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$200 Off DreamCloud Promo Code

by Logan Block @ Sleepopolis

It’s easy to save $200 on your DreamCloud sleepopolis.com/dreamcloud/ purchase by using the Sleepopolis coupon code. Just following these steps to get the discount: Head over to DreamCloudSleep.com. Choose the size DreamCloud mattress you would like to purchase. Confirm your cart is correct and apply SLEEPOPOLIS200 promo code. That’s it, you just saved $200!

The post $200 Off DreamCloud Promo Code appeared first on Sleepopolis.

Prepare to Have Very Mixed Feelings About Jordan Peele’s Twilight Zone Reboot

Prepare to Have Very Mixed Feelings About Jordan Peele’s Twilight Zone Reboot

by Marissa Martinelli @ Brow Beat

The good news: We’re getting a Twilight Zone reboot, and it’ll be executive produced by Get Out director Jordan Peele. Peele will collaborate with co–executive producers Simon Kinberg and Marco Ramirez on the pilot of the new series, an update of the sci-fi television series that aired from 1959–1964. The reboot has been in the works for years but got the official green light on Wednesday.

Given that Get Out often felt like a feature-length Twilight Zone episode, Peele will be a great fit for a show that blends sci-fi and social commentary. “Too many times this year it’s felt we were living in a twilight zone, and I can’t think of a better moment to reintroduce it to modern audiences,” he said in a statement.

Now for the bad news: The reboot is heading to CBS All Access, CBS’s $5.99-a-month streaming service ($9.99 a month if you don’t want commercials). All Access, which is currently home to Star Trek: Discovery, The Good Wife spinoff The Good Fight, and No Activity, is looking to add to its collection and with good reason. Discovery gave the service a major boost in sign-ups in September, but All Access is still experiencing some growing pains, and audiences are still getting used to the concept of paying to stream just a handful of exclusive shows.

Hopefully, CBS will at least air the Twilight Zone pilot on prime time as they did with Discovery, giving fans a chance to sample the show before they buy in.

Cotton vs Polyester Sheets: Which Is the Best for You?

by admin @ Gentlehome

Forget about chocolate vs vanilla. Forget about Yankees vs Red Sox. Forget about Google vs Bing. Forget about which color the dress really was. Forget about all other questions, because the only one that really matters is – Cotton vs polyester sheets?...
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The post Cotton vs Polyester Sheets: Which Is the Best for You? appeared first on Gentlehome.

California King vs King Mattress: 3 Differences That Matter

by admin @ Gentlehome

California Kings are often thought of as the unrivaled masters of mattresses, the ace in the hole, the very peak of luxury. This is true…to a point. California kings are a great choice for a large mattress, but they’re far...
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The post California King vs King Mattress: 3 Differences That Matter appeared first on Gentlehome.

This Mashup of Monsters University and Call Me By Your Name May Forever Change How You Watch Both Movies

This Mashup of Monsters University and Call Me By Your Name May Forever Change How You Watch Both Movies

by Marissa Martinelli @ Brow Beat

The critically acclaimed Call Me By Your Name is hardly the first movie to explore the relationship between two men who understand the value of higher education. Mikey Heller, the writer behind We Bare Bears, has combined clips from another such movie, Disney-Pixar’s Monsters University, with the audio from Call Me By Your Name’s trailer to produce a mashup that is at once ridiculous and oddly compelling.

Heller has managed to pick out the perfect Monsters University moments, whether it’s the flash of a statue, a glimpse of some unconventional dance moves, or a shot of Sully raising an eyebrow, to mirror Oliver and Elio’s own growing bond. Heller also includes some of the real-life raves for Call Me by Your Name to really sell the trailer’s authenticity, but it’s the one that he added, supposedly from Vanity Fair’s Richard Lawson, that says it best: “These clips are from Monsters University.”

What are the Risks of Eating Before Bed?

by Linda Coursey @ Bedsheetadvisor

There are many things that you shouldn’t do before bed, and eating is definitely one of them. It may be hard to resist a bite of that chocolate cake in the fridge or a little bit of ice cream, but it’s best to avoid eating before bed. Even if it’s not something sweet, like crackers or chips, you still should resist the temptation of snacking before you settle in for the night. You should try to steer clear of eating anything 4 hours before you plan on going to bed. This will give your stomach time to settle and digest

The post What are the Risks of Eating Before Bed? appeared first on Bedsheetadvisor.

Celebrity Chef and Host of The Chew Mario Batali Has Been Accused of Groping by Four Women

Celebrity Chef and Host of The Chew Mario Batali Has Been Accused of Groping by Four Women

by Rachel Withers @ Brow Beat

Politics, film, journalism, comedy, the arts, and now, food. No high-profile industry is immune from the scourge of powerful sexual harassers, it seems.

Today’s alleged perp: Mario Batali, celebrated TV chef and head of restaurant empire Batali & Bastianich, whom at least four women have accused of sexual misconduct spanning decades. On Monday, Eater revealed the stories of four women, three of whom worked for Batali, who say the restaurant titan touched them inappropriately and without their consent.

The women’s stories are depressingly similar, and all revolve around some form of groping. One former employee says the chef would often grab her from behind, holding her tightly against his body, while another says he once made her straddle him. Batali did not confine his harassment to the workplace: Another former colleague, who had ceased working for Batali at the time, says he groped her breasts at a party, while the woman who has never worked for Batali was also groped by the “creepy” restauranteur she had just met after her wine spilled on her chest.

If there’s one thing that can be said for Batali, it’s that he may have offered the least despicable apology yet, following a range of high-profile apologies that have ranged from dismissive to deranged. In a statement to Eater, Batali said that the allegations matched up with his behavior and apologized for the hurt he had caused. (Note: had caused, not might have caused, Dustin Hoffman.)

I apologize to the people I have mistreated and hurt. Although the identities of most of the individuals mentioned in these stories have not been revealed to me, much of the behavior described does, in fact, match up with ways I have acted. That behavior was wrong and there are no excuses. I take full responsibility and am deeply sorry for any pain, humiliation or discomfort I have caused to my peers, employees, customers, friends and family.
I have work to do to try to regain the trust of those I have hurt and disappointed. For this reason, I am going to step away from day-to-day operations of my businesses. We built these restaurants so that our guests could have fun and indulge, but I took that too far in my own behavior. I won’t make that mistake again. I want any place I am associated with to feel comfortable and safe for the people who work or dine there.
I know my actions have disappointed many people. The successes I have enjoyed are owned by everyone on my team. The failures are mine alone. To the people who have been at my side during this time — my family, my partners, my employees, my friends, my fans — I am grateful for your support and hopeful that I can regain your respect and trust. I will spend the next period of time trying to do that.

Batali will be stepping away from the day-to-day operations of his businesses, as well as his role as co-host of ABC’s The Chew, for an unspecified period of time. Eater is also reporting that the Food Network is canceling the release of six new episodes of Molto Mario, the show that made Batali famous in the late ’90s. “Food Network takes matters like this very seriously and we are putting relaunch plans for Molto Mario on hold,” said a representative from the network.

Update, Dec. 11, 2017, at 12:30 p.m.: The article has been updated to reflect the Food Network’s decision regarding Molto Mario.

Our In-Depth DreamCloud Bed Review for 2018

by Sarah Cummings @ The Sleep Advisor

The post Our In-Depth DreamCloud Bed Review for 2018 appeared first on The Sleep Advisor.

Geoffrey Rush is Suing an Australian Newspaper Over “Slurs, Innuendo, and Hyperbole” After Sexual Harassment Reports

Geoffrey Rush is Suing an Australian Newspaper Over “Slurs, Innuendo, and Hyperbole” After Sexual Harassment Reports

by Rachel Withers @ Brow Beat

Australian actor Geoffrey Rush has filed defamation proceedings against Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, seeking damages and “vindication” for defamation over an anonymous and unverified allegation the paper has been covering.

Since its “world exclusive” last Thursday, the Murdoch-owned newspaper has been pushing the story of an “inappropriate behavior” complaint made against Rush to the Sydney Theatre Company following a 2015 production of King Lear, covering the story in print at least nine times in print. The Telegraph, which is notorious for its inflammatory front page puns, has labeled Rush “King Leer” and referred his “Bard Behavior” in headlines, comparing him to alleged serial predators such as Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and Australian gardening show host Don Burke. Though the exact nature of the complaint remains unknown, the Telegraph claimed the allegation was so serious that the Sydney Theatre Company would never work with the actor again.

In a statement that is worth watching for Rush’s delivery alone, the Oscar-winning actor accused the paper of “splattering [the claims] with unrelenting bombast on its front pages:”

Rush—who was not informed of the anonymous complaint and has been unable to ascertain its details, but “abhors any form of maltreatment”—stepped down as president of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts on the weekend, before filing his claim on Friday, claiming irreparable damage had been done to his reputation, as well as extreme hurt to his family. Compared to the U.S., Australian defamation law is highly favorable towards plaintiffs, with no requirement to prove malicious intent on the part of the defendent.

The paper’s editor said they would be defending their reporting in court, saying “The Daily Telegraph accurately reported the Sydney Theatre Company received a complaint alleging that Mr Geoffrey Rush had engaged in inappropriate behavior.” Staff at the Daily Telegraph’s Melbourne counterpart were reportedly told not to tweet about the “highly libelous” piece, which was dropped from their front page.

Use Cold to Benefit Your Sleep

by Brittany Zachary @ Mattress – Springfield, MO | Beautyrest Sleep Gallery

It is important, especially around the holidays, to make sure you are getting plenty of sleep. You need to be well rested for all those family parties, snowball fights, and late night present wrapping sessions. Getting enough sleep is always easier said than done, and with the recent time change, your body can be having […]

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How much sleep do babies, kids and teens really need?

by HenkinSchultz @ Beds by Design

The post How much sleep do babies, kids and teens really need? appeared first on Beds by Design.

How Adjustable Beds Benefit Your Health

by Cristal Gonzalez @ Shorty's Mattress Depot

Adjustable beds have grown in popularity over the last couple of years, and with good reason. For many people, even with the comfiest of mattresses, physical ailments often get in the way of a good night’s sleep. If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. Luckily, Shorty’s Mattress Depot has solutions for you. Here are […]

The post How Adjustable Beds Benefit Your Health appeared first on Shorty's Mattress Depot.

The 7 Best California King Sheets to Buy in 2018

The 7 Best California King Sheets to Buy in 2018


The Spruce

Read reviews and buy the best California king sheets from top manufacturers including Pinzon, Mayfair and more

Why Beyoncé Needed Ed Sheeran to Score Her First No. 1 Hit in Nine Years

Why Beyoncé Needed Ed Sheeran to Score Her First No. 1 Hit in Nine Years

by Chris Molanphy @ Brow Beat

If living well is the best revenge, perhaps charting well is the best Grammy clap-back? For Ed Sheeran, our premier polymath pop troubadour, this holiday season really has been the ultimate in bad news–good news whiplash. Within the space of two weeks, Sheeran was shut out of every top Grammy category—by a Recording Academy that seemed destined to bolt Sheeran’s name onto all the golden gramophones—and then, days later, he laid waste to the Billboard charts again. “Perfect,” the fourth official single from Sheeran’s ÷ (Divide) album, becomes his second Hot 100 No. 1 song of 2017, eight months after his first, “Shape of You,” completed a dozen-week run on top. The very same day Billboard announced this, the magazine also revealed that “Shape” was the No. 1 Hot 100 hit of the year, outgunning 2017’s record-setting Song of the Summer “Despacito,” which ranks second for the year. And by the way, it’s the second year in a row that Sheeran has been the author of the top Billboard hit, and the third year in a row that he’s had one of the top two: The No. 1 song of 2016, Justin Bieber’s spiteful kiss-off “Love Yourself,” was co-written by Sheeran, and on Billboard's list of the biggest songs of 2015, his “Thinking Out Loud” came in at No. 2.

Pretty quickly, in the press, Sheeran’s attitude toward the Grammy nominations has turned from sad-sack to modestly cheerful and maybe even a bit shady—his comments veering from two weeks ago’s “maybe this year wasn’t my year” to this week’s, “You know, I'm not dying.” He has even started redirecting the media toward his renewed chart prowess: “The week after [the Grammy snub], I get an MBE from the palace, I go No. 1 on Spotify, …I’m about to have my second ever Billboard No. 1—like, there’s so many things in the mix that counterbalance it.” It is hilarious to consider an Ed Sheeran who now turns to the love of the people as compensation for his underrating by the eternally middlebrow tastemakers in the Recording Academy—particularly when the latter camp gave him a Song of the Year Grammy just 22 months ago.

However its creator spins this, the success of “Perfect” on the Hot 100 wasn’t a foregone conclusion. In fact, in America, it was actually a minor comeback. If 2017 has felt like the year Ed Sheeran finally became inescapable, that’s mostly due to one song, the perky, faux–tropical-house “Shape of You.” After landing in January, “Shape” became even more absurdly ubiquitous than the average big hit. It broke a record for the longest run in Billboard’s Top 10—an unprecedented 33 weeks, from January through early September (this is basically how it topped “Despacito” for the year)—and it’s still sitting in the Top 30 in this, its 48th week. The problem for Ed was following it up. “Shape” arrived paired with a second hit, the wistful, windy “Castle on the Hill,” but after a big Top 10 debut in January, “Castle” plummeted and only managed to crawl back toward the Top 20 by midsummer. Third single “Galway Girl,” a risible blend of Irish jig and thumping pop, must have seemed like a good idea for Sheeran’s huge global audience but was an all-out flop in America, peaking outside our Top 40. By the fall, Sheeran had a unique problem: He was pop’s biggest star of the year—especially before his pal Taylor Swift came back—but he needed another real, actual, omnipresent hit.

Sheeran addressed his emergency by breaking some industrial-strength glass: He called in Beyoncé. To be fair, the idea long predated Sheeran’s late-summer search for a single. The two had met and even sung together at the 2015 Grammys, and Ed began courting Bey to sing on the ballad as far back as last spring, while “Shape of You” was riding high. Finally recorded in September—Sheeran said the mighty Knowles-Carter needed only one take (shocker)—the new “Perfect” remained a secret for a few more weeks while Sheeran issued his original album cut as a single. His solo version managed to climb into the Top 10 by late November.

With or without Beyoncé, “Perfect” was fated to be some kind of hit: It’s schlock, if ruthlessly effective. As Alfred Soto points out at The Singles Jukebox, even those of us who find Sheeran noisome have “had to reckon with his considerable craft. He can write hooks and melodies—facts are facts, people.” In addition to orchestration by classical composer Matthew Sheeran, Ed’s brother, “Perfect” boasts an instantly familiar melody and a ’50s slow-dance arrangement. You half expect the Five Satins to show up and start doo-wopping “In the Still of the Night” over the chorus.

This throwback technique can produce magic—witness the 2015 country-to-pop crossover hit “Girl Crush” by Little Big Town, which paired a vintage trad-pop arrangement with creative, gender-flipped lyrics for something fresh and modern. But that’s where “Perfect” falls down—in its banal sentiments. The lyric is basically a mumblecore version of Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight”: “When you said you looked a mess/ I whispered underneath my breath/ But you heard it/ Darling, you look perfect/ Tonight.” The duet version improves things slightly but is mostly a case of Lord-giveth-and-taketh, as Queen Bey strips away the orchestration—her suggestion—to leave only Sheeran’s sturdy melody but also his awkward lyrics, which often resemble Max Martin in their syllable-filling nonsense but without the bracing lift of a Martin production.

The most Beyoncé thing about the duet was how Sheeran finally deployed it: a surprise reveal. Officially titled “Perfect Duet”—a full acoustic rerecording, yet close enough to the original Ed-only “Perfect” that Billboard counts the two versions together for chart purposes—version deux instantly gave the song a kick to go the last mile. After the Bey duet had been on sale only a few hours, it amassed enough points to hurtle “Perfect” into the Hot 100’s Top Three. The following week, with a full week of sales and streams, “Perfect” leapt to No. 1, ejecting Post Malone’s “Rockstar” from the penthouse after an eight-week run on top. “Perfect” is doing well at radio, too, currently ranked third in airplay. In the 2010s, pop radio hasn’t always warmed to slow romancers, unless they’re by Adele or the people imitating her, but after the smash success of 2015’s “Thinking Out Loud,” radio programmers appear to have placed Sheeran in a bulletproof Adele-like category.

The same week “Perfect”/“Perfect Duet” reached the summit, Billboard officially added Beyoncé’s name as a coequal credit on the single, since nearly two-thirds of “Perfect’s” digital sales were tallied by the duet. It’s the second time this year Bey was added to a single’s artist credit mid-run. Just two months ago, she turned J. Balvin’s “Mi Gente,” a post-“Despacito” crossover reggaetón hit, into a No. 3 smash by Bieber-izing it with new English verses. While the “Gente” remix gave Bey her first Top Three hit in more than three years, Bey’s teamup with Sheeran is an even bigger career milestone. “Perfect Duet” is Beyoncé’s first Hot 100 chart-topper since—perhaps you’ve heard of this one?—“Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It),” which topped the Hot 100 in December 2008, a month after Barack Obama was elected president.

Let’s pause and reiterate this point, which might stun you if you haven’t been paying close attention to the Hot 100 for the last decade: This is Beyoncé’s first No. 1 song in nine years—her first of the 2010s, period, and she got it via Ed Sheeran. For all of the hashtags, concert grosses, political activism, critical acclaim, awards-show and Super Bowl–halftime dominance, and even jokey memes about the indestructability of Beyoncé’s fame, this whole decade the most famous pop star in America has had no pop-chart toppers. She came closest with “Drunk in Love,” the surfbortin’ lead single from her 2013 self-titled masterpiece, which reached No. 2 in early 2014. But “Drunk” peaked largely on the strength of Beyoncé’s massive download sales; it never ranked higher on Billboard’s airplay chart than No. 6. Other chattering-class phenomena like her Bey-squad banger “7/11” or her Black Lives Matter anthem “Formation” have fallen well short of the Top 10 (or, in the case of her delirious, boof-boofingCountdown,” simply missed the Top 40 entirely). Now four years away from her 40th birthday, Bey seems to have regarded Sheeran’s “Perfect” the way Justin Timberlake leveraged “Can’t Stop the Feeling” last year—as a late-career insurance policy.

So, who needed whom more, between the Ginger Hobbit and the Queen Bey? The short answer is each needed the other—but for different reasons.

Sheeran’s needs were simpler. He had to revive a hit-bound but dormant track on a nine-month-old album. In other words, he had to give the public—even diehard fans—a reason to consume “Perfect” again. So he did what pal Taylor Swift did two and a half years ago with her album cut “Bad Blood,” the fourth single from 1989, which only became a smash after she got Kendrick Lamar to rap on it. As I said in this series when “Bad Blood” hit No. 1, all Lamar had to do for Swift was show up—in the digital era, when all songs are available for single-song purchase or streaming the moment an album drops, the music business no longer has scarcity at its command when it comes to picking the third, fourth, or fifth radio single from an album. Those songs have been out a la carte for months, and even if the artist is a superstar and the album’s a smash, turning a late single from it into a chart-topping hit is tougher now. That is, unless you can get a starry guest to reboot the track—preferably, if you are a white pop star, a cultural-cred–having black artist. (This trick also worked six years ago for Katy Perry on the fourth and fifth No. 1 hits from her record-setting Teenage Dream album, remixed with Kanye West and Missy Elliott, respectively.)

But Beyoncé needed Sheeran, too—as absurd as this sounds, he made Bey more radio-friendly. The 2010s has been a decade of exploration for Beyoncé as she’s, admirably, tested pop’s political and sonic boundaries. Truthfully, Bey has been cutting-edge her whole career, even back when she was a regular chart-topper: helping to reinvent R&B singing around rap cadence on the 1999 Destiny’s Child hit “Say My Name,” breaking the genius sample-deploying producer Rich Harrison on 2003’s start-stop smash “Crazy in Love,” and more. But this decade, she’s really pushed it to the limit, as much as a culturally dominant megastar can, from “Run the World (Girls)” to “Partition” to “Daddy Lessons.” At some point early this decade—probably around the time her 2011 album 4 did solid black radio business but tanked at Top 40—Bey decided that, like her husband’s sometime-friend Kanye West, she wasn’t necessarily going to try for pop hits anymore. Artistically, critically, and on the album chart, she’s pulled this off. At a time when albums don’t shift traditional units anymore, both Beyoncé and Lemonade sold at double-platinum levels (sold, not streamed) and commanded critics’ year-end lists. But sooner or later a pop deity needs a regular-ass radio hit to remind her global following why, exactly, she lives on Mt. Olympus. Sheeran’s wedding-ready weeper jump-started that process—kind of a genius move, when you’re not working on your own album and on de facto maternity leave.

As for Ed Sheeran, “Perfect” puts a button on the biggest year of his career and rights the ship after the Grammy story nearly ruined his narrative. And he’s not done milking the song yet: Late this week, Sheeran confirmed the rumor that’s been swirling for a couple of weeks and dropped “Perfect” version three: a duet with popera demigod Andrea Bocelli. Yet again, Ed’s singing partner might benefit as much from the teamup as Sheeran—Bocelli even more than Beyoncé. Despite two decades of gold and platinum albums and prior duets with everyone from Céline Dion to Mary J. Blige, the Italian tenor has never scored a U.S. Top 40 hit. Literally the only time Bocelli’s name has even appeared on the Hot 100 was the single week in 2010 that his duet with Blige on “Bridge Over Troubled Water” debuted and peaked at No. 75. Two chart weeks from now, when the data rolls in, it will be interesting to see whether in a three-way contest between solo Sheeran, Beyoncé, and Bocelli, the latter racks up enough sales and streams to have his name instantly added to a No. 1 hit. And hey, Bocelli has also—oddly—never won a Grammy. Maybe, by the time of the 2019 awards, “Perfect” will get him to the podium, and get Sheeran back there. Sound craven? You have to suspect this idea crossed somebody’s mind.

Xtreme Comforts Bamboo Shredded Memory Foam Pillow Review

by Laura Schwecherl @ Sleepopolis

If you want full freedom to adjust your pillows thickness to your liking, read on! The Xtreme Comforts Bamboo Shredded Memory Foam pillow allows you to add or remove filling so anyone—whether you sleep on your side, back, or stomach—can have a fully supportive night’s rest. After reading about this pillow, there are a few […]

The post Xtreme Comforts Bamboo Shredded Memory Foam Pillow Review appeared first on Sleepopolis.

What Would the Original Star Wars Trilogy Look Like if Luke Skywalker Never Abandoned His Dream of Going to Tosche Station?

What Would the Original Star Wars Trilogy Look Like if Luke Skywalker Never Abandoned His Dream of Going to Tosche Station?

by Matthew Dessem @ Brow Beat

Long before he became famous for pummeling Ted Cruz on Twitter, actor Mark Hamill appeared in a little science fiction film called Star Wars. Although it did well at the box office, the narrative has one fatal flaw: the hero almost immediately abandons his original goals. Real heroes stay true to themselves and display perseverance in the face of adversity, but Luke Skywalker drops everything he ever wanted the second a space wizard tells him to. What did Luke want at the beginning of the original trilogy? Well, see for yourself:

Clear stakes, clear goals, clear obstacles: George Lucas promises a film here that he never quite delivers. (N.B.: While it’s true that Lucas shot a scene in which Luke finally gets to Tosche Station, he didn’t use it, leaving the trilogy’s central quest abandoned.) So what would Star Wars have looked like if Skywalker—or Lucas—had had a little more gumption, a little more stick-to-itiveness, a little more integrity, a little more heart? To find out, the Gregory Brothers re-edited the entire original trilogy into a 15-minute long autotuned musical called “Tosche Station (Star Wars but Luke Only Wants To Go to Tosche Station and Doesn’t Care About Politics).” It’s exactly what it sounds like from the title and you will never get it out of your head. After so many years, it’s great to see that the original Star Wars trilogy has gotten a Special Edition rerelease that fans really enjoy.

If that’s not enough “Tosche Station” for you, here it is again in a 10-hour loop:

The Cult of Tonya Harding

The Cult of Tonya Harding

by Viviana Olen @ Brow Beat

This article originally appeared in Vulture.

We’re Matt and Viviana, best friends, roommates, and co-curators of the Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan Museum (THNK1994 Museum, for short), in Brooklyn, New York. We weren’t born museum owners, like the Guggenheims or the Whitneys or the great MOFAD dynasty—rather, we sort of fell into it. One cold winter’s day in 2015, in our newly leased apartment that boasted a 25-foot-long hallway in lieu of a living room, several holes in the floor, and a scrawl on the wall from the previous tenant that warned “Get over it, it’s time,” we sat down to watch Nanette Burstein’s 30 for 30 ESPN documentary The Price of Gold.

The story of Tonya shook us to our very core. It was the most American story ever told. In short, for those unfamiliar (or who have yet to see her upcoming biopic, I, Tonya): After being born into an impoverished and abusive household managed by chain-smoking, parrot-taming, fur-drenched matriarch LaVona Golden, young Tonya pulled herself up by her own skate-straps to reach the pinnacle of athletic success. She became an Olympic athlete, and the first American woman to land the triple axel in competition, only to lose everything after a few poor decisions made on the world stage: namely, choosing to marry some guy named Jeff Gillooly, who we’re sure seemed hot at the time, and who thought it’d be a good idea to club Tonya’s competitor, Nancy Kerrigan, in the kneecaps. Stripped of her titles, Tonya became America’s punch line; every deli across this great nation thought it was clever to name a sandwich the “Tonya Harding Club.”

But to us—and to many others, who you’ll meet shortly—Tonya is more than a punch line. She’s a record-breaking all-star who skated to the Jurassic Park theme and Tone Loc’s “Wild Thing.” She wanted to be judged on the fact that she could do things nobody else could, not her outfit or her manicure or the profound lack of hair technology that existed in the early ’90s. Tonya had world-class talent—and a world-class chip on her shoulder—but no matter how hard she tried to play the game, America wouldn’t let her forget where she came from, or how much she didn’t fit into the mold. Most inspiringly, though, she never stopped trying. Even after the Kerrigan Incident, when the United States Figure Skating Association placed a lifelong ban on Tonya participating in (or coaching competitors) in all official USFSA events, Tonya was undeterred; she tried to start a singing career as a member of a Spice Girls–esque girl group, and later, became a boxer.

When we first watched Tonya’s 30 for 30, one of us had just left an abusive relationship (think Gillooly, but no ’stache) and the other had just spent three months in a wheelchair after getting hit by a car (it was more fun than it sounds). Neither one of us was in what we would describe as a “confident place.” But we found passion and joy, for the first time in forever, every time we talked about how unfairly Tonya was remembered by the world. (It didn’t matter whether or not you had asked us to do so, we were going to shout about Tonya into your face until you admitted you did her dirty just by watching the endless stream of news about her.) We related to how, when Tonya made mistakes, she made them aggressively. We were inspired by Tonya’s strength, talent, and the fact that she’s—as Samantha Jones once described Aleksandr Petrovsky, Carrie’s Russian beau—“a little cocky, but with the goods to back it up.”

We didn’t realize at the time, but this passion is one that’s shared by countless other people—people ready to shout with us, at random, into the ether, about Tonya Harding. After we turned our 25-foot-long hallway into the official space to do just that, these people showed up in droves. We’d unknowingly built a space for an existing community to come together. Some people came to pay homage, some to learn; a few wanted to see a stranger’s apartment, and while they were there, charge their phones. Most were women or gay men—we can count the straight men who came on one hand. But everyone related to Tonya’s imperfect perseverance. And everyone we value today came into our lives after passing through that hallway, engaging in a discourse about Tonya and Nancy, and remembering to follow us back on Instagram. We joined the Cult of Tonya at the time in our lives when we needed it most.

In honor of I, Tonya’s release, we caught up with a few of Tonya’s most die-hard fans to discuss what keeps the Cult of Tonya going strong—and adding new members every day.

The Impersonator: Lynn Harris, former preeminent Tonya Harding impersonator seen on the Ricki Lake show, current women’s advocate, and founder of Gold Comedy. Lynn came into our lives via Facebook message, and gave a riveting speech at our original opening gala. Since then, she’s been an important fixture at all of our key social events. You can’t miss her—she used to look just like Tonya Harding.

How did you become the “premier Tonya Harding look-alike”? Some are born Tonya, some achieve Tonya, and some have Tonya thrust upon them. I’m the latter.

Would you agree that Tonya is a feminist icon? If so, why?
Yes. I mean, there’s no set definition of “feminist icon,” but even if she wouldn’t define herself that way, I would. First of all, she’s a straight-up icon. No money, no love, no support: She had no reason to dream big. But she saved bottle caps to pay for her ice time, sewed her own skating costumes, practiced like a machine, and became the first American woman to perform a triple axel at an international event. Come ON. If that’s not the great American story, I don’t know what is. And it should have been for her.

She’s like this glittering, spinning supermagnet for all the terrible things we project on women. She was a goddamn great athlete—against more odds than others—and we laughed at her, called her ugly, and blamed her for being preyed on by douchey morons (I firmly believe that those boneheads concocted the plan to take Nancy out as a way to take THEMSELVES out of their shitty going-nowhere lives in Shittytown, USA. They were hitching themselves, shittily, to her star. They had no reason to tell her they were doing it. She had no reason to want or need them to. If our default cultural impulse was to trust women, rather than the opposite, that would have been the narrative from day one). Nevertheless, she persisted. She sometimes lashed out, but she never backed down. She still hasn’t.

Dear Tonya, We owe you a massive apology. Signed, America.

The Obsessive: Terry Hall, founder of The Portlandian and resident of the still very active Tonya Harding Fan Club. Based in New Zealand, Terry coined the phrase “Tonya-phile,” and although we’ve never met IRL, he sends us a Christmas card every year, which we very much appreciate.

How would you describe yourself?
I’d like the focus to be on Tonya—talking about me is just a distraction.

Why do you think Tonya is so iconic?
Her life has all the ingredients of gripping story. It’s got sex, violence, glamour, revenge, greed, mystery, tragedy, and comedy. There’s comic relief in the form of the bumbling antics of what Christine Brennan called “the Gang That Couldn’t Whack Straight.” There’s mystery—we still don’t know how much Tonya REALLY knew, and probably never will. Then there’s the whole commentary on the tabloidization of our media, not to mention a strangeness factor that sends the weirdometer right up to 11. People who have never heard it before—like —think it’s got to be fiction when they first encounter it.

But mainly it’s a tragedy in the form of someone who managed to overcome poverty and snobbery to become one of the world’s best figure skaters, only to have it come crashing down in a heap due to the stupidity of others. She’s a classic Greek anti-hero who nearly succeeded in having it all, but ultimately, the gravitational pull of the trailer park was so strong that even she couldn’t jump high enough to reach escape velocity. I think that Shakespeare would have given his right arm to have stuff like this to work with.

The Hermit: Duke Todd. Maybe the coolest person we’ve met through the museum. He found us on Twitter and wanted to donate a Mad magazine–esque comic from 1994 that had a repulsive drawing of Jeff Gillooly on the cover. We met him outside of his East Village apartment and he was in a hurry because he had to watch the season finale of Empire. We totally understood. He then took to DM’ing us at 3 a.m. while under the influence of Ambien—sometimes brilliant and sometimes half-written sentences (see below). Since then, whenever we have a question about art, fashion, or the general camp aesthetic, we turn to him. He also introduced us to iconic moments in pop-culture history, like a fabulous clip from a Lifetime moviewhere Kirstie Alley teaches her foster daughter how to shoplift, and a must-see introduction to who Joey Heatherton is. Don’t expect to see him at the museum though—he RSVPs to every event, but never leaves the house, because it might rain.

How would you describe yourself and what is your age?
Urban hermit/nightwalker, 54.

Why is Tonya so iconic?
DIY aesthetic prevails.

Why do you think there is so much Tonya-inspired art out there?
Sequins.

An alien has landed on Earth. He’s a white, straight, middle-aged real-estate agent who doesn’t know the first thing about anything, but he’s come here to find out who Tonya Harding is. What do you tell him in one sentence, because he’s about to get back on his spaceship and you’re the only one he’s going to ask.
Competitive ice dancing was once a blood sport on this weird planet, & Tonya was a gladiator.

The Artist: Zackary Grady, playwright, creative director, and creator of Toe Pick! The Complete Ice Capades of Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding.

What inspired you to create Toe Pick?
I remember watching the ’94 Olympics live on TV, and the event has stuck with me my entire life. I grew up playing ice hockey and would memorize all the figure skaters’ routines when they’d practice before me, so naturally the idea to write Toe Pick came when I was 16.

Why did you decide to make every word of the script transcribed dialogue from televised media in 1994?
In 2013, I was compiling research materials like a madman in the basement of the NY Public Library, and after a few days of it, I sat back and realized I could never make up the things that were actually said about these figure skaters. Some of the Jane Pauley and Connie Chung quotes are so insane! So I transcribed everything and then worked like a film editor, using words and interviews, and the play slowly came to shape.

Why is Tonya a gay icon?
She reminds me of Little Edie from Grey Gardens in certain ways. They’re both poor, disenfranchised women who have a lot to say and don’t care what people think of them. I think a lot of gays relate to that feeling, and want to celebrate them.

The Former Nancy: Jenny Raynor is “more of a Tonya—a little rough around the edges, Scorpio, Taurus rising, age 33” and a part-time figure-skating coach, art educator, photographer and self-described “former Nancy.” She was one of the first to visit the hallway museum and recently made her own artistic contribution.

What brought you to the Tonya Harding museum, originally?
I love figure skating, art, and hallways. I remember reading about the museum and immediately planning a pilgrimage from Kansas City.

How has your perspective about Tonya evolved since you were a child?
I always related to Nancy as a child, because we both had dark hair. However, I quickly grew tired of the whining, experienced society’s ways, visited the museum, and today I empathize with Tonya.

An alien has landed on Earth. He’s a white, straight, middle-aged real-estate agent who doesn’t know the first thing about anything, but he’s come here to find out who Tonya Harding is. What do you tell him in one sentence, because he’s about to get back on his spaceship and you’re the only one he’s going to ask.
I wouldn’t even speak. I’d simply take him into a dark room and turn on Tonya’s long program from the 1991 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. The volume is loud and there is no commentary. He would watch the moment where Tonya Harding became the first American woman to land a triple axel during competition. I want him to draw his own conclusions when “Send in the Clowns” fades out and Tone Loc’s instrumental version of “Wild Thing” begins. Either way, that’s all he needs to know.

See also: Hear Sufjan Stevens’s Extremely Emotional Musical Tribute to Tonya Harding

Ask an Expert: Can the Plagiarism Charges Against Emma Cline Hold Up in Court?  

Ask an Expert: Can the Plagiarism Charges Against Emma Cline Hold Up in Court?  

by Lila Shapiro @ Brow Beat

This article originally appeared in Vulture.

They were little-known writers when they fell in love. Then she rose to stardom, and he did not. Now they’re suing each other in a San Francisco court.

Emma Cline, the author of last year’s spectacularly successful debut novel The Girls, and her ex, Chaz Reetz-Laiolo, filed dueling federal lawsuits on Wednesday that tell conflicting stories about the death of their relationship and the birth of a literary hit. Reetz-Laiolo says Cline spied on him and plagiarized parts of his unproduced screenplay to write The Girls. Cline says Reetz-Laiolo abused her and now is trying to extort her and destroy her reputation.

Plagiarism cases can be notoriously difficult to prove, especially between a pair of writers who once collaborated and critiqued each other’s work, as Cline and Reezt-Laiolo did. So will the plagiarism charges hold up if the case goes to trial, as both parties have requested? Orly Lobel, a professor of law at the University of San Diego and the author of You Don’t Own Me: How Mattel v. MGA Entertainment Exposed Barbie’s Dark Side was skeptical, particularly since nearly all of the instances of plagiarism Reetz-Laiolo’s complaint cited were not word-for-word quotations, but rather ideas, images, and fragments of anecdotes from their lives together—none of which are protected under copyright law.

The story begins with a few undisputed facts. They met in 2009, when Cline was 20 and Reetz-Laiolo was 33. Part of what drew them together was their literary ambitions. But the relationship was not without problems, and not long after they started dating, Cline installed spy software on her own computer—a computer that Reetz-Laiolo occasionally used. Her complaint says she did this because she knew he was cheating on her, because he was abusive, because she “could no longer distinguish the truth from ReetzLaiolo’s [sic] constant lies.” His complaint says that they were never monogamous to begin with. In any event, in 2013, after they’d broken up, Cline agreed to sell Reetz-Laiolo the laptop with the spyware. From there, the stories diverge even further. His complaint argues that Cline intentionally left the software on the computer, and suggests that she “may” have upgraded to a more advanced version of the spyware program that would have allowed Cline continued remote access to the computer. Cline’s complaint calls this theory “ludicrous.”

Both agree that after Cline sold her book to Random House, in 2014, she approached Reetz-Laiolo and asked him to read a draft of the manuscript; he declined. Her complaint asserts that he delayed reading the book because “the stakes for Cline would only rise higher as she moved further along in the publication process.” In 2015—according to his complaint, the year he discovered the spyware on his computer—Reetz-Laiolo began to review drafts of The Girls. Over the course of the following year, he sent Cline and her publisher (also named in the suit) dozens of instances of alleged plagiarism.

According to Lobel, most of these examples would not hold up in court. One instance includes the mention of the body brush, a personal grooming implement. In an earlier draft of the book, Cline included this sentence: “My mother spoke to Sal about body brushing, of the movement of energies around meridian points. The charts.” Reetz-Laiolo claimed this plagiarized a sentence that appeared in his short story, “Animals,” in Ecotone magazine: “Laurel in the morning brushing her body on the patio with a body brush, slowly combing it up her legs towards her heart, up her arms towards her heart. Circling her belly. There was something totemic about her out there in the sun.”

But Cline’s complaint stated that she owned a body brush. “The law does not allow you to own those kinds of ideas for art,” said Lobel. “There’s no copyright infringement there. It’s very clear that our whole history of art, of writing, of literature is built on paying homage to previous authors, other authors, being in conversation, and that’s actually part of what art is.”

Regardless of whether these “snippets” amounted to plagiarism, Cline and her publisher removed all the sentences that Reetz-Laiolo identified prior to publication so they could resolve the dispute, her complaint stated. But Reetz-Laiolo had also asked Cline to remove a small section of the text that his complaint alleged resembled a section of his screenplay, a script she could only have read if she did, in fact, remotely hack into his computer. If the case does go to trial, this will likely be at the center of it, since it is the only instance of alleged plagiarism that made its way into the published version of The Girls. Lobel was skeptical of the plagiarism charge here as well, but if Reetz-Laiolo’s legal team is able to prove that Cline hacked into Reetz-Laiolo’s computer, Cline may be charged with something, though likely not plagiarism.

“I discuss in my book the concept of ‘scenes a faire’—the fact that a lot of times there will be elements that are similar in two works but the courts understand that those elements are necessary to the genres so even if there is similarity, it’s not copyright infringement,” Lobel wrote in an email. At the same time, Lobel added, breaking into someone else’s computer and taking “proprietary information” can amount to “theft and unjust enrichment.” “You cannot steal an idea for a story line by hacking into someone’s computer,” she wrote. “So this will be a factual inquiry.”

It’s important to note that Reetz-Laiolo hired Harvey Weinstein’s former law firm, Boies Schiller Flexner, and that the law firm used a trove of Cline’s personal documents—captured by the spyware program she installed on her own computer—to threaten Cline. Reetz-Laiolo’s complaint is threaded with salacious and humiliating details about Cline that are completely unrelated to any charge of plagiarism. (The complaint also alleges that Cline hacked into the email accounts of two other acquaintances, one of whom is Reetz-Laiolo’s ex-girlfriend, also named as plaintiffs in the suit.) According to The New Yorker, an earlier draft of the complaint contained even more salacious details, including naked selfies, explicit chat messages, and a section called “Cline’s History of Manipulating Older Men,” which began like this: “[E]vidence shows that Cline was not the innocent and inexperienced naïf she portrayed herself to be, and had instead for many years maintained numerous ‘relations’ with older men and others, from whom she extracted gifts and money.” The New Yorker also reported that after news broke that David Boies had hired private investigators to discredit an actress who accused Weinstein of rape, Boies’s name was removed from Reetz-Laiolo’s complaint.

As Cline’s complaint noted, this earlier draft of Reetz-Laiolo’s lawsuit “followed an age-old playbook: it invoked the specter of sexual shame to threaten a woman into silence and acquiescence.”

Neither Cline nor Reetz-Laiolo responded to request for comment, but Cline’s literary agent Bill Clegg described Reetz-Laiolo’s lawsuit as a baseless attack “designed to damage her reputation and extract undeserved financial windfall.”

“It has been heartbreaking and enraging to watch a bitter ex-boyfriend whom Emma met when she was still in college—a man thirteen years her senior—try to disgrace her and leverage their shared time for his personal gain,” Clegg wrote in a statement provided to Vulture. “Emma’s success is her own, and any claims that she infringed her ex-boyfriend’s work in her novel The Girls are false. There is a long, documented history showing that Emma’s idea for and work on The Girls preceded and remained completely separate from this person. Before they met, Emma had already won two prestigious literary prizes, been published at the age of seventeen in a national literary journal, and written the story, ‘Marion’, about a young girl’s experience on a commune in California, which would later be published in The Paris Review and prompt her to win that journal’s once-a-year citation, the Plimpton Prize for Fiction. These facts speak for themselves, as do the actions and histories of those who have tried to intimidate and exploit Emma.”

See also: Can Melissa Leo Scream Her Way To Another Oscar?

Did Daniel Day-Lewis Really Freak Out His Co-star on There Will Be Blood?

Did Daniel Day-Lewis Really Freak Out His Co-star on There Will Be Blood?

by Nate Jones @ Brow Beat

This article originally appeared in Vulture.

Box-office records inevitably get broken and Oscars can go missing; perhaps the surest mark of a great film is how many urban legends spring up in its wake. (Just ask that munchkin.) Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood is only ten years old, but it already has its own defining myth. As the story goes, Daniel Day-Lewis was so committed to the madness of his Method that the young actor who was supposed to play Eli Sunday got freaked out and quit the film—which required Paul Dano, who was already playing Eli’s brother Paul, to step in and take the dual role. It’s one of those anecdotes that makes the rounds in lists like “7 Famous Actors Who Were Genuinely Terrified On Set,” each of them linking to the ones that come before.

As far as anyone can tell, the rumor dates to single line in a New York Times Magazine story from November 2007. Writer Lynn Hirschberg reports that the original Eli had to be replaced a few weeks into production, and after outlining some of the pressures that Day-Lewis has been known to put on his co-stars, she notes that “there are reports that the first actor suffered from intimidation.” Hirschberg also included the official line—that the actor just “wasn’t the right fit,” as Anderson put it—but the hint of behind-the-scenes psychodrama proved to be irresistible gossip.

“There’s something about that story that I understand is super compelling,” says Kel O’Neill, the man who originally played Eli. He chalks up its persistence to the hunger we have for stories about great artists. “It gets at something that we collectively want to believe about Daniel, or anybody who is really good at what they do,” he says. “That they’re somehow remote from us. They’re special and different, and in a way they deserve to be held to a different set of standards, because what they give to the world is so incredible.”

O’Neill is skeptical that, ten years later, there’s anything he can do to correct the record, and he’s probably right. But if you’re curious, here’s what actually happened—at least, as far as O’Neill can remember.

O’Neill didn’t dream of becoming an actor. He describes it as something he fell into; he did some plays as a kid and then just kind of kept doing it. “Acting was like an assumption on my own part about who I was, and what I did,” he says. After supporting roles in XX/XY and Domino, he taped an audition for There Will Be Blood, but didn’t hear anything back for a year.

After getting the part, he arrived on the West Texas set a few weeks early at Anderson’s instruction: “The idea was to soak up the isolation.” As soon as production began, it was clear that something wasn’t working. “You know,” he says. “You just know.” But it’s hard for him to put his finger on.

“Filmmaking is so alchemical that sometimes certain factors don’t add up,” he says. “Some directors I’ve worked with—who very few people would say are better directors than Paul—just had a way of making me feel comfortable. For some reason, even though every other actor I know had a relationship with Paul that was super positive and where they did their best work, that just didn’t happen with me. I would attribute that primarily to a failure on my side: An actor should, with every ounce of their humanity, be attempting to give the director what he or she wants. And I recall going in and out on whether I could really do that.”

Two or three weeks in, O’Neill saw that he’d been removed from the upcoming shooting schedule. His days were suddenly empty. “I remember a good deal of solitude, thinking a lot about what I was gonna do next,” he says. “I knew that this was a critical juncture in my life and if there were any goals that I had been sublimating to pursue acting, I had to go after those.” His premonition was correct: He was called into a meeting with Anderson and producer JoAnne Sellar, and fired.

He reiterates that his departure had nothing to do with Daniel Day-Lewis. “It wasn’t drinks every night with Daniel on set, but there’s a fundamental decency to the way he comports himself in those environments that gets lost in the shuffle of these rumors,” he says. “After we did our first scene, he came over, shook my hand and said—sort of in character and sort of not—‘Welcome.’ And that sets a tone where that person isn’t your enemy. I would be cautious now, especially when he’s not going to do this anymore, about making him so mythical that there’s no acknowledgment of the human being there.”

O”Neill acted in a few films after There Will Be Blood, but in retrospect, getting fired was the thing that proved he needed to find something else to do with his life. “There’s a lot of fun to be had in acting, but it’s not a craft I wake up with the desire to do everyday,” he says. “Daniel Day-Lewis, there was no question what that guy was gonna do: He’s 100 percent an actor. He lives and breathes for it. It’s not just about joy, it’s about hands in the muck.”

For O’Neill, that muck turned out to be experimental filmmaking. He spent his late 20s putting himself through an unofficial film school; now he and his wife Eline Jongsma are an award-winning duo who describe themselves as “working at the intersection of documentary film, art, and technology.” They’re currently a month into a yearlong Sundance residency at the Technicolor Experience Center, where they’re making a new piece of virtual-reality cinema.

“I don’t want to be all TED Talk about it and say that ‘failure is actually necessary for success,’” he says. “Because if I look at where I am in my life, I work in a very specific subsection of a very specific subsection of filmmaking. But anybody should be able to identify with failure. If you meet someone who hasn’t experienced failure, you should immediately run away from them.”

Near the end of our interview, I asked O’Neill if the version of There Will Be Blood that was released was much different than the one he saw being filmed. He couldn’t answer that, he said, because he hasn’t seen it.

“After the firing, I stopped watching anything that was made after mid-period John Carpenter,” he says. “The illusion was popped, and if you can’t be lost in the illusion of a movie … It’s like, I could see the craft-service table.”

O”Neill has since thrown aside his self-imposed limitations, and he says he’s sure he’ll see There Will Be Blood eventually. But he hasn’t been able to avoid the film entirely. A few years ago, he walked into a video store that was playing it on the monitors. “I was like, Looks like a good movie.”

See also: How HBO Got to Yes on Big Little Lies Season Two

Lin-Manuel Miranda #HamilDrops New Track “Ben Franklin’s Song” With The Decemberists

Lin-Manuel Miranda #HamilDrops New Track “Ben Franklin’s Song” With The Decemberists

by Rachel Withers @ Brow Beat

Last week, Lin-Manuel Miranda announced the HAMILDROPS, a new Hamilton project that will see previously unreleased content drop once per month between now and December 2018.

The first of Miranda’s HAMILDROP is upon us, with the Hamilton mastermind overnight unveiling “Ben Franklin’s Song,” with music written recorded by indie rock band the Decemberists.

This is the first new Hamilton content since Miranda released The Hamilton Mixtape one year ago, and it did not disappoint. Miranda said he wrote the “Decemberists-esque lyrics” with the band in mind, and they include references to Benjamin Franklin’s yearly almanac and his inventions, the glass harmonica and bifocal glasses:

And do you know who the fuck I am?
Yeah, do you know who the fuck I am?
Do you know who the fuck I am?
I am Poor-Richard’s-Almanack-writing Benjamin fuckin’ Franklin

(See also: “I am 76-and-I’ll-still-kick-your-ass fuckin’ Franklin” and “I am Poor-Richard’s-Almanack-writing, polymath, bifocal-wearing, hardened glass-harmonica-playing, Benjamin fuckin’ Franklin”).

You can find all the ways to listen to the new track, as well as wait longlingly for future tracks, at the HAMILDROPs website.

Jenny Slate Is Writing a Feminist Essay Collection, Is Back With Chris Evans, Is Everything That Is Right and Good in the World

Jenny Slate Is Writing a Feminist Essay Collection, Is Back With Chris Evans, Is Everything That Is Right and Good in the World

by Rachel Withers @ Brow Beat

What would we do without Slate? No, I don’t mean Slate Magazine. I mean Jenny Slate, actress, comedian, and—today at least—queen of our hearts. In a week of news ranging from the gross to the harrowing, Slate has gifted us with not one but two pieces of objectively good news.

Earlier this week, People revealed that Slevans—aka Slate and her former boyfriend, Chris Evans—are back together, to the joy of people overly invested in adorable celebrity relationships everywhere. (More than two hearts broke when the pair broke up in February.) The adorable pair was spotting apartment hunting in Tribeca, though before you freak out, they were allegedly hunting for Evans, not for the both of them. Please proceed to freak out anyway.

Friday, Entertainment Weekly reported that Slate has signed a deal with Little, Brown and Company to write a book of feminist fables due for release in 2019. The allegorical feminist essay collection will tell stories from the perspectives of preyed-upon creatures from deers to, er, fruit, celebrating the power of vulnerability and openness.

Slate, who is an outspoken feminist, released a statement, saying:

There is so much natural magic to being a human, and in feminism as a movement and a way of life. I’m thrilled that Little, Brown, and Co. has given me a chance to explore and explain where I find this magic, and how it feels to be alive and a woman in today’s wild world. Let’s get going!

Simmons BeautySleep 8

by Martin Lorentz @ California King – Shorty's Mattress Depot

Buying an awesome sleep - Simmons BeautySleep 8 inch Mattress-In-A-Box offers everything to provide a Good Nights Sleep and is packed with the newest technology including a 2 inch layer of AirCool Gel Memory Foam for pressure relief and freedom of movement - all in one box.  

This MATTRESS is adjustable friendly.

The post Simmons BeautySleep 8 appeared first on Shorty's Mattress Depot.

Our Voila Hybrid Mattress Review for 2018

by Sarah Cummings @ The Sleep Advisor

The post Our Voila Hybrid Mattress Review for 2018 appeared first on The Sleep Advisor.

Ready for It? Taylor Swift’s Reputation Is Now Streaming

Ready for It? Taylor Swift’s Reputation Is Now Streaming

by Rachel Withers @ Brow Beat

Ready for it? After an impressive first three weeks of sales, Taylor Swift’s Reputation is now streaming on most major music services. And not a moment too soon: “Look What You Made Me Do” was a terrible Thanksgiving road trip playlist option.

Swift’s sixth studio album became available in full Thursday night on Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, Tidal, and others, with a staggered midnight release that saw the lucky people of Australia and New Zealand, who live the furthest into the future, get it first.

Sales for the album—which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, and remains atop the album-ranking chart—had started to slow. (Before you start to feel too sad for Tay Tay, Reputation’s 1.238 million equivalent units in the first week—including 1.216 million in album sales, the highest for any album since 2015—was always going to be a hard pace to maintain.) The strategically timed streaming re-release should give Swift a fresh boost, keeping her on top of the world/chart for weeks to come.

Playwright Paul Rudnick and Times Theater Critic Jesse Green on How Gay Theater Evolved—and Where It’s Headed

Playwright Paul Rudnick and Times Theater Critic Jesse Green on How Gay Theater Evolved—and Where It’s Headed

by Studio 360 @ Brow Beat

The ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s saw a rise in plays about gay life—first addressing issues of identity and discrimination, and then the decimating AIDS epidemic. Plays like Boys in the Band, The Normal Heart, and Angels in America shattered taboos and brought gay characters into the mainstream. And now several of these groundbreaking plays are now returning to Broadway.

But, a generation later, will they hold up?

That’s one of the questions that theater critic Jesse Green tackled in an article for the New York Times, “Will the Old Gay Play Have Something New to Say?”

For the podcast that is now part of the Slate family, Studio 360, Green and playwright Paul Rudnick sat down with host Kurt Andersen to talk about their favorite plays from this era, and how gay themes have evolved on the stage. Hear the segment here or read an edited version of the transcript with some clips that they watched together below.

You can also subscribe to the show on Apple podcasts.

Kurt Andersen: So we're going to talk about a bunch of the plays especially from the ’80s and ’90s that you wrote about, Jesse. But let’s go back: Before there were plays overtly about gayness, there were obviously gay playwrights writing that certainly since have been regarded as elliptically, cryptically gay plays. Like Tennessee Williams’ Streetcar Named Desire or Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; or Edward Albee's Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? It’s the first time I remember hearing as a child, like, “Oh, that’s really about homosexuals, Kurt.”

Green: He will strike you down from the grave for that comment.

I know he will.

Rudnick: His estate will go after you.

I know he will. And Williams didn’t like the idea of writing for a gay audience particularly.

Green: That was a less credible position.

Yeah. So Albee objecting to that, and Williams not wanting to be considered a gay playwright: Was that legitimate? Was it a function of when they were writing?

Rudnick: There was a lot of gay baiting that went on back then because Albee and Tennessee Williams, two of the great iconic American playwrights, were often criticized and accused of disguising gay characters.

At the time?

Rudnick: At the time. And so also remember, the cost of being openly gay then was unthinkable. They would not have had the careers they had—they would not have had any careers at all.

Were there advantages do you think for writers not being able to deal explicitly with gay themes? Was that an interesting constraint in the 1940s and ’50s?

Rudnick: Especially in the case of Williams, it was interesting the way he managed to work gay characters and especially in something like Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. So clearly these guys did want to write about topics but it was forbidden, so I can’t think of it as an actual helpful constraint.

Green: I both agree with that and disagree with that. And Paul you’re a working playwright so you should know. But there is a way in which I think all writers thrive under constraints, any kind of constraint—whether it’s word length or how long your play can be or how many sets you have money for in this production.

Or the Nazis occupying Paris. I mean that is a thing, right?

Green: That’s a good example. So you could argue that had some of these playwrights been free to say everything they wanted in exactly in the form they wanted, they may not have found such fabulous workarounds.

Rudnick: But again, you would have to say, “Oh, gee, would August Wilson have been better off had he been forced to write about white people,” you know...

Green: I think he'd have been better off if he’d been forced to write about gay people! I just think, you know, this is his real métier.

I think you’re joking.

Green: Yes, I am.

So let’s move forward in time to the ’60s and especially the ’80s and ’90s. I want to go through a few of these and talk about which ones you like more and less. How they struck you when you first saw them. How well you think they hold up now. So, Boys in the Band written by Mart Crowley (who’s still alive, by the way) and first staged in 1968. Jesse, give a brief synopsis introduction to this classic.

Green: A bunch of extremely unhappy gay men meet for a party in which they play a devastating game and basically reveal the emptiness and tragedy of gay life. Do you think that’s fair, Paul?

Rudnick: It’s interesting. I think it is completely valid but I would also say that my early experience of that play and the movie—probably how I first saw it was at like a college film society. I thought of it as far more joyous than that, but I think it is absolutely true that it is a kind of a tragic vision. It’s also a very funny play, very smart, and it doesn’t advocate for the tragic vision. I think by the end of it it says, no we have to stop hating ourselves. Sometimes it gets an unfortunate rap that’s being anti-gay which it isn’t.

Kurt : Let’s watch a clip from Boys in the Band.

Green: Wow. The split between the straights and the Marys was already so well established.

And by that we mean what, Jesse?

Green: The straight-acting gays and the effeminate-acting gays.

I remember seeing it, and it was the first explicitly gay anything I’d ever been aware of.

Green: It terrified me. I saw the movie first and if I had been out of the closet it would have scared me back into it. I agree with Paul that it’s not endorsing anything anti-gay, but it is presenting such a tragic picture of the current state of affairs, probably fairly accurately at that time, but it wasn’t exactly, you know, welcome and rainbow flag.

Right. How did it play to gay audiences and straight audiences at the time in the late ’60s and early ’70s?

Rudnick: Well it was an enormous success—both the play and the movie—they were considered explosive and scandalous but also very highly praised. So there was a slight sense of a forbidden glimpse at a subculture. But on the other hand, because it was written by a gay man and written very knowledgeably and wisely, that it wasn’t just a lurid peek. There was really a sense of, OK these lives exist. Take a look. So it was a breakthrough. I always say that what can’t be diminished is that Mart Crowley did something that was—especially at the time—incredibly brave. It’s going to be revived next season directed by Ryan Murphy I believe or at least produced by him.

Green: Directed by Joe Mantello.

Rudnick: Oh Joe Mantello, on Broadway! But produced by Ryan Murphy, who directed the HBO version of The Normal Heart, is someone who includes massive amounts of gay straight characters, you name it.

Up next, let’s talk about Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song Trilogy. Paul, you were a fan.

Rudnick: Oh enormously so. That was—and was and is a magnificent play. I remember Harvey starring in it which was magnetic. And it’s being given from everything I’ve heard a top-notch revival starring Michael Urie, who is just a world-class actor.

So did you see it when you were a young man?

Rudnick: I was, I did indeed.

1981.

Rudnick: Yeah I adored it because both because it was wonderful to see gay material on stage. But even more so because it’s such a terrific play and was so funny and so beautifully performed.

Remind us of the basic idea of Torch Song.

Rudnick: Torch Song was I think taken somewhat from Harvey’s own life. It was about a drag queen making his way in the world and his romantic life—his relationship with a bisexual partner. And ultimately in the third act with his mother, who was not forgiving and not accepting. So it becomes quite explosive by the end. But it was a very wonderfully positive portrait of gay lives and of this outsized irrepressible, irresistible guy.

Right.

Green: And yet still a portrait of gay lives that were struggling with basic identity questions. This would gradually change so that gay characters could appear without having to argue their right to exist or to be out of the closet. But at this time Fierstein really zeroed in on those issues.

Are you old enough Jesse to have seen it when it was playing the first time?

Green: I saw it when it was put together as the trilogy. It had originally been done as a series of one acts off off-Broadway at La Mama and elsewhere and then was put together as a one-evening, very long event.

Do you expect that it will hold up and be perfectly relevant in 2017-’18?

Rudnick: Oh absolutely because I think it was interesting how prescient a lot it was. Because Harvey and that play deal with the possibility of gay marriage, gay adoption, how you create a family.

Really?

Rudnick: Yep. And that play also won the Tony for Best Play.

Green: So it’s so character-based it’s really about—

Green: And the relationship between him and his mother, which is you know—will that ever not be topical?

So tell me if I’m completely wrong about this but it seems to me that period of a dozen years is kind of continental divide in gay culture, gay theater. Suddenly out, suddenly the horrors of AIDS. I mean that was the before-and-after moment. Is that true? Fair?

Green: Well AIDS certainly was the dividing line for many things in gay life including what happened to gay theater. I mean of course using the phrase “gay theater” or “gay plays” is a problem in itself.

Rudnick: And often redundant.

Green: Well perhaps in your case.

Kurt: You had it in your headline!

Green: I am not responsible for my headlines. The way AIDS functioned in the larger questions of gay life was that it was a terrible tragedy that affected pretty much everyone in the community one way or another. But also, sad to say, was the first thing that fully convinced non-gay people that there were real lives worth mourning and treasuring behind, you know, those shadowy figures they had heard about for years. And so, through plays about AIDS the doors came open for other plays. But at the time we’re talking about that was just beginning to happen with plays like The Normal Heart and Falsettos and Paul’s play, Jeffrey.

We are next going to Larry Kramer's play The Normal Heart in 1985.

Rudnick: It was shattering and it was important on so many levels because at that time in the early years of the AIDS crisis, the media was not covering any of it.

It’s really early years. It came out in 1985. I mean the first New York Times article was 1982 I believe.

Rudnick: Exactly. And even that was relatively minor. There was an electricity when you went to see that because nobody knew what was going on. There were certainly no medical answers and there was no government attention whatsoever. So it was making a difference on so many levels. And I think what especially the most recent revival revealed, although this was pretty much acknowledged already, is that it’s also a terrific play. It really works. It cooks.

Here’s Mark Ruffalo starring in the film adaptation of The Normal Heart.

Green: One of the signal tones of The Normal Heart is the rage that represents a perfect meeting at a particular time of topic and playwright: Larry Kramer.

Who was a big loud activist and remains so.

Green: And founded Gay Men’s Health Crisis and ACT UP before being kind of pushed to the sidelines of both of them because of his large personality, shall we say. But in this play, there was no one to push him aside and he successfully channeled a kind of Biblical rage into a dramatic form that still holds up. I think that’s what actually continues to make it viable as a play. Had it been less political, I don’t think it would continue to hold up.

And what about the fact that AIDS can now be managed very differently than we had any idea back then that it ever would be or could be? Does that change dramatically the way that play is watched today?

Rudnick: Well, see, when people say, “Oh, it’s dated,” I find it irritating to say the least. First of all, AIDS is still prevalent all over the world and thank God the play’s dated to the extent it is. And aside from that, the minute you say, “Oh a play was set in an earlier age therefore we should have no interest in it,” well let’s erase all of Shakespeare then. What I’ve experienced is when younger audiences experience these plays they’ve thankfully not had to live through that particular tragedy, but they are fascinated and it is also historical information for them and they had no idea.

Because it’s like a war movie made during the war.

Green: It is a war movie, that’s exactly right.

Up next, the great Angels in America, which many people have seen on stage or the HBO mini-series. But for the people who missed it or have forgotten—Paul?

Green: Summarize that, Paul!

Rudnick: Oh my lord.

What is Tony Kushner’s play about?

Rudnick: Well all you need to basically know is that it’s a masterwork. It’s one of the truly great American plays and it’s an epic. It was set in the age of AIDS with wild flights of fantasy and beyond. It involves everyone from Roy Cohn to Ethel Rosenberg to the lives of a central gay couple, one of whom is suffering quite terribly from AIDS and the other of whom is running away from him. So it’s both a very personal story and deeply emotional and it’s about everyone and everything.

Let’s watch a clip of the 2003 HBO miniseries version of Angels in America with a scene with Justin Kirk and Meryl Streep.

Did you both see it when it openedthe two parts of it on Broadway in 1993?

Rudnick: Oh absolutely. I mean you couldn’t not see it. It really was thrilling. And it was also the introduction of the genius that is Tony Kushner. So that you’ve got the action of the play and also the lyricism and the poetry and the humor and everything else. So you thought, “Oh my god this is a major writer who’s arrived in full flower.” So it was beyond an event.

Right.

Green: As Paul said, a new voice—new to most of us—had emerged but also a way of looking at the content that had been bubbling around in a lot of the plays that we’d been talking about, reorganized toward a different purpose and with an enormous vision that went way beyond AIDS and gayness to encompass really the whole—

Green: Modern history and future history because, looked at now, I find myself very drawn to the part of the story—and amazingly it’s just one part of the story—that is about the future of the planet.

Rudnick: And also that Roy Cohn, who is a central character and a personification of evil in the play, of course he’s one of Donald Trump’s godfathers.

His mentor.

Rudnick: Yeah exactly.

And so we all agree it’s the great play of its era.

Rudnick: It’s that good.

And not a great gay play but it’s a great American play.

Green: Oh it is a great gay play.

Rudnick: Yeah it’s both! I imagine it Tony Kushner would insist that it is a gay play as well, but it certainly is in the canon, and you know when you talk about Death of a Salesman and Streetcar Named Desire you put Angels in America right up there.

And interestingly compared to most of the other plays, all the other plays I guess we’ve been talking about, it is not thoroughly realistic. It has these poetic flights of fancy and angels and dead people and so forth. Does that make it less dated?

Rudnick: Yeah, it’s not dated in the slightest because even though a lot of it is a particularly specific attack on Reagan and those years that doesn’t date either when you look at, OK, how did those years inform what’s happening right now?

Right.

Green: And the central story which is about betrayal of one character for his lover and his having to figure out how to make his life OK after he betrays his lover. That’s another story that will never go away.

Paul, let’s look at one of your best-known plays.

Rudnick: Uh oh.

The previously mentioned Jeffrey. Here is a clip from the movie version:

Green: Oh thank god. Thank god for that play. Really I remember—

Rudnick: Aww thank you.

Green: No, in the midst of—

Rudnick: That was Steven Weber and Bryan Batt. Bryan originated that role in the original production.

Green: But Paul, you’re interrupting your own compliment.

Rudnick: Go, go, by all means!

Green: You know in the midst of all these plays we’ve been talking about, not a one of them a comedy, mind you. And also in the midst of a time of terrible sadness came a play which was—an AIDS comedy? Possibly? Can we call it that? I mean I don’t know if you ever called it that.

It’s a genre now.

Green: A genre of one, I think. That really did one of the things that theater can and should do. And it was something no one else was, I want to say, daring to do. I don’t know if it felt daring to you though.

Rudnick: It was only possible because of plays like The Normal Heart because the subject matter had been treated with that weight that it deserved. But I was a comic writer. For a while I thought maybe there was no way into this material and into the subject, but I couldn’t help myself because all the people around me were so funny. And before there were any medical possibilities, a sense of humor was kind of the only weapon anyone had.

So are gay characters being more mainstreamed now, and the fact that they’re gay is becoming secondary?

Rudnick: To a certain extent but there’s one funny thing that’s kind of going on in theater right at the moment because of gay marriage being legalized, which is a big win for the LGBTQ world. It makes gay people no longer underdogs and a lot of writers have been wrestling with, OK we can now write plays about the trouble of gay marriage and gay relationships but that seems a little beside the point after you’ve had that particular victory. So it’s an interesting challenge. But there’s still a sense, especially when you leave the coasts, that if you have a play where there’s a central character, where there is an LGBTQ hero or heroine, then it will still be questionable. It will be seen as a niche item. That yes, you can still had plenty gay best friends and gay aunts and uncles. But if it’s a meaningful central character, it will still be produced but without the frequency of August: Osage County, which is a fantastic play. But there could still be marginalized things going on.

Green: But on the other hand, you have the surprising success of musical like Fun Home which is the story of a young lesbian discovering her identity. And this is a musical that not only succeeded on Broadway, but also did very well on the road. So go figure that one.

Well I was just going to ask about that, and I think of the play Indecent, and suddenly you have lesbian stars characters on Broadway but only in the last few years. Why such a lag in terms of lesbian and gay?

Rudnick: Exactly. Because also Lisa Kron who did the book and lyrics for Fun Home and won a Tony for both is a superb writer who had a wonderful solo show and another great play on Broadway called Well that she appeared in. And so, yeah, I think there is a lag because I think the culture, also because AIDS was seen as affecting gay men directly. There was a natural output there.

More dramatic.

Rudnick: Yeah.

Do you think if we gathered here and in 25 years that we wouldn’t look back at this age of the gay play as a kind of specific golden age, that like 1970 to 2000 will be a period of the great theater, partly as a result of dealing with AIDS?

Rudnick: Yeah I think there was a natural flowering. That is indisputable that you often have art in response to a world crisis. And also because the art was very restricted at that time—there were not a lot of movies that dealt with AIDS and no TV shows—or very few. And theater also because AIDS was affecting the theatrical community so immediately.

And pre- and post-legal gay marriage, seems to me to be a huge cultural thing.

Rudnick: Absolutely.

Green: Perhaps what will happen is that gay playwrights—whether or not they’re writing about gay characters—will have their work just sort of flowing into the mainstream of all works at that time. And you know one day I think you’re right: We will look back at this as a time when plays about gay characters flourished because gay people were not flourishing elsewhere.

Watching John Oliver Confront Dustin Hoffman Over Sexual Harassment Allegations Is Incredibly Satisfying

Watching John Oliver Confront Dustin Hoffman Over Sexual Harassment Allegations Is Incredibly Satisfying

by Rachel Withers @ Brow Beat

We need the John Oliver treatment on all sexual harassment “apologies,” stat.

The host of Last Week Tonight (and voice of Zazu in the upcoming Lion King remake) gave Dustin Hoffman an unexpected grilling over sexual harassment allegations while moderating a panel at a Wag the Dog anniversary screening Monday night. Oliver admonished Hoffman for his previous hedging apologies, adding that there was no reason for accusers to lie, as Hoffman pushed back angrily, saying that his conduct was normal on-set behavior and that Oliver shouldn’t believe everything he reads.

In October, Hoffman was accused by Anna Graham Hunter of groping and making sexual comments toward her as a 17-year-old intern on the 1985 set of Death of a Salesman. Hoffman released an statement, saying he felt bad if anything he might have done had made her uncomfortable.

Around halfway through the hourlong panel—which also featured star Robert De Niro, producer Jane Rosenthal, and director Barry Levinson—Oliver brought up the “elephant in the room,” asking Hoffman about the allegations.

Hoffman claimed he did not remember Graham Hunter, that he did not grope anyone, and that his agent and PR people had told him it was best to avoid getting into a lengthy dispute by simply apologizing. Hoffman was keen to point out that his apology was not an admission of guilt and that it was framed as a conditional, saying: “if I did anything that was out of sorts or embarrassed her, I apologize.

Oliver and Hoffman butted heads over the issue for the remainder of the panel. Oliver pushed back especially against the “it’s not reflective of who I am” line that many men accused of sexual assault have used, calling it a “cop-out”:

“It’s not reflective of who I am”—it’s that kind of response to this stuff that pisses me off. It is reflective of who you were. If you’ve given no evidence to show it didn’t [happen] then there was a period of time for a while when you were a creeper around women. It feels like a cop-out to say “it wasn’t me.” Do you understand how that feels like a dismissal?

Hoffman seemed unable to grasp the issue, asking at one point, “What do you want?”

Hoffman, who seemed unaware this line of questioning was coming, said he felt as if Oliver was “putting me on display.” He probably should have expected it: Wag the Dog is a film about a powerful man accused of making advances on an underage girl. Oliver said he took no pleasure in the conversation but that it was one he felt needed to be had:

I can’t leave certain things unaddressed. The easy way is not to bring anything up. Unfortunately that leaves me at home later at night hating myself. “Why the ... didn’t I say something?” No one stands up to powerful men.

Later in the panel, the pair turned to the allegations by Katharine Ross that Hoffman groped her on the set of The Graduate. An increasingly angry Hoffman pointed to his role in Tootsie, in which he dressed as a woman, as evidence of his respect for women. He accused Oliver of failing to keep an open mind.

The audience seemed firmly on Oliver’s side, with rounds of applause following his lines of questioning and whispered “yes”es from women in the crowd.

Introducing BedMart +

by Ivanna Tucker @ BedMart Mattress Superstores

Welcome to BedMart +! It’s the same great family-owned brand that you have known and loved just with even more great savings and products. In 1992, Steven Stone founded BedMart, a family-owned and operated mattress store. Over the last 25 years the Stone family has opened over 35 stores in the Northwest and Hawaii. Now, […]

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Scarlett Johansson Stops by Saturday Night Live to Hang an Ornament on Donald Trump’s Tree of Shame

Scarlett Johansson Stops by Saturday Night Live to Hang an Ornament on Donald Trump’s Tree of Shame

by Matthew Dessem @ Brow Beat

This week’s Saturday Night Live started off with a visit to the Trump White House, where Alec Baldwin’s Trump was celebrating Christmas with his staff. Or, more accurately, forcing the remaining members of his administration to hang an ornament on Trump’s “Tree of Shame” with the face of one of his enemies, which sort of counts as a Christmas celebration.. The gang’s all here, from outright enemies like James Comey to friends-turned-enemies like Mike Flynn to recently-minted enemy Omarosa, who doesn’t rate an ornament, but shows up in person outside the windows, trying desperately to get back into the sunlight of Trump’s love.

The highlight is an unexpected visit from Scarlett Johansson as Ivanka, a role she memorably inhabited in an ad for the Trump daughter’s signature fragrance (“Complicit”) when she hosted in the spring. That part didn’t require much of an impersonation, which is exactly how much of an impersonation Johansson does this week. Still, she gets the best line, revisiting Ivanka’s statement about Roy Moore shortly before her father endorsed him:  “As I said, there’s a special place in hell, and we’re all there.” Second place goes to Trump’s recap of the Moore campaign, one of those things that would be funny if it weren’t exactly what happened:

Poor Roy. I thought for sure he would win. Until he lost. Then I said I always knew he would lose. But at least America knows that I finally supported an accused child molester.

Besides Johansson, it’s a highlight reel of the Saturday Night Live cast’s impersonations from Trumpland: Alex Moffat and Mikey Day as the Trump boys, Aidy Bryant as Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Beck Bennett as Mike Pence, and, above all, Kate McKinnon in dual roles as Kellyanne Conway and Jeff Sessions. It’s also something of an in memoriam tribute all the Trump hangers-on who fell off the gravy train this year, from Sebastian Gorka to Carter Page. God willing, we’ll never have to see Sean Spicer again, but it’s kind of sad to realize we’ll never see Melissa McCarthy’s Sean Spicer impersonation. Or maybe we will. Unfortunately, Jeff Sessions’ Christmas message has the ring of truth:

Merry Christmas! Everybody is going to get away with everything!

5 Ways to Keep Cool This Summer

by Katie Hamlin @ BedMart Mattress Superstores

Sleep great and keep cool with BedMart’s Bed Smart tips to keep cool all summer long!

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Danny Masterson Written Out of Netflix’s The Ranch Following Rape Allegations

Danny Masterson Written Out of Netflix’s The Ranch Following Rape Allegations

by Marissa Martinelli @ Brow Beat

Netflix has announced that actor Danny Masterson is no longer working on The Ranch as of Tuesday. Masterson, who is also known for appearing on That ’70s Show, has been accused of rape and sexual assault by four women and is currently under investigation by the Los Angeles County District Attorney and the LAPD. Masterson has denied the allegations, which he calls “outrageous.”

“As a result of ongoing discussions, Netflix and the producers have written Danny Masterson out of The Ranch,” a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement. “Yesterday was his last day on the show, and production will resume in early 2018 without him.”

Netflix has faced mounting pressure to act on the Masterson allegations over the past several days, especially after taking action against Kevin Spacey and Louis C.K. The news of Masterson’s departure comes shortly after a HuffPost report in which one of his alleged victims approached a Netflix executive on the sidelines of a children’s soccer game in Los Angeles to ask him why Netflix had not taken action against Masterson. According to her account and that of a witness, the executive, who was not aware the woman was one of Masterson’s accusers, told her, “We don’t believe them.”

Netflix confirmed that the executive was Andy Yeatman and called his comments “careless” and “uninformed.”

The fourth installment of The Ranch is set to premiere on Netflix on Dec. 15. “I am obviously very disappointed in Netflix’s decision to write my character off of The Ranch,” Masterson said, according to a statement provided to HuffPost. “From day one, I have denied the outrageous allegations against me. I have never been charged with a crime, let alone convicted of one. In this country, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, in the current climate, it seems as if you are presumed guilty the moment you are accused. I understand and look forward to clearing my name once and for all.”

At least three of the women who have accused Masterson belonged to the Church of Scientology, of which Masterson is a longtime member.

BedMart Brings Better Sleep to Scholls Ferry!

by Katie Hamlin @ BedMart Mattress Superstores

  BedMart Says Hello to Scholls Ferry Road!    Today we are excited to announce that our 25-year-old BedMart family is getting even bigger and better with the grand opening of our new store in Beaverton, Oregon! This means The largest family owned and locally operated mattress retailer in the Northwest is bringing better sleep near Washington […]

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What’s Fact and What’s Fiction in Darkest Hour

What’s Fact and What’s Fiction in Darkest Hour

by John Broich @ Brow Beat

Joe Wright’s Darkest Hour is a piece of historical fiction that undertakes a serious historical task: to present Winston Churchill and the British people’s choice to stand up to Hitler as just that … a choice. In hindsight, after eventual victory, the decision to fight against the Germans can appear a foregone conclusion. Since we all like to imagine that we personally would never fold to the Nazis, it can be hard to understand that reasonable people, most of whom had no love for Hitler, seriously considered a truce in spring 1940, during the days depicted in the film. To their eyes, fighting on after the approaching fall of France would only delay the inevitable at the cost of mass civilian slaughter. Better to come to terms now while they still had the leverage of an army and aircraft factories.

However, the film does invent a few details in order to make this very dramatic time even more dramatic. As a British historian who teaches and writes about World War II, I break this all down below.

The decision

In late May 1940, the situation was just as desperate as it is in the film. In the dark, subterranean nerve center where the British War Cabinet assembled, under White Hall in Westminster, bad news constantly flowed in. The Belgians, Danes, and Dutch had been defeated by the Germans. British defenders were nearly beaten in Norway, and France was rapidly collapsing before Blitzkrieg. The British force stationed there was being surrounded, while the French were sorely tempted to make a separate peace with Germany. Meanwhile, the overwhelming majority of Americans wanted no part of Europe’s war, despite Roosevelt’s maneuvering to get the U.S. ready for it. A moving scene from the film depicts the Prime Minister appealing directly to the president, on the edge of begging (though that direct scrambled phone line didn’t exist until 1943).

