Category Archives: People Paths

Comparing historical figures.

Tobacco, Smoking and the Media

 

Timeline for blog

EVENTS OVER TIME


                                                                                                                      1500-1940-1950-1960-1970-1980-1990-2000-2010-2015

Post idea suggested and with assistance by Olivia Boye from Florida

By Rick Bretz

The tobacco crop was an original export from the colonies to England and Europe at the onset of colonization of North America.  It was a building block for the economic security of the United States. As the United States expanded and grew, tobacco products gained a healthy share of the disposable income market.  In time, for some people, that disposable income became a necessary purchase for many Americans.  The medical community and government officials came to the conclusion in the 20th Century that tobacco products, although enjoyable for some smokers, may create significant health issues with usage over time.

1940s Cigarette Ad
1940s Cigarette Ad

Tobacco product advertising from the 1940s through the middle 1960s remained unchallenged but the health argument remained in the background of the issue. Several television shows and networks brought on major tobacco companies to finance their programming.  Film stars were seen smoking while some were paid to endorse a certain brand.  The youth of America saw that smoking was cool and smoking meant that you were among the “in-crowd”;  and furthermore, your  personality exuded danger and adventure.  All of this, in addition to the belief that smoking was harmless, contributed to the steady rise in smokers over time.  This, of course, increased profits, and provided the necessary marketing funds for further advertising strategies.

The other side of the smoking issue relates to the altering of the carcinogen levels and other additives by companies to increase the likelihood of addiction. This is an important part of the story.  Nevertheless, it is an issue for another time.

The advertising game changed after the Surgeon General released a Health Advisory Report on June 11, 1964, outlining the negative health issues from long-term smoking.

From the Center for Disease Control website:

The Advisory Committee concluded that cigarette smoking is—

  • A cause of lung cancer and laryngeal cancer in men
  • A probable cause of lung cancer in women
  • The most important cause of chronic bronchitis
1960s ad
1960s ad

Later, the U.S. Congress adopted the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act of 1965 and the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act of 1969. These laws—

  • Required a health warning on cigarette packages
  • Banned cigarette advertising in the broadcasting media
  • Called for an annual report on the health consequences of smoking
1980s print media ad
1980s print media ad

Despite pressure from the tobacco and broadcasting lobbies, the push to get a law passed to ban tobacco advertising gained momentum.  That led to the act to ban cigarette advertising from television and radio in 1971. On April 1, 1971, President Richard Nixon, a pipe smoker himself, signed into law legislation that prohibited tobacco advertising on television and radio.  Estimates at the time, showed that broadcast companies lost more than 220 million a year from advertising revenues.  At that time, 220 million dollars was a big chunk of change that had to be replaced in order for the industry to satisfy investors and profit margins. According to broadcasting records, the last televised cigarette ad aired on the Johnny Carson Show at 11:50 PM on January 1st 1971.  Carson’s ad occurred on January 1st, so that, in a compromise to the broadcasting lobby, they were able to get their last influx of profits by airing cigarette ads on the New Year’s bowl games.  What was broadcast media’s loss, was print media’s gain.  Tobacco company marketing campaigns moved advertising dollars to magazines and other print media.

Here are the primary 1971 smoking ad ban laws.

  • Made it unlawful to advertise cigarettes on radio or television beginning Jan. 2, 1971.
  • Changed the mandatory wording on cigarette packages from: “Caution: Cigarette Smoking May Be Hazardous To Your Health” to: “Warning: The Surgeon General Has Determined That Cigarette Smoking Is Dangerous To Your Health.”
  • Prohibited all state and local health-related regulation or prohibition of cigarette advertising.

Other provisions in the law are included here:

http://library.cqpress.com/cqalmanac/document.php?id=cqal70-1292742

The video link below is from the archives and shows different cigarette ads through time.

https://archive.org/details/tobacco_epv08h00

 


According to the druglibary.org, “On October 20,1971, a U.S. District Court ruled that the Congressional ban on cigarette advertising is constitutional. The ruling stated that such advertising does not qualify under the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech; a sharp distinction was drawn between guarantees of freedom of speech for individuals and the “limited extent” to which broadcast advertising qualifies for such protection.”


Since those years when legislation was passed to curb cigarette advertising, the government and particularly congressional leaders have sought to prevent the sale of products to children, teenagers and adults by requiring age checks and high taxes on cigarette packs, cartons and boxes.

