Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘advertising’

Dear weekend awaiters,

This is the second installment of a new Lazy Scholar feature, pairing news items with historical archives.

Slate‘s TV Club is diligently following and debating the new season of Mad Men. If you haven’t watched (is that possible?), it’s a 60s scholar’s dream, with carefully reconstructed interior design, fashion, and, yes, language. A few weeks back, Ben Zimmer at the New York Times Magazine offered an inside look at the writers’ efforts to keep the dialogue historically accurate. Scholars of advertising and consumerism, of course, will be thrilled, too, even if the show fictionalizes the origins of many real-life advertising campaigns. Sorry folks, Don Draper did not coin Lucky Strike’s slogan. People were enjoying their “toasted” cigarettes as early as 1919, as this ad shows. Until next Sunday night, you can ponder more of the history behind Mad Men by checking out the beautiful exhibit, The High Art of Photographic Advertisement, thanks to Harvard Business School’s Baker Library. One wonders, were those “Luckies” even more tempting in color?

• Moving on to the big screen, top critics are divided about Eat, Pray, Love, Ryan Murphy’s adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestselling memoir about her post-divorce trip to Italy and elsewhere. You can follow the globe-trots of some earlier American women courtesy of  Brigham Young University’s American Travelers in Italy archive, with digitized copies of travelogues by Sophia Hawthorne, Margaret Fuller, and Louisa May Alcott. The Little Women author had this to say about Rome: “Felt as if I had been there before and knew all about it. Always oppressed with a sense of sin, dirt, and general decay of all things.” Not exactly the stuff of summer movies.

• Officials and locals in Louisiana debate whether it’s safe or wise to re-open commercial fishing grounds after the Gulf oil spill. Between 1921 and 1932, LA Department of Wildlife and Fisheries employee Percy Viosca, Jr.,  documented the state’s coasts, and captured many photos of its fishing industry. You can view images like the one below on the Viosca Collection from LSU.

• After much research, McSweeney’s presented the “Editor’s Choice Award” to their favorite “e-Reader”: the Newspaper. It “outclassed its rivals both in terms of size and elasticity” and its “display could be read at full size or, when flipped open, twice its normal width.” Fellow ironical Luddites will enjoy the Library of Congress’s amazing, easy-to-navigate, and free Chronicling America Archive, with searchable copies of newspapers dating from 1860 to 1922, including The Texas Jewish Herald, The Salt Lake Evening Democrat, The Ohio Valley Worker, and the Daily Tombstone of Tombstone, Arizona. Here’s a look at some beachfront fashions from a 1916 issue of the New York Herald-Tribune, “an afternoon gown of black silk.”

• Speaking of fashion, this just in: Urban Outfitters’s fall catalog was shot entirely in and around my adopted summer home, Northampton, Massachusetts. Have the grounds of Smith ever looked so co-ed? You can download the catalog here. And you can see historical images of Smith here, thanks to the college’s library. Below, some ladies play leapfrog on the ice for the Sophomore Carnival of 1922.

That’s all for this week dear readers.

Yours currently,

Stephen

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Dear snooze-button specialists,

Eating may be one of the more delightful ways to delay work. People who don’t spend their lives in libraries and classrooms for a living might, in fact, be surprised at how many lunches, teatimes, coffee breaks, iced coffee breaks, brownie breaks, suppers, dinners, desserts, and happy hours you can fit into a single day—not to mention those golden moments when you discover free leftovers from a talk or workshop you didn’t attend.

SupergoopOf course, eating well requires work all its own. Thankfully, the A.V. Geeks have posted countless classic (and by classic, I mean truly awful) educational films on their website, including several specifically related to food. Like the Prelinger Archive, the A.V. Geeks specialize in ephemeral films, though their collection weighs a little more heavily towards the 1960s and 1970s (Duke has them to thank for digitizing their Ad Views archive). Many of their films are also available for purchase on DVD, which may explain why the site is so poorly indexed.

