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Serious News And Soft Porn: Are They, In Fact, The Same Thing? ;)
October 29, 2003 11:08 PM   Subscribe

All The Nudes That Are Fit To Print: It's no exaggeration to say La Repubblica is Italy's finest newspaper. It's liberal, modern, intelligent and independent. Along with Spain's El Pais; France's Libération and Le Monde; the UK's Guardian; Germany's Die Zeit and Portugal's Público, it's one of the mainstays of the European Left and Centre-Left. And yet its website offers calendars in the, er, Pirelli tradition of time-keeping. Imagine the New York Times being similarly... liberal. Can soft prOn and serious reporting live together? Is it an Italian thing? The only other example I can think of is Spain's Interviú, a magazine which in its heyday mixed superb (again, left-leaning) investigative journalism with politically incorrect - and photographically retouched - tits and ass. (NSFW, obviously, unless you're somewhere in Southern Europe or Louisiana.)
posted by MiguelCardoso (49 comments total)

 
hey migs! whatchoo doon up so late?!?!?!
posted by quonsar at 11:10 PM on October 29, 2003


quonz , would you believe i was going through my morning round-up of the papers and clicked the calendars section of La Repubblica in the hope I could find out what day of the week an upcoming friend's birthday would fall upon?

No, I thought not. Carry on. My wife was no more understanding or generous. ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 11:27 PM on October 29, 2003


Boobs!
posted by eyeballkid at 11:28 PM on October 29, 2003


I mean of course Migs and Quonsy. I've yet to click on the link.
posted by eyeballkid at 11:28 PM on October 29, 2003


Can soft prOn and serious reporting live together? Is it an Italian thing?

Back off, ya Eurocentric snob. Over here, Bush & Co. are showing their unretouched asses daily, and not just for some bleeding heart, hoity-toity commie rag, either.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 11:52 PM on October 29, 2003


ROTFLOL!
posted by gen at 11:58 PM on October 29, 2003


What gen said.

*billing foldy for ruined 17" imac screen; sticky keybrfrd and unsexy Rove and Cheney mental images, resulting in impoverished sex life and Cheneybum-caused blockage*
posted by MiguelCardoso at 12:13 AM on October 30, 2003


Man. Migs - you don't have your wife trained to accept pr0n and male masturbation to such as perfectly acceptable daylight activities within the confines of your home?

That sound is several of my illusions shattering simultaneously. Keep in mind this is coming from an American liberal who DOES read the NY Times who honestly thought Europeans were supposed to be lightyears ahead of us in sexual foibles.
posted by Ryvar at 12:16 AM on October 30, 2003


When I lived in Italy, I got the impression that Il Corriere della Sera had a marginally better reputation for news than La Repubblica. Having said that, the latter paper was the one I usually bought as part of my efforts to learn the language. I guess hard news and soft porn can coexist, but not, I think, without some diminution of the former's credibility - I would always suspect that first-rate reporting should be able to sell itself. Some of the main weekly news magazines in Italy L'Espresso and Panorama, also often featured pictures of naked ladies, indeed the latter’s web-site has a calendar girls section too.
posted by misteraitch at 12:17 AM on October 30, 2003


Ryvar - if you knew European men and, even worse, European women, you would know that masturbation is not an option, unless you're unencumbered. Otherwise, every erection or humidification is dealt with in the same way as freshly caught fish - to be thrown into the pan bed and fried fucked immediately. :)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 12:22 AM on October 30, 2003


Where is this Europe place, and how long does it take to hitchhike there from California?
posted by DaShiv at 12:59 AM on October 30, 2003


Miguel, the semicolon is not a simple replacement for the comma. Stop overusing it and misusing it! I beg you! You are robbing it of its meaning!
posted by mokey at 1:15 AM on October 30, 2003


So that begs the question, is Page 3 the cause of or the result of shoddy journalism in the rest of that particular paper, and why does this italian magazine escape the same fate?
posted by Space Coyote at 2:03 AM on October 30, 2003


humidification

Heh.