Some researchers have questioned whether this has curbed smoking numbers, considering the fact these same companies sell to foreign countries despite increasing legislation to do what the United States accomplished in the 60s and 70s.  It seems today, that it may be easier and cheaper to buy a marijuana cigarette or product than a tobacco product.  So, as they used to say in the military, “At ease, smoke ’em if you got ’em!”

SMOKING BY TOPIC


 

                                                              1940s-1971                        1972-1990                           1991-2000            2001-2015


Film                                                Used frequently                                                                                              Used Sparingly


 

Television/Radio                      For advertising dollars until Jan 2, 1971                                             Characterization


 

Print                                              Continued with Surgeon General’s Warning


 

Billboards                                   Continued with Surgeon General’s Warning


 

World Wide Web                                                                                                        Pro-smoking imagery on websites

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/810400_6


 

Medical Research                             Jan 11, 1964, Surgeon General releases first Health Advisory Report


 

Overseas                                             Effort to increase market in other countries after consumer domestic  demand decreased


Strategies                                           Marketing can’t depict smoking as being cool or moving up the social ladder

        http://www.streetdirectory.com/travel_guide/29195/advertising/cigarettes_advertising_what_is_allowed_and_what_is_not.html


 

Notable Links:

http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/sgr/history/

http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/library/studies/nc/nc2b_10.htm

http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/about/about_collections.jsp

http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/Data_statistics/sgr/history/index.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tobacco_packaging_warning_messages

http://www.fda.gov/TobaccoProducts/Labeling/ucm259214.htm

http://www.fda.gov/TobaccoProducts/Labeling/MarketingandAdvertising/default.htm

http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/library/studies/nc/nc2b_8.htm

http://healthliteracy.worlded.org/docs/tobacco/Unit1/2history_of.html

http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/smoking-cessation/humans-start-smoking.htm

Is it Safe? Media Professionals in Danger

The Committee to Protect Journalists shows countries where journalist are at risk.
The Committee to Protect Journalists shows countries where journalist are at risk.

by Rick Bretz

We’ve all seen the movie “Marathon Man” when Dustin Hoffman’s character is repeatedly asked, “Is it safe?”.   Lawrence Olivier not getting an answer then sadistically digs into Hoffman’s teeth as a form of torture.

Today, professionals working in the  journalism and broadcasting fields have to ask themselves, “is it safe?”, before venturing into dangerous areas of the world where hate, revenge and conflict rule the day. The job has always had its inherent dangers with the threat of prison sentences, injury, assassination and outright murder before every interview or timely picture.

The brutal murders of media professionals James Foley and Steven Sotloff in the last few weeks by ISIS, a terrorist organization without any morals or a modicum of decency, has answered that question for many in the profession.

The ISIS cowards have gone as low as to behead British hostage David Haines, an aid worker trying to help others in a war-torn part of the world. British Prime Minister David Cameron called it an “Act of pure evil.” I have other words but I won’t use them in this article.

Journalists and broadcasters write history’s rough draft for authors to analyze and research later. I love history and I don’t like people who try to suppress the information writers might use later. People who harass, kill, maim or intimidate journalists, videographers, photographers or broadcasters contribute to man’s inhumanity towards man in perpetuity.

There’s a difference between media professionals being captured and killed purposely for an organization’s propaganda purposes as opposed to a journalist being killed in the line of getting the story. One is an accepted risk while the other is just pure calculated murder for propaganda reasons and to show the world how brutal one can be. In reality terrorists are just plain old cowards who would rather make the world a darker  place rather than an enlightened one. What courage does it take to kill someone kneeling with their hands tied behind their back?

I’ll answer that, none whatsoever, not an ounce. The person kneeling before the terrorist has the courage.

Have you ever watched a film or tape from the prohibition era, of war atrocities, or someone fighting racial inequality? If you have, you must realize someone had to be in harm’s way to capture that moment in time so a student or government representative could learn from it. Someone has to be on the other side of the lens to get it to the audience watching and reading safely in their homes.

The danger that media professionals have had to endure has been around a long time. If there’s a story, a person has been there to tell it. That’s why we have history.

The Committee to Protect Journalists is a website that exists to monitor media professionals and how many have given their lives so we can understand what is happening throughout the world.

cpj
cpj

Their website is:

http://www.cpj.org/

These are statistics on those killed.

http://www.cpj.org/killed/

More people should read this website and find out about the latest information.

These courageous journalists and broadcasters have understood one truth,  If evil, death, intimidation and fear hide behind a curtain, then nothing will change. Their words and pictures shine a light on these issues and force the world to wake up. Their lives will not go unnoticed.

