Category — Information
FUND RAISER/WRITING CONTEST
Contest Is Closed.
Winner and Runners-Up will be announced in December.
Thanks to all those who entered!
November 2, 2013 6 Comments
Random Beatings Not Thing of the Past
By Hala Salah Eldin Hussein
The following e-mail exchange took place over two weeks at the beginning of August 2011 between Hala Salah Eldin Hussein, an Egyptian translator, publisher, journalist and occasional contributor to Ragazine, and Mike Foldes, in response to a casual question about what the “atmosphere” is like on the ground in Egypt these days:
MF: Hi, Hala, how are things in Cairo? Is the political situation getting to be under control? Do you have any questions/doubts about the progress?
HSEH: Dear Mike, I’m sorry I’m late. I was on the road. The situation doesn’t really look good, though I believe it will come around. Military rule is weighing down on those aspiring to establish a civilian society. Months ago a law was enacted to forbid demonstrations and sit-ins, but it was recently implemented. Beatings and arrests, even in Tahrir Square, of activists and unarmed citizens are random. Actually Tahrir Square is now occupied by the military police so nobody will protest there or organize a demonstration. Military trials of civilians are still taking place. An unbelievable number of 11,000 citizens were held before military courts in the past five months. Never happened in Mubarak era! But days when we couldn’t say NO are over, and I do believe we could force the military council, now ruling the country, to hand the country down to a civilian rule. Days ago we have seen the “royal” family of Mubarak, except for the wife, behind bars. They were accused of a number of charges, most importantly giving the order to police forces to kill protesters in the first days of the revolution. I do believe this bumpy period will be over, maybe not soon, but it’s inevitable. Our mistake is that we have allowed a part of the former corrupt regime – the army – to take over the country after toppling Mubarak. We actually had no other option. Our revolution has no leader! On the other hand, Islamists’ voices are more resonant than ever. Their opportunism was stark when they have – and still – gone against the people’s will and unconditionally support the ruling military council. But our eyes are vigilant against their schemes. Well, I must say we are no longer the country before 25 January. We have become more aware of our rights. We have never ruled ourselves before, and we are still growing as a nation, and this gives me hope and courage to say that things will come around. Thanks Mike 🙂
MF: Sorry to take so long getting back to you. Would you mind if we publish your comment? It is filled with the kind of information from ‘real people’ that we do not see/hear in the news in the US. Everything is fed to us from the networks, and it is generally all sound bite from administrators. Your POV is engaging. Of course, keep the faith, as we used to say in the anti-Vietnam day…
HSEH: Please do so. Use it as you wish, though a civilian girl was charged this morning with insulting the Council in a Facebook Status! Seriously. She will be court-martialled in the coming few days!
MF: Hi, please send us an update on what happens to her … does court-martial mean she’ll be shot? jailed? stoned? starved? or simply remonstrated?
HSEH: Military prosecution launched an investigation against Asmaa Mahfouz, a 26-year-old activist accused of insulting the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and calling for armed operations against the military and the judiciary. Of course activists and presidential hopefuls condemned Asmaa Mahfouz arrest. Mahfouz was released on LE20,000 bail! A huge number if I may add. This means that we are all threatened, in one way or another. Declaring what you think via Facebook, or pointing out a flaw in the ruling Council’s performance can get you court-martialed. If convicted, she will face a jail sentence.
About Hala Salah Eldin Hussein:
Born in 1978, Hala Salah Eldin Hussein was raised in Tanta, a city in the middle of the Nile Delta of Egypt. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the Faculty of Arts, Tanta University, 1999. She is the editor of Albawtaka Review, and general manager of Albawtaka Publishing House.
August 15, 2011 Comments Off on News from Egypt
Dodging the limelight
Though drawing and painting have been my passion from a very early age, photography has always fascinated me, too. Taking photos allowed me to remember much more of the places I went, the people I knew. It never did evolve beyond the taking of snapshots though, mainly because I spent all my time and efforts in drawing and painting. But a couple of years ago, I gradually started to take it more seriously. I started to get addicted to going to old abandoned buildings and photographing them. I also looked at thousands of photos taken by other people and each day I raised the bar a little for myself.
Frankly, I don’t really care about stuff like the rule of thirds, or any other technical do’s and don’ts. I don’t think when I photograph, but I look. And when what I see feels right, I press the shutter. So I guess you could say I am an emotional photographer, haha. I am not easily satisfied with what I create.
Beside derelict buildings, I really like animals too. They are unpredictable and fickle, but that makes getting a good shot even more rewarding. I hope I can capture a bit of their personality. It bewilders people when you take both cute cat photos and scary dirty deserted rooms. I think most people want an artist to repeat the same thing over and over again, in a slightly different jacket, and looking around, I feel most popular artists give these people what they want. But there’s too much of interest in life to focus on just one thing. And life’s too short – so I will keep dodging the limelight.
