Vintage Pulp May 2 2012
WHAT'S THE WORST THAT CAN HAPPEN?
Can’t we all just get along? Apparently not, if It’s Happening has anything to say about it.

There came a moment around 1970 in the U.S. when movie producers realized that African-Americans liked cinema too, and tailoring content to serve their tastes—the same way white tastes had been prioritized since the advent of cinema—might prove profitable. They bet that blacks would enjoy seeing themselves represented onscreen, even if many of the representatons were caricatures. But they did it on the cheap, with heavy-handed writers, inexperienced directors, and untested actors. The genre that would be called blaxploitation was the result. While the films were putatively black, the money behind them was almost always white, or at least establishment, but the bet paid off—blaxploitation was a cultural explosion. Well, the same thing happened around the same time with at least one tabloid. Above is a May 1969 cover for It’s Happening.

So, what do you get here? The cover says it’s “the news others dare not print,” but basically, it’s the same as tabs like National Informer and Midnight, only with that added black/white spice on every page. But this is not ebony and ivory together forever in perfect harmony like Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney once sang. Who’d buy such a newspaper? No, Americans prefer to lay down their hard earned coin for fear, strife, anger, rape and pillage. The stories, in classic ’70s tabloid fashion, are basically flights of editorial fancy matched to whatever handout photos happened to be languishing in the file cabinet. Thus we learn about a white mom seducing black boys, a black beauty’s boobs that put a potential white rapist in a trance, and so forth. We don’t think it’s black published. Why? Well, for one thing, the noun usage is suspect, as in the back page story headlined: Sports Scene Now Belongs to the Blacks. If you were black, would you refer to yourself as “the blacks”?

We managed to score a few of these, and there’s no publication information in any of the issues, in fact no masthead at all—which we think lends credence to our suspicion that it was put together by a bunch of snickering yuppies in some garage in suburbia—but we’ll see if we can ferret out the paper’s provenance. Whoever put it out, we’re certain they saw it as satire, and imagined it would, in a decade or two, be remembered as a humorous artifact of a forgotten, racially divided age. Hah hah. Joke’s on them. Here we are, nearly half a century later, and it’s pretty clear that we humans are not intelligent to the extent that we can conquer the hatreds that divide us. Isn't that just hilarious? Er, maybe not. You can see another It's Happening here, and we have more coming soon.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
May 07
1945—World War II Ends
At Reims, France, German General Alfred Jodl signs unconditional surrender terms, thus ending Germany's participation in World War II. Jodl is then arrested and transferred to the German POW camp Flensburg, and later he is made to stand before the International Military Tribunal at the Nuremberg Trials. At the conclusion of the trial, Jodl is sentenced to death and hanged as a war criminal.
1954—French Are Defeated at Dien Bien Phu
In Vietnam, the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, which had begun two months earlier, ends in a French defeat. The United States, as per the Mutual Defense Assistance Act, gave material aid to the French, but were only minimally involved in the actual battle. By 1961, however, American troops would begin arriving in droves, and within several years the U.S. would be fully embroiled in war.
May 06
1937—The Hindenburg Explodes
In the U.S, at Lakehurst, New Jersey, the German zeppelin LZ 129 Hindenburg catches fire and is incinerated within a minute while attempting to dock in windy conditions after a trans-Atlantic crossing. The disaster, which kills thirty-six people, becomes the subject of spectacular newsreel coverage, photographs, and most famously, Herbert Morrison's recorded radio eyewitness report from the landing field. But for all the witnesses and speculation, the actual cause of the fire remains unknown.
May 05
1921—Chanel No. 5 Debuts
Gabrielle Bonheur "Coco" Chanel, the pioneering French fashion designer whose modernist philosophy, menswear-inspired styles, and pursuit of expensive simplicity made her an important figure in 20th-century fashion, introduces the perfume Chanel No. 5, which to this day remains one of the world's most legendary and best selling fragrances.
1961—First American Reaches Space
Three weeks after Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to fly into space, U.S. astronaut Alan Shepard completes a sub-orbit of fifteen minutes, returns to Earth, and is rescued from his Mercury 3 capsule in the Atlantic Ocean. Shepard made several more trips into space, even commanding a mission at age 47, and was eventually awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.
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