|Intl. Notebook||Nov 28 2017|
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.
|Vintage Pulp||Jul 7 2016|
|Vintage Pulp||Jun 10 2016|
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.
|Vintage Pulp||Oct 28 2011|
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.
|Vintage Pulp||Dec 2 2010|
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.
|Intl. Notebook||Jul 15 2010|
|Vintage Pulp||Feb 9 2010|
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.