The real-life sources don’t depict the on-screen shouting matches that occurred in the War Cabinet. It was more that, in some corners, voices emerged suggesting the prudent—horribly regrettable, but from a certain perspective sensible—option of coming to terms with the Germans. Among them were Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden himself, and the ambassador to Australia, whose countrymen would have to do so much of the fighting in this war. A few well-placed German bombs could end Britain’s aircraft industry, and what then? If it turned out that the Germans were willing to leave the British Empire intact, what purpose was served in fighting for an already-defeated Europe? Even Churchill guardedly admitted that he would indeed consider terms offered by Nazi Germany—admitted so behind closed doors.

But the historical sources don’t suggest that Churchill was on the edge of seeking terms, as is hinted at in the film. If the British ultimately had to fight a resistance campaign—on the “hills,” “beaches,” and “landing grounds”—against German occupation, it would be far better that she had never considered capitulation. Beside the moral surrender in such a step, Churchill felt more strongly that Hitler could not be trusted to respect any terms to which the countries might agree.

Churchill’s ride on the London subway

There’s a perfectly fantastical scene in the film in which a doubtful Winston Churchill takes a ride on the Underground in order to commune with “the people.” The good people of London tell him to fight on, that they would never surrender. In the film, this St. Crispin’s Day speech from District line commuters to the Prime Minister steels him for the fight, and all that remains is to tell the Commons that “we will never surrender.”

Would the British people ever have done so? In those disastrous days, might they, say, have supported a snap election and voted in a government ready to make peace with the Germans? It is impossible to know, but George Orwell—a prescient observer if ever there was one—thought it possible. As a journalist observing his fellow Englishmen, he sensed that working people who did not feel represented by the Westminster elite already felt subordinated. Why would it matter if a fascist New Order swept away the plutocratic as embodied by Churchill? Orwell asked an influential newspaper editor whether he thought the public would accept negotiations with the Axis. “Hell’s bells,” the editor replied, “I could dress it up so that they’d think it was the greatest victory in the history of the world.”

It didn’t go that way, but not because District line commuters, to a man, woman, and child, snarled unthinkingly that they would never stop fighting! Historian Richard Toye undertook a massive archival dragnet that found the British did not, in fact, snarl along with Churchill’s speeches. Upon hearing them, some were inspired, many were dubious, and many looked to their family and neighbors to assess what they’d just heard. They didn’t cheer like Minnesota Vikings fans; they, in fact, thought pretty hard about what the speeches meant. This is another heartening example from history: Not only did Britain make the hard choice, they didn’t make it in a fit of rhetoric-induced adrenaline.

His speeches

The same goes for Members of Parliament. In his semi-fantastical memoir of the war years, Churchill offered the version of his late May speech to the 25-member outer cabinet pretty much as depicted in the film. According to the diaries of politician Hugh Dalton, he offered the terrific line, repeated in the film, “if this long island story of ours is to end at last, let it end only when each one of us lies choking in his own blood upon the ground.” Churchill, in his memoir, claims this was followed by a standing ovation.

There’s very good reason to believe that the historic event was very different. Churchill might have spoken the line about choking on blood, but his words, according to Dalton, won him “a murmur of approval round the table.” George Orwell, meanwhile, heard from his editor friend the same thing. Again, this doesn’t diminish the resolve of Churchill or the MPs as much as highlight that they were thinking people who believed they’d invited disaster on their families but still chose to fight with a grim nod, not a ticker-tape parade.

Once he was sure about his decision, and had outflanked Halifax and others in the War Cabinet by appealing straight to the outer cabinet, Churchill sought to convince the Germans that it was set in stone and that invading Britain or bombing it would not repeat the results in France. So, on the fourth of June, 1940, Churchill took the fateful step of absolutely committing Britain to a fight-to-the-death in a speech in the House of Commons (it was not broadcast over radio, as depicted in the film, though many people invented the memory of having heard it). The moment to make the hard choice had come, and the British chose to stand alone—or, more accurately, to stand with the Indian Army.

Churchill at home

Churchill was a professional politician, but he was also a professional writer. He first made his name with his book on his experiences as an army officer in Sudan in the 1890s. And it was through his work as a war correspondent that he ended up a prisoner of the Boers as a young man, something mentioned in the film. The film has many scenes of him writing and rewriting and sweating over words, which nicely capture an important part of his make-up.

In Darkest Hour, Clementine Churchill is shown upset over the couple’s poor finances. That hews close to the truth, since the Churchills did not have the aristocratic income of those with whom they mixed—certainly not enough to support Winston’s luxurious habits. His writer’s income was strained.

Clementine also calls Winston insufferable in this scene, and the real-life Elizabeth Layton, his longtime secretary, agreed that Churchill was often exhausting. In her memoir, she called him mercurial, at best, and sometimes simply mean. Yet she became devoted to him. The film does, however, take some liberties with her character. The real Layton was born in South Africa and raised in Canada, so she probably sounded quite a bit different from Lily James. She did not have a brother killed in the retreat to Dunkirk. And she began working for the Prime Minister one year after the events of the film.

Was Churchill really a “drunkard” as one of his critics calls him in the film? He seems to always have a glass of Scotch in his hand. In real life, he claimed to always have it precisely watered down, whereas in the film he seems to drink it neat. So while he wasn’t a drunkard, Churchill seemed to have been a high-functioning alcoholic who self-medicated throughout his days.

Churchill’s opponents

There’s no conclusive evidence to suggest that Lord Halifax and Neville Chamberlain were making concrete maneuvers to hold an imminent vote of no confidence in Churchill and end his government. The threat was ever-present, certainly, until the British—with utterly requisite service of the Indian Army—started winning some battles in Africa and the Middle East in spring and summer 1941. (After losses to German commander Erwin Rommel in North Africa in late spring 1942, on the other hand, he had to beat back a serious “no confidence” motion.)

Was Churchill really that doubted and suspected by his fellow MPs, even fellow Tories? Yes, he certainly was. The film correctly depicts them suspecting he was a sort of “brilliant failure,” better at words than deeds. The man behind the bloody Gallipoli debacle, the backer of the abdicated king, the son of a madman. He literally embarrassed MPs around him with his emotionality. They feared him for being invariably pugnacious, that his answer to everything was to fight. The filmmakers might also have cited his disastrous attempt to reverse the Bolshevik Revolution at the end of WWI with the failed 1919 invasion of Russia at the cost of hundreds of British lives.

Churchill and the King

Sources such as King George VI’s diary suggest his relationship with Churchill did seem to get off to the awkward start depicted on film. The King, who truly was a strong Chamberlain supporter, saw the same baggage everyone else did in Churchill. George (or “Bertie”) had also watched Churchill completely misplay the politics around his brother King Edward’s marriage and abdication. Churchill, meanwhile, had to find a way to be deferential to the King while not yielding on his commitment to be aggressive.

The same sources also suggest that King George grew to respect and genuinely like Churchill. Churchill always remained devoted to the King.

It’s true that many recommended the King and his family flee Britain for Canada, but he decided to stay. When the Blitz started in later 1940, Buckingham Palace was repeatedly bombed. Many of those weekly lunches between the two men who supported each other took place in the palace bomb shelter.

What the movie leaves out

So, the film embodies a good historical lesson, while veering from the historical sources. Besides NFL-style shouting and an imaginary tube ride, where else does it veer?

It’s worth remembering that Churchill opposed Nazism as thuggery, as naked expansionism, even a “soul-destroying tyranny,” as he said in his first radio broadcast as Prime Minister. But Churchill doesn’t get high marks as a democrat. That’s because he was committed to preserving the British Empire, regardless of what the people who lived there thought. This didn’t endear him or the British to many U.S. observers. And it certainly didn’t endear him to many Indian observers—most of India’s politicians, including Gandhi, called for Indians to sit the war out.

This enraged Churchill, who expected India to get in line. Lucky for Churchill, the professionals of the Indian Army went where they were told. They had already made their choice to make their livings and provide their families welfare as soldiers. Also, many of those soldiers and other Indian contributors to the war effort believed there was an unspoken quid pro quo in the offing: pull Britain’s feet from the fire in exchange for eventual home rule. So, like Churchill, they made a difficult decision of their own.

Leesa® Review 2017

by MattressNerd @ The Mattress Nerd

Leesa® was one of the first direct-to-consumer companies to come out, launching in late 2014. Since then, dozens of mattress companies have popped up shipping mattresses in boxes to customers. How does Leesa stack up now that almost 3 years have gone by?

The Case for Midi-Chlorians

The Case for Midi-Chlorians

by Abraham Riesman @ Brow Beat

This article originally appeared in Vulture.

In the lead-up to Star Wars: The Last Jedi, we look back at the first Jedi (narratively speaking) with a series of stories about the much-beloved and never-disparaged prequel trilogy.

There is precious little that makes my experience and enjoyment of Star Wars special. I like the films everyone likes, and am ambivalent about the other ones. I thought The Force Awakens was fun, if derivative. I’ve dabbled in various spinoff-media products, but have never been anything resembling a completist. I have standard-issue opinions about the mythology’s politics (the Rebel Alliance’s multiculturalism is nice, the Jedi concept is troublingly aristocratic, Jar Jar Binks is a racist abomination, and so on). All of that said, I do have one take so hot that it’s been searing a hole in my brain for nearly 20 years. Okay, deep breath. I’m ready.

The midi-chlorians aren’t that bad.

Indeed, I’d even go so far as to say they’re fascinating, albeit not necessarily in the way they were intended to be. This stance puts me into a tiny minority. Ever since George Lucas first introduced the world to these tiny organisms in 1999’s Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace, they’ve been one of the leading bugaboos for prequel skeptics. In that film, we learn about them from noble Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn. Perhaps I should just let the dear, departed Qui-Gon explain them to you as he does to wee Anakin Skywalker, after the latter has learned that he possesses an abnormally high midi-chlorian count:

ANAKIN: I heard Master Yoda talking about midi-chlorians. I’ve been wondering: What are midi-chlorians?
QUI-GON: Midi-chlorians are a microscopic life-form that resides within all living cells.
ANAKIN: They live inside me?
QUI-GON: Inside your cells, yes. And we are symbionts with them.
ANAKIN: Symbionts?
QUI-GON: Life-forms living together for mutual advantage. Without the midi-chlorians, life could not exist and we would have no knowledge of the Force. They continually speak to us, telling us the will of the Force. When you learn to quiet your mind, you’ll hear them speaking to you.

This felt like a radical change from the conception we’d previously had of the mysterious Jedi-powering entity known as the Force. In the original trilogy, it had been described in more ethereal terms. “It is an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together,” an aged Obi-Wan told Anakin’s son Luke. As Yoda put it in the movie after that one, “Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us.”

For decades, that was about it, as far as explanations of the Force went. Then, all of a sudden, per the first prequel, it seemed that Force abilities were caused by little bugs in your bloodstream. To make matters worse, Qui-Gon at one point suggests that Anakin’s mom may have been impregnated by midi-chlorians. Ersatz God had been abruptly trumped by garbage science in the eyes of dejected fanpeople.

“One word ruined Star Wars for me, and probably for a generation of fans, too,” wrote Evan Narcisse in Time, still ticked off more than a decade after the movie’s release. “That word wasn’t Jar Jar or Watto. It wasn’t a character. It was ‘midi-chlorians.’ With that one word, the mechanisms of the Force became less spiritual and more scientific. Major bummer.” Another luminary of the geek commentariat, Charlie Jane Anders, called them “a clumsy retcon that screws up an explanation we already had.” Lost and The Leftovers co-creator Damon Lindelof railed against them while describing why he didn’t want to get into the science of Lost’s island: “I feel like you have to be very careful about entering into midi-chlorian territory,” he said. “Never once did anyone ever say to me or did it occur to me to say, ‘What is the Force, exactly?’” Trawl message boards and you’ll find blunter assessments: As a user of the Ars Technica forum put it, “Star Wars - the force is a mystical energy = fantasy. Star Wars - the force is caused by mitichlorians [sic] = fuck you.”

Okay, so, first off: Yes, the Star Wars mythos would have been just fine, if not better, if it lacked the handful of bits in the prequel flicks that talk about midi-chlorians. There wasn’t anything wrong with the way the story had presented the Force previously. I’m not going to say the critters were a net positive for the franchise. Writers have struggled with them in canonical and quasi-canonical Star Wars spinoff stories ever since: There was a tale having to do with mapping the Jedi genome; an in-universe manual talked about how rock creatures without organic cells might interact with midi-chlorians; and some dude named Darth Tenebrous created things called maxi-chlorians, about which the less is said, the better. All of that could go out the window and we would, for the most part, be better for it.

But we live in a world with midi-chlorians, and it’s one where people are altogether too angry about them. That anger comes from a pair of misconceptions. For one thing, just because midi-chlorians exist doesn’t mean the compellingly airy-fairy nature of the Force goes away. Look at what Qui-Gon says: “They continually speak to us, telling us the will of the Force.” That in no way means midi-chlorians are the Force, just that they help connect us to it. The Force is still vaguely defined, allowing you to map whatever meaning you want onto it—it just so happens that there might be little creatures that help us become more sensitive to it, and some people have more of them than others. Ask yourself: How different is it from our other notions of the Jedi? It had already been established that they’re people who are somehow born with greater sensitivity to the Force, meaning we already accepted the idea of the Force as a birthright reserved for a chosen few, fundamentally different from the rest of us. Is it that big of a leap to say that their differences show up in biology, too?

This idea that midi-chlorians are a kind of baseline prerequisite, but not anywhere near the full explanation of the mystical nature of the Force, has recently become the canonical method of sewing them into the Star Wars legendarium with as few seams as possible. They’ve been addressed and explained most prominently in a pair of 2014 episodes of the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. In “Voices” and “Destiny,” Yoda grapples with questions about the nature of life and death, specifically as they relate to the soul. What makes up a person’s essence, and what happens to it after the body is felled?

He is visited by the disembodied voice of long-dead Qui-Gon (shockingly, Liam Neeson returned for the performance), who tells him that the Force has two components: the Living Force and the Cosmic Force. “Living beings generate the Living Force, which in turn powers the wellspring that is the Cosmic Force,” he tells the little green Jedi Master. “All energy from the Living Force, from all things that have ever lived, feeds into the Cosmic Force, binding everything and communicating to us through the midi-chlorians.” Later, Yoda travels to a planet where the midi-chlorians first emerged. Some ghosts appear before him and talk about how the midi-chlorians are what “connects the Living Force and the Cosmic Force” and that “when a living thing dies, all is removed; life passes from the Living Force into the Cosmic Force and becomes one with it.” Doesn’t that leave the Force, itself, as something sufficiently metaphysical?

Yoda’s journey in Clone Wars also brings us to the second misconception that bedevils midi-chlorian haters: the belief that the Jedi have any idea what they’re talking about. He goes on his quest because he realizes that, even after 900-odd years of existence, there’s still a wealth of information that he doesn’t grasp. The Republic-era Jedi Order is certain that there is no life after death, but Yoda discovers that there is. Who’s to say the Jedi aren’t wrong about, well, everything?

If you look at the prequels from that perspective, they become far more engaging than if you assume these self-confident men (and they are usually men) have all the answers. It’s not that big of a stretch, to be honest. Take, for example, the prophecy of the Chosen One. Qui-Gon believes that young Anakin’s destiny was foretold by ancient Jedi who predicted the advent of a person who would bring balance to the Force. The audience is supposed to have enormous respect for Qui-Gon, but Jesus, given the whole “Anakin turning into Darth Vader and committing genocide” thing, was he wrong about that. Or think about the Jedi’s participation in the Clone Wars. These supposedly wise analysts of the world became unwitting warriors in the service of the Sith Lord Palpatine, helping to throw the entire Galaxy into bloody mayhem. If they’re so smart, how’d they miss that?

Same goes for midi-chlorians, in one possible interpretation. Maybe midi-chlorians are as stupid an explanation of the Force as their real-world critics say they are. What if high midi-chlorian counts had a loose correlation to Force sensitivity, but weren’t actual causes of it, and the Jedi just misinterpreted their data? What if this was something like medieval doctors rambling on for centuries about humors and leeches—a faux-scientific delusion that was wholeheartedly embraced by a guild of people who loved to preach their own greatness to the hoi polloi? Perhaps the Jedi had thunk themselves into utter stupidity on an array of matters. Midi-chlorians were just one manifestation of their high-minded idiocy. From that point of view, the prequels are a tragedy about well-intentioned intellectuals whose myopic condescension led them onto a path of war and self-immolation.

Which leads us to my personal fan theory about these loathed microorganisms. You’ll note that Obi-Wan and Yoda don’t tell Luke—the first of the new Jedi, who presumably should have as many facts as possible if he’s going to start up the old traditions again—anything about midi-chlorians. You may think that’s because Lucas hadn’t come up with his dumb idea yet when he made the first Star Wars picture. Oddly enough, you’d be wrong. According to J.W. Rinzler’s The Making of Star Wars, Lucas saw them as part of the mythos as early as 1977. “It is said that certain creatures are born with a higher awareness of the Force than humans,” the progenitor wrote in a guide on the rules of the universe. “Their brains are different; they have more midi-chlorians in their cells.” He didn’t feel there was enough time to effectively explain the organisms in the original trilogy, but he had them in the back of his mind. So how do we explain the fact that Luke’s trainers don’t mention them?

I like to think it’s because they realized in their old age that midi-chlorians aren’t worth worrying about. Yoda and Obi-Wan had decades to ponder the nature of the Force and refine their conception of it down to its essence. Maybe, in looking back on the downfall of the Jedi, they realized that hewing too closely to specific explanations of the Force was a fool’s errand, a pseudo-intellectual distraction from what’s really important: spiritual contemplation and selfless deeds. As such, they may have thought Luke had the opportunity to build a future Jedi Order that wouldn’t repeat their mistakes. Like their decision to hide Leia’s familial relationship to him, they felt that Luke was better off without certain tidbits—and, unlike their dissembling about his sister, this was a worthwhile sin of omission. A condescending one, yes, but hey, old Jedi habits die hard.

In making that choice, we can see Obi-Wan and Yoda doing what we all have to do with Star Wars: choose what works and ignore the rest of it. To say midi-chlorians ruined the franchise for you is to avoid the fact that you have to turn a blind eye to a ton of Star Wars stuff in order to enjoy the good parts. Even in the original trilogy, the writing and acting is often stilted and wooden. There are way too many coincidences and plot holes to make for a sensical plot. The heroes are, arguably, uncompromising terrorists. And so on and so on. But none of that really matters. As is true of the midi-chlorians, you either forget that those problems exist, or you engage with them in a constructive way. This is how one teaches a Jedi—or enjoys flawed fiction. Even in a Galaxy far, far away, it’s OK if your fave is problematic.

See also: All the CGI Characters in the Star Wars Prequels, Ranked From Tolerable to Inexcusable

Simmons BeautySleep 10

by Martin Lorentz @ California King – Shorty's Mattress Depot

Buying an awesome sleep - Simmons BeautySleep 10 inch Mattress-In-A-Box offers everything to provide a Good Nights Sleep and is packed with the newest technology including a 3 inch layer of AirCool Gel Memory Foam for pressure relief and freedom of movement - all in one box.  

This MATTRESS is adjustable friendly.

The post Simmons BeautySleep 10 appeared first on Shorty's Mattress Depot.

Nolah Mattress Discount Code

by Logan Block @ Sleepopolis

You can save $125 on any size Nolah mattress by following some simple steps and using the following promo code! Choose your mattress at NolahMattress.com Enter the code SLEEPOPOLIS in the discount code section on the checkout screen and click apply Congratulations, you just saved $125!   Don’t forget to check out my full Nolah […]

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The Trump Era Has Taken Some of the Fun Out of The Book of Mormon

The Trump Era Has Taken Some of the Fun Out of The Book of Mormon

by Lila Thulin @ Brow Beat

The most satisfying moment in The Book of Mormon might be when a disillusioned and rumpled Elder Price, a formerly straight-laced and pompous Mormon missionary, says the word fuck. The savage catharsis of that line is what the political hell (H-E-double-hockey-sticks, if you ask the musical’s proselyting characters) of 2017 demands. But all the profanity in the world—and Book of Mormon, the brainchild of South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, delights in being foulmouthed—can’t make the critically acclaimed musical as riotous a piece of satire as it was before last year’s election. After all, when Book of Mormon made its Tony-winning Broadway debut in 2011, Donald Trump was firing celebrities from The Apprentice, not threatening North Korea with “fire and fury.” But as it’s performed in today’s political context, Book of Mormon has become a tangle of Trumpian echoes, offering incomplete escapism and blunted commentary.

This fault line was evident at the touring production of the musical I attended at the Kennedy Center last month. (The tour is currently making its way through Florida, then heads west in the new year, and the New York production is still one of the highest-grossing shows on Broadway.) The audience still guffawed, the tunes were as catchy as ever, but I couldn’t sink into the sheer escapist absurdity of the satire the way I had when I first watched Book of Mormon in San Francisco two and a half years earlier; I was constantly reminded of the political reality of the Trump White House just one mile away.

From the curtain lift, Book of Mormon emphasizes the religious fervor of its missionaries; the first big musical number sees a host of ever-friendly Elders persistently ringing doorbells. But these days, religious fervor appears not just on our doorsteps but in policymaking, and when birth control coverage is being stripped away, the missionaries’ zealotry feels a lot less laughable. In this setting, the chorus of self-serious, squeaky-clean missionaries brings to mind the image of a dozen Mike Pences, pre-Mother. “Turn It Off,” a number about the repression of same-sex desire, has gained a sinister veneer in a world where the president jokes that his hyperdevout second in command “wants to hang” gay people. Lyrics like “When you start to feel confused/ about thoughts inside your head/ don’t feel those feelings!/ Hold them in instead,” could also make a very good anthem for the GOP congress people singing about squashing their consciences. (Just imagine Paul Ryan leading McConnell and the other rank-and-file conservatives in the tap routine.) It’s harder to giggle at religion when it’s become a political force to be reckoned with.

To be fair, a musical about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not exactly interchangeable with a song-and-dance story the evangelical right and the uneasy bedfellow it’s found in Trumpism. Mitt Romney won 28 percent more votes in the deep-red and majority-Mormon state of Utah than Trump, whose Islamophobia, lack of decorum, and anti-immigration sentiment many Mormons find off-putting. Mormon politicians have proven to be some of the president’s more outspoken conservative critics (see: Jeff Flake, third-party candidate Evan McMullin, Romney). But data from a 2014 Pew study showed that Mormons are the most consistently Republican-leaning religious group in America, and slightly more of them disapprove of abortion and homosexuality than even evangelical Protestants. These are the same faith-based, socially conservative views influencing this administration’s policy.

Beyond nagging reminders of the religious right, Book of Mormon is laden with unintentional Trumpian overtures. Of course, that’s partially because everything nowadays is Trump-saturated. (When was the last time you saw a tomato-red baseball cap or heard the word tremendous without cringing a little?) But you can also credit it to Stone and Parker’s brand of comedy, which lambasts political correctness. “The things that we do—being outrageous and taking things to the extreme to get a reaction—[Trump]’s using those tools,” Trey Parker told the Los Angeles Times. The braggadocio of “You and Me (But Mostly Me)” could easily have been a Saturday Night Live riff on Trump’s “I alone can fix it” bluster, staged as a buddy song between him and Pence. But like Alec Baldwin’s caricature of Trump on SNL, an onslaught of one-note Trump imitation grows exhausting.

That’s not to say Parker and Stone’s satire has wholly lost its edge; indeed, jabs at the LDS Church’s racist past got some of the loudest laughs, perhaps due to how glaringly applicable Charlottesville and a race-baiting president have shown them to be today (or more cynically, maybe because for an audience of white liberals, calling out racism through humor relieves the conscience and avoids some of the harder, privilege-dismantling work). But in other moments, jokes that apply Trump-adopted techniques—like the lark that “God’s favorite prophet was all-American” (referencing New Yorker Joseph Smith)—feel inadequate given how charged the notion of “all-American” has become in the midst of open xenophobia and endless respect-the-flag debates.

Besides, we go to musicals for an escape from reality, not a million stinging paper-cut reminders of it. That’s why the more outlandish numbers, like “Spooky Mormon Hell Dream,” where Elder Price gets taunted by Genghis Khan and also dancing Starbucks cups, are still fun. Even dressed up in sparkles and sharp choreography, the other numbers felt like garish versions of what we see with every push alert. So much for escapism; the marble halls of Washington are now a real-life spooky hell dream of your own.

But it’s Book of Mormon’s grand conclusion that shows how much the political ground has shifted. The overarching message—that for all its flaws, faith in something that can’t be proven is good—is better suited to the hopey-changey Obama presidency, not this post-truth Trump world where facts have become a more precious commodity. Like our president, the musical’s protagonist, Elder Cunningham, is prone to fibbing and underprepared for his job; when his limited knowledge of the Book of Mormon fails him, he tells outlandish half-truths that blend doctrine with Star Wars: “In ancient New York, three men were about to cut off a Mormon woman’s … clitoris. But … right before they did, Jesus had … BOBA FETT turn ’em into FROGS!” Yes, Stone and Parker wink at the idea that these lies aren’t too much more ludicrous than some of the Mormon beliefs they ridicule, like the prospect of the Nephite people leaving ancient Jerusalem to live in North America two-plus millennia ago. But by the final song, the cast holds out a new holy book: the Book of Arnold. To me, it was an uncomfortable remembrance of how Trump’s base supports him with borderline religious fervor, of how the evangelical right has found its morals flexible when it comes to politically expedient partnerships, of just how eagerly people can embrace untruths.

Reviewing the musical in 2014, the New York Times critic Ben Brantley wrote, “The Book of Mormon is about the triumph of faith in fantasy.” Faith in fantasy—be it the liberal fantasy of the first woman president or the Trump-peddled notion that his “great” response to Hurricane Maria was twisted by the media—does not feel like something to sing about; it’s been weaponized. “I Believe,” a soaring ode proclaiming faith in the stranger points of LDS doctrine, is a song for 2008 Obama, for Bill Clinton gleefully batting balloons at the Democratic National Convention and feeling confident Hillary would win. But now, cynicism feels more apt than sincerity. Perhaps that’s why I found the smaller, interpersonal numbers that pay more attention to the characters than their stereotypes or the songs that voice frustration (like when the Ugandans cuss out God) the most enjoyable this time around. Faith feels foolish, but protest is in style.

The Last Jedi Revives an Extremely Arcane Bit of Star Wars Lore. Here’s What You Need to Know.

The Last Jedi Revives an Extremely Arcane Bit of Star Wars Lore. Here’s What You Need to Know.

by Lila Thulin @ Brow Beat

The new Star Wars installment is chock-full of references to the space opera’s past, but here’s one allusion that moviegoers, and even many Star Wars buffs, might not be able to place: a pair of tiny golden cubes on a chain, the Millennium Falcon’s space-travel equivalent of fuzzy rearview mirror dice. The dice are the property of the galaxy’s favorite rogue, the late Han Solo, and they’re still dangling in the cockpit when, as glimpsed in a TV spot, Luke Skywalker reenters the freighter. Like everything in the Star Wars universe, the tiny gold knickknack has a backstory, and Slate investigated it.

The golden dice make their first appearance in Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope, the film that introduced George Lucas’ saga. Set decorator Roger Christian, whose team won an Academy Award for the 1977 film, wrote in his autobiography that he added the dice as a finishing touch that helped develop Solo’s character as “reckless” and “a gambler.” Christian took inspiration from actor Harrison Ford’s previous film with Lucas, American Graffiti, in which Ford’s character had a skull dangling off his mirror, but Christian deemed a skull “a little too rock ’n’ roll for Star Wars.” So the dice became a part of the Millennium Falcon. Eagle-eyed viewers can glimpse the dice at the very top of the frame during the scene where the ship is sucked into the Death Star by a tractor beam, for instance. Chewbacca also hits his head on the dice as he boards the Falcon in Mos Eisley, the spaceport where the famous cantina scene occurs.

Speaking to Vanity Fair before the release of The Last Jedi, Pablo Hidalgo, creative executive of Lucasfilm Story Group, said that the production might have forgotten about the dice in the interim; they didn’t appear again until the saga returned with The Force Awakens. Hidalgo said the team behind the 2015 movie re-watched old footage to reconstruct Solo’s ship. (According to the Metro, the art department at Pinewood Studios realized they were missing the dice after filming had started and bought a pair of 24-karat-plated dice from a fan of the franchise on eBay for £22 in June 2014).

Hidalgo, who J.J. Abrams called the “keeper of all arcane details of Star Wars,” spoke about the dice’s origins in that same Vanity Fair piece, and the charm showed up on the magazine’s Force Awakens cover, nestled between the V and A.

“The story that you would hear if you traveled to cantinas or watering holes around the Star Wars galaxy,” Hidalgo says, spinning his yarn, “is that those dice were involved in a game of Corellian Spike—a dice-using version of a card game called sabacc. Rumor has it Han won the Millennium Falcon [from Lando Calrissian] with those dice. Whether or not that’s just bar talk, I can’t say.”

This account is reiterated in Star Wars: The Force Awakens the Visual Dictionary, which Hidalgo wrote. But in the Expanded Universe young readers novel Smuggler’s Run: A Han Solo Adventure, published in 2015, author Greg Rucka seems to suggest an alternate story. He writes, “The Wookiee barked a response to C-3PO, slapped his comm button again, and swung up from his seat, ducking out of habit as he stepped out of the cockpit and knocked the pair of novelty chance dice that he’d hung there as a joke some years ago.” The official Star Wars website references this as a “canonical explanation.” [Very mild The Last Jedi spoilers follow.]

So the origins of the dice are muddy, although perhaps not quite as mysterious as the question of Rey’s parentage at the start of The Last Jedi. But we do know they have sentimental value: Luke swipes them out of the Falcon and gives this reminder of Han over to Leia when the twins reunite. The film lingers on this moment with a close up of the dice resting in General Organa’s hands, but viewers who aren’t eagle-eyed or steeped in Star Wars lore might be left wondering what significance, exactly, the golden dice hold.

Seth Meyers Methodically Demolishes the Idea That Republicans are the Party of Law and Order

Seth Meyers Methodically Demolishes the Idea That Republicans are the Party of Law and Order

by Matthew Dessem @ Brow Beat

The Republican party’s willing embrace of Roy Moore, a man who has been credibly accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old (and preying on other teenage girls so openly he was reportedly banned from a local mall) is such an easy slam-dunk for late night hosts, the only thing better would be living in a country where a major political party didn’t support child molesters. Jimmy Kimmel ate Moore’s bullshit “Christian values” shtick alive, Stephen Colbert pointed out how morally bankrupt the Republicans are on the issue, the Daily Show interviewed the rancid Alabamians supporting him (this was back before the rest of Moore’s party endorsed the sexual assault of 14-year-old girls). The details are so disgusting and vile that it’s understandable that, for the most part, no one has pulled back to look at the bigger picture. But the big picture is Seth Meyers’ specialty, and in a blistering segment on Wednesday, he methodically showed how the Republican embrace of Roy Moore puts the lie to their claims of being the party of law and order:

Trump says he wants to stop crime, but he’s backing an accused child molester over a prosecutor who convicted the KKK, which tells you that when he uses the word “crime,” that’s not what he really means. He doesn’t want to stop “crime,” he wants to stop immigrants, refugees, or his political opponents.

It’s a smart angle to take—though it’s certainly not the only Republican lie Roy Moore’s campaign inadvertently exposes—and Meyers goes as far back as 2015 to show then-candidate Trump’s flexible relationship with crime, law enforcement, and the truth. He builds a strong case that Trump and his party are evil men doing evil things, which will, of course, make no difference to the evil people supporting them. But despite the essential pointlessness in calling out Republican hypocrisy, it’s also some of Meyers’ funniest work: he does a loopy reading of a Trump tweet as a beat poem, then pivots to a totally different character with a sort of His Girl Friday cadence. The timing is great, the jokes are funny, and the whole thing exists only because, again, the Republican party is giving political support and campaign dollars—including money raised by Meyers’ home network of NBC—to a man who has been accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old. You gotta laugh, right?

Posturepedic Hobson House Plush California King Set

by firefly-wp @ California King Mattress Sets – Brown’s Furniture Showplace

Hobson House Plush California King Set

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When Your Mattress Is Too Firm

by HenkinSchultz @ Beds by Design

People used to be told that an extra firm mattress was good on the back. This has been proven wrong with multiple studies including one that was based on 313 adults who had chronic lower-back pain. Those who slept on very firm mattresses reported nearly twice as much back pain. The result is a less […]

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Our Aviya Bed Review: Is This America’s Favorite for 2018?

by Sarah Cummings @ The Sleep Advisor

The post Our Aviya Bed Review: Is This America’s Favorite for 2018? appeared first on The Sleep Advisor.

Disney Makes Deal to Acquire 21st Century Fox for $52.4 Billion

Disney Makes Deal to Acquire 21st Century Fox for $52.4 Billion

by Marissa Martinelli @ Brow Beat

The Walt Disney Company announced on Thursday that it will acquire most of 21st Century Fox in a deal valued at $52.4 billion. The acquisition will include Fox’s TV and film studios, cable networks such as National Geographic and FX, and international TV businesses. The deal does not include Fox News, Fox Business, FS1, FS2, or the Big Ten Network, which will remain under the control of Rupert Murdoch.

The agreement isn’t a done deal just yet—the acquisition still needs to be approved by antitrust regulators, and the Justice Department blocked another megamerger earlier this year. If the Fox-Disney deal goes through, however, it could have a dramatic effect on Disney’s future, giving the company a majority share in Hulu and granting Disney the rights to a number of Fox properties, including, to name just a few, The Simpsons, the Planet of the Apes franchise, and Avatar. The decision would also reunite X-Men and other characters owned or optioned by Fox with their other Marvel counterparts.

I Spent 48 Hours Listening to Nothing but Covers of Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas.” Here’s What I Found.

I Spent 48 Hours Listening to Nothing but Covers of Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas.” Here’s What I Found.

by Lawrence Ware @ Brow Beat

In 1970, just months after releasing his debut album, Everything Is Everything, soul singer Donny Hathaway set his sights on creating something that up to that point hadn’t truly existed: an official Christmas anthem for black America. He found that song when he was connected with songwriter and fellow Chicagoan Nadine McKinnor, who had written the lyrics to what would eventually become “This Christmas” a few years prior. Hathaway orchestrated the arrangement and production, and a holiday classic was born. Their song has become such a staple in the black community (not to mention American culture writ large) that Imani Perry, the Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, once summed it up to me like this: “[It’s] to Christmas as [Maze’s] “Before I Let Go” is to cookouts and as “Lift Every Voice and Sing” is to Martin Luther King Jr. breakfasts and HBCU graduations.”

So beloved is this song that there have been a number of attempts to cover it. Unfortunately, the results vary wildly, from the overly processed productions of Destiny’s Child and Train to the horrific versions by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John and Chicago that I will never be able to unhear. Despite all of these attempts, some 47 years later, the conventional wisdom holds that nothing can eclipse the original’s soulful depth and virtuosic musicianship. But I’ve always wondered whether that were actually true or if we’ve all just been wrapped up in judgment-clouding nostalgia—and so I recently set out to come up with the definitive answer. My attempts to uncover the answer almost made me hate Christmas.

I made a playlist of all 30 versions of “This Christmas” I could find on Spotify and listened closely to nothing but that playlist for 48 hours. (A word of advice: Don’t try this at home. What I did was foolhardy and not for the faint of heart.) Now, having spent two days contemplating and listening to the 1970 classic and its descendants, I can confidently say three things: 1) “This Christmas” is now my favorite holiday song; 2) I would be fine if I never heard it again this year; 3) Covering the song successfully is an art unto itself.

While the original does not begin with the slow, woozy interpretation of the first verse sung over sparse instrumentation that has appeared in many recent covers, if a singer is going to go that route, they must be soulful yet restrained. The phrasing must be clear and self-assured, the musicianship top-notch, and the performance more than just a mimicking of Hathaway. Finally, in order for a cover to be considered worthy of existing alongside Hathaway’s version, it must include the legendary ad-lib “Shake a hand, shake a hand.” This is nonnegotiable, and it is also where many of the lesser versions of the song fail. Michael McDonald disastrously oversings this ad-lib after the second chorus while Lady Antebellum blasphemously leaves it out altogether—a surefire way to anger any “This Christmas” aficionado.

Below, the official ranking of the 10 best versions of Hathaway’s masterpiece as well as an accompanying Spotify playlist.

10. Fantasia

Fantasia’s voice is like a warm blanket on a snowy day, and her passion for music comes through every time she blesses a mic. Unfortunately, the production on this track is too slick and her vocalizations a little too manic; nevertheless, her approach to the material shows a clear love for the original.

9. Chris Brown

I struggled with putting Chris Brown on this list. His history of domestic abuse with both Rihanna and Karrueche Tran gave me pause, but if you ask many people under the age of 30 which version they know, this is probably the one that will come to mind first. This version introduced the original song to a new generation, and that’s the reason why I had to include it: I’ve had students at Oklahoma State University, where I’m a professor, inform me—with a straight face—that this is the superior version. (I was tempted to give them an F, but integrity kept me from doing so.) Truthfully, this is a competent cover at most: not great, not bad. Just there. Brown sings fine, but he lacks the emotional depth to make this a classic.

8. Mary J. Blige

The queen of hip-hop soul isn’t at her best here; she’s subdued and singing without her usual gut-wrenching passion. However, even at her worst, she has enough charisma and vocal range to do it better than most.

7. Gerald Albright

The only vocalless cover of the song to make this list does so because Albright is a master of making the sax sing. He is not really adding anything noteworthy to the song, but you could do worse than to throw this on in the background at your next cocktail party or family gathering.

6. Diana Ross

Ms. Ross uses her legendary lilting soprano voice to lend this a sweet and youthful touch. She is almost playful in her phrasing, giving this interpretation a light and joyful feel.

5. Pentatonix

I didn’t want to like this one. Ever since the release of their first Christmas album in 2014, the a cappella sensations have become ubiquitous during the holiday season, and their overly cheery performances tend to come off as disingenuous. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like their hip-hop and gospel-inspired take on the song, with their harmonies clearly influenced by Kirk Franklin’s work with The Family and Nu Nation.

4. Dave Koz and Eric Benet

Dave Koz has found a way to make jazz in the 2000s without falling into the rut of being elevator music–adjacent with his smooth, ’90s R&B–inspired take on jazz standards. On this track, he teams up with Eric Benet and delivers a sexy, stirring spin on the Christmas standard.

3. The Whispers

This is a bold cover. The Whispers were masters of slow, sensual songs, and instead of trying to match the tempo of the original, they remained true to what they did best and approached it like it’s a ballad. The result is romantic and wholly original.

2. Lalah Hathaway

Sure, you can say that, as Hathaway’s daughter, Lalah has an unfair advantage. But before you accuse me of granting her legacy admission into the No. 2 slot, listen to this most recent addition, recorded as part of Spotify’s branded star-studded holiday playlist this year. In Lalah’s voice, one hears echoes of her father’s sublime tenor, and her cover contains no horns, no strings, and no computer-aided production. There is nothing more than a keyboard, a microphone, and a woman communing with the divine. Not much else is needed.

1. Donny Hathaway

No need to be contrarian here. After 48 painstaking hours of hearing nothing but various interpretations of this song, the original still reigns supreme. Hathaway’s voice, his performance, and the music are flawless. This may not be the most popular Christmas song of all time, but had he lived beyond the tragically young age of 33, he’d be happy to know that he succeeded in making the official black Christmas song, one that will be celebrated (and relentlessly covered) for years to come.

Voters Would be Crazy to Select Anything Other Than Get Out as 2017’s Best Picture

Voters Would be Crazy to Select Anything Other Than Get Out as 2017’s Best Picture

by Julia Turner @ Brow Beat

On Thursday, the New York Film Critics Circle gave out its annual awards. The NYFCC nods, along with other critical awards like them, tend to kick Oscar prognostication into a higher gear, providing the first hard evidence of how a voting body might rank the year’s cinematic offerings. I’m sorry to report the evidence so far suggests that movie-award givers this year are poised to make a woeful mistake. For the NYFCC has given its Best Picture award to Lady Bird.  

Now, Lady Bird is a wonderful movie, a subtle portrait of a high school senior in Sacramento and her fitful separation from the people who raised her and the place where she grew up. It’s full of stunning performances—particularly from Saoirse Ronan, who stars, and Laurie Metcalf, who plays her complicated mom.

But anyone who cares about the movies should be rooting for a different film to win Best Picture this year—at the Oscars and everywhere else: Jordan Peele’s Get Out. The director’s “social thriller” is considered to be in the running, but it’s a long shot for several reasons. It’s both a horror movie and a comedy, and neither genre is known for racking up awards. And it came out in February, long before the buckets of plump Oscar bait currently angling for voter attention.

However, voters—including those at the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, who make their elections on Sunday—should give Get Out a serious look. Not just because it’s a masterpiece, although it is—a perfectly calibrated cinematic experience that explores whether America has come as far as it thinks it has on race, arguably the central topic of our cultural and political life right now. No, voters should choose Get Out for a much more craven reason: Get Out made movies matter again.

Think back on what it was like when Get Out arrived last winter. One of our most beloved comedians, late of the dearly departed sketch show Key & Peele, had a new film. His previous outing, Keanu, was goofy and honestly pretty bad. But Get Out proved to be electrifying. Taut, funny, smart as hell. Audiences flocked to it, earning it more than $250 million. Everyone was talking about it. It felt like the nightmare surprise of Trump’s election had been perfectly synthesized into a single, brilliant, popular piece of art. And it seemed—crucially—like movies might have something important to say to us once again.

When was the last time a popular cinematic masterpiece had something important and topical to say about the world? Wonder Woman was popular and topical, but not a masterpiece. Moonlight was a topical masterpiece, but not really popular outside movie aficionado circles. You can play this game for a while, but it’s hard to think of another recent film that hits this trifecta. Get Out would be the highest-grossing Best Picture winner in a decade.

The people who vote for movie awards are for the most part people who have a stake in the movies: the critics in their various circles; the writers, producers, actors, and directors in their various guilds. These are people who must feel, in their bones, that cinema is under threat. Television is the medium that has people buzzing. Television is the medium that is growing. In movies, the current economic model supports the making of dreck and occasional, precious, award-seeking gemstones. 2017 is a year that produced, in Get Out, a knockout counterargument to film’s decline: Proof that a movie can be a sturdy, audience-pleasing hit, excellent, and important at the same time.

That’s why any vote for Lady Bird (or Call Me By Your Name, or The Post, or the seamstress movie) is a vote against self-interest. A vote for Get Out is a vote for the relevance of movies. A vote for Lady Bird is tantamount to saying, “OK, fine, let’s just be jazz.”

Don’t let movies go the way of jazz, people. Get Out is 2017’s best picture, and it should be 2017’s Best Picture. It’s up to you to make that so.

Memory Foam vs Latex: The Complete Guide

by Linda Coursey @ Bedsheetadvisor

When it’s time to buy a new mattress, it’s important to find one that will help you get a good night’s sleep. Inadequate sleep can cause grogginess, muscle aches, misalignment in the spine, and even poor cognitive functions. But with all the mattresses on the market, it’s overwhelming to determine which combination of mattress and pillow will bring the best rest. This guide compares memory foam with latex mattresses, and offers key features of each to help make your decision easier. Latex While they aren’t as comfortable as the competition, latex mattresses are the choice made by those who are

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What Should We Make of The Shape of Water’s Mysterious Ending? We Discuss Del Toro’s Latest.

What Should We Make of The Shape of Water’s Mysterious Ending? We Discuss Del Toro’s Latest.

by Sam Adams @ Brow Beat

On the Spoiler Special podcast, Slate critics discuss movies, the occasional TV show, and, once in a blue moon, another podcast, in full, spoiler-filled detail. In this week’s episode, Slate’s movie critic, Dana Stevens, and Slate senior editor Sam Adams spoil Guillermo del Toro’s newest film, The Shape of Water. Is this Del Toro’s best film since Pan’s Labyrinth? What should we make of its mysterious ending? And how hot is that fish-monster sex?

Listen to them discuss these and other questions below. You can also check out past Spoiler Specials, and you can subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts. Note: As the title indicates, each installment contains spoilers galore.

Email: spoilers@slate.com

Podcast production by Daniel Schroeder.

The Right Adjustable Bed and Mattress Can Improve Your Sleep

by Cristal Gonzalez @ Shorty's Mattress Depot

Adjustable beds are not just for people with health issues. This is actually a common misconception. However, not only do several styles of mattresses fit on an adjustable bed, but they are great for adding comfort to your sleep and downtime. At Shorty’s Mattress Depot, we have plenty to choose from. Added Comfort There’s nothing […]

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The Art of Napping

by Ivanna Tucker @ BedMart Mattress Superstores

Naps. Sometimes you just need one. As a child, afternoon nap time was your least favorite activity. Now as adult, that nap is something you wish could be brought back on a daily basis. It’s okay, you can still nap. Actually, they can help you with everyday productivity. On average, 35.3% of adults report getting […]

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What the “Plums” Meme Has to Say About How Poetry Can Work on the Internet

What the “Plums” Meme Has to Say About How Poetry Can Work on the Internet

by Mark Sussman @ Brow Beat

Last week saw a surge of tweets that mash up William Carlos Williams’ 1934 poem “This Is Just to Say” with ’90s (and a few early ’00s) pop songs. Here is Williams’ poem: “I have eaten/ the plums/ that were in/ the icebox/ and which/ you were probably/ saving/ for breakfast/ Forgive me/ they were delicious/ so sweet/ and so cold.”

And here is what Twitter has done to it.

Unbelievably, this is not the first time Twitter has had its way with Williams’ poem. But why cold plums again? And why now? Character restrictions have something to do with it. At 149 characters, including spaces and line breaks, Williams’ poem in its entirety didn’t fit within the old character limit. 140 characters gave us another, even shorter modernist meme: Hemingway’s baby shoes. The new 280-character limit makes room for Williams’ poem with space left over for Lou Bega.

While Twitter poetry has been a thing for several years, short poems in English have a long history. Given Twitter’s robust literary communities, it’s surprising that we don’t see more short poems going viral. Perhaps cold plums is just another weird Twitter non sequitur, the chance meeting of workday boredom and a desire to put that English degree to use. Whatever the reason for its existence, I want to claim that the memeing of “This Is Just to Say” presents us with an opportunity to think about poetry on the internet, one that doesn’t simply think of character limits as an Oulipo-like constraint.

Modernist poetry often gets identified with long, intimidating works like T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land,” Ezra Pound’s Cantos, and Williams’ own Paterson, which took him at least 12 years to complete. But there is a parallel tradition of very short poems by modernists, some of them written by the same poets. Pound’s “In a Station of the Metro” (1913) is the ur-example of short modernist verse. Here it is in its entirety:

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.

Pound’s short poems were inspired by the austere, concise imagery he claimed to find in ancient Chinese and Japanese poetry. Though his equally concise imperative for modern literature—“Make it new”—stressed innovation, he seemed to think of newness as a novel approach to whatever was historically available, from Eastern poetic traditions to medieval Provençal troubadour verse to classical Greece and Rome.

While, as the scholar Zhaoming Qian has shown, Williams’ work was also influenced by readings of Chinese literature, he stressed his poetry’s American origins. Paterson is his homage to the town where he lived and worked as well as the source of one of his most famous adages: “No ideas but in things.” His day job as a family doctor afforded him the opportunity to absorb the texture of local life, and he recorded it in the short fiction collected in The Doctor Stories. “This Is Just to Say” emerges from an even more specific locale, Williams’ house, as it appears that it may have been a note to his wife Florence. It’s also possible that Florence wrote a reply and that Williams appropriated that response as a poem in its own right. “The only universal,” he wrote, “is the local, as savages, artists and — to a lesser extent — peasants know,” and what’s more universal and local than rooting around in the fridge and eating something your partner was saving for later?  

The poem’s brevity isn’t the only thing that makes it memeable. In some sense, Twitter is the perfect environment for Williams’ poem. Twitter is a kind of place, a “Twitterverse,” with different provinces and states, “academic Twitter,” “media Twitter,” “national security Twitter,” and so on. While anyone can visit these places, it takes a while to pick up the dialect and speak without an accent. When you’re a digital native, it can seem like everything is local. In affectionately vandalizing Williams’ poem, cold plums tweets translate it into the local dialect. They normalize it.

This is all in keeping with another modernist tradition. In his essay “The Metaphysical Poets,” Eliot wrote that the poet’s mind “is constantly amalgamating disparate experiences.” Ordinary men experience the world as “chaotic, irregular, and fragmentary,” with no way to unify the reading of philosophy and falling in love, “the noise of the typewriter or the smell of cooking,” into a single, coherent experience. “In the mind of the poet,” on the other hand, “these experiences are always forming new wholes.” Williams was often quite critical of Eliot, so we can imagine that he might take some satisfaction in seeing Eliot’s elitism shown up by ordinary people forming new wholes out of whatever raw material—pop, poetry, evil puppets—comes their way.

Probably not, though. It seems unlikely that he would have approved of his spare, unadorned lines being embellished with the likes of Smash Mouth. For all of its ordinariness, “This Is Just to Say” is a poem, locked into its form in a particular way for a particular purpose. The poem concentrates our attention on ordinary language until it no longer sounds ordinary. Its line breaks turn a routine act of husbandly insensitivity into a drama of desire and transgression. Like dog owners who transform typical canine mischief into a parody of ritual humiliation, the cold plums meme amplifies this banality until it’s bizarre. Pop music does much the same thing, amplifying and appealing to supposedly universal experiences, like falling in love and mamboing.

Poets and English teachers sometimes lament that poetry isn’t popular. What they seem to mean is that not a lot of people buy books of poetry or read poems at all outside of the classroom. But the cold plums meme suggests that “poetry in the age of Twitter” may not mean 280 character poems. In an essay on poetry and pop music, Michael Robbins writes that, “A pop song is a popular song, one that some ideal ‘everybody’ knows or could know. Its form lends itself to communal participation.” In that sense, the cold plums meme is poetry going pop. Not in the sense that you’ll hear it on the radio. You’ll hear it in the street, but only if you live on the internet, and only if you sing along.

Billy Bush Visits Stephen Colbert to Remind Americans That Objective Reality Still Exists

Billy Bush Visits Stephen Colbert to Remind Americans That Objective Reality Still Exists

by Matthew Dessem @ Brow Beat

You might have lost track of it in all the sound and fury surrounding the Republican tax heist—or decided it mattered less than the President’s recent decision to support alleged 14-year-old-assaulter Roy Moore—but last Sunday, news broke that Donald Trump has been telling people the infamous Access Hollywood tape in which he boasts about women letting him “grab them by the pussy” was a fake. This is not only an obvious lie, it’s a lie that contradicts the apology Trump offered when the story originally broke in 2016. But like the old saying goes, it takes two people to brag about sexual assault and then go on to become the President of the United States: one to brag about sexual assault and go on to become President of the United States, and one to chuckle along and get fired. That second person, Billy Bush, was in a direct position to confirm that Trump was, once again, lying, and did so, writing a New York Times editorial headlined, “Yes, Donald Trump, You Said That.” On Monday night, Bush stopped by The Late Show With Stephen Colbert to confirm that Americans could believe their own eyes and ears: Donald Trump really did boast about sexually assaulting women back in 2005.

Bush’s appearance, like his editorial, was at least partly a plea for forgiveness—he went out of his way to talk about all the work he’s done since the Access Hollywood tape got him fired from the Today Show, and it’s clear that he feels that he was ill-treated in the immediate aftermath of the tape being leaked. This is certainly true in comparison with Donald Trump—at press time, still President of the United States—and it’s hard to argue with Bush’s indignation that Trump has been floating the idea that the tape is fake:

By the way, I would also like to say that’s not me on the bus. You don’t get to say that! Because I was there, and the last 14 months of my life, I have been dealing with it. You dealt with it for 14 minutes and went on to be the president.

This appearance is a step forward from Bush’s unconvincing attempt at a comeback last May. For one thing, he’s finally gotten around to reading about the allegations of sexual assault against the president. But as Colbert points out, the only reason Bush is getting this opportunity to come forward again is Donald Trump’s own stupidity, not some hunger on the part of the American public for Billy Bush’s houghts on the matter:

It’s a well-written editorial, and you make a lot of points in here, which, it’s really worth reading. But you couldn’t have printed this—no one would have printed this—unless this story had come back around again by Donald Trump privately denying it. There wouldn’t have been, the, sort of, the moment to bring this bus back. And I couldn’t show this footage of the bus unless he had denied it again, too. I don’t think CBS would let me. … [Trump] actually brought this particular subject around in conjunction with sort of the cultural moment we’re in right now, where revelations of sexual abuse, sexual harassment, sexual impropriety are putting a new spotlight on the accusations against the president. He stuck—I’m gonna say his finger—in this door hinge by denying this. It’s really the dumbest thing he could have done. He’s a dumb, dumb person.

Bush maybe should have taken the hint that Colbert hadn’t invited him on to reinvent himself. He didn’t. When Bush said that Trump’s monologue initially struck him as shock humor in the vein of Andrew Dice Clay, Colbert pushed back, first asking, “But the camera wasn’t on; why did it seem like a performance to you?” and eventually going on to ask, “Why were you on the bus with him to begin with again?” Colbert finally had to explicitly prompt his guest to discuss the Access Hollywood bus in moral terms:

You state in here—I don’t know exactly the phrases used--you feel shame when you think of your behavior being associated with Donald Trump. That you gave up some part of yourself to a man that you didn’t respect.

Bush picked this up and seemed genuinely contrite for a moment, but almost immediately pivoted to outlining grandiose plans for elevating the conversation—i.e., elevating it away from specific things Billy Bush did or said—and eventually offered this jaw-dropping complaint that undid any good his earlier focus on Trump’s alleged victims might have done his public image:

Stephen, it’s an unbelievable irony. The very day that [Trump] was swearing in as the 45 th President of the United States, I was checking in to this soul-searching retreat in St. Helena, California. It’s nine days off the grid, no phone, you had to check in your phone, and you just kind of—it was the beginning of me saying, “All right, get up, stop being sorry for yourself, stop worrying, all these things, there’s life to live, let’s go: Get better. Be a better man, be a better person.” So I passed the television in the office when I was checking in, and there’s the—he’s got his hand up, and I’m going in to my little cabin to do the work!

“Tough,” Bush added, looking at Colbert for some kind of sympathetic reaction, which for some reason—probably having to do with the fact that Bush, after making the appropriate noises of support for Trump’s accusers, was complaining about having to go to a luxury resort in Napa because of his own complicity—wasn’t forthcoming. But he still didn’t get that this wasn’t an entirely friendly interview, because he followed up by positively leaping into this not-particularly-difficult trap Colbert set:

You had just been recently one of the co-hosts of The Today Show. Matt Lauer controlled that show. He could have protected anybody, and he did famously protect people from being fired on that show. Do you wish he would have protected you?

To state the obvious, this was an opportunity for Bush to condemn the horrible things Matt Lauer is accused of doing, not to reveal that he tried to get Matt Lauer to pull strings on his behalf. Instead Bush cheerfully walked right into the buzzsaw:

We had a conversation about that, and I was told—he told me—that he went privately to the bosses and took that line, and I said I appreciated it, and I accepted him and thanked him.

At that point, it was kind of redundant for Bush to close out with a story about surviving being hit in the head by a golf club that ended with the Rodney-Dangerfieldesque line, “I’m finally lucky,” as though he were the biggest victim of Trump’s alleged predation. Billy Bush seems to have the idea that his redemption will come from being part of the conversation about sexually inappropriate behavior in the workplace. He gives no indication that he’s reckoned with the fact that he already made an important contribution to that conversation, on a bus, with Donald Trump, in 2005.

Actress Kathryn Rossetter Accuses Dustin Hoffman of Further Disgusting On-Set Behavior

Actress Kathryn Rossetter Accuses Dustin Hoffman of Further Disgusting On-Set Behavior

by Lila Thulin @ Brow Beat

Another woman has come forward to allege that actor Dustin Hoffman sexually harassed her during their time performing in the 1985 Broadway revival and TV movie of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. Actress Kathryn Rossetter detailed in The Hollywood Reporter how her coworker used his star power to repeatedly grope her and pressure her into massages, among other inappropriate behavior. Rossetter’s account is not the first time Hoffman’s workplace conduct around women has been problematic; earlier this week, comedian John Oliver grilled the 80-year-old actor on prior complaints of sexual harassment.

Rossetter’s account is a harrowing account describing how Hoffman allegedly used his influence in the theater world to repeatedly harass his young coworker. Hoffman was a mentor to the actress; she writes that they had a rapport from her first audition for the role of Hoffman’s character’s mistress, and that Hoffman and his makeup artist came to Rossetter’s apartment the day before a callback to help make her look older (the director’s concern). But Hoffman’s behavior, according to Rossetter, quickly veered into harassment. He asked her to stop by his hotel room so he could retrieve something he’d forgot, then (in a Weinstein-esque move; do these men exchange notes on predatory strategies?) asked for a back rub.

When they were in the wings waiting to go onstage, Hoffman would place his hand on the inside of Rossetter’s thighs, night after night, his gropes growing increasingly aggressive. Rossetter was on a live microphone, so she could never protest in the moment. “Along with the nightly sexual harassment,” Rossetter writes, “he eroded my confidence, my dignity. He humiliated and demeaned me.”

Once, Rossetter alleges, Hoffman even pulled her slip up, revealing her body and breasts to the crew who’d gathered to witness his idea of a joke. He also had a habit of groping women’s breasts as they posed for photos with him; later, when Rossetter wrote a script that included that anecdote, Hoffman’s office asked to see it, and Rossetter was so intimidated that she stopped working on the project entirely. And as a famous actor, Hoffman had enablers; a dresser who guarded the dressing room door as the actor asked Rossetter to massage his feet and legs or the theater professionals who warned the actress she would lose her job if she reported Hoffman to Actors’ Equity.

“How,” Rossetter recollects thinking, “could the same man who fought to get me the job, who complimented my work, who essentially launched my career, who gave me the benefit of his wisdom as an actor, how could he also be this sexual power abuser? Was I doing something? Was it my fault?”

In early November, Anne Graham Hunter, a former production assistant on the TV film Death of a Salesman, alleged that Hoffman had groped her and made sexual remarks towards her (and similarly harassed other coworkers). In response, Hoffman issued a half-hearted apology, although he clarified to John Oliver that the statement was not an admission of guilt. In 1991, Hoffman also allegedly propositioned Wendy Riss Gatsiounis, then a 20-something struggling playwright. The actor has also openly discussed groping actress Anne Bancroft’s breast and pinching Katharine Ross’* butt while filming The Graduate in the 1960s.

While Hoffman’s representatives did not comment on Rossetter’s allegations, they did put the publication into contact with people who had been involved with Death of a Salesman and vouched that Hoffman had not behaved with impropriety.

Correction, Dec. 8, 2017: This post originally misspelled Katharine Ross’ first name.

How Pixar Made Coco the Biggest Hit in Mexico’s History

How Pixar Made Coco the Biggest Hit in Mexico’s History

by Daniel Krauze @ Brow Beat

It’s official: Coco is the biggest blockbuster in Mexican history. Pixar’s story of Miguel, a small-town kid who longs to become a famous artist in spite of his family’s curious aversion to all things musical, has now earned more than a billion pesos—over $50 million—at the Mexican box office, well more than previous record-holder The Avengers. Mexicans usually appear in American cinema either as killers, bandits, migrants or, well, the help. Coco is something else entirely: a movie set in rural Mexico, rooted in Mexican popular culture, and in which there is not one single mention of crime or migration (other than toward the afterlife). It is a highly accomplished interpretation of a version of Mexico made in the United States, a neighbor with which Mexico has a rather complicated history—all the more so now. “Unlike most if not all other Pixar films,” co-director and co-screenwriter Adrian Molina (who is Mexican American) told me in an interview, “this was a film based in a real tradition and a real place and a whole set of people who exist. That required us to be very thoughtful.”

For viewers in Mexico, Coco’s authenticity begins with the way the characters speak. Coco’s use of Mexican Spanish is subtle and, obviously, devoid of the Spanglish the English-language version scatters through the film. To dub the characters’ dialogue, Pixar picked singers and actors, both locally famous performers like Angélica Vale, César Costa, and Víctor Trujillo, and household names like Gael García Bernal (whose voice appears in both versions)—as well as other more unexpected choices, like renowned author Elena Poniatowska, who voices Coco herself. But they deftly steered mostly clear of local slang like the prodigious loquacity put on display by Mexican comedian Eugenio Derbez in his version of Shrek’s Donkey. Coco’s characters have no need for that sort of narrative grandstanding to convince the audience that they are thoroughly believable as Mexicans. Its sense of Mexicanness seems organic rather than a Hollywood studio’s ploy for the Hispanic audience.

Coco never needs to sell its authenticity to the viewer because the Mexico it represents feels as if it was created by people who have taken the time to get to know the country, not only its colorful traditions but some of its darker intricacies as well. Yes, the references to Mexican pop culture are great. (Frida Kahlo, El Santo, and Pedro Infante are all there; a character even wears the bright green soccer jersey of Mexico’s beloved El Tri). But it’s the film’s production design that makes it feel as though it truly takes place in Mexico. The town plaza, the chaotic alleyways, the dusty streets, the bright orange of the marigold, even the street dogs roaming free. Molina told me that his team drew inspiration from the urban landscapes of Mexico City and colonial Guanajuato, but found towns in Oaxaca and Michoacán in southern Mexico particularly inspiring. (It was in Oaxaca where Molina met a family of shoemakers who had practiced the craft through generations, just like Miguel’s family.) Miguel’s village is, of course, a somewhat Disneyfied version of the country’s rural towns, where poverty and scarcity are often overwhelming. But the colorful fiestas, the close-knit families, and the joy of music on display are also Mexican.

What has truly made Coco resonate among Mexican audiences, I reckon, is the way Mexicans can see themselves in its characters. Mexico, a country of migrants, is full of families like the Riveras, where mothers heroically head the household while fathers are absent or, if present, sometimes repressive or violent. In many cases, the job of raising a family is shared with that other Hispanic archetype: the courageous grandmother. Mexican abuelitas are powerhouses of resiliency, fighting to make ends meet even if it takes (as in Coco) learning a new craft midlife. Molina acknowledges that this family dynamic—absent men, hardworking women—is no coincidence in the movie’s narrative. “That was definitely on the radar,” he says. “In my own family my mother tells stories about how her father had to separate from his wife for 10 years so that he could provide and send back money.” That is the world Coco portrays in an unflinching, if tender way.

Films made in Mexico tend to be either serious-minded endeavors that tackle the more sinister side of our society—like the work of Amat Escalante, Michel Franco, and Carlos Reygadas—or the broad and silly comedies that dominate the box office, which (like telenovelas) take place in a country where everybody is suspiciously blond and blue-eyed, living large in one of Mexico City’s cool neighborhoods. Coco falls between those two poles. Its Mexico is sweet but recognizable, and its characters look and live like many Mexicans do, practicing a modest trade outside of Mexico City. Even viewers in the capital know that version of Mexican life, one key to the nation’s self-image but often forgotten by our film industry.

It was to be expected that Coco would be greeted with some degree of skepticism: Is it accurate? Is it pandering? Is it Mexican? And Coco has engendered debate. One pundit argued that the Day of the Dead, an invention of the 20th century, is not truly a Mexican tradition. Gerardo Fernández Noroña, a well-known Mexican politician and independent presidential candidate, rejected the film, writing on Facebook, “Coco stinks. It has nothing to do with our traditions.” In response, others, like the film critic Mauricio González Lara, have defended the movie, saying, “Coco distills and embraces the history of the country, its myths and most popular icons,” adding that the designs of the characters and the places they live in reveals an almost anthropological precision. The fact that the movie is being discussed by intellectuals, politicians, and critics alike suggests that Coco is more than a hit—it has truly become a touchstone for Mexican moviegoers.

Single vs. Twin Mattress – The Complete Guide

by Linda Coursey @ Bedsheetadvisor

When it comes to mattresses, finding the perfect one for you can become a struggle when so many companies offer what seems like the same products. When it comes to deciding between a single or a twin mattress, there are some myths that need to be put to rest. Below is a guide that will help you learn the differences between the two types so that you find the right mattress and start sleeping better at night. No Difference in Size In the past, it was believed that a twin-size mattress was a different length than a single mattress when,

The post Single vs. Twin Mattress – The Complete Guide appeared first on Bedsheetadvisor.

Tempurpedic Alternatives

by MattressNerd @ The Mattress Nerd

Tempurpedic is one of the biggest and most recognizable brands in the mattress industry. They were the company that invented the memory foam mattress in the early 90s, and they remain a large player in the industry still. In this article, I will give some alternatives to various Tempurpedic models that will feel similar to their Tempurpedic counterparts but at a much lower price.

Doug Jones Ended His Victory Speech to the Tune of “Teach Me How to Dougie”

Doug Jones Ended His Victory Speech to the Tune of “Teach Me How to Dougie”

by Rachel Withers @ Brow Beat

On Tuesday night, C-SPAN2 viewers who tuned in past the end of Doug Jones’ victory speech were treated to an extra dose of the ecstatic mood in the room as his team celebrated his close win over Republican and alleged sexual assaulter Roy Moore.

Doug Jones—not to be confused with Doug Jones or Doug Jones—had just finished thanking his supporters at an election night gathering at the Sheraton Hotel in Birmingham, Alabama. C-SPAN2 appears to have been broadcasting the mixer feed from the victory party, and when he wrapped up his remarks —with a “God bless the state of Alabama and the United States of America”—Cali Swag District’s “Teach Me How To Dougie” instantly kicked in, as viewers pointed out.

Looks like he’s already got his campaign song should he decide on a presidential run in the future.

California King vs. Twin XL Beds - What Makes These Beds Stand out

California King vs. Twin XL Beds - What Makes These Beds Stand out


Mattress Clarity

In the world of beds, it’s easy to go straight to the Standard King or Standard Twin and forget about the California King and Twin XL beds. These are also great options that can help meet specific sleep needs (mainly extra length!). What more do you need to know about these interesting beds? Read on …

What It’s Like to Watch The Disaster Artist If You’ve Never Seen The Room

What It’s Like to Watch The Disaster Artist If You’ve Never Seen The Room

by Jeffrey Bloomer @ Brow Beat

James Franco’s new movie The Disaster Artist has gotten much better reviews than the “Citizen Kane of bad movies” that is its subject—but how does it play if you’ve never seen The Room? We sent two Slate writers who have never seen Tommy Wiseau’s disasterpiece to find out.

Jeffrey Bloomer:
Oh, hi Aisha. We’ve just seen The Disaster Artist, and I think I’m slightly closer to understanding the enduring obsession with The Room, which neither of us has seen. I may also be redeveloping feelings for James Franco. But first: How have we avoided The Room for so long? I know several evangelists, but I think their inability to describe the movie without breaking down into deranged laughter kept me away.

Aisha Harris: Oh hai, Jeffrey. (I’ve been informed by a Room evangelist that that is the movie’s canonical spelling of “Oh hai,” btw.) I have no idea how I’ve gone this long without indulging in what appears to be a glorious, delirious monstrosity of filmmaking, the results of completely misplaced ambition and an utter lack of self-awareness.

For one, I’d somehow never even heard of this movie until maybe four years ago? And also I think it’s because, since it’s become such a cult classic associated with participatory midnight screenings, I’ve been waiting to see it for the first time in that exact environment. It’s the same reason it took me until college to finally see Rocky Horror—and it did not disappoint. I still want to wait until the right setting to see The Room now, but after watching The Disaster Artist, it may be harder for me to do that. For me, too, the movie seemed to help crystalize why it’s so bad and simultaneously considered so “good.”

But yeah, let’s talk about James Franco. His laugh was amazing.

Bloomer: In a weird way, I think this movie is as much about James Franco as it is about his real-life character, Tommy Wiseau. There is a meta sheen that goes much deeper than the constant winks at The Room’s midnight faithful, and watching The Disaster Artist, it’s not hard to understand why Franco—who has had his own disastrous ups and downs—cast himself in the title role.

We’ll come back to that! I think our animating question here is whether a Room virgin can see The Disaster Artist and really enjoy it. I think my answer is: Yes? At our screening, one of the film’s writers said he didn’t even see The Room until after he turned in the first draft of the script. Our audience was constantly giggling at jokes I don’t think I got, but the movie works simply as a very sweet—and at times very uncomfortable—buddy comedy about the pain of friendships growing apart over time. And also as a love letter to that one old friend you keep even though no one else understands why.

Harris: So true! I’m pretty sure I had at least a grin on my face throughout the entire screening. That theme of the old friend you keep around to everyone else’s confusion was such an interesting aspect of the film. The opening scene, in which Tommy and Greg (played by James Franco’s brother, Dave) meet in acting class, does a really good job of making us understand, in such a short amount of time, why Greg would be drawn to a dude like Tommy in the first place: He’s failing to connect with his own work, and then sees this wild, off-his-rocker older guy give an indescribable, balls-to-the-wall interpretation of Brando in Streetcar that makes zero sense. But he’s going for it, man! And that’s the spark.

Bloomer: The “acting class scene” may be a lazy way to introduce characters, but here, it was perfect. Let me ask you this: Having watched this movie, do you think you can reconstruct the plot of The Room?

Harris: Nope, not a bit. Zac Efron makes a very funny appearance as a cast member who is supposed to rob another character in an alley? I think that character was supposed to know him, because there’s a funny moment where Tommy directs him to call him “Chris R.” and he’s like, “Can’t I just call him Chris?” (No, you can’t.) I have no idea what Efron’s character is doing there.

I also have no idea why that same kid who was not played by Zac Efron was carousing in bed with Tommy’s character and the leading lady. I’d actually be curious to know if Disaster Artist somehow managed to make the original even more confusing than it already is, if that’s even possible.

Bloomer: Josh Hutcherson was the kid! I didn’t even recognize him. So many essential cameos. I think my favorite was Sharon Stone, not that I’m ever mad at Efron. And yes: I still do not at all get the weird incest thing.

Harris: Do you have any idea what the plot of The Room might be? Or what could possibly drive Tommy’s character to shoot himself in the end? (The writhing on the floor with the red dress right before he does it was … something.)

Bloomer: I gather that Mark has an affair with Lisa, Johnny’s beloved, and that leads to the pageant of the red dress and the gun? I’m not sure where the breast cancer and the horny teenager and “Chris R.” fit into all of that, but it seems like the gist.

Harris: Was there any point where you thought, This can’t be real? or, How did anyone let this go on for as long as it did? For me, it was probably when Tommy kept laughing in response to one of Greg’s super serious lines (I can’t recall what it was, because that laugh was just so distracting).

Bloomer: I believe it was in response to the story of a woman beaten by a man for sleeping around, which was … disturbing in a way I’m not sure the movie reckoned with.

I think I most got caught up on the real-life details about Tommy—the “bottomless” bank account, the multiple apartments, the idea of this guy living his own self-created myth in real life. It’s incredible to me that no one’s really figured out what’s going on with him.

Harris: Maybe hindsight is 20/20, but even just watching The Disaster Artist made it clear how all the signs were there that something was amiss. Even when it got to the point where people were fainting on set due to there being no A/C and no water, in clear violation of the law, they still kept shooting! Not that we needed a reminder, but it’s still amazing what someone with that much money can get away with.

Bloomer: Yes, in that way, this is also simply a great industry movie in that slightly exaggerated showbiz parody mode, heightened here because the end result was The Room. Beyond all the Wiseau winks and nods, there are endless Easter eggs for Hollywood lovers.

Harris: What did you think of the final scene, the weirdly triumphant unveiling of The Room on opening night? Clearly that was the trajectory of the film’s road to cult status compressed significantly for dramatic effect, right? There’s no way the audience, including the cast who had already been put through hell, was that enraptured and willing to laugh it off.

Bloomer: I wonder how true to life that was! It’s a testament to The Disaster Artist’s strange, sneaky power that the scene is so emotional and genuinely touching. Even though Tommy is, by the movie’s own telling, kind of a maniacal jerk, I felt genuinely hurt for him when the screening started to unravel. And that fleeting moment of self-awareness when Greg convinces him that he made something special—even if it wasn’t, uh, what he intended—was very satisfying. There’s got to be an oral history of that screening out there, right?

Harris: Well, it’s based on the real Greg’s book The Disaster Artist, so I imagine it’s mentioned in there?

Bloomer: I confess I know as little about The Disaster Artist as I do about The Room.

Harris: I can’t say I felt bad for Tommy, though I sympathized with him a bit—honestly, I was too busy cracking up at the romp in the bed, and Tommy’s bare ass.

Bloomer: Yes, James has been working out.

Harris:  Good lord, he has. What did you think of his accent? I still have at this point only heard bits of the real Wiseau speaking, and that’s during the end credits of the movie, when they show the side-by-side scenes of the original film and The Disaster Artist’s version. Franco’s voice sort of drowns it out, but then we also get a cameo from scenes at the very end, post-credits. It did sort of seem like there was a bit of exaggeration in the accent happening, right? Or was that just me?

Bloomer: That credits side-by-sides seemed like fan service, but it was also a helpful reference for people like us who had never seen The Room. I did worry the sequence made the film’s many great performances (from a pretty incredible cast) seem like crude caricatures that further hammed up some of the hammiest performances in movie history. Like: No need to exaggerate, guys! It’s already there. That was especially true for Franco and his gait and accent.

I still thought he was perfect for the movie. One more way The Disaster Artist works for non-Room fans is director James Franco’s ideal use of James Franco. His endless, self-indulgent creative tangents over the years eventually turned off even his most loyal fans, including unwisely devoted ones like me, who used to DVR General Hospital when he played an assassin. He brings soul to the role, and I couldn’t help but imagine the movie’s events as a transformation both for Tommy on screen and, on another level, for Franco as a Hollywood figure. He amplifies the personal dimension by casting his brother Dave as Greg and making the entire cast a grab bag of performers and filmmakers (Seth Rogen! Judd Apatow! Bryan Cranston!) he’s worked with throughout his career.

Harris: I can count myself as one of Franco’s unwisely devoted fans, though I’ve fallen off in recent years. Interestingly enough, he first caught my attention when I was a freshman in high school and in my peak James Dean obsession phase, which coincided fortuitously with Franco’s Golden Globe-winning turn as the rebel in the 2001 TV movie James Dean. I don’t know if Greg and Tommy’s interest in Dean as seen in Disaster Artist was a real-life coincidence or if it was added for the movie, but if it’s the former, that parallel is telling. Dean is considered such a pioneer of a certain style of acting, and also of being an outsider who challenged the system (even though the three movies he made were firmly in the system mold), Wiseau and Franco have both tried to emulate that to wildly varying degrees of success. (Oh wait, how the heck could I forget “YOU’RE TEARING ME APART, LISAAAAAAA”? Yeah, Tommy admired Dean.)

So Jeff, after watching The Disaster Artist, do you think you’ll finally give in and watch The Room?

Bloomer: It’s strange: I feel like I don’t need to! The Disaster Artist’s eagle-eyed view of the phenomenon and the forces behind it sort of solidified my feeling of being an outsider to the cult. I “get it” now, I guess, but I don’t think I can ever fully experience the WTF magic knowing the backstory. I wonder if this movie could actually tamp down the midnight fervor for The Room, since it sort of has the effect of over-explaining the monster in a horror movie: The mystery of how this happened in the first place is kind of the point!

Harris: I definitely have my concerns now that when I finally do see it, my reaction will be more tempered, especially since we see those side-by-sides at the end. Before The Disaster Artist, I hadn’t even watched a single clip of it on YouTube, so it was completely new to me. Now that I know what to expect, and how they apparently designed a set made to look exactly like the real alleyway just a few feet away from their set, the element of surprise is gone. And I do think The Disaster Artist is probably more of an awe-inspiring experience for those of us who haven’t seen The Room than those who have already.

That said, I still really want to watch it, preferably with a few friends and lots of booze. And spoons. That’s a thing people do at midnight screenings too, I’m told. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Bloomer: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

California King vs. King Mattress - Do You Know Which One Is Bigger?

California King vs. King Mattress - Do You Know Which One Is Bigger?


The Sleep Advisor

Which is bigger? California King or a King sized mattress? This is a question which troubles a lot of people. Find out how the sizing compares for each.

King vs. California King Mattress – The Complete Guide

by Linda Coursey @ Bedsheetadvisor

Buying a mattress is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. It will affect you and your sleeping partner almost every night of your life and can make the difference between a peaceful night’s rest and the consequences that result from fitful, sleepless nights, which include fatigue, bad mood, depression, and even serious health problems down the line. If you’ve already decided that a queen bed is too small, you might be surprised to find that you have another decision to make: king or California king bed? What’s the difference? Read on to find out which factors you need

The post King vs. California King Mattress – The Complete Guide appeared first on Bedsheetadvisor.