 

 

Away Places, the Brandywine River Museum

Brandywine River Museum entrance
Brandywine River Museum entrance

by Rick Bretz

A quick pan over the globe shows us all that some of the best places may not be in the middle of a major metropolitan area.  You can find Roman Walls and artifacts in a small town in Turkey called Sinop, on the Black Sea coast.   In another part of the world, you can travel a few hours South of London over the rolling hills to the area where Stonehenge fascinates many viewers. If you travel just North of London you arrive at Stratford Upon Avon, the home town of Shakespeare.  Just South of Tucson, AZ, a traveler can walk the streets of Tombstone and visit the OK Corral area.  There are many places in the United States and all over the world where if you look hard enough you can find some interesting places to visit and learn a little in the process.

A building in the small town of Chadd’s Ford just South of Philadelphia presents the art enthusiast a perfect stop. It houses an influential collection of paintings by some of the best artists of our time, the Wyeth family.  Here is where genius lives, in a building tucked behind some trees off of US Route 1 on Hoffman’s Mill Road.  NC Wyeth began a family who over several years created some of the best art works of our time.  The Wyeth collection, displayed for viewing in the Brandywine River Museum, is worth the trip and the price to see one of the best art collections in the Western World.  The three-story exhibit presents the person who travels to the place a chance to see pieces of art work that are awe-inspiring in their creativity and craftsmanship.

Wyeth work table and easel.
Wyeth work table and easel.

Of all the Wyeth artists, I have the greater admiration for Andrew Wyeth who perfected the technique of egg tempera painting. If you haven’t seen this type of painting up close, then I recommend you travel to the Brandywine River Museum and take a look at the art treasure.   The scenes the family painted are of  out-of-the-way

Andrew Wyeth-SnowHill
Andrew Wyeth-SnowHill

pastures, fields, and simple day-to-day activities with ordinary people and household objects.  It is in the detail in each tree branch, human subject and river flow that the artists show the how simple subjects can hold a wealth of satisfaction.

If you want to see what the best in human creativity has to offer, you may need to travel a few miles away from your hometown.  You don’t have to go far, just far enough to find the best the world has to offer.  The Brandywine River Museum is just such a place.

Notable Links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tempera

http://www.brandywinemuseum.org/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinop,_Turkey

http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/stonehenge/

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=William+Shakespeare+Stratford+Upon+Avon&FORM=RESTAB

http://www.cityoftombstone.com/

http://patinmali.net/n-c-wyeth-paintings/

http://www.andrew-wyeth-prints.com/andrew-wyeth-paintings.html

The Generations

by Rick Bretz

Classifying people into generations and marking them with cultural characteristics is an entertaining exercise for sociologists and academics.  However, putting a particular generation into a certain box is only informative when analyzing the different world events that influenced the collective personality characteristics of people growing up in that era. The classification of generations begs the question: Is one generation better than another? Did one generation endure hardships?  Did another have it easier? It’s an intellectual exercise that can generate a discussion. Since Tom Brokaw’s book, “The Greatest Generation” was published, most of the reading public have stated that people who grew up to fight WWII and endure the Great Depression were part of the “Greatest Generation.”  Is there such a title-“The Greatest Generation”–One group of people who have shone brighter than any other  in history.

I prefer to think that each generation has had their own challenges and issues with their own solutions.  Can you say that one generation is better than another because they helped achieve a WWII victory while another fought in Vietnam and landed on the moon?  Another way to view the issue is: without one generation developing a particular technology the other wouldn’t have been able to achieve their significant achievements.

Members of the military are attempting to keep...
Members of the military are attempting to keep Vietnam War protesters under control. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Scholars possess different views pertaining to the yearly division between generations, usually a few years separate one list from the other. Here is a list generations with significant (but not all) events occurring during their formative years compared across generations.