So that begs the question

::: grits teeth, remains silent :::
posted by rushmc at 3:08 AM on October 30, 2003


Best post, ever.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:32 AM on October 30, 2003


Oh yes, good post by the way.
posted by mokey at 3:56 AM on October 30, 2003


hey... maybe if American news media went the porn route, the could stop alternately manufacturing crisis and pandering to the flag to grab eyeballs. At least with the apperance of tits in the middle of a discussion about Senate defense committee hearings, you know you're getting your news from MBAs, not journalists.
posted by Vetinari at 4:59 AM on October 30, 2003


From my world of blissfully repressed American puritanism, I don't understand how any of these papers could offer daily cheesecake and be taken seriously when covering gender bias and other issues related to women.

If they're all irresponsible tabloids, then it's fine to pander with page 3 girls. But the title of Italy's finest newspaper deserves to go to something that doesn't encourage its readers to hold the publication with one hand.
posted by rcade at 5:32 AM on October 30, 2003


I wanna know when the mefi nude calendar is coming out? and whether or not q will be in it?
posted by mcsweetie at 5:39 AM on October 30, 2003


rcade: there are no nudes in the newspaper itself. As far as I know, they feature on the website only.

mokey: thanks for the lesson. This late in life they're to be welcomed with open arms. In Portuguese a semi-colon must always be used in lists (e.g. Guardian; Telegraph; Independent) and I seem to have unknowingly imported this habit into my furriner's English.

I dimly remember that full stops, colons, semi-colons and commas are all considered "stops" in English (see, I didn't use semi-colons, whereas in Portuguese they would be required) and that one should use them mainly to make the stops smaller or bigger. I shall consult my editions of Fowler's to make sure.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:46 AM on October 30, 2003


Mokey: When you've got a list of things that you usually seperate with the comma-comma-comma and business and the things are suitably complex, e.g. have their own ands or commas, it's often acceptable to use semicolons instead of commas to delineate the list. Otherwise the sentence would be a harder to parse visually. Migs is right on this one; the bylaw is found in most thorough grammar books.

Um. Boobies.
posted by tss at 5:47 AM on October 30, 2003


OK, now I'm really confused. As thread-leader I call an official semi-colon tangent. ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:50 AM on October 30, 2003


Oh dear. I suppose it comes down to one's personal preference. I don't like semicolons for lists, as any person with the ability to read will be able to parse a sentence containing commas, and I think semicolons should retain some special meaning rather than being used where commas would be perfectly effective, but that's just me.
posted by mokey at 5:56 AM on October 30, 2003


And here's my tangential sub-link. It somehow doesn't seem right, so it's all the more ripe for discussion.

MetaFilter: boobies, colonoscopies and semi-colons.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:01 AM on October 30, 2003


One of my teachers writes seperate; the other semicolon. Which one should I follow? :/
posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:07 AM on October 30, 2003


D'oh! Damn you, separate! Damn you and your subtle ways!
posted by tss at 6:10 AM on October 30, 2003


Hey! Me and WolfDaddy wanna know - where's the beefcake?
posted by madamjujujive at 6:40 AM on October 30, 2003


Wow, a few of them are downright stunning.
posted by Dagobert at 6:47 AM on October 30, 2003


Portuguese spelling and grammar rules were established in the 18th century in a movement towards nationalization. American English language rules were "established" by various and varying 20th century book mass producers in order to standardize and sell more books. I'd say go with your gut on this issue. Interesting links anyway, although the articles in Playboy (yes, there actually are articles in there) have never been what folks would call conservative.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:47 AM on October 30, 2003


Tocayo - The Interviu phenomenon explained: "its heyday" was right after Franco died, when laws were passed decriminalizing the portrayal of nudes in the media, as well as left-leaning reporting. By mixing both, Interviu spawned Grupo Zeta, which is today of the main publishing groups in Spain. It was more a smart business decision than anything else. Then it became a cliche. I do believe it was somewhat based on Playboy (buying it for the articles not for the pictures, etc.), but the reporting was (still is) quite a bit more aggressive.