Baywood LCF EPT California King Set

by firefly-wp @ California King Mattress Sets – Brown’s Furniture Showplace

Baywood LCF EPT California King Set

The post Baywood LCF EPT California King Set appeared first on Brown's Furniture Showplace.

Get Out (Yay!), Twin Peaks (Huh?) Top Sight & Sound’s Best Films of 2017

Get Out (Yay!), Twin Peaks (Huh?) Top Sight & Sound’s Best Films of 2017

by Sam Adams @ Brow Beat

The results of Sight & Sound’s annual film poll—one of the oldest and most venerable of critics’ polls—are out, and it will please Slate’s Julia Turner, among others, to see that Get Out has topped the list. After winning Best First Film from the New York Film Critics Circle and Best Screenplay from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the movie’s showing here is yet another indication that it will be a strong player in year-end polls and next year’s various awards.

Less likely to turn up in most of those venues is the poll’s runner-up, Twin Peaks: The Return, on the grounds that it is, you know, not actually a film. Apparently the poll’s regulations are loose enough for critics to vote it in, as well as allowing Olivier Assayas’ Personal Shopper to make the list for the second year running—how will it do in 2018?—and guaranteeing yet another round in the debate over whether TV is movies and both are novels or whatever.

In genera, the poll goes by U.K. release dates, which is why it includes several movies that were released in the U.S. last year, and a few that either won’t be around these parts until next year or don’t even have proper release dates yet. And as always, the tabulation system allows a goodly number of ties, including a three-way at 12th and a six-film pileup in 19th place.

Here’s the complete list:

1. Get Out, dir: Jordan Peele
2. Twin Peaks: The Return, dirs: Mark Frost, David Lynch
3. Call Me by Your Name, dir: Luca Guadagnino
4. Zama, dir: Lucrecia Martel
5. Western, dir: Valeska Grisebach
6. Faces Places, dir: Agnes Varda, JR
7. Good Time, dirs: Ben and Josh Safdie
8. Loveless, dir: Andrey Zvyagintsev
9. Dunkirk, dir: Christopher Nolan
9. The Florida Project, dir: Sean Baker
11. A Ghost Story, dir: David Lowery
12. BPM, dir: Robin Campillo
    Lady Macbeth, dir: William Oldroyd
    You Were Never Really Here, dir: Lynne Ramsay
15. God’s Own Country, dir: Francis Lee
16. Personal Shopper, dir: Olivier Assayas
    The Shape of Water, dir: Guillermo del Toro
    Strong Island, dir: Yance Ford
19. I Am Not Your Negro, dir: Raoul Peck
     Lady Bird, dir: Greta Gerwig
    Let the Sunshine In, dir: Claire Denis
    Moonlight, dir: Barry Jenkins
   mother!, dir: Darren Aronofsky
    Mudbound, dir: Dee Rees
25. The Other Side of Hope, dir: Aki Kaurismaki
    Silence, dir: Martin Scorsese

Posturepedic Optimum Destiny Gold NS California Set

by firefly-wp @ California King Mattress Sets – Brown’s Furniture Showplace

Destiny Gold NS California Set

The post Posturepedic Optimum Destiny Gold NS California Set appeared first on Brown's Furniture Showplace.

Oak Terrace III LXP California King Set

by firefly-wp @ California King Mattress Sets – Brown’s Furniture Showplace

Oak Terrace III LXP California King Set

The post Oak Terrace III LXP California King Set appeared first on Brown's Furniture Showplace.

Here’s Why “Duel of the Fates” Transcends the Star Wars Prequels

Here’s Why “Duel of the Fates” Transcends the Star Wars Prequels

by Tim Greiving @ Brow Beat

This article originally appeared in Vulture.

Darth Maul is one of the few elements in George Lucas’s Star Wars prequels to be almost universally admired. The badass Sith lord—red-and-black war paint obscuring his entire head, which is protected by a crown of dinosaurian horns, girded in a billowing black cloak and armed with a red, double-bladed lightsaber—cuts a terrifying figure from the moment he’s introduced in The Phantom Menace, brooding next to the future Emperor Palpatine. He gets one of the best lines of the movie, delivered in Peter Serafinowicz’s British baritone: “At last we will reveal ourselves to the Jedi. At last we will have revenge.”

Another element that (almost) no one complains about is John Williams’ music, three epic scores added to his soon-to-be eight-cycle space opera. The prequels are chock-full of now-classic melodies, including Anakin’s innocent theme (with its hidden references to Darth Vader’s march), the bittersweet love theme (“Across the Stars”) for Anakin and Padme, and the epic choral showdown “Battle of the Heroes” from Revenge of the Sith. But the theme that came closest to achieving the pop-culture invasion that “The Imperial March” did in the previous Star Wars cycle was the one Williams boldly dubbed “Duel of the Fates.”

You know the one. As Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) lead a heist into the occupied palace of Naboo, the giant doors of its hangar bay open to reveal Maul in all his demonic glory—his appearance heralded by a dark brass fanfare pumping out the opening notes of Williams’s pagan anthem for orchestra and choir. This Lucasian liturgical mass accompanies the lightsaber duel that ensues, motored along by a rippling string ostinato, with low woodwinds, then French horns stacking gravity on the melody before it erupts into a tiered, almost frenzied chorale. But as the theme’s title indicates, it’s about much more than a single sword fight.

Why this theme works so well, and why it transcends the film it was written for, speaks to the composer’s genius at writing earworm tunes that feel like primal, eternal music echoing from the beginning of time. He accomplished this earlier with Luke’s theme, the Force theme, the Imperial March, Han and Leia’s theme—to say nothing of the hundred other melodies he’s written for films that most people could hum from memory. The Star Warsfilms have given Williams an ideal canvas for these catchy, orchestral folk songs: Lucas’s operatic series is overtly larger-than-life, inspired by grandiose antecedents in film, classical music, and literature. The creator has often spoken of them as “silent films,” and he gave Williams the keys to let music drive the story—and, consequently, tell its own.

The Darth Maul duel provided a showcase for score usually reserved for religious ceremony. The piece was “a result of my thinking that something ritualistic, and/or pagan and antique might be very effective, and that the introduction of a chorus at a certain point in the film might be just the thing,” Williams said in a 1999 interview. He figured it needed a text, and looked to one of his favorite books, The White Goddess by English poet Robert Graves, which he had recently used portions of in a very modern, very non–Star Warsian concert work called “The Five Sacred Trees.”

“I remembered the great Celtic epic poem ‘The Battle of the Trees,’ in which two fields of trees are animated by a Druidic priest and they become warriors,” Williams said. “And they do the battle, and on command from the Druid the trees again freeze and become trees. And there’s a stanza in the poem, translated by Graves from the early Celtic into modern English, which is roughly, ‘Under the tongue root a fight most dread, while another rages behind in the head.’ And for no conscious, sensible reason, the idea of a fight, something raging and imagined in the head more than anywhere else, seemed to be a good, mystical, cryptic piece of business.”

Williams had “some friends at Harvard” translate that line back into Celtic, as well as other ancient languages, and he settled on Sanskrit for its exotic and “beautiful sounds.” “Basically what I’ve done, in this case, is … reduced the stanza, which was translated literally, and used either single words or syllables or combinations of these things—the words ‘dreaded fight’ or this kind of thing—and put them together, repeatedly and melismatically, which is to say repeating syllables. (Everybody knows what that is from the ‘Hallelujah’ chorus, where you sing the word ‘Hallelujah’ for 20 minutes, you know.) And it gave an atmosphere, I think, to the music that was at once mysterious and old and dramatic, and I hope effective.”

“Duel of the Fates,” belted out by an 88-piece choir and the full weight of the London Symphony Orchestra, further elevated Nick Gillard’s quicksilver, ferocious choreography and almost made you forget about Jar Jar Binks dribbling Bantha poodoo out of his digital Gungan mouth. (Almost, because Lucas kept cutting away from the magnificent duel inside Theed’s cavernous power generator to Muppet Baby Anakin’s exploits in space and Jar Jar’s unfunny “comic relief” in the land battle outside.) Taken on its own terms, the duel is one of the true high points of the prequels—expertly visualizing Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan’s master-apprentice relationship and revealing Maul as one of the most formidable villains in the Star Warsuniverse, culminating in the still-gut-punching death of Neeson’s endearing Jedi. (Before he even reached act two of this new trilogy, Lucas foolishly killed off his best new characters.)

“I just felt the way that George has staged that, the top of that great stage or stairway—I don’t even know what to call it—the way it’s done is so dramatic and so like a great pagan altar, you can imagine, that the whole thing seemed like a dance, a ballet, a religious ceremony of some kind,” Williams explained in his sage, professorial way, “probably ending in the death of one of the combatants, you know. A ballet about that, super-real—or unreal even—and that the medium of chorus and orchestra would give us a sense that we’re in a big temple. The drama is the contrast and the contest between good and evil.”

Which is why “Duel of the Fates” is so good—not just because it’s infectious, but because it is so deep. It certainly works as an action set piece, but Williams really composed an oratorio that captures the spiritual combat for the soul of Anakin Skywalker. In fact, back in 1999, Lucas envisioned this piece reprising in a big way for the climactic clash between Anakin and Obi-Wan in Revenge of the Sith. “You didn’t realize this,” Lucas told Williams in the Abbey Road recording booth at the Phantom Menacesessions, “but it really goes into the third film very well. … It definitely has the quality of the inevitable fate of doom, you know, with larger hands at work.” (For some reason, by the time they got to Sith they decided to go with the related but new choral anthem, “Battle of the Heroes.”)

“Duel of the Fates” far outlived its corny context. It did so right out of the gates, when it landed (in the form of a music video) on MTV’s Total Request Live—the only “classical” piece to do so—where it remained for 11 days. As of 2015, it was the most-streamed of all of Williams’s Star Wars themes on Spotify. YouTube is littered with remixes and covers (from a cappella tolittle kids on keyboards to heavy metal), and a video that loops the piece for ten straight hours has 2.6 million views. It has the honor of accompanying a parody duel on The Simpsons, and it has underscored countless duels in a variety of sports. It clearly speaks to people, as so many of Williams’s film themes do, as pure music.

See also: Every Star Wars Movie, Ranked

The Last Jedi Finally Revealed the Identity of Rey’s Parents. It Was the Right Choice.

The Last Jedi Finally Revealed the Identity of Rey’s Parents. It Was the Right Choice.

by Marissa Martinelli @ Brow Beat

Spoilers for Rey’s parentage and a major Last Jedi plot point ahead.

She’s not a Skywalker. She’s not a Solo. She’s not even a Kenobi or a Jinn or a Palpatine or an Erso. Since The Force Awakens, the Star Wars franchise has been teasing out the mystery of Rey’s parentage, and The Last Jedi finally gave us an answer, though it’s one that will surely have its detractors. Rey’s parents are … nobody.

Well, nobody important, at least. The revelation comes about two-thirds into The Last Jedi, during a confrontation between Rey and Kylo Ren, who is tempting her to join him so that they can establish a new order together. He urges Rey to let go of the past—and suggests that, despite all her searching, she already knows why she was abandoned on Jakku and who her parents are.

KYLO REN: You know the truth. Say it.
REY: They were nobody.
KYLO REN: They were filthy junk traders who sold you off for drinking money. They’re dead, in a paupers’ grave in the Jakku desert.

And so all the elaborate fan theories—She’s Luke’s daughter! She’s Obi-Wan’s granddaughter!—fall away as we learn that Rey doesn’t belong to any pre-established dynasty in the Star Wars universe. It’s bound to disappoint some fans, but it's also a smart choice on the part of the filmmakers, one that honors the franchise’s roots while also giving it a path forward beyond the neverending Skywalker drama.

First things first: Could Kylo be lying about who Rey’s parents are? Sure. He is, after all, trying to convince Rey to cut ties with the Resistance and join him, and “You’re nothing—but not to me” is a smart recruiting tactic. But even if Rey’s parents aren’t actually dead, there’s no reason to doubt it when she says she knows that they were “nobody.” The Last Jedi is full of parallels to The Empire Strikes Back, the film in which Luke learns his own origins, but Rey's story is always a little different. When Rey has a Force vision of her parents on Ahch-To, for instance, she doesn’t see herself in a Darth Vader mask; she just sees herself, as she is. And when she finally learns the secret of her identity, it's during a confrontation that mirrors the one between Luke and Darth Vader in Empire, right down to the offer to join forces and the familial truth-telling. Kylo’s insistence, “You know the truth,” even has a ring of Vader’s “Search your feelings, you know it to be true.” These are signals to the audience that the revelation is meant to be every bit as true and devastating as “I am your father,” if not quite as surprising.

Let’s assume, then, that we can take the fact that Rey does not have some deeper genetic connection to the conflict of the galaxy at face value. That means that a very powerful Force user is essentially a random player in this story, which fits nicely with The Last Jedi’s overarching philosophy, that heroes can come from anywhere, whether they’re ex-Stormtroopers or humble maintenance workers or Force-sensitive kids in the far reaches of the galaxy. It also creates yet another interesting parallel between Rey and Luke; before he learned he was the son of Darth Vader, Luke, like Rey, was just a poor kid from a desert planet who happened to stumble across the right droid.

Making Rey a very important “nobody” also sets the stage for the future of Star Wars, one in which the movies will no longer need the Skywalker family as an anchor. It’s a big galaxy out there, and The Last Jedi’s director, Rian Johnson, is already working on a new trilogy that will explore new characters and an unexplored corner of the galaxy. That makes the Force Awakens trilogy something of a transition period between the old Star Wars and the new, and since Kylo Ren is already the son of two of the franchise’s major players, Han Solo and Leia Organa, the family soap opera angle is well covered. It’s time for some new blood in whatever future the Jedi Order, a family in its own right, will have.

Of course, there’s still a chance that we’ve been tricked and that Rey’s parentage could still be explored further in Episode IX—but that would take away from what Johnson has accomplished in The Last Jedi, and Rey’s unassuming parentage raises other, much more interesting questions to ponder in the meantime. Why is she so powerful with the Force? What’s fueling her psychic connection with Kylo in particular? What made the Skywalker lightsaber call to her, anyway? Is she the next Chosen One? The Chosen One reincarnated, maybe?

Good thing we have two long years to speculate.

The 6 Best Rated Hybrid Beds – 2018 Reviews & Comparisons

by Mark Reddick @ The Sleep Advisor

The post The 6 Best Rated Hybrid Beds – 2018 Reviews & Comparisons appeared first on The Sleep Advisor.

Our Nectar vs. Purple Bed Comparison for 2018

by Sarah Cummings @ The Sleep Advisor

The post Our Nectar vs. Purple Bed Comparison for 2018 appeared first on The Sleep Advisor.

Back to School Sleep Tips

by Ivanna Tucker @ BedMart Mattress Superstores

  With the school year right around corner, getting your child adjusted to a new sleep schedule becomes crucial. Sleep is an essential aspect to a child’s development. Studies show that children with a proper amount of sleep are less likely to have behavior issues and mood swings. Here are some sleep tips to make […]

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How Far in Advance Can You Make Holiday Cookies?

How Far in Advance Can You Make Holiday Cookies?

by Alice Medrich @ Brow Beat

This post originally appeared in Genius Recipes on Food52.

No! You can’t make all of the desserts and cookies for Christmas at the last minute and still enjoy the holidays.

Fortunately, plenty of cookies keep well—and some actually improve with age. Go ahead and try some of those traditional Scandinavian and German recipes that you’ve ignored all these years; many are made for keeping and delicious, indeed. Or, stay in your comfort zone with butter cookies, meringues, and biscotti.

If you can organize your sock drawer (so trendy right now) you can make a plan and start baking cookies immediately. (And for tips on how to bake a zillion cookies with only two cookie sheets go here.)

Always consult the individual recipe you are using, but here is the general scoop on types of cookies that keep well and/or actually improve with age—as long as you store them properly, in airtight containers or as directed in the recipe you are using. You can find storage times and further details for dozen of other cookies in my book Chewy Gooey, Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies (Artisan Books 2010).

Your Guide to Make-Ahead Cookies, A through T:

  • Amaretti: These keep for at least 2 months, probably much longer.
  • Biscotti: The super dry, crunchy type improve with a few days age and keep for several weeks. The cakier, less crunchy type may keep for 2 weeks.
  • Brandy snaps (unfilled): These keep for 1 week.
  • Butter cookies: Generally these are better a couple of days after baking but keep for at least 1 month (see also spritz, shortbread, Mexican wedding cakes, etc.).
  • Fruitcake cookies: Depending on the recipe, you may be able to make these weeks or months ahead.

Make your pfeffernusse several weeks ahead of time. Photo by James Ransom

  • Pfeffernusse: These should be made at least a few days or up to 2 weeks before serving, depending on the recipe, and they keep for several weeks.
  • Shortbread and shortbread cookies: These keep for at least 1 month.
  • Springerles: These should be made 2 weeks before serving and they keep for several months.
  • Spritz: These keep for 1 month.
  • Sugar cookies: The crispy, crunchy variety (not the light cakey type) keep for at least 1 month.
  • Tuiles: These keep about 1 month.

More cookie recipes from Food52

Grandma Bohlmann's Pfeffernusse by mary beth

Holiday Crinkle Cookies by Regan Baroni

Chocolate Hazelnut Crack Ups by alice y

South African Chocolate Pepper Cookiesby Food52

Currant-Caraway Shortbreadby calendargirl

Nigerian Coconut Cookie Crisps by Kitchen Butterfly

My Ginger Cookies by Alice Medrich

Holiday Cut-Out Cookies by Amanda Hesser

Honey–Almond Sesame Cookies by OliveandPearl's

Fave dei Morti (Almond Cookies with Cinnamon & Rum) by Emiko

5 Bedroom Décor Trends for 2018

by admin @ Gentlehome

https://www.gentlehome.com/my-sheet-set.htmlWe are going to ring in the New Year right this year. Whether you use the new year as a time to reflect on the past twelve months or as a chance plan ahead, we are always looking ahead. At...
Read more

The post 5 Bedroom Décor Trends for 2018 appeared first on Gentlehome.

Was the California King Mattress or King Mattress First? | Beautyrest Sleep Gallery

Was the California King Mattress or King Mattress First? | Beautyrest Sleep Gallery


Mattress - Springfield, MO | Beautyrest Sleep Gallery

What came first — the California King or the King? Well, the answer behind their origin stories depends on who you ask. Some say the original King bed was first to be created. The story is that back in 1982, there was a man named David Bergeson from Concord, California. David had uncommonly long legs. …

PlushBeds Coupon Code

by Logan Block @ Sleepopolis

You can save $50 on your PlushBeds purchase by using the discount code “SLEEPOP5” at checkout. Just follow these simple steps: Head over to PlushBeds.com Select the mattress you would like to purchase Confirm your order is correct Enter the promo code in the Coupon Code box found on the checkout page and click Apply […]

The post PlushBeds Coupon Code appeared first on Sleepopolis.

Perfect Sleeper Express Luxury Mattress 12

by Martin Lorentz @ California King – Shorty's Mattress Depot

Compatible with Serta Adjustable Foundations

The post Perfect Sleeper Express Luxury Mattress 12 appeared first on Shorty's Mattress Depot.

DreamCloud Mattress Review

by Logan Block @ Sleepopolis

I’m super excited about today’s review because I’ll be taking a look at one of the newest beds on the market: the DreamCloud hybrid mattress. This bad boy combines high-density foam with encased coils for a sleeping experience that promises to be as luxurious as it is supportive. To see how well this hybrid lives […]

The post DreamCloud Mattress Review appeared first on Sleepopolis.

Is Cauliflower Carbonara Really Carbonara? Well, No—But It’s Genius

Is Cauliflower Carbonara Really Carbonara? Well, No—But It’s Genius

by Kristen Miglore @ Brow Beat

This post originally appeared in Genius Recipes on Food52.

Though this is a pasta hugged by cream sauce—with all the warm, fuzzy feelings such a thing has to offer—it’s made mostly of vegetables, with no cream or egg. You’d counterintuitively call this cream-saucy pasta lightfresh, even. But would you call it carbonara?

It’s all in the cauliflower. We’ve seen its cooked, whipped up florets perform astonishing feats before, most famously in Paul Bertolli’s vegan cauliflower soup—an impossibly smooth and creamy puree, even though it’s made from little more than cauliflower, an onion, and a lot of water.

The secret is that cauliflower is naturally abundant in pectin, which helps the cooked stuff thicken voluptuously when blended. It’s frankly a wonder we hadn’t been pouring it over our pastas (and everything else) before.

Andy Bennett developed this recipe while he was the executive chef at Rouge Tomate Chelsea—a New York City restaurant with a heavy focus on healthfulness and sustainability.

Bennett simmers cauliflower in vegetable stock till it’s very soft, then blends it all up while streaming in olive oil. The sauce fluffs into a weightless emulsion that you can heat up further and jostle around with your pasta, without risking breaking the sauce like you might with a vinaigrette or mayo.

He initially called the dish Spring Carbonara, tossing in spring onions and fresh peas—but you can take this basic premise and work it into a million different dishes. In the fall, he suggests poking in more roasted cauliflower, or Swiss chard, mushrooms, or celery root. Here, we added frozen peas, because frozen peas require no extra prep and are always in season. If you’re missing the salty smoked meat, you can sprinkle in some smoked salt as Bennett does—though I doubt you will miss the meat at all.

So why even call it carbonara? Most obviously, because it’s similar in its ability to coat noodles luxuriously, though it does so without the weight and richness of the egg yolk and guanciale you’ll find in the traditional Roman dish. If you’re looking for something comforting but not nap-inducing, this change can be quite a good thing.

But in perhaps the truest sense, this dish reflects the spirit of carbonara—of using just the right technique to eke a simple raw egg yolk into a silky sauce. Here, you see another clever massaging of a basic ingredient, the humble head of cauliflower, and turning it to sauce is no less transformative.

Andy Bennett's Creamy Cauliflower Pasta Carbonara

Serves 2

Pasta Carbonara

·       1 tablespoon (12g) olive oil

·       1 cup (100g) sliced spring onions or green onions

·       2 tablespoons (20g) roughly chopped garlic

·       1 cup (200g) Creamy Cauliflower Sauce (from below)

·       250g cooked al dente pasta (from about 125g dry pasta—for the rigatoni we used, this was about 2 cups dry pasta)

·       2/3 cup (90g) fresh or frozen green peas, cooked in salted water

·       Scant 1/2 cup (10g) chopped flat-leaf parsley

·       6 tablespoons (12g) finely grated Parmesan

·       Smoked sea salt, to taste (optional)

·       Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

·       1 tablespoon (4g) toasted breadcrumbs, or more to taste

Creamy Cauliflower Sauce

·       2 cups (200g) cauliflower florets (in roughly 1/2-inch pieces)

·       2 1/4 cups (500g) vegetable stock or broth

·       1/2 cup (100g) olive oil

·       Salt to taste

See the full recipe on Food52

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Naturepedic Organic Mattress Review

by MattressNerd @ The Mattress Nerd

Naturepedic is one of the leading companies for organic mattresses and bedding. In this review, I will look at the construction of several of their models and compare them, discuss how they feel, and compare the prices between them.

Tracee Ellis Ross Reads a Children’s Book About Our Current Cultural Monster: Sexual Harassers

Tracee Ellis Ross Reads a Children’s Book About Our Current Cultural Monster: Sexual Harassers

by Marissa Martinelli @ Brow Beat

Jimmy Kimmel is taking the week off to spend time with his family after his son’s surgery, but Jimmy Kimmel Live! has continued to air new episodes with a roster of celebrity guest hosts filling in. On Tuesday, Tracee Ellis Ross took the reins and used the opportunity to talk about sexual harassment in the news. “First of all, let’s start with the fact that it isn’t a sex scandal. It isn’t a Hollywood scandal,” she said. “It isn’t even a scandal. It is a systemic problem about the abuse of power that takes place across all industries.”

Since some men seem to be confused about what does or does not constitute harassment, Ross decided to explain it to them in the simplest possible way, using a children’s book that she wrote about—and for—sexual harassers. “There is a guy, with ten long fingers/ creepy glares, and hugs that linger./ If you’re a woman, you’re not a fan./ I speak, of course, of The Handsy Man.”

Ross went on to explain, in rhyme, which behaviors are unacceptable in the workplace and elsewhere, for all the Handsy Men out there:

You may not compliment my butt
You may not call me “ho” or “slut.”
And even if you’re stoned or drunk,
Do not expose me to your junk.
And if I am your employee
Don’t rest your hand upon my knee.
No, I won’t sit on your lap.
I shouldn’t have to say this crap.

That sound you just heard is a dozen publishers picking up the phone to try to snap up the rights.

Snore Remedies: Tips to Help You Sleep Quietly

by Ivanna Tucker @ BedMart Mattress Superstores

Do you hate getting woken up in the middle of the night by someone’s loud snore reverberating throughout the room? Or, maybe you are the culprit keeping everyone awake? First, let’s discuss what snoring actually is. Snoring is when the tissues within the airways of your nose and throat vibrate, which results in sound being […]

The post Snore Remedies: Tips to Help You Sleep Quietly appeared first on BedMart Mattress Superstores.

Jada Pinkett Smith Goes Off on the Golden Globes for Failing to Nominate Tiffany Haddish

Jada Pinkett Smith Goes Off on the Golden Globes for Failing to Nominate Tiffany Haddish

by Aisha Harris @ Brow Beat

The Golden Globe nominations were announced on Monday, and among the biggest head-scratchers from the list was the absence of movies and performances like The Big Sick and Tiffany Haddish’s standout role in Girls’ Trip, and nominations for directing for Jordan Peele (Get Out) and Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird). Perhaps(?) coincidentally, those critically acclaimed crowd-pleasers all prominently involved women and/or people of color, as many have noted.* After vaguely expressing her own disappointment yesterday, Jada Pinkett Smith, one of Haddish’s co-stars, revisited the subject in more depth on Twitter today.

Even though the Golden Globes are generally regarded as less “serious” and far more unpredictable than other awards—they’re voted on by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a small organization made up of under 100 members, in comparison to the academy’s 8,000-plus membership bloc—there is something to be said for the structural barriers that still exist for women and people of color in the industry writ large, as Pinkett Smith points out. The Golden Globes, like the Oscars and other award shows, are a reflection of that.

A source with knowledge of the Golden Globes process tells me that there was a screening for HFPA members held on July 18. And as Variety’s Kristopher Tapley tweeted, they were also sent screeners, so it seems like they had ample opportunity to see it, which has also been available to stream and rent since the fall. (Tapley does also confirm that they were unable to get a press conference together for Girls Trip and Get Out, due to conflicts.) It’s unclear how many members have actually seen the film, which has made far north of $100 million at the box office. But it’s hard to imagine which potential backstory might be worse—that they didn’t bother to see this excellent comedy that happened to star four black women, or that they did, and were somehow immune to the uproarious charms of Haddish.

Dec. 12, 2017: This post originally misspelled Jordan Peele's last name.

Here Are All the Sexual Misconduct Allegations Against Music Mogul Russell Simmons

Here Are All the Sexual Misconduct Allegations Against Music Mogul Russell Simmons

by Matthew Dessem @ Brow Beat

Ten women came forward Wednesday to accuse music mogul Russell Simmons of sexual misconduct ranging from inappropriate behavior in business meetings to rape, in incidents that span from 1983 to 2016, according to reports in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times. Simmons, who was an important figure in rap music and, with Rick Rubin, a co-founder of Def Jam Recordings, has denied all of the allegations. This brings the total number of Simmons’ named, on-the-record accusers to twelve: model Keri Claussen Khalighi had previously accused Simmons of coercing her into performing oral sex on him while director Brett Ratner watched—Simmons denied this allegation in a guest column for the Hollywood Reporter, while Ratner said he did not remember Khalighi asking him for help fending off Simmons—and screenwriter Jenny Lumet, who wrote her own Hollywood Reporter column accusing Simmons of raping her. Simmons also denied this, writing:

While her memory of that evening is very different from mine, it is now clear to me that her feelings of fear and intimidation are real. While I have never been violent, I have been thoughtless and insensitive in some of my relationships over many decades, and I sincerely apologize.

Simmons has categorically denied the new allegations in the New York Times:

I vehemently deny all these allegations. These horrific accusations have shocked me to my core and all of my relations have been consensual.

In response to the new allegations in the Los Angeles Times, Simmons wrote:

These new stories range from the patently untrue to frivolous and hurtful claims. I want to restate categorically what I have said previously: I have never been violent or abusive to any women in any way at any time in my entire life.

Here are the allegations against Simmons in chronological order.

Circa 1983: Sherri Hines, a member of the hip-hop group Mercedes Ladies who performed under the name Sheri Sher, says that Simmons—who she knew through the music scene before this incident—invited her to see his new offices after they ran into each other at a club. Once there, Hines says Simmons pinned her to a couch and raped her. Two women confirmed that Hines told them about the incident when it occurred; Hines also says she put a version of this encounter in her 2008 novel Mercedes Ladies.

1988: Lisa Kirk says that Simmons attempted to assault her in the women’s restroom at Carmelita’s Reception House in New York during a night of partying with mutual friends. According to Kirk, Simmons followed her into the bathroom, pushed into a stall with enough force to tear her clothes, and was starting to take his penis out when she made eye contact and he fled. “He looked mortified and literally ran out of the bathroom,” Kirk told the Los Angeles Times. She first described the incident to friends in 2012, and came forward publicly after reading Simmons’ denial of Keri Claussen Khalighi’s claims.

1988: Toni Sallie, a music journalist, says Simmons invited her to his apartment, ostensibly to attend a party for his girlfriend. According to Sallie, there was no party; she says Simmons was there alone, pushed her onto a bed, and attacked and raped her. Three people confirmed to the New York Times that Sallie had told them about the alleged incident at the time it happened. A year later, Sallie says, Simmons attacked her in a hotel lobby, grabbing her hair; she says she escaped to her room and barricaded the door.

Circa 1990–1991: Tina Baker, a lawyer who, in the 1980s and 1990s, released records under the name Tina B, says that Simmons, who was her manager at the time, invited her to his apartment after running into her at a club. She had been there before in a professional capacity, but on this occasion, she says that Simmons scuffled with her, then pushed her down and raped her. “I shut my eyes and waited for it to end,” she told the New York Times. Five people, including her psychiatrist and her ex-husband, confirmed that Baker had told them about the alleged incident previously.

1991: Model Keri Claussen Khalighi says that Simmons, along with director Brett Ratner, took her to dinner at Mr. Chow, then went back to Simmons’ apartment. Once there, Khalighi says, Simmons took off her clothes and coerced her into performing oral sex while Ratner watched. She also says she asked Ratner for help escaping Simmons’ advances, but he did nothing. While taking a shower afterward, she says, Simmons joined her and “briefly penetrated her without her consent.” (Ratner, through his attorney, said he had no recollection of Khalighi asking him for help.) Khalighi was 17 at the time.

1991: Jenny Lumet, a screenwriter and the daughter of filmmaker Sidney Lumet, says that Simmons offered her a ride home after they ran into each other at Indochine. Once she got into Simmons’ car, she alleges, he locked the doors and had his driver take her to his apartment. Once there, Lumet says, Simmons maneuvered her into the elevator, then his apartment, where he allegedly ignored her request to wait, and closed the door of his bedroom. Lumet, who says she was concerned with returning home safely, wrote, “At that point, I simply did what I was told.”

1995: Drew Dixon, a music executive who reported to Simmons at Def Jam Recordings, says that Simmons harassed her repeatedly at work, exposing himself to her on multiple occasions and asking her to sit on his lap at a staff meeting. Eventually, Dixon says, she ran into Simmons outside a bar and accepted his offer to call her a car. She says she went to his apartment to wait for the ride; once there, despite her protests, he allegedly pinned her to the bed; she blacked out, in what she describes as a dissociative state—she hadn’t been drinking—and woke up naked in a hot tub with Simmons. Four friends of Dixon say she told them about the experience when it happened. In 1997, Simmons, who denies ever having sex with Dixon, settled with her out of court in a dispute over sexual harassment allegations and money she was owed from her time at Def Jam.

1996: Actress Natashia Williams-Blach says that Simmons took her to a yoga class, then took her to his house, ostensibly to watch promotional videos for How to Be a Player, a film Williams-Blach was appearing in. Once there, she alleges, he tried to kiss her and pushed her head towards his crotch to force her to give him oral sex. She was an 18-year-old freshman at the time of the alleged incident and, she told the Los Angeles Times, got Simmons to back off by telling him she had to go to study hall.

2005: Erin Beattie, a massage therapist, says that Simmons exposed himself to her during a massage at the Alexis Hotel in Seattle, asking her to touch his penis. After she refused, Beattie says, she told Simmons she would either leave or finish the massage with no sexual contact. The next day, she says, Simmons hired her to give him another massage, during which he did not proposition her, but allegedly used sexual and racial innuendos. Simmons, though his attorney, says he remembers asking Beattie for a “happy ending” in jest. “It was not a joke,” Beattie told the Los Angeles Times. Her boyfriend at the time and another friend confirmed that Beattie told them about the alleged incident when it happened.

2014: Christina Moore says she and a friend met Simmons, whom they did not know, in an elevator at Miami’s Soho Beach House. They asked him for directions to the bar, where they were supposed to meet some friends, but instead, Simmons led them to his room. According to Moore, Simmons ran a bath, then sexually assaulted her, pushing her against a column and running his “hands all over [her] body, up and down.” At that point, she and her friend fled.

2016: Comedian and actress Amanda Seales says that Simmons, in a business meeting, used vulgar language to ask if they’d ever slept together, allegedly replying “Oh, right. ’Cause I would’ve remembered that, right?” when she told him she had not.

2016: Karen Russell, the former general manager at the Simmons-owned yoga studio, Tantris, says that Simmons aggressively pursued instructors at the studio. When one yoga instructor complained to Russell that Simmons would not stop asking her out, Russell says, she reported this to management, but her concerns were dismissed. A different instructor, who remained anonymous because she had signed a non-disclosure agreement, told the Los Angeles Times that she quit because of Simmons’ controlling nature and a work environment in which women were being sexualized.

Simmons, who sold his stake in Def Jam in the 1990s, stepped down from his other business enterprises on Nov. 30 after Jenny Lumet’s accusations.

6 Things We Know (and Don’t Know) About the Disney-Fox Merger

6 Things We Know (and Don’t Know) About the Disney-Fox Merger

by Josef Adalian @ Brow Beat

This article originally appeared in Vulture.

With the Walt Disney Company’s announcement Thursday that it had reached a megadeal to buy most of the assets of 21st Century Fox for $52.4 billion (plus another $13.7 billion in assumed debt), Hollywood watchers have been working overtime trying to parse the merger’s overall entertainment-industry impact. Will it yield a Reese’s “Your chocolate’s in my peanut butter” corporate synergy between two behemoth TV-movie-internet companies—or mark the birth of a terrifying new media monopoly? And will the FCC, which under the Trump administration has turned a surprisingly cold shoulder to mergers, put a stop to the whole thing? There are plenty of unanswered questions, but there are few broad areas where certain outcomes seem more likely. Let’s break down what we (think) we know so far:

Avatar joins the Mouse House, along with all Marvel properties.

Thanks to long-standing, immensely complex licensing deals, Fox has had exclusive access to a number of beloved characters from the Marvel comics canon that do no appear anywhere in the Marvel Cinematic Universe already controlled by Disney. But in a development Vulture explores in greater depth here, Disney chief Bob Iger has been quick to point out the new pact provides the company “with the opportunity to reunite the X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool with the Marvel family under one roof and create richer, more complex worlds of inter-related characters and stories.” (Or, as Ryan Reynolds tweeted yesterday, “Time to uncork that explosive sexual tension between Deadpool and Mickey Mouse.”)

Moreover, the merger means Disney grabs the rights to a number of other Fox-controlled film franchises, including Alien, Planet of the Apes, Predator, even Independence Day. But chief among them will be director James Cameron’s envelope-pushing, $3 billion–grossing Avatar(and its impending sequels), which the new Disney-Fox can exploit across all media platforms, as well as its theme park divisions. In what now seems like a presciently preemptive move, in May, Disney’s Animal Kingdom resort in Florida opened The World of Avatar, an immersive, 12-acre fantasyland based around the film’s bioluminescent forests, floating mountains, and otherworldly, Smurf-hued Na’vi aliens that has already become one of the park’s hottest attractions.

And over the last two years, Disney has dominated the year-end box office with 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens and last year’s Rogue One estimated to have pulled in 40 to 60 percent of around a billion dollars in ticket sales from that time frame. So with the next three Avatar installments set for release in the Decembers of 2020, 2021, 2024, and 2025, Disney could continue to dominate winter holiday movie fare for years to come.

Disney will now own all the Star Wars movies.

Fox’s earlier incarnation—20th Century Fox—distributed the original two Star Wars movie trilogies. And for generations, the studio’s snare-drum-and-horn fanfare has become as inextricable a part of the viewing experience as John Williams’s score. While Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012 for $4 billion, Fox held on to the home-video and digital distribution rights of those original films in perpetuity, as well as complete and permanent distribution rights to 1977’s first Star Wars installment (a.k.a. Episode IV: A New Hope).

All of that goes to Disney in the deal. So for Star Wars obsessives, the most significant development of the new Disney-Fox will be an all-but-inevitable release of what’s been called the “total package”: a complete Blu-Ray DVD box set of all the Star Wars films. Pent-up fan demand for a product like this can’t be overestimated. And it’s set to become a significant revenue stream come the 2019 release of Star Wars Episode IX—the conclusion of the long-running sci-fi serial’s third trilogy.

Hulu will probably get a lot bigger.

Until now, Hulu has operated as a joint venture, controlled by three big conglomerate stakeholders (Comcast’s NBCUniversal, Fox, and Disney) and one smaller partner (TimeWarner, which last year bought 10 percent of the company). But once the Disney-Fox deal is done, Disney will have a controlling stake in Hulu and an incentive to dramatically bulk up the streamer’s offerings—and turn it into an even bigger rival to Netflix. During the buildup to the merger, there’d been some uncertainty as to whether Disney might simply ditch its previously announced plan to build a family-focused version of Netflix and instead concentrate on making Hulu its big streaming play. But Iger today said he wants to do both. “Our goal on the direct-to-consumer front in the United States is to go out with essentially a family-oriented product with Disney and Pixar and Marvel and Lucas that’s going to launch in 2019; a sports product from ESPN in 2018; and [what will] probably be a more adult-oriented product from Hulu,” Iger told CNBC’s David Faber, adding Disney would “give consumers the ability to buy all three, or to buy them individually.”

Iger’s comments offer the tantalizing possibility that Hulu could become not Netflix—a service which aims to offer something for everyone—but a more focused streamer aimed at delivering the sort of premium, awards-bait content seen on HBO, FX, and, to a lesser degree, ABC (think American Crime or Modern Family at its peak). In fact, with FX and FX Productions headed over to Disney as part of today’s deal, it’s not hard to imagine the brain trust that has made FX so successful—headed up by FX Networks chief John Landgraf—taking over creative control of Hulu. Think of it: The first streaming outlet to win a best series Emmy (The Handmaid’s Tale) essentially merging with the first basic-cable network to win a best actor Emmy (Michael Chiklis, The Shield). Landgraf has already been moving FX toward a future where consumers pay directly for its content, this year partnering with Comcast for FX+, which lets folks pay $6 a month to watch current and past FX shows sans commercials. Giving him control of an even bigger playground, one with a proven digital infrastructure able to better monetize shows like You’re the Worst and The Americans better than old-school cable, seems like a no-brainer.

There are plenty of roadblocks to such a scenario, however. Landgraf may have no desire to take on a bigger footprint with Hulu, or to dilute the brand he’s spent so long building.  It’s also not entirely clear Disney can do whatever it wants with Hulu, even if it will have a controlling stake in the streamer. Analysts such as BTIG’s Rich Greenfield argue Comcast, for example, could veto any major shift in direction. “Disney will not be able to make major structural changes to Hulu following the closing of the Fox transaction without Comcast/NBC’s consent,” he wrote in an analyst’s note this week. In his interview with Faber, Iger admitted “it’s still a bit early right now what direction we’ll take” with Hulu, perhaps a concession to the complexities of the streamer’s current ownership deal. Still, Iger suggested Hulu’s other owners might be convinced: “We think it’s going to provide Comcast with an interesting opportunity, as well, as we seek to grow Hulu in even more compelling ways.”

It should also be noted Hulu’s current management had already been anticipating future changes. Even as it’s been adding more library content from partners like Fox and NBC, it’s also been beefing up its own slate of originals with an eye on the possibility that, a few years from now, it might not be able to offer consumers next-day episodes of shows from ABC, NBC, and Fox. This year also saw Hulu morph from a straight-ahead streamer to a more full-service video provider: Hulu with Live TV essentially makes it a digital cable company, on par with YouTube TV or DirecTV Now. These changes should allow Hulu to survive even if Iger can’t fully realize the vision for Hulu he hinted at today.

Award-season player Fox Searchlight could make Disney more prestige-y.

Less on-brand for Disney is Fox’s specialty film division Fox Searchlight, which has developed into an awards-season hothouse over the last few years, releasing such best picture Oscar winners as 12 Years a Slave, Birdman, and Slumdog Millionaire. Earlier this week, Searchlight scored multiple Golden Globes nominations for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water, as well as seven SAG Awards nominations for its 2017 releases.

A respected player in the indie sector and dominant acquisitions force at the Sundance Film Festival, the specialty label is known for finding and cultivating quirky low-budget films into cultural sensations. This is well outside what has been Disney’s normal purview up to this point: tentpole fare and four-quadrant crowd-pleasers in the Pixar-Marvel-Lucasfilm vein. Toward that end, Disney has largely removed itself from the awards scrum, aside from animation (best animated feature Oscars for Big Hero 6, Brave, Frozen, Inside Out, etc.) and technical achievements (a best makeup Academy Award for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe).

Difficult as it may be to imagine Disney releasing Searchlight’s lo-fi, Sundance-certified hits like Patti Cake$ and Step, however, the most obvious upside would be to the company’s streaming service, set to launch in 2019, which will need a steady supply of prestige product if it wants to make a viable run at Netflix. That said, Iger has refused to say whether Searchlight will continue to function as a distinct division under Disney management.

The Fox network as we’ve known it is (probably) over.

A few weeks ago, when the Fox-Disney deal was still in the rumor stages, we argued such a pact could mean drastic changes to Fox Broadcasting Co., a.k.a. the Fox network. Nothing Murdoch said today changes our theory. Sure, the Fox founder talked about the idea of FBC buying entertainment programming from an independent studio such as Sony, Lionsgate, or Warner Bros. (Some Hollywood insiders are already speculating the new Fox could snap up a smaller outlet such as Sony, or perhaps strike an output deal guaranteeing scripted content.) But Murdoch and his sons Lachlan and James also emphasized, over and over, that the new Fox would be focused on sports, news, and live events. That seems to be a broad hint they know an FBC without a major studio partner such as 20th Century Fox TV doesn’t make much sense in a world where the major value of scripted programming is the back end, something that requires a network to own the shows it airs.

This doesn’t mean FBC won’t have any scripted shows a couple years from now. Its NFL, World Series, and other sports rights will give it a great platform to promote a couple of big, male-focused original series every season. It could also snap up or produce some low-cost scripted programming (think something like Syfy original movies or BBC America’s Orphan Black), content that pays for itself via ad revenue and helps maintain the value of Fox’s local TV stations. Reality shows will also have a place on the new FBC, even more than now. And without having to worry about pissing off the prestige advertisers who sponsor premium scripted shows, the new FBC might not think twice about programming, say, The Sean Hannity Good-Time Conspiracy Theory Hour every Friday night. But, as one top network exec told Vulture Thursday, “The days of a full schedule of full-priced Fox programming? That seems to be dead and buried.”

The Simpsons, Family Guy, and Bob’s Burgers could be on the moveor on their way out.

Ratings for FBC animated stalwarts The Simpsons and Family Guy have fallen sharply over the last few years—like most everything else on TV—even as the shows’ production budgets remain sky-high. Fox has dutifully renewed the shows, however, because its 20th Century Fox TV unit owns them and is able to extract millions of dollars in profit from selling reruns to cable networks and local stations, more than making up for the losses at the network level. Once FBC and 20th are divorced, however, it’s hard to see how the new FBC makes the economics work—or why Disney would want two of its new crown jewels airing somewhere else.

In the short-term, not much will probably change. The Simpsons has a deal in place with FBC keeping it on the network through the 2018–19 season, which happens to coincide with the show’s 30th anniversary. At that point, it’s possible Disney will find a way to move the show to either ABC or one of its new streaming services, perhaps producing fewer than 22 episodes each year. (FXX, which is also headed to Disney, already airs reruns of the show and operates a Simpsons streaming app.) Or maybe the creative team behind the show will simply decide 30 years is (finally) enough, and walk away, perhaps working with Disney on a new way to keep the Simpsons brand alive. (Side note: NBCUniversal currently has a deal for the theme-park rights to The Simpsons, so don’t expect a Simpsons ride at DisneyWorld any time soon.) As for Family Guy and Bob’s Burgers, they are much younger shows, and less expensive, with Bob’s actually turning into something of a powerhouse on basic cable in recent years. Disney would have plenty of incentive to keep making originals of both, either for ABC or one of its new streaming services.

See also: Why a Murdoch Sale Could Spell Doom for the Fox Network

NFL Coach Matt Patricia Keeps a Mattress In His Office. Is It His Secret to Football Success?

by Cody Gohl @ Sleepopolis

NFL coaches pull some seriously long work days, and Matt Patricia of the Patriots (and soon to be of the Lions) blurs the line between bedroom and office.

The post NFL Coach Matt Patricia Keeps a Mattress In His Office. Is It His Secret to Football Success? appeared first on Sleepopolis.

Best Percale Sheets

by Linda Coursey @ Bedsheetadvisor

Best Percale Sheets Reviews Percale is a word that comes from pargalal which is a cloth from Persia that is centuries old. This plain weaved fabric is tightly woven, producing a sheet that has a fine, soft texture and finish. We researched many different percale sheets and brands and put together a list of the top three percale sheet sets on the market. If you are interested in the best percale sheet set available we recommend Abripedic Crispy Percale Sheets. These 100% cotton crispy percale sheets are like those that you can find in the finest hotels in the world.

The post Best Percale Sheets appeared first on Bedsheetadvisor.

James Franco Gets in Touch With his Inner Dan Aykroyd in This Bloody Saturday Night Live Sketch

James Franco Gets in Touch With his Inner Dan Aykroyd in This Bloody Saturday Night Live Sketch

by Matthew Dessem @ Brow Beat

There’s no shame in revisiting a classic, and on this week’s Saturday Night Live, host James Franco riffed on one of the show’s most iconic sketches: Dan Aykroyd’s legendary French Chef bit where, as Julia Child, he sliced a finger and merrily bled to death. Franco’s character, a gift-wrapper at Bloomingdale’s, is motivated by Christmas cheer rather than Bordeaux and chicken livers, but the basic premise is the same: blood, blood, and more blood. What’s more, the sketch has absolutely nothing to do with Trump, and, as long as no big story breaks about James Franco or the Saturday Night Live cast, it’s a nice break from the year’s garbage news.

Of course, Aykroyd’s version also had a killer celebrity impression at its center. It’s easy to forget how loopy The French Chef was if you haven’t watched it recently (very loopy) but there’s more going on in that skit than the blood. On the other hand, Franco’s version has a lot more blood, and a lot more cast members, which means he gets to do things like spit blood all over Leslie Jones, who seems like she might have had more lines before Franco got blood right in her mouth. No one in the sketch manages to keep a straight face, Franco botches the bit with the prop foot, and the tubes and pumps spraying fake blood everywhere are visible in almost every shot. But as history has proven, time and again, there’s just no wrong way to do a “cheerfully bleeding to death” skit. Now let’s all kick back with the original (non-Monty Python division), written by the late, great Tom Davis and … recently disgraced Senator Al Franken! And you thought you’d found a fun escape from 2017.

The 5 Highest Rated Firm (Hard) Mattresses in 2018

by Sarah Cummings @ The Sleep Advisor

The post The 5 Highest Rated Firm (Hard) Mattresses in 2018 appeared first on The Sleep Advisor.

Madeline Island Plush

by Martin Lorentz @ California King – Shorty's Mattress Depot

Meet BeautyRest's Silver Hybrid Madeline Island Plush/Austin Reef Plush mattress. This 13 inch Mattress is packed with the newest technology when it comes to sleep such as DualCool Technology Memory Foam, AirCool® Gel Memory Foam, GelTouch® Foam and BeautyRest® Pocketed Coil® Technology.

This MATTRESS is adjustable friendly.

The post Madeline Island Plush appeared first on Shorty's Mattress Depot.

Black Women Came Through With Both the Votes in Alabama and the Jokes on Late Night

Black Women Came Through With Both the Votes in Alabama and the Jokes on Late Night

by Marissa Martinelli @ Brow Beat

On Tuesday night, Doug Jones became the first Democratic candidate to win a Senate race in Alabama since 1992. This was thanks in large part to massive black voter turnout—and in particular, to black women, who made up 17 percent of voters and overwhelmingly chose Jones over opponent Roy Moore. Late-night comedy is still an overwhelmingly white and male scene, but on Wednesday night, Seth Meyers and Trevor Noah stepped back and let their black, female contributors seize the limelight for a victory lap—and some advice about what to do next.

Dulcé Sloan over at The Daily Show accepted Trevor Noah’s thanks on behalf of Alabama’s black women (even though she isn't from Alabama) and pointed out just how thoroughly they came through compared to other demographics: “The only thing 98 percent of black women agree on is: No Roy Moore, Idris Elba is fine as hell, and do not get our hair wet.”

Sloan was also happy to accept the gratitude of white people, though she stressed that black voters voted for Jones out of self-interest. “You’re welcome, white people,” she said. “You’re welcome. But let’s be honest, we didn’t do it for you—we did it for ourselves. No black woman cast her vote going, This one’s for Scott! Fuck Scott.” If white people really want to say “thank you,” she suggests they do so in a language that matters—maybe by eliminating those voter suppression laws?

Amber Ruffin, a writer for Late Night With Seth Meyers, had another suggestion for white people: that they follow black women's example in a rare, positive example of cultural appropriation. “So while you’re busy appropriating our music and our fashion and our big fat booties, try appropriating our common sense,” she said. “Stop trying to rap and start getting up on a Tuesday to go vote.”

Like Sloan, Ruffin was more than ready to say “you're welcome” for saving Alabama, but added, “when you’re done thanking us, why don’t you try voting for us and putting a few of us in office so we can run this shit?”

This Three-Minute Video Is Probably the Closest You’ll Get to Seeing Lin-Manuel Miranda in Hamilton

This Three-Minute Video Is Probably the Closest You’ll Get to Seeing Lin-Manuel Miranda in Hamilton

by Marissa Martinelli @ Brow Beat

Lin-Manuel Miranda will play the title role in Hamilton again in 2019, but the chances of actually scoring tickets are slim, so here's the next best thing: Miranda performed the entire play in about three minutes for the Ellen Show, boiling the Broadway hit down to its bare essentials. Miranda frantically acts out the life of Alexander Hamilton with lyrics and hasty explanations like, “terrible childhood, terrible childhood” and “history spoiler: Burr shoots Hamilton.” Also, he does a pretty good Angelica Schuyler.

Miranda is assisted in his presentation by young Macey Hensley, an Ellen Show regular who has a near-encyclopedic knowledge of presidents, first ladies, and American history. She spits some bars and drops some presidential knowledge in a tiny Hamilton costume, which is cute, but if you really want to feel your heart grow three sizes, watch this video of Hensley meeting Barack Obama last year:

Three Billboards Centers Female Vengeance, But It’s Really About the Salvation of Men

Three Billboards Centers Female Vengeance, But It’s Really About the Salvation of Men

by Inkoo Kang @ Brow Beat

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri opened last month to wide acclaim, especially for its timeliness. National conversations about the endemic nature of sexual harassment and assault, punctuated staccato-style by the abrupt downfalls of famous men, have reflected the disorientation many of us feel about this sudden shift in the cultural atmosphere, as well as the confusion about the correct response to accused artists, the charges against whom range from uncomfortable comments in the workplace to rape. In bracing contrast, writer-director Martin McDonagh’s third film proffers clear-eyed determination. With an unblinking, unflinching Frances McDormand at its center, Three Billboards channels the anger of the current moment through its Molotov cocktail-hurling anti-heroine, Mildred Hayes. But the film ultimately sacrifices its feminist bona fides to run-of-the-mill Hollywood sexism and McDonagh’s cartoonish vision of female rage. Those seeking a break from real-life misogyny will find no respite here.

Three Billboards takes its name from the trio of signs that McDormand’s Mildred commissions to provoke the local small-town police into investigating the rape and murder of her teenage daughter Angela, which has gone unsolved for seven months. In stark, all-caps red and black, the billboards read, “Raped while dying,” “And still no arrests?” “How come, Chief Willoughby?” Like many other people in the town, Mildred knows that the police chief, played with aw-shucks charm by Woody Harrelson, has terminal cancer, and she displays compassion for Willoughby as a fellow citizen, but as a victim’s mother, she’s furious at him. She advocates for her daughter to the point of unreasonableness, because no one else will. When Mildred’s priest (Nick Searcy) stops by her house to tell her that the billboards are eroding the goodwill the congregation accorded her after Angela’s death, the scene makes for one of the script’s most empathetic observations: People expect women to grieve in ways deemed decorous and unchallenging to the status quo.

Such feminist moments have allowed McDonagh to call Mildred “an iconic, new type of female hero” on a press tour that’s doubled as a victory lap after largely rapturous film-festival reviews (from, it must be noted, a mostly white, mostly male critical corps). Mildred is rarely seen out of her Rosie the Riveter-inspired overalls and bandanna, even donning the workwear on a first date with Peter Dinklage’s besotted James. McDonagh says he created Mildred in part as a corrective: He was “conscious” that his previous films, In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths, were bereft of meaty roles for women. (McDonagh’s theater work fares moderately better in this regard.) And so, in language echoing recent discussions about female representation on screen, most recently about Wonder Woman, he, rather hubristically, imagined Mildred as an icon that “little girls” could look up to and emulate.

Three Billboards’ initial appeal lies in its tonal slipperiness between a somber drama of small-town intimacy-bordering-on-claustrophobia and a chatty fantasy of Tarantino-esque hyperviolence. Likewise, Mildred shifts between those two modes: the mother who’s finally had enough and the vigilante who’ll break any law to right the wrongs done to her. But as the film progresses, McDonagh loses track of the tricky balance necessary to make Mildred both a recognizable human being and a cinematic badass. An early instance of her increasingly questionable judgment is the entirely preventable pain that the words “RAPED WHILE DYING” causes her high-school-aged son (Lucas Hedges), who has to look at the billboards every day. Similarly, the bullying he suffers at school because of the signs’ unpopularity around town is only acknowledged in passing. (One of the many indications that McDonagh wrote Three Billboards eight years ago is that all of the bullying is in person and offscreen; there isn’t a cell phone or computer anywhere, let alone a fervent discussion board on Topix.)

Mildred might be justified in taking a drill to her disapproving dentist’s thumbnail after he sadistically punishes her for the billboards with his Novocaine needle. But her accusation to her priest that he’s complicit in pedophilia because the clergyman joined the Catholic Church is wholly nonsensical. More horrifying is her reaction to someone throwing a soda can at her windshield during a school drop-off. She demands from the first two children she spots that they identify the culprit, and when they can’t, Mildred kicks them both in the crotch. By the time she throws a half-dozen Molotov cocktails into the police station as vengeance for her billboards being set on fire, Three Billboards hasn’t just stripped Mildred of her sympathy, but her humanity as well. Her unhinged rage—expressions of which are framed as invitations to spout you-go-girl-isms at the screen—makes her look silly instead, and the righteousness of her cause suffers as a result. Going around town like a caricature of a bad cop, assaulting children and destroying property with impunity, makes her just like the worst person in town after Angela’s killer: Sam Rockwell’s Officer Jason Dixon.

That McDonagh seems to have no idea how awful and cartoonish Mildred becomes is supported by the filmmaker’s conviction that Jason deserves a substantial redemption arc. Known around town as a torturer of black citizens (with shrugging tolerance from Chief Willoughby), Jason makes for the film’s most artificial and tone-deaf component. The ne’er-do-well officer initially blames the billboards for Willoughby’s suicide (actually a response to his rapid physical decline, not Mildred’s goadings). In the vilest scene, a drunk Jason pistol-whips the signs’ owner (Caleb Landry Jones), throws him out of a second-story window, punches his secretary, walks downstairs and then kicks the bleeding Red once again in the middle of the street. Later, he returns to the station in the middle of the night to retrieve a post-mortem letter from Willoughby encouraging the officer to embrace goodness, which happens to be right when Mildred decides to burn down the police station. The station goes up in flames, but Jason escapes with Angela’s case file and sets out to crack the case, badge or no badge. (The fire begs yet another question about Mildred’s credibility as a feminist icon: Does she care that her act of violence will deny justice to every other victim of a crime in Ebbings, including possibly other victims of sexual assault?)

The fact that McDonagh wrote the film nearly a decade ago, before the Black Lives Matter movement, is telling. In Three Billboards, the terrorization of black citizens can apparently end by plucking a bad apple from the bunch and changing hearts and minds with a heartfelt letter. The film’s focus on first Willoughby’s absolution for not solving Angela’s case, then Jason’s for repeatedly abusing his power as a police officer, increasingly pull attention away from the victim, so that a teenage girl’s rape and murder eventually becomes the springboard for a pair of bad cops’ redemption. Women suffer, often spectacularly, so that men can better themselves—a trope that’s come to be known as “fridging.” And as long as we’re pointing out hypocrisies, Three Billboards’ condemnations of police brutality against black people are attenuated by the film’s lack of any substantial black characters. In fact, one of the film’s three black characters, Mildred’s friend and coworker, played by Amanda Warren, even looks cheerful and eager to help out after yet another abuse of power by the police lands her in a multi-day jail stay over a bullshit marijuana charge.

As film critic April Wolfe pointed out in her review, there’s far bloodier hijinks in McDonagh’s first two films than in Three Billboards. But both In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths concern the double-crosses between hitmen, who for all their disposability might as well be dots in a Pac-Man maze. Hitmen may be mournful or charismatic, but they lack moral weight. In contrast, nearly all the violence in Three Billboards is institutionally based, and presented as such. Angela’s rape and murder are part of a larger pattern, as are the domestic abuse that Mildred’s ex-husband (John Hawkes) inflicts on her and the beatings and intimidations that Jason visits on those who get in his way. In the end, though, Mildred’s deranged fancies and Jason’s unconvincing absolution reduce those all-too-real horrors to an impetus for male salvation.

The sting from the diminishment of the issue of gendered violence is salted by the objectifying or mean-spirited treatment that nearly every other significant female character receives from McDonagh. McDormand appears without makeup, her male co-stars are similarly deglammed, and Ebbings is portrayed as the town equivalent of a hole in the wall, but every woman under 40 seems to have been transported from a casting call in Century City. The age and attractiveness difference between 56-year-old Harrelson and 36-year-old Abbie Cornish, who’s costumed like a J. Crew model, is substantial and distracting. At least Cornish isn’t asked to be both eye candy and a punching bag. Such is the fate of Samara Weaving’s 19-year-old Penelope, whose reaction to watching her older boyfriend choke his ex-wife, while his son holds a knife to his dad’s neck, is an empty-headed smile and a matter-of-fact request to use the bathroom. Later, in a scene when Mildred finally gives her blessing to the May–December couple, Penelope asks whether the sport with the horses, about which she’s currently reading a book, is called polo or polio. I’d call the character sitcomish, but that’s insulting toward sitcoms. The sign store’s secretary (Kerry Condon) is likewise revealed as a beautiful idiot.

Penelope is around Angela’s age, but Mildred leaves the teenager dating a man she knows to be violent without a single warning. The shot of McDormand walking away from the bewildered but relieved couple in a restaurant is “cool,” I guess, but the abdication of any responsibility toward another woman who might be in the same dangers she faced is demoralizing—and McDonagh doesn’t know it. The lack of relatable female characters, combined with the ethical indifference toward violence against women, makes Three Billboards already feel like a relic. And it’s not as if all of the elements that McDonagh’s working with can’t add up to something powerful and morally consistent. The BBC/Netflix series Happy Valley also centers on a middle-aged woman in a small town reeling from her daughter’s rape and death (here, from suicide), while managing to be funny and suspenseful and compassionate and brutal. But Happy Valley treats violence against women like the scourge it is. For McDonagh, it’s merely a plot device and an opportunity to #NotAllMen.

What’s Fact and What’s Fiction in The Disaster Artist

What’s Fact and What’s Fiction in The Disaster Artist

by Marissa Martinelli @ Brow Beat

James Franco’s The Disaster Artist is the kind of movie that the phrase “truth is stranger than fiction” was invented for. It certainly doesn’t get much stranger than the story of Tommy Wiseau, the eccentric filmmaker behind the equally bizarre cult classic The Room, a film Wiseau financed, wrote, directed, and stars in. And the story gets even stranger when you tell it, as Franco does, from the perspective of Wiseau’s friend and collaborator, Greg Sestero; Franco’s film is based on Sestero’s memoir The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made, which he co-wrote with Tom Bissell.

The real Wiseau has called that memoir only “40 percent true,” but he recently showed much more confidence in Franco’s film, which he deemed “99.9 percent true.” That’s an odd disparity, considering that The Disaster Artist is mostly faithful to its source material, but percentages aside, Franco does take a few liberties with the story. We’ve used Sestero's memoir, as well as interviews with Wiseau and others from over the years, to separate the The Disaster Artist’s facts from the moments that made us say, “It’s not true, it’s bullshit.”

Greg Meets Tommy

As we see in the film, Greg Sestero and Tommy Wiseau really did meet in an acting class taught by Jean Shelton in 1998. The audience’s introduction to Tommy in The Disaster Artist comes when he performs a scene from A Streetcar Named Desire, which is portrayed almost exactly as described in Sestero’s book. The only real difference is the wardrobe:

Cut to: Pirate Guy in a white tank top, his wild hair in a ponytail, wandering around stage left, crying out “Stella!” many more times than the script called for and occasionally breaking into exaggerated sobs. He wasn’t even bothering to direct his agony toward his partner, the intended focus of the scene. He was just launching his performance out into space. Two girls in the first row were squeezing each other’s hands in an effort to contain their laughter.

Tommy’s character is so eccentric that he can seem like a caricature, but Franco actually nails Wiseau’s accent and distinct speech patterns as well as his mannerisms. (You can see the real Wiseau acting opposite Franco in a brief, silly after-credits cameo.) There are some aspects of Wiseau's identity that are mysterious, but the quirks we see in the film are, by all accounts, perfectly accurate, including Wiseau’s love of Red Bull and his tendency to wear multiple belts at a time.

James’ brother, Dave Franco, plays Greg as a shy kid whose reaction to Tommy’s flailing performance in Shelton’s class wasn’t mockery but admiration. Both in the film and in real life, Sestero proposes that he and Wiseau perform a scene together, the beginning of a memorable, if not necessarily always beautiful, friendship.

The Room’s Influences

Tommy and Greg both become admirers of James Dean in the film, which might seem a little convenient, considering that James Franco won a Golden Globe for playing Dean in a 2001 TV movie. But it’s true that Wiseau and Sestero really did bond over the Rebel Without a Cause actor—in fact, one of The Room’s most famous lines is an homage to that very film.

There was, however, another important film in The Room’s history that is barely even mentioned in Franco’s version of the story: The Talented Mr. Ripley. In his book, Sestero recalls the two watching the film together in January 2000 and wondering if Wiseau would see the parallels between their own friendship and the relationship between Tom Ripley and Dickie Greenleaf. Wiseau, however, had a much more profound reaction to Ripley than Sestero anticipated:

For the first time since I’d known him, maybe for the first time in his life, Tommy insisted on staying in his seat through the entire end-credits crawl. When the lights came up, Tommy looked devastated. His eyes were wet, his mouth slightly pried open. He had the wrung-out look of a man who’d just come to the end of a long, doomed love affair. The movie had bludgeoned him to within an inch of his emotional life.

It was on the drive back from the theater, according to Sestero, that Wiseau realized he was tired of waiting for Hollywood to accept him and decided to make a movie of his own. Franco simplifies things in The Disaster Artist by changing the source of Tommy's inspiration for The Room; he gets the idea to make his own movie from an offhand remark by Greg.

Franco does nod to the fact that The Talented Mr. Ripley also inspired the name of Sestero’s character in The Room, since Wiseau misheard Matt Damon’s first name as "Mark."

The Script

One fact that didn’t make it into the film: The Room was originally intended as a play, which Wiseau explained in a recently resurfaced interview with Entertainment Weekly’s Clark Collis from 2008:

Originally, my idea was actually to present in a theater. But then I concluded that not so many people actually got to the theater, particularly in America. The theater is not as popular as a movie. Even a theater like Broadway. That’s my idea, now, the next one, that I want to show The Room on Broadway. That’s what I want to do. Then I change my mind and I say, “You know what? Let’s just make the movie.”

The plot of The Room is very simple, revolving around Johnny, who is betrayed by his fiancé Lisa (Juliette Danielle, played in this case by Ari Graynor) and best friend Mark (Sestero). The script that Dave Franco’s Greg reads at the diner is full of lines that are well-known to fans of The Room and are 100 percent real, even such implausible ones as, “Leave your stupid comments in your pocket.”

Filming the Room

Strange as it may seem, Tommy Wiseau really did buy all his own equipment instead of renting, despite the prohibitive cost, and yes, he really did shoot in both digital and 35mm film at the same time, even though that goes against all logic. And yes, he really did build a set of an alleyway instead of just using the one across the street from the studio. In depicting the making of The Room, Franco again recreates full passages from Sestero’s book. Take, for instance, the filming of the “Oh hai Mark” scene, which A24 wisely used for the film’s first teaser trailer.

Here’s Sestero’s description of the scene, which, by his count, took three hours and 32 takes to get right:

To establish that Johnny is incapable of abuse, Tommy concocted a new opening for this scene, in which Johnny steps onto the Rooftop saying, “It’s not true! I did not hit her! It’s bullshit! I did not.” After which comes this: “Oh, hi, Mark.”  There are seventeen words in this sequence. Eleven of them are nonrecurring; only one has the burden of a second syllable. In other words, these are not terribly difficult lines to learn.
[…]
Tommy couldn’t remember his lines. He couldn’t hit his mark. He couldn’t say ‘Mark.’ He couldn’t walk. He couldn’t find his eyeline. He would emerge from the outhouse mumbling, lost, and disoriented. He looked directly into the camera. He swore.

And here’s how that scene plays out in The Disaster Artist:

Franco’s biggest omission in telling the story of the making of The Room is not showing the production's high turnover rate. The Room went through three different crews during filming, as various members were fired or quit, sometimes en masse, out of frustration with Wiseau’s antics. Wiseau has attributed these departures to “creative differences” such as disagreements about the script, but Sestero describes an almost mutinous atmostphere on set.

Franco does hint at the discord by showing how the crew mocks Tommy behind his back, but he also simplifies things by focusing on two major crewmembers, script supervisor Sandy Schklair (Seth Rogen) and director of photography Raphael Smadja (Paul Scheer), who he treats as composite characters. In the movie, Tommy clashes with both of them, but they stick it out; in reality, neither Smadja nor Schklair made it to the end of filming, with Smadja quitting over Tommy's refusal to hire a real line producer and Schklair leaving for an opportunity to work with Janusz Kaminski.

“I could spend my day shooting Tommy’s naked ass, or go work with a DP with two Oscars,” Schklair told EW in 2011.

Bryan Cranston and Malcolm in the Middle

In Franco's film, Greg gets the kind of opportunity that most aspiring actors can only dream of: a role on a popular television show, at the invitation of the show’s star. During the filming of The Room, Greg and girlfriend Amber (played by Alison Brie) run into Bryan Cranston (playing himself, circa 2001) in a café. Cranston notices Greg’s beard and, after learning that Greg is a struggling actor, offers him the role of a lumberjack in an upcoming episode of Malcolm in the Middle.

Greg jumps at the chance—but Tommy refuses to give him a day off from filming to appear on the show and insists that Greg shave his beard so that Mark can make a dramatic, clean-shaven entrance in the movie. Given the choice between Malcolm in the Middle and The Room, Greg chooses The Room, which leads Amber to leave him. Greg loses both his big break and his love interest in one fell swoop, which sours his already strained relationship with Tommy.

The real story behind the beard is not nearly as dramatic. The real Greg Sestero was reluctant to shave his beard, but it wasn’t because he’d been promised a role on Malcolm in the Middle; in his book, Sestero says he already suspected that The Room was going to be a disaster and he liked having the beard as a disguise so that he could later disassociate himself from the film.

James Franco has worked with Cranston before on In Dubious Battle and Why Him?, which makes this an especially fun cameo.

The Premiere

In the film, Tommy and Greg have a falling out right at the end of filming The Room, and only reunite for the premiere, which turns out to be an unexpected triumph. While Wiseau and Sestero did have falling outs over the years of their friendship, that’s not why they were out of touch leading up to the 2003 premiere, according to Sestero; it’s because Wiseau was busy preparing, editing the final cut of the film, recording PG-rated dialogue for primetime television, and committing to a guerrilla marketing campaign that included the film’s notorious billboard on Highland Avenue.

As for the glowing, uproarious reaction that the film receives at the premiere, that’s not quite what happened, at least according to Robyn Paris, who played Michelle in The Room and was there during that first screening. The Disaster Artist ends with the audience watching the film and applauding Tommy, who has made peace with the fact that his movie is a terrible drama but has comedic value. In her review for EW, Paris recalls the laughter, but not the cheering, and notes that many people walked out of The Room’s premiere within the first five minutes. It took time for The Room to become the cult classic it is today.

The Types of Mattresses Sold at a Mattress Warehouse

by Julia @ Shorty's Mattress Depot

A mattress warehouse is a specialty store that only sells mattresses and related products. Their salespeople tend to be well-trained and knowledgeable about mattresses and sleep.This is the best place to go if you have no idea what kind of mattress you want as they tend to have a large selection to choose from. Mattress […]

The post The Types of Mattresses Sold at a Mattress Warehouse appeared first on Shorty's Mattress Depot.

Reasons to get a New Mattress in the New Year

by Brittany Zachary @ Mattress – Springfield, MO | Beautyrest Sleep Gallery

The New Year brings lots of goal and resolution setting based on the years before. Some start wellness programs, set financial goals, or make resolutions to quit a habit. These are all great, but sometimes hard to stick to. Do you know one resolution that’s not hard to stick to? Getting a good night’s rest. […]

The post Reasons to get a New Mattress in the New Year appeared first on Mattress - Springfield, MO | Beautyrest Sleep Gallery.

Hack the Time Change to Your Advantage

by Brittany Zachary @ Mattress – Springfield, MO | Beautyrest Sleep Gallery

It’s the time change we have all been waiting for – that marvelous extra hour sent like a gift from the gods. The overall idea of gaining an extra hour of sleep is great, but only if you make sure to use it to your full advantage. Your Own Personal Sleep Test We all wonder […]

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Beautyrest 2017 Comparison Guide

by MattressNerd @ The Mattress Nerd

Retail mattress stores often make it difficult to comparison shop mattresses. Each retailer will have a different name for the same (or almost the same) product. Furthermore, not every store lists detailed specs about whats in their mattresses, so it can be even more confusing. Here are some tables to help compare Beautyrest models between retailers.

Tempurpedic Vs Sleep Number-The Complete Guide

by Milton V @ Bedsheetadvisor

Tempurpedic and Sleep Number are the two most popular mattress brands currently on the market. These brands bear significant differences, yet they usually compete for the same consumers. Tempurpedic mattresses apply memory foam for comfort as well as foam or springs for support. Sleep Number mattresses, on the other hand, utilize mainly foam for comfort and air for support. Sleep Numbers also allow you to adjust firmness and support by adding or removing air from the mattress with an electric pump. Furthermore, each side of a Sleep Number mattress has its own setting. If you are shopping and can’t seem

The post Tempurpedic Vs Sleep Number-The Complete Guide appeared first on Bedsheetadvisor.

Greta Gerwig on Lady Bird, John Hughes, and Being “Ready” to Step Behind the Camera

Greta Gerwig on Lady Bird, John Hughes, and Being “Ready” to Step Behind the Camera

by Aisha Harris @ Brow Beat

The recent release of Lady Bird makes Greta Gerwig one of several directorial debuts this year to strike a resonant chord with audiences—it's self-assured and absent of clichés, and if you’ve seen it already, you’re probably aware that it’s the kind of movie that will make you want to go and call your mom as soon as its done. Saoirse Ronan stars as the titular character, a precocious Sacramento teen who’s desperate to escape her hometown and move to the East Coast for college, “where culture is.” The film follows her senior year of high school from 2002–03 and her evolving relationships with her best friend, her crushes, and her tough but loving mother Marian, played by Laurie Metcalf.

On the latest episode of Represent, Gerwig talks to Aisha Harris about how she crafted the contentious mother-daughter bond, the current wave of coming-of-age films emerging from female filmmakers like herself, and how she prepared to step behind the camera for the first time. Here is a lightly edited excerpt from that conversation. You can listen to the full interview in the audio player below.

Aisha Harris: You’ve worked as a writer and all these other jobs behind the scenes. Around the time of Frances Ha, you talked about the way in which you tried to make the scenes feel new every time. But you also have this desire with whatever you do first—the first impulse is the one that you connect with the most. Did that translate at all into what cues you took from your actors and how you directed them?

Greta Gerwig: Yeah. Well, I think so much of who I am as a director is my experience as an actor and as a writer and producer and other things I've done. Really, those years became my film school. I didn't go to film school, so I learned on set and I tried to keep my ears and eyes open to what was going on around me and seek out mentors and people who would give me advice and tell me how they were lighting a shot and what were we doing exactly. I was very lucky to find those people.

Then when I got this cast, which is truly a phenomenal cast—every single actor is extraordinary, and I had this intention when I wrote the script, but I needed great actors to do it. I wanted the audience to feel like they could follow any one character and there would be a whole movie there, and almost that you got this quality of leaning forward for everybody because you think, “What's that life? Who is that person, really? How did they get there? What was that decision?”

I needed actors who could bring that sense of complete life with a few brushstrokes, in a way, and to really fill out the reality of that life. Something that I tried to do was give actors as much information as I possibly could. I made lots of playlists and gave them books to read and talked to them about what I thought was going on, but also because I wrote it and was directing it, I also have this deep sense of needing to pass on. The little candle of the character needed to go to them.

As soon as I cast them, I almost symbolically was like, “Now, I don’t know. I don’t know. You know. You know the character better than I do, so now you start telling me, because I don’t want you to ever feel like I’m looking over your shoulder and fixing your work.” I think that so much of my job as a director is to create a safe, calm, free environment where people feel free to make mistakes. And that I hold the perimeter and that I say, “This space, once we’re rolling, once you’re working, there are no wrong answers. I want your biggest, craziest idea,” and really allowing them to reveal to me what it is that I was making. That is because I feel like the best work actors do is when they feel empowered.

Was there any character in particular who changed a lot from what you envisioned to what finally wound up on the screen? Or surprised you?

Yeah. I guess in a way, they all did. Once they’re embodied by an actor, they stop being the thing in my head. I felt this with every single character. As soon as the actor started performing the roles, it was as if a third person had entered the room. It wasn't me and it wasn't them—it was the character. I would get goosebumps and I would know instantly.

For example, Laurie Metcalf, I just offered her the part because she's a genius. Anyone in their right mind should work with Laurie Metcalf if they have a part and a chance. But some people auditioned for me and I felt, like, the hairs on my arms stand up. I was like, “That’s it!” Sometimes it was different, but it always felt exactly right.

In the last few years we've seen quite a few films that center around a coming of age story with a female character, directed by a female director. We have Lady Bird, obviously, but also Edge of Seventeen, Pariah from a few years ago, Diary of a Teenage Girl.

Right.

We have all of these, but I feel like when you and I—we’re close in age—when we were growing up, I'm not sure I can think of any that really spoke in the way these movies are speaking. Was there anything for you that you can recall from that time that might have inspired you now?

First of all, I wanna say those movies have all meant a lot to me. I remember when I watched Dee Rees’ Pariah, I was like, “Oh, great! Good! This is great. I've not seen this film ever before.” I felt the same way about Diary of a Teenage Girl and Edge of Seventeen actually came out just after we had finished principal photography. I, for one, selfishly am so pleased that these movies are being made because I'm interested in young women occupying personhood. It's something that I didn't see, actually, growing up. There were films that had some edge of it, but it didn't have the fullness of it. I felt like I was missing that. I loved John Hughes movies. I mean, I loved Pretty in Pink, I loved—

Was there an homage to Pretty in Pink in [Lady Bird] with the dress?