-Ineke Kamps, Holland, 2010
If you’re real quiet you can hear them
Closet ghost having a rest
Drink Me II
The girl has come undone
Ineke was born in 1972 in the south of Holland and studied illustration design. She exhibited her photographs and paintings throughout her native Netherlands and in Belgium and Germany. “I generally am just unprofitable and maladjusted without prospect of cure,” she says. To see additional photographs and her paintings, visit: http://www.inekekamps.nl, and you can email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
February 20, 2010 1 Comment
Revival of the Fittest
New Police Gazette brings back
good old-fashioned Journalism
How did you get interested in the Police Gazette?
I became interested in the Gazette first as a youth, seeing it referenced in other areas of popular culture such as Bugs Bunny cartoons. I loved the name, the logo, and the way it was portrayed as something shocking, titillating, and funny. Much later, I did more extensive research and found it was even more shocking, titillating, and funny than I had imagined. This was especially interesting due to the fact it had started in the 19th century. Ribald humor and shocking irony were not 20th century inventions.
What prompted you to claim the site?
The publication had finally ceased by 1977 and, other than a brief interest shown by a gentleman in the 1980s, the National Police Gazette trademark had not been picked up by anyone else. The Gazette was lying fallow, seemingly without a soul to carry it into the 21st century. I simply picked up a standard that had been dropped, and created the website to breathe life into the Gazette once again.
Who is William A. Mays? Your alter ego?
Yes, this is my pen name for the website. William A. Mays is based on Richard K. Fox, the most flamboyant and successful previous owner of the Gazette.
Can you give us a little history on your background?
My father was writer Donald E. Westlake. I have an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Miami, where I was managing editor of the graduate literary magazine. I’ve worked as a reporter for weekly newspapers, and as a contributing writer to a national women’s magazine. Other writing includes poetry that was accepted at the Hofstra University conference celebrating the 100th birthday of Babe Ruth, and the accounting department procedures manual for the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR). I also have experience in sales and client financial management, particularly as an agent and registered representative for New York Life Insurance. Other business and financial experience include my four years at Morgan Stanley, doing the business start-up for my brother’s company, writing the business plan for a friend’s company, and serving as a board member and treasurer for the Summer Savoyards, Inc. I have years of experience in theater as an actor, director, production manager, etc. Finally, I also have experience as a teacher, most recently as an instructor of English at Broome Community College.
William a. Mays’ background?
You’ve heard of The Most Interesting Man in The World? William A. Mays is his best friend and biographer.
Now what about the Gazette? Who was responsible for it in the beginning, and were the woodcuts regarded then as the beautiful women and photography you include now?
The National Police Gazette started in 1845 as the 19th century version of America’s Most Wanted with John Walsh. It was designed to expose fugitives to the public so they could help in the fugitives’ capture. By 1878 it was doing poorly and on the verge of closing. That year it was purchased by Richard K. Fox, an immigrant from Ireland, who then used it to revolutionize American journalism. Fox turned the Gazette into a showpiece of lurid sensationalism. In the process, he invented the sports page, the celebrity gossip column, the girlie magazine, and perfected the concept of the illustrated weekly. Within a few years the Gazette went from near extinction to one of the most popular and talked about weeklies in America. Half of the column inches in any given issue were covered with illustrations, totally unheard of at the time. The subject matter of these illustrations was heavily weighted toward crime/violence, sports, and women. And if women could be depicted in settings involving crime/violence or sports, all the better. Fox also had the good sense to hire some of the best artists available, resulting in lurid, grotesque, prurient illustrations that also happened to be technical masterpieces. To answer the question if Fox’s woodcuts were regarded the same as the photos I put up, what I do is far more tame and tasteful based solely on the prevailing attitude of society. If I were to get the same reaction to my pictures as Fox did to his, I’d probably have to feature stills from snuff films. What Fox did was irreverent and shocking to the sensibilities of the 1880s, and I feel he deserves a great deal of the credit for helping American society transition from the stuffy Victorian era to the looser attitudes of the 20th century. He was a visionary in many ways, and one of the delights of handling the Gazette now is when I get contacted by a researcher who is flabbergasted that the Gazette documented something years before it appeared anywhere else. Finally, until I have the resources to make the website more picture oriented, I’ve been focusing on the concept of “the girl on the Police Gazette.” This was a popular catch phrase that highlighted the fact that before Playboy, or even magazines such as Photoplay, the Police Gazette was the periodical of choice for pictures of provocatively posed young women. Irving Berlin even wrote a popular song about this titled “The Girl on the Police Gazette.”
Where do you get the articles you headline? Do you have any copyright issues here?
