Eagle Magazine

April 17, 2007

Like many boys of my generation, I was an avid reader of Eagle magazine in the 1950’s ( and possibly into the 60’s though I don’t remember for sure). I seem to have survived its Christian ideals and remember it only as a good read. I certainly learned a lot of history – albeit the history of the pink bits on the map. I remember reading about Gordon of Khartoum, the conquest of Everest, and Stanley and Livingston. Almost everything I know about the French Foreign Legion and Field Marshall Montgomery comes from Eagle Magazine.

I also was fascinated by the ‘how things work’ cut-away illustrations of cars and boats and planes. The other feature I remember is something that didn’t seem remarkable at the time. Eagle magazine carried advertisements. I shouldn’t be surprised as this was an era when our school exercise books did too!

I recall that there were ads for the British Gas Council using the character Mr Therm, though I can’t imagine what value there was for the Gas Council in advertising to snotty pre-teenage boys. (thanks to Bear Alley for the information about Walkden Fisher who created Mr Therm)

Having been greatly amused by John Ryan‘s Captain Pugwash and Harris Tweed (amongst other cartoons in The Eagle), I was thrilled to discover many years later when we lived in London that our next door neighbour was the same John Ryan. John was (is) as charming and witty as his cartoons.

And yes I was a huge fan of Dan Dare Pilot of the Future. Probably the beginning of a lifelong interest in science fiction.

By the way, if you Google search Eagle Magazine you come up with the following magazine published 4 times a year in Eagle Idaho and available at Rembrandts Coffee House and Rocky Mountains Fitness. It doesn’t quite excite the same emotions.


Bias in the bias

April 5, 2007

Thanks to Barista (who in turn thanks Crooked Timber) I have been reading up on the extraordinary right-wing, creationist view of the world as presented by the very biased Wikipedia-hating Conservapedia

Perhaps the most disturbing article is the list of examples of bias in Wikipedia. As well as the rap over the knuckles for the use of BCE and CE instead of the apparently correct BC and AD, or that the Wikipedia entry on the “Great Flood” describes it as a myth despite the fact that 60% of Americans accept the version in the Bible, is this gem – “Wikipedia often uses foreign spelling of words, even though most English-speaking users are American.”

Can you imagine that, a website that uses non-American spelling? Now there is bias for you. Obviously an encyclopedia which doesn’t see the world from a US point of view it is not a source you can trust.

It’s a view of the world that is reflected in a reference book I sometimes consult called The World Almanac and Book of Facts. It is a fantastic source of information on the economy of every US State, it lists the baseball rookies of the year, informs me on the prison population in each US city, and is a great guide to the tuition fees of every American College. It somewhat grudgingly devotes about 100 of its 1000 pages to non-US data. Clearly the editors of this almanac have the same understanding of the word “world” as those who describe the US domestic baseball competition as the “World Series”.

Having just spent a couple of weeks there, I can understand that a large, wealthy and powerful country like the USA does not need to concern itself with the rest of the world. I only wish that it was honest about its narrow focus and not make out that the US view is the World view.

By the way, the few dozen lines my almanac devotes to Australia includes such useful information as the address of the embassy in Washington and lists all distances in miles (whatever they are!)