With the hair and the dress, yeah. I did think of that. I mean, something Saoirse and I had talked about a lot was this idea of, "What is the movie playing in her head, which is not the movie that she's in?" She would think that she is in a movie where she is going to find “the one.”

And go to prom.

And go to prom with her hot boyfriend who is “the one,” which you can totally empathize with that viewpoint, especially if you grew up like I did, watching movies where there was a "one." That was a big part of what it seemed like you were supposed to be doing as a young woman, was looking for “the one.” That's the structure of the universe that these films would set up. But definitely, of those movies, I would say Pretty in Pink is my favorite. There was an Australian movie I really loved, Flirting.

Oh, I haven't seen that one.

Oh, it's great. It features a very young Nicole Kidman and Thandie Newton.

Oh!

Yeah, it's about a fancy boarding school in Australia and the kids who are on scholarships are otherwise ostracized. It's very tender and it's very good. I remember that was a movie where I was like, "Oh, you could do it but it could be real?" Even though I've never been to an Australian boarding school, I have no idea whether that's real or not. But yeah, certainly I think it's a very exciting time as a viewer to see these movies.

You've said that you feel as though you've put in your 10,000 hours, your Malcolm Gladwell practice, to get to where you are now. But when I think about men, especially young and up and coming male directors—obviously this translates to all industries, not just Hollywood—but men tend to jump in even when they're not “ready,” whereas women seem to think they need to be ready.

That's right.

Can you elaborate a bit more on that? Do you feel as though that was something you were consciously doing, or did it just feel like at this time, this was the right time to do it? Do you feel as though you were saying to yourself, "I'm not ready yet to make this?"

Well, I would say when I decided to make this movie, I guess I'd been working on the script, 2013 to 2014. By 2015 I was trying to get producers on and raise money and figure out how to make it. Looking back, I probably could have jumped in sooner, but I didn't have a script that I felt was ready. I felt like I wanted to be sure of myself. I don't regret any of the time that I spent. It was enormously useful, all of the time that I spent working with different directors.

I do think it's notable that I worked with the filmmaker Rebecca Miller. I worked with her right before I kicked into high gear on trying to get this film made. I don't think that's an accident. It wasn't conscious in terms of saying, “Oh, now I've worked with a female director and now I must really do this.” But the timeline is so close that you're like, “Well, clearly there's a connection here that I had worked with her.”

I had worked with other female directors, but I think for whatever reason, I was ready to hear it at that moment. Seeing her on set and that she'd written and directed this, I think it was something. It was a leading by example that I really responded to.

Which film were you working on?

I worked on Maggie's Plan with her.

Ah, right. Yes.

Yeah. I just adore her and we're very good friends now.

Was there something she said in particular or—just watching her, the way she directed, that might have kicked something or sparked something?

I spent a lot of time with her because I was one of the leads in the film. We had a lot of time to prepare. Just watching how she moved through the world and took control and commanded respect, but without ever trying to not be a woman. There was something about that—I had a professional crush on her. I started to dress like her, as you do with people you really like.

She's a mother. She has two sons and a stepson and she's an incredible writer and thinker and filmmaker and just being around her and seeing her occupy all these roles, but doing so—not effortlessly, because it is so much effort—but doing so with so much grace and humor. That thing I think you recognize in another person when they really have their power within, not power over, it's just emanating from them and they're not looking to put it on other people. They just have it inside them. That was very inspiring to see.

But this need to feel like you're perfect before you do anything, and the thing, just to go back to what you were saying before, that worries me about that with women is this not wanting to speak up if you don't understand something. Then you'll never learn it. That's the thing, particularly with filmmaking. It is such a long process to take something from the page all the way through to it being released. If you can't say, “Wait, I don't understand. What are we doing now?” and you're not in an environment where you feel like that's safe or that will be accepted, that that would prevent certain women from learning what they need to learn or moving forward because they're so scared to say that they don't know ’cause they're so worried they're gonna get kicked off or told that they don't know or, “See, she doesn't know what she's doing.”

I've talked to all of my particularly younger actress friends who've expressed some inclination to direct and they say, “Could I come shadow you?” It's like, “Come! Please! All of you, come. Ask me all the questions and find the people who will never make you feel stupid.”

Perfect Sleeper Express Luxury Mattress 10

by Martin Lorentz @ California King – Shorty's Mattress Depot

Compatible with Serta Adjustable Foundations

The post Perfect Sleeper Express Luxury Mattress 10 appeared first on Shorty's Mattress Depot.

Commercial Mattress orders for Hotels, Universities & More

by HenkinSchultz @ Beds by Design

The post Commercial Mattress orders for Hotels, Universities & More appeared first on Beds by Design.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Dominates SAG Nominations, But No Love for Globes Fave The Post

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Dominates SAG Nominations, But No Love for Globes Fave The Post

by Rachel Withers @ Brow Beat

The 2018 awards season field continued to take shape Wednesday morning with the announcement of the nominees for the Screen Actors Guild Awards. It was a good day for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which scored the most nominations at four, while Lady Bird wasn’t far behind with three.

The SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast is considered a strong predictor for the Oscar Best Picture race—it’s been 22 years since a movie won the Academy Award without getting at least a nomination for the ensemble award—meaning the category is likely to include The Big Sick, Get Out, Lady Bird, Mudbound, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, though some critics are pushing back against this. (As Mark Harris points out, SAG voters and Oscar voters do not consist of the exact same pools of people.)

The Post, which on Monday morning received Golden Globe nominations for Best Drama, Actor, and Actress, received zero SAG nominations, while Oscar-hopefuls Call Me By Your Name and Dunkirk also failed to pick up any acting nominations. (The latter is nominated only in the stunt category.) Get Out is nominated for Best Ensemble, but because SAG rules require an actor to have their own title card to be included in the “ensemble,” Betty Gabriel and Lil Rel Howery aren’t included. Tiffany Haddish was also snubbed again, potentially putting an end to her already long odds of scoring an Oscar nod for her performance in Girls Trip.

Over on the TV side, Big Little Lies continues to dominate every field it enters, with four nominations, though it can only pick up two at most—three of its four nominations are for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie (Laura Dern, Reese Witherspoon, and Nicole Kidman). GLOW also picked up four—Marc Maron and Alison Brie both received nods in the comedy series actor categories, while the whole ensemble was acknowledged for the stunt and comedic categories.

The ceremony, hosted by Kristen Bell, will air live on Sunday, Jan. 21, on TNT and TBS.

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

The Big Sick
Get Out
Lady Bird
Mudbound
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

Timothée Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name
James Franco, The Disaster Artist
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

Judi Dench, Victoria & Abdul
Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

Steve Carell, Battle of the Sexes
Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
Hong Chau, Downsizing
Holly Hunter, The Big Sick
Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird

Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture

Baby Driver
Dunkirk
Logan
War for the Planet of the Apes
Wonder Woman

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series

The Crown
Game of Thrones
The Handmaid’s Tale
Stranger Things
This Is Us

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series

Black-ish
Curb Your Enthusiasm
GLOW
Orange is the New Black
Veep

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series

Jason Bateman, Ozark
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
David Harbour, Stranger Things
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series

Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger Things
Claire Foy, The Crown
Laura Linney, Ozark
Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale
Robin Wright, House of Cards

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series

Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
Aziz Ansari, Master of None
Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Sean Hayes, Will & Grace
William H. Macy, Shameless
Marc Maron, GLOW

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series

Uzo Aduba, Orange is the New Black
Alison Brie, GLOW
Jane Fonda, Grace and Frankie
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie

Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock
Jeff Daniels, Godless
Robert De Niro, The Wizard of Lies
Geoffrey Rush, Genius
Alexander Skarsgard, Big Little Lies

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie

Laura Dern, Big Little Lies
Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies
Jessica Lange, Feud: Bette and Joan
Susan Sarandon, Feud: Bette and Joan
Reese Witherspoon, Big Little Lies

Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Television Series

Game of Thrones
GLOW
Homeland
Stranger Things
The Walking Dead

Comedian Hannibal Buress Arrested in Miami, Charged With Disorderly Intoxication

Comedian Hannibal Buress Arrested in Miami, Charged With Disorderly Intoxication

by Matthew Dessem @ Brow Beat

Hannibal Buress, the comedian whose 2014 stand-up routine about Bill Cosby was, in many ways, the opening bell for the current wave of sexual harassment scandals in entertainment, was arrested early Sunday morning in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood, the Miami Herald reports. According to the police report, Buress approached an officer standing on a street corner and asked him to call him an Uber. When the police officer turned him down, Buress reportedly became “angry and belligerent,” so much so that the officer followed him into a venue—the neighborhood is hosting events for Art Basel Miami Beach—and brought him outside, having made a judgement that Buress was too intoxicated to remain in the neighborhood (but not, apparently, so intoxicated that the police would help him get a cab). A confrontation reportedly followed, ending with the comedian’s arrest. A YouTube video shows Buress, in handcuffs, repeatedly asking the officers why he is being detained; at first, they tell him it’s for trespassing:

“You don’t have probable cause for anything, and you’re looking hella stupid right now,” Buress tells the officers before they push him into their squad car. Buress wasn’t charged with trespassing, however: by the time he was booked into a jail, his crime had become disorderly intoxication. Buress posted bail just before 6:00 A.M. local time, marking the occasion by tweeting the following gif:

Buress’ next show is at Chicago’s Civic Opera House on Dec. 29.

Woody Allen’s New Movie Isn’t a Confession. It’s Something Much More Damaging.

Woody Allen’s New Movie Isn’t a Confession. It’s Something Much More Damaging.

by Sam Adams @ Brow Beat

When the long-circulated rumors about Louis C.K.’s sexual misconduct finally became reported (and then confirmed) allegations, his movie, I Love You, Daddy went from seeming like a coy attempt to skirt the issue to the equivalent of a clue left behind by a remorseful killer. Preparing to watch the film, Slate’s Dana Stevens wrote, was “like waiting for the other shoe to drop,” to which the New Yorker’s Richard Brody responded, “The film is itself a shoe.”

I Love You, Daddy was also a feature-length homage to and subtweet of Manhattan, the movie by C.K.’s idol, Woody Allen, in which Allen’s 42-year-old comedy writer dates Mariel Hemingway’s 17-year-old high school student. Although it was nominated for two Academy Awards and revered for years as a romantic masterpiece, that movie took on a sinister edge when it was revealed that Allen had been having an affair with Soon-Yi Previn, the adopted daughter of his longtime partner, Mia Farrow, that began when Previn was about the age of Hemingway’s character. And it became downright unwatchable, at least for many, when Dylan Farrow, Allen’s adopted daughter, came forward in 2014 to publicly accuse Allen of sexually assaulting her when she was 7. That allegation first emerged in 1993, but it was largely dismissed at the time, or at least filed alongside the great unknowables, and Allen was allowed to continue making movies unscathed. (In a custody battle, the court found the evidence against Allen “inconclusive” but found the testimonies against him credible enough to prove that his behavior was “grossly inappropriate” and denied him custody.) With the help of Time magazine, Allen was able to position his sexual relationship with Previn as a case of love triumphing over all. “The heart wants what it wants,” Allen told Walter Isaacson in a Q&A teased on the magazine’s cover. “You meet someone and you fall in love and that’s that.”

That’s also a good description of the plot of Allen’s Wonder Wheel, which played the New York Film Festival last month and arrives in theaters this weekend. The film is centered on Ginny (Kate Winslet), a former small-time actress who, as she puts it, is now “playing the part of a waitress in a clam house.” But it’s narrated by Mickey (Justin Timberlake), a Coney Island lifeguard who is working his way towards a master’s in theater. In Wonder Wheel’s first shots, the camera drifts past bathers in 1950s swimwear and finds Mickey’s face, as he warns us that what we’re about to see may not be entirely based in reality: “As a poet, I use symbols, and as a budding dramatist, I relish melodrama and larger-than-life characters.”

The most sympathetic reading of Wonder Wheel is that it’s deliberately staged as the work of a novice playwright, populated with overdrawn characters and overheated situations. The scenes in Ginny’s apartment, which she shares with her husband, Humpty (Jim Belushi), and, eventually, his estranged daughter, Carolina (Juno Temple), play like a regional production of Tennessee Williams, often filmed in long, mobile takes as if Vittorio Storaro’s camera has just wandered onstage. At one point, Belushi brushes his fingers along the underside of his chin and flicks them forward as if he’s just come from a seminar on working-class gestures.

Enter Mickey, as Mickey himself would write. Timberlake plays him as a guileless dope, one who’s oblivious to the way first Ginny and then Carolina look at him until he’s involved with the one and verging on a relationship with the other. In other words, Wonder Wheel is about a man who’s sleeping with a woman and starts being attracted to her stepdaughter. That man, further, is an aspiring playwright who might have been born in the 1930s (he is played as substantially younger than Timberlake’s 36) and who totes around a copy of a book called Hamlet and Oedipus, both frequent touchstones for Allen’s movies. (Like Allen, whose movies are sometimes the equivalent of an “Ask Me About Ingmar Bergman” T-shirt, he sometimes seems better at displaying his intellect than employing it.) Although he says he one day hopes to write a “profound masterpiece,” Mickey seems more in love with the idea of being an artist—and the freedom from societal norms that would allow him—than the work of becoming one. He doesn’t love Ginny, although she’s increasingly obsessed with him, but he’s flush with the idea that their affair “somehow fits into the romantic narrative of the writer’s life.” The heart wants what it wants—or, as the bohemian friend Mickey asks for advice counsels him, “The heart has its own hieroglyphics.”

The overlap with Allen’s life only gets more pronounced as Wonder Wheel proceeds to its climax. (The following contains spoilers, if it is possible to spoil something that is rancid to begin with.) Ginny, whose tether to reality has grown dangerously thin, begins to suspect that something is afoot with Mickey and Carolina, and after a broad gesture to demonstrate her affection triggers Mickey’s fear of commitment, she sees the mob goons who have been searching for Carolina throughout the entire movie about to close in on her and does nothing to prevent her death.

It’s not the first movie Allen has made in the past few years about a woman who betrays her husband, and it’s as if he were frustrated that not enough people saw Mia Farrow in Blue Jasmine’s delusional, disloyal socialite. (That movie, if you need a refresher, ends with the revelation that Cate Blanchett’s Jasmine took vengeance on her husband, after discovering that he cheated on her, by turning him in to the FBI. The final shot shows her alone on a park bench, rambling incoherently to herself.)

Wonder Wheel all but draws you a schematic: Actress with shaky grip on reality, enraged by her romantic partner’s affair with her younger stepdaughter, commits unforgivable crime to sabotage their relationship, and winds up bereft and alone. Substitute in manufacturing charges of sexual assault and indoctrinating a child to corroborate them—Allen’s account of Farrow’s behavior—for sending a young woman to her death, and it’s a snug fit.

In that sense, Wonder Wheel is the opposite of a mea culpa. Allen has constructed an entire world, including an elaborate replica of Coney Island’s boardwalk, for the purposes of once more indicting his former partner and exonerating himself. But the fact that he has to construct that world himself, and not only that, but to filter it through a thick layer of theatrical artifice, feels strangely like an admission. He’s not changing his story, but even its most careful presentation—and, to the extent it is possible to separate form from content, Wonder Wheel is a beautiful movie, elegantly designed and shot—still seems like a hollow, trumped-up fraud. It’s telling that Mickey, so eager to get the audience on his side at the beginning of the movie, is absent from its ending, replaced by Ginny and Humpty’s young son, whose only defining characteristic is that he’s fond of starting fires. The last thing we see is him down by the ocean, watching a pile of wood scraps burn. The creative spirit is gone. All that remains is the compulsion to destroy.

Does Eating Pumpkin Help You Sleep Better?

by megaph6 @ Mattress – Springfield, MO | Beautyrest Sleep Gallery

It’s that season again. Fall means pumpkin everything — Pumpkin pie, pumpkin picking, pumpkin carving, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin decor, and let’s not forget, pumpkin spice EVERYTHING! Some love it. Some hate it but, did you know, that pumpkin intake can actually benefit your sleep? That’s right ladies and gentlemen. There are health benefits to over […]

The post Does Eating Pumpkin Help You Sleep Better? appeared first on Mattress - Springfield, MO | Beautyrest Sleep Gallery.

Princeton Plush Box Top

by Martin Lorentz @ California King – Shorty's Mattress Depot

Meet BeautyRest's Platinum Princeton Plush Box Top/Katherine Plush Pillow Top mattress. This 16 inch Mattress is packed with the newest technology when it comes to sleep such as SurfaceCool Plus Fiber, AirCool® Gel Memory Foam, AirCool® Max Memory Foam, Ventilated AirCool® BeautyEdge®, BeautyRest® Pocketed Coil® Technology and several layers of Comfort Foam in between.

This MATTRESS is adjustable friendly.

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Study: Netflix Before Bed Harms Sleep

by Cody Gohl @ Sleepopolis

Movie and TV streaming could be the cause of America’s sleep problem, at least according to a new study from Amerisleep.  The mattress company made this assertion in its recent deep dive into the sleeping habits of 1,300 Americans, which aimed to figure out just how many of us are getting our recommended 7-9 hours […]

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Fall San Diego Events

by admin @ Gentlehome

Fall is a magical time in San Diego. The winds of change blow through the air, and the always lively city truly comes out to celebrate. At Mattress World and Al Davis Furniture, we are proud to call America’s Finest...
Read more

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Navigating a Mattress Sale

by Cristal Gonzalez @ Shorty's Mattress Depot

Firm, pillow-top, adjustable, king, queen, twin- shopping for a mattress comes with all kinds of options. When it comes to a mattress sale, many places offer great deals, but just because a mattress is on sale doesn’t necessarily mean you should buy it. On average, a person owns a single mattress for about ten years. […]

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DreamCloud Mattress Giveaway

by Logan Block @ Sleepopolis

It’s time for another giveaway, this time the luxury hybrid DreamCloud mattress! I just recently reviewed the DreamCloud, and boy is this winner lucky! Great feel and great support for all sleeping positions – plus winner chooses the size! DreamCloud Mattress Giveaway DreamCloud is a thick hybrid mattress that I found to be a bit […]

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Third Sheet Set Review

by Jillian Ashley Blair Ivey @ Sleepopolis

New to the American premium, direct-to-consumer sheet market, British company Third promises high-quality, low-fuss sateen sheets, pillowcases, and duvet covers. But with so many prominent competitors in the market, can they compete against more established brands? Keep reading to find out. Looking for a quick read? Click here to jump to the summary. What I […]

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The 2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees Include Nina Simone, Bon Jovi, and the Cars

The 2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees Include Nina Simone, Bon Jovi, and the Cars

by Aisha Harris @ Brow Beat

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has announced its 2018 inductees:

Performer Category

Bon Jovi
The Cars
Dire Straits
The Moody Blues
Nina Simone

Award for Early Influence

Sister Rosetta Tharpe

The list was narrowed down from 19 nominees announced in October, which included Radiohead, Kate Bush, LL Cool J, and Depeche Mode. It looks like fans might look forward to a mini–Bon Jovi reunion next year, as the frontman has told Rolling Stone he’s open to performing alongside former members Richie Sambora and Alec John Such at the ceremony. (No word yet on the chances of a reunion for Dire Straits, who haven’t performed together in 25 years, or the Cars.) The ceremony will take place on April 28.

California King Mattresses | Beds by Design

California King Mattresses | Beds by Design


Beds by Design

The California King is the largest mattress at 72" long & 84" wide; more narrow than the King, it offers 4 more inches in length, ideal for tall adults.

Get Your Home Holiday Ready

by Ivanna Tucker @ BedMart Mattress Superstores

The holiday season is upon us! Are you in a time crunch to get your home ready for guests? Here are some quick tips to get you prepared for the hectic holidays with loved ones.   Make sure you have a place for coats Guests will probably be wearing coats when they arrive to your […]

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King vs. California King Mattress - The Complete Guide (February 2018)

King vs. California King Mattress - The Complete Guide (February 2018)


Bedsheetadvisor

ContentsSize Matters: California Kings Are Longer but Narrower Than Regular King Beds Regular King Beds Are More Common Than California KingsPreferences, and Bedroom Dimensions, Matter Buying a mattress is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. It will affect you and your sleeping partner almost every night of your life and can make the difference between a peaceful night’s rest and the consequences that result from fitful, sleepless nights, which include fatigue, bad mood, depression, and even serious health problems down the line. If you’ve already decided that a queen bed is too small, you might be surprised to

The 2017 Black List Gives a Glimpse of Hollywood Yet-to-Come

The 2017 Black List Gives a Glimpse of Hollywood Yet-to-Come

by Matthew Dessem @ Brow Beat

The 2017 Black List was released Monday, and once again, Franklin Leonard’s annual poll of studio executives offers a handy snapshot of the kinds of scripts that are currently driving conversations in Hollywood, as well as a potential preview of films to come. Executives were asked to contribute “up to ten favorite scripts that were written in, or are somehow uniquely associated with, 2017, and [that] will not have begun principal photography during this calendar year,” and more than 275 executives participated. Seventy-six scripts were mentioned by six or more participants, the minimum level of buzz needed to make the list. So what does this year’s list tell us about Hollywood in 2017?

For starters, it’s a lot different than 2016! Last year’s Black List was filled with biopics and true Hollywood stories, both common themes of Black Lists past, including two scripts about George Harrison and two about Steven King. For some reason, stories about famous male artists are a little less popular this year, and the thought of a Donald Trump biopic making the list, as Tom Cartier’s The Builder did in 2016, seems completely unthinkable. So what’s taken their place? Nazis and female assassins, naturally. There are no fewer than nine screenplays about Nazis of various sorts, and either four or five about female assassins, depending on your definition of assassins. (One script, Darby Keeley’s Liberation, hit the exacta: it’s about Nancy Wake, a woman who killed Nazis.) There are also three scripts about abortion rights, including two movies about Chicago’s Jane Collective. It’s not entirely clear why Hollywood is suddenly fascinated by stories about women killing people, ideally Nazis, while securing their reproductive rights—no, wait, on second thought, it’s pretty obvious why that’s happening. It was also a big year for female screenwriters: this year’s list has 25 scripts written by at least one woman, the most in the Black List’s 13-year history. Finally, for reasons that do not seem to be related to the Mess We’re In, there were a bunch of screenplays about unlikely friendships and forced partnerships, although sadly, none of them involved a cop with an orangutan for a partner. Here are some of the list’s highlights, sorted by genre, along with their descriptions, taken verbatim from the Black List. As always, please remember that even great movies sound terrible when reduced to a logline.

True Stories About Famous People

Let Her Speak, Mario Correa. The true story of Senator Wendy Davis and her 24-hour filibuster to save 75% of abortion clinics in Texas.

When Lightning Strikes, Anna Klassen. The true story of 25-year-old Joanne Rowling as she weathers first loves, unexpected pregnancies, lost jobs, and depression on her journey to create Harry Potter.

Newsflash, Ben Jacoby. On November 22nd, 1963, Walter Cronkite puts everything on the line to get the story right as a president is killed, a frightened nation weeps, and television comes of age.

One Thousand Paper Cranes, Ben Bolea. The incredible true story of Sadako Sasaki, a young girl living in Hiroshima when the atomic bomb was dropped. Years later when she gets leukemia, she hears about the legend that if someone folds one thousand paper cranes, a wish will be granted. At the same time, aspiring writer Eleanor Coerr learns of Sadako’s story and becomes determined to bring her message of hope and peace to the world.

True Stories About Rich People Ruining the World

Don’t Be Evil, Gabriel Diani, Etta Devine, Evan Bates. Adapted from In the Plex by Steven Levy and I’m Feeling Lucky by Douglas Edwards. Google’s Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Eric Schmidt struggle with their corporate motto, “Don’t Be Evil,” in the face of their meteoric rise to a multi-billion dollar valuation and a major Chinese hacking incident.

Panopticon, Emily Jerome. A look at the criminal justice and private prison system, told from the perspectives of a new inmate, a correctional officer, and a Wall Street hotshot.

The Man From Tomorrow, Jordan Barel. The true story of visionary entrepreneur Elon Musk, who after being ousted from PayPal, guides SpaceX through its turbulent early years while simultaneously building Tesla.

American Tabloid, Adam Morrison. The true story of Generoso Pope, Jr., who with the help of the New York mob turned a small, local paper into the phenomenon that is the National Enquirer, laying the foundation for tabloid journalism as we know it today.

True Hollywood Stories About People Whose Careers Have, So Far, Not Been Sunk by Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Strongman, Nicholas Jacobson-Larson, Dalton Leeb. Based on the confusing, sometimes offensive, borderline-insane memories of David Prowse, the irascible Englishman behind Darth Vader’s mask

Hughes, Andrew Rothschild. The story of writer-director John Hughes, whose emotionally honest high school movies helped define American culture in the 1980s—but who, at the very height of his success, abruptly abandoned filmmaking for reasons that have never been fully explained.

True Hollywood Stories Where the Sexual Misconduct Allegations Are Already Well-Known Because the Main Character Is a Convicted Serial Killer

Rodney & Sheryl, Ian McAllister-McDonald. Based on the unbelievable true story of serial killer Rodney Alcala–detectives have estimated Alcala’s body count to be north of 130 victims. Despite being in the midst of a killing spree, Alcala appeared on won a date with one of the contestants on The Dating Game.

True Hollywood Stories That Probably Are Getting a New Title Soon

When in Doubt, Seduce, Allie Hagan. The true story of the early relationship between Elaine May and Mike Nichols

Stories About Nazis (Fictional)

Ruin, Matthew Firpo, Ryan Firpo. A nameless ex-Nazi captain must navigate the ruins of post-WWII Germany to atone for his crimes during the war by hunting down and killing the surviving members of his former SS death squad.

The Boxer, Justine Juel Gillmer. A young Polish man escapes from a concentration camp in which he was forced by SS agents to box other Jews, travels to America to begin a successful career as a professional boxer, and reunites with the woman he lost.

Stories About Nazis (Historical)

Keeper of the Diary, Samuel Franco, Evan Kilgore. Chronicles Otto Frank’s journey, with the help of a junior editor at Doubleday Press, to find a publisher for the diary his daughter Anne wrote during the Holocaust.

Wyler, Michael Moskowitz. With Hitler laying waste to Europe, and the United States refusing to answer the call to war, Jewish filmmaker William Wyler risks his career to make Mrs. Miniver, the most effective propaganda film of all time.

George, Jeremy Michael Cohen. The true story of the Reys, the husband and wife team who fell in love, created Curious George, and escaped the horrors of WWII together.

Liberation, Darby Kealey. The true story of Nancy Wake, the most decorated servicewoman in World War II, who led resistance fighters in a series of dangerous missions in Nazi-occupied France.

V.I.N., Chiara Towne. As Alex Haley struggles to write The Autobiography of Malcolm X, his editor at Playboy assigns him a new interview: George Lincoln Rockwell, head of the American Nazi.

Stories About Nazis (Contemporary)

Come As You Are, Zach Baylin. An idealistic young woman’s life begins to unravel when her job in social media exposes her to the darkest corners of humanity, sending her on a violent mission to take down not just the web’s most vicious content, but its creators as well.

Hack, Mike Schneider. Based on actual reports, a horrifying look inside the Democratic National Committee hack and the Russian manipulation of the 2016 election.

Stories Where One Character Probably Says, “You’re Making Me Team Up With This Guy?”

Sleep Well Tonight, Freddie Skov. Behind the walls of a maximum security prison, a naïve teenage inmate and a rookie correctional officer are forced into a drug-smuggling operation, while a looming conflict between rival gang members threatens to boil over.

The Great Nothing, Cesar Vitale. A grieving thirteen-year-old girl hires a terminally ill, acerbic philosophy professor to prevent flunking the seventh grade. What begins as a homework assignment blossoms into an unlikely friendship and a new appreciation for life that neither will forget.

Trapline, Brett Treacy, Dan Woodward. A captive boy’s lifestyle is upended when his abductor asks for help kidnapping a second child.

Power, Mattson Tomlin. When a young drug dealer is kidnapped by a man hellbent on finding his missing daughter, they must team up to get to the bottom of the mystery of the intense street drug known as Power.

Escape From the North Pole, Paul Laudiero, Ben Baker. A young girl partners up with an elf, a Russian explorer and a reindeer to rescue Santa Claus from a band of evil elves and save the North Pole.

FUBAR, Brent Hyman. An inept CIA psychologist is embedded on a globe-trotting mission with the agency’s most valuable operative who suffers from an extreme case of multiple personality disorder.

Heart of the Beast, Cameron Alexander. A former Navy SEAL and his retired combat dog attempt to return to civilization after a catastrophic accident deep in the Alaskan wilderness.

Green Rush, Matt Tente. A paroled ex-con agrees to help his daughter steal medical marijuana tax dollars from city hall.

Lionhunters, Will Beall. A rogue cop suffers a gunshot wound in 1987 and wakes from a coma thirty years later, where he is partnered with a mild- mannered progressive detective–his son.

Dorothy & Alice, Justin Merz. Dorothy Gale and Alice meet in a home for those having nightmares and embark on a journey to save the imaginations of the world.

Help! My Significant Other Is a Robot!

Where I End, Imran Zaidi. In a world where your life can be saved, uploaded to a computer, and restarted in the case of your untimely demise, a husband returns from the dead, suspecting his wife may have been involved in his death.

Bios, Craig Luck, Ivor Powell. In a post-apocalyptic world, a man spends his dying days with the robot he created to look after his dog.

On, Ryan Jennifer Jones. In a slightly futuristic, hyper-efficient Manhattan, a newly-single book editor purchases a customizable sex android to assuage her broken heart. When her toy’s closed feedback loop starts to alter her personality, she must reevaluate the merits of a perfectly- compatible partner.

Help! Female Assassins!

The Mother, Misha Green. A female assassin comes out of hiding to protect the pre-teen daughter she gave up years before.

Ruthless, John Swetnam. After she is diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, a former assassin must carry out one last assignment in order to ensure her daughter’s future.

Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know, Jade Bartlett. Based on the book trilogy Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know by Chloe J. Esposito. An underdog identical twin accidentally kills her too-perfect sister only to discover murder suits her as she becomes compulsively embroiled in the life of a mafia assassin.

Kate, Umair Aleem. When a veteran hitwoman is mysteriously poisoned on her last assignment in Tokyo, she has 24 hours to track down her killer before she dies.

Ballerina, Shay Hatten. After her family is murdered, an assassin seeks revenge on the killers.

Help! Someone Else Is Also Making a Movie About the Jane Collective!

This Is Jane, Daniel Loflin. Based on the book The Story of Jane: The Legendary Underground Feminist Abortion Service by Laura Kaplan. An ordinary group of women provide 11,000 safe, illegal abortions in Chicago from 1968 through 1973.

Call Jane, Hayley Schore, Roshan Sethi. Before Roe v. Wade in 1960s Chicago, a pregnant woman becomes a member of an underground group which provides abortions in a safe environment.

Help! Jellyfish!

Jellyfish Summer, Sara Jane Inwards. A young black girl’s family in 1960s Mississippi decides to harbor two human-looking refugees who have mysteriously fallen from the sky.

The Thing About Jellyfish, Molly Smith Metzler. After her best friend drowns, a seventh-grade girl is convinced the true cause of the tragedy was a rare jellyfish sting. Retreating into a silent world of imagination, she crafts a plan to prove her theory.

It can be difficult to confidently predict the kinds of movies studios are going to make based on the trends visible on the Black List—we’re probably in for another few years of superhero movies, regardless—but it’s usually a good barometer for the kinds of screenplays executives are looking for. Which means the first person to write a screenplay in which a female assassin has to team up with a kidnapper to help a jellyfish get an abortion—working title, Roe v. Blade—wins a house in the Franklin Hills and a WGA pension. The complete 2017 Black List can be found here.

Posturepedic Prescott House CF California King Set

by firefly-wp @ California King Mattress Sets – Brown’s Furniture Showplace

Prescott House CF California King Set

The post Posturepedic Prescott House CF California King Set appeared first on Brown's Furniture Showplace.

Mattress Size Guide

by megaph6 @ Mattress – Springfield, MO | Beautyrest Sleep Gallery

The right mattress size can depend on a variety of factors. Our guide can give you ideas as to which size will best fit your space and sleep style. A Twin or Twin XL is great for kids and preteens, or in rooms where space is tight. The next step is a Full Size mattress, […]

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Stay Cool While Sleeping This Summer

by megaph6 @ Mattress – Springfield, MO | Beautyrest Sleep Gallery

It’s official—summer is here to stay. Whether you enjoy basking in Missouri’s hot summer sun or you can’t wait for the dead of winter to return, many folks often ask our Sleep Experts how they can improve their summer sleeps. While some of our customers complain of sleeping for less amounts of time, others have […]

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Which Doug Jones Is Which? A Handy Guide.

Which Doug Jones Is Which? A Handy Guide.

by Marissa Martinelli @ Brow Beat

Doug Jones is currently running for office in a high-profile race that has made him the talk of the national political arena. But Doug Jones is also making a splash in the entertainment world, starring in the latest TV installment of a major sci-fi franchise and promoting his new film, in which he plays an amphibious creature. And if that wasn’t enough, years ago, Doug Jones had a respectable career in the major leagues. Where does the guy find the time?!

Obviously, these are all different Doug Joneses, but you could be forgiven for not being able to keep up. According to census data, there are 329 people named Doug Jones in the United States. Here are a few we think you should know about.

The Alabama Senate candidate

Born Gordon Douglas Jones but better known by his nickname, this Doug Jones is a 63-year-old attorney and the Democratic candidate in the special election for Alabama’s vacant Senate seat. In 2002, he was the lead prosecutor in the case that put two Ku Klux Klan members in jail for the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, which killed four black children. Jones’ chances of winning the election in what would otherwise be a reliably red state have improved dramatically since his opponent, Republican Roy Moore, has been accused by multiple women of targeting and molesting teenage girls. (But he probably shouldn’t get too comfortable.)

This Doug Jones has the distinction of being the only one on our list who has been attacked by the president of the United States on Twitter—at least, to our knowledge, anyway.

The actor

You’ve probably seen more than one movie featuring actor Doug Jones, yet you still might not recognize him if you passed him on the street. Jones, previously a contortionist, currently plays Lt. Commander Saru on Star Trek: Discovery, where he’s buried, as he so often is, under layers of makeup and prosthetics. The actor is also a favorite of director Guillermo del Toro and has appeared in the Hellboy movies, Pan’s Labyrinth, The Strain, and the new The Shape of Water.

The athlete(s)

They’re all retired now, but there have been plenty of Doug Joneses in the world of sports. There’s the baseball player Doug Jones, a relief pitcher who played for a number of MLB teams including the Milwaukee Brewers, the Cleveland Indians, and the Oakland Athletics. The NFL’s Doug Jones played for six seasons in the 1970s. And there’s the former boxer Doug Jones, who was active in the 1950s and 1960s and went up against the likes of Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier.

The hypothetical

It was Jim Hightower, the former commissioner of the Texas Department of Agriculture, who came up with the “Doug Jones Average,” an economic litmus test for the country. Rather than rely on the Dow Jones Average, Hightower suggested judging America’s economic health by looking at how the imaginary American everyman, Doug Jones, is faring at a given moment: “We need a real-life measure of ‘How ya doin?’ for the 80 percent of Americans who don’t own stocks and bonds, who’re just trying to get their wages and monthly bills to shake hands and be friends again.” If this Doug Jones can pay his bills and afford Spam for lunch, the country is in good shape.

The fictional character

OK, so technically this one isn’t a Doug Jones, but he’s off by just two letters, so we’ll let it slide. In Twin Peaks: The Return, FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper is trapped in the body of Dougie Jones, an insurance agent whose pastimes include gambling and prostitutes. But Dougie turns out to be more than he first appears; he’s actually a tulpa, a mystical being created through the power of thought, willed into being so that Cooper’s evil doppelgänger won’t have to return to the Black Lodge.

Yeah, it’s a pretty weird show.

Why Your Parents Love Memory Foam

by Cristal Gonzalez @ Shorty's Mattress Depot

Memory foam was originally developed by NASA in the ‘60s to improve the safety cushions on aircraft. The foam was later used in medical equipment and sports equipment, but the memory foam mattress didn’t hit the market until 1991. Since then, a number of companies have continued to develop the material into mattresses, and today […]

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How Does Lucid Dreaming Effect Sleep Quality?

by Logan Block @ Sleepopolis

If you’ve ever had such a vivid dream that you recognized that you were dreaming as the events unfolded, you have had a lucid dream. These dreams are often intense and even interactive. While dreaming, you would know that you are dreaming, enabling you to take an active part in the sequence of events. You […]

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Is Sleeping Naked Good for You?

by Linda Coursey @ Bedsheetadvisor

After a long day of activities, there’s no greater reward you can give your body after a long bath than a good sleep. Additionally, there are various health benefits you stand to enjoy when you get some good sleep. You likely know of the problems you may suffer from if you deprive your body of some good sleep. But did you know that you can actually get additional benefits by sleeping naked? So the answer to the question “is sleeping naked good for you?” is: yes it is. Here is a look at some of the benefits of sleeping naked.

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The 2018 SAG Awards Will Be Presented by an All-Female Lineup, Because Women Are Awesome

The 2018 SAG Awards Will Be Presented by an All-Female Lineup, Because Women Are Awesome

by Rachel Withers @ Brow Beat

The Hollywood Reporter revealed on Wednesday that the 2018 Screen Actors Guild Awards ceremony will be presented by women, women, and more women, as a mark of what womenfolk have been through this year and since the dawn of time.

Like many award ceremonies, the SAG Awards usually pairs a man and a women to announce each winner—but this year, only women will have that honor. The lineup is yet to be announced, but the ceremony, which has never before had an emcee, will be hosted by Kristen Bell. The nominations were also announced by women, with Olivia Munn and Niecy Nash revealing the nominees Wednesday morning alongside SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris, awards committee chair JoBeth Williams, and awards committee member Elizabeth McLaughlin.

Kathy Connell, the SAG Awards executive producer, told the Hollywood Reporter that the decision was in recognition of the idea that 2017 belonged to women. “Beginning with the Women’s March in January, it’s been the year of the woman,” she said. “This is a unifying salute to women who have been very brave and speaking up.”

Men will still be allowed on the stage sometimes, like when they win an award, but with female-heavy ensemble casts nominated for Lady Bird, The Handmaid’s Tale, GLOW, and Orange Is the New Black, hopefully we won’t have to see more than a dozen suits on stage for the evening.

Connell insisted this was not about punishing men for their behavior (even though they definitely deserve it). “We don’t want to slight the men who have given great performances this year,” Connell added. "Knowing our membership, I’m sure our men will embrace the opportunity to honor women.”

Memory Foam vs. Spring Mattresses: The Complete Guide

by Linda Coursey @ Bedsheetadvisor

Spring mattresses have been around since the late 1800’s. At their peak, they were seen as an incredible invention far beyond the times of hay and sheep wool. However, the invention of other materials has pushed spring mattresses onto the back burner of the mattress market. Developers have had to step up their design benefits and production techniques to compete. So, which is better: memory foam or spring mattresses? The answer depends on a multitude of unique factors as well as personal preference.   Spring Mattress Spring mattresses are built using a technique called “pocket-coil systems.” These are the most

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A Home Decor Lover’s Holiday Gift Guide

by Ivanna Tucker @ BedMart Mattress Superstores

Looking for a gift for that special someone? Don’t worry we have some ideas that will make your holiday shopping a breeze. Why not give them a special piece for their home? Spoil your loved one with some of our favorite pieces from around our store. Pillows $49.95 It’s the perfect touch to finish a […]

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A New Lawsuit Alleges That X-Men’s Bryan Singer Sexually Assaulted a 17-Year-Old

A New Lawsuit Alleges That X-Men’s Bryan Singer Sexually Assaulted a 17-Year-Old

by Rachel Withers @ Brow Beat

X-Men director Bryan Singer, who last week was fired for failing to show up on the set of his Freddie Mercury biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, has been accused of sexually assaulting a then–17-year-old boy in a lawsuit filed by Cesar Sanchez-Guzman. (Singer’s representatives have said his absence was due to “a personal health matter.”)

Sanchez-Guzman is claiming damages for “childhood sexual abuse,” accusing Singer of forcing him into oral and anal sex during a yacht party for young gay males thrown by tech investor Lester Waters back in 2003. The lawsuit alleges that Singer—who would have been 37 at the time—offered to give 17-year-old Sanchez-Guzman a tour of the yacht, but once alone, forced him to the floor and demanded oral sex.

“Bryan Singer pulled out his penis, smacked Cesar in the face with it and forced it into Cesar’s mouth,” says the claim. “Cesar pleaded with him to stop, however he continued to force Cesar to perform oral sex, causing Cesar to choke.” Sanchez-Guzman claims that Singer then performed oral sex on him before anally penetrating him while Sanchez-Guzman pleaded for him stop.

The lawsuit claims that Singer later told Sanchez-Guzman that he would help him get into acting as long as he didn’t say anything about the incident. He also allegedly threatened the young man, telling him he could ruin his reputation if he spoke up.

Singer has denied the allegations to the New York Times, with a representative saying he will fight the lawsuit as well as countersuing for malicious prosecution. His lawyer also spoke to TMZ, pointing out that the lawsuit was filed by Jeff Herman, the same lawyer who represented Michael Egan in a similar 2014 lawsuit that was later dropped.

Why Did a Texas School District Ban the Year’s Most Popular YA Book, The Hate U Give?

Why Did a Texas School District Ban the Year’s Most Popular YA Book, The Hate U Give?

by Kat Rosenfield @ Brow Beat

This article originally appeared in Vulture.

In the age of social media, only the most foolish and digitally un-savvy censor would attempt to unilaterally yank the year’s most buzzed about, critically acclaimed, best-selling YA novel from shelves. But one superintendent at a Texas school district tried it—and so far, seems to be getting away with it.

The novel is The Hate U Give by author Angie Thomas, which spent a remarkable 38 weeks at the top of the New York Times’ best-seller list this year and is currently being made into a feature film starring Amandla Stenberg. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and the 2009 shooting of Oscar Grant, the book was released in February to massive praise, including an unprecedented eight starred reviews.

But in the city of Katy, Texas, one parent was unimpressed by Thomas’ frank portrayal of her teenage characters—and Katy Independent School District superintendent Lance Hindt appears to have flouted his district’s own policies to pull the book from shelves. The complaint dates to November 6, 2017, at a board meeting for the district; in a recording on the district website, a man who identifies himself as Anthony Downs holds a copy of The Hate U Give and says, “I did read some of the pages. I read 13 pages, and was very appalled.”

Downs’ complaint centers on the book’s discussion of drug use and explicit language—and in the video, the school board president can be heard promising that the district’s textbook review committee would look into the situation. Had they done so, a panel of educators and administrators would have been required to read and consider the novel in its entirety before determining whether to keep it in the collection—which, it’s worth noting, already includes plenty of books that contain frank depictions of drug use (Go Ask Alice, Crank), racism (Dear Martin, All American Boys), and sexuality (Two Boys Kissing, Looking for Alaska). But some time in the intervening two weeks, Hindt reportedly made the unilateral decision to skip the review process and ban the book district-wide.

“There’s a specific policy, and it’s clear that they did not follow it, that the superintendent made a unilateral decision,” said James LaRue, director of the American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF). “The school board has great latitude and superintendents do as well, but skipping over your own policy is something for which they should be held accountable.”

According to LaRue, those concerns are shared by librarians in the Katy school district, 19 of whom signed a letter protesting Hindt’s decision to pull the book. But despite both internal pushback and an ongoing outcry on Twitter, where Thomas began tweeting about the ban last Thursday evening, no explanation from the superintendent’s office has been forthcoming. Hindt did not respond to multiple requests for comment, which sources within the district say has been par for the course internally as well. One employee who spoke to Vulture under the condition of anonymity said most teachers are “saddened” by both the censorship and the superintendent’s silent treatment.

“We feel that it’s just a missed opportunity for our students to be able to have an open discussion about something that is a reality—about something that many of our students and even our faculty face,” she said. “I bought the book on my own, and we’re trying to reach out to the superintendent just to start an open dialogue. We’re not trying to demean his decision, but start a conversation.”

It remains to be seen whether Hindt’s decision will stand in the face of both internal pressure and external challenges, including the looming possibility that it runs afoul of the First Amendment. As LaRue explained, “This has gone all the way up to the Supreme Court—you can’t remove a book just because you don’t like the perspective. And what we see in the [OIF] is that people use the excuse of vulgarity to suppress the ideas being talked about.”

In the meantime, however, the ban is still in place—at the expense of any teens who might have hoped to find Thomas’s book in any of the schools’ libraries. As of Monday morning, the libraries of all 25 of Katy Independent School District’s junior high or high schools had been stripped of their copies of The Hate U Give. And while booklovers on Twitter have mobilized to flood the area’s local public libraries with additional copies, they may not be able to keep up with demand; the waiting list for the next available copy in the Harris County Public Library system is currently ten-people deep.

See also: Amandla Stenberg to Continue Being a Very Woke Teen in Black Lives Matter Movie

The Shape of Water Leads the 2018 Golden Globes Nominations, With The Post and Three Billboards Close Behind

The Shape of Water Leads the 2018 Golden Globes Nominations, With The Post and Three Billboards Close Behind

by Rachel Withers @ Brow Beat

The full list of nominees for the 2018 Golden Globes was announced Monday morning, with The Shape of Water, The Post, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri dominating the film categories, while Big Little Lies looks big again on the TV side.

The Shape of Water leads movies with seven nominations while The Post, which has six, was the only film to receive nominations in all the big four categories—Best Drama, Director (Steven Spielberg), Actress (Meryl Streep), and Actor (Tom Hanks). Three Billboards also got six nominations, and All the Money in the World pulled down three despite the fact that Ridley Scott was still shooting replacement scenes with Christopher Plummer as recently as three weeks ago.

The TV categories saw Emmy winners Big Little Lies and The Handmaid's Tale recognized again, with nods for Best Limited Series and Best Drama, respectively, along with multiple acting nominations. Feud: Bette and Joan also did well, scoring four nominations, though it will be competing with the Big Little Lies juggernaut in every category.

The 75th Golden Globes awards ceremony will be hosted by Seth Meyers and will air live on NBC on Sunday, Jan. 7.

Here is the full list of nominees:

MOVIES

Best Motion Picture – Drama
Call Me by Your Name
Dunkirk
The Post
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
The Disaster Artist
Get Out
The Greatest Showman
I, Tonya
Lady Bird

Best Motion Picture – Animated
The Boss Baby
The Breadwinner
Coco
Ferdinand
Loving Vincent

Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language
A Fantastic Woman
First They Killed My Father
In the Fade
Loveless
The Square

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
Jessica Chastain, Molly’s Game
Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Meryl Streep, The Post
Michelle Williams, All the Money in the World

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama
Timothée Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name
Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
Tom Hanks, The Post
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Judi Dench, Victoria & Abdul
Helen Mirren, The Leisure Seeker
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
Emma Stone, Battle of the Sexes

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Steve Carell, Battle of the Sexes
Ansel Elgort, Baby Driver
James Franco, The Disaster Artist
Hugh Jackman, The Greatest Showman
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture
Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
Hong Chau, Downsizing
Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture
Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Armie Hammer, Call Me by Your Name
Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Director – Motion Picture
Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water
Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
Ridley Scott, All the Money in the World
Steven Spielberg, The Post

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
The Shape of Water
Lady Bird
The Post
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Molly’s Game

Best Original Score – Motion Picture
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
The Shape of Water
Phantom Thread
The Post
Dunkirk

Best Original Song – Motion Picture
“Home,” Ferdinand
“Mighty River,” Mudbound
“Remember Me,” Coco
“The Star,” The Star
“This Is Me,” The Greatest Showman

TV

Best Television Series – Drama
The Crown
Game of Thrones
The Handmaid’s Tale
Stranger Things
This Is Us

Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy
Blackish
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Master of None
SMILF
Will & Grace

Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Big Little Lies
Fargo
Feud: Bette and Joan
The Sinner
Top of the Lake: China Girl

Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Jessica Biel, The Sinner
Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies
Jessica Lange, Feud: Bette and Joan
Susan Sarandon, Feud: Bette and Joan
Reese Witherspoon, Big Little Lies

Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Robert De Niro, The Wizard of Lies
Jude Law, The Young Pope
Kyle MacLachlan, Twin Peaks
Ewan McGregor, Fargo
Geoffrey Rush, Genius

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama
Caitriona Balfe, Outlander
Claire Foy, The Crown
Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Deuce
Katherine Langford, 13 Reasons Why
Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama
Jason Bateman, Ozark
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
Freddie Highmore, The Good Doctor
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy
Pamela Adlon, Better Things
Alison Brie, GLOW
Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Issa Rae, Insecure
Frankie Shaw, SMILF

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy
Anthony Anderson, Blackish
Aziz Ansari, Master of None
Kevin Bacon, I Love Dick
William H. Macy, Shameless
Eric McCormack, Will & Grace

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Laura Dern, Big Little Lies
Ann Dowd, The Handmaid’s Tale
Chrissy Metz, This Is Us
Michelle Pfeiffer, The Wizard of Lies
Shailene Woodley, Big Little Lies

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
David Harbour, Stranger Things
Alfred Molina, Feud: Bette and Joan
Christian Slater, Mr. Robot
Alexander Skarsgard, Big Little Lies
David Thewlis, Fargo

Jimmy Kimmel Teaches Roy Moore a Thing or Two About “Christian Values”

Jimmy Kimmel Teaches Roy Moore a Thing or Two About “Christian Values”

by Marissa Martinelli @ Brow Beat

Jimmy Kimmel’s Twitter war with Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore is heating up. It all started when Jimmy Kimmel Live sent Jake Byrd, a fictional character who has appeared on the show before, to crash Moore’s speech at the Magnolia Springs Baptist Church, posing as a fake fan. “Does that look like the face of a child molester?” heckled Byrd in mock-support, before being escorted from the premises.

Moore, who is known as a possible child molester but is not known for having a great sense of humor, responded to the speech-crasher by tweeting at Kimmel, which led to this back-and-forth:

As it turns out, the “Christian values” route was probably not the right approach for Moore to attack the late night host. Kimmel responded to Moore’s invitation on his show on Thursday night, offering to meet the Republican candidate at the mall with some high school cheerleaders in tow: “If, when the girls and I show up, if you can control yourself, if you can somehow manage to keep Little Roy in your little cowboy pants […] you and I will sit down at the food court, we’ll have a little Panda Express, and we’ll talk about Christian values.”

Kimmel went on to explain that he’s a confirmed Catholic who prays, attends church, and is best friends with a priest. “Christian is actually my middle name—I know that’s shocking, but it’s true,” he said. He then schooled Moore on what his “Christian values” look like compared to Moore’s:

If you’re open to it, when we sit down, I’ll share with you what I learned at my church. At my church, forcing yourself on underage girls is a no-no. Some even consider it to be a sin. Not that you did that, of course. Allegedly. But when you commit a sin at our church, we’re encouraged to confess and ask forgiveness for the sin. Not to call the women you allegedly victimized liars and damage them even more. But maybe your church is different. Let’s figure it out together.
[…]
Or maybe when you say, “Come down to Alabama and we’ll do it man to man,” that means you’re challenging me to a fight, which is kind of what it sounds like. And if you are, I accept, by the way. There is no one I would rather fight than you. I would put my Christian values aside just for you and for that fight. Here’s what we’ll do, we’ll find a place to do it, I’ll wear a Girl Scout uniform so you have something to get excited about, and the winner will give all the money we charge for tickets to charity. My charity will be the women who say you molested them.

As for the accusation that Hollywood hates the south? “We don’t hate Alabama,” said Kimmel. “We love Alabama so much that we sent Reese Witherspoon to make a movie about you. We just don’t like alleged child molesters, and we just hope you can see your way clear to not electing one to the senate of the United States of America.”

Saturday Night Live Discovers the Secret Ingredient to Staging the Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Saturday Night Live Discovers the Secret Ingredient to Staging the Best Christmas Pageant Ever

by Matthew Dessem @ Brow Beat

Christmas pageants are an inevitable, inevitably terrible part of the holiday season, but as Barbara Robinson knew, they can sometimes be tolerable if—and only if—everything goes horribly wrong. That’s just what happened in this Saturday Night Live sketch, in which a llama saves Christmas by appearing in a nativity pageant in the role of a camel, then saves Christmas again by getting a gigantic llama-sized erection. It’s great to see a Saturday Night Live llama graduate from running gag to featured player, and host Kevin Hart and the rest of the cast do a great job of playing off their new co-star.

But just what was going on behind that blanket? To find out, I consulted Llama and Alpaca Care: Medicine, Surgery, Reproduction, Nutrition, and Herd Health, where I discovered the following facts about llamas:

The camelid penis is fibroclastic and is retracted into its sheath via a prescrotal sigmoid flexur. The length of the penis ranges from 35 to 45 cm in llamas and alpacas. The penis is cylindrical, gradually decreasing in diameter from its root at the ischiatic arch to the neck of the glans penis (collum glandis, preputial reflection). The penis originates…

Ok, we’re just going to throw a blanket over that block quote and move along like it never happened. As you have probably noticed, Slate articles rarely incorporate clinical descriptions of llama penises, and I am coming to realize that this lack of llama penis articles was less a “grave oversight” and more of a “sensible editorial stance,” so I hope you’ll forgive this error. There are many articles on Slate that do not include facts about llama penises, and I’d encourage you to read them, lest you draw mistaken conclusions about Slate’s editorial focus. In the meantime, let’s talk about something other than llama penises. How’s politics? Do you like reading about politics? How about we make a little deal: you tell anyone who asks that this article was about politics, and I won’t tell anyone you ended up reading an article about llama penises.

The Best Time to Buy a Mattress (Hint: It Is Not in April)

by admin @ Gentlehome

There are more than a few instances where you may think you simply need a new mattress. A few common causes include moving to a new apartment, being sick of the old coils of your mattress, or simply wanting a...
Read more

The post The Best Time to Buy a Mattress (Hint: It Is Not in April) appeared first on Gentlehome.

California King vs King Mattress: 3 Differences That Matter - Gentlehome

California King vs King Mattress: 3 Differences That Matter - Gentlehome


Gentlehome

Unsure whether you want a California King or regular king? Find out the pros and cons of each today!

The Academy Board Now Formally Requires Members to Behave Like Decent Human Beings

The Academy Board Now Formally Requires Members to Behave Like Decent Human Beings

by Marissa Martinelli @ Brow Beat

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has made good on its promise to establish a code of conduct for members after expelling Harvey Weinstein in October. After a meeting of the board of governors on Tuesday night, the academy’s CEO, Dawn Hudson, sent an email to members laying out the new standards of conduct, which were put together after consultation with “professors of ethics, business, philosophy, and law […] as well as experts in human resources and sexual harassment.”

Though Weinstein has become the face of sexual harassment in Hollywood, he’s hardly the only academy member to come under fire for alleged predatory behavior. The new rules of conduct are a way for the organization to affirm that talent is no longer the only qualification for membership, but they also suggest there’s at least a possibility of action being taken against other current members, like Bill Cosby, Roman Polanski, or Brett Ratner.

The standards of conduct themselves are on the vague side, requiring that members “behave ethically by upholding the academy’s values of respect for human dignity, inclusion and a supportive environment that fosters creativity” and affirming the academy’s stance against “abuse, harassment or discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, disability, age, religion, or nationality.”

I guess “don’t show your penis to your unsuspecting colleagues” would be a little too direct, although a lot of people seem to need the reminder.

The full statement, which was available to members who received the email, is below, via IndieWire:

Academy membership is a privilege offered to only a select few within the global community of filmmakers. In addition to achieving excellence in the field of motion picture arts and sciences, members must also behave ethically by upholding the Academy’s values of respect for human dignity, inclusion and a supportive environment that fosters creativity. The Academy asks that members embrace their responsibility to affirm these principles and act when these principles are violated. There is no place in the Academy for people who abuse their status, power or influence in a manner that violates recognized standards of decency. The Academy is categorically opposed to any form of abuse, harassment or discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, disability, age, religion, or nationality. The Board of Governors believes that these standards are essential to the Academy’s mission and reflective of our values.
If any member is found by the Board of Governors to have violated these standards or to have compromised the integrity of the Academy by their actions, the Board of Governors may take any disciplinary action permitted by the Academy’s Bylaws, including suspension or expulsion.

Oak Terrace II LCF California King Set

by firefly-wp @ California King Mattress Sets – Brown’s Furniture Showplace

Oak Terrace II LCF California King Set

The post Oak Terrace II LCF California King Set appeared first on Brown's Furniture Showplace.

It’s Time to Do Away With “America’s Dad” as Our Journalistic Standard

It’s Time to Do Away With “America’s Dad” as Our Journalistic Standard

by Kathryn VanArendonk @ Brow Beat

This article originally appeared in Vulture.

Matt Lauer has released an apology, of sorts, for his years of degrading, humiliating, potentially criminal behavior during his time as the anchor of Today. “Repairing the damage,” he writes, “will take a lot of time and soul searching and I’m committed to beginning that effort. It is now my full time job.” His statement is full of the bland PR-tinged nonsense that’s come to define these apologies (“some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth …”), but that line about repairing the damage is the most infuriating sentence.

Like most of these apologies and much of the accounting that’s happened in the past several weeks, Lauer’s statement refuses to acknowledge that there is no “repair” for his actions. There is no fixing it. And when I say that, I’m not just referring to the damages he owes to the women he’s harmed—he should do his very best to give them whatever they think is appropriate, to try to redress the harm he did to them, personally. I’m referring to the years and years of his career as an apparently genial, friendly, anodyne TV personality. That, and the harm it’s done to his audience—that, there is no fixing.

Because as with Charlie Rose and Mark Halperin, repairing the damage done by Matt Lauer is impossible. What I’d like is a redo, a retroactive version of the past two years and all the coverage leading up to Trump’s election—the past 20 years, really—where the seemingly nonpartisan, bias-free men who shaped our national news culture weren’t also men who sexually harassed and assaulted women. What I’d like is a version of the past few decades of American life where men who viewed women as disposable sexual objects were not in given platforms at the Today show and NBC News and ABC News and CBS News and CBS This Morning and 60 Minutes. (And Morning Joe and Dateline and the damn Olympics.)

What I’d like is a mulligan of the past few years in TV news, a chance to start over again. “Whoops,” we’d say. “We’ve discovered that several people who were supposed to be speaking truth to power were actually abusers obsessed with exploiting their own power. Let’s try this again.” There’d be an entirely different presidential interview where Lauer didn’t lob softballs at Trump and ask Clinton questions about her emails. There’d be a different person in Halperin’s commentator chair, someone who didn’t shrug about his gobsmacking disqualifications and leer smugly about how fun he was to watch on TV. Maybe there’d be more female voices, more worldviews from people of color, who might’ve cheerily greeted the freshly awoken morning-show audience with headlines like, “Good morning, America! Thousands of voters are being disenfranchised by punitive voter registration laws!”

But that’s impossible. This is not Lost; we cannot go back. So instead, I’m left wanting some pale, wimpy, insufficient accounting. Just as we’ve needed to reconsider the hidden biases in claiming to separate the art from the artist, I want to reexamine the cultural legacies of these apparently unbiased journalistic voices and try to understand the role they held in shaping how we view the world. When we learn that someone like Rose or Lauer has been systematically harming women behind the scenes of their public platforms, I want us to think about the women whose careers have been obliterated, but I also want us to reconsider the history of their public work.

Lauer’s entire persona was an inoffensive, personable, noncontroversial father figure—as Brian Stelter wrote in his account of Ann Curry’s departure from the show, “Today has sold itself as a family —‘America’s First Family.’” Aside from that particularly terrible Trump interview (the one that seemed to reveal all his most misogynistic leanings), Lauer’s on-air identity seems best summarized by an Onion headline: “Matt Lauer Waits in Parking Garage for Anonymous Source on Parenting Trends.” He was peak puff piece, the height of warm morning banter and friendly, approachable get-the-kids-ready-for-school TV.

But that bland, crinkly-eyed innocuousness was a cover, and an excuse. Clinton’s emails must have actually been a nonpartisan issue, because there was Matt Lauer pushing and pushing her on them as though they were a real scandal. Anne Hathaway must have been at fault for the fact that paparazzi took a photo of her crotch, because there was safe, mild Matt Lauer, implying exactly that. To really repair the damage Matt Lauer has done, we’d need to go back and undo every damaging subliminal message he ever sent in his hundreds of hours on live TV—every slightly too-lusty chuckle, every moment when he complimented a guest on her appearance, every time he negged Ann Curry. We’d need to undo every moment when he hid his misogyny under the cover of being America’s dad and made us believe that it was appropriate for America’s dad to ogle accomplished female athletes on television.

For a long time now, we’ve been questioning and debating and dismantling the idea of a journalist as someone who could be entirely without human bias. The idea of a Cronkite-ian voice that was nonpartisan and straightforward continues to be a lovely abstract ideal, but to even describe that ideal as “Cronkite-ian” already betrays a hidden political stance. With scant few exceptions, the default nonpartisan voice we want to speak to journalistic truth looks like America’s dad. He lives in a vacuum, where his private behavior and his personal preferences mean nothing, and should be completely beside the point. His personal life has no impact on his news coverage, and we should trust that he’s able to separate the two. Matt Lauer’s protective media vacuum looked like a cream-colored sofa and female co-hosts who laughed at his jokes. Charlie Rose’s looked like a literal vacuum—he sat across from his guests in a black void, as though there were an empty abyss of space between the Rose on air and the Rose who harassed women and destroyed their careers. Halperin’s vacuum looked like “I’m the voice of actual news, sitting next to two opinionated hosts.”

To really repair the damage done by Lauer and his ilk, we’d need to reassess the entire idea of America’s dad as an unquestioned purveyor of unbiased truth. We’d need to bring as much consideration to the idea of separating the journalist from the journalism as we have to separating the art from the artist. Ideally we’d need to have done that years ago, and would’ve decided that someone who abused women behind the scenes was not also fit to do a serious interview with the first female presidential candidate with a real shot at winning. But that retroactive undoing is impossible.

So for now, what I want is a continued assessment of exactly how much damage Lauer has done. I want us to cast a gimlet eye on the idea that Lauer could be beamed into our homes every morning, and that for some reason it was fine for America’s dad to also be slightly, mildly pervy. I want us to undo the idea of “innocently pervy.” And I’d like for Lauer, and everyone else in a position of having to write one of these apologies, to dispense with the idea that repairing the damage is something they can accomplish.

See also: Why Some Artists Are Never Separated From Their Work (and Why Louis C.K. Was)

More Women Accuse Dustin Hoffman of Sexual Assault, Indecent Exposure

More Women Accuse Dustin Hoffman of Sexual Assault, Indecent Exposure

by Rachel Withers @ Brow Beat

Dustin Hoffman—the man who has said of previous misconduct allegations against him that this is simply how members of a “family” treat one another on set—has been accused of sexually assaulting two women and exposing himself to a minor. The three women spoke to Variety about their experiences with Hoffman, with details that line up with multiple previous allegations against him.

Cori Thomas was a high school friend of Hoffman’s daughter Karina in 1980 and, as an aspiring actress, a huge fan of Hoffman. After an innocent Sunday spent with Hoffman and Karina in Manhattan, Hoffman suggested that they wait for Thomas’ parents to pick her up at his hotel, according to Thomas’ account. When Karina went home to the house of her mother (whom Hoffman was in the process of divorcing), Hoffman took a shower before returning to the room wearing nothing but a towel.

“He came out of the bathroom with a towel at first wrapped around him, which he dropped,” Thomas said. “He was standing there naked. I think I almost collapsed, actually. It was the first time I had ever seen a naked man. I was mortified. I didn’t know what to do. And he milked it. He milked the fact that he was naked. He stood there. He took his time.”

Hoffman put on a robe and asked Thomas, then 16, for a foot massage, which she then did. (Hoffman allegedly asked Anna Graham Hunter, a 17-year-old intern on the set of Death of a Salesman, to give him a massage on her first day.) While massaging his feet, Hoffman kept telling Thomas, “I’m naked. Do you want to see?” Thomas said she was only able to extricate herself from the situation when the phone rang, announcing her own mother’s arrival. Thomas said she was humiliated and unable to tell her mother until decades later. (Her mother recalled being concerned about her daughter having been alone with Hoffman.)

The other women, Melissa Kester and a woman who requested anonymity, told Variety about different incidents that occurred during the making of Ishtar, which was released in 1987. Kester, a recent college graduate at the time, was dating a man working on the music for the film. She met Hoffman multiple times at the studio where he was recording vocal tracks for the film. On the third such occasion, struggling with a take, Hoffman “jokingly” called for Kester to be sent into the booth with him.

“I’m standing there, and it’s kind of a small room, and he grabs me, so we’re both facing out so we’re both facing the people in the studio. I’m thinking that it’s kind of flirtatious and funny, like he’s holding onto me, because I’m going to help him sing better. I felt awkward. It’s a little weird. He’s hugging me while he’s singing. But ha ha ha, it’s all a joke. My boyfriend is right there.”
Hoffman continued with the take.
“And as he’s doing that, he literally just stuck his fingers down my pants,” Kester said. “He put his fingers inside me. And the thing I feel most bad about is I didn’t know what to do. I just stood there. I just froze in the situation like ‘Oh my god, what is happening?’ It’s shocking when that happens to you.”

The incident described is reminiscent of accusations by Kathryn Rossetter, Hoffman’s Death of a Salesman Broadway co-star, who said Hoffman would regularly grope her while she was waiting in the wings—on mic and unable to protest—before an entrance, one night even sticking his fingers inside her. Kester said she never told her boyfriend about the incident.

The third woman said Hoffman approached her while she was an extra in a nightclub scene in the film. He invited her back to the set for the final day of the shoot, insisting she stay for the wrap-up party. After offering her a ride home, Hoffman started touching her without her consent, and she froze.

“There are people inches from us,” she said. “And he just took his hand and stuck his fingers right up inside of me. I didn’t know what to do. He’s smiling at me. I was frozen. I was outside of my body.”

After the car dropped her off, Hoffman handed her $20 and told her to take a cab to his home, which she did, describing herself as being in “a kind of fugue state.” She then engaged in consensual sexual activity with Hoffman but says the incident in the car was nonconsensual.

Hoffman was not available to comment on the story, but his attorney wrote a letter to Variety calling the accusations “defamatory falsehoods.”

Sizzling Summer Luxury Firm

by Martin Lorentz @ California King – Shorty's Mattress Depot

Meet BeautyRest's Silver Sizzling Summer Luxury Firm/Open Seas Luxury Firm mattress. This 12 inch Mattress is packed with the newest technology when it comes to sleep such as DualCool Technology Fiber for temperature management and elevated comfort, AirCool® Foam, AirFeel Foam, AirCool® Gel Memory Foam and GelTouch® Foam.

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You Can Now Watch the 25 Best Movies of 2017 in a Single, Gorgeous Montage

You Can Now Watch the 25 Best Movies of 2017 in a Single, Gorgeous Montage

by Marissa Martinelli @ Brow Beat

It’s December, which means ’tis the season for critics to release their best-of lists, looking back at the year in cinema and ranking the movies that stood out. And while these lists tend to reshuffle the same few contenders, IndieWire’s David Ehrlich’s countdown always stands out, not necessarily because of his choices but because of how he presents them: in a gorgeous video montage.

As he did last year, Ehrlich distills each movie on his 2017 list to “a single memorable moment,” from the now-infamous pie scene in A Ghost Story to Get Out’s terrifying first glimpse of “the sunken place.” The result is a supercut of the kinds of scenes you were left thinking about after leaving the theater, all set to a soundtrack of the year’s most memorable movie music, including “Never Gonna Give You Up” (from the Lego Batman Movie), “I’m Every Woman” (from Girls Trip), and plenty of Sufjan Stevens as a nod to Call Me by Your Name.

You can read Ehrlich’s explanation for his choices over at IndieWire.

David Ehrlich’s Top 25 Movies of 2017

1. Call Me by Your Name

2. Dunkirk

3. A Ghost Story

4. Personal Shopper

5. The Florida Project

6. Columbus

7. Lady Bird

8. Faces Places

9. The Post

10. Phantom Thread

11. A Quiet Passion

12. Okja

13. Wonderstruck

14. Good Time

15. The Beguiled

16. Get Out

17. Thelma

18. The Big Sick

19. Foxtrot

20. A Fantastic Woman

21. Lady Macbeth

22. Mother!

23. Baby Driver

24. The Lure

25. All These Sleepless Nights

L.A. Weekly’s New Owners Fired the Staff in Favor of Unpaid Contributors, So I Contributed

L.A. Weekly’s New Owners Fired the Staff in Favor of Unpaid Contributors, So I Contributed

by Matthew Dessem @ Brow Beat

Things have been going pretty badly at L.A. Weekly! In October, Voice Media Group sold the paper to a shadowy corporation known as the Semanal Media Group, whose ownership was kept secret. Then, the new owners—still anonymous at the time—appointed Orange County Register opinion editor Brian Calle, a man who described his mission at his last position as “advancing the cause of free markets and free minds,” to run their new, historically left-wing, outlet. Last Wednesday, when the deal closed, Semanal and Calle abruptly fired the vast majority of the paper’s editorial staff; in the aftermath, contributor Keith Plocek published an article headlined “Who Owns L.A. Weekly?,” which was a strange question to ask in the pages of L.A. Weekly.

Things didn’t look up on Friday, when some of the paper’s new owners finally stepped forward. Calle, wildly misreading the room, answered Plocek’s article with his own, “And the New Owners Are …,” in which he took a giant dump on the people he’d just fired (L.A. Weekly “was once a richly influential and important cultural force in Los Angeles,” he lamented) and reassured readers that the paper had not fallen into the hands of “some Trumpista.”

In fact, as the O.C. Weekly reported, it had fallen into the hands of at least one “Trumpista”:  Mike Mugel, who donated $25,000 to the Trump Victory Committee. (Additionally, investor Andy Bequer is reportedly a member of a Facebook group called “CUBANS FOR TRUMP.”) L.A. Weekly’s new owners, it turned out, were mostly men from Orange County, many with right wing ties and at least one with a certain amount of contempt for the city whose newspaper he’d just bought. Attorney and investor Steve Mehr, who lives in Dana Point, told the Los Angeles Times, “We don’t have a cultural scene on par with New York and San Francisco. We want L.A. to rise to that level…” Inspiring!

The new L.A. Weekly, its owners revealed, had an incredible plan for bringing culture to Los Angeles: not paying the writers. But the search for unpaid contributors hit a snag over the weekend, when whoever was running the paper’s social media feed started headhunting by posting a since-deleted Tweet with this stock photo:

The word for the city’s residents is usually spelled “Angelenos,” which is exactly the sort of trivia you might expect a local alt-weekly to master. And the hits keep coming: columnist Henry Rollins quit in solidarity, former writers, including Jeff Weiss and April Wolfe, are calling for a boycott, celebrities like Mark Ruffalo and Ava DuVernay are supporting them, and advertisers are pulling out of the paper’s upcoming events. In short, it’s been a rough transition so far.

Which is why I’d like to help! As someone with a little experience in the “content business,” I can confidently predict that the biggest challenge for a newspaper with no writers is going to be the writing. And there’s only so much writing you can buy when you’re not willing to pay any money for it, no matter how many passionate, passionately stupid “Angelinos” you can trick into working for free. But! Although it’s probably not a big topic of study at the Claremont Institute, the right-wing think tank where Brian Calle worked before beginning his adventures in journalism, there’s a wide variety of written work in the public domain that belongs to all of us. Anyone can publish any of it, at any time, without paying a single writer a single thin dime!

For example, L.A. Weekly could publish Upton Sinclair’s The Brass Check, a book from 1919 about the way capital inevitably corrupts journalistic institutions, limiting the range of ideas presented to the American public in the service of shoveling more money into the pockets of the country’s richest people. That’s right, Upton Sinclair—excuse me, Pulitzer-Prize winner Upton Sinclair—is available to write for L.A. Weekly right now, today, for the decidedly non-princely salary of zero dollars and zero cents. I think the paper’s new owners will find Sinclair’s view of journalists, including himself, to be pretty compatible with their own:

We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping-jacks; they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men.

It’s true that it’s not a perfect work for L.A. Weekly, given that Sinclair hates the situation he’s describing, and hates the money men behind the scenes most of all. And as a piece of writing, it’s honestly not his best work: Sinclair seems to think that every time a newspaper declined to publish one of his letters to the editor, it did so as a deliberate blow against the working class, and he’s kept track of—and quotes from, extensively—those unpublished letters, as well as a dizzying collection of his own press clippings, good and bad. As a result, he cuts a sort of Ignatius J. Reilly figure, particularly in the first section of the book, a memoir in which he settles countless arcane scores with journalists and publishers. He spends an entire chapter defending himself in excruciating detail against the charge that he caused a scene at a hotel restaurant over a 10-cent discrepancy on the bill, and the less said about the section about his divorce, the better. It’s the kind of thing that would be hailed as brilliant if Nabokov wrote it on purpose, but the Kinbotian persona Sinclair sometimes presents here seems to have happened by accident. There’s also the occasional whiff of the prevailing social attitudes about gender, sex, race, and religion you’d expect in a book from 1919. But “unintentionally hilarious” still counts as hilarious, and with all its flaws, The Brass Check is a million times better than anything L.A. Weekly is going to get anyone to write for free. And since L.A. Weekly is currently providing the public with an object lesson in Sinclair’s central idea, it might as well print it word-for-word:

The thesis of this book is that our newspapers do not represent public interests, but private interests; they do not represent humanity, but property; they value a man, not because he is great, or good, or wise, or useful, but because he is wealthy, or of service to vested wealth.

I’ve emailed the complete text to contributors@laweekly.com and am also publishing as much of it as Slate’s content management system can handle without choking (thirty chapters—the full book is available online here) right here in this very blog post. Best of luck to the new owners of L.A. Weekly as they endeavor to bring culture, at long last, to the nation’s second-largest city!

THE BRASS CHECK

A Study of American Journalism

By Upton Sinclair

INTRODUCTORY

The social body to which we belong is at this moment passing through one of the greatest crises of its history, a colossal process which may best be likened to a birth. We have each of us a share in this process, we are to a greater or less extent responsible for its course. To make our judgments, we must have reports from other parts of the social body; we must know what our fellow-men, in all classes of society, in all parts of the world, are suffering, planning, doing. There arise emergencies which require swift decisions, under penalty of frightful waste and suffering. What if the nerves upon which we depend for knowledge of this social body should give us false reports of its condition?

The first half of this book tells a personal story: the story of one man’s experiences with American Journalism. This personal feature is not pleasant, but it is unavoidable. If I were taking the witness-chair in a court of justice, the jury would not ask for my general sentiments and philosophic opinions; they would not ask what other people had told me, or what was common report; the thing they would wish to know—the only thing they would be allowed to know—is what I had personally seen and experienced. So now, taking the witness-stand in the case of the American public versus Journalism, I tell what I have personally seen and experienced. I take the oath of a witness: the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God. After this pledge, earnestly given and earnestly meant, the reader must either believe me, or he must exclude me from the company of civilized men.

My motive in writing this book is not to defend myself. We live in a time of such concentrated agony and peril that a man who would waste ink and paper on a defense of his own personality would be contemptible. What I tell you is: “Look! Here is American Journalism! Here is what it did to one man, systematically, persistently, deliberately, for a period of twenty years. Here are names, places, dates—such a mass of material as you cannot doubt, you cannot evade. Here is the whole thing, inside and out. Here are your sacred names, the very highest of your gods. When you have read this story, you will know our Journalism; you will know the body and soul of it, you will know it in such a way that you will not have to be told what it is doing to the movement for industrial freedom and self-government all over the world.”

In the second half of the book you will hear a host of other witnesses—several score of them, the wisest and truest and best people of our country. They are in every part of our country, in every class and every field of public life; and when you have heard their experiences, told for the most part in their own words, you must grant my claim concerning this book—that it is a book of facts. There are no mistakes in it, no guesses, no surmises; there are no lapses of memory, no inaccuracies. There are only facts. You must understand that I have had this book in mind for twenty years. For twelve years I have been deliberately collecting the documents and preserving the records, and I have these before me as I write. In a few cases of personal experiences I have relied upon my memory; but that memory is vivid, because the incidents were painful, they were seared into my soul, and now, as I recall them, I see the faces of the people, I hear their very tones. Where there is any doubt or vagueness in my recollection, or where there is hearsay testimony, I state the fact explicitly; otherwise, I wish the reader to understand that the incidents happened as I say they happened, and that upon the truth of every statement in this book I pledge my honor as a man and my reputation as a writer.

One final word: In this book I have cast behind me the proprieties usually held sacred; I have spared no one, I have narrated shameful things. I have done this, not because I have any pleasure in scandal; I have not such pleasure, being by nature impersonal. I do not hate one living being. The people I have lashed in this book are to me not individuals, but social forces; I have exposed them, not because they lied about me, but because a new age of fraternity is trying to be born, and they, who ought to be assisting the birth, are strangling the child in the womb.