Ideas for the original material I write for the site come from real news items. These are all real people and events reported as accurately as possible, but told with the Police Gazette style or perspective. Those stories are copyrighted by “William A. Mays,” which is my dba (trade name). The articles and illustrations I publish from the original Gazette are all pre-1923, and thus in the public domain. However, the pages on my website in which they appear are copyrighted by William A. Mays, which means if you want to use material on the page that was from the original Police Gazette, that’s okay. But if you want to take the webpage itself and do something, that requires permission. Also, the Police Gazette logo is a trademark of William A. Mays, National Police Gazette. So anyone who wishes to use the logo in an original work other than scholarly research would require my permission.
How do you do the reproductions of the woodcuts and/or lithographics you’re selling online? What processes? Quality of paper? What are people buying here?
The process involves a digital camera, the original paper issues of the Gazette, and Photoshop. The details are a bit proprietary, so I’ll just leave it at that. But the result is that the illustration is enhanced for clarity, detail, and consistency. The quality of the image ends up better than you will see in any copies of an original Gazette, which have suffered from wear and age. In fact, I feel so strongly about the quality and historic value of Police Gazette illustrations that I would like to run every Gazette illustration through this process and save them for posterity before the paper issues deteriorate into dust. The posters I sell are 18″x24″ and printed on thick semi-gloss stock using archival ink.
Is this a profitable venture? Or a hobby?
It started as a hobby, one of those things a person does for the love of it and I would do whether it made a profit or not. It is, however, gradually morphing into a business. Sales are low right now because the premier item–the posters–just went up less than two months ago, and I have not yet begun any significant marketing push. I’ll be ramping that aspect of it up over the next few weeks. Another big part of my work with the Gazette is that I provide a service to researchers free of charge. A complete collection of the National Police Gazette does not exist in any publicly accessible place. Chunks of it exist in various forms–originals, microfilm, online PDF database–and scattered around various libraries. And there are volumes and issues that, at this time, can’t be found anywhere. Frustrated researchers ask me for help, and often I can steer them in the right direction. I’ve gotten acknowledgements in the books of published authors, and I’ll be listed as a source of archival material in an upcoming PBS American Experience documentary about Wyatt Earp.
Do you anticipate a print copy?
I don’t anticipate a regularly published periodical, unless an opportunity comes along to do something similar to what The Onion does, namely, have it serve not just as a vehicle for a particular brand of comedy, but also as an alternative weekly for the college and art crowd, with useful reviews and locally specific features and advertising. But I do want to produce special stand-alone publications with catchy titles such as “The Police Gazette Treasury of Electric Shock,” “The Police Gazette Treasury of Home Invasion,” etc. or “The National Police Gazette Presents: Profiles in Abomination,” “The National Police Gazette Presents: Profiles in Malfeasance,” etc.
What’s the long-term goal here?
The long-term goal is to brand the National Police Gazette. My dream is to rebuild a Police Gazette “empire,” marketing the old with the new, and appeal to nostalgia/retro enthusiasts as well as current lovers of news-as-irony, e.g., fans of The Onion and Stephen Colbert. The first step is to fully develop the website, improving the technical quality and having regularly updated stories, art, and interviews. Another goal is to make the site a one-stop shop for researchers and fans of the old Gazette, having all the old stories and illustrations available online in a searchable database much the same way that The New York Times does. I’d like to market everything from the Police Gazette font to an entire fashion line. Ultimately, I don’t think a museum is out of the question. The huge amounts of popular culture the Gazette not only documented but generated I think would be ideal for a museum format. In our current environment where the brand is everything, I see nothing stopping a “Police Gazette” brand from taking hold. When I see some of the apparel in the WalMarts and JC Penneys and TJ Maxxs, there’s clothing with brand names and logos that were made up for the sole purpose of serving as art for apparel. They are logos of fictional companies made to sound old fashioned yet important. If the Police Gazette doesn’t sound old fashioned yet important, I don’t know what does! The key is planting it emotionally in the minds of the general public. The “myth” of the Gazette has to be created and disseminated.
Is this a full-time gig for you? If not, what do you do for a living?
This does not yet make enough money to live on, so a good chunk of my time is taken up doing things that pay the bills. Until December I taught English at Broome Community College. Right now I’m exploring other options, including getting involved in other business ventures that may be more immediately profitable. However, I would like nothing more than to have the Police Gazette be my full-time occupation.
Are a lot of your readers cops? Cons? Average Joes?
