars, dies of cardiac arrhythmia following gallbladder surgery in New York City. Warhol, who already suffered lingering physical problems from a 1968 shooting, requested in his will for all but a tiny fraction of his considerable estate to go toward the creation of a foundation dedicated to the advancement of the visual arts.
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