PART I: THE EVIDENCE

CHAPTER ONE: THE STORY OF THE BRASS CHECK

Once upon a time there was a little boy; a nice little boy, whom you would have liked if you had known him—at least, so his mother says. He had been brought up in the traditions of the old South, to which the two most important things in the world were good cooking and good manners. He obeyed his mother and father, and ate his peas with a fork, and never buttered the whole slice of his bread. On Sunday mornings he carefully shined his shoes and brushed his clothes at the window, and got into a pair of tight kid gloves and under a tight little brown derby hat, and walked with his parents to a church on Fifth Avenue. On week-days he studied hard and obeyed his teachers, and in every field of thought and activity he believed what was told him by those in authority. He learned the catechism and thought it was the direct word of God. When he fell sick and the doctor came, he put himself in the doctor’s hands with a sense of perfect trust and content; the doctor knew what to do, and would do it, and the little boy would get well.

The boy’s grandfather had been a Confederate naval officer, drowned at sea. The boy’s father had spent his youth in Virginia during the agonies of the Civil War, thus missing most of his education. After the war the family was ruined, and the father had to enter into competition with Yankee “hustle,” handicapped by a Southern gentleman’s quaint notions of dignity, and also by a Southern gentleman’s weakness for mint-juleps. So the last week’s board bill was generally a matter of anxiety to the family. But always, no matter how poor the family might be, the little boy had a clean white collar, and a copy of the New York Sunevery morning. This paper was beautifully printed, smooth and neat; the little boy knew all its peculiarities of type, and he and his father and his mother accepted every word they read in it, both the news-columns and the editorial page, precisely as they accepted the doctor’s pills and the clergyman’s sermons, the Bible and the multiplication table and Marian Harland’s cookbook.

The New York Sun was edited by one of the bitterest cynics that ever lived in America. He had been something of a radical in his early days, and had turned like a fierce wolf upon his young ideals. He had one fixed opinion, which was that everything new in the world should be mocked at and denounced. He had a diabolical wit, and had taught a tradition to his staff, and had infected a good part of American Journalism with the poison of his militant cynicism. Once every twenty-four hours the little boy absorbed this poison, he took it for truth, and made all his ideas of it.

For example, there were women who were trying to be different from what women had always been. There was a thing called “Sorosis.” The boy never knew what “Sorosis” was; from the Sun he gathered that it was a collection of women who wanted to have brains, and to take part in public affairs—whereas the Sun acidly considered that woman’s place was the home. And the boy found it easy to agree with this. Did not the boy’s grandmother make the best ginger-cakes of any grandmother in the whole city of Baltimore? Did not his mother make the best chocolate-cake and the best “hot short-cake”—that is, whenever the family could escape from boarding-houses and have a little kitchen of its own. The boy was enormously fond of chocolate-cake and short- cake, and of course he didn’t want women neglecting their duties for fool things such as “Sorosis.”

Also there were the Populists. The little boy had never seen a Populist, he had never been given an opportunity to read a Populist platform, but he knew all about the Populists from the funny editorials of Charles A. Dana. The Populists were long-haired and wild-eyed animals whose habitat was the corn-fields of Kansas. The boy knew the names of a lot of them, or rather the nick-names which Dana gave them; he had a whole portrait-gallery of them in his mind. Once upon a time the Sun gave some statistics from Kansas, suggesting that the Populists were going insane; so the little boy took his pen in hand and wrote a letter to the editor of the Sun, gravely rebuking him. He had never expected to read in the columns of the Sun a suggestion that Populists might go insane. And the Sun published this feeble product of its own “smartness.”

Later on the boy discovered the New York Evening Post, the beau ideal of a gentleman’s newspaper, and this became for years his main source of culture. The Evening Post was edited by E. L. Godkin, a scholar and a lover of righteousness, but narrow, and with an abusive tongue. From him the boy learned that American politics were rotten, and he learned the cause of the rottenness: First, there was an ignorant mob, composed mainly of foreigners; and second, there were venal politicians who pandered to this mob. Efforts were continually being made by gentlemen of decency and culture to take the government away from these venal politicians, but the mob was too ignorant, and could not be persuaded to support a clean government. Yet the fight must be kept up, because conditions were going from bad to worse. The boy witnessed several “reform campaigns,” conducted mainly by the Evening Post and other newspapers. These campaigns consisted in the publication of full-page exposures of civic rottenness, with denunciations of the politicians in office. The boy believed every word of the exposures, and it never occurred to him that the newspapers might be selling more copies by means of them; still less did it occur to him that anybody might be finding in these excitements a means of diverting the mind of the public from larger and more respectable forms of “graft.”

There was a candidate for district attorney, William Travers Jerome by name; a man with a typical Evening Post mind, making an ideal Evening Post candidate. He conducted a “whirlwind” campaign, speaking at half a dozen meetings every evening, and stirring his audience to frenzy by his accounts of the corruption of the city’s police-force. Men would stand up and shout with indignation, women would faint or weep. The boy would sit with his finger-nails dug into the palms of his hands, while the orator tore away the veils from subjects which were generally kept hidden from little boys.

The orator described the system of prostitution, which was paying its millions every year to the police of the city. He pictured a room in which women displayed their persons, and men walked up and down and inspected them, selecting one as they would select an animal at a fair. The man paid his three dollars, or his five dollars, to a cashier at the window, and received a brass check; then he went upstairs, and paid this check to the woman upon receipt of her favors. And suddenly the orator put his hand into his pocket and drew forth the bit of metal. “Behold!” he cried. “The price of a woman’s shame!”

To the lad in the audience this BRASS CHECK was the symbol of the most monstrous wickedness in the world. Night after night he would attend these meetings, and next day he would read about them in the papers. He was a student at college, living in a lodging-house room on four dollars a week, which he earned himself; yet he pitched in to help this orator’s campaign, and raised something over a hundred dollars, and took it to the Evening Post candidate at his club, interrupting him at dinner, and no doubt putting a strain on his patience. The candidate was swept into office in a tornado of excitement, and did what all Evening Post candidates did and always do—that is, nothing. For four long years the lad waited, in bewilderment and disgust, ending in rage. So he learned the grim lesson that there is more than one kind of parasite feeding on human weakness, there is more than one kind of prostitution which may be symbolized by the BRASS CHECK.

CHAPTER TWO: THE STORY OF A POET

The boy, now become a youth, obtained a letter of introduction from his clergyman to the editor of his beloved Evening Post, and at the age of sixteen was given a trial as reporter. He worked for a week collecting odd scraps of news, and when the week was over he had earned the generous sum of two dollars and sixty-seven cents. This was his first and last experience as newspaper reporter, and it confirmed his boyish impression of the integrity of the journalistic profession. His work had consisted of compiling obituary notices about leading citizens who had died. “John T. McGurk, senior partner of McGurk and Isaacson, commission- merchants of 679 Desbrosses Street, died yesterday of cirrhosis of the liver at his home, 4321 George Washington Avenue, Hoboken. Mr. McGurk was 69 years of age, and leaves a widow and eleven children. He was a member of the Elks, and president of the North Hoboken Bowling Association.” And these facts the Evening Post printed exactly as he had written them. In a book which will not have much to say in favor of American Journalism, let this fidelity to truth, and to the memory of the blameless McGurk, have its due meed of praise.

The youth took to writing jokes and jingles, at which he earned twice as much as the Evening Post had paid him. Later on he took to writing dime-novels, at which he made truly fabulous sums. He found it puzzling that this cheap and silly writing should be the kind that brought the money. The editors told him it was because the public wanted that kind; but the youth wondered—might not at least part of the blame lie with the editors, who never tried giving anything better? It was the old problem—which comes first, the hen or the egg?

We have spoken jestingly of the traditions of the old South, in which the youth was brought up; but the reader should not get a false impression of them—in many ways they were excellent traditions. For one thing, they taught the youth to despise a lie; also to hate injustice, so that wherever in his life he encountered it, his whole being became a blaze of excitement. Always he was striving in his mind to discover the source of lies and injustice—why should there be so much of them in the world? The newspapers revealed the existence of them, but never seemed to know the causes of them, nor what to do about them, further than to support a reform candidate who did nothing but get elected. This futility in the face of the world’s misery and corruption was maddening to the youth.

He had rich relatives who were fond of him, so that he was free to escape from poverty into luxury; he had the opportunity to rise quickly in the world, if he would go into business, and devote his attention thereto. But would he find in business the ideals which he craved? He talked with business men, also he got the flavor of business from the advertisements in the newspapers—and he knew that this was not what he was seeking. He cultivated the friendship of Jesus, Hamlet and Shelley, and fell in love with the young Milton and the young Goethe; in them he found his own craving for truth and beauty. Here, through the medium of art, life might he ennobled, and lifted from the muck of graft and greed.

So the youth ran away and buried himself in a hut in the wilds of Canada, and wrote what he thought was the great American novel. It was a painfully crude performance, but it had a new moral impulse in it, and the youth really believed that it was to convert the world to ways of love and justice. He took it to the publishers, and one after another they rejected it. They admitted that it had merit, but it would not sell. Incredible as it seemed to the youth, the test by which the publishers judged an embryo book and its right to be born, was not whether it had vision and beauty and a new moral impulse; they judged it as the newspapers judged what they published—would it sell? The youth earned some money and published the book himself, and wrote a preface to tell the world what a wonderful book it was, and how the cruel publishers had rejected it. This preface, together with the book, he sent to the leading newspapers; and thus began the second stage of his journalistic experiences!

Two newspapers paid attention to his communication—the New York Times, a respectable paper, and the New York American, a “yellow” paper. The American sent a woman reporter, an agreeable and friendly young lady, to whom the author poured out his soul. She asked for his picture, saying that this would enable her to get much more space for the story; so the author gave his picture. She asked for his wife’s picture; but here the author was obdurate. He had old-fashioned Southern notions about “newspaper notoriety” for ladies; he did not want his wife’s picture in the papers. There stood a little picture of his wife on the table where the interview took place, and after the reporter had left, it was noticed that this picture was missing. Next day the picture was published in the New York American, and has been published in the New York American every year or two since. The author, meantime, has divorced his first wife and married a second wife—a fact of which the newspapers are fully aware; yet they publish this picture of the first wife indifferently as a picture of the first wife and of the second wife. When one of these ladies says or does a certain thing, the other lady may open her paper in the morning and receive a shock!

Both the New York Times and the New York American published interviews with the young author. It had been his fond hope to interest people in his book and to cause them to read his book, but in this he failed; what both the interviews told about was his personality. The editors had been amused by the naïve assumption of a young poet that he might have something of importance to say to the world; they had made a “human interest” story out of it, a journalistic tidbit to tickle the appetites of the jaded and worldly-wise. They said scarcely anything about the contents of the book, and as a result of the two interviews, the hungry young author sold precisely two copies!

Meantime he was existing by hack-work, and exploring the world in which ideas are bought and sold. He was having jokes and plots of stories stolen; he was having agreements broken and promises repudiated; he was trying to write worth-while material, and being told that it would not sell; he was trying to become a book-reviewer, and finding that the only way to succeed was to be a cheat. The editor of the Independent or the Literary Digest would give him half a dozen books to read, and he would read them, and write an honest review, saying that there was very little merit in any of them: whereupon, the editor would decide that it was not worth while to review the books, and the author would get nothing for his work. If, on the other hand, he wrote an article about a book, taking it seriously, and describing it as vital and important, the editor would conclude that the book was worth reviewing, and would publish the review, and pay the author three or four dollars for it.

This, you understand, was the “literary world,” in which ideas, the most priceless possession of mankind, were made the subject of barter and sale. In every branch of it there were such petty dishonesties, such tricks of the trade. There were always ten times as many people trying to get a living as the trade would support. They were clutching at chances, elbowing each other out of the way and their efforts were not rewarded according to their love of truth and beauty, but according to quite other factors. They were dressing themselves up and using the “social game,” they were posing and pretending, the women were using the sex-lure. And everywhere, when they pretended to care about literature and ideas, they were really caring about money, and “success” because it would bring money. Everywhere, above all things else, they hated and feared the very idea of genius, which put them to shame, and threatened with annihilation their petty gains and securities.

From these things the youth fled into the wilderness again, living in a tent with his young wife, and writing a story in which he poured out his contempt upon the great Metropolis of Mammon. This was “Prince Hagen,” and he sent it to the Atlantic Monthly, and there came a letter from the editor, Professor Bliss Perry, saying that it was a work of merit and that he would publish it. So for weeks the young author walked on the top of the clouds. But then came another letter, saying that the other members of the Atlantic staff had read the story, and that Professor Perry had been unable to persuade them to see it as he saw it. “We have,” said he, “a very conservative, fastidious and sophisticated constituency.”

The young author went back to his “pot-boiling.” He spent another winter in New York, wrestling with disillusionments and humiliations, and then, fleeing to the wilderness for a third summer, he put his experience into “The Journal of Arthur Stirling,” the story of a young poet who is driven to suicide by neglect and despair. The book was given to the world as a genuine document, and relieved the tedium of a literary season. Its genuineness was accepted almost everywhere, and the author sat behind the scenes, feeling quite devilish. When the secret came out, some critics were cross, and one or two of them have not yet forgiven the writer. The New York Evening Post is accustomed to mention the matter every once in a while, declaring that the person who played that trick can never receive anyone’s confidence. I will not waste space discussing this question, save to point out that the newspaper reviewers had set the rules of the game—that love and beauty in art were heeded only in connection with personalities and sensation; so, in order to project love and beauty upon the world, the young author had provided the personalities and sensation. As for the Evening Post and its self-righteousness, before I finish this book I shall tell of things done by that organ of Wall Street which qualify decidedly its right to sit in judgment upon questions of honor.

CHAPTER III: OPEN SESAME!

My next effort was Manassas, a novel of the Civil war. I poured into it all my dream of what America might be, and inscribed it: “That the men of this land may know the heritage that has come down to them.” But the men of this land were not in any way interested in the heritage that had come down to them. The men of this land were making money. The newspapers of this land were competing for advertisements of whiskey and cigars and soap, and the men who wrote book-reviews for the literary pages of these newspapers were chuckling over such works of commercial depravity as The Letters of a Self-Made Merchant to His Son. They had no time to tell the public about Manassas; though Jack London called it “the best Civil War book I’ve read,” and though it is my one book which no severest critic can say has any propaganda motive. Charlotte Perkins Gilman told me a story of how she persuaded an old Civil War veteran to read it. The old fellow didn’t want to read any book about the war by a youngster; he had been through it all himself, and no youngster could tell him anything. But Mrs. Gilman persisted, and when she met him again she found him with shining eyes and a look of wonder on his face. “It’s the War,” he cried. “It’s the War—and he wasn’t even born!”

It happened that at this time Lincoln Steffens was publishing his terrible exposes of the corruption of American civic life. Steffens did for the American people one specific service. He knocked out forever the notion, of which E.L. Godkin and his New York Evening Post were the principal exponents, that our political corruption was to be blamed upon “the ignorant foreign element.” Steffens showed that purely American communities, such as Rhode Island, were the most corrupt of all; and he traced back the corruption, showing that for every man who took a bribe there was another man who gave one, and that the giver of the bribe made from ten to a thousand times as much as he paid. In other words, American political corruption was the buying up of legislatures and assemblies to keep them from doing the people’s will and protecting the people’s interests; it was the exploiter entrenching himself in power, it was financial autocracy undermining and destroying political democracy.

Steffens did not go so far as that in the early days. He just laid bare the phenomena, and then stopped. You searched in vain through the articles which he published in McClure’s for any answer to the question: What is to be done about it? So I wrote what I called “An Open Letter to Lincoln Steffens.” I cannot find it now, but I recall the essence of it well enough.

“Mr. Steffens, you go from city to city and from state to state, and you show us these great corporations buying public privileges and capitalizing them for tens and hundreds of millions of dollars, and unloading the securities upon the general investing public. You show this enormous mass of capital piling up, increasing at compound interest, demanding its toll of dividends, which we, the people who do the hard work of the world, who produce the real wealth of the world, must continue forever to pay. I ask you to tell us, what are we to do about this? Shall we go on forever paying tribute upon this mass of bribery and fraud? Can we go on paying it forever, even if we want to? And if not, what then? What will happen when we refuse to pay?”

I sent this letter to Steffens, to see what he thought about it. He replied that it was the best criticism of his work that he had seen, and he tried to persuade McClure’s to publish it, but in vain. I forget whether it was he or I who sent it to Collier’s Weekly; but anyway, the article was read and accepted, and Robert J. Collier, the publisher, wrote and asked me to come to see him.

Picture me at this moment, a young writer of twenty-five who has been pleading with the American public to remember its high traditions, and has seen his plea fall flat, because the newspapers and magazines overlooked him; also—a painful detail, but important—who has been supporting a wife and baby on thirty dollars a month, and has been paid only five hundred dollars for two years work on a novel. A friend who knows the literary world tells me that this is the chance of my life. Collier’s is run “on a personal basis,” it appears; a sort of family affair. “If Robbie likes you, your fortune is made,” says my friend. “This is your ‘open sesame’ to the public mind.”

Well, I go to see Robbie, and it appears that Robbie likes me. I am young and ascetic-looking; the tension under which I have worked has given me dyspepsia, so my cheeks are hollow and my skin is white and my eyes have a hectic shine. Robbie, no doubt, is moved to sympathy by these phenomena; he himself is a picture of health, florid and jolly, a polo- player, what is called a “good fellow.” He asks me, will I come to dinner at his home and meet some of his friends and his editorial staff? I answer that of course I will.

My worldly-wise friend insists that I shall invest my spare savings in a dress-suit, but I do not take this advice. I go to Robbie’s palatial home in my old clothes, and Robbie’s velvet-footed butler escorts me upstairs to Robbie’s dressing room, where Robbie’s valet is laying out his things on the bed. And while Robbie is dressing, he tells me again how much he admires my article. It is the most illuminating discussion of present-day problems that he has ever read. He and his friends don’t meet many Socialists, naturally, so I am to tell them about Socialism. I am to tell them everything, and needn’t be afraid. I answer, quite simply, that I shall not be in the least afraid.

The evening was spoiled because Robbie’s father came in. Old Peter Collier was a well-known character in New York “society”; but as not all my readers have been intimate in these circles, I explain that he had begun life as a pack-peddler, had started Collier’s Weekly as an advertisement sheet, and by agents offering books as premiums had built up a tremendous circulation. Now he was rich and important; vulgar, ignorant as a child, but kind-hearted, jovial—one of those nice, fatherly old fellows who put their arms about you, no matter who you are.

And here he had come in to dinner with his son, and found his son entertaining a Socialist. “What? What’s this?” he cried. It was like a scene in a comedy. He would hear one sentence of what I had to say, and then he would go up in the air. “Why—why—that’s perfectly outrageous! Who ever heard of such a thing?” He would sputter for five or ten minutes, to the vast amusement of the rest of the guests.

Presently he heard about the “Open Letter to Lincoln Steffens.” “What’s this? You are going to publish an article like that in my magazine? No, sir! I won’t have it! It’s preposterous!” And there sat Robbie, who was supposed to be the publisher; there sat Norman Hapgood, who was supposed to be the editor—and listened to Old Peter lay down the law. Norman Hapgood has since stated that he does not remember this episode, that he never knew Peter Collier to interfere with the policy of the magazine. Well, the reader may believe that the incident was not one that I would forget in a hurry. Not if I should live to be as old as Methuselah will I forget my emotions, when, after the dinner, the old gentleman got me off in a corner and put his arm around my shoulders. “You are a nice boy, and I can see that you’ve got brains, you know what you’re talking about. But what you ought to do is to put these ideas of yours into a book. Why do you try to get them into my magazine, and scare away my half million subscribers?”

I went home that evening feeling more sick at heart than I like to remember. And sure enough, my worst fears were justified. Week after week passed, and my Open Letter to Lincoln Steffens did not appear in the columns of Collier’s Weekly. I wrote and protested, and was met with evasions; a long time afterwards, I forget how long, Collier’s graciously condescended to give me back the article, without asking the return of the two hundred dollars they had paid me. The article was rejected by many other capitalist magazines, and was finally published in some Socialist paper, I forget which.

Such is the picture of a magazine “run on a personal basis.” See what it means to you, the reader, who depend upon such a magazine for the thoughts you think. Here is Lincoln Steffens, taking his place as America’s leading authority on the subject of political graft; and here am I, making what Steffens declares is the best criticism of his work. It is accepted and paid for, and a date is set to give it to you, the reader; but an ignorant and childish old pack-peddler steps in, and with one wave of his hand sweeps it out of your sight. Sixteen years have passed, and only now you hear about it—and most of you don’t hear about it even now!

But here is a vital point to get clear. The old pack-peddler wiped out my discussion of the question, but he did not wipe out the question. To-day the question is cried aloud from the throats of a hundred and eighty million people in Russia, and the clamor of it spreads all over Europe, a deafening roar which drowns out the eloquence of statesmen and diplomats. It is the question of the hour in America, and America must find the answer under penalty of civil war. Sixteen years ago the answer was given to Robert Collier, and if he had had the courage to stand out against his father, if Norman Hapgood had been what he pretended to be, an editor, they would have taken up the truth which I put before them, they would have conducted a campaign to make the American people see it—and to-day we should not be trying to solve the social problem by putting the leaders of the people’s protest into jail.

CHAPTER IV: THE REAL FIGHT

There was a strike of the wage-slaves of the Beef Trust in Chicago, and I wrote for the Appeal to Reason, a broadside addressed to these strikers, trying to point out to them the truth which Peter Collier had concealed from his precious half million subscribers. This broadside was taken up by the Socialists of the Stockyards district, and thirty thousand copies were distributed among the defeated strikers. The Appeal to Reason offered me five hundred dollars to live on while I wrote a novel dealing with the life of those wage-slaves of the Beef Trust; so I went to Packingtown, and lived for seven weeks among the workers, and came home again and wrote The Jungle.

Now so far the things that had been done to me by the world of American Journalism had been of a mocking nature. I had been a sort of “guy”; a young poet—very young—who believed that he had “genius,” and kept making a noise about it. So I was pigeon-holed with long-haired violinists from abroad, and painters with fancy-colored vests, and woman suffragists with short hair, and religious prophets in purple robes. All such things are lumped together by newspapers, which are good-naturedly tolerant of their fellow fakers. The public likes to be amused, and “genius” is one of the things that amuse it: such is the attitude of a world which understands that money is the one thing in life really worth while, the making of money the one object of grown-up and serious-minded men.

But from now on you will see that there enters into my story a new note. The element of horse-play goes out, and something grim takes its place. And what is the reason for this change? Was there any change in me? Did I suddenly become dissipated, dishonest, self-seeking? No, there was no change in me; I was the same person, living the same life. But I ceased to oppose social wickedness with the fragile weapon of poetry, with visions and inspirations and consecrations; instead, I took a sharp sword of contemporary fact, and thrust it into the vitals of one of those monstrous parasites which are sucking the life-blood of the American people. That was the difference; and if from now on you find in this story a note of fierce revolt, please understand that you are listening to a man who for fourteen years had been in a battle, and has seen his cause suffering daily wounds from a cruel and treacherous foe.

My first experience, it happened, was with Collier’s Weekly. But it was not a dinner-party experience this time, there was no element of friendliness or sociability in it.

The Jungle was appearing serially, and was causing a tremendous lot of discussion; it occurred to me that it might be possible to persuade Collier’s to take up the matter, so I wrote an article, telling quite simply some of the things that were going on in the packing-houses of Chicago. I had been there, and had seen—and not as a blundering amateur, as the packers charged. It happened that I had met in Chicago an Englishman, Mr. Adolph Smith, the world’s greatest authority on packing-houses. He had studied methods of meat-packing all over Great Britain, and all overthe continent of Europe, for the London Lancet, the leading medical paper of Great Britain. He had come, as authorized representative of the Lancet, to investigate conditions in America. I had his backing in what I wrote; I also had the backing of various State and Federal authorities; I had the text of the Federal meat-inspection law, which had been written by the packers to enable them to sell diseased meat with impunity.

I took all these facts to Norman Hapgood and Robert Collier. I offered them the opportunity to reap the fame and profit which I subsequently reaped from the book-publication of The Jungle, and incidentally to do a great public service. They were interested, but not convinced, and they employed a United States army-officer, Major Louis L. Seaman, who went out to Chicago and accepted the hospitality of the packers, and reported that all my charges were exaggerated, and most of them entirely false. And Collier and Hapgood accepted Major Seaman’s word against my word and the authorities I offered.

That was all right; I had no complaint against that; they used their editorial judgment. My complaint was of the way they handled the story. In their preliminary announcement (April 15, 1905) they said:

Some very brilliant articles have been sent us about the unhygienic methods of the Beef Trust. In order not to run any risk of wronging that organization we engaged Major Seaman to go to Chicago, and his first report will appear next week.

So, you see, they were going to give an illustration of editorial fairness, of scrupulous regard for exact truth; and having thus prepared their readers, on April 22, 1905, they presented their material—a long article by Major Seaman, praising the Chicago Stockyards, and pretending to refute all my charges. At the same time they published only three paragraphs of my charges—the great bulk of my articles they left unpublished! They gave their readers a few paragraphs from the London Lancet, but so far as concerned me, the readers got only the answers of Major Seaman, and an introductory editorial condemnation of me, explaining that I had submitted my articles to the editors, and they, “desirous of securing the unexaggerated facts,” had sent Major Seaman to Chicago, and now gave his findings.

And this not being enough, they added a discussion of the matter on their editorial page. This editorial they headed, “Sensationalism”; and they subtly phrased it to give the impression that the paragraphs they were publishing constituted all I had to say: “Mr. Sinclair’s article, published alone, would have produced much more of a sensation than it will produce as mitigated by the report of Major Seaman.... Having some doubt, however, about the real facts, we induced Major Seaman to make the trip to Chicago. This incident will serve as an example of the policy mapped out for the conduct of this paper.”

How dignified and impressive! And how utterly and unspeakably knavish! And when I wrote to them and protested, they evaded. When I demanded that they publish my entire article, they refused. When I demanded that they publish my letter of protest, they refused that. And this was done by Norman Hapgood, who posed as a liberal, a lover of justice; a man who spent his editorial time balancing like a tight-rope walker on the narrow thread of truth, occupying himself like a medieval schoolman with finding the precise mathematical or metaphysical dead centre between the contending forces of conservatism and radicalism. A friend of mine talked with him about his treatment of me and reported him as saying, with a smile: “We backed the wrong horse.” The truth was, he had backed the horse of gold, the horse that came to his office loaded down with full-page advertisements of packinghouse products.

Collier’s calls itself “The National Weekly,” and has obtained a reputation as a liberal organ, upon the strength of several useful campaigns. It attacked spiritualist fakers and land-fraud grafters; also it attacked dishonest medical advertising. It could do this, having arrived at the stage of security where it counts upon full-page advertisements of automobiles and packing-house products. But when it was a question of attacking packing-house advertisements—then what a difference!

Robert J. Collier was a gentleman and a “good fellow”; but he was a child of his world, and his world was a rotten one, a “second generation” of idle rich spendthrifts. The running of his magazine “on a personal basis” amounted to this: a young writer would catch the public fancy, and Robbie would send for him, as he sent for me; if he proved to be a possible person—that is, if he came to dinner in a dress-suit, and didn’t discuss the socialization of Collier’s Weekly—Robbie would take him up and introduce him to his “set,” and the young writer would have a perpetual market for his stories at a thousand dollars per story; he would be invited to country-house parties, he would motor and play golf and polo, and flirt with elegant young society ladies, and spend his afternoons loafing in the Hoffman House bar. I could name not one but a dozen young writers and illustrators to whom I have seen that happen. In the beginning they wrote about America, in the end they wrote about the “smart set” of Fifth Avenue and Long Island. In their personal life they became tipplers and cafe celebrities; in their intellectual life they became bitter cynics; into their writings you saw creeping year by year the subtle poison of sexual excess—until at last they became too far gone for Collier’s to tolerate any longer, and went over to the Cosmopolitan, which takes them no matter how far gone they are.

And now young Collier is dead, and the magazine to which for a time he gave his generous spirit has become an instrument of reaction pure and simple. It opposed and ridiculed President Wilson’s peace policies; it called the world to war against the working-class of Russia; it is now calling for repression of all social protest in America; in short, it is an American capitalist magazine. As I write, word comes that it has been taken over by the Crowell Publishing Company, publishers of the Woman’s Home Companion, Farm and Fireside, and the American Magazine. I shall have something to the point to say about this group of publications very soon.

P. S.: A well known journalist writes me that he feels I do an injustice to Norman Hapgood in telling the above story, and in failing to give credit to Hapgood for other fine things he has done. The writer brings facts, and I am always ready to give place to the man with facts. I quote his letter:

“Do you know the circumstances of Hapgood’s break with Collier? Hapgood was the highest paid editor of any periodical in the country. The business side was encroaching on the editorial—demanding that advertising be not jeopardized, and with it the commissions that were its part. Collier, as you know, for years had mixed his whiskey with chorus girls, and needed all the property could milk to supply his erratic needs. So the business office had his ear. And Hapgood left—and made his leaving effective. He took Harper’s and gave the country some of the most important exposes it had. Do you know the story of the Powder Trust treason? I wrote it. It was drawn from official records, and could not be contradicted, that the Powder Trust had once made a contract with a German military powder firm—in the days when military smokeless powder was the goal of every government—to keep it informed as to the quantity, quality, etc., of the smokeless powder it furnished to our government. And this was in the days when we were in the lead in that department. The Powder Trust jumped Hapgood hard. He could have had anything he wanted by making a simple disavowal of me, any loophole they would have accepted—and do you have any doubt that he could have named his own terms? He declined point blank, and threw the challenge to the heaviest and most important client his weekly could have had. That he guessed wrong and `backed the wrong horse’ in the `Jungle’ may be true. But isn’t it fair to assume, in the light of his final challenge to the Collier advertising autocracy, that he was meeting problems inside as best he could—and that he could not tell you at the time of all the factors involved in the Collier handling of the stockyards story?"

CHAPTER V: THE CONDEMNED MEAT INDUSTRY

The Jungle had been accepted in advance by the Macmillan Company. Mr. Brett, president of the company, read the manuscript, and asked me to cut out some of the more shocking and bloody details, assuring me that he could sell ten times as many copies of the book if I would do this. So here again I had to choose between my financial interest and my duty. I took the proposition to Lincoln Steffens, who said: “The things you tell are unbelievable. I have a rule in my own work—I don’t tell things that are unbelievable, even when they are true.”

Nevertheless, I was unwilling to make the changes. I offered the book to four other publishers, whose names I do not now remember; then I began preparations to publish it myself. I wrote to Jack London, who came to my help with his usual impetuous generosity, writing a resounding call to the Socialists of the country, which was published in the “Appeal to Reason.” The result was that in a couple of months I took in four thousand dollars. The Socialists had been reading the story in the “Appeal,” and were thoroughly aroused.

I had the book set up and the plates made, when some one suggested Doubleday, Page and Company, so I showed the work to them. Walter H. Page sent for me. He was a dear old man, the best among business-men I have met. There were several hustling young money-makers in his firm, who saw a fortune in The Jungle, and desperately wanted to publish it. But Page was anxious; he must be sure that every word was true. We had a luncheon conference, and I was cross-questioned on every point. A week or two passed, and I was summoned again, and Herbert S. Houston of the firm explained that he had a friend, James Keeley, editor of the Chicago Tribune, to whom he had taken the liberty of submitting my book. Here was a letter from Keeley—I read the letter—saying that he had sent his best reporter, a trusted man, to make a thorough report upon The Jungle. And here was the report, thirty-two typewritten pages, taking up every statement about conditions in the yards, and denying one after another.

I read the report, and recall one amusing detail. On page one hundred and sixteen of The Jungle is a description of the old packing-houses, their walls covered with grease and soaked with warm moist steam. “In these rooms the germs of tuberculosis might live for two years.” The comment upon this statement was: “Unproven theory.” So it was necessary for me to consult the text-books on bacteriology, and demonstrate to Doubleday, Page and Company that unicellular parasitic organisms are sometimes endowed with immortality!

I said: “This is not an honest report. The thing you have to do, if you really wish to know, is to send an investigator of your own, somebody in whom you have confidence.” They decided this must be done, and picked a young lawyer, McKee by name, and sent him to Chicago. He spent some time there, and when he came back his verdict was that I had told the truth. I went to dinner at McKee’s home and spent the evening hearing his story—incidentally getting one of the shocks of my life.

McKee had done what I had urged him not to do: he had gone first to the packers, to see what they had officially to show him. They had placed him in charge of a man—I do not recall the name, but we will say Jones—their publicity agent, a former newspaper man, who served as host and entertainer to inquiring visitors. He had taken McKee in charge and shown him around, and in the course of their conversation McKee mentioned that he was looking into the charges made in a novel called The Jungle. “Oh, yes!" said Jones. “I know that book. I read it from beginning to end. I prepared a thirty-two page report on it for Keeley of the ‘Tribune’.”

So here was a little glimpse behind the curtain of the newspaper world of Chicago! James Keeley was, and still is the beau ideal of American newspaper men; I have never met him, but I have read articles about him, the kind of “write-ups” which the capitalist system gives to its heroes. He had begun life as a poor boy and risen from the ranks by sheer ability and force of character—you know the “dope.” Now he was one of the high gods of newspaperdom; and when it was a question of protecting the great predatory interest which subsidizes all the newspapers of Chicago and holds the government of the city in the hollow of its hand, this high god sent to Armour and Company and had a report prepared by their publicity-agent, and sent this report to a friend in New York as the result of a confidential investigation by a trusted reporter of the Chicago Tribune staff!

And maybe you think this must be an unusual incident; you think that capitalist journalism would not often dare to play a trick like that! I happen to be reading “Socialism versus the State,” by Emile Vandervelde, Belgian Minister of State, and come upon this paragraph:

It will be remembered, for example, that the London Times published, a few years ago, a series of unsigned articles, emanating, it was said from an impartial observer, against the municipal lighting systems in England. These articles made the tour of Europe. They furnish, even today, arguments for the opponents of municipalization. Now, a short time after their publication, it was learned that the “impartial observer” was the general manager of one of the big electric light and power companies of London.

Doubleday, Page and Company published The Jungle, and it became the best-selling book, not only in America, but also in Great Britain and its colonies, and was translated into seventeen languages. It became also the subject of a terrific political controversy.

The packers, fighting for their profits, brought all their batteries to bear. To begin with, there appeared in the Saturday Evening Post a series of articles signed by J. Ogden Armour, but written, I was informed, by Forrest Crissey, one of the staff of the Post. The editor of this paper, George Horace Lorimer, was for nine years an employee of the Armours; he is author of The Letters of a Self-Made Merchant to His Son, a text-book of American business depravity. From first to last his paper was at the service of the packers, as it has always been at the service of every great financial interest.

Some of the statements made under Armour’s signature made me boil, and I sat down to write an answer, “The Condemned Meat Industry.” I had the facts at my fingers ends, and wrote the article in a few hours, and jumped on the train and came up to New York with it. I took it to the office of “Everybody’s Magazine” and asked to see E. J. Ridgway, the publisher. I was wise enough by this time to understand that it is the publisher, not the editor, you need to see. I read the article to Ridgway, and he stopped the presses on which Everybody’s Magazine was being printed, and took out a short story and shoved in “The Condemned Meat Industry.”

Everybody’s Magazine at this time was on the crest of a wave of popularity. It had finished Tom Lawson’s exposé of Wall Street, upon the strength of which it had built up a circulation of half a million. Its publishers, Ridgway and Thayer, were advertising men who had bought a broken-down magazine from John Wanamaker, and had made the discovery that there was a fortune to be made by the simple process of letting the people have the truth. They wanted to go on making fortunes, and so they welcomed my article. It gave the affidavits of men whom the Armours had employed to take condemned meat out of the destructors and sell it in Chicago. It told the story of how the Armours had bribed these men to retract their confessions. It gave the reports of State health authorities, who showed how the Armours had pleaded guilty to adulterating foods. It was a mass of such facts fused in a white heat of indignation. United States Senator Beveridge told me that he considered the article the greatest piece of controversial writing he had ever read.

You may find it in the library, Everybody’s for May, 1906. Whatever you think of its literary style, you will see that it is definite and specific, and revealed a most frightful condition in the country’s meat supply, an unquestionable danger to the public health. It was therefore a challenge to every public service agency in the country; above all, it was a challenge to the newspapers, through which the social body is supposed to learn of its dangers and its needs.

It was my first complete test of American Journalism. Hitherto I had tried the newspapers as a young poet, clamoring for recognition; they had called me a self-seeker, and although I felt that the charge was untrue, I was powerless to disprove it to others. But now I tried them in a matter that was obviously in the public interest—too obviously so for dispute. I was still naive enough to be shocked by the result. I had expected that every newspaper which boasted of public spirit would take up these charges, and at least report them; but instead of that, there was silence—silence almost complete! I employed two clipping-bureaus on this story, and received a few brief items from scattered papers here and there. Of all the newspapers in America, not one in two hundred went so far as to mention “The Condemned Meat Industry.”

Meantime The Jungle had been published in book form. I will say of The Jungle just what I said of the magazine article—whatever you may think of it as literature, you must admit that it was packed with facts which constituted an appeal to the American conscience. The book was sent to all American newspapers; also it was widely advertised, it was boosted by one of the most efficient publicity men in the country. And what were the results? I will give a few illustrations.

The most widely read newspaper editor in America is Arthur Brisbane. Brisbane poses as a liberal, sometimes even as a radical; he told me that he drank in Socialism with his mother’s milk. And Brisbane now took me up, just as Robbie Collier had done; he invited me to his home, and wrote one of his famous two- column editorials about The Jungle—a rare compliment to a young author. This editorial treated me personally with kindness; I was a sensitive young poet who had visited the stockyards for the first time and had been horrified by the discovery that animals had blood inside them. With a fatherly pat on the shoulder, Brisbane informed me that a slaughter-house is not an opera-house, or words to that effect.

I remember talking about this editorial with Adolph Smith, representative of the London Lancet. He remarked with dry sarcasm that in a court of justice Brisbane would be entirely safe; his statement that a slaughter-house is not an opera-house was strictly and literally accurate. But if you took what the statement was meant to convey to the reader—that a slaughter- house is necessarily filthy, then the statement was false. “If you go to the municipal slaughter-houses of Germany, you find them as free from odor as an opera-house,” said Adolph Smith; and five or six years later, when I visited Germany, I took the opportunity to verify this statement. But because of the kindness of American editorial writers to the interests which contribute full-page advertisements to newspapers, the American people still have their meat prepared in filth.

Or take the Outlook. The Outlook poses as a liberal publication; its editor preaches what he calls “Industrial Democracy,” a very funny joke. I have dealt with this organ of the “Clerical Camouflage” in five sections of The Profits of Religion; I will not repeat here, except to quote how the pious Outlook dealt with The Jungle. The Outlook had no doubt that there were genuine evils in the packing-plants; the conditions of the workers ought of course to be improved, BUT—

To disgust the reader by dragging him through every conceivable horror, physical and moral, to depict with lurid excitement and with offensive minuteness the life in jail and brothel—all this is to over-reach the object .... Even things actually terrible may become distorted when a writer screams them out in a sensational way and in a high pitched key.... More convincing if it were less hysterical.

Also Elbert Hubbard rushed to the rescue of his best advertising clients. Later in this book you will find a chapter dealing especially with the seer of East Aurora; for the present I will merely quote his comments on my packing-house revelations. His attack upon The Jungle was reprinted by the Chicago packers, and mailed out to the extent of a million copies; every clergyman and every physician in the country received one. I have a copy of his article, as it was sent out by a newspaper syndicate in the form of “plate-matter.” It occupies four newspaper columns, with these head-lines :

ELBERT HUBBARD LASHES THE MUCK-RAKER CROWD.
Says The Jungle Book is a Libel and an Insult to Intelligence, and that This Country is Making Headway as Fast as Stupidity of Reformers Will Admit.

After which it will suffice to quote one paragraph, as follows:

Can it be possible that any one is deceived by this insane rant and drivel?

And also the friend of my boyhood, my beloved New York Evening Post! This organ of arm-chair respectability—I have reference to the large leather receptacles which you find in the Fifth Avenue clubs—had upbraided me for a harmless prank, “The Journal of Arthur Stirling.” Now comes The Jungle; and the Evening Post devotes a column to the book. It is “lurid, overdrawn.... If the author had been a man who cared more for exact truth,” etc. Whereupon I sit myself down and write a polite letter to the editor of the Evening Post, asking will he please tell me upon what he bases this injurious charge. I have made patient investigations in the stockyards, and the publishers of The Jungle have done the same. Will the Evening Post state what investigations it has made? Or does it make this injurious charge against my book without investigation, trusting that its readers will accept its word, and that it will never be brought to book?

This is a fair question, is it not? The organs of armchair respectability ought not to make loose charges against radicals, they ought not condemn without knowledge. So I appeal to my beloved Evening Post, which I have read six times per week for ten or twelve years; and the answer comes: “It is not our custom to permit authors to reply to book-reviews, and we see no reason for departing from our practice in order to permit you to advertise your book and to insult us.” And so the matter rests, until a couple of months later, the President of the United States makes an investigation, and his commission issues a report which vindicates every charge I have made. And now what? Does the Evening Post apologize to me? Does it do anything to make clear to its readers that it has erred in its sneers at The Jungle? The Evening Post says not one word; but it still continues to tell the public that I am unworthy of confidence, because I once played a harmless joke with “The Journal of Arthur Stirling”!

CHAPTER VI: AN ADVENTURE WITH ROOSEVELT

I was determined to get something done about the Condemned Meat Industry. I was determined to get something done about the atrocious conditions under which men, women and children were working in the Chicago stockyards. In my efforts to get something done, I was like an animal in a cage. The bars of this cage were newspapers, which stood between me and the public; and inside the cage I roamed up and down, testing one bar after another, and finding them impossible to break. I wrote letters to newspaper editors; I appealed to public men, I engaged an extra secretary and ran a regular publicity bureau in my home.

It happened that I had occasion to consult the record of the congressional investigations held after the Spanish-American War, into the quality of canned meat furnished by the Chicago packers. Here was Theodore Roosevelt on the witness-stand, declaring: “I would as soon have eaten my old hat.” And now Theodore Roosevelt was president of the United States, with power to help me if he would! In a moment of inspiration I decided to appeal to him.

He had already heard about The Jungle, as I learned later; his secretary, Loeb, told me that he had been receiving a hundred letters a day about the book. Roosevelt now wrote, saying that he had requested the Department of Agriculture to make an investigation. I replied that nothing could be expected from such an investigation, because the Department of Agriculture was itself involved in my charges. If he wanted to get the truth, he must do what Doubleday, Page and Company had done, get an independent report. He wrote me to come to Washington, and I had several conferences with him, and he appointed two of his trusted friends to go out to Chicago and make a “secret” investigation. Three days after this decision was made I forwarded a letter to Roosevelt from a working-man in the Chicago stockyards, saying that it was known all over the yards that an investigation was to be made by the government, and that a mad campaign of cleaning up was in progress.

Roosevelt asked me to go with his commission. I was too busy to do this, but I sent Mrs. Ella Reeve Bloor, a Socialist lecturer, and her husband as my representatives, paying the cost out of my own pocket. I knew that they would be trusted by the workers who had trusted me, and thought they might be able to get at least a few of the facts to Roosevelt’s commission. As a matter of fact, they were not able to do very much, because they were shadowed during the entire time by detectives of the packers, and every workingman knew that it would cost him his job to be seen near the commission’s rooms. I found the Socialists of Chicago bitterly distrustful of the commission, and disposed to ridicule me for trying to work with it.

The news of what was going on soon leaked into the newspapers of Chicago. They had already published vicious attacks upon The Jungle; and upon me. One paper—I forget the name—had remarked that it was quite evident that I knew more about the inside of the brothels of Chicago than I knew about the stockyards. This, you understand, in a book-review! I replied to this that possibly the editor might be interested to know the exact facts in the case: I had spent seven weeks patiently investigating every corner of the stockyards, and I have never been inside a brothel in my life.

Now there began to be dispatches from Washington, so phrased as to turn the investigation against me instead of against the packers. Finally there appeared in the Tribune a column or two from Washington, signed by Raymond Patterson, editor of the paper. This dispatch stated in specific and precise detail that President Roosevelt was conducting a confidential investigation into the truth of The Jungle, intending to issue a denunciation and annihilate a muck-raking author. On the day when this story appeared in the Chicago Tribune, I received seventeen telegrams from friends in Chicago!

One of the telegrams—from A. M. Simons—declared that the author of the Tribune dispatch was Roosevelt’s personal friend. So, of course, I was considerably disturbed, and spent the day trying to get Roosevelt on the telephone from Princeton, not an easy achievement. First he was at a cabinet session, then he was at luncheon, then he had gone horseback riding; but finally, after spending my day in the telephone-office in Princeton, I heard his voice, and this is what he said: “Mr. Sinclair, I have been in public life longer than you, and I will give you this bit of advice; if you pay any attention to what the newspapers say about you, you will have an unhappy time.” So I went home to bed. The next time I saw Roosevelt he told me that he had not seen Raymond Patterson, nor had he said anything about his intentions to anyone. “I don’t see how Patterson could have done such a thing,” was Roosevelt’s comment.

The commissioners came back to Washington, and I went down to see them. They were amazingly frank; they told me everything they had seen, and everything that was in their report to the President, nor did they place any seal of confidence upon me. I realized that I was dealing with people who desired publicity, and I had sufficient worldly tact to know that it would be better not to mention this point, but simply to go ahead and do what all parties concerned wanted done.

The report was known to be in the President’s hands, and he had summoned the chairmen of the agricultural committees of the House and Senate, and was holding the report as a threat over their heads to force them to amend the Federal meat inspection law. The newspaper reporters all knew what was going on, and were crazy for news. I returned to my little farm at Princeton, and packed up a suit-case full of documents, letters, affidavits and official reports, and came to New York and called up the offices of the Associated Press.

Here was a sensation, not only nation-wide, but international; here was the whole world clamoring for news about one particular matter of supreme public importance. There had been an investigation by the President of the United States of one of America’s greatest industries, and I had been tacitly commissioned to make the results known to the public, for the benefit of the public, whose physical health was at stake. I came to the great press association, an organization representing at that time some seven hundred newspapers, with scores of millions of readers, hungry for news. The Associated Press was the established channel through which the news was supposed to flow; and in this crisis the channel proved to be a concrete wall.

I was about to describe the thickness of the wall, but I stop myself, remembering my pledge to tell the exact facts. I do not know the thickness of this wall, because I have never been able to dig through it. I only know that it is as thick as all the millions of dollars of all the vested interests of America can build it. I first telephoned, and then sent a letter by special messenger to the proper officials of the Associated Press, but they would have absolutely nothing to do with me or my news. Not only on that day, but throughout my entire campaign against the Beef Trust, they never sent out a single line injurious to the interests of the packers, save for a few lines dealing with the Congressional hearings, which they could not entirely suppress.

It is the thesis of this book that American newspapers as a whole represent private interests and not public interests. But there will be occasions upon which exception to this rule is made; for in order to be of any use at all, the newspapers must have circulation, and to get circulation they must pretend to care about the public. There is keen competition among them, and once in a while it will happen that a “scoop” is too valuable to be thrown away. Newspapermen are human, and cannot be blamed by their owners if now and then they yield to the temptation to publish the news. So I had found it with Everybody’s Magazine, and so now I found it when I went with my suit-case full of documents to the office of the New York Times.

I arrived about ten o’clock at night, having wasted the day waiting upon the Associated Press. I was received by C. V. Van Anda, managing editor of the Times—and never before or since have I met such a welcome in a newspaper office. I told them I had the entire substance of the confidential report of Roosevelt’s investigating committee, and they gave me a private room and two expert stenographers, and I talked for a few minutes to one stenographer, and then for a few minutes to the other stenographer, and so the story was dashed off in about an hour. Knowing the Times as I have since come to know it, I have often wondered if they would have published this story if they had had twenty-four hours to think, and to be interviewed by representatives of the packers. But they didn’t have twenty-four hours, they only had two hours. They were caught in a whirlwind of excitement, and at one o’clock in the morning my story was on the press, occupying a part of the front page and practically all of the second page.

The question had been raised as to how the story should be authenticated. The Times met the problem by putting the story under a Washington “date-line”—that is, they told their readers that one of their clever correspondents in the capital had achieved this “scoop.” Being new to the newspaper game, I was surprised at this, but I have since observed that it is a regular trick of newspapers. When the Socialist revolution took place in Germany, I happened to be in Pasadena, and the Los Angeles Examiner called me up to ask what I knew about the personalities in the new government. So next morning the Examiner had a full description of Ebert and a detailed dispatch from Copenhagen!

The New York Times, having put its hand to the plough, went a long way down the furrow. For several days they published my material. I gave them the address of the Bloors, and they sent a reporter to Delaware to interview them, and get the inside story of the commission’s experiences in Chicago; this also went on the front page. All these stories the Times sold to scores of newspapers all over the country—newspapers which should have received them through the Associated Press, had the Associated Press been a news channel instead of a concrete wall. The Times, of course, made a fortune out of these sales; yet it never paid me a dollar for what I gave it, nor did it occur to me to expect a dollar. I only mention this element to show how under the profit-system even the work of reform, the service of humanity, is exploited. I have done things like this, not once but hundreds of times in my life; yet I read continually in the newspapers the charge that I am in the business of muck-raking for money. I have read such insinuations even in the New York Times!

Also I had another experience which threw light on the attitude of the great metropolitan newspapers to the subject of money. It is the custom of publishers to sell to newspaper syndicates what are called the “post-publication serial rights” of a book. The Jungle having become an international sensation, there was keen bidding for these serial rights, and they were finally sold to the New York American for two thousand dollars, of which the author received half. Forthwith the editorial writers of both the Hearst papers in New York, the American and the Evening Journal, began to sing the praises of The Jungle. You will recall the patronizing tone in which Arthur Brisbane had spoken of my charges against the Chicago packers. But now suddenly Brisbane lost all his distrust of my competence as an authority on stockyards. In the Evening Journal for May 29, 1906, there appeared a double-column editorial, running over into another double column, celebrating The Jungle and myself in emphatic capitals, and urging the American people to read my all-important revelations of the infamies of the Beef Trust:

In his book—which ought to be read by at least a million Americans—Mr. Sinclair traces the career of one family. It is a book that does for modern INDUSTRIAL slavery what Uncle Tom’s Cabin did for black slavery. But the work is done far better and more accurately in The Jungle than in Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
Mr. Sinclair lived in the stockyards. He saw how the men that work there are treated, how the people that buy dreadful, diseased products are treated. HE TOLD THE TRUTH SIMPLY AND CONVINCINGLY. He went there to study life, not merely to tell a story.
As a result of the writing of this book, of the horror and the shame it has aroused, there is a good prospect that the Beef Trust devilries will be CHECKED at least, and one hideous phase of modern life at least modified.....
Meanwhile, the public should be thankful to Mr. Sinclair for the public service he is rendering, and his book The Jungle should sell as no book has sold in America since Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

And then on May 31st, two days later, appeared another editorial of the same character, conveying to the readers of the Evening Journal the fact that they might read this wonderful novel in the Hearst newspapers; the first chapter would be published in both the Evening Journal and the American, and after that the complete story would run in the American. The ordinary capitals used by Mr. Brisbane in his editorials were not sufficient in this crisis; he used a couple of sizes larger—almost an advertising poster. I quote the closing paragraphs from his editorial:

It will please our readers to know that for the right to publish Mr. Sinclair’s book serially in our newspapers—which includes no interest whatever in its publication in book form—we pay to him an amount of money exceeding all that he has been able to earn in six years of hard literary work.
This newspaper, which has opposed the Beef Trust and its iniquities for years, and which first published the facts and the affidavits that form part of Mr. Sinclair’s indictment, rejoices that this young man should have had the will, the courage and the ability to write a work that HAS FORCED NATIONAL ATTENTION, including the attention of the President of the United States......
We urge that you read the first installment of Mr. Sinclair’s book in this newspaper to-day, and that you continue reading it daily as the various installments appear in THE AMERICAN.

CHAPTER VII: JACKALS AND A CARCASE

Roosevelt had hoped to get the new inspection bill through Congress without giving out the report of his commission. But the packers and their employes in Congress blocked his bill, and so finally the report was given out, and caused a perfect whirlwind of public indignation. The packers, fighting for their profits, made their stand in the Agricultural Committees of the House, which apparently they owned completely. Courteous hearings were granted to every kind of retainer of the Beef Trust, while the two representatives of the President were badgered on the witness-stand as if they had been criminals on trial. I sent a telegram to Congressman Wadsworth of New York, chairman of the committee, asking for a hearing, and my request was refused. I then wrote a letter to Congressman Wadsworth, in which I told him what I thought of him and his committee—which letter was taken up later by his democratic opponents in his district, and resulted in his permanent removal from public life.

But meantime, Wadsworth was king. In the fight against him, I moved my publicity bureau up to New York, and put three stenographers at work. I worked twenty hours a day myself—nor was I always able to sleep the other four hours. I had broken out of the cage for a few weeks, and I made the most of my opportunity. I wrote articles, and sent telegrams, and twice every day, morning and evening, a roomful of reporters came to see me. Some of these men became my friends, and would tell me what the packers were doing in the New York newspaper-offices, and also with their lobby in Washington. I recall one amusing experience, which gave me a glimpse behind the scenes of two rival yellow journals, the New York Evening World and the New York Evening Journal.

The Evening Journal sent a reporter to see me. Would I write an article every day, telling what I knew about conditions among working-girls in New York? I signed a contract with the Journal for a month or two, and that same evening all the wagons which delivered papers for the Journal were out with huge signs over them: “Upton Sinclair will write, etc., etc.” Then next day came my friend William Dinwiddie, representing the Evening World. Would I write a series of articles for the Evening World? Certainly I would, I said, and signed a contract for a number of articles at five cents a word; so all the wagons of the World appeared with the announcement that I would tell in the World what I knew about conditions in the packing-houses of New York. And the editorial writers of the Evening World, who had hitherto ignored my existence, now suddenly discovered that I was a great man. They put my picture at the top of their editorial page, celebrating me in this fashion:

A BOOK THAT MADE HISTORY
Not since Byron awoke one morning to find himself famous has there been such an example of world-wide celebrity won in a day by a book as has come to Upton Sinclair.
Yesterday unknown, the author of The Jungle is to-day a familiar name on two continents. Paris, London and Berlin know him only less well than New York and Boston. They know about him even in far-off Australia.

Forthwith came the man from the Journal, all but tearing his hair with excitement. What unspeakable treachery was this I had committed? Was it true that I had promised to write for the World, as well as for the Journal? I answered that it was, of course. “But,” said this man, “you gave me an exclusive contract.” “I gave you nothing of the sort,” I said, and pulled out the contract to prove it. “But,” said he, “you promised me personally that it would be an exclusive contract.” “I promised you nothing of the sort,” I said. “I never thought of such a thing.” But he argued and insisted—I must have known, my common-sense must have told me that my stories for them were of no value, if at the same time I was writing for their deadly rival. I was rather shocked at that statement. Were they entirely interested in a “scoop,” and not at all in the working girls of New York? “To hell with the working girls of New York!" said the Hearst reporter; whereat, of course, I was still more shocked.

For three days this man from the Journal and other men from the Journal kept bombarding and besieging me; and I, poor devil, suffered agonies of embarrassment and distress, being sensitive, and not able to realize that this was an every-day matter to them—they were a pack of jackals trying to tear a carcase away from another pack of jackals. But when I stood by my contract with the Evening World, the Journal dropped its contract, and lost its interest, not merely in the working-girls of New York, but also in the sins of the Chicago packers.

The lobbyists of the packers had their way in Washington; the meat inspection bill was deprived of all its sharpest teeth, and in that form Roosevelt accepted it and prepared to let the subject drop. I was bitterly disappointed, the more so because he had made no move about the matter which lay nearest my heart. I had made a remark about The Jungle which was found amusing—that “I aimed at the public’s heart and by accident I hit it in the stomach.” It is a fact that I had not been nearly so interested in the “condemned meat industry” as in something else. To me the diseased meat graft had been only one of a hundred varieties of graft which I saw in that inferno of exploitation. My main concern had been for the fate of the workers, and I realized with bitterness that I had been made into a “celebrity,” not because the public cared anything about the sufferings of these workers, but simply because the public did not want to eat tubercular beef.

I had objected to Roosevelt that he was giving all his attention to the subject of meat-inspection, and none to the subject of labor-inspection. His answer was that he had power to remedy the former evils, but no power to remedy the latter. I tried to persuade him to agitate the question and obtain the power; but I tried in vain. The Jungle caused the whitewashing of some packing-house walls, and it furnished jobs for a dozen or two lady-manicurists, but it left the wage-slaves in those huge brick packing-boxes exactly where they were before. Ten years later the war broke out, and as these wage-slaves became restive, an investigation was made. Here are a few paragraphs describing the adventures of the Federal investigators:

The first four homes brought expressions of horror from the women of the party, dark, insanitary, pest-ridden rooms and foodless kitchens.
Mrs. Belbine Skupin. Working in the yards. The six Skupin children in their home at 4819 Laflin Street, hugging the stove and waiting for “mother to return.” “I didn’t think such things existed outside the books,” said one indignant young lady visitor, Miss Walsh.
In one home, seven children found. Youngest, a baby of fourteen months; oldest, a boy of eight years. Baby “mothered” by girl of four. Father and mother work in stock-yards. Children had no shoes or stockings and flimsy underwear. No food in house except pot of weak coffee, loaf of rye bread and kettle containing mess of cabbage. But in the basement was a ‘conservation’ card, bearing the motto “Don’t waste food.”

I look back upon this campaign, to which I gave three years of brain and soul-sweat, and ask what I really accomplished. Old Nelson Morris died of a broken conscience. I took a few millions away from him, and from the Armours and the Swifts—giving them to the Junkers of East Prussia, and to Paris bankers who were backing enterprises to pack meat in the Argentine. I added a hundred thousand readers to Everybody’s Magazine, and a considerable number to the New York Times. I made a fortune and a reputation for Doubleday, Page and Company, which immediately became one the most conservative publishing-houses in America—using The Jungle money to promote the educational works of Andrew Carnegie, and the autobiography of John D. Rockefeller, and the obscene ravings of the Reverend Thomas Dixon, and the sociological bunkum of Gerald Stanley Lee. I took my next novel to Doubleday, Page and Company, and old Walter Page was enthusiastic for it, and wanted to publish it; but the shrewd young business-men saw that The Metropolis was not going to be popular with the big trust companies and insurance companies which fill up the advertising pages of the World’s Work. They told me that The Metropolis was not a novel, but a piece of propaganda; it was not “art.” I looked them in the eye and said: “You are announcing a new novel by Thomas Dixon. Is that ‘art’?”

Quite recently I tried them again with King Coal, and they did not deny that King Coal was “art.” But they said: “We think you had better find some publisher who is animated by a great faith.” It is a phrase which I shall remember as long as I live; a perfect phrase, which any comment would spoil. I bought up the plates of The Jungle, which Doubleday, Page and Company had allowed to go out of print—not being “animated by a great faith.” I hope some time to issue the book in a cheap edition, and to keep it in circulation until the wage-slaves of the Beef Trust have risen and achieved their freedom. Meantime, it is still being read—and still being lied about. I have before me a clipping from a Seattle paper. Some one has written to ask if The Jungle is a true book. The editor replies, ex cathedra, that President Roosevelt made an investigation of the charges of The Jungle, and thoroughly disproved them all!

And again, here is my friend Edwin E. Slosson, literary editor of the Independent, a man who has sense enough to know better than he does. He reviews The Profits of Religion in the brief fashion:

The author of The Jungle has taken to muck-raking the churches—with similar success at unearthing malodorous features and similar failure to portray a truthful picture.

I write to Slosson, just as I wrote to the New York Evening Post, to ask what investigation he has made, and what evidence he can produce to back up his charge that The Jungle is not a “truthful picture”; and there comes the surprising reply that it had never occurred to Slosson that I myself meant The Jungle for a truthful picture. I had not portrayed the marvelous business efficiency of the Stockyards, their wonderful economies, etc.; and no picture that failed to do that could claim to be truthful! That explanation apparently satisfied my friend Slosson, but it did not satisfy the readers of the Independent—for the reason that Slosson did not give them an opportunity to read it! He did not publish or mention my protest, and he left his readers to assume, as they naturally would, that the Independent considered that I had exaggerated the misery of the Stockyards workers.

CHAPTER VIII: THE LAST ACT

I am telling this story chronologically, but in dealing with a subject like The Jungle it seems better to skip ahead and close the matter up. There was a last act of this Packingtown drama, about which the public has never heard. The limelight had been turned out, the audience had gone home, and this act was played in darkness and silence.

A year had passed and I was living at Point Pleasant, New Jersey, when W. W. Harris, editor of the Sunday magazine-section of the New York Herald, came to call on me, and explained a wonderful idea. He wanted me to go to Chicago secretly, as I had gone before, and make another investigation in the Stockyards, and write for the New York Herald an article entitled “Packingtown a Year Later.”

He was a young editor, full of enthusiasm. He said: “Mr. Sinclair, I know enough about the business-game to feel quite sure that all the reforms we read about are fakes. What do you think?"

I answered, “I know they are fakes, because not a week passes that I don’t get a letter from some of the men in Packingtown, telling me that things are as bad as ever.” And I showed him a letter, one sentence of which I recall: “The new coat of whitewash has worn off the filthy old walls, and the only thing left is the row of girls who manicure the nails of those who pack the sliced dried beef in front of the eyes of the visitors!"

“Exactly!" said the editor. “It will make the biggest newspaper story the Herald has ever published.”

“Possibly,” said I. “But are you sure the Herald will publish it?"

“No worry about that,” said he. “I am the man who has the say.”

“But where is Bennett?"

“Bennett is in Bermuda.”

“Well,” said I, “do you imagine you could sign a contract with me, and put such a job through, and get such a story on the Herald presses without Bennett’s getting word of it?"

“Bennett will be crazy for the story,” said the editor. “Bennett is a newspaper man.”

“Well, you have to show me.”

I explained that I was writing another novel, and was not willing to stop, but my friend Mrs. Ella Reeve Bloor, who had represented me with Roosevelt’s investigating committee, would do the work. Let the Herald send Mrs. Bloor and one of its own reporters, to make sure that Mrs. Bloor played the game straight; and when the investigation was made, I would write an introductory statement, which would lend my name to the articles, and make them as effective as if I had gone to Packingtown myself. But first, before I would trouble Mrs. Bloor, or do anything at all about the matter, the editor must put it before Bennett and show me his written consent to the undertaking. “I am busy,” I said. “I don’t care to waste my time upon a wild goose chase.” The editor agreed that that was reasonable, and took his departure.

James Gordon Bennett, the younger, was the son of the man who had founded the New York Herald, establishing the sensational, so-called “popular” journalism which Pulitzer and Hearst afterwards took up and carried to extremes. Bennett, the elder, had been a real newspaper man; his son had been a debauché and spendthrift in his youth, and was now in his old age an embittered and cynical invalid, travelling in his yacht from Bermuda to the Riviera, and occasionally resorting to the capitals of Europe for fresh dissipations. He had made his paper the organ of just such men as himself; that is to say, of cosmopolitan café loungers, with one eye on the stock-ticker and the other on their “scotch and soda.” And this was the publisher who was to take up a new crusade against the Beef Trust!

But to my surprise, the editor came back with a cablegram from Bennett, bidding him go ahead with the story. So I put the matter before Mrs. Bloor, and she and the Herald reporter went out to the Stockyards and spent about two months. Mrs. Bloor disguised herself as a Polish woman, and both she and the reporter obtained jobs in half a dozen different places in the yards. They came back, reporting that conditions were worse than ever; they wrote their story, enough to fill an eight-page Sunday supplement, with numerous photographs of the scenes described. There was a conference of the editorial staff of the Herald, which agreed that the story was the greatest the paper had ever had in its history. It must be read by Mr. Bennett, the staff decided. So it was mailed to Bermuda—which was the last ever seen or heard of it!

Week after week I waited for the story to appear. When I learned that it was not to appear I was, of course, somewhat irritated. I threatened to sue the Herald for payment for the time I had spent writing the introduction, but I found myself confronting this dilemma: the enthusiastic young editor was a Socialist, and if I made trouble, he was the one who would be hurt. So I decided to forego my money-claim on the Herald. But I would not give up the story—that was a public matter. The public had been fooled into believing that there had been reforms in Packingtown; the public was continuing to eat tubercular beef-steaks, and I was bound that somehow or other the public should get the facts. I wrote up the story and submitted it to other newspapers in New York. Not one would touch it. I submitted it to President Roosevelt, and he replied that he was sorry, but was too busy to take the matter up. “Teddy” was a shrewd politician, and knew how hard it is to warm up dead ashes, how little flavor there is in re-cooked food.

I knew, of course, that I could publish the story in the Socialist papers. That has always been my last recourse. But I wanted this story to reach the general public; I was blindly determined about it. There was a big Socialist meeting at the Hippodrome in New York, and I went up to the city and asked for fifteen minutes at this meeting. I told the story to an audience of five or six thousand people, and with reporters from every New York paper in front of me. Not a single New York paper, except the Socialist paper, mentioned the matter next morning.

But still I would not give up. I said: “This is a Chicago story. If I tell it in Chicago, public excitement may force it into the press.” So I telegraphed some of my friends in Chicago. I planned the most dramatic thing I could think of—I asked them to get me a meeting in the Stockyards district, and they answered that they would.

Mind you, a little over a year before I had put Packingtown on the map of the world, I had made Packingtown and its methods the subject of discussion at the dinner-tables of many countries; and now I was coming back to Packingtown for the first time since that event. There was a big hall, jammed to the very doors with Stockyards workers. You will pardon me if I say that they made it clear that they were glad to have me come there. And to this uproarious audience I told the story of the New York Herald investigation, and what had been discovered. I stood, looking into the faces of these workingmen and women, and said: “You are the people who know about these matters. Are they true?" There was a roar of assent that rocked the building. I said: " I know they are true, and you know they are true. Now tell me this, ought they be made known to the American people? Would you like them to be made known to the American people?" And again there was a roar of assent.

Then I looked over the edge of the platform to a row of tables, where sat the reporters looking up, and I talked to them for a while. I said: “You are newspaper men; you know a story when you see it. Tell me now—tell me straight—is not this a story?” The newspaper men nodded and grinned. They knew it was a “story” all right. “The public would like to read this—the public of Chicago and the public of all the rest of America—would they not?” And again the newspaper men nodded and grinned. “Now,” said I, “play fair with me; give me a square deal, so far as you are concerned. Write this story just as I have told it tonight. Write it and turn it in and see what happens. Will you do that?” And they pledged themselves, the audience saw them pledge themselves. And so the test was made, as perfect a test as anyone could conceive. And next morning there was just one newspaper in Chicago which mentioned my speech in the Stockyards district—the Chicago Socialist. Not one line in any other newspaper, morning or evening, in Chicago!

A little later I happened to be on the Pacific coast, and made the test once more. I was putting on some plays, and it happened that a newspaper had played me a dirty trick that morning. So in my curtain-speech I said what I thought of American newspapers, and told this Chicago story. Just one newspaper in San Francisco published a line about the matter, and that was the Bulletin, edited by Fremont Older, who happened to be a personal friend, and one of the few independent newspaper editors in America. Excepting for Socialist papers, the Bulletin has the distinction of being the only American newspaper which has ever printed that story.

I say the only American newspaper; I might say the only newspaper in the world. Some time afterwards there was a scandal about American meat in England, and the London Daily Telegraph requested me to cable them “without limit” any information I had as to present conditions in Packingtown. I sent them a couple of thousand words of this New York Herald story, but they did not publish a line of it. They had, of course, the fear that they might be sued for libel by the Herald. It is no protection to you in England that you are publishing the truth, for the maxim of the law of England is: “The greater the truth the greater the libel.” Also, no doubt, they were influenced by newspaper solidarity—a new kind of honor among thieves.

CHAPTER IX: AIMING AT THE PUBLIC’S HEART

The publication of The Jungle had brought me pitiful letters from workingmen and women in others of our great American slave-pens, and I went to Ridgway of Everybody’s with the proposition to write a series of articles dealing with the glass industry, the steel industry, the coal-mines, the cotton-mills, the lumber-camps. I offered to do all the work of investigating myself; my proposition was accepted and I set to work.

I went first to the glass-works of South Jersey, where I saw little children working all night in eleven-hour shifts, carrying heavy trays of red-hot glass bottles. Other children worked at the same tasks in the blazing heat of summer, and sometimes they fainted and had their eyes burned out by hot glass. When the State child-labor inspector came, he was courteous enough to notify the superintendent of the glass-works in advance, and so the under-age children were collected in the passageway through which fresh air was blown to the furnaces. I told the story of one little Italian boy who had to walk several miles on the railroad- track to his home after his all-night labors. He fell asleep from exhaustion on the way and the train ran over him. I submitted this article to Everybody’s, who sent one of their editors to check up my facts. I recall one remark in his report, which was that he could not see that the little boys in the glass-factories were any worse off than those who sold newspapers on the streets of New York. My answer was that this was not a reason for altering the glass-article; it was a reason for adding an article about the news-boys!

Meantime I was investigating the steel-mills of Alleghany County. I spent a long time at this task, tracing out some of the ramifications of graft in the politics and journalism of Pittsburgh. The hordes of foreign labor recruited abroad and crowded into these mills were working, some of them twelve hours a day for seven days in the week, and were victims of every kind of oppression and extortion. An elaborate system of spying crushed out all attempt at organization. I talked with the widow of one man, a Hungarian, who had had the misfortune to be caught with both legs under the wheels of one of the gigantic travelling cranes. In order to save his legs it would have been necessary to take the crane to pieces, which would have cost several thousand dollars; so they ran over his legs and cut them off and paid him two hundred dollars damages.

This article also I brought to Everybody’s, and watched the process of the chilling of their editorial feet. What influences were brought to bear to cause their final break with me, I do not know; but this I have observed in twenty years of watching—there are few magazines that dare to attack the Steel Trust, and there are no politicians who dare it. Our little fellows among the corporations, our ten and hundred million dollar trusts, are now and then fair game for some muck-raker or demagogue; but our billion dollar corporation is sacred, and if any one does not know it, he is taught it quickly.

While I am on the subject of Everybody’s, I might as well close my account with them. They had gained the purpose of their “muck-raking” campaign—that is, half a million readers at two dollars per year each, and one or two hundred pages of advertising each month at five hundred dollars a page. So year by year one observed their youthful fervors dying. They found it possible to discover good things in American politics and industry. They no longer appreciate my style of muck-raking; they do not stop their presses to put on my articles. Again and again I have been to them, and they are always friendly and polite, but they always turn me down. Three or four years ago, I remember, they published an editorial, telling what wonderful people they were; they had been over their files, and gave a long list of the campaigns which they had undertaken for the benefit of the American people. Whereupon I wrote them a letter, asking them to take up this list and test it by the one real test that counted. From the point of view of a magazine, of course, it suffices if the public is told it is being robbed. That brings readers to the magazine; but what good does it do the public, if the robbery continues, and if the magazine drops the subject, and makes no move to get back the stolen money, or even to stop the future stealings? Let Everybody’s apply the one test that had any meaning—let them point out one instance where their exposures had resulted in changing the ownership of a dollar from the hands of predatory exploiters to the hands of their victims!

I was in position to bear witness in one of the cases cited by Everybody’s Magazine. I knew that the condemned meat industry was still flourishing, I knew that the wage-slaves of Packingtown were still being sweated and bled. I knew also that the campaign of Tom Lawson had brought no result. Everybody’s had clamored for laws to prevent stock-gambling and manipulation, but no such laws had been passed, and Everybody’s had dropped the subject. What had the magazine to say about the matter? Needless to add, the magazine had nothing to say about it; they did not answer my letter, they did not publish my letter. They have been taken over by the Butterick Publishing Company, and are an adjunct of the dress-pattern trade, not an organ of public welfare. For years I continued to look over the magazine month by month, lured by vain hopes; it has been several years since I have found an article with any trace of social conscience. They have just finished a series of articles on After-the-War Reconstruction, which for futility were unexampled; after glancing over these articles, I removed Everybody’s from that small list of magazines whose contents repay the labor of turning over the pages.

CHAPTER X: A VOICE FROM RUSSIA

For the sake of consecutiveness in this narrative, I have put off mention of a newspaper-sensation which occurred during my Jungle campaign, and which I happened to observe from the inside. I am glad to tell this story, because it gives the reader a chance to hear about the troubles of another man than Upton Sinclair.

First, picture to yourself the plight of the Russian people in the spring of 1906: one or two hundred million people held down by the most brutal tyranny of modern times, all knowledge withheld from them, their leaders, their best brains and consciences systematically exiled, slaughtered, tortured to death in dungeons. The people had been led into an imperialist war with Japan, and after a humiliating defeat were making an effort at freedom. This effort was being crushed with constantly increasing ferocity, and the cry of despair of the Russian people now echoed throughout the whole of civilization.

Among these enslaved masses was one man who by titanic genius had raised himself to world fame. Nor had fame spoiled or seduced him; he stood a heroic figure, championing the rights of his people before the world. He came to America to plead for them, and to raise funds for their cause. Never since the days of Kossuth had there been an appeal which should have roused the American people to greater enthusiasm than this visit of Maxim Gorky.

A group of American Socialists went out on the revenue-cutter “Hudson” to meet Gorky’s steamer in the harbor; among them I remember Gaylord Wilshire, Abraham Cahan, Leroy Scott. There were also reporters from all the newspapers, and on the way down the bay a reporter for the World came to Wilshire and asked if he had heard a report to the effect that the lady who was coming as Gorky’s wife, Madame Andreieva, was not legally his wife. Wilshire answered by explaining to the reporter the situation existing in Russia: that marriage and divorce there were a graft of the orthodox church. It cost a good deal to get married, and it cost still more to get a divorce; the money you paid went to the support of fat and sensual priests, who were occupied in conducting pogroms, and keeping the peasantry of the country in superstition and slavery. Naturally, all Russian revolutionists repudiated this church, and paid it no money, for marriage or divorce or any other purpose. The revolutionists had their own marriage code which they recognized. Gorky had complied with this code, and regarded Madame Andreieva as his wife, and everybody who knew him regarded her as his wife, and had no idea that she was not his wife. The reporters of other papers had gathered about, listening to this explanation, and they all agreed that the American public had no concern with the marriage customs of Russia, and that this story had nothing to do with Gorky’s present mission.

Gorky went to the Hotel Belleclaire, as Wilshire’s guest. From the moment of his arrival he was the object of several different intrigues. In the first place there was the embassy of the Tsar, who was hanging and shooting Gorky’s partisans in Russia, and naturally spared no labor or treasure to destroy him in America. A spy of the embassy afterwards confessed that it was he who took the story about Gorky’s unorthodox marriage to the New York newspapers, and who later on succeeded in persuading the World to make use of it.

Then there were representatives of the various newspaper syndicates and magazines and publishing-houses, which wanted Gorky’s writings, and were besieging his friends. And then there were two different groups of radicals, competing for his favor—the “Friends of Russian Freedom,” settlement-workers and folks of that sort, many of whom have since become Socialists, but who in those days were carefully bourgeois and painfully respectable, confining their revolutionary aims strictly to Russia; and the American Socialists, who knew that Gorky was an internationalist like themselves, and wished to use his prestige for the benefit of the American movement, as well as for the Russian movement.

It happened that at this time Moyer and Haywood were being tried for their lives, and this case was the test upon which the right and left wings were dividing. Gaylord Wilshire, who was then publishing a Socialist magazine in New York, drafted a telegram of sympathy to Moyer and Haywood, and submitted it to Madame Andreieva, proposing that Gorky should sign it. Which, of course, threw the “Friends of Russian Freedom” into a panic. If Gorky supported Moyer and Haywood, he would get no money from the liberal millionaires of New York, the Schiffs and the Strausses and the Guggenheims and the rest, who might be persuaded to subsidize the Russian revolution, but who had no interest in industrial freedom for America! The matter was explained to Gorky, and he gave his decision: he was an international Socialist, and he would protest against the railroading of two radical labor leaders to the gallows. He signed the telegram, and it was sent, and next morning, of course, the New York newspapers were horrified, and the Russian Embassy got busy, and President Roosevelt cancelled a reception for Gorky at the White House!

But the worst mistake that Gorky made was in his contracts for his writings. He fell into the very same trap that I have told about in Chapter VII—he signed a contract with the New York Journal, and thereby incurred the furious enmity of the New York World! So then the editors of the World remembered that story which they had got from the Russian Embassy; or maybe the Embassy reminded them of it again. By this story they could destroy entirely the news-value of Gorky’s writings; they could render worthless the contract with their hated rival! That incidentally they would help to hold one or two hundred million people in slavery and torment for an indefinite number of years—that weighed with the staff of the World not a feather-weight.

