Monday, 30 December 2013

Internationalizing The New York Times

I first “noticed” a "New York Times” as a nineteen-year old swabbie at the Pensacola Naval Air Station in 1946. I had just finished a year-long training in Naval Radar in Chicago, Gulfport,Ms, and Corpus Christi,TX and proudly showed the Aviation Electronic Mate, 2nd Class sign on my dress blues. It was my first year away from home, and was eager to appear grown up. The pilots who were learning to land on aircraft carriers or fly the huge Catalinas were just a little order than we were and equally eager to appear cosmopolitan. We picked up the paper at the local drug store and looked serious. It wasn’t until I entered the Jesuit University of Detroit (my home town) in September, 1946 that I became a regular reader in the college library.

So here I am now, in Weimar, Germany, finishing a fourteen year stint researching and writing a critical evaluation of Walter Gropius’s innovative art school to bring good design to the working classes. I call my book, “Bauhaus: Myths and Realities”, emphasizing the current school leaders as “Bauhustlers” for their betrayal of his blue-collar meliorism for their Upper Muddle Class snootiness. 
I was also astonished to discover that they had never even heard of the greatest factory designer in history, Albert Kahn, who immigrated from Hesse, Germany in 1880, at age 11 to Detroit, the oldest son of a Jewish Rabbi, who was so poor his oldest son didn’t even finish High School, but who was so gifted a designer that the leading architecture firm hired him until he was 21, when they splurged him to know Europe, from which he returned to be Henry Ford’s architect. He also was a leader in forming the so-called American Bauhaus, the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1932, which actually achieved what the German “pioneer” merely hoped to accomplish.

The Times has been indispensable to writing that book, but even more essential in setting an example for my sixty years of “Internationalizing” American Lit into “International English Lit”. America made the fatal error that still corrupts US of believing that the Puritan God set aside North America so it could be Christianized. This foul “Exceptionalizing” legitimized killing and reservationizing hundreds of indigenous tribes, justified the slavery of four million African slaves, as well as incarcerating literally millions of poor blacks and Hispanics for the same “crimes” whites enjoy with impunity. It also, alas, falsely justifies the 1%/99% irrational ratios currently crippling our nation’s economic maturity. Before I analyse the hopeful internationalizing of the December 23rd issue of the INYT (I like to hear it as the false pronunciation of “Isn’t it”), I want to describe how I internationalized American Lit during my public career.

It started with abolishing the scandalous absence of Afro-American Lit. Then Appalachian Lit which suddenly bloomed in the sixties. Next, Jamaica, when Dean Landis financed a seminar between Rex Nettleford,the so-called Thomas Jefferson of the U of West Indies, Seamus Heaney whom I met at the Belfast Festival when he read to my summer students a chrestomathy of Northern Irish poems, and Michael Harper, the black poet at Brown University. Once you get the hang of it, IE Lit is the only logical way to expand. Teaching one year in Britain I paired Emily Dickinson with Gerard Manley Hopkins, Twain with Dickens, und so weiter. We booked Australia’s Robert Frost who was summering in the UK.

You’ve probably guessed I was McLuhanized by the Jebbies in Detroit. Indeed in 1949, with a Ph.B in philosophy, I won the annual Mid-American Jesuit Universities essay contest with my first published rant, “Needed:More “Red-Booded”American Catholics”, by which I mean agreed with the local Communist moves to free American blacks. For good measure, my girl and I double-dated with a black couple to integrate the Senior Prom at Eastwood Gardens!

As I finished my dissertation, I got a Ford Grant to spend a year in New York getting the media used to school criticism. I was appointed radio-TV editor of Scholastic Teachers which put my columns in millions of classrooms. Roy Larsen, publisher of “Time” gave me an office on the 34th floor of the Time-Life Building, whence I dreamed of snagging NBC’s innovative Pat Weaver, across Sixth Avenue. After he fixed me up with his brass, CBC, ABC, and NET followed. The British Film Institute commissioned me to write a quarterly summary of American TV for its journal, “Contrasts”. TIO head Roy Danish helped me organize a weekly screening of “unseen American TV” under the name “24 Hours” BBC 2’s nightly news. I appeared on “Late Night Lineup” with a PBS name to tout this media at their School of Art. Time-Life Films booked me to New York every Tuesday to screen the possible films we asked to be taped the week before. 

Our chief, Peter Roebeck, cancelled our Monty Python opener, “I’m not paying you a $1000 a month to look at that crap.” Yes, Peter,” we humbly replied, making sure WTTW/ Chicago started the Python crawling into all of the PBS circuits. I claim solemnly that sneaking Monty and his other sneaky snakes onto PBS is my only contribution to the maturing of America.I took American media to Senegal in 1964 for the First World Negroes Art Festival. In 1964 I took a Wole Soyinka film to Lagos, Nigeria for exhibition at the American Embassy during the annual Commonwealth Educational Conference. We urged each Commonwealth country to go home and do likewise.

In 1982, my mother died, and now I was free to write my weekly “Hazard-at-Large” letter from anywhere in the world in Philly’s “Welcomat”. I started by going to Shanghai to study Mandarin for six weeks, Actually, I was really after my first International Scoop, because the first Chinese art museum to leave their country was headed for San Francisco, where I spent my first free two years with Mary Mueller, a sweet Okie exPat! Sure enough, I got the May KQED mag cover. Whoopee.