G.I./GREATEST

BORN:   1901-1928

SILENT

BORN:   1928-1945

BOOMERS

BORN:   1946-1964

GENERATION   X

BORN:   1965-1980

MILLENIALS

BORN:1981-2004

World   War I Stock   Market Crashes Marshall   Plan Vietnam   War Protests Chernobyl   Nuclear Accident
Spanish   Flu Great   Depression Yeager   breaks sound barrier Watergate   Hearings Soviet   Glasnost
Titanic   Sunk FDR   Elected NASA   formed Nixon   Resigns Fall   of Berlin Wall
Silent   Movie Era WWII   Begins Korean   War Vietnam   War Ends Disintegration   of Soviet Union
Roaring   20s WWII   Ends Cold   War Race   Riots Apple   and Microsoft
Ford   Model T and Assembly Line Atomic   Bomb used to defeat Japan JFK   Assassinated Civil   Unrest Hubble   Telescope
Russian   Revolution 1933-First   Concentration Camp McCarthy   hearings RFK   and MLK Assassinated 9/11
Prohibition The   Dust Bowl Cuban   Missile Crisis Armstrong,   Aldrin, Collins land on the moon War   on Terrorism
Lindbergh Flies solo   across Atlantic Japan attack on Pearl   Harbor DNA discovered Palestinian Terrorism Operation   Desert Storm
Penicillin Discovered United Nations Founded Vietnam War Roe vs Wade Internet   and Social Media

 

I

Alternate Listing for Generational Names from the Population Reference Bureau

1983-2001 – New Boomers
1965-1982 – Generation X
1946-1964 – Baby Boomers
1929-1945 – Lucky Few
1909-1928 – Good Warriors
1890-1908 – Hard Timers
1871-1889 – New Worlders

 

English: The Fall of the Berlin Wall, 1989. Th...
English: The Fall of the Berlin Wall, 1989. The photo shows a part of a public photo documentation wall at Former Check Point Charlie, Berlin. The photo documentation is permanently placed in the public. Türkçe: Berlin Duvarı, 1989 sonbaharı (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The above alternate generations list takes note of two generations that are usually overlooked, the Hard Timers and the New Worlders.  These are the generations that ushered in the industrial revolution, built railroads and began to introduce people to technology that would save their lives such as electricity and the light bulb.

If you look at history’s 20th Century Timeline, there are many events that could be listed that have influenced generations.  These are some of the ones I think are significant. I welcome any other events that you think I have missed or could be included.

Notable Links:

http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2011/05/living/infographic.boomer/index.html

http://www.prb.org/Publications/PopulationBulletins/2009/20thcenturyusgenerations.aspx

http://www.pewresearch.org/

http://history1900s.about.com/od/timelines/tp/timeline.htm

Margaret Thatcher-The Iron Lady

by Rick Bretz

I have read a number of stories lately concerning many people who dislike Margaret Thatcher and her policies while serving as Prime Minister of  the United Kingdom from 1979-1990.  These words are naïve and just plain stupid.   Just like her Iron Lady name implied, she was the kind of Prime Minister who said with her actions, “Enough is enough!”  She said it with the Falklands War.  She said it with the British Labour Unions.  She said it every time she stood up each week to face her British Parliament adversaries, the Labour Party.

Her weekly confrontations with members of the Parliament were interesting to watch. They were televised on CSPAN on the weekends.   She took no prisoners and didn’t give an inch.  Her confidence in her ideas gave her the strength to take on anybody, including the male power structure.

President Reagan walking with Prime Minister M...
President Reagan walking with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at Camp David (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She was Britain’s first woman Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party. She served three terms as Prime Minister and made some tough choices to get the economy back on track. Starting in 1981, the economy experienced 8 consecutive years of growth. The ultra-liberal factions of the Parliament never were satisfied with her choices while the elitists sought to demonize her.  However, tough choices had to be made and she was the one to do it. During the 1982 Falklands War, the government tried to arrive at a diplomatic solution but when those talks failed to provide any common ground, Prime Minister Thatcher was ready to use military power.

Thatcherism was a label that defined her style of politics but Margaret Thatcher gave her country something more important-a reason to be proud of their country.  Many people in America liked her, some of course didn’t. Like conservatives, some liberals just can’t come around and recognize a good leader’s accomplishments. Although she was a revolutionary by breaking political barriers, she didn’t like to be dictated to by them, such as the IRA.   The IRA tried to take her out with a bomb in 1984.  She showed up the next day to deliver a speech to say, “You are not going to get your way.”  She curbed union power by taking on the coal unions and took on the biggest union of all, the Soviet Union.  A Soviet Union publication gave her the name, “The Iron Lady.”  She helped bring about the end of he Soviet Union by letting President Ronald Reagan know that this Gorbachev fellow is someone we can deal with.

Margaret Thatcher will be remembered for her tough leadership but also as one of the great personalities of the 20th Century and one Britain’s best leaders in peace and during wars and cold wars.

Margaret Thatcher died on April 8, 2013.  There is one point everyone can agree on when discussing Margaret Thatcher.  She will be remembered.