Nonetheless, for the devoted delinquent like myself, a quick scan for films of the 1970s reveals such gems as “Soopergoop,” where an animated cat reveals the manipulative techniques of advertising execs looking to sell a new cereal. Or there’s “Munchers: A Fable,” a claymation pic about tooth decay with a psychedelic soundtrack and a black devil named “Jack Sweet.”

BarbecueSpeaking of psychedelic, don’t miss the kids getting down in “Story of a Peanut Butter Sandwich.” And last but not least, there’s a public service announcement about “National Barbecue Month,” where a bunch of teens in cowboy hats learn the joys of a well-cooked steak.

Onto the day! Isn’t it lunchtime yet?

Hungrily yours,

Stephen

P.S. I couldn’t resist highlighting one more video: Believe it or not, my health teacher in eighth grade actually showed us this frightening 1979 film about male puberty, “Am I Normal?“—poorly timed erections and carefully coiffed hair included.

Read Full Post »

Dear daydream believers,

You might have heard, say here, or here, or (shout-out to my adviser) here, that 2009 marks the bicentennial of the birth of Abraham Lincoln. And what better way to celebrate his memory than with Brown University’s enormous collection of “Lincolniana“—though I keep reading it as “Lincolnalia,”  suggesting both paraphernalia and a Victorian sexual pathology.

As it turns the 21st century has no monopoly on crass commercialization. See for instance this truly incredible advertisement from 1870, with the “Emancipation Proclamation” rolled up like cigarette paper, with the American flag waving above it like a trail of smoke.

Brown University, Center for Digital Initiatives

Yes America, you are free at last to smoke. And check out (in 3-D!!!) this delightfully kitschy 1950s Lincoln jug.

More genuinely moving is this beautiful 1904 silhouette portrait of the Great Emancipator beneath a tree.

Brown University, Center for Digital Initiatives

Though I have to say, my favorite portrayal of Lincoln appears in Behind the Scenes, the (mostly true?) memoir written by his Mary Todd Lincoln’s black dressmaker Elizabeth Keckley. As she tells it, President Abe was extremely fond of animals, especially his pet goats. “My pets recognize me. How earnestly they look!”  Read it on Google if you haven’t already!

Earnestly yours,

Stephen

P.S. Did you know you can become a fan of the “Young Abraham Lincoln” on Facebook? Find out what Joshua Speed saw in him!

Read Full Post »

Dear readers,

Who, or what, is the Lazy Scholar, you ask? I’ve been mulling for a few months now the idea of starting blog devoted to the ideal of scholarly sloth–doing as much research as humanly possible without actually leaving your computer. In all seriousness, I think that web archives are an incredible resource for  scholars and teachers–particularly as it grows increasingly difficult to pry computers out of the hands of most  undergraduates (and many graduate students, too). So, on with the entry:

Some of you may already have come across Duke Libraries’ impressive digital collection, though I hadn’t until a few weeks ago. Among the newest gems rests their “AdViews” collection, an iTunes-powered menagerie of TV commercials from the 1950s to the 1980s.

Among my favorites, these creepy Corn Flakes ads (link will launch in iTunes) and these minstrel-y Honeycomb ads (“Come to the Honeycomb Hideout!”). You should also check out their highlights.

Sugar Coated Corn Flaked

For those studying the years before the baby boom, there’s also their fabulous Emergence of Advertising in America, with illustrated ads from 1850 to 1920. The broadsides section not only includes ads for hardware (NAILS!) and railroad shows (GIRAFFES!), but also some placed by detective agencies (WANTED FOR RAPE!

Giraffes

This is only a small glimpse of their resources on advertising–and an even smaller glimpse of Duke’s overall digital resources. If anyone else skims the collection (or has used it before), it would be great to highlight some of their other collections. But for now, I’m back to work. And by work, I mean surfing the internet for other distractions.

Lazily yours,

Stephen

Read Full Post »