A little bit of time has passed since Helen Thomas has left the White House Press Corps and recently Playboy wanted to get her side of the story about what happened, along with that though, they got a great retrospective of her time at the White House covering almost 1/4 of the Presidents of the United States (the last 10 Presidents). I don’t know what to think about Helen Thomas, she is a great reporter who said some things that I didn’t agree with, but I still think she should be sitting up front in the White House Press Corps asking the tough questions that no one seems to ask anymore. Sadly, I agree with her view of the current state of journalism in the US.
To get an idea, here are of my favorite exchanges:
“PLAYBOY: So is this how you pictured retirement?
THOMAS: I’m not retired! I was fired. In fact, I’ll die with my boots on. I’m still writing and I’ll continue to write and ask hard questions. I will never bow out of journalism.
PLAYBOY: Take us back to the White House courtyard on May 27 when Rabbi David Nesenoff pointed his camera at you and asked for your comments on Israel.
THOMAS: He pulled that thing out like a jackknife. I mean, he started out very nice, introducing me to these two young boys who wanted to be in journalism. He said, “Got any advice? Go for it.” I didn’t know it was Jewish Heritage Month, which is why he was at the White House and also why he asked “So what do you think of Israel?” That’s when I said, “They should get the hell out of Palestine.”
PLAYBOY: Did you realize how controversial those words were as you spoke them?
THOMAS: I knew I’d hit the third rail. You cannot say anything about Israel in this country. But I’ve lived with this cause for many years. Everybody knows my feelings that the Palestinians have been shortchanged in every way. Sure, the Israelis have a right to exist—but where they were born, not to come and take someone else’s home. I’ve had it up to here with the violations against the Palestinians. Why shouldn’t I say it? I knew exactly what I was doing—I was going for broke. I had reached the point of no return. You finally get fed up.
PLAYBOY: What was life like in the immediate aftermath as millions started viewing the video on YouTube?
THOMAS: I went into self-imposed house arrest for two weeks. It was a case of “know thyself.” Isn’t that what Socrates said? I wanted to see if I was remorseful—and I wasn’t.
PLAYBOY: Did the phone ring off the hook?
THOMAS: No. Nobody called. But I still have some friends in the White House press pool, who reached out to me. I understand they formed Jews for Helen Thomas at one point.
PLAYBOY: That’s interesting.
THOMAS: I also heard from Jimmy Carter. He called a few weeks later.
PLAYBOY: Has there ever been an honest press secretary?
THOMAS: Jerry terHorst. He lasted one month. He was President Ford’s press secretary. He had covered Ford in Washington. He had been here for 29 years as a reporter from the Grand Rapids paper and then The Detroit News. He understood the press. But he was incapable of lying, and he quit when Ford pardoned Nixon, on the very day. He couldn’t take it. Poor Jerry Ford. He just wasn’t ready to be president. He had prepared himself to be Speaker of the House and stepped into those shoes okay, but he just wasn’t equipped for the big job. We saw that Betty Ford struggled too, of course.”
I found this story though Engadget, but it’s a story coming from Wired, where it goes through the fledgling history of a relatively new field of neuroscience, Optogenetics. Its is the study of using light and modified genes (inserted using modified viruses) to try and alter the brain to cure disorders like Depression and Parkinson’s! The trials from Stanford haven’t gotten past the animal stages yet, but they have started working on rhesus monkeys (which have very similar brains to humans) and already got Parkinson’s mice literally up and running again. The whole thing is very new, but very cool, especially if we can start using blue light to activate brain cells, yellow light to quiet them and green light to send response signals by activating different forms of rhodopsin (Channelrhodopsin-1, Channelrhodopsin-2 and Halorhodopsin).
Check out the article here to get the details, this could be very cool for diseased brains very soon.
It was been a dirty little secret for years that magazines and advertisers were digitally editing their photos for touching up the finished product, to make the beautiful, ravishing. This is nothing new, for years the movie industry was using trickery like placing Vasoline and stockings over lenses to “soften” the look of their female stars, but it feels like this practice has been placed into overdrive
It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, well, this Dove Evolution is 75 second video that is worth millions, putting these dirty little secrets of “the industry” into the bright light of day.
For an even better concrete example, take a look at photos from a 2008 Campari ad campaign with raven haired beauty Jessica Alba (below), the image on the left is before Photoshop, on the right the post-Photoshop version. If the industry thinks this gorgeous celebrity needs all these massive photo touch-ups, what chance do regular girls around the world have to build their self esteem?
*Update 10/7/2009* Thanks to the talented Dave, I got another good example of how much goes into the Photoshopping of already beautiful women from the Washington Post:
Aisha Tyler Before:
Aisha Tyler After:
**Update 2009-1-29 – Here is another story from Boing Boing on this issue and here is what happened when Rachel Maddow saw that same story. Here’s the pic:
Thanks to the Digg Reel (subscribe here), I’ve found me some scary tv commercials through Esquire… so scary, in fact, that they’re quite compelling and harder to turn away from than a car wreck on the side of the road.
OK, I don’t have much for today, but I did stumble across the above pic of Javier Bardem after seeing Vicky Cristina Barcelona, which I enjoyed a great deal. I really don’t know what to say about it, other than it is visually stunning and it reminds me why I love photography.
That’s all I got.
I know it is a gross oversimplification to say that the South votes Republican, while the North votes Democrat here in the US, but the New Yorker has an interesting video in their Naked Campaign series (subscribe here), called Map Quest, where they talk about which states Obama could win to get the magic number (270) in the electoral college, while also pointing out which states McCain could swoop in and take himself.
It’s quite interesting to watch, especially for a political junkie, like myself.
I don’t normally read Vanity Fair, but my grandmother does and she knows that I LOVE comedians, so she saved this article about a dozen of the craziest and most gut bustingly funny female comedians in the entertainment industry today for me.