Notable Links:

http://www.historynet.com/margaret-thatcher

The Australian Aborigines and North American Native Americans

A 19th century engraving showing Australian &q...
A 19th century engraving showing Australian “natives” opposing the arrival of Captain James Cook in 1770 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Rick Bretz

The desire of nations and societies to expand their land holdings has caused much consternation in many countries.  The United States and Australia never had a monopoly on the ill-treatment of indigenous people.  The Persians conquered the Middle East, the Mongols rode across Eastern Europe, the Greek and Roman Empire sought to expand their cultures and the French, Spanish, and British monarchies sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to the New World.

At the least, the United States and Australia’s failures to initially blend their opposing cultures upon colonization demonstrates a poor decision-making process to fix an issue before blood is spilled. Research and the record indicate that the treatment of indigenous people was cultivated in a divine belief in a God-given right to civilize “savages.”   This belief gave the conquering colonists the right to do what they needed to further the nation’s promise.  Although some may have acted with pure intentions, for others this belief gave them license to act unfairly and with malice.

The United States’ policy of Manifest Destiny resulted in wars, forced relocation, cultural indoctrination and a distrust that has remained to this day.

The story of the Australian Aborigines’ struggle and the British Colonization mirrors that of the Native Americans fight for recognition.   For both countries, it took several deaths on both sides for each to realize that conciliation and compromise might be the best route for a sustained peace and understanding.  That this atmosphere is continually tested by both sides is a testament to the deep-rooted scars from a turbulent history.

What is clear today is that an understanding developed among the first colonists and subsequent government power elite in both countries that the idea to treat indigenous people as second-class or worse was acceptable toward a united nation under predetermined religious beliefs and races.  This idea permeated society and gave the majority of “civilized” society permission to treat Native Americans and Aborigines how they pleased.  Not everyone thought this way but enough to give both governments the power and permission to keep certain rights and land away from them.   From then on, the “original” people from both lands would have to struggle to get them back.  These rights would be earned one by one over several years by intellectual discussions, casualties from conflicts, government enlightenment and mutual compromise on both sides.  This leads us to where we are today.  The relationship is being repaired but disagreements remain between each party. This may be the price for how each land was settled at the start—a continuous process of reconciliation and compromise that may lead to total harmony one day.

What do you think?  Is it a valid comparison?

                                                                    A Comparison Study Chart

Australian Aborigines meaning “original people”

North   American Native Americans

Composed of various tribes usually based on languages and geography. (Aku   Ramul, Kambre, Panara) Composed of various tribes, nations, and languages (Cherokee, Sioux,   Seneca, Lakota, Shoshone, Shawnees, Seminoles, Catawba)
Migrated from Indian subcontinent If migrated, most likely came from Eastern Asia
Original people of Australia before colonization by British explorers Native people of North America before French, British, and Spanish   colonization
Disease brought by colonization decimates population (small pox) Disease brought by colonization decimates population (small pox,  measles)
1770-East Coast of Australia claimed by Captain James Cook. 1492 or Later-East Coast of United States colonized
1770-1788-More British ships appear and dock on the east coast. 1621-One the first treaties between Plymouth Pilgrims and the Wampanoag   Tribe. Colonists seek to expand further West from coastal region.
1788-British set up penal colony.    Skirmishes between British and Aborigines begin. 1830-1840-Native American Nations were forced to move from East to   lands west of the Mississippi River.
1799-Aborigines resistance to white settlements in areas known as   Black Wars 1838-Trail of Tears.  Thousands   of Cherokee forced to move from Georgia to Oklahoma with many dying in the   process. This despite Supreme Court Rulings in 1831 and 1832 stating that they   had a right to stay on their lands.
1810-Aborigines moved into mission stations to learn European beliefs 1830 and later-The establishment of Indian Reservations
Major conflicts and killings occur due to Aborigines lands forcefully   taken from them. Issues with treaties that were agreed upon, land agreements broken
1835-The Dunghutti people   of north coast NSW are now confined to 40 hectares (2,47 acres) of land on   the Bellwood Reserve, near present day Kempsey. They previously owned 250,000   hectares. On January   12, 1833, a law was passed by US Congress making it unlawful for any Indian   to remain within the boundaries of the state of Florida.
1949-Aboriginal people are   given the right   to enroll and vote at federal elections provided they are  entitled to enroll for state elections or have served in the armed forces. On June 2, 1924, Congress enacted the Indian Citizenship Act, which   granted citizenship to all Native Americans born in the U.S. the right to   vote.  Many states were slow to grant   the right to vote by placing restrictions on eligibility.  The 1965 Voting Rights Act strengthened   laws prohibiting state restrictions on voting rights.
1979-Aboriginal people are counted in the   Census for the first time. 1860-Native Americans identified for the decennial census. Census   instructions indicate that the families of Indians who have renounced tribal   rule, and who under state or territory laws exercise the rights of citizens,   are to be enumerated.  The 1870 Census   is the first to list “Indian” as a choice.
1992-The High Court of   Australia hands down its landmark decision in Mabo v. Queensland (Mabo Case, Mabo   Decision). It decides that Native Title exists over particular kinds of lands –   unalienated Crown Lands, national parks and reserves – and that Australia was   never terra nullius or empty land. 1924-The Citizenship Act gives Native Americans dual   citizenship.  This enables Native   Americans the status of US citizens and also be members of their tribes.1968-Congress passes Indian Civil Rights Act.