Next morning the World came out with a scare-story on the front page, to the effect that Maxim Gorky had insulted the American people by coming to visit them and introducing his mistress as his wife. And instantly, of course, the news- channels were opened wide—the Russian Embassy saw to that. (Do you recollect the fact that the general manager of the Associated Press went to Russia and received a decoration from the Tsar?)

From Maine to California, American provincialism quivered with indignation and horror. That night Gorky and his “mistress” were invited to leave the Hotel Belleclaire. They went to another hotel, and were refused admittance there. They went to an apartment-house and were refused admittance there. They spent a good part of the small hours of the morning wandering about the streets of New York, until friends picked them up and whisked them away to a place which has never been revealed. And next morning all this shameful and humiliating story was flaunted on the front page of the newspapers—especially, of course, the New York World.

A perfect flood of abuse was poured over the head of poor, bewildered Gorky; the clergy began to preach sermons about him, and our great, wise, virtuous statesmen, who were maintaining a “house of Mirth” in Albany, and high-class houses of prostitution in every State capital and in the National capital, joined in denunciations of this display of “foreign licentiousness.” So Gorky’s mission fell absolutely flat. His writings were scorned, and all he had to send to his heroic friends in Russia was the few dollars he himself was able to earn. I saw him several times during the year or two he stayed in America, first on Staten Island and then in the Adirondacks: a melancholy and pitiful figure, this Russian giant who had come to make his appeal to the heart of a great and liberal people, and had been knocked down and torn to pieces by the obscene vultures of commercial journalism. Even now the story is raked up, to serve the slave-drivers of the world. Gorky is defending his revolution against allied world-capitalism; the United States Senate is officially collecting scandal concerning the Bolsheviki; and Senator Knute Nelson, aged servant of privilege from Minnesota, puts these words on the Associated Press wires: “That horrible creature Maxim Gorky—he is about as immoral as a man can be.”

CHAPTER XI: A VENTURE IN CO-OPERATION

The next experience with which I have to deal is the Helicon Home Colony. I will begin by telling very briefly what this was: an attempt to solve the problem of the small family of moderate means, who have one or two children and are not satisfied with the sort of care these children get from ignorant servant-maids, nor with the amount of playspace they can find in a city apartment. I wrote an article in the Independent, pointing out that the amount of money which these people spent in maintaining separate kitchens and separate nurseries would, if expended in co-operation, enable them to have expert managers, and a kindergartner instead of a servant-girl to take care of their children. I proposed that a group of forward-looking people should get together and establish what might be called a home-club, or a hotel owned and run by its guests. There was nothing so very radical about this idea, for up in the Adirondacks are a number of clubs whose members rent cottages in the summertime and eat their meals in a club dining-room. Why might there not be in the same community a school, owned and run by the parents of the children?

The economic importance of the idea, if it could be made to work, would be beyond exaggerating. There are twenty million families in America, maintaining twenty million separate kitchens, with twenty million stoves and twenty million fires, twenty million sets of dishes to be washed, twenty million separate trips to market to be made. The waste involved in this is beyond calculation; I believe that when our system of universal dog-eat-dog has been abolished, and the souls of men and women have risen upon the wings of love and fellowship, they will look back on us in our twenty million separate kitchens as we look upon the Eskimos in their filthy snow-huts lighted with walrus-blubber.

Here was a man who had made thirty thousand dollars from a book, risking the whole of it, and giving all his time to an effort to demonstrate that fifty or sixty intelligent people might solve this problem, might learn to co-operate in their housekeeping, and save a part of their time for study and play. Here were the newspaper-editors of New York City, who were supposed to report the experiment, and who behaved like a band of Brazilian Indians, hiding in the woods about Helicon Hall and shooting the inmates full of poisoned arrows. Upton Sinclair and his little group of co-workers became a public spectacle, a free farce-comedy for the great Metropolis of Mammon. The cynical newspaper editors, whose first maxim in life is that nothing can ever be changed, picked out their cleverest young wits and sent them to spy in our nursery, and eavesdrop in our pantry, and report all the absurdities they could see or hear or invent.

The procedure was so dishonest that even the reporters themselves sickened of it. There was one young man who used to come every Sunday, to write us up in Monday’s New York Sun; for, you see, on Mondays there is generally scarcity of news, and we served as comic relief to the sermons of the Fifth Avenue clergy. The Sun, of course, treated us according to its tradition—as in the old days it had treated “Sorosis” and the “Populists.” “Mr. Sinclair,” said this young reporter, “you’ve got an awfully interesting place here, and I like the people, and feel like a cur to have to write as I do; but you know what the Sun is.” I answered that I knew. “Well,” said the reporter, “can’t you think of something amusing that I can write about, that won’t do any harm?” So I thought. I had brought a collie dog from my farm at Princeton, and three times this dog had strayed or been stolen. “You might write about the dog instead of about the people,” I said. So next morning there were two or three columns in the New York Sun, making merry over this latest evidence of the failure of co-operative housekeeping! Upton Sinclair’s dog refused to stay at Helicon Hall!

And then there was the famous adventure with Sadakichi Hartmann. One day there arrived a post-card, reading “Sadakichi Hartmann will call.” The announcement had a sort of royal sound, and I made inquiry and ascertained that I ought to have known who Sadakichi Hartmann was. Just about dinner-time there appeared two men and a girl, all three clad in soiled sweaters. One of the men was the Japanese- German art-critic, and the other was Jo Davidson, the sculptor, a lovable fellow, who made sketches of us and kept us entertained. But Hartmann had evidently been drinking, and when he told us that he had come to spend the night, we assured him quite truthfully that we had no room and could not accommodate him. There happened to be a meeting of the executive committee that night, with important problems to be settled; and when I came out from the committee-room at eleven o’clock, I found the art-critic making preparations to spend the night on one of the couches in our living-room. He was told politely that he must leave, whereupon there was a scene. He spent a couple of hours arguing and denouncing, and next day he wrote a letter to all the newspapers, telling how he and his companions had been turned out of Helicon Hall at one o’clock in the morning, and had spent the night wandering about on the Palisades.

And then there was a gentleman from Boston via Montmartre, Alvan F. Sanborn by name. He had written a book about the revolutionists of Paris, looking at them through a microscope as if they had been so many queer kinds of bugs; and now he came to turn his microscope on us. He proved to be a gentleman with a flowing soft necktie and a sharp suspicious nose. He accepted our hospitality, and then went away and criticized the cooking of our beans. His article appeared in the Evening Transcript of Boston, a city which is especially sensitive on the subject of beans. Mr. Sanborn found our atmosphere that of a bourgeois boarding-house. I have no doubt it was a different atmosphere from that of the Quartier Latin, where Mr. Sanborn’s standards of taste had been formed.

Also there were the two Yale boys who ran away from college and came to tend our furnaces, and then ran back to college and wrote us up in the New York Sun. They were Allan Updegraff and Sinclair Lewis, both of whom have grown up to be novelists. What they wrote about us was playful, and I would have shared in the fun, but for the fact that some of our members had their livings to think about. For example, there was a professor of philosophy at Columbia. Once or twice a week he had to give lectures to the young ladies at Barnard, and the Dean of Barnard was a lady of stern and unbending dignity, and after those articles had appeared our professor would quiver every time he saw her. We were trying in Helicon Hall not to have servants, in the sense of a separate class of inferior animals whom we put off by themselves in the basement of the building. We tried to treat our workers as human beings. Once a week we had a dance, and everybody took part, and the professor of philosophy danced with the two pretty Irish girls who waited on the table. The fact that his wife was present ought to have made a difference, even to a Dean, but the stories in the Sun did not mention the wife.

So before long we began to notice dark hints in the newspapers; such esoteric phrases as “Sinclair’s love-nest.” I have since talked with newspaper men and learned that it was generally taken for granted by the newspaper-world that Helicon Hall was a place which I had formed for the purpose of having many beautiful women about me. Either that, or else a diseased craving for notoriety! I remember Ridgway of Everybody’s asking the question: “Couldn’t you find some less troublesome way of advertising yourself?"

Now, I was still naive about many things in the world, but I assure the reader that I had by this time learned enough to have kept myself securely on the front pages of the newspapers, if that had been my aim in life. A group of capitalists had come to me with a proposition to found a model meatpacking establishment; they had offered me three hundred thousand dollars worth of stock for the use of my name, and if I had accepted that offer and become the head of one of the city’s commercial show-places, lavishing full-page advertisements upon the newspapers, I might have had the choicest and most dignified kind of publicity, I might have been another Nicholas Murray Butler or George Harvey; I might have been invited to be the chief orator at banquets of the Chamber of Commerce and the National Civic Federation, and my eloquence would have been printed to the extent of columns; I might have joined the Union League Club and the Century Club, and my name would have gone upon the list of people about whom no uncomplimentary news may be published under any circumstances. At the same time I might have kept one or more apartments on Riverside Drive, with just as many beautiful women in them as I wished, and no one would have criticized me, no newspaper would have dropped hints about “love-nests.” I have known many men, prominent capitalists and even prominent publishers and editors, who have done this, and you have never known about it—you would not know about it in ten thousand life-times, under our present system of predatory journalism.

But what I did was to attack the profit-system—even the profit in news. I refused to go after money, and when money came to me, I spent it forthwith on propaganda. So it comes about that you think of me—at best as a sort of scarecrow, at worst as a free-lover and preacher of sexual riot.

So far as Helicon Hall was concerned, we were a gathering of decent literary folk, a number of us not Socialists or cranks of any sort, several of the ladies coming from the South, where standards of ladyhood are rigid. There were Professor William Noyes of Teachers’ College and his wife; Prof. W. P. Montague of Columbia, and his wife; Edwin Björkman, the critic, editor of the Modern Drama Series, and during the war director of the government’s propaganda in Scandinavian countries; his wife, Frances Maule Björkman, a well-known suffrage worker; Mrs. Grace MacGowan Cooke, the novelist, and her sister Alice MacGowan; Edwin S. Potter, now assistant editor of the “Searchlight on Congress,” and his wife; Michael Williams and his wife. Williams has since turned into a Roman Catholic, and has written an autobiography, “The High Romance,” in which he pokes fun at our Socialist colony, but he is honest enough to omit hints about “free love.”

What our people did was to work hard at their typewriters, and spend their spare time in helping with our community problems. We had many, and we didn’t solve them all, by any means; it was not easy to find competent managers, and we were all novices ourselves. We had only six months to work in, and that was not time enough. But we certainly did solve the “servant-problem”; from first to last those who did the monotonous household work of our colony conducted themselves with dignity and sympathy. Also we solved the problem of the children; we showed that the parents of our fourteen children could co-operate. Our children had a little world of their own, and did their own work and lived their own community life, and were happier than any fourteen children I have seen before or since. Also we had a social life, which no one who took part in will forget. Such men as William James and John Dewey came to see us frequently, and around our big four-sided fireplace you heard discussions by authorities on almost every topic of present-day importance. But nobody read about these discussions in the newspapers; the publishers of newspapers were not selling that sort of news.

I look back on Helicon Hall to-day, and this is the way I feel about it. I have lived in the future; I have known those wider freedoms and opportunities that the future will grant to all men and women. Now by harsh fate I have been seized and dragged back into a lower order of existence, and commanded to spend the balance of my days therein. I know that the command is irrevocable, and I make the best of my fate—I manage to keep cheerful, and to do my appointed task; but nothing can alter the fact in my own mind—I have lived in the future, and all things about me seem drab and sordid in comparison. I feel as you would feel if you were suddenly taken back to the days when there was no plumbing and when people used perfume instead of soap.

CHAPTER XII: THE VILLAGE HORSE-DOCTOR

At three o’clock one morning in March there came a fire and wiped out the Helicon Home Colony. Everybody there lost everything, but that did not save us from dark hints in the newspapers, to the effect that some of our members had started the fire. The colony had just purchased ropes to be used as fire-escapes from some remote rooms on the third floor of the building. It was not mentioned by the newspapers that the managing committee had been discussing the need of those ropes for three or four months. For my part I escaped from my room in the tower of the building with my night-clothing burned, and part of my hair singed off, and my feet full of broken glass and burning brands, which laid me up for two or three weeks.

The American Magazine printed an editorial based on the rumor that the fire had been caused by leaking gas. The fact that we had defective gas-pipes and not enough fire escapes proved to the American Magazine that industrial co- operation was an impossibility! They gave me space to answer that there was absolutely no evidence that the fire had been caused by gas-leaks, and that for years the authorities of the town had allowed Helicon Hall to be conducted under the profit-system as a boarding-school for boys, with no provision for fire-escapes whatever. They did not allow me to state that at the time the mysterious fire took place I had in the building the data of many months of secret investigation into the armor-plate frauds, whereby the Carnegie Steel Company had robbed the United States government of a sum which the government admitted to be seven hundred thousand dollars, but which I could have proven to be many millions. I had, for example, the precise designation of a certain plate (A.619) in the conning-tower of the battleship Oregon, which was full of plugged up blow-holes, and would have splintered like glass if struck by a shell. I had the originals of the shop-records of many such plates, which had been doctored in the hand-writings of certain gentlemen now high in the counsels of the Steel Trust. I had enough evidence to have sent these prominent gentlemen to the penitentiary for life, and I myself came very near being burned along with it. I put a brief account of these matters into The Money-changers, and some of the heads of the Steel Trust announced that they were going to sue me for libel, but thought better of it. I shall give some details about the matter later on, in telling the story of The Money-changers and its adventures.

There was a coroner’s inquest over the body of one man who lost his life in the Helicon Hall fire. This inquest I attended on crutches, and was cross-questioned for a couple of hours by the village horse-doctor. Two or three members of the jury were hostile, and I couldn’t understand it, until near the end of the session it came out. We had had two organizations at Helicon Hall; the company, which owned the property, and the colony, a membership corporation or club, which leased the property from the company. We had made this arrangement, because under the law it was the only way we could keep the right to decide who should have admittance to the colony. If we had had one corporation, anybody who bought our stock would have had the right to come and live with us. But now it appeared that the village horse-doctor and the village barber and the village grocer suspected the colony of a dire plot to keep from paying its just debts in the locality! I made haste to assure these gentlemen that my own credit was behind the bills, and that everything would be paid—except the account of one painter who had contracted to do a job for three hundred dollars and had rendered a bill for seven hundred.

Also they questioned us closely about moral conditions in the colony, and brought out some sinister facts, which were spread on the front pages of the New York Evening World and the New York Evening Journal. It appeared that we had not had enough bed-rooms at Helicon hall, and on the third floor there was a huge studio which had served for the drawing-classes of the boys’ school. It was proposed to convert this studio into bed-rooms, but first it would be necessary to raise the roof, and this would cost more money than we had to spare. Our architect had advised us that the same lumber which would be needed for this work might serve temporarily to partition off compartments in the studio, which would serve for sleeping-quarters with curtains in front. So here at last the newspapers had what they wanted! Here was something “suggestive,” and a coroner’s jury thrusting into it a remorseless probe!

As it happened, in those curtained-off compartments there had slept an elderly widow who had begged to be allowed to work for us in order to educate her sixteen-year-old son— who slept in the compartment next to her. Also there was an old Scotchman, an engineer who had come all the way across the continent to take charge of our heating-plant; also a young carpenter who was working on the place, and one or two others whose names I forget, but all quite decent and honest working-people whom we had come to know and respect. It is perfectly obvious that if people wish to be decent, curtains are sufficient; whereas, if they wish to be indecent, the heaviest doors will not prevent it: just as a woman can behave herself in a scanty bathing-suit, or can misbehave herself though clad in elaborate court-costume. These considerations, however, were not presented to the readers of the New York Evening World and the New York Evening Journal. What they got were the obscene hints of a village horse-doctor, confirming their impression that Socialists are moral lepers.

There were forty adults at Helicon Hall, and they did not live together six months without some gossip and some unpleasantness. There was a young workingman who spouted crude ideas on sex, to the indignation of our two pretty Irish girls, and he was asked to shut up or to leave. There was a certain doctor, not a Socialist, but an entirely conventional capitalist gentleman, who left of his own accord after asking one of the pretty Irish girls to visit his office. Also there was a man who fell in love with another man’s wife. You cannot run a hotel—not even a co-operative hotel—without such things happening. Every hotel-manager knows it, and counts himself lucky indeed if nothing worse happens. I was told by one of those in charge of the Waldorf-Astoria in New York that there sits on every floor a woman-clerk whose duty it is to see who goes into whose room. Quite recently I had dinner in a certain gorgeous and expensive leisure-class hotel in Southern California, and heard some young men of the world, guests of the hotel, discussing what was going on there: the elderly ladies of fashion who were putting paint on their cheeks and cutting their dresses half-way down their backs, and making open efforts to seduce these young men; the young matrons of the hotel, who disappeared for trips into the mountain canyons near by; the married lady of great wealth, who had been in several scandals, who caroused all night with half a dozen soldiers and sailors, supplying them with all the liquor they wanted in spite of the law, and who finally was asked to leave the hotel—not because of this carousing, but because she failed to pay her liquor bills.

All this goes on in our fashionable resorts, from California to Florida via Lake Michigan and Newport. It goes on, and everybody in the hotels knows that it is going on, including the management of the hotels; but do you read anything about it in the newspapers? Only when it gets into the law-courts; and then you get only the personal details—never the philosophy of it. Never are such facts used to prove that the capitalist system is a source of debauchery, prostitution, drunkenness and disease; that it breaks up the home, and makes true religion and virtue impossible!

For the most part what you read about these leisure-class hotels in the newspapers is elaborate advertisements of the hotels and their attractions, together with fatuous and servile accounts of the social doings of the guests: columns and columns of stuff about them, what they eat and what they drink and what they wear, what games they play and what trophies they win, how much money they have, and what important positions they fill in the world, and their opinions on every subject from politics to ping-pong. They are “society”; they are the people who own the world, and for whom the world exists, and in every newspaper-office there is a definite understanding that so long as these people keep out of the law-courts, there shall be published no uncomplimentary news concerning them.

I will finish with the subject of Helicon Hall while I am on it. Seven years later I found myself involved in the Colorado coal-strike, fighting to break down the boycott of the capitalist newspapers. A group of young radicals endeavored to tell the story of the Ludlow massacre at a street meeting in Tarrytown, New York, the home of the Rockefellers. They were arrested and thrown into jail, and I started a campaign in Tarrytown to set them free. Under these circumstances I became the object of venomous attacks by the local paper, the Tarrytown News; in one of its editorials the News declared that my home in Englewood, New Jersey, had been raided by the police on account of “free-love” practices; and this statement was reprinted by other papers. I was pretty cross at the time, because of a series of outrages which I had witnessed, so I caused the arrest of the editors of the Tarrytown News for criminal libel. By a curious coincidence I found myself involved once more with a village horse-doctor—not the horse-doctor of Englewood, New Jersey, but the horse-doctor of Tarrytown, New York. Readers of King Coal will find him portrayed as the justice of the peace with whom the hero has an interview.

This judicial horse-doctor issued warrants, and appointed the day of the trial, and a number of my Helicon Hall friends agreed to come. But one was ill and another was called away, and my lawyer arranged with the lawyers of the other side for a week’s postponement. Such agreements between lawyers are always considered matters of honor with the profession, but in this case, when we appeared before the judicial horse-doctor to have the postponement arranged, the lawyers of the other side repudiated their agreement. So we found ourselves in a trap—ordered to proceed to trial without a single witness. Of course we refused to proceed, and the defendants were discharged.

However, I still had the right of civil action, and of this right I prepared to avail myself. The attorneys for the News—as they afterwards told me themselves—made a thorough search of my life, and found nothing to help them. So they were willing to publish a retraction and an apology. There was no doubt that I could have made the News pay a very pretty price; but I had not brought the suit for money, and I agreed to let them off. The retraction was published on the front page of the News, but of course it was not published anywhere else, and there are probably not a dozen people today who know about it. Mark Twain, I believe, is author of the saying that a lie can run all the way round the earth while the truth is putting on its shoes.

I find that wherever people still remember Helicon Hall, it is some of these old newspaper falsehoods they remember, and never our earnest effort to show the economies of domestic co-operation. Even the genial O. Henry—who, being an American, got his ideas about life from the newspapers. “Say, do I look like I’d climbed down one of them missing fire-escapes at Helicon Hall?” inquires the sarcastic James Turner, cleaner of hats, in the story, “What you Want.”

On my desk there lies a copy of the Moving Picture World for April 19, 1919. Somebody has produced a moving picture film out of a book by the Irreverend Thomas Dixon, and the magazine tells the managers of moving picture theaters how to work up interest and make a “clean-up” on this film. “Put up red flags about the town and hire soldiers to tear them down, if necessary,” advises the Moving Picture World. This picture, Bolshevism on Trial, has a sublime patriotic motive. “Columbia’s sword is unsheathed to keep Bolshevism from the Land of the Free,” proclaims the article. And it furthermore informs us that the picture “promises to be one of the clean-up pictures of the season.” The Moving Picture World thinks that it “might profitably be given Government support, for it is a powerful argument in controverting the dream-talk of the Socialists.” It advises you to “get local patriotic societies to help.” “Work all of the crowd stunts,” it urges; and in giving elaborate details of a press campaign, it says

Work gradually to the contention that Socialism will not be possible in this or the succeeding generation because people are not yet prepared for liberty such as Socialism aims at. Later work in allusion to the feature of the limited experiment made by Upton Sinclair some years ago at Halycon Hall, where the community idea fell because all wanted to live without working. All of this should be worked under a pseudonym.

The above, you must understand, is not an advertisement, but is reading matter in the country’s leading motion picture journal. It gives you a fair idea of the intellectual attainments and moral standards of the men who supply the material by which our children’s imaginations are stimulated and developed.

CHAPTER XIII: IN HIGH SOCIETY

I had written a book showing what was going on at one end of the social scale. It now occurred to me to write a book showing what was going on at the other end. Who spent the money wrung from the wage-slaves of the Stockyards, and what did they spend it for? So came The Metropolis, whose adventures I have next to tell.

The dramatization of The Jungle had brought me into touch with a play-broker, Arch Selwyn, who has since become a well-known producer of plays. We were having lunch at some hotel on Broadway, talking about our play-business, when I happened to mention the new novel I was writing, “Say! That’s the real thing!” said Arch. “What you want to do is to get on the inside of that society game. Get a job in one of those Long Island country homes, and treat them to a real muck-raking!” We spent some time “joshing” one another over this idea. I was to get a job as steward on Howard Gould’s yacht! Arch, who had a tendency toward stoutness, was to assist me by butlering in one of the Vanderbilt palaces!

Arch was chummy with a man named Rennold Wolf, who wrote gossip for the Morning Telegraph, organ of the “Tenderloin” and the sporting world of New York. To my consternation, there appeared in the “Telegraph” next morning a news-item with these headlines:

UPTON SINCLAIR PUTS ON LIVERY
Other Servants at “The Breakers,” the Vanderbilt Home in Newport, Catch Him Taking Notes
JUNGLE’S AUTHOR EJECTED

And in the detailed story which followed it was set forth that I had also been employed as a steward on Howard Gould’s yacht. The concluding sentence read:

He says that he was ready to leave, inasmuch as he already had absorbed the salient features of Newport culture.

Now there are three or four main press-agencies whereby news from New York goes out to the rest of the world. I have shown how in the case of the “condemned meat industry” these news-channels became a concrete wall. Here suddenly this concrete wall collapsed and became a channel. In Vancouver and Buenos Aires, in Johannesburg and Shanghai and Auckland, people read next morning that the author of The Jungle had been listening at the keyhole on board the private yacht of an American millionaire. I wrote an indignant letter to the Morning Telegraph, denouncing the story and demanding that they should publish a retraction. They published it—in an obscure corner. I took the trouble myself to forward this letter to all the press agencies which had sent out the story; but the news channels had again become concrete walls.

To show what our press has done to my literary work, let me say that in small countries such as Norway and Denmark and New Zealand I have more readers than in the whole of the United States. A single book of mine, Sylvia’s Marriage, which in America sold two thousand copies in five years, sold in Great Britain forty-three thousand copies in two years. And sometimes I wonder what all these people abroad must think about me, after fifteen years’ operation of the news channel and concrete wall!

I wonder—and then there comes to me the memory of an incident which happened in Holland. I had rented the home of a peasant-family in the country, and was much troubled by fleas, due to a custom of the Hollanders of keeping their cattle and goats in the rear portions of their homes during the winter. I tried insect powders and sulphur fumes in vain, and finally decided upon a desperate remedy. I went to an apothecary and told him that I wanted five pounds of cyanide of potassium and a couple of quarts of sulphuric acid. I remember well his look of dismay. “My dear sir! What—what—" I told him that I was aware of the danger, and would seal up the house for several days, and take all due precautions. They are a polite people, these Hollanders, the most considerate I have ever met, and the apothecary’s comment was a beautiful combination of terseness and tact. “Here in Holland,” said he, “we should say that was a characteristically American procedure.” —And so I suppose it must be with my readers abroad. They would not expect a European author to go prying at key-holes on board a private yacht; but when they read it in a dispatch from New York, they say what the Dutch chemist said about cyanogen gas as a remedy for fleas.

The charge has been made so many times that The Metropolis is a book of servants’ gossip that it might be well to state that there is no detail in the book which was derived in any such way. The newspapers which labored so desperately to discredit the book pointed out that while it was possible for anyone to go into the Stockyards and see what was going on, it was not possible for anyone to go into “society.” They saw fit to overlook the fact that I myself had been brought up in what is called “society”—or at least on the edge of it, with the right to enter whenever I chose. My earliest boyhood recollections have to do with young ladies being prepared for debut parties or for weddings, discussing the material for costumes, and the worldly possessions of various “eligible” young men, and whether so and so’s grandfather was a grocer. I cannot remember the time that I was too young to abhor “society,” its crass materialism, its blindness to everything serious and truly sacred in life.

Also, contrary to the general impression, it is not in the least difficult to meet the New York “smart set,” if you happen to be a celebrity. As the late John L. Sullivan remarked about Grover Cleveland: “A big man is a big man. It don’t matter if he is a prize-fighter or a president.” I remember once asking Arthur Brisbane how he managed to hobnob with the Long Island “smart set,” when he was attacking their financial interests so frequently. He answered that they esteemed success, and cared very little how it had been gained.

You must understand that the members of this “smart set” are bored most of the time. They go hunting wild animals all over the world; they fly in airplanes, and break their necks chasing imitation foxes; they collect porcelains and postage stamps, Egyptian scarabs and Japanese prints; they invite prize-fighters and vaudeville artists and European noblemen—anything in the world to escape boredom. Do you suppose they would resist the temptation of a novelist whose bloody horrors had sent shudders along their spines?

You have read how hunters on the plains are accustomed to draw antelope to them. They stand on their heads and kick their heels in the air, and the timid, curious creatures peer wonderingly, and come nearer and nearer to gaze at the startling spectacle. And precisely so it was with me; after The Jungle came out, and even after it was known that I was writing The Metropolis, I used to see the sharp ears and soft brown eyes of timid and curious society antelopes peering at me through the curtained windows of Fifth Avenue mansions and Long Island country-places. All I had to do was to go on kicking my heels in the air, and they would come out of their hiding-places and draw nearer and nearer—until at last I might leap to my feet and seize my rifle and shoot them.

I can say truly that I did not break any game-laws in The Metropolis. The ladies whom I drew from real life—for example, “Mrs. Vivie Patton” and “Mrs. Billy Alden”—were ladies who let me understand that they were “game”; they lived to be conspicuous, and they would not be distressed to have it rumored that they figured in my novel.

Some extracts from The Metropolis were published serially by the American Magazine. The editors of the magazine opened negotiations with the New York Times, offering to give them the exclusive story of this sensational serial. Van Anda, managing editor of the Times, is a newspaper man, and made preparations for another big scoop, as in the case of the “condemned meat industry.” But this time, alas, he reckoned without his owner! Mr. Adolph Ochs happened in at one o’clock in the morning, and discovered a three or four column story about The Metropolis on the front page of the Times. It was not so bad for Upton Sinclair to attack a great industry of Chicago, but when it came to the sacred divinities of New York, that was another matter. The story was “killed”; and incidentally, Upton Sinclair was forbidden ever again to be featured by the “New York Times.” The law laid down that night has been enforced for twelve years!

The editors of the American Magazine had expected to create a sensation, but they were not prepared for the storm of abuse which fell upon The Metropolis, and upon them for publishing it. I was surprised myself by the way in which those who posed as men of letters dropped their literary camouflage, their pretenses of academic aloofness, and flung themselves into the class-struggle. It is a fact with which every union workingman is familiar, that his most bitter despisers are the petty underlings of the business world, the poor office-clerks, who are often the worst exploited of proletarians, but who, because they are allowed to wear a white collar and to work in the office with the boss, regard themselves as members of the capitalist class. In exactly the same way I now discovered that every penny-a-liner and hack-writer in newspaperdom regarded himself or herself as a member of “society,” and made haste to prove it by pouring ridicule upon The Metropolis. Mrs. Corra Harris, a Southern authoress of rigid propriety, wrote an article about me in The Independent, in which she hailed me as the “buzzard novelist,” and went on to say that I had listened at the key-hole on Howard Gould’s yacht. The Independent printed my answer, which was that I had been following my career as “buzzard novelist” for many years, and had yet to be accused of a falsehood, but that Mrs. Harris, at the very opening of her career as buzzard critic, had repeated a grotesque falsehood which I had denied again and again.

I am not proud of The Metropolis as a work of art; I was ill and desperately harassed when I wrote it, and I would not defend it as literature. But as a picture of the manners and morals of the “smart set” of New York, I am prepared to defend it as a mild statement of the truth. I have been charged with exaggeration in the prices I quoted, the cost of the orgies of the “smart set.” These prices I had verified, not from the columns of the yellow journals, but by the inspection of bills. I was accused of crudeness in mentioning prices, because in “society” it is not good form to mention them. I would answer that this is one of the shams which “society” seeks to impose upon the wondering multitude. I have never anywhere heard such crude talk about the prices of things and the worldly possessions of people as I have heard among the idle rich in New York. And even if “society” were as austere and free from vulgarity as it wishes the penny-a-liners and hack-writers to believe, that would make no difference to me; for if people are squandering the blood and tears of the poor in luxury and wantonness, it does not seem to me such a great virtue that they avoid referring to the fact.

Also the critics were cross with the hero of the novel; they said he was a prig; he ought to have been really tempted by the charms of the lovely “Mrs. Winnie Duval.” Well, I don’t know. I planned the book as the first of a trilogy, meaning to show the real temptations to which men are exposed in the Metropolis of Mammon. It happened to me, not once, but several times, to meet with an experience such as I have portrayed in the “Mrs. Winnie” scene, and I never found it any particular temptation. The real temptation of the great Metropolis is not the exquisite ladies with unsatisfied emotions; it is that if you refuse to bow the knee to the Mammon of its Unrighteousness you become an outcast in the public mind. You are excluded from all influence and power, you are denied all opportunity to express yourself, to exercise your talents, to bring your gifts to fruition. One of the reasons The Metropolis had a comparatively small sale was because I had refused to do the conventional thing—to show a noble young hero struggling in the net of an elegant siren. The temptation I showed was that of the man’s world, not of the woman’s; the temptation of Wall Street offices, not of Fifth Avenue boudoirs. It was a kind of temptation of which the critics were ignorant, and in which the public, alas, was uninterested.

CHAPTER XIV: THE GREAT PANIC

My investigations for The Metropolis had brought me several permanent friendships; for there are true and gracious people in New York “society,” as everywhere else. One of them was Edmond Kelly, who was not only a thinker and writer of distinction, but an international lawyer, known in all the capitals of Europe, and up to the time of his death the only American who had received the cross of the Legion of Honor in France. Kelly had been counsel for Anna Gould in her famous divorce suit, and told me the incredible story of Count Boni de Castellane. The Metropolis was being published in Paris, and causing a sensation there; as I read the eulogies of the French critics, I used to smile to myself, wondering what they would have said if I had made a book about the manners and morals of French “society,” as seen through the eyes of Edmond Kelly!

It happened that I was in New York in the fall of 1907, and was in Kelly’s study late one evening. I had to wait an hour or two for him, and he came in, deeply moved, and told me that he had just left the home of an old friend, Charles T. Barney, President of the Knickerbocker Trust Company, who was in dire distress. I had been reading in the papers for a couple of days wild rumors of trouble in this institution, which had built itself a miniature Greek temple at the corner of Thirty-fourth Street and Fifth Avenue. Now I got the inside story of what was going on. It appeared that the masters of high finance in New York, of whom the late J. P. Morgan was king, had determined to break these new institutions, the independent trust companies which were creeping in upon their preserves. Morgan had deliberately led Barney into entanglements, and had given him definite promise of support. That night, when called upon by Barney, he had repudiated his pledge; so the Knickerbocker Trust Company was doomed, several other trust companies would go with it, and the whole financial structure of New York would be shaken to the foundations. Kelly had promised even that late at night to make appeals in Barney’s behalf, so I left him. Next morning I read in the paper that an hour or two after Kelly had parted from him, the President of the Knickerbocker Trust Company had shot himself through the body.

So came the panic of 1907. Pierpont Morgan, having deliberately brought it on to tighten his hold upon the credit of the country, discovered that it was getting beyond his control, and by desperate efforts stopped it—for which action he became the hero of Capitalist Journalism in America. It happened that from two other independent sources I got the story, every part of which dove-tailed together. So I went about the streets of New York, knowing that this mighty master of finance, who was being crowned as a deliverer, was in fact a greedy old ruffian who had deliberately brought ruin to thousands of small business- men, and misery and want to millions of workers.

I had Kelly’s permission to tell the story in the form of a thinly veiled allegory, the meaning of which no one could possibly miss. I took the proposition to the American Magazine, which signed a contract with me to publish the story as a serial. I set to work to write it, but meantime the American Magazine must have begun to hear from Wall Street. It was not very long before John S. Phillips, editor of the magazine, was sending for me and pleading with me as a personal favor to let him off from this contract. I did so, and so ends the chapter of my dealings with another of our great organs of publicity.

I know no more pitiful story in the history of our Journalism than that of the American Magazine. It was founded because Lincoln Steffens, Ida Tarbell, Ray Stannard Baker and Finley Peter Dunne found they were no longer permitted to tell the truth in McClure’s. They purchased the American, assuming a debt of four hundred thousand dollars. Soon afterwards one of the assistant editors told me that they were having trouble in meeting their interest payments; and then came a crisis, plainly revealed in their columns. The magazine had begun the publication of a sensational series of articles, “Barbarous Mexico,” by John Kenneth Turner. These articles, since published in book form, and a second time suppressed, gave an intimate, firsthand account of the ferocities of the Diaz regime, under which American “dollar diplomats” were coining enormous fortunes. The American began the publication with a grand hurrah; it published two or three of the articles, and then suddenly it quit, with a feeble and obviously dishonest excuse—and poor Turner had to take his articles to that refuge of suppressed muck-rakers, the Appeal to Reason.

There must have been some crisis in the office of the magazine. Somebody had evidently had a “show-down,” the editors had been “taught their place.” Ever since then they have been a theme for tears. Ida Tarbell, who had torn the wrappings off the infamies of Standard Oil, has forgotten the subject, while Standard Oil, after a sham reorganization, has almost doubled the value of its stock, and more than doubled its plundering of the public. Ray Stannard Baker, who exposed the financial knaveries of the Beef Trust, shed his muck-raker skin and metamorphosed himself into “David Grayson,” a back-to-the-land sentimentalist—and this while the Beef Trust has multiplied four times over the profits it takes out of the necessities of a war-torn world! Finley Peter Dunne, who contributed the satires of Mr. Dooley and that withering ridicule of the idle rich under the name of “Mr. Worldly-Wise Man,” has apparently fallen silent from shame. Lincoln Steffens, the one man who stood by his convictions, quit the magazine, and now cannot get his real opinions published anywhere. The American Magazine, which started out to reclaim the industrial and political life of our country, is now publishing articles about how a little boy raises potatoes in a cigar-box, and how a man can become a millionaire by cobbling his own shoes.

I write these words in anger; but then I remember my pledge—the exact facts! So I go to the library and take down the first bound volume my hand touches. Here are the titles of a few “special articles” and “feature stories” from the American Magazine for January, 1918: “How We Decide When to Raise a Man’s Salary.” “What to Do with a Bad Habit.” “Are You Going Somewhere—or Only Wandering Around?” “The Comic Side of Trouble.” “Do You Laugh at the Misfortunes of Others?” “The Business-woman and the Powder Puff: The personal story of one who has made a success and thinks she knows the reason why.” “What I Have Seen Booze Do.” “Interesting People: A Wonderful Young Private Secretary.” “A Barber Who Uses His Head.” “The Star in a ‘One-Girl Show’.” “From Prize-Fighter to Parson.”

Now I ask you: could any muck-raker in a rage make up a list of titles more completely expressive of vulgarity, commercialism and general “bunk” than the above real ones?

I was at this time planning the sequel to The Metropolis, called The Money-changers. The story of the 1907 panic fitted perfectly into my purposes, and so I made it the basis of this novel. Needless to say, I couldn’t get the American Magazine or any other magazine to publish it serially, nor could I get any respectable publishing-house to take up the book. I was forced to go to a fifth-rate concern, which, afterwards went into bankruptcy. By the literary reviewers I was now practically boycotted; I had written a book of scandal, I had declassed myself as a man- of-letters. The fact that every word I had written was the truth, and that the men I pilloried were the plunderers of a great nation, made no difference whatever to the austere guardians of our literary traditions.

Since the year 1908, when The Money-changers was published, it has been the rule of American literary authorities that in discussions of American novelists my name is not mentioned. In 1914 Georg Brandes, the greatest of living critics, visited America, and to reporters at the steamer he made the statement that there were three American novelists whom he found worth reading, Frank Norris, Jack London, and Upton Sinclair. Every New York newspaper except one quoted Dr. Brandes as saying that there were two American novelists he found worth reading, Frank Norris and Jack London. Dr. Brandes was puzzled by this incident, and asked me the reason; when I told him, he consented to write a preface to my next novel, King Coal. He spoke so highly of the book that I refrain from quoting him. But did his praise make any difference to American critics? It did not.

All the publicity The Money-changers got was from our “yellow” journals. The reader will understand that I despise these “yellows”; they are utterly without honor, they are vulgar and cruel; and yet, in spite of all their vices, I count them less dangerous to society than the so-called “respectable” papers, which pretend to all the virtues, and set the smug and pious tone for good society—papers like the New York Tribune and the Boston Evening Transcript and the Baltimore Sun, which are read by rich old gentlemen and maiden aunts, and can hardly ever be forced to admit to their columns any new or vital event or opinion. These are “kept” papers, in the strictest sense of the term, and do not have to hustle on the street for money. They serve the pocketbooks of the whole propertied class—which is the meaning of the term “respectability” in the bourgeois world. On the other hand the “yellow” journals, serving their own pocketbooks exclusively, will often print attacks on vested wealth, provided the attacks are startling and sensational, and provided the vested wealth in question is not a heavy advertiser. An illustration of what I mean is the following, which appeared in the New York American for September 6, 1908:

U. S. NAVY ADMITS ROTTEN ARMOR
Carnegie Co.’s Profit, $700,000
ADMIRAL MASON SAYS OREGON NOW CARRIES 400 TONS
Indiana, Massachusetts, New York and Others Also Have Defective Plates
FACTS HIDDEN 15 YEARS
Revelations in Upton Sinclair’s New Novel Are Fully Verified
Washington, Sept. 5—Rear-Admiral W. P. Mason, Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance, in an interview to-day admitted that the battleship Oregon, once the pride of the United States Navy, has carried since the day she was built 400 tons of defective armor plate.
In addition the naval authorities reluctantly told that the conning tower of the Oregon, which by expert testimony nearly fifteen years ago was shown to be full of blowholes, is still on this vessel, which may any day be called in defending the country against an enemy.
It is also known that the armor manufactured by the Carnegie Steel Company, Limited, up to the latter part of 1893, which Hilary A. Herbert, then Secretary of the Navy, recommended be stripped from the Indiana, New York, Massachusetts and several other smaller vessels has never been removed.
The investigation made by the American was prompted by the assertion in Upton Sinclair’s new book, The Money-changers, that “there are ships in our navy covered with rotten armor plate that was sold to the Government for four or five times what it cost.”

Referring to the investigation in 1893–94, which resulted in the celebrated armor plate scandal, the author says: “Nothing much was ever done about it. The Government could not afford to let the real facts get out. But, of course, the insiders in the navy knew about it, and the memory will last as long as the ships last.”

This part of the book is a bitter attack on several well-known men who have been connected for years with the steel industry, and whose identity it is easy to trace. It charges that at the time of the armor plate scandal they bought out the Democratic Party and secured the support of a President of the United States.

And here is part of a second dispatch, which appeared in the New York World the following day. It is amusing to note how these two rivals, the World and the American, follow each other up!

Lake Placid, N. Y., Sept. 6—In an interview given by him today, after he had been informed by his publishers and a representative of the World of a report from Pittsburgh that William E. Corey, President of the U. S. Steel Corporation, is to proceed against him for libel, basing his action on charges contained in his new novel, Upton Sinclair, who is spending the summer at Lake Placid, defied the “Steel Crowd,” as he designated Mr. Corey and his associates, to do their worst.
Mr. Sinclair declared he would welcome legal action on the part of Mr. Corey, because it would give him an opportunity to place on record evidence which he declares is in his possession concerning alleged fraudulent acts of the steel men.
“I have not as many documents as I once had,” said Mr. Sinclair; “I have not been able to replace some that were burned at Helicon Hall; but I have more than Mr. Corey would care to see in print, I fancy.”
Mr. Sinclair said that among other documents in his possession before the destruction of Helicon Hall by fire, were affidavits and other papers pertaining to alleged fraudulent practices in connection with the manufacture of steel rails.
“I took the trouble,” said he “to go out to Pittsburgh. I spent a couple of weeks investigating. I had affidavits to prove that these practices prevailed in the case of steel rails, a year or two before E. H. Harriman gave out his statement as to the wretched quality of rails which the Steel Trust was selling his railroads. I can tell Mr. Harriman, too, that his own purchasing officials were not ignorant about it.”

All this, of course, had little to do with literature. But it had something to do with Journalism, had it not? It had to do with matters of vital importance to the American people—battle-ships that could not fight, and steel rails that cracked and caused train-wrecks. How came it that all our organs of “respectability” kept silence, and left these grave matters to the despised “yellow” press?

CHAPTER XV: SHREDDED WHEAT BISCUIT

I had all but ruined my health by overwork, and I now went to California for a winter’s rest. I rested a couple of months, and then wrote three one act plays. Having received a couple of thousand dollars from The Money-changers, I decided to try out a plan which had haunted me for many years, that of establishing a Socialist theatrical enterprise. There were fifteen hundred Socialist locals throughout the United States, some of them large organizations. Would not they welcome a little travelling company, voicing the ideas which were barred from the commercial stage? I began to organize and rehearse such a company in San Francisco. And so came new adventures with the newspapers.

First, the famous Adventure of the Shredded Wheat Biscuit. It must be explained that I was trying queer ideas in diet; I have always been of an experimental temperament, and was willing to try anything in the hope of solving the health problem, which I have since realized is insoluble—there being no diet or system of any sort which will permit a man to overwork with impunity. In California I was living on raw food, and had written some articles about it in Physical Culture. When I had to eat in San Francisco hotels I could not get raw food, of course, but at least I wanted whole wheat bread, or failing that, Shredded Wheat Biscuit. All of which, needless to say, was highly amusing to hotel proprietors and newspaper reporters.

I was staying at the St. Francis, and I ordered a meal in the restaurant, from a menu which specified “One Shredded Wheat Biscuit with cream, 25c; Two Shredded Wheat Biscuit with cream, 40c.” I ordered One Shredded Wheat Biscuit, and after I had eaten it I wanted another, so I told the waiter to make it two. When I received the bill it showed fifty cents, and I pointed out to the waiter that this was an error, it should have been forty cents; I had had only one portion of cream. The waiter consulted and returned with the information that inasmuch as the order had been placed in the form of two orders, the bill was twenty-five cents each. I paid the bill without further comment, but going out into the lobby I reflected that it was rather preposterous to charge twenty-five cents for a Shredded Wheat Biscuit, when you could go around the corner to a grocery-store and buy a dozen in a box for ten or fifteen cents. My abnormal sense of equity vented itself in a brief note to the management, stating that I had been charged fifty cents for two Shredded Wheat Biscuit, when the price on the menu was forty cents, and I would appreciate having my extra ten cents returned to me. This note I handed to the clerk, and there my knowledge of the matter ends. I am not in position to say that the management of the Hotel St. Francis turned over my note to the San Francisco Examiner. I can only say that I did not mention the matter to anyone, and that all I did was to write the note, seal it in an envelope, and hand it to the clerk at the desk.

I understand, of course, that hotels have to have publicity. People are arriving in the city by thousands every day, and the problem of what hotels they go to depends upon what hotels they hear about. If a great soap-magnate or lard-king is visiting the St. Francis, the management makes haste to notify the reporters, and there is published a dignified interview with the soap-magnate or lard-king, giving his opinion of the market-prospects for soap or lard, and the need of a higher tariff on such commodities. If a notorious Socialist muckraker is visiting the St. Francis, and it is discovered that he orders Waldorf salads and Shredded Wheat Biscuit and such-like foods for monkeys and squirrels—why, then the management perceives an opportunity for publicity of a gay and cheerful nature. San Francisco, you understand, prides itself upon being a place of Bohemianism, of bonhomie; San Francisco had more saloons in proportion to its population than any other city in America, and more venereal disease than Paris—so I was told by a Stanford professor. San Francisco must have its little jokes.

Next morning there appeared in the San Francisco Examiner a “feature story” to the effect that Upton Sinclair had ordered two Shredded Wheat Biscuit in the dining-room of the Hotel St. Francis, and when rendered a bill for twenty-five cents had refused to pay it and had raised a disturbance in the dining-room. Immediately, of course, the great concrete wall turned into a news-channel once again, and people in Vancouver and Buenos Aires, in Johannesburg and Shanghai and Auckland, who had last heard of Upton Sinclair as working as a steward on Howard Gould’s yacht, now heard of him as raising a disturbance over Shredded Wheat Biscuit in a hotel dining-room. “Upton Sinclair Rages,” runs the headline in the Los Angeles Examiner. An actress by the name of Rose Stahl was playing up in Seattle, and her publicity man must have seen an opportunity to “get in on the game.” In the afternoon paper there appeared a story to the effect that Rose Stahl had telegraphed me twenty-five cents with which to pay for my Shredded Wheat Biscuit. Rose Stahl did not actually send me the twenty-five cents; at any rate I never received it; she merely gave out the story that she was sending it, and the concrete wall remained a news-channel long enough to convey this report.

I stop and wonder: will my readers find it possible to believe these tales? So many, many things happening to one man! There is something suspicious about it—where there is so much smoke, surely there must have been at least one tiny spark of fire! Did I not really raise a disturbance, just the tiniest little bit of a disturbance— such as would have caused the people at the next table to desist from their conversation and look at me?

All that I can do is to remind the reader of the pledge I gave at the beginning of this book: I am telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Not only did I not raise a disturbance in the dining-room of the Hotel St. Francis, I never in my life raised a disturbance in a public dining-room, nor in any other public place so far as I can recollect. The one act that might be called a “disturbance” was that which I performed in front of the office of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., during the Colorado coal-strike; it consisted of walking up and down in absolute silence with a band of crepe around my arm. On several other occasions I have made Socialist speeches, and the newspapers have seen fit to write these up as if they were disturbances; but I have never in my life engaged in any sort of altercation or controversy in a public place. I am by instinct shy, and I don’t go into public at all, except I am carried by some conviction. As a little boy I got into one or two fights, and got a bloody nose each time, but since the age of eleven or twelve I have never struck a human being, and can only remember threatening to do so on one occasion—in a public park, when I saw an old bootblack beating a very small boy. As for raising a disturbance with a waiter, I can only say that when a poor wage-slave in a leisure-class hotel brings me an improper bill, my impulse is to give him, not a scolding, but an I.W.W. tract. My anger is reserved for the management of the hotel which is robbing me, and I give vent to this anger in a polite letter, which causes the management to rob me still further. As Shakespeare says:

Who steals my purse steals trash;
But he that filches from me my good Name,
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And leaves me poor indeed.

My wife reads this story, and laughs; she says the world will find me comical, defending myself so very solemnly against a comical charge. Well, I am not without a sense of humor; I look back in retrospect, and have not a little fun over my “monkey diet” days. But I am serious in this book, and if you will bear with me to the end, you will see why; you will see this same predatory journalism, which made a “monkey” out of me, engaged in blasting the best hopes of mankind, and perpetuating slavery and torment for hundreds of millions of people.

CHAPTER XVI: AN INTERVIEW ON MARRIAGE

Two or three days after the Shredded Wheat episode, there called on me a pleasant lady who introduced herself as a friend of an old friend of mine. She wanted to ask me some questions; and as I was just going in to lunch and had an engagement immediately afterwards, I asked this lady to lunch with me. It appeared that a man and woman in the city had announced the completion of a five or ten years’ “trial marriage.” Would I say what I thought about this couple, and about “trial marriages” in general? I have always been willing to say what I thought about any subject, so I explained that while I was not an advocate of “trial marriages,” it was apparent that this couple were sincere, and one must respect people who stood by their convictions in the face of prejudice and ridicule.

I went on to talk to this lady on the subject of modern marriages. I cannot, of course, state word for word what I said, but I know my views, which have not changed in any way, so I can practically duplicate the interview.

In any competitive society, woman is necessarily condemned to a position of inferiority by the burdens of maternity; so, either she has to suppress her love-nature and her desire for children, or she must find some man who will take care of her. In a society whose standards are pecuniary, that is to say, whose members are esteemed in proportion to the amount of their worldly possessions, the average woman is forced into a mercenary attitude toward love and marriage. In weighing the various men who offer themselves, she will generally have to balance money against love; and the more corrupt the society becomes—that is to say, the greater the economic inequality—the more mercenary will become the attitude of women, the more they will weigh money in the balance, and the less they will weigh love. This is particularly true of the older women, who know the world and the ways of the world, and who seek to control the marriages made by their young.

In the course of this abstract discourse I gave some instances. I told of a couple of mothers I had watched, marrying off their daughters to what they called “eligible” men—that is to say, men who could support the daughters in luxury. I said: “Those girls were practically sold.” I told of a young girl being married to a hard and dull old business man. I told of another young girl being married to a rich man who had syphilis. I told of another young girl, who happened to be intimately known to myself and my wife, who had been in the plight of a school-teacher—that is to say, facing a life-time of drudgery, and the ultimate breakdown of her health—and who had married a middle-aged corrupt politician. We had watched the progress of this marriage. We knew that the husband was unfaithful to his wife, and we knew that the wife knew it, and we knew that for the sake of a home and fashionable clothes she was parting with the finer qualities of her nature. Said I: “We have seen this woman’s character deteriorating stage by stage; and when we see things like that, it almost makes us feel ashamed of being married.”

Now, of course, this was a foolish remark; but it was no worse than foolish, was it? It wasn’t precisely criminal. But see what was done with it!

I parted from the lady who had been my guest at lunch, and next morning, January 30, 1909, a member of my little theatrical company called me up in excitement and distress of mind, to ask had I seen that morning’s Examiner. I obtained a copy, and on the front page I saw a picture of myself and a picture of my wife—that stolen picture about which I have previously told. The story had a scare head-line reading

UPTON SINCLAIR SORRY HE WED. SAYS CEREMONY IS FARCE

Underneath the pictures was the caption:

Upton Sinclair and the wife he declared yesterday he is sorry that he married.

I will quote a few paragraphs from the article; you will appreciate the jolly tone of it:

Upton Sinclair says he’s sorry he’s married.
He said it right out in a calm, matter-of-fact tone of voice, and the waiter almost dropped the butter-plate, well trained as the particular waiter who happened to be leaning over the back of Mr. Sinclair’s chair with this particular butter-plate happened to be.
As Mr. Sinclair talked he threw a handful of California raisins into his dish of Waldorf salad and watched with evident pleasure the contrast of the dull purple of the raisins with the pale silver of the celery and the gold of the aspic mayonnaise.
“Why am I so prejudiced against marriage? Why shouldn’t I be prejudiced against it? You might as well ask me why I am so prejudiced against slavery— or against thievery—or if it comes to that against murder either. Marriage in this day is nothing but legalized—slavery; that’s the most polite word to call it, I fancy. The average married woman is bought and sold just exactly as much as any horse or any dog is bought. Marriage—ough! It really isn’t a subject to be discussed at the table!”

Needless to say, here was another occasion where the concrete wall became a news-channel. This story was telegraphed to all the Hearst newspapers, and published with the same photographs in New York, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, and Los Angeles. The substance of it was telegraphed abroad and laid before the readers of my books, not merely in England and France and Germany and Norway and Sweden, but in South Africa and Australia, in Yokohama and Hong Kong and Bombay. Please do not think that I am just giving you a geography lesson; I made a memorandum at the time concerning this particular story, which hurt me more than anything that had ever happened to me.

It chanced that my three one-act plays were to have their opening performance in San Francisco that evening. So when I was called on the stage to make a speech, I spread out a copy of the Examiner and told what had happened. Next morning the Examiner took up the cudgels, and published an article by “Annie Laurie,” the interviewing lady, upbraiding me for “playing the cry-baby” and refusing to stand by the words that I had spoken. Thinking the matter over, I realized that quite possibly “Annie Laurie” was partly sincere; she may have thought that the interview she wrote represented me! She was so vulgar that she saw no difference between the phrases I had used and the twist she had given to them.

This misquotation by ignorant and vulgar reporters happens not merely to muck-rakers and Socialist agitators; it happens to the most respectable persons. For example, here is Professor J. Laurence Laughlin, of Chicago University; he hides himself in the shade of his classic elms, and does his best to preserve his dignity, but in vain. In an address to a graduating class he urged the class “to seek a sense of form—in dress, manners, speech and intellectual habits. In antithesis it was pointed out that we had lived too long in a kingdom of slouch.” The New York papers got it by telegraph in this fashion:

The wiggling, swaying movements of American women on the streets and the stage have made them the ridicule of all Europe. They have a glide and a wiggle that makes them both undignified and ungraceful.

Whereupon the horrified professor writes to the New York Nation:

Of course, I never said any such thing, but papers in all parts of the country could not know that the report was stupid fiction, and that the quotation marks were absolutely false. Yet in this form the above vulgar paragraphs have gone the length and breath of the country as my utterances.

To understand such incidents you must know the economics of reporting. The person who misquoted Professor Laughlin was probably a student, scratching for his next week’s board bill, and knowing that he would get two or three dollars for a startling story, and nothing at all for a true story—it would be judged “dull,” and would be “ditched.” In my own case, the person to blame was a “star writer”; she was working on a fancy salary, earned by her ability to cook up sensations, to keep her name and her picture on the front page. If this “star” had gone back to her city editor and said, “Upton Sinclair is a good fellow; he gave me an interesting talk about the corruption of modern marriages,” the editor would have scented some preachment and said, “Well, give him two sticks.” But instead she came into the office exclaiming, “Gee, I’ve got a hot one! That fool muck-raker tore up his marriage certificate before my eyes! He says that married women are sold like horses and he’s sorry he’s married to his wife!” So the city editor exclaimed, “Holy Smoke!”—seeing a story he could telegraph to the main offices in New York and Chicago, thus attracting to himself the attention of the heads of the Hearst machine.

For you must understand that while the city editor of the San Francisco Examiner will be getting three or four thousand dollars a year, above him are big positions of responsibility and power—Arthur Brisbane, getting ninety or a hundred thousand, Ihmsen, Carvalho, von Hamm and the rest, getting fifteen or twenty thousand. If you are to be lifted into those higher regions, you must show one thing and one thing only; it is called “a nose for news,” and it means a nose for the millions of pennies which come pouring into the Hearst coffers every day. From top to bottom every human being in the vast Hearst machine, man, woman and office-boy, has every nerve and sinew stretched to the task of bringing in that flood of pennies; each is fighting for a tiny bit of prestige, a tiny addition to his personal share of the flood. And always, of course, from top to bottom the thing to be considered is the million-headed public—what will tickle its fancies, what particular words printed in large red and black letters will cause it to pay out each day the greatest possible number of pennies.

In conflict with such motives, considerations of honor, truth and justice count for absolutely nothing. The men and women who turn out the Hearst newspapers were willing, not merely to destroy my reputation, they have been willing again and again to drive perfectly innocent men and women to ruin and suicide, in order that the copper flood may continue to pour in. They have been willing by deliberate and shameful lies, made out of whole cloth, to stir nations to enmity and drive them to murderous war. Mr. Hearst’s newspaper machine telegraphed that vile misrepresentation of me all the way round the world; it telegraphed my repudiation of it nowhere, and I was helpless in the matter. Millions of people were caused to think of me as a vulgar and fatuous person—and some of them were permitted to denounce me in Mr. Hearst’s own papers! The following contribution by the Rev. Charles H. Parkhurst, a sensational clergyman of New York, was featured in the New York Evening Journal with large headlines and a portrait of the reverend physiognomy:

Upton Sinclair seems to be a person so profusely developed on the animal side that marriage is not able to be conceived of by him as being other than a mere matter of commerce between two parties of opposite sexes, and sex simply a principle that starts and stops at the level of the physical without ever mounting up into the region of intellect and spirit.
A pig will contemplate even a garden of flowers with a pig’s eye, and instead of arranging those flowers into a bouquet will bore into them with his snout.
Mr. Sinclair’s doctrine is that of free love, and matrimony a physical luxury and an evanescent convenience.
This comes dangerously near to companioning him with the cattle and makes the marriage relation an elegant reproduction of the nuptials of the pasture.

Also I quote a few scattered sentences from a long editorial in the “Commercial-Appeal” of Memphis, Tennessee, an extremely conservative family newspaper, widely read throughout the South:

A few years ago a young man by the name of Upton Sinclair wrote a novel about Packingtown. We do not recall the name of the book; but it should have been entitled The Slaughterhouse. It was just about the most nauseating novel that has ever been written by an American. It was a compound of blood and filth and slaughter, commingled with vice and shame. It was the kind of a book to be handled with a pair of tongs.... But recently Mr. Sinclair has aired his views upon matrimony, and what he has to say is simply shocking to decency..... It is hard for any decent person to understand such an attitude. If there is any one thing that distinguishes man from cats and dogs and other animals it is matrimony..... If Upton Sinclair’s offensive philosophy should be embraced, it would mean the absolute destruction of family life..... The Sinclair philosophy is the philosophy of lust and animalism and it could only emanate from a diseased and perverted mind.

I have quoted the above because there is a “human interest” story connected with it, which will perhaps bring home to you the harm which dishonest journalism does. For something like thirty years the Memphis Commercial-Appeal has been read by the honorable and high-minded old Southern gentleman who is now my father-in-law. Like all good Americans, this gentleman believes what he reads in his morning paper; like most busy Americans, he gets the greater part of his ideas about the world outside from his morning paper. He read this editorial, and got a certain impression of Upton Sinclair; and so you may imagine his feelings when, two or three years later, he learned that his favorite daughter intended to marry the possessor of this “diseased and perverted mind.” He took the beautiful oil painting of his favorite daughter which hangs in his drawing-room, and turned it to the wall. And that may bring a smile to you, but it brought no smile to the parties concerned; for in the South, you must understand, it is the custom for daughters to be devotedly attached to their fathers, and also to be devotedly obedient to their fathers. If you had seen the tears I saw, you would know that this old gentleman’s daughter was not an exception to the rule.

And since we have started the subject, perhaps I might complete the “human interest” story by stating that after all the tears had been shed and the marriage was a couple of years in the past, I went down to visit this old Southern gentleman. It was a queer introduction; because the old gentleman was horribly embarrassed, and I, being impersonal and used to being called bad names, had no idea of it. After we had chatted for an hour or two I retired, and the daughter said: “Well, Papa, what do you think of him?”

The old gentleman is quaintly shy and reticent, and had probably never made an apology in his life before. He did it all in one sentence; “I see I overspoke myself.”

CHAPTER XVII: “GAMING” ON THE SABBATH

I moved myself and family to the little single-tax colony at Arden, Delaware, and spent a winter living in tents. The newspapers of Philadelphia and Wilmington used Arden as the newspapers of New York had used Helicon Hall—for purposes of comic relief. For the most part it was not especially harmful publicity; it had to do with pageants and mediaeval costumes and tennis tournaments and singing festivals. But always there was ridicule, even though mild; and this was not a just light in which to place a group of people who had a serious and useful message to convey. I noticed that in their Arden stories the newspapers carefully refrained from giving any hint of what the single tax meant, or of why single taxers went to live in a colony. What got publicity was the fact that one of the Arden boys built himself a screened sleeping-place up in the branches of a big tree. “Arden Residents Roost in Tree-Tops”! ran the headlines. I wasn’t roosting in tree-tops myself, but the newspapers wanted pictures for this full-page story, and my picture happened to be on hand, so in it went.

I was writing a book, and trying to keep well, and doing my honest best to keep out of the “limelight”; but the fates were in a mood of special waggery, it appeared, and came and dragged me out of my hiding-place.

Close upon the edge of Arden there dwelt an Anarchist philosopher, a shoemaker hermit, whose greatest pleasure in life was to rise in public meetings and in the presence of young girls explain his ideas on the physiology of sex. The little Economic Club of Arden invited him to shut up, and when he claimed the privileges of “free speech,” the club excluded him from its meetings, and when he persisted in coming, had him arrested. It happened that the members of this Economic Club were also members of the base-ball team, and they played a game on Sunday morning; so the Anarchist shoemaker repaired to Wilmington and swore out warrants, on the ground of their having violated an ancient statute, dating back to 1793, forbidding “gaming” on the Sabbath. It happened that I did not belong to the Economic Club, and had had nothing to do with the trouble; but I had played tennis that Sabbath morning, so the Anarchist shoemaker included me in his warrants. He told me afterwards that he knew I would add publicity and “spice” to the adventure.

So behold us, eleven young men summoned to the office of a Wilmington Justice of the Peace one evening, and finding the street packed solid for a block, and people even climbing up telegraph poles and lamp-posts to look in at the window and watch the proceedings. I am accused of seeking notoriety, but on this occasion at least I may be acquitted of the charge. A constable had appeared at my home and interrupted my literary labors, with a notice to appear in this public spectacle, under penalty of dire displeasure of the law!

The members of the Arden Athletic Association appointed me their spokesman, and for an hour or two I labored to persuade the local magistrate that “gaming” meant gambling and not playing tennis and baseball. But the magistrate insisted that there was another statute against gambling, and he had no option but to find us guilty, and to fine us the sum of four dollars and costs, which amounted to a total of one hundred and thirty-two dollars. A large part of this would go to the magistrate and the constable, and we suspected that this was the basis of his decision; therefore we declined to pay our fines, and accepted the alternative of a jail-sentence. The limit under the law was twenty-four hours. We received eighteen, it being mercifully provided that our sentences should begin forthwith-at nine o’clock in the evening. We invited the constable to an ice-cream parlor, and served part of our sentence there, and another part of it taking a trolley-ride to the Newcastle County Workhouse. We sang songs on the way, and the motorman remarked that we were the happiest bunch of convicts he had ever taken to the institution.

This is a book on Journalism, and not on prison-reform, so I will be brief. We spent the night in cells which were swarming with vermin and had filthy, stinking toilets; we were served food which was unfit for animals, and we spent seven or eight hours working on a rock-pile under the charge of men, some of whom were brutal and dishonest. This was the state prison of Delaware, as well as the county workhouse, and it held three or four hundred men, white and black, some twenty of them serving life-sentences, working in a clothing-factory under a sweatshop contractor. The prison had been recently built, and was advertised as a model one, yet there was no exercise-court or spot where men serving life-sentences could get a glimpse of the sunlight or a breath of fresh air!

When we came out from the jail we were met by twenty-two newspaper reporters and three camera-men, and everything we had to say took the front page, top of column. Incidentally, I got a curious revelation. For years I had written poetry, and had never been able to get it published; but now I found that by the simple device of writing it in jail, I could get it on the front page of every newspaper in Philadelphia and New York! The poem was “The Menagerie,” which you may find in The Cry for Justice, if you are interested. I had lain on the floor of my cell all night, listening to the sounds which echoed through the long steel corridors. I quote two lines

And then in sudden stillness mark the sound—
Some beast that rasps his vermin-haunted hide.

When my cell-mate, Berkeley Tobey, read those lines, he remarked: “That’s me!” To which I answered: “Tobey, that’s you!”

What we told about conditions in that jail made an uproar in Delaware. There was still more uproar because the Anarchist shoemaker was threatening to have us arrested every Sunday, if the Economic Club continued to exclude him from its meetings; and we made investigation and discovered that members of the Wilmington Country Club, including the Attorney General of the State and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, were accustomed to play golf on Sunday. We served notice that we would employ detectives and have them all arrested and sent to the Newcastle County Workhouse every Monday, so that they might discover what it meant to be confined in a place with no exercise-court and no chance for a glimpse of sunlight or breath of fresh air. The magistrates of Wilmington held a private conference and decided that they would issue no more warrants upon the charge of “gaming on the Sabbath.” Also the prison commissioners of Newcastle County held a meeting and decided that they had been intending all along to add an exercise-court to the prison.

Here was a case where I got publicity from the newspapers; yet the reader will note, I do not show much gratitude. This story took the front page, not because the newspapers cared anything about conditions in the Newcastle County Workhouse, but solely because the story was funny. Van Valkenburg, publisher of the Philadelphia North American, told a friend of mine that it was the funniest newspaper story he remembered in his entire experience. And of course the facts about the jail conditions were an inseparable part of the fun. What “made” the story was precisely this-that eleven clean and well-educated and refined young idealists were taken and shut up all night in steel cells, were put in prison clothes and set to work on a stone-pile. The fact that the cells were alive with lice could not be omitted, if you were to appreciate the joke on a well-known charity-worker of Philadelphia, now advertising manager of the New Republic, who figured in a poem as “some beast that rasps his vermin-haunted hide.” The fact that the food served in the jail was vile was necessary to set off the joke that the author of The Jungle had made a bolt for an ice-cream parlor as soon as he was released. And so on.

I look back upon my life of nearly twenty years of muckraking, and am able to put my finger on exactly one concrete benefit that I have brought to mankind. Twenty or more men who are serving life-sentences in the Newcastle County Workhouse owe it to me that they get every now and then a glimpse of the sunlight and a breath of fresh air! These men know that they owe it to me, and I have the thought of their gratitude to warm my heart when I am tempted by “the blues.” One of our eleven Sabbath “gamesters,” Donald Stephens, became in war-time a conscientious objector, and was sentenced to the Newcastle County Workhouse in real earnest. He was recently released, and wrote me about his experiences; I quote:

You will be pleased to learn that the short visit we Ardenites paid that institution some years back and the publicity you gave to conditions then led to social improvements—chief of which was the building of an outside recreation yard. Some of the old-timers expressed heartfelt appreciation for the good work you did.

In view of this can you blame me if I am pursued by the thought of how much we could do to remedy social evils, if only we had an honest and disinterested press? Also, can you blame me if I stored away in my mind for future reference the fact that when it is necessary to get some important news into the papers, I can manage it by getting myself sent to jail? This is a discovery which is made, sooner or later, by all social reformers; and so going to jail becomes a popular diversion and an honorable public service.

CHAPTER XVIII: AN ESSENTIAL MONOGAMIST

The adventure of Sabbath “gaming” served as a curtain raiser to the great tragedy of my life. I pause on the brink of this tragedy, hesitating to take the plunge, even in memory; hesitating for the reader’s sake as much as for my own. I ask myself, “Will anybody endure to read a detailed statement of the grievances of one man, at a time when so many millions of men are suffering?” Again, reader, let me beg you to believe that I am not writing this book to defend myself. Amid the terrific events that are going on in the world at this hour, I would not take ten minutes of my time for such a purpose.

I am telling this story in defense of a cause. It was not I, but the cause, that was maimed and tortured through these years, and any other man in my place would have met my experience. The matter at issue in this book is not the character of Upton Sinclair, but the character of the machinery upon which you rely every day of your life for news of the world about you. If that machinery can be used deliberately and systematically to lie about Upton Sinclair, it can be used to disorganize the people’s movement throughout the world, and to set back the coming of Social Justice.

I grope in my mind for a simile to make clear how I feel about this book, how I would have you feel. Say to yourself that Upton Sinclair is a guinea-pig—surely a sufficiently unpretentious creature! It would be entirely preposterous of a guinea-pig to expect that a book should be written about him, or that a research-laboratory should devote its attention to him. But the scientist reaches into a pen full of guinea-pigs, and catches up one by the neck, and makes him the subject of an experiment—removes his thyroid gland, let us say, or gives him an injection of a serum. So suddenly it becomes of the utmost consequence what happens to this guinea-pig. Trained experts take his temperature every ten minutes; they keep a chart of his pulse, they watch his respiration, they analyze his excretions; and nobody thinks this preposterous—on the contrary, every man of science understands that the condition of this guinea-pig may be of greater moment to mankind than the fall of an empire.

So it is that I am giving this story; giving everything—because that is what science requires. In the case of the great tragedy of my life, my divorce scandal, I confront the ordeal with as much shrinking as ever any guinea-pig exhibited. During all the time of this affair, I refused again and again, in spite of great provocation, to say a public word in my own defense; nor have I ever told the story, except to a few intimate friends. The prospect of having to bring it up again was the cause of my putting off writing this book for several years.

Obviously, the story must be told. It is generally believed that there was something in the affair discreditable to me, and if now I pass it over, my critics will say: “Ah, yes! He is quite willing to play the game of frankness, so long as the cards run his way; but when his luck changes, then suddenly he gets ‘cold feet,’ and retires from the game!” Anyone can see that will not do; I must either tell this story, or I must leave the book unwritten. Having decided that it is my duty to write the book, I proceed to the story. I shall tell just as little as I have to tell, in order to make clear the part played by the newspapers. More especially, I shall do my best to spare the feelings of my former wife and her family. My former wife has remarried, and neither her maiden name nor her present name is anybody’s concern in this book.

In Ellen Key’s Love and Marriage occurs a passage explaining that while monogamy is probably the best marital arrangement for the majority of people, there are some individuals so constituted that monogamy is unsatisfactory to them; they find that the fulfillment of their nature requires that they should have more than one love at one time. When my former wife came upon that passage, she brought it to me in triumph. Here was the thesis upon which she had been arguing for many years, and here was a woman, recognized as a great teacher, who believed as she did. I do no unkindness to my former wife in making this statement, because she was accustomed to quote the passage to every one she met, and she defended it in published writings.

Now, I have a respect for Ellen Key’s personality, and for many of her ideas. I admit that she may know more about the nature of woman than I do, and may be correct in her statements as to the love-needs and the love-rights of some women. All I could say was that I found the idea offensive, and I would part company with anyone who acted upon it. What men and women might agree to do in some far-off blissful future I did not attempt to say, but for the present we lived in a world in which venereal disease was an unforgetable menace, and on this account if no other, one had the right to demand marital fidelity. I argued this question through long years, and my former wife found my arguments tiresome and oppressive. To the newspapers she described me as “an essential monogamist,” a phrase which gave great glee to the “Tenderloin” loungers and the newspaper wits who serve them. Just how these wits reconciled the phrase with the charge that I was a “free- lover,” I can not explain, nor have the wits explained it.

Now ordinarily, when Americans find that they are hopelessly disagreed upon such a question, they proceed to establish a residence in Reno or Texas. Etiquette requires that the man should pay all the expenses, and also that he should bear the odium involved. In one of Bernard Shaw’s plays he explains that the English law requires not merely infidelity, but cruelty in the presence of witnesses, and therefore the convention has come to be that the man and woman shall repair to the garden, and there in the presence of the gardener the husband shall knock his wife into a flower-bed. I remember some years ago Mr. Booth Tarkington stepped off a steamer from Europe and was informed by reporters that his wife was suing him for divorce, alleging cruelty; he was asked for a comment, and replied, graciously: “When one’s wife accuses one of cruelty, no gentleman would think of making a reply.”

I was prepared to play my part as a gentleman according to this standard, and several times I made the necessary practical arrangements; but each time the other party changed her mind. She pleaded that the world attached a certain stigma to “a divorced woman”; therefore, it was cruel and unkind for a man to insist upon having a divorce.

I might at least allow her the protection of my name. To this argument I was weak enough to yield.

I had endured for some eight years this kind of domestic precariousness; a maelstrom in which a man’s physical, mental, and moral integrity are subtly and bewilderingly tossed and buffeted and maimed. But finally I came upon certain facts which decided me to put an end to it. It happened in midsummer, when my lawyer was in the country, and in my haste to consult him I made the greatest blunder of my life. I sent a telegram inquiring whether a letter of admission from the other party was evidence in a divorce- suit in New York State; and to this telegram I signed my name.

I have since been told that it is a regular custom of the “yellow” journals, in places where the “smart set” or other people of prominence gather, to maintain relations with telegraph-clerks. When telegrams containing news or hints of news are filed, the clerk furnishes a copy to the newspaper, and is paid according to the importance of the “tip.” Three or four hours after I filed that telegram, I was called to the telephone by the New York American, which told me they had information that I was bringing suit for divorce. I was astounded, for I had not mentioned the matter to a soul. At first I denied the fact; but they said their information was positive, and they would publish the story. So it was a choice between having a false story or a true story made known, and I replied, “I will prepare a statement and send it to you some time this evening.” I prepared the briefest possible statement, to the effect that my wife had left me with another man, and had written to that effect, and that I was preparing to bring suit. The last paragraph read:

I make this statement because I have just learned that word of my intention has reached one newspaper, and I would rather the real facts were printed than anybody’s conjectures. I have nothing to add to this statement and I respectfully ask to be spared requests for interviews.

I sent this statement, and next morning the American published it on the front page, with my picture, and a picture of my former wife, and a picture of a boy which was not our boy, but a “fake.” I quote a few lines:

SINCLAIR ACCUSES HIS WIFE
Upton Sinclair, the author and social colonizer, in a surprising statement last night announced his intention to bring suit for divorce.....
The action of Mr. Sinclair in giving out such a statement, or bringing suit for divorce from his wife, will be a great surprise to his friends and co- workers.....

You will note the phrasing of this, so carefully calculated to make me odious—a man who rushed to the newspapers with an attack upon his wife! And then followed several paragraphs from that old and false San Francisco interview on marriage, to the effect that women are bought in marriage as dogs and horses are bought. How singular that a man who held such ideas should object to marital infidelity!

I am not going into detail concerning the horrors of the next few weeks. Suffice it to say that the herd had me down and proceeded to trample on my face. My personality, my affairs, my opinions and my every-day actions became the subject of discourse and speculation upon the front pages of the New York papers. My mother’s apartment, where I was living, was besieged by reporters, and when I refused to see them, it made no difference—they went away and wrote what they thought I might have said. The other party to the case was interviewed to the extent of pages—I mean literally pages. Gelett Burgess, who passes for a man of letters, and was one of the founders of the Author’s League of America, wrote a full-page burlesque of the tragedy, which was published with illustrations in the New York American. Mr. Burgess told a friend of mine some time afterwards that he had done it because he needed the money, but he was ashamed of having done it. It is not my wish to spare him any of this shame; therefore I reproduce the headlines of his elegant composition

Why Hungry Mrs. Upton Sinclair Went Home to Mamma.
Gelett Burgess Discusses the Failure of Poetry a la carte as an Appetite Satisfier, and the Triumph of a Meal Ticket over Free but Famished Love.

Also I ought not to fail to mention one of the editors of Life, who went to see my former wife in company with a fat little pig of a publisher, his pockets stuffed with bills, which were offered the lady to write a scandal-story of her life with me!

The opinions of the newspaper commentators on the scandal varied from day to day. The generally accepted explanation was that I had married an innocent young girl and taught her “free love” doctrines, and then, when she practised these doctrines, I kicked her out of my home. But some of the newspapers found the matter worse than that. The Chicago Evening Post gave an elaborate analysis of my character and motives. It said it would be possible to forgive me if what I had done was “the jealous rage of a male brute infuriated past reason”; but the awful truth was plain—I had done this deed as “publicity work” for the second volume of Love’s Pilgrimage!

The idea that there lived on earth a human being who could have enjoyed the experience I was then undergoing was one which would not have occurred to me; however, the fact that this newspaper writer could conceive it indicated that there was at least one such person living. I have since heard that certain actors and actresses have increased their fame and incomes by being many times divorced and remarried. But with authors it does not work out that way. Mitchell Kennerley, publisher of Love’s Pilgrimage, had been selling a thousand copies a week of this book, and after the divorce- scandal he did not sell a hundred copies in six months!

