“Along the way, McCartney makes an eloquent case for some of his maligned solo work. When McCartney came out 20 years ago, its songs seemed fragmented and slight, particularly following Abbey Road. Unplugged — and two decades — gives us a chance to rediscover their virtues: simplicity, family, childlike wonder, not as a retreat towards infantilism, but with an appreciation that it’s not a bad place to be at all. ‘That would be something,’ McCartney sings sweetly, and it truly is.”
A con for a con | 20 years ago | June 3, 1986 | Jim Schuh reported on a bizarre forgery case involving Scientologists.
“Back on the morning of June 7, 1982, a man walked into the New York branch of the Middle East Bank on the 25th floor of a Madison Avenue office building and tried to deposit a $2 million check. When he balked at producing identification, bank officials refused to take the check. The man, a native of the United Arab Emirates, left without completing the transaction.
“The check, written on an E.F. Hutton money-market account handled by the Bank of New England, was a forgery. Although attempted bank fraud of that ilk is not particularly unusual, this particular incident triggered a complex, bizarre, and, at times, vicious battle that shows no signs of abating nearly four years later.
“The forged check had been written on the account of L. Ron Hubbard, reclusive founder of the Church of Scientology, who died last January. No one has ever been charged publicly with that attempted fraud, which Scientologists have come to regard as the most brazen of assaults on their religion and church....
“To gather evidence in the case, the Scientologists offered a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading to the conviction of those who had tried to pass the bogus Hubbard check.”
Porn to lose | 25 years ago | June 2, 1981 | Anita Diamant looked at opposing viewpoints in the porn debate.
“Over spring rolls and lo mein, I told my friend about the upcoming debate between Andrea Dworkin, the anti-pornography activist who had just published a book on the subject, and Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, the holy crusader of the First Amendment. ‘This is going to be a real show,’ I told my friend....
“According to Dworkin, the word pornography’s etymology (‘the graphic depiction of whores — specifically the lower class of whore, which in ancient Greece was the brothel slut, available to all male citizens’) exposes its cultural purpose. ‘It justifies and perpetuates the rape and prostitution from which it springs,’ she said. ‘This is its function, which makes it incompatible with any notion of freedom, unless one sees freedom as the right of men to rape and prostitute women.’...
“Dershowitz did cite the argument that has effectively persuaded many feminists over the past decade: that pornography is an issue better left alone because, as he put it, ‘The people who will define pornography (to censor it) will use that definition of pornography against Andrea Dworkin and you and me.’ He claimed her book would be banned in 180 countries around the world today. ‘You can’t have it both ways,’ he warned. ‘You want Dworkin, you’ve got to take pornography.’ ”