Heard enough of Hazard’s Internationalizing? Here goes my critic of today’s INYT! Monday, December 23, 2013. Hotel Elefant had no delivery. Anna Amalia Kubus is closed until the day after New Years. It has a grand display of German dailies including both TA and TLZ local dailies,, Swiss, Russian, French, British, Turkish, TLS, NYRB, The Economist (the most literate daily in the English speaking world, and a few freebies who don’t deserve this commendation. It’s my current Church. I’m there, sharply at 9 a.m., every day but Sunday where my Church of the day is my sack where I read a swatch of daily newspapers and weekly mags. Today, for example, Die Welt Compact, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, and Suddeutsche Zeitung (Bavaria), and Der Spiegel (Virgin Mary and Lutheran theology) and Focus. (“Thin without Stress!)

The first thing I noted was the dark blue view of a kid who has been flying a kite atop a favela, where the story tells of families renting their slums for World Cup visitors. Can’t be more concerned about Brazil’s fragile economy than that. Top above paper’s name are ticklers about an Opera boom, EBay’s devious payment scams, and a Rustic New Home. Left column is on Iceland scamming Bitcoin. Right column is Khodorkovsky’s Berlin free press conference. Four columns explores the Rio favela contradictions. Three short midcolumns analyses new Polish midsize cities providing business services. The bottom third of the front page with six teases, plus five online stories at INYT. Com. I love this hidden expansivesness. More analysis for my 3 euros.1/12 page,lower right corner, ad for BVLGARI watches.UGH! Prestige objects and Fashion jerk my prole soul.

p.5 ¼ page Paul Smith/Design Museum/ until 9 March
I’ll be there: Germania just listed 59Euro Trip!
p.8,1/6 BBC Tout. I internet BBC International every morning and go to sleep on New York Jazz. During the day I scan WHYY, my hometown FM, for which I gladly pay $120 a year. I sneak onto Boston’s high IQ WBUR-Fm. But almost never listen to Temple U’s classics. INYT Classified parallels BBC. Cluttered, except for Villoldo v. the Republic of Cuba!? Tiny plug for Classifieds.Pp. II AND III devotes ¼ of two adjacent pages pushing Rolex. Yuck II. Pp.I-IV are called Front Row Center, special reports on opera, “Manon” to “Moby Dick” in 2014. Berlin’s Philharmonic, and neglected composer Phillipe Rameau. Looks like secretly advertised KULTUR!
P. 9.1/4 page, urging readers to Increase Your Global Intelligence via INYT:COM/EURO. A cheapie under 1 Euro for your first four weeks. I guess I risk getting stung/hooked. Especially hating 10 freebies a month!
P.13 ¼ page to Luxury Law Summit. Brits who can afford such real estate should pay higfher taxes, this red radical groans.
p.14 ¼ page..Dubai Dty Free. Yuck, Arab shahs holding down their women!
p.18 (last page) ¼ page Cartier Exhibition, Grand Palais, Paris.
Back to text: What#s In it, INYT!
p.2, In Your Words. Best new feature. Often better than long articles in persuading.
In Our Pages. Smaller than before but essential to the historical mind
Lessons During Wartime”. The best new feature. Excellent photography, deepening text.
Albert R. Hunt, always enlightening
p.8 Clinton the Arkie almost a ½ page .
Right column on spy program --!/6
Front Row Center 4 pages good art criticism
p.9 Egypt turmoil reaches U’s
Am U’s job security/ See my closing song in my VITA
pp.-.10-12 SPORTS in SPURTS . I’m excused. Not as good as USA Today. Mea Culpa!
Love the presence of Peanuts (Though I had a grand hassle with his author when I taught in Santa Rosa for a year. He’s a rich creep whoi pleaded poor. BLAH!

Perfect retreats bore me! I just sold my Louie Kahn 1952 GreenBelt Knoll 19 family experiment in integration for $110,000. Paid $24,000 in 1956. I loved it for 50 years. 1783 villa, modernized in 1999 cost us 130,000 Euros. Goethe lived on Seifengasse 1. Hazard at 10! It’s a glory on the third floor!

p.14 Fewer movies, wider profit margin will interest my son Michael who is a poet, photographer, and filmmaker in that disorder, in Minneapolis.

p.14, Irish housing complexities interests me the more since my Deidre, an etymologist at Michigan State just tracked its history. In the eighth century, the French were fighting the Moors in the South of Spain. They won and the defeated graciously invited them into their Castle, El Azard, where they taught the French a new dice game. Returned to France, they yelled”Lessons-nous enjoyons Le Hazard!” 1066, they stole all the duchies they could find there, then moved to Ireland for more theft. Behold this Arab Irish man whose green grandparties were either Fitzpatrick or El Hazards.

p.18 International Travelers as usual as always.#

Pardon me, I’m signing up for a month!

Bottom Obit. Only feature better is “The Economist ”’s final page obit.
P. 3 World News/Middle East/Europe. Ukraine (excellently revolting pix),Turkey snoots US, The Crime of Droning Civies,Egypt gips dissenters.
p.4 World News/Europe Africa
Rescue in South Sudan
Putin’s Wobbley character
Vlad#s unfavorite Billionaire airs his headache
p.5 World News Asia
Brunei, India, Thailand, Dhaka Fire, Beijing antigraft panel


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