Henry Luce vs. Harold Ross

The New Yorker recently had a profile of Henry Luce and Time and Harold Ross and The New Yorker’s opinion of them. Balloon Juice highlighted a couple of the good parts. This is the type of cattiness we could use a little more of.

[A] brutal parody of Timestyle, called “Time . . . Fortune . . . Life . . . Luce”: “Backward ran sentences until reeled the mind.” He skewered the contents of Fortune (“branch banking, hogs, glassblowing, how to live in Chicago on $25,000 a year”) and of Life (“Russian peasants in the nude, the love life of the Black Widow spider”). He made Luce ridiculous (“ambitious, gimlet-eyed, Baby Tycoon Henry Robinson Luce”), not sparing his childhood (“Very unlike the novels of Pearl Buck were his early days”), his fabulous wealth (“Described too modestly by him to Newyorkereporter as ‘smallest apartment in River House,’ Luce duplex at 435 East 52nd Street contains 15 rooms, 5 baths, a lavatory”), or his self-regard: “Before some important body he makes now at least one speech a year.” He announced the net profits of Time Inc., purported to have calculated to five decimal places the “average weekly recompense for informing fellowman,” and took a swipe at Ingersoll, “former Fortuneditor, now general manager of all Timenterprises . . . salary: $30,000; income from stock: $40,000.” In sum, “Sitting pretty are the boys.”

“There’s not a single kind word about me in the whole Profile,” Luce said. “That’s what you get for being a baby tycoon,” Ross said. “Goddamn it, Ross, this whole goddamned piece is malicious, and you know it!” Ross paused. “You’ve put your finger on it, Luce. I believe in malice.”


I BELIEVE IN MALICE!

Henry Luce vs. Harold Ross

The 50 Most Loathsome Americans of 2010

Buffalo Beast is out with this year’s version of The 50 Most Loathsome Americans. Incidentally, the person in #1 is also #1 in the Most Powerful People in Food list I posted earlier. Most importantly, Buffalo Beast needs to be commended for including a list this long all on one page.

EDITOR’S NOTE: 2010 was the most loathsome year on record, and it was difficult choosing between the literally hundreds of deserving scoundrels who could’ve made this year’s list. Some people are perpetually awful and we’re tired of writing about how awful they are, so there are some intentionally glaring omissions. We surely missed someone you hate. We missed a lot of people I hate. Check out the Loathsome Americans from 2002, (the dog eated it in 2003) 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 (wow, we’re getting old) before your head explodes because your favorite asshole isn’t featured above.

Via Balloon Juice

The 50 Most Loathsome Americans of 2010

Changes to Oscar Voting

Hendrik Hertzberg explains the Oscars’ new voting system. The change, while making it more likely that blockbusters will be nominated, makes it more likely that an underdog will actually win.

From 1946 until last year, the voting worked the way Americans are most familiar with. Five pictures were nominated. If you were a member of the Academy, you put an “X” next to the name of your favorite. The picture with the most votes won. Nice and simple, though it did mean that a movie could win even if a solid majority of the eligible voters—in theory, as many as seventy-nine per cent of them—didn’t like it. Those legendary PricewaterhouseCoopers accountants don’t release the totals, but this or something like it has to have happened in the past, probably many times.

This year, the Best Picture list was expanded, partly to make sure that at least a couple of blockbusters would be on it… To forestall a victory for some cinematic George Wallace or Ross Perot, the Academy switched to a different system. Members—there are around fifty-eight hundred of them—are being asked to rank their choices from one to ten. In the unlikely event that a picture gets an outright majority of first-choice votes, the counting’s over. If not, the last-place finisher is dropped and its voters’ second choices are distributed among the movies still in the running. If there’s still no majority, the second-to-last-place finisher gets eliminated, and its voters’ second (or third) choices are counted. And so on, until one of the nominees goes over fifty per cent.

This scheme, known as preference voting or instant-runoff voting, doesn’t necessarily get you the movie (or the candidate) with the most committed supporters, but it does get you a winner that a majority can at least countenance. It favors consensus.

Via Balloon Juice

Changes to Oscar Voting

Wingnut Voltron Definition

(I’ve had this post in “Drafts” since January when I had the idea to do a week of new words/theories/definitions, but who knows if that will ever happen, and now that Balloon Juice is building a dictionary, I figured I’d post it. Carry on.)

I heard this phrase the other day and traced the first usage back to Balloon Juice. I think it’s perfect. I’d nominate it for phrase of the year, but it was from last year, so, well, we’ll just have to enjoy it without the awards.

Wingnut Voltron, noun: The act when the right wing blogosphere comes together to form a powerful and passionate opposition to important things, such as scarves in a donut commercial. Derived from the childrens’ cartoon Voltron.

Wingnut Voltron Definition

Allessandra Stanley Had a Bad Day

Updated:
In a previous Unlikely Words post, we inadvertently implied that the Times publishes articles in which “All the dates and facts are wrong.” In actuality, some articles only have mostly incorrect facts and dates. Unlikely Words regrets this error.
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Proof from the New York Times that you too can be a journalist even if you don’t want to use the correct dates or facts in an article. In fact you can use any date or fact you want as long as it’s sort of close to the actual date or fact. This is OK even if ALL the dates and facts are wrong. This proof comes in the form of a correction of an Alessandra Stanley piece.

An appraisal on Saturday about Walter Cronkite’s career included a number of errors. In some copies, it misstated the date that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed and referred incorrectly to Mr. Cronkite’s coverage of D-Day. Dr. King was killed on April 4, 1968, not April 30. Mr. Cronkite covered the D-Day landing from a warplane; he did not storm the beaches. In addition, Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969, not July 26. “The CBS Evening News” overtook “The Huntley-Brinkley Report” on NBC in the ratings during the 1967-68 television season, not after Chet Huntley retired in 1970. A communications satellite used to relay correspondents’ reports from around the world was Telstar, not Telestar. Howard K. Smith was not one of the CBS correspondents Mr. Cronkite would turn to for reports from the field after he became anchor of “The CBS Evening News” in 1962; he left CBS before Mr. Cronkite was the anchor.

Via Balloon Juice.

Allessandra Stanley Had a Bad Day