(Related story: I'm not sure if it was Interviu or Lib -a flat-out nudie rag - who kept running ads with the slogan: "To all of you who would never read us, thanks for making us the best seller magazine in Spain". Either Interviu or Lib or both were at some point the top selling magazines in Spain, yet no one admitted to buying them.)

(Related demystifying: Interviu journalists will not let something as rude as facts and truth get in their way. But then again, there is something to be said about journalism that is driven by the sole desire to take shot after shot at power organs and prestigious institutions at large.)

(Related fact: El Pais - Spain largest read newspaper and also left-leaning, as quoted in the FPP, does throw in the occasional boobie or two. Just in a more sophisticated setting - typically, a snapshot of a fashion show. The intent is nonetheless absolutely transparent.).

Ryvar, pick up your illusions and take a trip to any European beach. I believe the salty air might bind them solidly again ... Or to a place were a Justice minister who feels threatened by a pair of boobies would be considered suboptimal ... specially if the said breasts were those of a statue.
posted by magullo at 6:48 AM on October 30, 2003


Hey, juju! I don't have the poison but I sure as hell have the the antidote!

And ain't that the cutest URL you ever saw?

posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:49 AM on October 30, 2003


Wow, a few of them are downright stunning.

The Absolute Honesty Joint Fark/MetaFilter Award of the Year, in the No Semi-colon Bullshit category, goes unanimously to Dagobert, no contest. :)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 7:04 AM on October 30, 2003


We've got tits n' ass everywhere, ladies and gents. From dancing girls in skimpy outfits on every tv show, to pouty lipped news anchors sporting some serious cleavage, to nudie pics of the latest starlet in the daily rags. There's even the occasional cheesecake for the ladies (though one could argue that the Italian males' penchant for tight jeans in everyday life negates the need for pin-up material...I digress.)

There is a healthy very vocal red-blooded appreciation for the human body from both sexes (and not just those genetically gifted). Nudity is not that big of a deal - it's a fact of life.

It's very disconcerting to people from Anglo-Saxon-founded countries, seeming to be a misogynist, crude, crass, sexist culture. But in the end, the women dominate. The boys may whistle, but they will always be wrapped around some woman's little finger, be it their mama, their sister, or their wife. (and the incidence of violent sexual crimes against women here is very very low, which might lead one to postulate that porn isn't nearly as eeeev-il as the extremely puritanical might want us to believe.)

if you knew European men and, even worse, European women, you would know that masturbation is not an option, unless you're unencumbered. Otherwise, every erection or humidification is dealt with in the same way as freshly caught fish - to be thrown into the pan bed and fried fucked immediately. :)

And may this never, ever change.
posted by romakimmy at 7:15 AM on October 30, 2003


For ten minutes now I've been searching for how to say, in perfect Italian, "Tell it like it is, romakimmy!" or, even, "Represent!". But I give up.

Further proof that what she says is true to the core: women dominate because they're genuinely worshipped, one by one and as a distinct, significantly better species.

We're fighting back, of course, but we have history as a consolation for our miserable record of losing - and loving it! :)

*tightens jeans*

posted by MiguelCardoso at 7:29 AM on October 30, 2003


Apparently "worship" involves a lot of groping and yelling of crass and obscene comments as well as a lot of crotch grabbing and then progresses (as the woman ages and becomes more stoop backed) into allowing the "worshiped" to scrub your floors, spew out babies and cook your meals for you. Oh, to be "worshipped" like that! I think its that stuff that seems more disconcerting to WASP's. The incident of violent sex crimes that go unreported because of cultural norms or lack of prosecutorial interest as well as the history of trafficking in African and Eastern European sex slaves also tend to disturb many people outside of Italy.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:27 AM on October 30, 2003


Also very true, Pollomacho - thanks for the stark reminder. The gross, crude, unintelligent and ultimately violent comments that are made here in Southern Europe whenever an attractive woman passes by are indeed the other side of the coin. The worst thing about it is that they occur more when the younger a woman is. I.e., they're rarely proffered when someone is over 18 or 20. Cowardly!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:37 AM on October 30, 2003


Please lose that when.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:40 AM on October 30, 2003


To get back off-topic, I believe the following is a good summary of Chicago Manual of Style approach.