2007-Seneca Indian Nation revokes agreement to build highway through   their territory in New York.

Notable Links:

Aborigines (Original People)

http://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/history/australian-aboriginal-history-timeline

http://www.infoplease.com/spot/aboriginal1.html

http://bovination.com/cbs/australianAboriginalHistory.php

http://lateralloveaustralia.com/

Native Americans

http://www.indians.org/articles/native-american-indians.html

http://www.shmoop.com/native-american-history/

http://www.besthistorysites.net/index.php/american-history/native-american

http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/census/

http://www.millelacsband.com/Page_culture.aspx?id=270

Janice Joplin and Sylvia Plath

by Rick Bretz

Artists express their tortured or exalted souls in a variety of ways.  They can use music and voice or the written word on paper. Either way, if the message has a medium and receiving audience, the result can move the human spirit. Artists are always looking for an emotional or intellectual response.  Sending sounds to an ear or words to the thought process can accomplish this, sometimes at the expense of the artists’ well-being. They are at once happy doing what they do best but seek more afterwards and find themselves wanting.

Cover of "Pearl"
Cover of Pearl

Janis Joplin and Sylvia Plath

Janis Joplin

Sylvia Plath

Born: January 19, 1943  Port Arthur, Texas Born:    October 27, 1932   Boston, Mass.
Died: October   4, 1970    Hollywood, Ca. Died: February 11, 1963   England
Cause: Accidental Heroin overdose Cause: Suicide by gas oven
Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in   1995 First poet to receive Pulitzer Prize   after death in 1982
Known for distinctive voice Known for intense imagery and   alliteration
Lead singer for the group, “Big   Brother and the Holding Company Poetry: The Colossus (1960); Ariel (1965); Crossing the Water   (1971); Winter Trees (1972); The Collected Poems (1981)
Hits include: Piece of my Heart, Mercedes   Benz, Me and Bobby McGee Prose: The Bell Jar (1963) The   Journals of Sylvia Plath (1982) The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia   Plath (2000, edited by Karen V. Kukil)

 

Sylvia Plath
Sylvia Plath (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I could try to analyze and compare these talented women but the best window into a soul is through their own words.

In the words of Janis Joplin

In the words of Sylvia Plath

“Onstage,   I make love to 25,000 people – then I go home alone.” “If they substituted the word “Lust”   for “Love” in the popular songs it would come nearer the truth.”
“‘I   feel, you know, I hurt, please help.’ I’m saying words, man, and if I look at   an audience and they ain’t understanding me, it’s just like getting kicked in   the teeth.”

 

“Can you understand? Someone,   somewhere, can you understand me a little, love me a little? For all my   despair, for all my ideals, for all that – I love life. But it is hard, and I   have so much – so very much to learn.”
On performing in concert, “…I dig   it! I dig it so much, man!” “Perhaps   when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously   near to wanting nothing.”

 

“People, whether they know it or not, like   their blues singers miserable. They like their blues singers to die   afterwards.”

 

The silence depressed me. It wasn’t   the silence of silence. It was my own silence.”
“It used to make me very unhappy,   all that feeling. I just didn’t know what to do with it. But now I’ve learned   how to make feeling work for me.” How frail the human heart must be — a mirrored   pool of thought.

 

They were both lonely despite having many people around them.  Janice Joplin tried to find the answer through drugs and alcohol and died of an overdose way before she should have left us. Radio stations play her songs today and her CDs sell well.  Sylvia Plath used her depression to create works that are studied in school and university literature classes to this day.  They both live on through words and music.