Flashbacks: October 6, 2006

The Boston Phoenix  has been covering the trends and events that shape our times since 1966
By PHOENIX FLASHBACKS  |  October 4, 2006

In the line of fire | 5 years ago | October 5, 2001 | Dan Kennedy considered the role of the media in the war against terrorism.
“As the country lurches into a frightening and uncertain war against terrorism, the news media find themselves in an extraordinarily difficult position: wedged between a White House that would prefer to wage war in secret and a public that loathes the press.

“President Bush, in his address to Congress, made it clear that the coming military campaign — which may have already begun — will depend heavily on covert operations whose existence will remain hidden ‘even in success.’ At his side are Vice-President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Colin Powell, two of the principal architects of military censorship during the 1991 Gulf War. And the public, which has conferred upon Bush a 90 percent approval rating in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, can invariably be counted on to support the military against the media when it comes to what journalists still plaintively call ‘the public’s right to know.’ Witness last Friday’s report in USA Today that American and British special-operations units were already in Afghanistan — a report that some disparaged as irresponsible even though the news had already been carried in the Pakistani Press. . . .

 “Right now, when the country is understandably frightened, it’s all too easy to say that the government and the military should be able to wage war the way they see fit, free from a meddlesome media. But the media are the public’s representatives, and their role in ferreting out the truth is absolutely crucial in a time of crisis. The media are the guardians of a public trust, guaranteed by the First Amendment.”

Don't be ashamed| 10 years ago | October 4, 1996 | Amanda Bichsel talked to the owner of a new porn shop in the South End.
“Blindfolds are perhaps the least naughty thing you will find at Eros Boutique on Tremont Street, in the heart of the South End. Sheila Rae, the young owner, opened the store seven months ago when she realized that there was no place in Boston where she could buy a vibrator without feeling sleazy or embarrassed. She felt that most of the porn shops downtown — in addition to being in unsafe areas — were simply too ‘hardcore,’ and frequented mostly by those who ‘already know what they’re doing.’

“That’s why Rae’s big on directions. The people she’s really hoping to attract to Eros are the neophytes, the people who would never venture downtown for sex toys — mainly because they have no idea how to use a double-dong harness and, yes, are afraid to ask. At Eros, you can ask, and Rae will tell you, much as she would tell a tourist how to get from Copley to Kenmore. If she doesn’t know, she’ll find out (or she’ll give you a battery and tell you to go sit in a corner and fiddle around, and see what happens).”

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