In spite of the name, the target audience is not involved in criminal justice. Right now most of the site’s readers are average Joes–who enjoy the stories of murdered teen porn stars–and history buffs looking to research the old Gazette or subjects covered by it. In addition, I intend to market the Gazette to 15-35 year olds who enjoy their pop culture snarky. Fans of The Onion, The Daily Show, and Stephen Colbert are good prospects, as are those who prefer the modern world presented with a 19th century veneer, such as fans of steampunk. Then there’s the art. I want the Gazette to be a showcase again for artists’ work. I’d like to see artists create depictions to accompany the original articles, which would bring art lovers to the site to see the latest illustrations.
What else can you tell us about the Police Gazette?
To answer that here are some excerpted paragraphs from a documentary narration draft I wrote:
A century before Howard Stern hit the airwaves, there was a man who not only recognized the appeal of quasi-lesbian imagery, but — like Stern — knew how to make it an acceptable part of popular culture. Five generations before Stephen Colbert and Sacha Baron Cohen blurred the distinction between the real and fictional news correspondent, there was a man who populated his real-news publication with fictional editors and their semi-real exploits. Before there was the celebrity gossip column, he invented it. Before there was a sports page, he created it. Before the advent of the girlie magazine, he provided it. When the sport of boxing was illegal and widely considered immoral, this man championed, promoted, and popularized it all the way into legal and public acceptance. The heads of “respectable” publications looked down on him, but then raced to imitate him when his success became undeniable. Hugely popular, even across the ocean, the publication made an appearance in James Joyce’s masterpiece Ulysses. At a time when the barbershop was not just a place to get your hair cut, but served as the de facto gentlemen’s club for the working class, it was known as the “bible of the barbershop.” Its recipe mixed the titillating and funny with the informative and serious in just the right proportion, in a way that had never been thought of previously, in a way that led directly to what we know as today’s tabloid journalism, sports reporting, skin magazines, shock jocks, and quasi-news programs such as the Daily Show. The purveyors of these current forms of entertainment, as well as the professional sport of boxing, can address their gratitude to one Richard K. Fox and his publication the National Police Gazette.
The news was real, and it was shocking, but it was offered with a wink. If it was violent and gory, great; if it involved sexual infidelity, wonderful; if it included both, perfect. The details were gratuitously graphic. However, they were mixed with something Richard K. Fox and the Police Gazette may not have invented, but did manage to refine in a way never before seen in American journalism: irony. At a time when newspapers took themselves as seriously as they took their subject matter, Fox and the Gazette set out to blow this pomposity apart. They stalked hypocrisy wherever it lay and went in for the kill, reserving special derision for religious leaders seen as failing to practice what they preached.
Before television and radio were invented, around when Jon Stewart and Howard Stern’s great-great grandparents would have been walking the earth, books, magazines and newspapers were the only way to reach a mass audience. The person who mastered the print medium would be — if not king of all media –certainly king of all mass media.
In pursuit of this goal Richard K. Fox set out to turn this text-heavy medium into something visually exciting. Not only did the number, size, and detail of the Police Gazette‘s illustrations–most of them woodcuts–mark a quantum leap above what was then the norm in other publications, their subject matter was calculated to arouse various areas of the — usually male — psyche. To top it off, he began printing his Gazette on pink paper, another departure — an ironic one at that — from his competitors.
And Fox didn’t just promote boxing. There was hardly a competitive endeavor imaginable that escaped his notice. The Police Gazette sponsored everything from bicycle endurance feats to duck-egg eating contests. Thousands of championship and commemorative Police Gazette medals, belts, and trophies were produced and awarded. With its influence already felt in so many facets of today’s mass communication, the Guinness Book of World Records can also find a direct ancestor in the Gazette. Such was its interest in top achievement in a wide variety of human activities. For these, the Police Gazette served as the paper of record. Richard Fox promised readers the Gazette could settle any dispute when it came to questions of a sporting nature.
The National Police Gazette lasted for 132 years, publishing from 1845 to 1977, and produced 5,000 issues–one of the longest runs in American periodical history. Its heyday was the Fox years, from 1878 to 1922, with its greatest impact occurring in the first half of that remarkable run. The impact was so great that people alive at the time spoke of the influence the Gazette had on them years afterward. Franklin P. Adams, the famed newspaper columnist and Algonquin Round Table member, said “Women and Crime–that magic front-page partnership… interested and thrilled me…. Yes, I used to stare at those pictures, and so did all the boys that I knew.” Thomas Edison was said to have been a regular reader. Irving Berlin wrote a song about it called “The Girl on the Police Gazette.” In movies, cartoons, and even into the television era, when a character needed to be depicted reading a shocking magazine, it was usually the Police Gazette. And it still makes appearances today, most recently being featured in the new Sherlock Holmes movie starring Robert Downey, Jr.
For news you’ll find hard to believe,
check out the site: www.policegazette.us
Talk to the boss:
William A. May, proprietor
February 20, 2010 Comments Off on Cops & Robbers