I felt in those terrible days precisely like a hunted animal which seeks refuge in a hole, and is tormented with sharp sticks and smoke and boiling water. Under the law it had been necessary for me to obtain certain evidence. I had taken steps to obtain it, and this became a source of mystery as thrilling as a detective-story. For days men followed me every step I took; my mail was tampered with continually, and likewise the mail of my friends. I ran away into the country to hide, I even changed my name for a while, but that did no good—I was found out. Up to this time I had never had a grey hair in my head, but I found many after these months, and have them still.

Among the mass of newspaper items I note one that seems trifling, yet is curiously significant. There appeared in the New York Times a telegraphic dispatch from Wilmington, Delaware, to the effect that I was being sued by a storekeeper in New Jersey for thirty-eight dollars worth of fertilizer. Stop and think a minute how many men in America are sued every day for bills which they refuse to pay, and how seldom does the New York Times hunt out such news by telegraph! Often I have tried to get radical news into the Times, and heard the editors plead space limitations; yet they found room for a dispatch about my being sued for thirty-eight dollars!

Five years before this I had owned a little farm, and had left it in charge of a man who contracted bills in my name.

I had paid all the bills which were properly rendered; but after four years had passed, and I had sold the farm and wiped the matter off my books, I received for the first time a bill for thirty-eight dollars worth of fertilizer. Naturally I refused to pay this bill; so I was sued—and the New York Times, having me down and desiring to trample further on my face, obtained the news and published it in connection with my divorce-scandal.

Nor was that all. The day after this item was published, there appeared in the New York World a column of humor about me, one part of which I quote. Please take the trouble to read it carefully, because it illustrates a significant point:

The following statement, with several long-hand corrections, was received by the World yesterday:
“With regard to the report that I am being sued for thirty-eight dollars worth of fertilizer I might mention that I am being sued for something I never purchased or received. The dealer has admitted in writing that he did not send me the bill until four years after the alleged purchase. I like to get my bills a little sooner than that.
Upton Sinclair.
“Please put the above in the form of an interview.”

Now this was funny, was it not? It was a complete exposition of an ass; reading it, you would be perfectly sure you were dealing with an ass—unless possibly with a crook. The Chicago Evening Post took the latter view. It quoted the tell-tale sentence with the comment: “Other papers fell for `Interviews,’ but it was evidently one of the World’s busy days, when not even a cub-reporter could be spared for rewrite.” On the basis of this, the Post went on to expose me as a cold and calculating notoriety-hunter.

Now what is the truth about the statement in the New York World? Here it is:

Three times in the course of that day the World had sent a reporter to seek me out. Would I not say something about the report of my intention to file my suit in Delaware instead of in New York? Would I not say something about the fact that a man had called up the New York World on the telephone, and announced himself as the co-respondent in my divorce case, on his way to have a fist-fight with me? Finally, the third time, would I not at least say something about this suit for thirty-eight dollars worth of fertilizer?

I saw no reason why I should not state the facts in this last matter, so I said to the reporter: “I will not give an interview, because I have been misquoted so many times, and am sick of it. But I will write out what I have to say, and you can make an interview of that, provided you do not change it. I have to look up the dates of the fertilizer bill, and I’ll send what I have to say by a messenger.” This was agreed to, and I wrote out the statement. Having been previously made to appear as seeking publicity, I wanted to be particularly careful in this case, so to remind the reporter of his promise, I added: “Put the above in the form of an interview.”

I have often written those words in sending copy to newspapers. For example, they wire asking for an expression of opinion, and in replying, I remind them that they made the first move, not I. They perfectly understand the meaning of the request, “Put the above in the form of an interview,” and do not commit a breach of confidence except for a definite purpose, to make some person odious. In this particular case it was no oversight, no lack of a “cub- reporter”; it was the deliberate act of malice of the World reporter, abetted by the editors who passed the copy. I know that my statement reached the right reporter, because the rest of the article contained things which he had said to me in the course of his calls. I have gone into such minute detail about this episode, because it shows so perfectly how these corrupt and greedy newspapers have you at their mercy. They do whatever they please to you, and you are helpless. If for any reason, good or bad, you make them angry, they trample you like a vicious stallion. Or perhaps you seem funny to them, and then they amuse themselves with you, about as a wanton child who picks a butterfly to pieces.

CHAPTER XIX: IN THE LION’S DEN

To understand the rest of this episode, you must know something about the divorce laws of New York, and about divorce procedure. The code of the State, which was framed by a combination of Puritan bigotry with Roman Catholic obscurantism, requires infidelity legally proven. The defendant cannot confess, and neither party to the suit can testify against the other; moreover, if it appears that both have desired the divorce or consented to the divorce, there is “collusion” and the divorce is not granted. These laws are administered by judges who are almost invariably corrupt, many of them in addition being under the spell of Catholic superstition, considering that they have decreased the period of their sojourn in purgatory when they succeed in twisting the law or the evidence so as to balk some person’s desire to be free from marital disharmony.

Into this jungle of ravening beasts and poisonous serpents I now walked, unarmed and unprotected—having made the mistake of employing a lawyer who was a sensitive and honorable gentleman. The Court appointed a referee to hear the case, and before this referee I appeared with my counsel and my witnesses; also there appeared the counsel for the other party, as required by law, and a solemn farce was played. The referee had got the case as a morsel of graft from the infamous Tammany machine; whether he was malicious or merely ignorant, I do not know, but he was evidently possessed with curiosity concerning the notorious scandal, and questioned me concerning my attitude toward the matters in evidence—how I had regarded them and what I had done about them. My attorney objected that under the law I was not permitted to testify concerning my wife’s conduct, but the referee insisted that I should answer his questions, and for fear of angering him, and possibly exciting his suspicions, I answered.

Under the law it was provided that all this testimony should be secret, the property of the Court. My attorney and the attorney for the other party demanded of the referee and of the clerk of the Court that the law should be obeyed. But when the referee’s report was handed in, a full account of it and of the testimony was published in every newspaper in New York. When inquiry was made by my attorney, it developed that twenty-six different clerks had had access to those papers, and it was not possible to determine which one of the twenty-six had accepted a bribe from the newspapers. Suffice it to say that the whole obscene story was spread before the world. I say “obscene”—it was that of necessity, you understand; the New York State divorce law requires it to be that, literally. The law requires that the witnesses must have seen something tending to prove a physical act of infidelity; and if they shrink from going into detail, the referee compels them to go into detail—and then the details are served as delicious tidbits by the “yellow” journals.

I waited a month or two in suspense and shame, until at last the august judge handed down his decision. The referee had erred in questioning me as to the other party’s actions and my attitude thereto; therefore the referee’s recommendations were not accepted, and another referee must be appointed and the solemn farce must be gone through with a second time. I observed with bewildered interest that the erring referee was not compelled to return to me the money which the law had compelled me to turn over to him as his share of the “swag.” I must pay another referee and a new set of court costs, and must wait several months longer for my peace of soul and self-respect to be restored to me.

The second referee was appointed and the farce was played again. This time the referee would make no mistake, he would ask me no questions; he was a business-like gentleman, and put the job through in short order. He turned in his report, with the recommendation that my petition should be granted; and again the newspapers got the story—only now, of course, it was a stale story, the public was sick of the very name of me.

Again I waited in an agony of suspense, until a Roman Catholic judge handed down his august decision. It appeared that the evidence in the case was defective. The other party had been identified by means of photographs, and this was not admissible. Both attorneys in the case and the referee declared that there were innumerable precedents for photographs having been admitted, but the Roman Catholic judge said no. Also he said that there was some indication of “collusion”; I had behaved too humanely towards the other party in the domestic conflict. Apparently it was my legal duty to behave like Othello, or to do what the relatives of Heloise did to Abelard.

I understood, of course, what the decision meant; the Roman Catholic judge had got his opportunity to step upon the nose of a notorious Socialist, and he had taken it. My lawyer urged me to appeal the case, but I remembered a talk I had had with James B. Dill three or four years previously. Dill was the highest paid corporation-lawyer in America, having been paid a million dollars for organizing the Steel Trust. Before he died, he was judge of the highest court of New Jersey, and I had spent long evenings at his home listening to his anecdotes. I recalled one remark: “There are twenty-two judges of the Appellate Court in New York State, and only three of them are honest. To each of the other nineteen I can say, I know whose man you are; I know who paid you and just how he paid you. And not one of them would be able to deny my statements.” Reflecting on this, I decided that I would not spend any more of my hard-earned money in appealing—more especially as by so doing I stood to lose what little privacy the law had preserved to me; the law required that in the event of an appeal I must pay to have the evidence in the case printed, and made public property forever! I had received a letter from my friend Dr. Frederik van Eeden, the Dutch poet and novelist, assuring me that he lived in a civilized country, where divorce was granted upon admission of infidelity, without evidence being given. So I set out for Holland; and in establishing my residence I did not have to resort to any technicalities. I really intended to spend the rest of my life in Europe; it seemed to me that I could not bear the sight of America again.

My earning power had, of course, been entirely destroyed; no one would read my books, no one would publish what I wrote. As Mitchell Kennerley said to me: “If people can read about you for one cent, they are not going to pay a dollar and a half to do it.” Also, my health seemed permanently undermined; I did not think I was going to live, and I did not very much care. But I established my residence in Holland and obtained my divorce, quietly, and without scandal. I wish to pay tribute to the kindest and most friendly people I have ever met—the Dutch. When I came to them, sick with grief, they did not probe into my shame; they invited me to their drawing-rooms for discussions of literature and art, and with tact and sweetness they let me warm my shivering heart at their firesides. Their newspapers treated me as a man of letters—an entirely new experience to me. They sent men of culture and understanding to ask my opinions, and they published these opinions correctly and with dignity. When I filed my divorce-suit they published nothing. When the decree was granted, they published three or four lines about it in the columns given to court proceedings, a bare statement of the names and dates, as required by law. And even when I proposed to rid my home of fleas by means of cyanogen gas, they did not spread the fact on the front pages of their newspapers, making it a “comic relief” story for the vacuous-minded crowd.

There were many men in Holland, as in England and Germany and Italy and France, who hated and feared my Socialist ideas. I made no secret of my ideas; I spoke on public platforms abroad, as I had spoken at home. When reporters for the great Tory newspapers of England came to interview me, I told them of the war that was coming with Germany, and how bitterly England would repent her lack of education and modern efficiency, and her failure to feed and house her workers as human beings. These opinions were hateful to the British Tories, and they attacked me; but they did not attack the author of the opinions, by making him into a public scarecrow and publishing scandals about his private life. This, as my Dutch chemist would have said, is “a characteristically American procedure”!

CHAPTER XX: THE STORY OF A LYNCHING

The first American I visited in Europe was George D. Herron, then living in Florence, the home of his favorite poet, Dante. Dante had been exiled from Florence by the oligarchy which ruled that city, and in exactly the same way Herron had been exiled from America by America’s oligarchy, the capitalist press. I had known him for ten years, and had witnessed his martyrdom at first hand. The story is told in full in some pages of Love’s Pilgrimage, but I must sketch it here, where I am dealing with the subject of marriage and divorce, and the attitude of our Journalism thereto. As it happens, the story is timely, for Herron has again been brought into the public eye, and the capitalist press has dragged out the old skeleton and rattled its dry bones before the world.

George D. Herron had been a clergyman, a professor of Christian morals in a Middle Western college. He had been married as a boy and was wretchedly unhappy. I am not free to discuss that early marriage; suffice it to say that when he told me the story, the tears came into his eyes. He had become a Socialist, and had set out to preach the cause of the poor and oppressed from one end of America to the other. Among his converts was an elderly rich woman, Mrs. Rand, whose fortune came from railroad and lumber interests in the Middle West. And now Herron came to love the daughter of Mrs. Rand. Being a clergyman, he had no idea of divorcing his wife, and the discovery that he loved another woman only added to his misery. His health gave way under the strain, but he held out—until finally his wife brought suit for divorce, alleging desertion.

Herron had founded a Christian Socialist organization, and was one of the most popular radical orators in the country. He was a dangerous man to the “interests,” and here was the chance to destroy him. A perfect storm of obloquy and abuse overwhelmed him. He was a “free lover,” they declared, a proof of the claim that all Socialists believed and practised “free love.” The Rev. Newell Dwight Hillis refused to shake hands with him, turning his back upon him on a public platform: Newell Dwight Hillis, whose greed for money led him into a series of disgusting scandals, and forced him finally to bow his head with shame and confess his financial sins before his congregation! The Rev. Thomas Dixon wrote a novel, The One Woman, in which he portrayed Herron as a sort of human gorilla: Dixon, dealer in pulpit-slang, who has since turned to the movies as a means of glorifying race-hatred and militarism, and pouring out his venom upon all that is humane and generous in life.

I have many friends who were present at the marriage of George D. Herron and Carrie Rand. They were married by a Congregational clergyman, William Thurston Brown, and I have seen the marriage certificate. Yet all over this country, and in fact all over the world, the newspapers portrayed the ceremony as a “free love wedding,” no real marriage, but just a say-so to be terminated at pleasure. The most horrible tales were told, the most horrible pictures were published—of Herron, and of his first wife, and of his “soul mate” and his “soul mate’s” mother.

I saw that the strain of the thing was killing Herron, and persuaded him to go abroad to live and do his writing. Three or four years later old Mrs. Rand died, leaving a part of her money to found the Rand School; Herron and his wife came home to bury her, and again the storm broke out. He had purchased a farm at Metuchen, New Jersey, intending to live there; a reporter came, representing that the Cosmopolitan Magazine wished to publish a series of articles about the wives of distinguished American writers. On this pretext the reporter obtained a photograph of a painting which Herron had had made of his wife and baby, and a week later there appeared in the magazine section of the New York Sunday American a horrible scare story about the “free love colony” which Herron was founding in the midst of an exclusive residential suburb of New Jersey. There was a picture of the free love wife and the free love baby, and of Herron standing upon a ladder, tacking upon a wall his repudiation of the institution of marriage. The headlines ran:

ELEVEN MILLION DOLLARS TO PROMOTE THIS DOCTRINE
How the Vast Fortune of the Late Mrs. Rand, Who Gave Prof. Herron’s Deserted Wife $60,000 to Divorce Him, is Being Used in an Amazing Warfare on Marriage and Religion Under the Leadership of Herron and Mrs. Rand’s Daughter.

This story went all over the country, and recently when Herron was named by President Wilson as one of the delegates to confer with the Russian Soviets, the story was rehashed in our newspapers, and made the subject of indignant protest by religious bodies. Having visited this Metuchen home and seen the whole story in the making, I am in a position to state that the Metuchen “free love colony” was entirely a product of the obscene minds of the editors of the “Sunday Yellows.” What is the moral character of these “yellow” editors you may judge from the fact that, soon after this, one of the editors of the “Sunday World” was arrested by Anthony Comstock and sent to jail for a year or two, for having in his possession several thousand obscene photographs which he used in the corrupting of boys. In such minds the Metuchen story was born; and seventeen years later its foul carcass is exhumed by the Churchman, organ of “the Church of Good Society” in New York, and made the basis of a vicious sneer at President Wilson. I quote:

In dealing with Russian liberals, it may be necessary to select as mediators men who share their political ideas. It is not necessary to choose men who share their moral practices. We read that the Presbyterian Union of Newark has adopted resolutions protesting against the appointment of George D. Herron as a representative of the United States to confer with the Bolsheviks. The resolution condemns Herron as a man who has flagrantly violated the laws of God and man, and they call upon President Wilson to revoke his appointment. They go into past history and assert that Mr. Herron endeavored at one time to establish a free love colony at Metuchen, New Jersey.
Time wasted! We warn the Newark protestants. Mr. Herron’s appointment will not be revoked. What is the marriage vow among the makers of millenniums?

And lest you think this is merely odium theologicum , I give an example of the comment of the laity, from Harvey’s Weekly:

Why not make Herron the Turkish Mandatory? Herron’s matrimonial views are broad and comprehensive. His poultry-yard standard of morals might possibly be a little looser than the Turkish, but he would doubtless conform himself in theory and practice to the narrower Turkish matrimonial prejudices.

I wonder which is the more disagreeable phenomenon, sexual license or venal hypocrisy. It is a question I face when I read denunciations of the morals of radicals in capitalist newspapers. I have known men and women in a score of different worlds; I have talked with them and compared their sexual ethics, and I know that the newspaper people cannot afford to throw stones at the rest.

There are causes for this, of course. Their work is irregular and exhausting; they squeeze out the juices from their nerve-centers, they work under high pressure, in furious competition. Such men are apt to make immoderate use of tobacco and alcohol, and to take their pleasure where they find it. But this applies only to the rank and file in the newspaper world, to reporters and penny-a-liners; it does not apply to the big men at the top. These men have ease and security, and surely we might expect them to conform to the moral laws which they lay down for the rest of mankind!

I have in mind a certain editor. In this book where I am sparing no one, I should perhaps give his name; but I yield to human weakness, having been a guest at his home. Suffice it to say that this editor is one of America’s very greatest, one to whom the masses of Americans look every day for enlightenment. This man wrote and published a most atrocious editorial concerning Herron’s sexual morals. And what was his own sexual life at the time?

When The Jungle was published, this editor wrote to me that he had a friend who wished very much to meet me. I accepted, and went to dinner in a beautiful apartment in New York, luxuriously furnished, where I met a charming and cultured lady whom I will call Mrs. Smith. There were two lovely children, and there was Mr. Smith, a quiet, rather insignificant gentleman. I spent an enjoyable evening, and went away with no suspicion of anything unusual in the Smith family. But afterwards, when I mentioned the matter to others who knew this editor, I learned that the editor was the father of the children, and that Mr. Smith was maintained in luxury as a blind to cover the situation. I could hardly believe my ears; but I found that everybody who knew this editor intimately knew all about it, and that the editor made no secret of it among his friends. Later on, I came to know a certain brilliant and beautiful young suffrage leader, since deceased, who told me how she had exercised the privilege of the modern emancipated young woman, and had asked this editor to marry her. His answer was that he was very sorry, but he was not free, Mrs. Smith having given him to understand that if ever he left her, she would kill herself.

Here again we face the New York State law, forced upon the public by the Roman Catholic Church, making the grounds of divorce infidelity plus a scandal. Driven by the terror of scandal, men have been led by thousands and tens of thousands to make arrangements such as I have here described. Believing as I do that this divorce-law is an abomination, a product of vicious priest-craft, I hesitate before I blame these men; but no one need hesitate to blame them when, knowing what the law is, and what they themselves have been driven to, they publicly spit upon and trample the face of a modern prophet like George D. Herron.

And lest you think this case exceptional, I will give you another. There is a newspaper in New York, a pillar of capitalist respectability, the very corner-stone of the temple of bourgeois authority. This paper, of course, denounced Herron in unmeasured terms; recently it took up the attack again, in its solemn and ponderous manner rebuking the President for his lack of understanding of the moral sentiments of the American people. This great newspaper is owned and published by a Hebrew gentleman, intimately connected with the great financial interests of New York. He is one of the most respectable Hebrew gentlemen imaginable. And what are his sexual habits?

I know a lady, one of America’s popular novelists. She is a charming lady, but without a trace of that appearance and manner which in the world is called “fast”; on the contrary, she is one of the women you know to be straightforward and self-respecting, the kind you would choose for your sister. She came to New York, young and inexperienced, desirous of earning a living. Naturally, she thought first of this great publisher, whom she had known socially in her home city. She went to him and told him that she had made something of a success at writing, and she wanted to write for the great metropolitan paper. He answered that he would be delighted, and arrangements were made. They were alone in the office, and she stood by his desk to shake hands with him in parting, and he pulled her over and took her on his knee; whereupon she boxed his ears and walked out of the office, and never did any writing for the great metropolitan paper.

The above anecdote is, of course, hearsay so far as I am concerned. I was not in the publisher’s office, and I did not see him take the lady-novelist on his knee; but my wife and I knew this lady-novelist well, and she had no possible motive for telling us a falsehood. The story came up casually in the course of conversation, and was told spontaneously, and with humor; for the lady takes life cheerfully, and had got over being angry with the publisher- -satisfied, I suppose, with having boxed his ears so thoroughly. I wrote to her, to make sure I had got matters straight, and in reply she asked me not to use the story, even without her name. I quote:

You know, of course, that I should be glad to do, at once and freely, anything I could to be helpful in your affairs. I have thought it over and it stands about like this in my mind. I am living a life that has its own aims—a thing apart from public attack and defense. If I had determined to make public—after all these years—any offense ——- was guilty of toward me, my own feeling is clear that I should do it myself, openly and for reasons that seemed to me compelling. . . . . So leave me out of this matter, my dear Upton.

And so I confront a problem of conscience, or at any rate of etiquette. Have I the right to tell this story, even without giving names? I owe a certain loyalty to this friend; but then, I think of the great publisher, and the manifold falsehoods I have known him to feed to the public. I think of the prestige of such men, their solemn hypocrisy, their ponderous respectability. After weighing the matter, I am risking a friendship and telling the story. I hope that in the course of time the lady will realize my point of view, and forgive me.

A different kind of problem confronts me with another story, which I heard three or four years ago, just after it happened. I had this book in mind at the time, and I said to myself: “I’ll name that man, and take the consequences.” But meantime, alas, the man has died; and now I ask myself “Can I tell this story about a dead man, a man who cannot face me and compel me to take the consequences?” I think of the man’s life-long prostitution of truth, his infinite betrayal of the public interest, and I harden my heart, and write the story, naming him. But then I weaken, and ask advice. I ask women, and they say: “Name him!” I ask men, and they say: “You cannot tell such a story about a dead man!” Which is right?

Everything that the profit-system could do for one of its darlings had been done for this man. Millions of books, millions of magazinelets went out bearing his name; wealth, power, prominence, applause—all these things he had; his life was one long triumph—and one long treason to public welfare. And what was the man’s private life? What use did he make of his fame, and more especially of his wealth?

The story was told to me by a woman-writer—not the one I have just referred to, but as different from her as one woman can be from another: a vivid and dashing creature, especially constructed both in body and mind for the confounding of the male. This lady was standing on a corner of Fifth Avenue, waiting for the stage, when a man stepped up beside her, and said out of the corner of his mouth, “I’ll give you five dollars if you come with me.” The lady made no response, and again the voice said, “I’ll give you ten dollars if you come with me.” Again there was no response, and the voice said, “I’ll give you twenty-five dollars if you come with me.” The stage arrived, and the auction was interrupted. But it happened that evening that the lady was invited to a dinner-party, to meet a great literary celebrity, a darling of the profit-system—and behold, it was the man who had bid for her on the street! “Mr. —- and I have met before,” said the lady, icily; and, as she writes me, “this paralyzed him.”

I ask this lady if I may tell the story. She answers: “Go the limit!” So here, at least, my conscience is at ease!

CHAPTER XXI: JOURNALISM AND BURGLARY

I was obliged to return to America to give testimony concerning an automobile accident of which I had been a witness. I had been sitting in the rear seat of a friend’s car, which was proceeding at a very moderate rate of speed along a down-town street, when a fruit-peddler leaped out from behind an ice-wagon. He had a bunch of bananas in his hand and was looking up toward a woman in a window; he was not two feet ahead of the car when he sprang in front of it, and was struck before those in the car could move a finger. The account in the news column of the New York Times made clear that I had been merely a passenger, in another man’s car, yet the Times found space on its editorial page for a letter from some correspondent, sneering at me as a Socialist who rode down poor men in automobiles!

During my return to America I remarried. The ceremony took place in Virginia, at the home of relatives of my wife’s family, and I was interested to observe that the Times, which had pursued me so continually, printed a perfectly respectful account of the wedding, with no editorial sneers. I was not puzzled by this, for I observed that the Times had taken the trouble to telegraph to Mississippi, to make inquiries concerning the lady I was marrying, and the report from their correspondent stated that the bride’s father was “one of the wealthiest men in this section, and controls large banking interests.” How many, many times I have observed the great organ of American plutocracy thus awed into decency by wealth! When Frank Walsh, as chairman of the United States Commission on Industrial Relations, made a radical speech in New York, the Times telegraphed to Kansas City and learned that Walsh was a lawyer earning an income of fifty thousand dollars a year. It was comical to observe the struggle between its desire to lambast a man who had made a radical speech, and its cringing before a man who was earning fifty thousand dollars a year!

In the same way, I have observed the attitude of the New York newspapers toward my friend, J.G. Phelps Stokes, a Socialist who is reputed to be a millionaire, and who belongs to one of the oldest families in New York “society.”

So it makes no difference what he says or does, you never see a disrespectful word about him in a New York newspaper. On one occasion, I remember, he and his wife made Socialist speeches from a fire-escape in the tenement-district of New York—and even that was treated respectfully! Upton Sinclair, who is not reputed to be a millionaire, gave a perfectly decorous lecture on Socialism, at the request of his fellow passengers on an ocean-liner—and when he landed in New York he read in the Evening World that he had delivered a “tirade.” I might add that the above remarks are not to be taken as in any manner derogatory to Stokes, who is in no possible way to blame for the fact that the newspapers spare him the treatment they give to other American Socialists, including Mrs. Stokes.

At this time ten or twenty thousand silk-workers in Paterson, New Jersey, went on strike, affording the usual spectacle—a horde of ill-paid, half-starved wage slaves being bludgeoned into submission by policemen’s clubs, backed by propaganda of lying newspapers. The silk-mill owners of Paterson of course owned the city government, and were using the police-force to prevent meetings of the strikers; but it happened that the near-by village of Haledon had a Socialist mayor, and there was no way to keep the strikers from walking there for open air mass-meetings. There was clamor for the State troops to prevent such gatherings, and the newspapers were called on to make them into near-riots. My wife and I would go out to the place and attend a perfectly orderly gathering, addressed by such men as Ernest Poole and Hutchins Hapgood, and then we would come back to New York and buy a copy of the Evening Telegram and read all across the front page scare-headlines about riots, dynamite and assassination. I have before me a clipping from the New York World, of Monday, May 19, 1913. “Paterson’s Fiercest Fight Feared Today,” runs the headline.

On this same date my old friend the New York Times achieved a little masterpiece of subtle knavery. I quote:

UPTON SINCLAIR IS HEARD
After Mohl came another newcomer so far as Paterson is concerned—Upton Sinclair.
“I just simply could not stand it any longer,” said Sinclair, “and I let my books go and came here to congratulate you. Yours is the finest exhibition of solidarity ever seen in the Eastern States.”
Sinclair stated that the strikers had the police at their mercy, but added that perhaps they did not realize it.

This, please understand, was part of a campaign to make the general public regard the Paterson silk-workers as anarchists and desperadoes. “The strikers have the police at their mercy,” says Sinclair; and what conclusion does the reader draw from these words? Obviously, Sinclair is advising the strikers to grab up clubs and brick-bats and overwhelm the police. You would have drawn that conclusion, would you not? Perhaps maybe you are one of the readers of the Times, and did draw that conclusion! As it happens, when I read that item, I took the trouble to jot down what I actually did say, and to preserve the record along with the clipping. I quote:

You fellows go out on the picket-line and the police fall upon you with clubs, they ride you down with their horses, they raid your offices, and suppress your papers and throw your leaders into jail, and you think you are helpless. You don’t realize that you have the police at your mercy. All those policemen are appointed by the city government; they get their orders from the city government and every year or two you go to the ballot-box and say whether you like what they have been doing. In other words, you vote for Republican or Democratic politicians, instead of electing Socialists to office, and having a city government that will give you your lawful rights.

To get the full significance of the above, you must realize that this was an I. W. W. strike; I went out to a meeting conducted by Bill Haywood and Carlo Tresca and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, and was permitted to preach a doctrine of political action which these leaders despised. I, who have all my life urged upon the workers of America the futility of the strike alone, and the necessity of political action, went out and said my say in the midst of a campaign of “direct action”; and see how much understanding I got from the great metropolitan newspapers for my defense of political methods! One year later, after the Colorado coal-strike, the little urchins in the village of Croton-on-Hudson where I lived used to follow me on the street and shout: “I won’t work!” I used to reflect that our great organs of publicity, the New York Times and World and Herald and Tribune and Sun, stood upon precisely the same level of intelligence as these little village urchins.

At this time the newspapers were trying to obtain from me a photograph of the lady who went with me to strike-meetings, in spite of the fact that her father was “one of the wealthiest men in this section, and controls large banking interests.” They didn’t get the photograph, so they were in desperate straits. A reporter for a Philadelphia newspaper—I have the clipping, but unfortunately not the name of the paper—went to Arden to look me up, and was told by my friend Donald Stephens that I was not there. The homes in Arden are scattered about through the woods, and life is informal; I had locked the doors of my house, but the windows were not fastened. I am not in a position to prove that the reporter for a Philadelphia newspaper burglarized my house and stole a picture of my wife. I cannot state positively that a course in house-breaking is a part of the training of newspaper reporters in the City of Brotherly Love. All I can state is the following set of facts:

  1. In my desk in the house there lay a kodak-picture of my wife and myself and my wife’s younger sister.
  2. This copy was the only one in existence, having been taken by my sister-in-law in an out-of-the-way place, and developed by a photographer who knew nothing about us.
  3. Upon my return to Arden, this picture was discovered to be missing from my desk.
  4. This missing picture was published in a Philadelphia newspaper.

CHAPTER XXII: A MILLIONAIRE AND AN AUTHOR

The thesis of this book is that our newspapers do not represent public interests, but private interests; they do not represent humanity, but property; they value a man, not because he is great, or good, or wise, or useful, but because he is wealthy, or of service to vested wealth. And suppose that you wished to make a test of this thesis, a test of the most rigid scientific character—what would you do? You would put up two men, one representing property, the other representing humanity. You would endeavor rigidly to exclude all other factors; you would find one man who represented property to the exclusion of humanity, and you would find another man who represented humanity to the exclusion of property. You would put these two men before the public, having them do the same thing, so far as humanly possible, and then you would keep a record of the newspaper results. These results would give you mathematically, in column-inches, the relative importance to each newspaper of the man of property and the man of humanity. Such an exact, scientific test I have now to record.

I introduce the two persons. First, the man of humanity: At the time the test was made, in December, 1913, he was thirty-five years of age; he was known everywhere throughout the United States, and was, with the possible exception of Jack London, the most widely known of living American writers throughout the world. At the time of the test he did not own more than a couple of hundred dollars.

Second, the man of property. He was at this time twenty-two years of age, and had done four things which had been widely heralded: First, he was born. Second, he decided to conduct some experiments in farming. Third, he decided to marry a young lady of his acquaintance. Fourth, he inherited sixty-five million dollars. Three of these things are not at all unusual; many a farmer’s boy has done them, and has not had the distinction of seeing the newspapers devote columns of space to them. But the other thing is quite unique; since the beginning of American history, no other person has ever inherited sixty-five million dollars. So it may be asserted beyond dispute that this young man’s reputation depended upon property, and nothing but property; he was the perfect specimen which the sociological scientist would require for his test—the man of property pur sang.

And now for the action of the two men. It appears that the New York Times, a great organ of world-capitalism, in its efforts to camouflage its true functions, had resorted to the ancient device of charity, used by the Christian Church ever since it sold out to the Emperor Constantine. Early in December of each year the Times publishes a list which it calls “One Hundred Neediest Cases,” and collects money for these hundred families in distress. The Times never goes into the question of the social system which produces these harrowing cases, nor does it allow anyone else to go into this question; what it does is to present the hundred victims of the system with enough money to preserve them until the following December, so that they may again enter into competition for mention in the list, and have their miseries exploited by the Times.

In addition to this, the Times publishes every Sunday an illustrated supplement of pictures to entertain its variety of readers; and it happened that on the Sunday when it published the “Hundred Neediest Cases” it published also a photograph of a “recreation building” which young Mr. Vincent Astor was erecting on his country estate at a cost of one million dollars. This building was for the use of Astor and his friends; it had no place for the public. It was devoted to tennis and swimming and gymnastics; it had no place for literature, music, art, science, or religion—it was a typical product of the private property regime. So the man who represented humanity sat himself down and wrote a “Christmas letter” to the millionaire, in substance asking him how he could enjoy his Christmas, how he could be content to play in a million-dollar “recreation-building,” when he had before him such positive evidence that millions of his fellow-beings were starving. This letter was picturesque, interesting and well-written; as news it was in every way “live.”

So came the first test. This “Christmas letter” to Vincent Astor was offered to every newspaper in New York City on the same date, addressed “City Editor,” special delivery. It was sent to both morning and afternoon papers. And how many published it? Just one—the New York Call—the Socialist paper. No other paper in New York, morning or afternoon, printed a line of it, or referred to it in any way. It was offered to every big news agency in the country. And how many handled it? Not one. Outside of New York it was published in the Appeal to Reason, and in one Chicago paper which happened to be edited by a personal friend of the author’s. So here you have the first verdict of the capitalist journalism of New York City; a letter written by a man of humanity represents a total news-value of precisely 0.

There the matter might have rested, the test might never have been completed, but for the fact that the millionaire disagreed with the judgment of his newspaper editors; he thought the letter of the author was important, and he answered it.

How this came to happen I have no idea. Maybe the millionaire’s conscience was touched; maybe he had ambition to be something else than a man of property pur sang. Maybe he himself wrote the answer; maybe some shrewd family lawyer wrote it; maybe his secretary or some other employe wrote it—all I know is that two or three weeks later the millionaire wrote to the author, and at the same time gave his letter to the newspapers.

The author’s letter had been, of course, an attack upon capitalism. The millionaire’s was a defense of it. And so came the second test. Every New York newspaper was offered an opportunity to publish the millionaire’s letter to the author. And how many availed themselves of the opportunity? Every one, absolutely every one! Every one published the letter, and published it entire! Most of them put it on the front page, with the millionaire’s picture; some of them added columns of interviews about it, and editorials discussing it. The New York newspapers’ idea of the news- value of a man of property was precisely one hundred per cent!

The above would have been sufficient for any sociological scientist; but, as it happened, the test was carried one stage farther yet. The author was not entirely overwhelmed by the evidence of his unimportance as compared with a millionaire; he was a Socialist, and Socialists are notoriously hard to squelch. He wrote a second letter to the millionaire, answering the millionaire’s arguments; and again he offered it to every paper and to every news agency in New York—the same ones that had spread out the millionaire’s arguments in full. And how many printed it? How many printed the whole of it? Just one—the Call, the Socialist paper. How many printed parts of it? And how large were these parts? Let us see.

The author’s first letter measured in newspaper columns sixty-three inches; the millionaire’s reply measured nineteen, and the author’s reply to that measured sixty-one. If it be objected that the author was claiming more than his fair share, it should be pointed out that the author was attacking an established institution, something one cannot do in a few sentences. On the other hand, the most foolish person can reply, “I don’t agree with you”—and claim the virtue of brevity. Also, be it noted that the question here is not what the author claimed , but what he got . Here is a table showing what he got, in column inches, from the leading morning papers of New York:

  Author Millionaire Author
Times 0 19 0
 Herald 0 19 0
Press 0 19 0
 Tribune 0 19 0
 American 0 19 2
World 0 19 2 ¼
Sun 0 19 4 ½
Call 63 19 61

Let it be noted that the above takes no account of headlines, which were all big for the millionaire and small for the author; it does not include editorials, interviews and photographs, nor does it reckon the advantage of first- page position.

In order to make the significance of the figures quite clear, let them be reduced to percentages. Each paper had 124 author-inches offered to it, and 19 millionaire-inches. To begin with the Times: this paper printed all the millionaire inches—also a few extra which it hunted up for itself; it printed none at all of the author-inches. Hence we see that, to put it mathematically, the Times considers an author absolutely nothing in comparison with a millionaire. Exactly the same is true of the Herald, the Press, and the Tribune. The World printed 100 percent of possible millionaire-inches and less than 2 percent of possible author-inches, thus giving the millionaire more than fifty times the advantage. Similarly, the American favored him sixty to one. The Call placed the two on a par—that is to say, the Call printed the news .

I conclude the account of this little episode by quoting a passage from the published Memoirs of a wise old Chinese gentleman, Li-Hung-Chang, who happened to be a man of humanity as well as of property:

A poor man is ever at a disadvantage in matters of public concern. When he rises to speak, or writes a letter to his superiors, they ask: “Who is this fellow that offers advice?” And when it is known that he is without coin they spit their hands at him, and use his letters in the cooks’ fires. But if it be a man of wealth who would speak, or write, or denounce, even though he have the brain of a yearling dromedary, or a spine as crooked and unseemly, the whole city listens to his words and declares them wise.

CHAPTER XXIII: THE “HEART WIFE”

The next story has to do with the phenomenon known as “Hearst Journalism.” It is a most extraordinary story; in its sensational elements it discounts the most lurid detective yarn, it discounts anything which is published in the Hearst newspapers themselves. At first the reader may find it beyond belief; if so, let him bear in mind that the story was published in full in the New York Call for August 9, 1914, and that no one of the parties named brought a libel suit, nor made so much as a peep concerning the charges. I may fairly assert that this story of “Hearst Journalism” is one which Mr. Hearst and his editors themselves admit to be true.

William Randolph Hearst has been at various times a candidate for high office in America, and has been able to exert much influence on the course of the Democratic party—in New York, in Illinois, and even throughout the nation. What are the Hearst newspapers? How are they made? And what is the character of the men who make them? These questions seem to me of sufficient importance to be worth answering in detail.

In order to make matters clear from the outset, let me point out to the reader that, for once, I am not dealing with a grievance of my own. Throughout this whole affair my purpose was to get some money from a Hearst newspaper, but I was not trying to get this money for myself; I was trying to get it for a destitute and distracted woman. All parties concerned knew that and knew it beyond dispute. The wrong was done, not to me, but to a destitute and distracted woman, and so I can present to the reader a case in which he can not possibly attribute an ulterior motive to me.

The story began at Christmas, 1913. In the New York papers there appeared one day an account of the death of a lawyer named Couch, in the little town of Monticello, N. Y. This man was nearly 60 years old, a cripple and eccentric, who lived most of the time in his little office in the village, going once a week to the home upon the hill where lived his wife and family. The news of his death in the middle of the night was brought to a physician by a strange, terrified woman, who was afterwards missing, but next day was discovered by Mr. Couch’s widow and daughter, cowering in an inner portion of his office, which had been partitioned off to make a separate room.

Investigation was made, and an extraordinary set of circumstances disclosed. The man and woman had been lovers for fifteen years, and for the last three years the woman had spent her entire time in this walled-off room, never going outside, never even daring to go near the window in the daytime. This sacrifice she had made for the sake of the old man, because she had been necessary to his life, and there was no other way of keeping secret a situation which would have ruined him.

The story seemed to make a deep impression upon the public, at least if one could judge from the newspapers. There were long accounts from Monticello day by day. The woman was described as grief-stricken, terrified by her sudden confrontation with the world. She was taken to the county jail and kept there until after the dead man’s funeral. No charges were brought against her, but she remained in jail because she had nowhere else to go, and because her condition was so pitiful that the authorities delayed to turn her out. She was helpless, friendless, with but one idea, a longing for death. She was besieged by newspaper reporters, vaudeville impresarios and moving picture makers, to all of whom she denied herself, refusing to make capital of her grief. She was described as a person of refinement and education, and everything she said bore out this view of her character. She was, apparently, a woman of mature mind, who had deliberately sacrificed everything else in life in order to care for an unhappy old man whom she loved, and whom she could not marry because of the rigid New York divorce law.

One morning the papers stated that the relatives of this “hidden woman” refused to offer a home to her. My wife wrote to her, offering to help her, provided this could be done without any publicity; but time passed without a reply. My wife was only three or four weeks out of the hospital after an operation for an injury to the spine. We had made plans to spend the winter in Bermuda, to give her an opportunity to recuperate, and our steamer was to sail at midnight on Monday. On Sunday morning, while I was away from home, my wife was called on the phone by Miss Branch, who announced that she had left the Sullivan County jail, and was at the ferry in New York, with no idea what to do—except to leap off into the river. My wife told her to take a cab and come to our home, and sent word to me what she had done.

Not to drag out the story too much, I will say briefly that Miss Branch proved to be a woman of refinement, and also of remarkable mind. She has read widely and thought for herself, and I have in my possession a number of her earlier manuscripts which show, not merely that she can write, but that she has worked out for herself a point of view and an attitude to life. She was one of the most pitiful and tragic figures it has ever been our fate to encounter, and the twenty-four hours which we spent in trying to give her comfort and the strength to face life again will not soon be forgotten by either of us.

We interested some friends, Dr. and Mrs. James P. Warbasse, in the case, and they very generously offered to place Miss Branch in a sanitarium. Before she left she implored me to make a correction of certain misstatements about her which had appeared in the papers. She was deeply grieved because of the shame she had brought upon her brother and his family, and she thought their sufferings might be partly relieved if they and others read the truth about her character and motives.

At this time, it should be understood, Miss Branch was the newspaper mystery of the hour. She had vanished from Monticello, and on Monday morning the newspapers had nothing on the case but their own inventions. I sought the advice of a friend, J. O’Hara Cosgrave, a well known editor, who suggested that the story ought to be worth money. “As you say that Miss Branch is penniless, why not let one of the papers buy it and pay the money to her? The Evening Journal has been playing the story up on the front page every day. Sell it to them.”

I said, “You can’t sell a newspaper a tip without first telling them what the story is—and can you trust them?”

He answered, “I personally know Van Hamm, managing editor of the Evening Journal, and if you will make it a personal matter with him, you can trust him.”

“Are you sure?” I asked.

“Absolutely,” he replied.

I talked the matter over with my wife, who was much opposed to the suggestion, refusing to believe that any Hearst man could be trusted. They would betray me, and use my name, and we should be in for disagreeable publicity. Moreover, Miss Branch would never get the money, unless I got a contract in writing. I answered that there was no time to get it in writing. It was then about one o’clock in the afternoon, and the matter would have to be arranged over the phone at once, if it were to be of any use to an evening paper. So finally my wife consented to the attempt being made, upon the definite understanding that she was to stand beside me at the telephone and hear what I said, and that I was to repeat every word the party at the other end of the wire said, in such a way that both he and she would hear the repetition. In this way she would be a witness to the conversation.

And now, as everything depends upon the question of what was said, let me state in advance that this conversation was written down from the memory of both of us a few hours afterward, and that we are prepared, if necessary, to make affidavit that every word of it was spoken, not once, but several times; that the various points covered in it were repeated so frequently and explicitly that the party at the other end of the wire once or twice showed himself annoyed at the delays. The conversation was as follows:

“Is this Mr. Van Hamm, managing editor of the Evening Journal? Mr. Van Hamm, I have called you up because Jack Cosgrave has told me that you are a man who can be trusted. I wish to ask you if you will give me your word of honor to deal fairly with me in a certain matter. I have some information to offer you which will make a big story. I am offering to sell it for a price, and I wish it to be distinctly understood, in advance, beyond any possible question, that you may have this story if you are willing to pay the price. If you don’t want to pay the price, I have your word of honor that you will not in any manner whatever use any syllable of what I tell you.”

This was repeated and agreed to, and then I told him what I had. “I am not at liberty to tell you where Miss Branch is at present,” I said. “I am offering you a story, and a statement which she desires me to give out for her. The price for it is three hundred dollars for Miss Branch. I don’t want the money myself—I won’t even handle it. Is the price agreeable to you?”

The answer was, “Yes, I will send a man up at once.”

I said, “It is distinctly understood that you are to publish nothing whatever about this matter unless the sum of three hundred dollars is paid to Miss Branch?”

“Yes. Where is she, so that I can pay the money to her?”

“I will give you the name of a man who knows where she is. This man will take the money and will bring you her receipt. I wish to give you the name of this man in confidence, for he does not wish his name brought into the case in any way.”

The answer was: “Put the name of the man in a sealed envelope and give it to the reporter, who will give it to me. I will personally see that the money is sent to him, and then will forget his name.”

“Very well,” I replied, and added, “I have written a thousand-word article discussing the case. I will give you this article along with the rest of the information. But you must not print either this article or a single word about this matter unless you pay three hundred dollars to Miss Branch. You understand that distinctly?”

He replied, “I understand. A man will be up to see you in half an hour.”

Fifteen minutes after the conversation there came a telephone-call; a voice, sharp and determined, at the other end of the wire, “Is Miss Branch there?” My wife was answering the phone and she beckoned to me. We stared at each other, uncertain what to answer or what to think.

“Miss Branch?" said my wife. “No! Certainly Miss Branch is not here.”

“Then where is she?” came the next question, imperative and urgent.

“I do not know,” said my wife. “Who are you?”

“I have been sent by Sheriff Kinnie, of Sullivan County Jail, who has an important message to be delivered to Miss Branch at once.”

Said I (taking the phone): “Have you credentials from Sheriff Kinnie?”

“No,” was the reply, “I have not.”

“Then,” I said, “you cannot see Miss Branch.”

“But,” said the voice, “I must see her at once. It is really very important.”

“Come here and see me,” I said.

“No,” was the answer, “I cannot. Please tell me where Miss Branch is. It is a matter of the utmost urgency to Miss Branch herself.”

This went on for several minutes, and, finally, having made sure he could get nothing further, the man at the other end of the wire made an appointment to see me at 5:30 P.M.

As soon as I hung up the receiver my wife said: “That is a newspaper reporter. Some other paper knows about her.”

But how could this be? Miss Branch had assured us that she had not mentioned our names to any one, nor shown the letter we had written to her; that no one in Monticello had the remotest idea where she was going, not even the kind sheriff; that no one had boarded the train at her station. She had been most careful, because my wife in her letter had laid such stress upon her distaste for publicity.

Of course, if other papers had the story of her having come to us, then Miss Branch would not get the money from Mr. Van Hamm. I had sold an exclusive story, and it would be said that I had not delivered the goods. I at once telephoned to Mr. Van Hamm to tell him of this incident, but I was told that he was out, and I left word for him to call me up the minute he returned.

His reporter arrived, Mr. Thorpe by name. I will say for Mr. Thorpe that I think he tried to be decent all through this ugly matter. I detected in him before it was over the manner of a man who has been sent to do a job he does not like. I explained to him that I had just had a call from a man I suspected to be a reporter, and therefore I would not give him the story until I had had another talk with Mr. Van Hamm and explained the circumstances to him. So Mr. Thorpe sat for awhile in conversation with me. My wife came out and talked to him—much to my surprise, for she has a dread of reporters. Soon, however, I discovered that it was my wife who was doing the interviewing. She called me out of the room and said: “That telephone call was from the Journal office.”

“How do you know?” I asked.

“From everything this young man says, and from his manner. I’ve tried to make him answer me, whether Mr. Van Hamm could have been responsible for that telephone call, and he evaded the question.”

“But,” I said, “what object could they have?”

“They may have been trying to probe you. They have believed that Miss Branch is still with us. This man is trying to find out right now, for he cranes his neck and peers every time I open a door.”

I did not think this could be, but I was more than ever determined to have another talk with Mr. Van Hamm. However, this gentleman continued to be mysteriously absent. I will sum up this aspect of the matter by saying that he continued to be “expected every few minutes” at his office and at his home until 12 o’clock that night. I made not less than twenty efforts to get him, but he would not even let me hear his voice.

As I still refused to give up my story, Mr. Thorpe was suddenly seized with a desire for cigarettes, and went out to purchase some. I am not in a position to say that he called up the office, and turned in what information he had been able to get in the course of our conversation. I will only say that such information appeared an hour or two later in the columns of the Evening Journal.

Mr. Thorpe returned, and still Mr. Van Hamm was mysteriously missing. At last I got tired of waiting, and I gave Mr. Thorpe the interview and the article, and also a letter addressed to Mr. Van Hamm, in which I explicitly repeated the specifications of my telephone conversation with him. I read it to Mr. Thorpe and my wife.

It was then time for the mysterious stranger to appear, but needless to say, he did not keep his appointment. I will conclude this aspect of the story by quoting the following letter from Sheriff Frank Kinnie, of Sullivan County, N.Y.

Your favor relative to Miss Branch received this morning and wish to state that the statement is a falsehood absolutely, as I had no idea whatever as to Miss Branch’s whereabouts, and if you meet Miss Branch she will tell you that no one here in her confidence knew where she was going. I trust a kind Providence will protect and care for her.

To continue: I had that evening to attend a reception given to the delegates of the Intercollegiate Socialist Society, at the home of a friend of mine who conducts a boarding school for young ladies. Little dreaming what an avalanche I was to bring down upon the head of this unfortunate friend, I left word at the office that Mr. Van Hamm was to call me at this school at 8 o’clock that evening.

My wife and I then proceeded to pack our belongings for the steamer—the first opportunity we had had in all this excitement. The superintendent of the apartment-house came to us to ask if we could leave an hour earlier than we had intended, as there were two gentlemen who had rented it and wanted to move in immediately. My wife said: “Surely no one can move into an apartment in the state of disorder in which we are leaving this!”

“It seems strange,” was the reply, “but that is what they want to do. They do not want to wait to have it put in order. They are waiting, and they want to come in the minute you leave.”

If I had been dealing with Hearst newspapers for a sufficiently long time, I would have understood in advance the significance of this phenomenon. As it was, I simply pitied the two unfortunate young men, who would have to spend the night in the midst of the chaotic mass of torn manuscripts and scraps of letters and envelopes which littered the floor. Later on I was glad that I had married a lawyer’s daughter—when my wife informed me she had gone over this trash and burned every scrap of paper relating to Miss Branch and her affairs!

I went to the reception, and at about 8 o’clock in the evening the Journal called me up—”Mr. Williams” on the wire—to say that Mr. Van Hamm had considered my article and regretted to say that he could not use it. The information that I had offered him was not considered worth the sum of three hundred dollars. I asked what it was worth, and was told twenty-five dollars. I said, “That won’t do. I will offer it somewhere else.” I demanded the right to speak to Mr. Van Hamm himself on the subject, but was told that he was “out.” I was obliged to content myself with impressing upon “Mr. Williams” the fact that not a syllable that I had confided to Mr. Van Hamm was to be used by the Journal. “Mr. Williams” solemnly assured me that my demand would be complied with—and this in face of the fact that the last edition of the Evening Journal, containing the whole story, was then in the Journal wagons, being distributed over the city! I called up a friend of mine on the World to offer him the story, and the reader will need a vivid imagination to get an idea of my emotions when this friend exclaimed, “Why, that story has already been used by the Journal!”

“That is impossible!” I exclaimed.

He answered, “I have a copy of it upon my desk.”

It was not until I was going on board the steamer that I got a copy of the “final extra” of the New York Evening Journal, the issue of Monday, December 29, 1913. At the top of the front page, in red letters more than one-half inch high, appeared the caption:

“JOURNAL FINDS MISS BRANCH HERE”

with two index hands to point out this wonderful news to the reader. A good portion of the remainder of the front page was occupied by an article with these headings:

HEART-WIFE IS IN NEW YORK
Found Here by Journal.
“Miss Branch Traced to Well-Known Writer’s Home After Secret Flight.
Adelaide M. Branch, for three years the heart-wife of Melvin H. Couch, former District Attorney of Sullivan County, is today in New York City. She is secluded at the home of a well-known sociologist and writer who has interested himself in her case and has offered her a home, at least until she can make definite plans for the future.
Miss Branch was traced to her hiding place in this city by the Evening Journal. The former “love slave” of Couch told the sociologist that she wished to be absolutely quiet and undisturbed. So for the present it is not possible to give her address.

And so continued a long article, which contained practically everything of what I gave to Mr. Thorpe, sometimes even using the very phrases which I had used in the presence of my wife.

I will not trouble the reader with a description of the state of mind we were in when our steamer set out for Bermuda. I will simply give a brief summary of what else occurred in this incredible affair:

First, someone got, or pretended to get, from the hall-boy at the apartment where I had been staying, an elaborate and entirely fictitious account of how Miss Branch had arrived, and how she had swooned and my wife had caught her in her arms, and how some other people had come and carried her away in an automobile. This account was published in full.

Then the records of my telephone-calls were consulted, and every person whom I had called up in my last two days in the apartment was hounded. My poor mother was driven nearly to desperation. In our telephone-call list was found the name of Dr. Warbasse, who had taken Miss Branch away, and Dr. Warbasse later received a wireless message from Bermuda, as follows:

“Give Branch story to papers.”

Shortly afterward the doctor was called up by the Evening Journal, and was told that the Journal had received a wireless message from me, instructing them to call on him for information concerning Miss Branch. I quote from Dr. Warbasse’s letter to me:

I believed the only way they could have learned of my connection with the case was from you, and accordingly gave them a short statement of the facts, but withheld the location of Miss Branch. They published very distorted versions of what little I gave them. They were particularly solicitous for her whereabouts. A few days later I had another wireless from you, asking me to send you Branch’s address. By this time I had grown suspicious, and sent you my address instead. I am now wondering whether the wireless messages were from you or were newspaper fakery. If the latter is the case, it was well done, believe me, and does great credit to the unscrupulousness of the press.

Needless to say, I had sent no such message. What is more significant, I did not receive the message which Dr. Warbasse sent to me, giving me his address! Is the Evening Journal able to intercept cablegrams? I don’t know; but soon after my arrival in Bermuda I received a letter from my friend who conducts the school for young ladies, scolding me for the terrible trouble into which I had got her. The Journal, she said, had become convinced that Miss Branch was hidden in the school, and it was only by desperate efforts that she had kept this highly sensational rumor from going out to the world. I thought, of course, that I was to blame for my thoughtlessness in having given her telephone number to the Evening Journal on the eve of my departure from New York, and I wrote abjectly apologizing for this. What was my consternation to receive a letter assuring me that this was not what had angered her, but the fact that I had been so foolish as to send her a wireless message, instructing her to give the story of Miss Branch to the paper, and had wired the Journal to call upon her for the information!

Mr. Arthur Brisbane is the man whom I had always understood to be the editor in charge of the Evening Journal. I wrote him asking him to investigate this affair; and I sent a registered copy of the letter to Mr. Hearst, who, I assumed, would be jealous for the journalistic honor of his papers. I pointed out the fact that on the Monday afternoon in question every newspaper in New York had had the story that Miss Branch was going West to see a brother of hers. In all editions of the Evening Journal, except the final edition, the following statement had appeared:

Heart-wife flees to asylum. Miss Branch is in hiding in a sanitarium within ten miles of Monticello. As soon as she recovers her strength she will probably join her brother.

I said that I wished to know what Mr. Van Hamm had to say, as to how the Journal had got the information it published in its final edition. If it was an independent tip, who gave that tip? And if the telephone-call alleged to be from the Sheriff had come from any other paper than the Journal, why had not that paper used the story?

Mr. Brisbane replied that he was now in Chicago, and had no longer anything to do with the New York Evening Journal, but that the matter would undoubtedly be investigated by Mr. Hearst.

A friend of mine, an old newspaper man, wrote me à propos of this: “Don’t imagine for one minute that anything will be done about it; don’t imagine but that Van Hamm is Hearst. Hearst knows exactly what Van Hamm does, and if Van Hamm failed to do it, he would lose his job.” This sounded somewhat cynical, but it seemed to be borne out by Mr. Hearst’s course. He chose to veil himself in Olympian silence. I wrote him a second courteous letter, to the effect that unless I heard from him and received some explanation, I would be compelled to assume that he intended to make the actions of his subordinates his own. He has not replied to that letter, so I presume that I am justified in the assumption. And this man wishes to be United States Senator from New York!

Several years ago he desired to be Governor, and there resulted such a tempest of public wrath, such a chorus of exposure and denunciation, that he was overwhelmed; if he had not had a very tough skin he would have fled from political life forever. Unquestionably a deal of this denunciation came from vested interests which he had frightened by his radicalism; but, on the other hand, it betrayed a note of personal loathing that was unmistakable. I marvelled at it at the time; but now I think I understand it.

The story of Miss Branch is forgotten, but other stories are filling the Hearst papers day by day. Are they all got with the same disregard for every consideration of decency, for all the rules which control the dealings of civilized men with one another? Get clear the meaning of this story of mine—the reason for all this lying, sneaking, forging of cablegrams, bribing of hall-boys, violation of honor and good faith. Was it to get a story? No—the Journal had the story offered to it on a silver tray! The reason for all the knavery was to avoid the payment of three hundred dollars to a destitute and distracted woman—that, and that alone! And if such be Hearst’s attitude to his pocket-book, if such be the methods of his newspaper-machine where his pocket-book is concerned, there must be thousands and tens of thousands of people in New York—politicians, journalists, authors, businessmen—who have run into that machine as I did, and been knocked bruised and bloody into the ditch. When Mr. Hearst runs for office, all these men jump into the arena and get their revenge!

CHAPTER XXIV: THE MOURNING PICKETS

I had a book to write that winter, and my wife’s health to think about. We had got as far from the newspapers as we knew how—a little cottage in one of the remotest parts of the Bermuda Islands, with sand-dunes and coral-crags all about us, and a sweep of the Southern ocean in front. There we lived for several months, and thought we were safe. I never went anywhere, except to play tennis—so surely I ought to have been safe! But I wasn’t.

All at once my clipping-bureau began sending me articles from newspapers all over the United States. I was starting a ranch for the training of incorrigible boys in Nevada! First, I was in Chicago for an assortment of boys; I wanted the very wildest and most blood-thirsty that could be found; I had picked out several young criminals who had been given up by reformatories. Then, a little later, I was out in Nevada, starting this “Last Chance Ranch,” with a score or two of boys. And then one of the boys ran away; he complained that I fed him on vegetarian food, and he couldn’t stand it. As it happened, I had not been a vegetarian for a long time; also, as it happened, I was in Bermuda instead of Nevada; but what did that matter to the newspapers? Before long I found myself riding on horseback across the desert, chasing this runaway boy, John Fargo. I had been riding for three days and had nothing in my saddle- bags but peanuts and canned beans.

And there I was left. To this day I don’t know what happened to me; whether I caught “John Fargo,” or what become of my “Last Chance Ranch.” Is there a phantom Upton Sinclair, still chasing “John Fargo” over the Nevada desert, and living on peanuts and canned beans?

It may have been, of course, that there was some one impersonating me. A friend of mine, a school-teacher, told me the other day that one of her pupils had assured her quite solemnly that he knew me well; I was a cripple, and went about in a wheel-chair. Also, I was told by a waiter in a Los Angeles hotel that a bald-headed man had reserved a table in my name, and given an elaborate dinner, and that the hotel staff had thought they were dining me. I am wondering what would have happened in the newspapers if that bald-headed man had drunk too much champagne, and had thrown a bottle through one of the dining-room mirrors?

I came back to America, and made an investigation of the Colorado coal-strike, and so began one of the most sensational episodes of my life. It is a long story, but I shall tell it in full, because it is not a personal story, but a story of eleven thousand miners with their wives and children, living in slavery in lonely mountain fortresses, making a desperate fight for the rights of human beings, and crushed back into their slave-pens by all the agencies of capitalist repression.

I had been to Colorado, and knew intimately the conditions. Now the strike was on, and the miners and their families living in tent-colonies had been raided, beaten, shot up by gun-men. Finally a couple of machine-guns had been turned loose on them, their tent-colony at Ludlow had been burned, and three women and fourteen children had been suffocated to death. I sat in Carnegie Hall, New York City, amid an audience of three thousand people, and listened to an account of these conditions by eye-witnesses; next morning I opened the newspapers, and found an account in the New York Call, a Socialist paper, and two inches in the New York World—and not a line in any other New York paper!

I talked over the problem with my wife, and we agreed that something must be done to break this conspiracy of silence. I had trustworthy information to the effect that young Rockefeller was in charge of what was going on in Colorado, though he was vigorously denying it at this time, and continued to deny it until the Walsh commission published his letters and telegrams to his representatives in Denver. Evidently, therefore, Mr. Rockefeller was the shining mark at which we must aim. It happened that one of the speakers at the Carnegie Hall meeting had been Mrs. Laura G. Cannon, whose husband was an organizer for the United Mine Workers, and had been thrown into jail by the militia and kept there without warrant or charge for a considerable time. So we called on Mrs. Cannon to go with us to the offices of Mr. Rockefeller.

We were received by a polite secretary, to whom we delivered a carefully phrased letter, asking Mr. Rockefeller to meet Mrs. Cannon, and hear at first hand what she had personally witnessed of the strike. We were invited to come back an hour later for our reply, and we came, and were informed that Mr. Rockefeller would not see us. So we presented a second letter, prepared in advance, to the effect that if he persisted in his refusal to see us, we should consider ourselves obligated to indict him for murder before the bar of public opinion. To this letter the polite secretary informed us, not quite so politely, there was “no answer.”

What was to be done now? I had learned by experience that it would be necessary to do something sensational. An indignation meeting in Carnegie Hall, attended by three thousand people, was not enough. At first I thought that I would go to young Mr. Rockefeller’s office and watch for him in the hall, and give him a horse-whipping. But this would have been hard on me, because I am constitutionally opposed to violence, and I did not think Mr. Rockefeller worth such a sacrifice of my feelings. What I wanted was something that would be picturesque and dramatic, but would not involve violence; and finally I hit on the idea of inviting a group of people to put bands of crepe around their arms, and to walk up and down in front of 26 Broadway in dead silence, to symbolize our grief for the dead women and children of Ludlow. I called a group of radicals to discuss the project; also I called the newspaper reporters.

Picketing, except in labor strikes, was a new thing at that time, though the suffragists have since made it familiar. The novelty of the thing, plus the fact that it was being done by a group of well-known people, furnished that element of sensation which is necessary if radical news is to be forced into the papers. A dozen reporters attended our meeting at the Liberal Club, and next morning the newspapers reported the proceedings in full.

So at ten o’clock, when I repaired to 26 Broadway, I found a great crowd of curious people who had read of the matter; also, a number of reporters and camera-men. The reporters swarmed about me and besought me for interviews, but according to agreement I refused to speak a word, and began simply to walk up and down on the sidewalk. I was joined by three ladies who had been present at the meeting of the night before, one of them Elizabeth Freeman, a well-known suffragette. A number of others had promised to come, but apparently had thought better of it in the cold light of the morning after. However, the deficit was made up by a lady, a stranger to us all, who had read about the matter that morning, and had hastily made herself a white flag with a bleeding heart, and now stood on the steps of 26 Broadway, shrieking my name at the top of her voice. It had been agreed that the “mourning pickets” were all to preserve silence, and to make no demonstration except the band of crepe agreed upon. But alas, we had no control over the actions of this strange lady!

Of course there were a number of policemen on hand, and very soon they informed me that I must stop walking up and down. I explained politely that I had made inquiry and ascertained that I was breaking no law in walking on the sidewalk in silence; therefore I didn’t intend to stop. So I was placed under arrest, and likewise the four ladies. We were taken to the station-house, where I found myself confronting the sergeant at the desk, and surrounded by a dozen reporters with note-books. The sergeant was considerate, and let me tell the entire story of the Colorado coal-strike, and what I thought about it; the pencils of the reporters flew, and a couple of hours later, when the first edition of the afternoon newspapers made their appearance on the street, every one of them had three or four columns of what I had said. Such a little thing, you see! You just have to get yourself arrested, and instantly the concrete-walls turn into news-channels!

There is one detail to be recorded about this particular action of the news-channels. The United Press, which is a liberal organization, sent out a perfectly truthful account of what had happened. The Associated Press, which is a reactionary organization, sent out a false account, stating that my wife had been arrested. My wife, knowing how this report would shock her family and friends in the South, sent a special delivery letter to the Associated Press calling their attention to the error, but the Associated Press did not correct the error, nor did it reply to this letter. My wife’s mother, an old-fashioned Southern lady, took the first train out of Mississippi, to rescue her child from jail and from disgrace; but by the time the good lady reached New York, she was so ill with grief and shame that if her child had really been in jail she could have rendered but little assistance. All she could do was to inform her that even though she was not in jail, her father had disinherited her after reading his morning paper. My wife was informed by lawyers that she was in position to collect large damages from the Associated Press, and from every newspaper which had printed the false report. Some thirty suits were filed, but my wife’s health did not permit her to go on with them.

We were taken to the Tombs prison, where the ladies sang the Marseillaise, and I wrote a poem entitled “The Marseillaise in the Tombs,” and again found it possible to have my poetry published in the New York newspapers! The magistrate who tried us was an agreeable little gentleman, who allowed us to talk without limit—the talk all being taken down by the reporters. The charge against us read “using threatening, abusive and insulting behavior.” The witnesses were the policemen, who testified that my conduct had been “that of a perfect gentleman.” Nevertheless we were found guilty, and fined three dollars, and refused to pay the fine, and went back to the Tombs.

The newspapers tore me to pieces for my “clownish conduct,” but I managed to keep cheerful, because I saw that they were publishing the news about the Colorado coal-strike, which before they had banned from their columns. The New York World, for example, published a sneering editorial entitled, “Pink-tea Martyrdom.” “No genuine desire to effect a reform actuates them, but only morbid craving for notoriety.” But at the same time the World sent a special correspondent to the coal-fields, and during the entire time of our demonstration and for a couple of weeks thereafter they published every day from half a column to a column of news about the strike.

I spent two days and part of a third in the Tombs. Every day the reporters came to see me, and I gave interviews and wrote special articles—all the news about Colorado I could get hold of. And every day there was a crowd of ten thousand people in front of Twenty-six Broadway, and young Rockefeller fled to his home in the country, and “Standard Oil,” for the first time in its history, issued public statements in defense of its crimes.

My wife had taken up the demonstration after my arrest, and I was amused to observe that the police did not arrest her, nor did the newspapers ridicule her. Was it because she was a woman? No, for I have seen the police beat and club women doing picket-duty—working-women, you understand. I have seen the newspapers lie about working-women on picket- duty; in the course of this Colorado campaign I saw them print the vilest and most cowardly slanders about the wives of some strikers who went to Washington to make appeal to President Wilson. No, it was not because my wife was a woman; it was because she was a “lady.” It was because in the files of the New York newspapers there reposed a clipping recording the fact that her father was “one of the wealthiest men in this section and controls large banking interests.”

Please pardon these personalities, for they are essential to the thesis of this book—that American journalism is a class institution, serving the rich and spurning the poor. It happens that M.C.S. is conspicuously and inescapably what is called a “lady”; she not merely looks the part, she acts it and speaks it in those subtle details that count most. All her young ladyhood she spent as what is known in the South as a “belle”; incidentally, of course, as an ungodly little snob. She has got over that; but in case of an emergency like our Broadway affair, she naturally used every weapon she had. Against the New York reporters and the New York police department she used the weapon of snobbery—and it worked.

In the South, you see, a “lady” takes for granted the slave-psychology in those she regards as her “social inferiors.” Not merely does she expect immediate obedience from all members of the colored race; she feels the same way about policemen in uniform—it would never occur to her to think of a policeman as anything but a servant, prepared to behave as such. I assured her that she might not find this the case with the husky sons of St. Patrick who lord it over the New York crowds. But M.C.S. answered that she would see.

Far be it from me to know to what extent she did these things deliberately; my advice in such matters is not sought, and I am allowed to see the results only. What I saw in this case—or rather learned about later—was that M.C.S. arrived in front of 26 Broadway an hour late, clad in supple and exquisite white broadcloth, military cape and all; and that on sight of this costume the New York City police department collapsed.

For two weeks the “lady” from the far South marshalled the demonstration, walking side by side with eminent poets from California, and half-starved Russian Jews from the East side slums, and gigantic lumber-jacks from the Oregon forests. If those Russian Jews and Oregon lumber-jacks had tried such a stunt on Broadway by themselves, they would have had their scalps split open in the first five minutes. But the lady in the white military cape was there—never speaking, but looking firmly ahead; and so for two weeks the New York police department devoted itself to keeping everybody else off the sidewalks in front of 26 Broadway, so that our “free silence” advocates might have room to walk up and down undisturbed. They even had mounted policemen to clear lanes in the street, so that the cars might get through; and when some one hired thugs to try to pick quarrels with us and cause a disturbance, the police actually drove the thugs away. I feel quite certain that this was the first time in New York City’s history that thugs employed by a great corporation to terrorize strike- pickets had met with opposition from the police.

And lest you think that M.C.S. is still a snob, and got a sense of triumph from all this, I ought to add the humiliating truth—that each day after going through with her ordeal, she would come home at night and cry! She would talk quietly and firmly to the reporters who came to our apartment; but after they had gone, she would be in a nervous fever of rage, because we had had to do such a “stunt,” in order to get the truth into the rotten newspapers.

Ladies in the South are, of course, not accustomed to having their husbands in jail; so on the third day M.C.S. collected all our most respectable-looking “mourners,” Leonard Abbott, George Sterling, Frank Shay and Mr. and Mrs. Ryan Walker, and put them on duty. Then she betook herself to the Criminal Courts Building, where she caused much embarrassment to several gentlemen in high station. The District-Attorney told her what to do, and helped her to make out the necessary papers; then she set out to find the judge. But the Criminal Courts Building is confusing to strangers; there is a central balcony, and all four sides of it look exactly alike, and M.C.S. got lost. She stopped a gentleman coming out of a courtroom, and asked where she could find Justice So-and-so. “He is in room seventeen,” was the answer. “But I can’t find room seventeen,” said M.C.S. “Please show me.” “What do you wish with justice So-and-so?" inquired the gentleman, politely.

“Why,” said M.C.S., “some imbecile of a judge has sent my husband to jail.” “Madam,” said the gentleman—still politely, “I am the judge.”

She found Justice So-and-so. His court was in session and he could not be interrupted. But in the South, you understand, anything from a court to a fire-engine will stop to pick up a lady’s handkerchief. And moreover, the father of M. C. S. is a judge, so she knows about them. She walked down the aisle and addressed his honor with her quietest smile, and— the court proceedings halted while the necessary papers were signed, and a Socialist muck-raker was released from jail.

The reason for this step was our desire to test in the higher courts the question whether a man whose conduct had been “that of a perfect gentleman” could properly be found guilty of “using threatening, abusive and insulting behavior.” In order to appeal the case it was necessary to pay the fine under protest, so I paid one dollar, and came out on the last day—to behold the crowd of ten thousand people, and the mounted policemen, and the moving-picture operators in the windows of nearby office-buildings. And so, day after day, we were enabled to give information about the Colorado coal-strike to a group of reporters for the New York papers!

Several of these reporters were men of conscience. One, Isaac Russell of the Times, became our friend, and day after day he would tell us of his struggles in the Times office, and how nearly every word favorable to myself or to the strikers was blue-penciled from his story. So during this Broadway demonstration, and the affair in Tarrytown which followed it, we lived, as it were, on the inside of the Times office, and watched the process of strangling the news. We have seen the tears come into Russell’s eyes as he told about what was done. And on top of it all, Mr. Adolph Ochs gave a banquet to the Times staff, to celebrate some anniversary of the paper, and got up and made a speech to them—a speech to Isaac Russell!—telling what a wonderful institution he had made out of the Times, and how it stood consecrated to the public welfare and the service of the truth!

P. S.—Isaac Russell reads the above, and corrects one serious error. He writes in emphatic capitals:

“WE REPORTERS PAID FOR THAT DINNER!"

CHAPTER XXV: THE CASE OF THE “A.P.”

It must be understood that at this time the Colorado coal- strike had been going on for six or seven months. Most of the tent-colonies had been broken up, and the miners were being slowly starved into submission. To one who comes into close touch with such a situation and realizes its human meanings, it becomes an intolerable nightmare, a slow murder committed in a buried dungeon. My mail was full of letters from the miners and their leaders, and I went out to Colorado to see what else could be done to reach the consciences of the American people. I arrived in Denver at a time when the first public fury over the Ludlow massacre had spent itself, and silence had once more been clamped down upon the newspapers. I spoke at a mass meeting in the State capitol, attended by one or two thousand people, and when I called on the audience to pledge itself never to permit the prostituted State militia to go back into the coal districts, I think every person in the legislative chamber raised his hand and took the pledge. Yet not a line about my speech was published in any Denver newspaper next morning, and needless to say, not a line was sent out by the Associated Press.

The Associated Press was playing here precisely the same part it had played with the “condemned meat industry;” that is, it was a concrete wall. I have now to tell about a thorough test of this leading agency of capitalist repression. I consider the incident the most important which this book contains, and therefore I shall tell it in detail. By far the greater part of the news which the American people absorb about the outside world comes through the Associated Press, and the news they get is, of course, the raw material of their thought. If the news is colored or doctored, then public opinion is betrayed and the national life is corrupted at its source. There is no more important question to be considered by the American people than the question, Is the Associated Press fair? Does it transmit the news?

Some time previous to the Colorado coal-strike I had attended a dinner of the Socialist Press Club, at which the question of dishonest newspapers was debated, and one of the speakers was Mr. Fabian Franklin, then editor of the Evening Post, an amiable old gentleman who quite naively referred to the Associated Press as he would have referred to the Holy Trinity. He told of some radical friend of his who had pointed out that the Associated Press had circulated the news of a defeat of the Initiative and Referendum in Oregon, and subsequently, when the Initiative and Referendum had been victorious, had failed to report the victory. “Just think of it!” said this amiable old gentleman. “My radical friend actually believed that the Associated Press would have some motive in suppressing news about the success of the Initiative and Referendum in Oregon!”

I was called upon to answer this argument. I quote from an account of the discussion in the New York Call:

Sinclair was saying that when the fusion of capitalism beat Seidel (Socialist) in Milwaukee, the wires were full of it, but when Duncan (Socialist) beat a fusion in Butte, the press was as silent as the tomb. Franklin said that it was merely that Butte had no news value, while Milwaukee, “Schlitz beer—everybody wants to know about Milwaukee.”

Incidentally I might mention in passing that this amiable old gentleman, Mr. Fabian Franklin, who thinks that the Associated Press would be incapable of suppressing news about a triumph of the Initiative and Referendum, and that it would naturally send out political news about Milwaukee because Schlitz beer is made in Milwaukee, has just recently been selected by a group of reactionaries to conduct a weekly organ of safety and sanity, The Review. The reader will be able from the above anecdote to form an idea of the intellectual status of Mr. Franklin, and the likelihood of his having anything worth while to say to the American people in this greatest crisis of history!

Shortly afterwards came the case of the Masses, which published a cartoon representing the president of the Associated Press as pouring a bottle labeled “Poison” into a reservoir entitled “Public Opinion.” The Associated Press caused the arrest of Max Eastman and Art Young on a charge of criminal libel. They knew that by starting such a proceeding they would gain an opportunity of propaganda, and of this they hastened to make use. They issued an elaborate statement attacking the Masses and defending their own attitude toward the news, which statement was published in practically every paper in New York. I remember particularly that our organ of civic virtue, the New York Evening Post, published it in full. It included this sort of “dope”:

If these young men had investigated before they spoke, they would never have said what they did; for if there is a clean thing in the United States it is the Associated Press. The personnel of the service is made up as a whole of newspaper men of the finest type; throughout the profession employment in its service is regarded as an evidence of character and reliability. No general policy of suppression or distortion could be carried on without the knowledge and indeed the active connivance of these men, stationed at strategic points all over the world. Aside from that, the Associated Press has the active competition of several other aggressive press associations and thousands of special correspondents, and any laxity or deliberate failure on its part would be exposed instantly to its members, who would be quick to resent and punish any such procedure. These members, some nine hundred in number, represent every shade of political and economic opinion, and it is absurd to suppose that a general policy of distortion or suppression could be carried on without immediate exposure.

The editors of the Masses, of course, proceeded to collect evidence, and the Associated Press must have realized very quickly that they were in for serious trouble. They caused a subservient district attorney to bring another indictment, charging libel against the individual who had been portrayed in the cartoon: the purpose of the change being that they hoped to exclude from the trial all evidence against the Associated Press as an organization, and to force the Masses to prove that this one individual had had personal knowledge of each instance of news suppression and perversion.

Gilbert E. Roe, who was preparing the case for the Masses, asked me to tell him of my experiences with the Associated Press, and in talking the matter over he explained what would be required to constitute legal evidence of the suppression of news. I had no such legal evidence in the case of the “condemned meat industry,” because I had not kept copies of my letters to the Associated Press, and I had not kept the clippings of what they actually did send out on the story. I promised Mr. Roe that the next time I went to the bat with the “A. P.,” I would take pains to get proper evidence; and now in Denver I came suddenly upon my opportunity. I got real legal evidence, and the Associated Press knows that I got it, and I have been told that because of this they will never again dare to bring radicals into court, or to defend the thesis that they handle the news impartially. In my challenge I deliberately repeated the words for use of which the Masses editors were indicted, as follows:

I now, over my own signature and as a deliberate challenge, charge that the Associated Press has poisoned the news of the Colorado situation at its source. Will the owners and managers of the Associated Press take up this challenge and make an attempt to send me to prison? I am waiting, gentlemen, for your answer.

This was published May 30, 1914, and I am still waiting. I made every effort, both public and private, to get this answer. I besieged the Associated Press and also the Associated Press newspapers, but no answer could be had, so I think I may fairly say that the Associated Press admitted its guilt in this case. The story, first published in the Appeal to Reason, was written within a few hours of the events narrated, and gave all the documents. With the addition of a few explanations, made necessary by the lapse of time, the story is given unchanged in the next two chapters. It is a long story, but it will repay study, for there are few narratives of recent events which take you quite so far into the “inside,” or reveal quite so clearly how Politics, Journalism, and Big Business work hand in hand for the hoodwinking of the public and the plundering of labor. I urge the reader to follow the narrative carefully, for every detail is necessary to the proper comprehension of the plot.