Run-in lists are normally punctuated with commas, eg "A, B, and C". Some people get in a ruckus over the "serial comma" (the comma before the "and") and prefer "A, B and C", but these people are satanic nazi pederast terrorists with plaid pants.

Lists where every item is on its own line are punctuated with semicolons, eg
A;
B;
C.
As you see, you end the last item with a period.

What gets complicated is where you have a run-in list where individual list item contain commas. In that case, you use semicolons, eg "A blah, blah, and blah; B blah blah; C blah, blah, and blah."

Note that it is OK (but a little awkward) to write "A and A1, B and B1, and C and C1", and it is for this reason that I prefer the serial comma.
posted by adamrice at 8:47 AM on October 30, 2003


Some people get in a ruckus over the "serial comma" (the comma before the "and") and prefer "A, B and C", but these people are satanic nazi pederast terrorists with plaid pants.

Sounds good to me, Adam. But I'm Jewish, resolutely adult-obsessed, non-pederastic and law-abiding and I would never put a comma before and.

And is a beautiful conjunction which absolutely dispenses with commas. It is the ultimate comma itself. So you should always write "Punctuation, Adam and me" rather than "Punctuation, Adam, and me". Unless you stylistically want to call attention to the "and me".


posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:56 AM on October 30, 2003


The plaid pants I admit to. I invoke John Lydon and the Sex Pistols as witnesses for the defense. :)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:14 AM on October 30, 2003


But you don't deny wearing plaid pants!
posted by adamrice at 9:14 AM on October 30, 2003


No. I kinda thought...they were *sob* accepted...

*retires shame-faced and plaidly-legged from the discussion, prancing uneasily, toes hardly touching puddles.*
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:19 AM on October 30, 2003


That's Italy for you. What interested me, tangentially, was that both the FT and the Indy covered the latest 'installation' by Spencer Tunick in Grand Central Station with photos on their front pages. While the Pink 'Un stuck with the bare-arsed agency photo, the Indy showed the women lying on their backs, though at a sufficient distance not to identify them. Not something I'd expect any US paper (and the FT has a big US readership) would be brave enough to slap on Page One.
posted by riviera at 9:23 AM on October 30, 2003


Oh, there was meant to be a link there.
posted by riviera at 9:24 AM on October 30, 2003


But then again, there is something to be said about journalism that is driven by the sole desire to take shot after shot at power organs and prestigious institutions at large.

Afflict the comfortable, check.


decriminalizing the portrayal of nudes in the media

Comfort the afflicted, check.


Sounds like journalism to me.
posted by trondant at 9:30 AM on October 30, 2003


From a person who earns his living enforcing these things:
adamrice is absolutely right. Use semicolons in run-in lists if, and only if, elements of the list have commas within them.
*pounds gavel*

Oh, and Miguel, he's right about serial commas too. ("This book is dedicated to my parents, Ayn Rand[,] and God.") You will immediately:
1) Begin using serial commas;
and
2) Cease wearing plaid pants.
posted by languagehat at 10:14 AM on October 30, 2003


miguel shops at fabric 8? dang. who woulda thought ?
posted by specialk420 at 11:55 AM on October 30, 2003


Aha! Miguel, llegint l'Interviu!!! Va ser una bona revista a la seva època, però ara es un simple setmanari sensacionalista!

I mean, yeah!
posted by samelborp at 12:03 PM on October 30, 2003


Is this picture as wierd as I think it is? Because if it is, that's pretty effin' wierd.
posted by dgaicun at 4:46 PM on October 30, 2003


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