This Day in Death

1.12.13: Newspaper Editor and Social Crusader Eugene Patterson – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:54 am January 15, 2013

 Eugene Patterson obituaryMaybe I’m just a bit more pious than Mr. Patterson, but I personally never browse Bang Bus while the Good Book is in the same room. But every generation does these things their own way, I suppose.


Newspaper editor Eugene Patterson died of cancer on Saturday, which works pretty well as a reminder of your own mortality. So you should really sit down this evening and finally get moving on that project you’ve been talking about doing for months, as long as it’s not starting up a death blog. I’ve already got that covered and truthfully I will fold instantly at the slightest sign of competition.

But Patterson was more than just a symbol for how little you’ve done with your life and how much your parents and peers are silently judging you at every turn. He also gave a shit about the seemingly un-give-a-shittable topic of not sounding like a goddamn chimp in your writing:

Gradually, he learned how to write. He read and learned what he called “the melody” of the written word, practiced it in the always-against-a-deadline world of the wire services, and then fine-tuned it as a daily columnist in Atlanta.

Years later in St. Petersburg, as a prominent figure in American journalism and supervisor of dozens of reporters, Mr. Patterson bridled at what he called the graceless writing in most newspapers.

“I’ve always had a short temper when it comes to seeing a poorly written paper,” he said. “This is our job. If we can’t use the language, who can?”

This is as good a time as any to note that whatever typos or poor syntax you find on this blog really fall on the shoulders of Bakulu, the Voodoo spirit loa that does all of the actual typing for me. Originally I just conjured him up to help me get out of some unpaid speeding tickets, but we got to talking and it turned out we had a lot in common, so it just seemed like a natural fit.

When Mr. Patterson was arrested in 1976 for driving while intoxicated, he ordered that it be reported on Page 1A. Most DWI arrests are not mentioned by the Times, and Mr. Patterson’s subordinates argued that, at most, his arrest warranted only a few paragraphs somewhere in the local section.

Mr. Patterson was adamant, however. The editor of a newspaper has “to be able to say for the rest of his life, ‘I put myself on Page 1, so you can’t ask me not to put you there,’ ” he said.

That’s some serious integrity, and it really speaks to his commitment to truth and transparency. Although that makes it especially odd that he wasn’t willing to pay me for my shocking exposé about how MedicAlert bracelets don’t do anything but send social security numbers to the Iranian government. He said I had to have “evidence,” and I haven’t looked it up yet but I think that’s one of those words from medieval times that people use just to sound smart.

Source: The Tampa Bay Times

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8.13.12: “Cosmopolitan” Editor Helen Gurley Brown – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 5:17 pm August 15, 2012

Pictured: The 80s. All of them. Also, I could write a postgraduate dissertation on that Eddie Murphy blurb.


Author and “Cosmopolitan” editor Helen Gurley Brown has died at the age of 90. Brown edited the magazine for over 30 years and is largely regarded as a visionary who transformed the content of women’s magazines to allow frank discussions abouGODDAMMIT YOU SAID TAPER CUT JEANS WOULD BE A TIMELESS FASHION CHOICE. I’VE BEEN MAKING A JACKASS OUT OF MYSELF FOR YEARS. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MANY JOB INTERVIEWS I’VE WHIFFED BECAUSE OF YOU?! I COULD’VE BEEN IN MIDDLE MANAGEMENT AT THE OFFICE DEPOT BY NOW, YOU SPITEFUL OLD GARGOYLE! GOD! She will be missed.

As Cosmopolitan’s editor from 1965 until 1997, Ms. Brown was widely credited with being the first to introduce frank discussions of sex into magazines for women. The look of women’s magazines today — a sea of voluptuous models and titillating cover lines — is due in no small part to her influence.

At 5 feet 4, she remained a wraithlike hundred pounds throughout her adult life. That weight, she often said, was five pounds above her ideal.

So there you go, women of America: Cosmo says you should feel confident and empowered, but you should probably pick up a subscription anyway because you’re still too fat and no one will ever *really* love you. Also, your co-workers are totally laughing at you when you’re not looking. Man, Sir-Mix-A-Lot would not be down with any of that. No, he wouldn’t be down with any of that at all.

I think the really important thing that I’ve personally learned here is that unmarried women *have* been having sex, which means a lot of girls just lost their “go to” excuse after I take them to the Olive Garden to split an endless pasta bowl. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me every Saturday night since I was 16, shame on me.

UPDATE: Sir-Mix-A-Lot stirs up a lot of emotion in people, and so, by special request, I have to include this.

Source: The New York Times

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