CHAPTER XXVI: A GOVERNOR AND HIS LIE

The crux of the struggle in Denver during these critical months was the State militia. This militia had been called out and sent to the strike-field because of violence deliberately and systematically committed by the armed thugs of the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency. There were one or two thousand of these thugs in the field, and they had beaten up the strikers and their wives, and turned machine-guns upon their tent-colonies. The militia had come, supposedly to restore law and order, but the militia authorities had proceeded to recruit new companies from among these detectives and thugs. This was systematically denied by the newspapers, not merely in Colorado, but all over the country; later on, however, the State legislature forced the production of the roster of the militia, and it appeared that of one single company, newly recruited, one hundred and nineteen members out of one hundred and twenty-two had been employes of the strike-breaking agencies, and had continued on the pay-rolls of the coal-companies while serving in the State militia! They had been armed by the State, clothed in the uniform of the State, covered by the flag of the State—and turned loose to commit the very crimes they were supposed to be preventing! The culmination of this perversion of government had been the Ludlow Massacre, which drove the miners to frenzy. There had been a miniature revolution in Colorado; armed working-men had taken possession of the coal-country, and the helpless State government had appealed to the Federal authorities to send in Federal troops.

The Federal troops had come, and the miners had loyally obeyed them. From the hour that the first regulars appeared, no shot was fired in the whole region. The Federal authorities preserved law and order, and meantime the State legislature was called to deal with the situation. This State legislature was composed of hand-picked machine politicians, and all its orders were given from the offices of the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company. Senator Van Tilborg, machine-leader, personally declared to me his opinion that all the State needed was “three hundred men who could shoot straight and quick.” The State authorities meant to find these three hundred men; they passed a bill appropriating a million dollars for military purposes, and another bill providing for the disarming of all people in the State who were not in the service of the corporations.

The strike at this time had continued for seven months, and the strikers were in their tent-colonies, sullenly awaiting developments. The program of the corporations was to strengthen the State militia, then have it take charge and maintain itself by machine-guns. The attitude of the general public to this proposition may be gathered from the mass- meeting in the State capitol, where one or two thousand people raised their hands and pledged themselves that they would never permit the prostituted militia to go back to the mines.

So stood the situation on Saturday, May 16, 1914, the day the State legislature was scheduled to adjourn. President Wilson, who had sent in the Federal troops reluctantly, was waiting in Washington to see what measures the State authorities would take to put an end to the prevailing civil war. By Saturday morning he had come to realize that no adequate measures were being taken, and he sent from Washington a telegram to Governor Ammons of Colorado:

Am disturbed to hear of the probability of the adjournment of your legislature, and feel bound to remind you that my constitutional obligations with regard to the maintenance of order in Colorado are not to be indefinitely continued by the inaction of the State legislature. The Federal forces are there only until the State of Colorado has time and opportunity to resume complete sovereignty and control in the matter. I cannot conceive that the State is willing to forego her sovereignty, or to throw herself entirely upon the government of the United States, and I am quite clear that she has no constitutional right to do so when it is within the power of her legislature to take effective action.

And now begins a story of political crookedness, the like of which had never come under my personal observation. I had been in Denver four days, and had opportunity to meet a score of people who knew the situation intimately, and who were able to put me on the “inside.” So I can invite you into the Governor’s private office at eleven o’clock on Saturday morning, when the above telegram from President Wilson arrived. First, let me describe this Governor, as I wrote about him in the Denver Express:

I went yesterday afternoon to see your Governor. I wish to be very careful what I say of him. He is apparently a kindly man; in intellectual caliber fitted for the duties of a Sunday-School superintendent in a small village. He is one of the most pitiful figures it has ever been my fate to encounter. He pleaded with me that he was a ranchman, a workingman, that he was ignorant about such matters as mines. When I pointed out to him that, according to government figures, there were twelve times as many miners killed and injured by accidents in the southern Colorado fields as elsewhere, his only answer was that he had heard some vague statement to the effect that conditions were different in other places. He pleaded tearfully that he had brought upon himself the hatred of everyone, he admitted that he was utterly bewildered, and had no idea what to do in this crisis. His every word made evident his utter ignorance of the economic forces which have produced this frightful situation. He cried out for some solution; yet, every time that I sought to suggest a solution, and to pin him down to a “yes” or a “no” upon a certain course of action, he lost control of himself and cried out that I was trying to make him “express an opinion.” He, the Governor of the State, had no business to have opinions about such a dispute!

It is no accident, of course, that a man of this type comes to be governor of a State like Colorado. The corporations deliberately select such men because they wish to be let alone, and they prefer men who are too weak to interfere with them, even if they wish to interfere. So now at eleven o’clock on Saturday morning this poor pitiful Governor sends for his advisors—the leaders of the hand-picked machine majority in the State legislature. What is to be done? If the President’s telegram is sent to the legislature, it may refuse to adjourn, and insist upon considering the President’s demand. Therefore, at all hazards, the telegram must be suppressed. Also, it must be sent to the coal-operators in the city, in order that they may consult and tell the Governor what reply to make to the President. All the newspaper men in Denver knew the names of the two men who took the message about to the operators. It was considered by the operators for three or four hours, and a reply drafted and sent; and meantime desperate efforts were made by the machine leaders to obtain the adjournment of the legislature. The reply drafted by the operators and sent by the Governor was as follows:

Hon. Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States, Washington:
I regret exceedingly that you have been misinformed. The legislature has just passed an act, which I have approved, providing for a bond issue of one million dollars for the purpose of paying the indebtedness which has been incurred and which may be incurred in suppressing insurrection and defending the State. As soon as these bonds can be issued, these funds will be available and this State can and will control the situation. This is the only constitutional method of raising funds in immediate future. In addition to this act the legislature has enacted a law permitting the Governor to close saloons in time of disorder, and also a law prohibiting the carrying and disposition of firearms in time of disorder. Moreover, a committee on mediation on the present strike has been provided for and appointed.

Now the heart of our story is this last sentence in the Governor’s telegram: this “committee on mediation on the present strike.” If such a committee had been appointed, the legislature might fairly claim to have done its best to settle the strife. But had such a committee been appointed? It had not. The coal-operators, confused by the President’s sudden action, had caused their poor Governor to telegraph the President a lie; and now all their agencies of repression were brought to bear to keep the truth, not merely from the President, but from the whole country.

First of all, it must be kept from the State legislature itself! A senator tried to have the President’s telegram and the Governor’s answer read in the senate, but by parliamentary juggling this was prevented. All debate was forbidden; but a Democratic woman senator, Helen Ring Robinson, succeeded in getting in a few words of protest, under the guise of an “explanation” of her vote. Senator Robinson read the last sentence of the Governor’s answer: “Moreover a committee on mediation on the present strike has been provided for and appointed.” Said Senator Robinson: “I know of no such committee which has been appointed by this assembly.”

Lieutenant-Governor Fitzgarald replied that the resolution providing for the “strike investigating committee” provided for mediation.

“But,” protested Senator Robinson, “I can’t find a sentence in that resolution that mentions `mediation.’ I can’t see a word on `mediation’ in the resolutions.”

“Whereupon” (I am quoting the account from the Rocky Mountain News of May 17th), “Senator A. N. Parrish, conservative Republican, objected that the motion was not debatable. Further discussion was shut off, the motion to read the President’s telegram was laid on the table, and the senate adjourned.”

Now on that critical Saturday evening it happened that I was a guest at the home of the late Chief Justice Steele of Colorado, and there I met Senator Robinson. She asked me if I could not do something to make this matter clear to the country. Could I, for example, find out if the Associated Press had gotten the point straight? With the Senator sitting by my side I called the Associated Press on the ’phone and spoke with Mr. A. C. Rowsey, its night-editor in charge in Denver. I told Mr. Rowsey that I was in consultation with an opposition Senator, and that my attention had been called to this point, which I endeavored to explain.

Mr. Rowsey laughed good naturedly at my effort to enlighten his great institution. He informed me that they had trained men up at the capitol watching every point of the procedure, and that they had got the story quite correct. I endeavored to make the precise point about the phrase “mediation”; but not having any copy of the proceedings before me, and being really unable to believe that Senator Robinson could be correct in attributing such an open falsehood to the Governor of the State, I permitted Mr. Rowsey to back me down, and hung up the receiver feeling that I had made a fool of myself.

But later that evening I went to the office of the Rocky Mountain News, where I was able to see a copy of the official record in the case, the House Journal of the proceedings of May 15, 1914. The measure was contained on pages 7, 8, and 9, and on page 47 there was an amendment. I read the bill and amendment, line by line, and I did not find in it the word “mediation.” The measure provided as follows:

Resolved, That a joint committee of six members, three selected by the senate and three by the house, said members to be selected by the body of each house shall be appointed and directed to confer and advise with the Governor and other executive officers of the State to the end that the legislative department may render all assistance in its power to the executive department in the enforcement of law and the maintenance of order, and to consider ways and means of restoring and maintaining peace and good order throughout the State; and to investigate and make report at the next session of the legislature upon the following matters and subjects:

The bill then goes on to outline an elaborate series of matters for investigation—whether the coal companies have obeyed the laws; what wages they have paid; the terms of the mining leases; the employment of gunmen; what efforts have been made to settle the strike, etc. The amendment provides for further inquiry into the names of strike leaders, their nationality, etc., and the causes of violence. These subjects were, of course, enough to occupy a committee for many months. There was nowhere in the bill anything suggested about settling the present strike. On the contrary, the express task of the committee was said to be “to generally investigate all matters connected with said strike; that remedial legislation may be enacted at the next General Assembly which will tend to prevent a recurrence of insurrection and public disorder.”

Now, do not think that I am juggling words over the question of the precise meaning of the above bill. The distinction between the bill which had actually been passed, and the bill which the Governor told President Wilson had been passed, was vital and fundamental. Here was a desperate struggle, the class-war in literal truth, involving the two greatest forces in modern society. The whole State was torn apart over it, and if anybody were going to “mediate” and “settle” it, the whole State wished to know it, and must have known it. At the time that this investigation bill was passed, it was an investigation bill and nothing else, and this was understood by everyone who had anything to do with it. The measure was regarded as of so little importance that the Rocky Mountain News of the day after its passage did not even refer to it. It was one more “committee to investigate,” and the State was sick of such. By actual count there had been more than sixty such committees appointed already—one of them a committee from Congress, which had taken testimony filling ten volumes! It was perfectly understood by everyone that the purpose of this new legislative committee was to collect a lot of facts prejudicial to the strikers. Its members were all machine politicians of the very worst type. The idea of such a committee attempting to “mediate,” or to “settle the strike,” would have been regarded as a joke by the whole State; but no one had any such idea. It was not until Governor Ammons and his advisors found themselves “in a hole,” that they hit upon the scheme of calling this a “committee on mediation.”

Also, let us get clear the purpose of this trickery. The purpose was to keep the President of the United States from intervening to force a compromise, as he was threatening to do. The legislature was to be adjourned, and the President was to find himself in a position where he would have to keep the Federal troops in the field and do the work of repression which the prostituted State militia of Colorado could no longer do. Such was the plan—and I might add that it was carried out completely.

Next morning, by consulting with other members of the legislature, and with several lawyers in Denver, I made quite certain of the facts. Also I made certain that the Associated Press had sent out no hint of these facts. The Associated Press had sent merely the President’s telegram and the Governor’s answer. Presumably, therefore, the President had swallowed the Governor’s lie. Beyond question the country had swallowed it. It seemed to me that here was an occasion for an honest man to make his voice heard; so I sent a telegram to President Wilson, as follows:

President Woodrow Wilson, Washington, D. C.:
As one in position to observe from inside the events in this capital, I respectfully call your attention to the lack of fairness of Governor Ammons in withholding your telegram from the legislature for four hours while efforts were made to adjourn. All newspaper men know that during that time your telegram was in the hands of all coal-operators in this city, and they know the men who took it to them. Furthermore, they know that Governor Ammons’ telegram to you contains a falsehood. The word “mediation” did not appear in the measure referred to, which provides for investigation only. There has been a ten-volume investigation already. Governor Ammons declared to me personally that he means to return the militia to the strike-fields. Twenty independent investigators, reporters, lawyers, relief-workers assure me result will be civil war on a scale never before known in American labor dispute. Miners by thousands pledged to die rather than submit to more government by gunmen.
UPTON SINCLAIR.

I took this telegram on Sunday evening to the editor of the Rocky Mountain News. He said, “It is a splendid telegram; it covers the case.” I said, “Will you publish it?" He answered, “I will.” I said, “Will the Associated Press get it from the News?" He answered, “It will.” It might be well to finish this part of the matter by stating that on the next evening I had a conversation with Mr. Rowsey, in charge of the Associated Press, as follows: “Did you get my telegram from the ‘News’?” “We did.” “You did not send it out, I believe?” “We did not.”

The Rocky Mountain News had been for many years a hide-bound corporation newspaper, but at this moment the owner of the paper had, so I was told, some kind of a personal quarrel with the coal operators. At any rate, he had placed in charge a young Chicago newspaper man, Wm. L. Chenery, with orders to publish the truth. That the News was not favoring me personally will be clearly seen from the fact that on Tuesday morning it published a ferocious attack upon me by Gov. Ammons, and refused to publish a word of what I offered in reply. Nevertheless, on Monday morning the News published a two-column editorial headed: “To the Patriots of Colorado.” Says the News: “Not one word about mediation is contained in the entire resolution. The committee is given no power to mediate. They may investigate, examine and report, and that is all.” And elsewhere the editorial says: “A committee on mediation has not been provided for; and none has been appointed. Think of the inutterable weakness of such conduct! Think of its stupidity!”

Such was the voice of unprejudiced opinion in the city of Denver on the subject of the Governor’s telegram. And what did the country hear about the controversy? Not a word! The Associated Press had all facts. It came to the News office and got everything the News had; and it sent out not one word! On the contrary, the Associated Press did its best to persuade the country that the President was pleased with Ammons’ reply. It sent out the following:

Washington, May 16.—President Wilson expressed satisfaction with the situation after he received Governor Ammons’ reply late tonight. It was said by officials in close touch with the President that Wilson was greatly pleased with what had been done after he had been informed by Governor Ammons of the work of the Colorado legislature, and that he hoped the State would assume control of the situation in the near future so the Federal troops might be withdrawn.

That this was an Associated Press invention, made to help out the poor Governor, was made clear the next morning by the News, whose own correspondent wired the following:

Washington, May 17.—At the White House it was stated that nothing had been given out which would justify the statement printed in some of the morning papers that the President is entirely satisfied with the telegram received yesterday from Governor Ammons.

I was by this time thoroughly wrought up over the situation, determined that the country should somehow hear the truth. I besieged the offices of the Denver newspapers; as a result the Denver Post, on Monday afternoon, published on its front page, with a heading in large red letters, an interview with Governor Ammons, in which that worthy denounced me as an “itinerant investigator,” also as a “prevaricator.” The Governor’s defense on the point at issue was this:

In regard to Sinclair’s declaration that the word “mediation” did not appear in the resolution appointing a committee to investigate the strike, Ammons explained:
“Probably that particular word does not occur, but a reading of the resolution will show that it gives the legislative committee power ‘to assist in settling the strike.’ If that isn’t mediation I’d like to know the true meaning of the word.”

I felt pretty sick when I read that interview; I thought the Governor must “have” me for sure! With sinking heart I went and procured a copy of the House Journal, to see if I could possibly have overlooked such a phrase as “to assist in settling the strike.” I read over line by line the three pages of the bill, and the one page of amendment; and, behold, there was no such phrase: “to assist in settling the strike.” There was nothing in any way remotely suggesting it! On the contrary, there was the explicit statement of the purposes of the committee “to generally investigate all matters connected with said strike; that remedial legislation may be enacted AT THE NEXT GENERAL ASSEMBLY which will tend to prevent A RECURRENCE OF INSURRECTION AND PUBLIC DISORDER.”

The Governor had lied again!

So then I wrote the Governor a letter. I said:

You have relied upon the fact that the man in the street has not access to the volume of the House Journal, and will accept your statements upon their face. This, of course, puts me at a cruel disadvantage, for you are a prominent official and I am only an “itinerant investigator.” But I propose, if possible, to compel you to face this issue. I will name two friends as a committee to represent me to settle this question at issue. I request you to name two friends. I request you to point out to them in the measure in question the word “mediation” or the phrase “to assist in settling the strike.” Your two friends will then bring it to my two friends, who, seeing the phrase in print in the House Journal, will be obliged to admit that I am wrong. You have objected to my presence in the State, upon the ground that I am meddling in the affairs of the people of Colorado. Very well, sir, I hereby offer you a simple way to rid the State of my presence. I hereby agree that if your two friends can point out to my two friends the word or phrase in question, I will quit the borders of your State within twenty-four hours and never return to it. Upon your acceptance of this proposition, I shall name my two friends.

This letter was mailed to the Governor on Monday night; also copies were mailed to the newspapers. At ten o’clock Tuesday morning, while dictating my article for the Appeal to Reason, I called up Mr. F.G. Bonfils, editor in charge and one of the owners of the Denver Post. The following conversation occurred:

“Good morning, Mr. Bonfils; this is Upton Sinclair. Did you receive the copy of the letter which I mailed to Governor Ammons last night?”
“I did.”
“May I ask if you intend to publish it?”
“I do not.”
“May I ask what is your reason for refusing?”
“The reason is that things have been stirred up enough, we think. The people in this city want peace.”
“Does it seem to you that this is fair journalism?”
“Now, listen, my boy, don’t try to argue with me; you have had plenty of room to spread your ideas in our paper.”
“You are entirely mistaken, Mr. Bonfils. You have not reported a single speech that I made in this town. You did not even print my telegram to President Wilson. But you print the Governor’s answer to it.”
“Well, now, we don’t want to stir up this question any further. We think this State is very much in need of peace. We are not looking for trouble. If we printed your answer to the Governor, we should have to print the Governor’s answer to you. And so it would go on indefinitely, and we don’t want people calling each other names in our paper.”
“If that is the case, why did you print the Governor’s attack upon me?”
“Now, listen, kid, don’t get excited.”
“I was never less excited in my life, Mr. Bonfils. I am simply asking politely for an explanation.”
“Well, now, we don’t care to argue this question with you.”
“You have called me a liar in your paper, and refuse me an opportunity to defend myself? Is that correct?”
“Yes; it’s correct.”
“Well, then I simply wish to tell you this one further thing. I am at present in a stenographer’s office dictating an account of this conversation for a publication which has a circulation of five hundred thousand—”
“I don’t care if it has a circulation of five hundred million.”
“Then you are willing for this conversation to be reported as expressing the attitude of the Post?”
“Say, Bill, we have been attacked so often by fellows like you, and we have got so prosperous on it, that we don’t care anything about it.”
“Very well, then; good morning.”

The above conversation was recorded in the following way. The stenographer sat by my side at the telephone, and took down every word that I said. Immediately afterwards this was read off to me, and I filled in Mr. Bonfils’ answers. As it happens that I have a good memory for words, I can state that the above is for practical purposes a stenographic record of the conversation. And later on I went out and bought an early edition of the Post, and found the man had “carried over” the Governor’s attack, a reprint from the day before! And then, walking down the street, I came to the building of the Post, and looked up and saw—oh, masterpiece of humor!—an inscription graven all the way across the stone front of the building:

JUSTICE, WHEN EXPELLED FROM OTHER HABITATIONS, MAKE THIS THY DWELLING-PLACE.

CHAPTER XXVII: THE ASSOCIATED PRESS AT THE BAR

Let us return to Monday evening, and to our main theme, the Associated Press. I saw here my long-awaited chance to put this organization on record. I believed, and still believe, that this was a perfect case of news-suppression. Here was the closest approach yet made to social revolution in America; here was the class-war, naked and undisguised—on the one side the lives of thirty or forty thousand wage-slaves, on the other side a hundred million dollars of invested capital, controlling the government of an entire state, and using this control to suppress every legal and constitutional right of American citizens, and to drive them to armed revolt. To this conspiracy the Associated Press had lent itself; it was being used, precisely as the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency, precisely as the puppets of the State government. The directors and managers of the Associated Press were as directly responsible for the subsequent starvation of these thousands of Colorado mine-slaves as if they had taken them and strangled them with their naked fingers. If it had been such individual crimes of strangling, all society would have agreed on the need of publicity. I have made it my task in life to force the same kind of publicity for the economic crimes of predatory social classes. I considered now that the time for action had come, and as my final test of the “A.P.” I prepared a second telegram to President Wilson, as follows:

President Woodrow Wilson, Washington, D. C.:
In interview tonight, Governor Ammons brands me as prevaricator for my statement to you that commission of mediation was not provided. He now admits the word “mediation” does not appear, but insists that the phrase “to assist in settling the strike” is equivalent. No such phrase occurs. I urgently request you to get the full text of this resolution and realize what it means that the Governor of this State is wilfully and deliberately endeavoring to deceive you and the public in this crisis.

Wishing to make quite certain in this vital matter, I took the trouble to write out my plan of action, and took it to a personal friend, a leading newspaper editor in Denver. He said, “Don’t do it.” I asked, “Why not?" The answer was, “It will make you so many powerful enemies that you will be unable to do anything more to send out news.” I answered that I had never been able to do anything with the Associated Press—it was always and invariably closed to what I had to say, and only mentioned me when it had something considered discreditable, such as my being sent to jail. My friend answered, “Well, if you can stand being hated and suppressed for the balance of your life, go ahead.”

I could stand that. So I took the volume of the House Journal and a copy of my telegram to President Wilson, and went down to the office of the Associated Press in the Ernest & Cranmer Building, and saw Mr. A.C. Rowsey, with whom I had talked over the phone the night before. He was very pleasant and friendly; and I wish to state that the attitude manifested by the Associated Press in this test case was in no way due to any personal difficulty or ill feeling. Mr. Rowsey showed himself a gracious host, and I never had a more pleasant interview with anyone.

I showed him the House Journal, and he read the four pages with interest. He read my telegram to the President, and then stated that they would refuse to carry it, as they had refused to carry the one they had got from the News on the previous day. His explanation was that it was the policy of the Associated Press “to avoid controversy.” If they once got started they would never know where to stop.

I said, “But Mr. Rowsey, this controversy is the most important item of news on the Colorado situation tonight. I have here put before you indisputable documentary evidence that Governor Ammons has lied to President Wilson; and surely the public would want to know that fact. Surely the public has at least a right to know of the charge, and to make up its own mind as to its truth or falsity.” Mr. Rowsey’s answer was, “Our wire from Colorado is very much crowded these days, and this controversy does not seem to us to be news.” I said, “Very well, Mr. Rowsey; will you now permit me to hand to you this letter, which I have drafted to serve as a record of the circumstances.”

He took the letter and read as follows:

Denver, Colo., May 18, 1914.
CORRESPONDENT ASSOCIATED PRESS,
Denver, Colorado.
Dear Sir:
Yesterday I sent President Wilson a telegram, which I believed and still believe was of vital public importance. A copy of this telegram was put into your hands last night by the Rocky Mountain News and was refused by you. I now offer you a second telegram, bearing upon this subject. At the same time I offer for your inspection a copy of the House Journal in order that you may verify the truth of the statements contained in my telegram to President Wilson. I shall first, in a personal interview, politely request you to send this telegram over your wires. If you refuse to do so, I shall—in order to put you upon record—place this letter in your hands and request you to sign the statement below. If you refuse to sign it, I shall understand that you refuse to send out this telegram over your wires, and I shall proceed to send it to the papers myself, and I shall subsequently take steps to make these circumstances known to the public.
Respectfully,
UPTON SINCLAIR.
MR. UPTON SINCLAIR, City:
Dear Sir: The undersigned, correspondent of the Associated Press in Denver, agrees to send your telegram to President Wilson over its wires tonight.

Mr. Rowsey read this letter and handed it back to me, with the smiling remark: “I see you are getting a good story.” I thanked him, and left. I went down-stairs to the telegraph-office and sent a copy of my telegram to President Wilson to a selection of newspapers all over the country. They were as follows: New York Times, World, Herald, Sun and Call; Chicago Examiner and Tribune; Philadelphia North American and Press; Baltimore Sun; Washington Times; Boston Herald and Journal; Topeka Journal; Kansas City Star; Milwaukee Journal; Atlanta Georgian; New Orleans Times-Democrat; Omaha News; Pittsburg Post.

Now, I submit that here is a definite test of the service of the Associated Press. Is it sending out all the material which its papers want? Is it suppressing anything which its papers would be glad to publish if they could get it? Let the reader observe that these newspapers are not merely radical and progressive ones; they include some of the staunchest stand-pat papers in the country, the New York Times and Herald, for example. They are all save two or three of them Associated Press papers. To make the test automatic I sent the telegrams “collect.” The editors had the right to read the message, and if they did not want it, to refuse to pay for it, having it sent back to me for collection. Out of the twenty papers, how many took this step? Only five! The other fifteen took the story that the Associated Press refused to send out. This is a remarkable showing, considering the fact that I sent the telegram late in the evening, and too late for most of the Eastern papers. It should be pointed out that a newspaper editor is far less disposed to print a dispatch which comes from an unauthorized person. My charge was a startling one, and an editor would naturally doubt it. He would say, “If it is true, why doesn’t the Associated Press send it?” Mr. Rowsey, in Denver, had the House Journal before him; but the city editors of newspapers all over the country did not have this advantage, and would naturally be disposed to rely upon Mr. Rowsey.

It might be worth while to add that the claims made in my two telegrams to President Wilson were fully vindicated by subsequent events. The committee of six machine legislators, appointed to collect material discreditable to the strikers and their leaders, proceeded to vindicate the Governor and redeem his reputation by going through a pretense of “mediation”; but the public paid so little attention to the farce that it petered out in two or three days. The strike lasted for another seven months, and all that time the Federal troops remained in the field—the very thing which President Wilson had declared himself determined to avoid, and which the coal-operators had been determined to force upon him!

CHAPTER XXVIII: THE ASSOCIATED PRESS AND ITS NEWSPAPERS

I am giving a great deal of space in a small book to this one test of the Associated Press. I think that the subject is an important one, and that the documents in the case should be available to students. In the present chapter I give the reaction of the press of America to this particular test. If the reader is not interested in such details, he may skip this chapter.

I have talked over this case with many lawyers, and shown them the documents, and asked: “Is there any legal flaw in them?” They have never been able to point out one. Also I have talked the case over with journalists—some of the most eminent of capitalist journalists, as I shall presently narrate, and have asked them to point out a flaw. They have pointed out what they think is a flaw—that in presenting to the Associated Press my telegram to President Wilson, I was asking the Associated Press to give publicity to my name and personality, and the Associated Press might have been justified in refusing the request.

I answer that there were many ways in which the “A. P.” could have handled this matter without mentioning my name: a fact which I plainly pointed out to Mr. Rowsey. The first time I spoke to him—over the telephone—I was speaking, not for myself, but for Senator Robinson. She, a duly elected representative of the people of Colorado, speaking in their legislature, had nailed the Governor’s lie, and it was Mr. Rowsey’s unquestionable duty to report her words. It was only when I realized how completely the “A. P.” was in the hands of the coal-operators that I “butted in” on the matter at all. And when my telegram was refused by Mr. Rowsey, I was careful to point out to him that there were other ways he might handle this news. He might give the story as coming from Senator Robinson; he might send extracts from the editorial of the Rocky Mountain News; he might send a dispatch saying, “It is generally reported in Denver,” or “Protests are being made in Denver.” All this I made clear, and he in return made clear why he did not do so. Anyone who had been present at our long and partly humorous interview would have perceived that this was no error in judgment of an individual employe of the “A. P.,” but a definite policy of the great machine. Mr. Rowsey went so far as to say to me that he was a Socialist, in sympathy with my point of view, and that he personally would have been willing to send out a straight story.

In exactly the same way, when I took this story to various newspapers and magazines, I tried to suppress my own personality. I said to the editors: “If you are not willing to discuss the grievance of Upton Sinclair, then make an investigation of your own. Send a representative to Denver and interview Senator Robinson and write about the efforts of a progressive woman senator for fair play in this strike. Take the telegrams which passed between the President and the Governor of Colorado, take the pretenses of the fake mediation commission and the false reports of the Associated Press about it, and write the story without mentioning my name.” But all such suggestions were in vain. There was no capitalist magazine or newspaper in the United States that would take up the conduct of the Associated Press in the Colorado strike.

In one of its published statements in the New York Evening Post, the Associated Press had explained its stern attitude toward the editors of the Masses:

The Associated Press is not prosecuting the case in any vengeful spirit, but is fighting for a public vindication. For several years the association has sat silent under accusations of this kind, reflecting upon the integrity of the service and the personal honor of its responsible officers, because the charges were made either on the floor of Congress, where no redress is possible, or by persons who were careful or lucky in avoiding the legal limitations of civil or criminal libel. In several cases the persons making the charges retracted them absolutely. At last they have a case involving libel per se, and they purpose to avail themselves of the opportunity to present to the public the facts regarding the service.

This, you perceive, is dignified and impressive; dignity and impressiveness are virtues permissible to great capitalist institutions. But now make note: my challenge to the Associated Press, published in the Appeal to Reason, repeated the identical words for which the editors of the Masses had been arrested; and I sent a copy to all the leading officers of the Associated Press; I afterwards saw a letter, signed by Melville E. Stone, general manager of the Associated Press, acknowledging that he had seen it. Here surely was a charge “involving libel per se,” and one which I had taken pains to make as emphatic, as unconditional, as damaging as possible. It was a public challenge, appearing on the front page of a newspaper whose circulation for that week was five hundred and forty-eight thousand and forty. Yet the Associated Press did not take up the challenge; it swallowed the insult.

Not only that, but every newspaper having the Associated Press service did the same; some nine hundred newspapers throughout the United States sat in silence and let this challenge pass unanswered. I had the Appeal to Reason send a marked copy of this issue to every one of the nine hundred Associated Press papers, and I wrote to my clipping-bureau, asking them to watch especially for mention of the matter. This clipping-bureau is the best in the country, and seldom misses anything of importance. It could not find me a single mention of my challenge to the Associated Press.

I next selected a list of forty of the leading papers of the country, including the twenty to which I had sent the telegram from Denver. I sent them a marked copy of the article, with a letter addressed to the managing editor, pointing out what my challenge meant—that I had publicly indicted the source from which this paper got the news which it gave to the public. Would the paper defend the integrity of its news? Would it force the Associated Press to explain this incident. Three papers replied to my letter. I shall deal with them a little later. The other thirty-seven papers left my letter unanswered. And let it be noted that this included all the papers which make the greatest pose of dignity and honor, such as the Boston Evening Transcript, the Springfield Republican, the New York Times, the Philadelphia Public Ledger, the Baltimore Sun, the Chicago Tribune, the Louisville Courier-Journal, the Memphis Commercial-Appeal, the Atlanta Constitution. Also, I tried the magazines. One week after the publication of my challenge to the Associated Press there had appeared in Collier’s Weekly a leading editorial entitled “In Justice to the A. P.”:

The officers and members of the Associated Press have been kept busy lately repelling attacks upon that organization. In so far as they are defending themselves from the charge of wilful distortion of the news, we sympathize with them. Six or seven years ago we printed a series of articles which dealt with the general subject of “tainted news,” and from time to time since then we have pointed out examples of this insidious practice. During this time not less than a score of persons have come to us with alleged examples of tampering with the news on the part of the Associated Press. All of these cases we looked into with care and pains, and many of the same were investigated by other publications and persons. We have never found a case that justified us in publishing the details or in making any charge of wilful distortion against the Associated Press.

I wrote now to Collier’s Weekly. They had investigated a score of cases, here was one more. Would they agree to investigate this, and to publish the facts? To this challenge Collier’s Weekly made no response. Collier’s Weekly did not investigate, and it never published a line about the matter. Then I wrote to the editors of the Outlook, the extremely pious instrument of the “clerical camouflage.” In its issue of May 30, 1914, the Outlook had published two articles dealing with the Associated Press. I now wrote and invited it to take up this case, and the Outlook did not reply. Also I wrote The Independent, which was once a liberal paper, and it too refused any publicity.

To return to the three newspapers which answered my letter: Mr. Frederick S. Forbes, acting managing editor of the Philadelphia North American, replied that his paper had “frequently had occasion to criticize the news distributing agencies of the country,” and would investigate my story. That was the last I ever heard from the matter. When I wrote to remind the Philadelphia North American, they did not answer. In the course of a year I wrote several times, but they did not answer.

And then the New York World. The World had published a challenge, defying anyone to point out where it had failed to print important news. I now took this case of the Associated Press to the World, and the World answered that having published my telegram to the President from Denver, the World had published the news! The fact that the World had got this telegram from me instead of from the Associated Press—that was not news! The fact that I had published a challenge, deliberately repeating the words of the Masses editors, and that the Associated Press and all its newspapers had passed my challenge by—that was not news, in the judgment of the World!

The third paper which replied to me was the New York Evening Post; the only one which took up the matter in what I considered the proper spirit. Mr. John P. Gavit, managing editor of the Evening Post, wrote as follows:

Your letter of recent date, together with the exhibit embodied in the first page of the Appeal to Reason for May 30th, is hereby acknowledged. I have undertaken an investigation of the matter which will take considerable time and I am writing now only to prevent your having the mistaken impression that your communication is to be ignored. I attach for your information copy of a self-explanatory letter which I have addressed to Mr. Melville E. Stone, General Manager of The Associated Press.
Dear Mr. Stone:
I hand you herewith copy of the letter which we have received from Mr. Upton Sinclair, together with a page from the Appeal to Reason published at Girard, Kansas, under date of May 30th, 1914. I have been out of town, which fact will explain my delay in taking this matter up with you.
I am perfectly aware of Mr. Sinclair’s reputation among newspaper men as an insatiable hunter of personal publicity; but it seems to me that his telegram to President Wilson, making specific allegations in connection with a matter of the utmost public consequence at a critical time, ought to have been transmitted by the Associated Press men at Denver. Of course, it is perfectly absurd for any Associated Press man to say that it is the policy of the Associated Press “to avoid controversy”; that theory of the service is long out of date, and two-thirds of its news reports relate to controversies in one way or another. I have not examined the reports of the matters to which Mr. Sinclair refers, but on its face his article certainly creates a prima facie of suppression of important facts regarding the situation at Denver. At the time to which he refers, I realize that the Denver correspondent was in a very difficult position in all this business, but in this case I think he made a palpable mistake.
It is evidently necessary under the circumstances that the Evening Post should deal with this subject, and I shall be glad to have at your early convenience any statement which you will be willing to have published over your signature. I personally believe that this should include some explanation from the Denver correspondent as to his reason for refusing to mention Sinclair’s telegram to the President; though, of course, that is a matter entirely within your discretion.
Yours very truly,
JOHN P. GAVIT,
Managing Editor.

The above letter was perfectly satisfactory to me. It did not trouble me what either Mr. Gavit or Mr. Stone thought about my reputation among newspaper men. All that I was concerned about, all that I have ever been concerned about, was that the truth about social injustice should be made public. Mr. Gavit sent me a copy of Mr. Stone’s reply, promising to make an immediate investigation of the matter and report. I felt so sure of the outcome that I ventured to make an announcement in the Appeal, June 20, 1914, to the effect that the “A. P.” was to be “smoked out,” it was to be compelled to answer my charges.

But alas for my hopes of fair play, my faith in the organ of arm-chair respectability! Time passed, and I wrote to Mr. Gavit, again reminding him of his promises, and in reply he asked me to call to see him. I called, and found myself up against the concrete wall. Mr. Gavit was as polite as I could have requested; all that he failed in was action. He would not tell me the result of the investigation which Mr. Stone had made, or had promised to make. He would not tell me anything, except that the case was a subtle and difficult one to judge, and that he could not see his way to take it up. I quoted to him his letter to Mr. Stone, “It is evidently necessary under the circumstances that the Evening Post should deal with this subject”; Mr. Gavit was uncomfortable and embarrassed, but he would not make good his words, nor would he publish in the Evening Post the facts about my challenge to the Associated Press. He never published a line about it, and on the basis of the facts above stated, I believe that I can claim to have proven positively that the New York Evening Post is not what it pretends to be, a newspaper serving the public interest.

I make the same claim concerning the New York Times. The Times did not answer my letter, it did not pay any attention to me; but it happens that I read the Times, and know some of its editors, so I went after it again and again. I will quote from the last of my letters, so that the reader may see how desperately I tried to get something done:

New York City, June 15, 1914.
EDITOR, THE NEW YORK TIMES:
Some time ago I wrote you a letter with regard to charges I had made against the Associated Press. I asked you to consider these charges and lay them before your readers, and give them an opportunity to decide of their truth. Not hearing from you, I wrote a second time, to ask you to do me the courtesy to let me know your intentions in the matter. Still not hearing from you, I assume that it is your intention to treat my communication with contempt. I want to call your attention to the fact that in writing to you I am making a test of the sense of honor of your publication. I am putting you on record, and I shall find means to make your attitude known to the public. You are an Associated Press newspaper, and your honor is definitely bound up with that of the organization which serves you. You sell Associated Press news to the public. If the Associated Press news is false news, you are selling false news to the public, and you are refusing the public any opportunity to judge a most serious, a carefully documented charge that this news is false. It is true that you published my telegram to the President in one edition of your paper. But it is also true that you published it only because I sent it to you. The Associated Press did not send it to you. And I cannot always be in Colorado, and cannot always make it my business to supply you with antidotes to the poison which you are getting from the Associated Press. Only today, for example, you are, through the agency of the Associated Press, responsible for suppressing an important piece of news from Colorado: that is to say, the fact that Judge Lindsey has issued a statement defending himself, and especially the women who went with him, against the charges which have been made against them by the “interests” in Colorado. The New York World gave that letter a column, from its special correspondent. The New York Call, having the Laffan Service, also had some account of the letter. You, having the Associated Press service, have not a word about it. And this is a vital and most important piece of news.

I then went on to tell about the “Evening Post” and its promise to investigate. I said:

The Times is involved in the matter in exactly the same way, and to exactly the same extent as the Evening Post. The Times published the officially inspired defense of the Associated Press in exactly the same way as the Evening Post. I believe that it is up to you to explain the reasons for your silence in this matter. I believe that if you maintain silence, I shall be justified in declaring to all the world that you have shown yourself in this matter a newspaper without a high sense of honor, and false to the motto which you carry, “All the News that’s Fit to Print.” I assure you that I shall make this charge against you on many occasions in future. You may think that the five hundred thousand a week circulation of the Appeal to Reason is a factor which you can afford to neglect, but I believe that in the course of time you will realize that you were mistaken in permitting me to place you on record in this matter.

So ends the story of my test of the Associated Press and its newspapers. In the second part of this book, which deals with causes, I shall return to the subject, and show exactly why these things happen: Why the New York Times is without honor where the Associated Press is concerned, and just how many thousands of dollars it would have cost the New York Evening Post if its managing editor had carried out his bold promise to me.

CHAPTER XXIX: THE SCANDAL-BUREAU

There is one other incident which must be told before I finish with the subject of Denver, its criminal government and prostitute newspapers. I had been in Denver before, also I had read Ben Lindsey’s The Beast; so I knew, before I arrived, what I might expect to encounter. Standing in the Pennsylvania station, bidding my wife farewell, I said: “Let me give you this warning; whatever you read about me, don’t worry. If there is any scandal, pay no attention to it, for that is the way they fight in Denver.”

And when I reached my destination, I had cause to be glad of my forethought. John Reed, who had just come up from the coal-country, told me of the vile slanders which had been invented and circulated concerning the women of the coalfields who had been active in defense of their cause. The scandal-mongers had not even spared a poor, half-crazed Italian woman, whose three babies had been burned to death in the holocaust at Ludlow! Louis Tikas, a young Greek idealist, a graduate of the University of Athens, who had been trying to uplift his people and had been foully murdered by corporation thugs, they blackguarded as a “brothel hanger-on” before his corpse was under ground! John Reed himself they had got involved with a charming young widow in Denver; he had met her twice at dinner-parties! (In passing, to show you how far Colorado had progressed toward civil war, I might mention that this lady, upon learning what had been done to the strikers, sent to the East and purchased two machine-guns and hid them in her cellar, ready to be shipped to the strike-field for use by the strikers in case the militia attempted to return.)

Every Socialist and magazine-writer, even every writer for conservative publications, was taken in hand upon his arrival in Denver, and fitted out with a scandal. So far as I know, the only one who escaped was Harvey O’Higgins—and this because he took the precaution to bring his wife along. I had not brought my wife; also I was a “divorced man,” and an easy victim. There was a young Jewish girl, a probation officer in Judge Lindsey’s court, whom I was so indiscreet as to treat to a sandwich in a dairy lunch-room; that was sufficient for the scandal-bureau, which had to hustle in these crowded days. I recollect a funny scene in the home of James Randolph Walker, where several of these “affinities” learned for the first time to whom they had been assigned. We had a merry time over it; but meanwhile, at the meetings of the Law and Order League, and other places where the ladies of “good society” in Denver gathered to abuse the strikers, all these scandals were solemnly taken for granted, and quoted as evidence of the depravity of “foreign agitators” and the radicals who abetted them!

For myself, let me explain that during my three weeks in Denver I kept two stenographers busy all day; I wrote a score of articles, I sent hundreds of telegrams and letters—working under terrific pressure, hardly taking time to eat. My wife was back in New York, risking her frail health in the midst of public uproar, and with reason to fear that she might be assaulted by thugs at any moment. Every thought I had to spare was for her, all my loyalty was for her; yet “good society” in Denver was imagining me involved in a dirty intrigue! In several intrigues—such a Bluebeard I am! I had been in the city perhaps a week, when a young lady came to me and spoke as follows:

“Mr. Sinclair, I represent the Denver Post. We have a rumor concerning you about which I wish to ask you.”

“What is it?”

“We understand that you are about to move from your hotel.”

“I have no such intention. Who told you that?”

“Well, I hope you will not take offense; I will tell you the report, just as it was given to me.”

“Very well, go ahead.”

I am sorry I cannot remember the exact words of the rigmarole; it was five years ago, and I have had more important things to remember. Suffice it to say that it was a new scandal—not the Jewish probation-officer; I had uttered a mysterious and portentous sentence, expressive of my guilty fear; if my wife were to learn why I had left the hotel, “it would be all over.” I looked the young lady, from the Denver Post in the eye and answered: “Standing in the Pennsylvania station, bidding my wife farewell, I said to her: ‘Let me give you one warning; whatever you may read about me, don’t worry. If there is any scandal, pay no attention to it, for that is the way they fight in Denver.’ ” And so the young lady from the Denver Post went away, and did not publish that awful “rumor.”

There are people who live upright and straightforward lives, and concerning whom no breath of scandal is ever whispered; such people are apt to think that all anyone has to do to avoid scandal is to lead upright and straightforward lives as they do. They see some man who keeps dubious company, and is given to “smart” conversation; concerning such a man an evil report is readily believed; and they conclude that if any man is a victim of scandal, he must be such a man as that. But how if a scandal were deliberately started, concerning a person who had done nothing whatever to deserve it? My wife tells of a woman in her home town who would destroy the reputation of a young girl by the lifting of an eyebrow, the gesture of a fan in a ballroom. She would do this, sometimes from pure malice, sometimes from jealousy for her daughter. You can understand that among sophisticated people such practices might become a subtle art; and how if it were to occur to great “interests,” threatened in their power, to hire such arts? Let me assure you that this thing is done all over the United States; it is done all over the world, where there is privilege defending itself against social protest.

There was a certain labor leader in America, who was winning a great strike. It was sought to bribe him in vain, and finally a woman was sent after him, a woman experienced in seduction, and she lured this man into a hotel room, and at one o’clock in the morning the door was broken down, and the labor leader was confronted with a newspaper story, ready to be put on the press in a few minutes. This man had a wife and children, and had to choose between them and the strike; he called off the strike, and the union went to pieces. This anecdote was told to me, not by a Socialist, not by a labor agitator, but by a well-known United States official, a prominent Catholic.

I cite this to show the lengths to which Big Business will go in order to have its way. In San Francisco they raised a million dollar fund, and with the help of their newspapers set to work deliberately to railroad five perfectly innocent labor-men to the gallows. In Lawrence, Massachusetts, the great Woolen Trust planted dynamite in the homes of strikebreakers, and with the help of their newspapers sought to fasten this crime upon the union; only by an accident were these conspirators exposed, and all but the rich one brought to justice. Do you think that “interests” which would undertake such elaborate plots would stop at inventing and circulating scandal about their enemies?

Most certainly they did this in Denver. I was assured by Judge Lindsey, and by James Randolph Walker, at that time chairman of Denver’s reform organization, that the corporations of that city had a regular bureau for such work. The head of it was a woman doctor, provided with a large subsidy, numerous agents, and a regular card catalogue of her victims. When someone was to be ruined, she would invent a story which fitted as far as possible with the victim’s character and habits; and then some scheme would be devised to enable the newspapers to print the story without danger of libel suits.

There are a hundred ways by which this can be done; watch Town Topics in New York, or Town Talk and the Wasp in San Francisco, and you will see. The victim will be asked if there is dissension between him and his wife; when he denies it, there will be an item to the effect that he denies it—the item being so worded as to cause people to smile knowingly. I know a radical whose wife nearly died of appendicitis; while she was still bed-ridden, she was taken to a sanatorium by her mother and her family physician, a man old enough to be her grandfather. The day after she left, her husband was called upon to “deny” a report that his wife “had eloped with a Jew.”

Or perhaps maybe a report will be brought to the man that somebody else has made charges against him; he is naturally indignant, and when he is asked if he will bring a libel suit, he answers that he will think about it; so the newspaper has a story that the man is thinking about bringing a libel suit. Or someone will be hired to slander him to his face, and when he knocks the slanderer down, the newspaper will have a story of a public disturbance, so worded as to put the victim in the wrong, and at the same time to make known the slander.

In extreme cases they will go as far as they did with Judge Lindsey—hiring perjured affidavits, and getting up a fake reform organization to give them authority. Lindsey, you understand, has made his life-work the founding of a children’s court, which shall work by love and not by terror. Love of children—ah, yes, all scandal-bureaus know what that means! So they had a collection of affidavits accusing Lindsey of sodomy. They brought the charges while he was in the East; a reporter went to the Denver hotel where his young bride was staying, and when she refused to see the reporter, or to hear the charges against her husband, the reporter stood in the hallway and shouted the charges to her through the transom, and then went away and wrote up an interview!

Or perhaps the Scandal-Bureau will maintain for its foul purposes a special publication which is libel-proof; one of those “fly-by-night” sheets, whose editor-in-charge is an office-boy, and whose worldly possessions are a telephone address and three pieces of furniture. This was a part of their scheme in Denver. The publication was called—oh, most delicious allurement!—Polly Pry! I don’t know if it is still published, but I saw copies of it during the coal-strike, and it was full of the cruelest libels concerning everybody who stood for the strikers.

I remember one full-page story about “Mother Jones,” a white-haired old woman of eighty-two years, who was being held in jail without warrant or charge for several months, because she persisted in coming back to the strike-field every time she was deported. And what do you think they said about “Mother Jones”? In her early years she had been the keeper of a house of prostitution! They went into the most elaborate detail about it; they gave the names of people who knew about it, they gave the address of the house—and then they had their “kept” congressman, a man by the name of Kindel, to read this number of Polly Pry into the Congressional Record! So, of course, it was “privileged”; all the “kept” newspapers all over the state of Colorado and elsewhere might quote the story without danger of punishment! They might quote it, not from Polly Pry, but from the Congressional Record!!

I took the trouble to ask “Mother Jones” about this story. It appears that in those early days she was a sewing woman; she earned a precarious living, and felt herself justified in working for anyone who would pay her. She did some sewing for a girl of the streets, and this girl died of tuberculosis, and the Catholic church refused her a burial service, and “Mother Jones” wrote to a newspaper to protest against this action—her first appearance in public life, her first utterance of radicalism. And this had been remembered all these years, it was brought up against her in one labor struggle after another; only they made her the “madame” of the house where the poor girl of the streets had lived!

We who sympathize with the cause of labor grow used to such things, and do not care for ourselves. What hurts us is this—that in a time of crisis, when the need of labor is so great, our influence with the public is destroyed by these slanderers. The average law-abiding and credulous citizen has no remotest idea of the existence of such machinery for influencing his mind. He takes the truth of these stories for granted and concludes that a cause which is represented by such advocates can have no claim upon him. While I was in Denver, the “Law and Order League” held several meetings in the parlors of the great hotels. I offered to address these ladies, and I know that if I had been permitted to do so, I could have opened the eyes of some of them. But the league voted against it, and I have no doubt that this vote was because of the Scandal Bureau and its work. Instead of hearing me, the league heard a clergyman, the Rev. Pingree, who declared that if he could have his way he would blow up all the strikers’ homes with dynamite! After that I always referred to this organization as the “Law and Murder League.”

But the crowning achievement of the Scandal-Bureau was still to come. In the effort to induce President Wilson to intervene in the strike, I had evolved what I thought was a wonderful idea—that Judge Lindsey and his wife should escort three of the miners’ wives to Washington to tell their story to the President. It took days and nights of diplomacy, for Lindsey had an election campaign ahead of him, and his wife was in delicate health; but the emergency was extreme, and at last “our little Ben,” as the children called him, made up his mind to the sacrifice. The party set out, and spoke at large meetings in Chicago and New York, and interviewed the President in Washington, and afforded the Associated Press another opportunity to display its complete subservience to the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company.

And meantime, in Denver, the newspapers were pouring out an incessant stream of invective upon Lindsey. The Scandal-Bureau revived the old yarn, that he was “the insane son of insane parents.” (I knew his mother, an excellent old lady, as sane as I am.) On every stage of this journey Lindsey was accompanied by his young wife, to whom he had been married only a few months; nevertheless, it was plainly stated in the Colorado papers, and generally believed by Denver “society,” that the three strikers’ wives constituted part of a harem. If only you could have seen them—three pathetic, bedraggled poor women, two of them in deep mourning! And when Mrs. Lindsey, owing to the strain of the journey, suffered a miscarriage, and had to be carried from the train to a hospital in Chicago, several Colorado newspapers reported that this was owing to mistreatment by her husband! At a meeting of the Denver Real Estate Exchange, it was proposed to appoint a committee to “spit on Lindsey’s shoes” when he returned; and this was the kind of news that was thought worth forwarding out of Denver!

I write to Judge Lindsey, so that you may have these incredible incidents upon his authority, not upon mine. He confirms every statement I have made. He tells of a woman detective, employed by the Scandal-Bureau—

The Lewis woman circulated the story that my wife came out of a house of prostitution, and that her mother was a “madame”; and the corporations paid the woman for it. There is no doubt about this, and it can be proved.

Judge Lindsey goes on to narrate the extraordinary circumstances under which these proofs became available. One of the members of the State legislature, a man named Howland, was caught receiving a bribe in the legislature. He had introduced a “strike bill” against the Tobacco Trust, and a messenger-boy had handed him an envelope of money said to be from an agent of the Tobacco Trust. In order to save this man Howland, the head of the Scandal-Bureau, Dr. Mary Elizabeth Bates, came forward and testified before the legislative committee that she had sent this money to Howland in order to pay detectives to “get Lindsey.” Says Lindsey in his letter to me:

Mind you, she testified to her part in the infamy, and was backed up by some of our rich citizens, feeling that she was quite safe from prosecution—as she was. But Howland was found guilty of perjury in this case, having sworn that the money came for an entirely different purpose. Because of the general belief of the legislators that the whole thing was part of a frame-up against me, and the fear that it would lead to the truth being told about the fight against me, they came to a compromise in the case against Howland, which was merely to expel him from the legislature for perjury. He never was tried for perjury or conspiracy to ruin me and my court work, as was undoubtedly his plan.

And how stands the matter today? Let Lindsey tell it in his own words:

During the war I was absolutely outlawed from every opportunity to be of any patriotic service here by the privilege and special interest crowd who control all patriotism, especially in the food and other administrations. When I returned from France I was permitted to speak for the Liberty Loan, but the chairman of the meeting told me that one of Boss Evans’ old tools had threatened to “read him out of the Republican party” for daring to let me take part in that patriotic celebration. Fourteen bills for the protection of women and children were killed in the last legislature through the open statement of certain members of the legislature who were tools of the Interests that: “If Lindsey has anything to do with it, swat it.” All this you will understand is my heritage of hate because of the part my wife and I took in that strike, and against big crooks generally when they have time and again tried to rob our city. Since “The Beast and the Jungle” stories, and my part in the Colorado coal-strike, it has been almost impossible for me to speak before such assemblies as High Schools, Woman’s Clubs, Mothers’ Congresses and the like. As one woman said to me frankly, “Mrs. So-and-so’s husband is a big contributor to our club, and if we permitted you to appear on the program she would be highly indignant and withdraw her support.” I am sure you will understand just exactly what the influence is, and how insidiously it works.

As I read the page-proofs of this book, the great coal strike comes, and the miners in the Southern Colorado field are out again, and Federal troops are guarding the mines. But this time it is not necessary for the Scandal Bureau and the Associated Press to muzzle the strikers and their sympathizers. This time the job has been done by the Federal court injunction.

CHAPTER XXX: THE CONCRETE WALL

I returned to New York, and at a meeting in Berkeley Hall I told the story of conditions in Colorado. I did not get myself arrested, however, so the New York newspapers printed only a few words of what I said, and the Associated Press sent out nothing. It was again the concrete wall, impenetrable, insurmountable: on one side I, with my facts about the outrages upon the miners; and on the other side the public—as far out of reach as if it had been in the moon.

The greatest atrocity of the strike was the fact, previously set forth, that the state militia in the coal-fields had been recruited from strike-breakers and Baldwin-Felts gunmen. The facts had been refused, even to the state legislature; until finally the legislature appointed a committee to wait upon the militia general and not leave his office until they got the roster of the guard. So it was disclosed that in Company A of the state guard there had been one hundred and twenty-two members, and all but three of them coal-company employes, receiving the pay of coal- companies while they wore the uniform and carried the flag of the state!

It was an incredible prostitution of government; and what did the newspapers do with the story? What did the Associated Press do with it? I was unable to find the story in a single newspaper, outside of Denver. I brought the full-page story clipped from the Rocky Mountain News to New York with me, and tried the big New York dailies, and could not get one of them to publish it.

The Chicago Tribune had published in full a letter of mine to John D. Rockefeller, Jr., setting forth these facts in detail. Also the Tribune had published a very fair and just editorial, headed: “All the Truth,” from which I quote:

Facts are charged by Mr. Sinclair—and others, it must be said—which, if true, are a disgrace to the men responsible and to the community in which they existed. To ascertain the truth and to deal with the situation are duties which must be performed. . . . . Let us have the facts about this terrible industrial tragedy, and all the facts. Let us know the guilty and all the guilty.

Three days later the Chicago Tribune took up my definite charges concerning the guard. It said:

If, as he asserts, the Adjutant General’s report shows any such abuse of the guard, the situation calls for prompt rebuke and effective action, if such action is possible under our laws..... We suggest the National Guard take cognizance of the above allegations of Sinclair, and if they are substantiated by the Adjutant General of Colorado that the guard publicly protest against the abuse.

Five days after that the Chicago Tribune published a letter from P.A. Wieting of Denver, as follows:

Referring to your editorial “Abusing the Guard,” in your issue of June 5. If Upton Sinclair said that the official records of Adjutant General Chase showed that an overwhelming majority of the Colorado militia were mine guards and other employes of the coal companies, he deliberately lied. Mr. Chase’s records showed nothing of the sort, and could not; for the statement is absolutely false and absurd. The National Guard of Colorado is made up like in other states, of young business and professional men, students, farmer boys and the like, and includes the sons of many of our best families.
It is surprising that a paper of the standing of the Tribune should accept offhand such a preposterous charge against a great state made by a professional muckraker. If you still entertain the slightest belief in Sinclair’s foolish charge, any banker, any reputable business man, any college president in Colorado will tell you, as I do, that the man who made the statement quoted lied and knew that he lied.

Now here was a direct issue of fact. If P.A. Wieting were a real person, living in Denver, Colorado, and if he read a morning newspaper, he must have read the Rocky Mountain News, because that was the only morning newspaper published in Denver. And on the entire front page of the Rocky Mountain News had been published the roster of Company A of the Colorado state militia, as given to the press by a committee of the state legislature, also a report of this committee of the legislature, giving all the facts as to these members of Company A, the capacity in which one hundred and nineteen out of one hundred and twenty-two of them were employed by the coal-operators or the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency, and the wages they were paid by these concerns. The evidence was as complete and as authoritative as it was possible for evidence to be; and therefore, when P.A. Wieting wrote this letter to the Chicago Tribune, deliberately accusing me of deliberate lying, he was deliberately lying himself.

I thought, of course, that the Tribune, having taken a brave stand and called for the truth, really wanted the truth, and would push the controversy to the end. Therefore I sent to the Tribune by registered mail a copy of the Rocky Mountain News, containing the facts, and I looked to see this full-page report transferred to a page of the Chicago Tribune. Or I looked to have the Tribune have some representative in Denver look up the facts, as it might so easily have done. Instead of that, I saw not one line about the matter. What strings had been pulled in the Tribune office, I don’t happen to know. All I know is that I wrote several times, protesting, and that no attention was paid to my letters. Now, while I am preparing this book, I write to the Tribune, lest by any chance the Tribune published something in some edition which I missed, and which my clipping bureau missed; but the Tribune leaves my letter unanswered!

Also I write to Denver to find out about P.A. Wieting—if he is a real person. I find that he is assistant cashier of the Colorado Fuel & Iron Co., Mr. Rockefeller’s concern which broke the strike!

All this time, you must understand, the “kept” writers on the other side of the concrete wall were having their will with the public. Arthur Brisbane, for example, whose editorial against the strikers was submitted to Mr. Rockefeller by Mr. Rockefeller’s press agent as a proof of the press agent’s skill! And Elbert Hubbard of East Aurora— you will find a special chapter in this book devoted to the “Fra,” and in it you may read how he sought to sell out the Colorado strikers. And the Rev. Newell Dwight Hillis, a clerical gentleman whom we have seen spurning George D. Herron in public, and apologizing in tears before his congregation because his greed for money had led him into a mess of lawsuits. This clerical gentleman preached a sermon, in which he referred to our Broadway “pickets” as “a lot of silly people,” and incidentally told some score of lies about the strikers. Somebody, name unknown, was circulating this sermon in expensive pamphlet form by the hundreds of thousands of copies; so George Creel wrote to Hillis—but in vain. If you are near a library, look up Creel’s “Open Letter” in Harper’s Weekly, May 29, 1915, and see how many lies a greedy preacher can pack into one sermon. I also wrote to the reverend gentleman, and succeeded in getting a reply from him. I quote my final letter, which covers the case, I think:

REV. NEWELL DWIGHT HILLIS,
Brooklyn, New York.
My Dear Sir:
I have your letter and note that you are going West to Colorado, and that if you can find any errors in your sermon you will correct them. I would say that definite and specific errors are pointed out in George Creel’s letters; errors that you would not have to go to Colorado to find out about. They are proven in the sworn testimony given before the Congressional Investigation Committee and before the hearings of the Commission on Industrial Relations. While you can, of course, not recollect who gave you this or that detail of information, you must certainly know from what source you took the definite false statements of figures and facts to which Mr. Creel calls your attention. Moreover, the most important questions in both Mr. Creel’s letter and mine, you have entirely ignored. I wish to ask you, before you go West, will you answer the following specific questions?
Who is circulating and paying for the expensive pamphlet form of your sermon?
Second, did this party obtain your permission to circulate it in this form?
Third, did you receive any payment for permitting this circulation?
Fourth, if, after investigation of Mr. Creel’s points in Colorado you find that you were wrong and he was right, will you compel the party who is circulating this pamphlet to give to your corrections the same amount of circulation?
I have, of course no right to insist that you should answer any of these questions. I will merely say that by failing to answer them, and answer them promptly and explicitly, you will leave your name open to exceedingly grave suspicions.

This letter remained unanswered; yet such utter lack of concern about his good name has not injured the pastor of Plymouth Church, Brooklyn, with the great organs of capitalist opinion! Only recently McClure’s Magazine has selected him for its prize anti-Bolshevik liar. Please make a mental note of him, for reference when we come to the anti-Bolshevik liars and their lies.

It was still our hope that President Wilson could be persuaded to interfere in the strike and force the Rockefellers to some compromise. It being the way of public officials to move only in response to public clamor, we were driven to keep on butting our heads against the concrete wall. Our “mourning picket” demonstration had gathered about us a group of young radicals, who could not endure to see the effort die down and the strangling of the strike completed. Every day one would come to us with some new idea. One group wished to go up to Rockefeller’s home on Madison Avenue, and walk up and down in front of it. We objected to this, because we were not attacking Mr. Rockefeller personally, we were attacking his business policy, and his office seemed the proper place. Nevertheless, one boy ventured up on Madison Avenue, and was promptly arrested and sent to jail for sixty days.

There was another group which wished to visit Tarrytown, where young Rockefeller had retired to the seclusion of his country home, with a high iron fence all around it, and iron gates, and a score or two of armed guards patrolling day and night. This group tried to hold a street meeting in the village of Tarrytown, and were arrested. So I was driven into a campaign on behalf of free speech. I have told in Chapter XII of my experience with the Tarrytown News; I have now to tell of my experience with the New York Herald. It is one of the few of my newspaper adventures from the contemplation of which I derive satisfaction.

I had several sessions with the board of trustees of the village of Tarrytown. They were courteous, and permitted me to argue the issue of free speech—which I did courteously.

I brought to them a charming letter from Georg Brandes, then a visitor in New York. They held a public session, addressed by Leonard Abbott, Theodore Schroeder, and myself, and in the course of my talk I pointed out that the result of repression of free speech was violence. In England where the radicals were allowed to gather in Hyde Park and say what they chose, crimes of political violence were practically unknown. On the other hand, in America, where it was customary for the police to arrest radicals and club and jail them, such crimes were common. Only the other day the newspapers had told of the assassination of the chief of police of Seattle, where the I.W.W. had been prevented from speaking.

There were a dozen newspaper reporters present at this hearing, and accounts of it appeared in the New York papers next morning. The Herald stated that I had threatened the trustees of Tarrytown with violence in case they refused my request. I quote from the Herald’s narrative:

Suddenly Frank R. Pierson, president of the village, leaped to his feet and said:
“We shall not be intimidated by-threats. We will hear no more of this kind of argument. For one, I was willing to listen to what these people had to say and to hear them fairly and honestly, but when they come here with threats of death, of assassination and of mob rule, I will not hear them further.”

Now, concerning this account there is only one thing to be said: it was absolute fiction. I have never met a more agreeable gentleman than Mr. Pierson, president of the Tarrytown village board; he voted my way on every occasion, and from first to last we never exchanged a word that was not cordial. On reading this account I at once went to see him and ascertained that both he and the other trustees considered the report to be false and inexcusable. I then sent a letter to the Herald informing them that they had libeled me, and threatening them with a suit. They sent a reporter to see me, and I explained to this reporter the basis of my complaint, and next morning the Herald published my letter of complaint, together with an article reiterating its statement, and quoting three of the trustees as supporting its statement. I quote the Herald reporter’s words:

I saw Frank R. Pierson, president of the village, and asked his opinion of the correctness of the account published in the Herald. Mr. Pierson carefully read the article and then said:

“Mr. Sinclair certainly made the remarks attributed to him in the Herald, if I heard aright, and I did jump up and declare that we should not be intimidated by threats. Mr. Sinclair may not have intended to make a threat, but the inference was plain. The Herald did not misquote either Mr. Sinclair or me.”

And concerning the above interview also there is only one thing to be said; it was absolute fiction. I went to see Mr. Pierson again, and he assured me that he had given no such interview, and would appear in court and testify accordingly. Another of the trustees wrote me that the Herald interview with him was a “fake,” and so I put the matter into the hands of my attorneys, and a libel-suit was filed against the New York Herald. It dragged for a year or two, and I came to California and dismissed the matter from my mind. When the time came for the suit to come to trial, I was unwilling to take the trip to New York, and asked my lawyers to have the matter dropped. You may imagine my consternation when I received a letter from them, telling me that they had been negotiating with the attorneys for the Herald, and had succeeded in settling the case upon the basis of a payment of twenty-five hundred dollars damages! Never, if I live to be as old as Methuselah, shall I spend money that will bring me more satisfaction than that twenty-five hundred dollars!

Throughout these Tarrytown adventures, which lasted several weeks, each newspaper had one reporter who followed the story day by day, and two or three of these men became friendly to me. Isaac Russell, reporter for the Times, invited me to lunch in a restaurant in Tarrytown, with a couple of other men. I explained that I was ill and not eating anything, but would sit and chat with them. As they were finishing, there came in the reporter for the World, who, as it happened, had been drunk during most of the time. Next morning there appeared in the World a particularly nasty account of the day’s events, in which it was described how I had come to Tarrytown with four women in my train, had had lunch with several reporters, and had permitted them to pay the bill. I took the trouble to go down to the office of the World and see Mr. Frank Cobb, managing editor; explaining to him that I had come alone to Tarrytown, had spoken to no woman in Tarrytown, and had eaten no lunch in Tarrytown. Mr. Cobb admitted that I had a grievance, and by way of recompense allowed me to dictate a column interview about the meaning of the free speech fight in Tarrytown; incidentally he took the drunken reporter off the assignment. From the other reporters I got the “inside” story of what had happened, and it throws an amusing light upon newspaper ethics. The drunken reporter had lost out in the contest with me, not because he had been drunk, nor because he had lied about a radical, but because he had implied in his article that a reporter was a social inferior! Was not a reporter privileged to invite an author to lunch, and to pay for the lunch if he saw fit?

********************

Well, that’s about as much of The Brass Check as Slate can fit on a single webpage. For the rest, including Sinclair’s thoughts on how to improve the newspaper business (it involves unions, another thing the new owners of L.A. Weekly have avoided by acquiring the paper in a way that didn’t include its extant union contracts), check out the Internet Archive. Alternatively, wait until you read it in the pages of L.A. Weekly.

Correction, Dec. 6, 2017: This article originally misspelled Mark Ruffalo’s last name.

Sapira Mattress Discount Code

by Logan Block @ Sleepopolis

You can save $200 on any size Sapira mattress by using the Sleepopolis exclusive promo code! All you have to do is follow these steps: Select the size Sapira you would like to purchase and add it to your cart Once you have confirmed your cart is accurate click Checkout Enter SLEEPOPOLIS in the Discount […]

The post Sapira Mattress Discount Code appeared first on Sleepopolis.

May is Better Sleep Month: Is it Time for a New Mattress?

by megaph6 @ Mattress – Springfield, MO | Beautyrest Sleep Gallery

Ah, yes, the smells and sights of May. The kids are almost out of school, Memorial Day weekend is on the way, and 80-degree highs will soon seem downright moderate. The month of May holds a place near-and-dear to our hearts, being that it’s “Better Sleep Month.” Before you get that better sleep, though, you […]

The post May is Better Sleep Month: Is it Time for a New Mattress? appeared first on Mattress - Springfield, MO | Beautyrest Sleep Gallery.

The Benefits of Visiting Mattress Stores

by Julia @ Shorty's Mattress Depot

Optimal sleep is one of the most important things for your body and overall health. Getting a good night’s sleep depends on a few factors, one of them being a great mattress, which helps determine what kind of sleep you get each night. Visiting mattress stores is the best option when you want to purchase […]

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The Honest Trailer for Star Wars: Return of the Jedi  Dares to Defend the Ewoks

The Honest Trailer for Star Wars: Return of the Jedi  Dares to Defend the Ewoks

by Marissa Martinelli @ Brow Beat

Ahead of the release of The Last Jedi, revisit the third leg of the original Star Wars trilogy with the new Honest Trailer for Return of the Jedi. Be warned, though, that there are some harsh criticisms ahead as Screen Junkies poke fun at the 1983 film's childish antics and comparatively low stakes, which all add up to “a finale that’s almost silly enough to make you question why your identity is so tied to a soap opera about space wizards.”

That said, the Honest Trailer clearly has a lot of affection for Return of the Jedi, even going so far as to defend the cuddly Ewoks, which have long been a point of contention among fans. Haters might complain that the little bearlike creatures were only there to sell toys and were no match for the Empire in battle, but the trailer has an answer for that, too. “There’s no way the mighty Empire would struggle against a smaller, poorly armed force,” the trailer’s narrator explains sarcastically. “What do you think this is, Vietnam? Afghanistan? Little Bighorn? The American Revolution? The Maori? Ethiopia? Afghanistan … again?”

There’s one thing we can all agree on, though, and that's a shared contempt for the special editions and their awful, conspicuous CGI. It’s just that in the Honest Trailer, that contempt comes with a surprising dose of nostalgia for the long-lost “Yub Nub” song.

See also:

Mattress Pads vs. Mattress Toppers: What Should I Choose?

by Jillian Ashley Blair Ivey @ Sleepopolis

Is your bed a little less comfortable than it used to be, but you’re not in a position to buy a new mattress? Or, is your new mattress not as comfortable as you had hoped but returning it isn’t an option? In either scenario, you might find that a mattress pad or a mattress topper […]

The post Mattress Pads vs. Mattress Toppers: What Should I Choose? appeared first on Sleepopolis.

Our Leesa Bed Review For 2018 – Should You Buy It?

by Jill Thompson @ The Sleep Advisor

The post Our Leesa Bed Review For 2018 – Should You Buy It? appeared first on The Sleep Advisor.

Why Is It Important to Replace Your Mattress?

by Cristal Gonzalez @ Shorty's Mattress Depot

It goes without saying that your bed is your safe space at the end of every day. We long for it when we are out of it and day dream about falling into it after a long day at work. If for no other reason, this is enough to want to ensure that your bed […]

The post Why Is It Important to Replace Your Mattress? appeared first on Shorty's Mattress Depot.

A Make-Ahead, Totally Genius Holiday Breakfast Casserole

A Make-Ahead, Totally Genius Holiday Breakfast Casserole

by Kristen Miglore @ Brow Beat

This post originally appeared in Genius Recipes on Food52.

Of course make-ahead breakfast casseroles are genius. They let you knock out all the thinking and doing the day before, when you have time and space to putter. And they feed a hungry crowd much more smoothly than flipping fried eggs or rolling omelettes for eight (don’t do it).

The trouble is: In their ingenious practicality, these casseroles can often feel utilitarian at best. They’re a breakfast you can cut into neat rectangles, with none of the dramatic pouf of a Dutch baby or tactile glee of a pull-apart monkey bread.

This particular casserole, however, is spilling over with glee. It comes from celebrity comfort food lover/known prankster Chrissy Teigen's cookbook Cravings, and she injects some very welcome doses of fun. The most important of these is the topping, which is salted, buttered, toasted Frosted Flakes. You will want to palm this up like trail mix. No surprise Teigen writes, “I am so proud of this dish I could cry.”

This topping takes a cue from the tuna noodle casserole genre of yore, but layers in a modern sensibility that recognizes our sweet breakfasts are better with salt and brown butter and, as it turns out, crunchy, malted Frosted Flakes.

I did my natural foodist due diligence here and it appears that the only unpronounceable ingredients are pretty much just vitamins. But if you prefer an ever more wholesome brand, go nuts—just make sure that the salt and sweet are in good balance, and there’s a bit of fat to help the bits get extra brown and crispy. Or maybe there’s another classic you have a deep affection for: Cracklin’ Oat Bran, Crispix, Life, perhaps? I think Teigen would encourage you to embrace your inner crazed-kid-in-the-cereal-aisle.

Her second blast of fun is quite a generous amount (ahem, half a cup) of rum. Teigen positions this as a sort of hair of the dog after a rowdy night and—even after a tame one—this booziness is delicious for adults who dig a saucy rum cake or Dark & Stormy (raises glass).

But if you’re serving this to a mixed crowd on Christmas morning—children, nondrinkers, etc.—don’t worry: While it's true that inevitably not every drop of the alcohol will bake out, this recipe has enough other good stuff going that I can verify that it tastes just as good with little or no booze at all. Namely: those classic cozy wintry flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and brown sugar.

And of course, there's the sassy topping. With enough of that, your crowd would probably be happy to eat the presents.

Chrissy Teigen’s French Toast Casserole with Salted Frosted Flakes

Serves 8

The Base

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 pound French bread (1 large loaf), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup rum (we used Meyer's dark rum—if you're concerned about the alcohol, feel free to reduce, replacing with another liquid like milk)
  • 1 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

The Topping

  • 3 cups Frosted Flakes cereal
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

See the full recipe on Food52.

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5 Cool Bedroom Accessories to Have

by admin @ Gentlehome

If you are a teen in junior high, a young professional in their mid-twenties trying to adult as hard as they can, or a busy mom who is always on the go, you deserve to have the nicest bedroom you...
Read more

The post 5 Cool Bedroom Accessories to Have appeared first on Gentlehome.

Longshore Plush

by Martin Lorentz @ California King – Shorty's Mattress Depot

Meet BeautyRest's Silver Longshore Plush/Tidewater Plush mattress. This 11.5 inch Mattress is packed with the newest technology when it comes to sleep such as DualCool Technology Fiber for temperature management and elevated comfort, AirCool® Foam, AirCool® Gel Memory Foam and GelTouch® Foam.

This MATTRESS is adjustable friendly.

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BedPower Review

by MattressNerd @ The Mattress Nerd

The Bed Power strip is a neat little product that I'm surprised I haven't seen done before, because it seems so obvious in retrospect. Pretty much everybody uses cell phones, tablets, and/or laptops in bed, and this is aside from the typical bedroom lamps. Old-school power strips aren't really designed with bedroom use in mind, and this one is

Jimmy Kimmel Once Again Points Out That Obviously Evil Things Are Evil

Jimmy Kimmel Once Again Points Out That Obviously Evil Things Are Evil

by Matthew Dessem @ Brow Beat

Jimmy Kimmel returned to his show after a week’s absence on Monday night, and he brought his adorable son Billy with him. His son’s heart condition was the impetus for Kimmel’s abrupt plunge into the national conversation about health care this spring, and his follow-up segments detailing exactly what was so vile about Republican plans for health care did a lot to help kill the disastrous Graham-Cassidy bill. Kimmel was gone last week because Billy was having heart surgery again—he’s fine, as his appearance on the show makes clear—but once more, his son’s fragile health has gotten the late night host concerned about the health of children who aren’t fortunate enough to have a television star for a father.

Kimmel’s empathy and compassion are, of course, completely alien to the modern Republican party, which has failed to fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in favor of working on their big, dumb tax cut. So Kimmel patiently walks his audience through exactly what congress is doing (letting kids, including kids with life-threatening conditions, lose access to health care) and why they’re doing it (they’re too busy making rich people richer to find the time). It’s a moving segment, not least because his love of his son is visible in every frame. Then he moved on to Roy Moore:

Again, a great, funny way of making the point that Roy Moore is unfit to serve as a mall security guard, much less a United States Senator. But let’s recap. Kimmel makes two moral propositions here:

  1. It’s wrong to let children die so rich people can get richer.

  2. It’s wrong to give more power to a man who is credibly accused of preying on teenage girls.

One would think that these would be pretty uncontroversial positions. Instead, we’re at a point where a TV host who says these things out loud is hailed by half the country as the nation’s conscience, and reviled by the other half for being too political. It’s a brave new world.

Alec Baldwin on Canceling Harassers’ Projects: “A Lot of the Innocent People are Going to Suffer”

Alec Baldwin on Canceling Harassers’ Projects: “A Lot of the Innocent People are Going to Suffer”

by Rachel Withers @ Brow Beat

Last month we spoke to the “other victims” of the sexual harassment rife in the arts and media: those actors and writers who have lost time, work, opportunities, or potential breaks as a result of the cancellation of the projects of the powerful men who have been rightfully taken down.

Between Louis C.K.’s I Love, You, Daddy (pulled from release), James Toback’s The Private Life of a Modern Woman (future unclear), and Leon Wieseltier’s pending magazine, Idea: A Journal of Politics and Culture (canceled), hundreds of innocent people have been affected by this long-overdue sexual reckoning, by the fact that these harassers had grown so big that they brought down entire projects with them when they fell. While all those we spoke to said they were glad that justice was being served, this moment is bittersweet for new actors like Billy K. Peterson, who is disappointed his break as the logo of C.K.’s production company won’t be seen, while Nick Mathews—Sal in Toback’s The Private Life of a Modern Woman—lost a project that was “kind of a big deal for me.”

Alec Baldwin, a friend of James Toback, also worked on The Private Life of a Modern Woman. When asked what he felt should happen with Toback’s film and projects like it during an NYU journalism class on Monday afternoon, Baldwin referred me to those financially impacted by the repudiation of Stephen Collins’ 7th Heaven</